Personality Spotlight;NEWLN:San Diego Mayor Roger Hedgecock: Environmentalist who never lost an election

Feb. 14, 1985
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Roger Hedgecock, an environmentalist, has never lost an election in his nine-year political career that won him two terms as mayor of the nation's eighth largest city.

The 39-year-old politician took office for the first time on a platform to prevent the 'Los Angelization' of San Diego and -- despite being indicted on perjury and conspiracy charges -- was re-elected by the largest plurality in the city's history in a record-spending campaign.

A Superior Court jury announced Wednesday it was deadlocked and a mistrial was declared. Prosecutors said they would seek a new trial.

It took Hedgcock only four years after law school to build a reputation as an environmentalist laywer. After a stint as city attorney of nearby Del Mar, he became the youngest San Diego County supervisor ever sworn into office in 1977. He was 30.

Hedgecock, who likes to surf on occasion, enjoyed a popular public image until it was tarnished recently by his links with an investment counseling company that went bankrupt and its owner was indicted. But privately, former underlings and colleagues in county government have criticized him as arrogant.

Hedgecock was born in Los Angeles on May 2, 1946 and moved with his family to San Diego at age 10.

He graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1968 and got his law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of Law, in 1971. He was admitted to the bar on Jan. 5, 1972.

Hedgecock joined the San Diego law firm of Higgs, Fletcher & Mack that year and remained with them until 1976. He made a name for himself as an environmentalist lawyer and then became city attorney of Del Mar.

There he met councilwoman -- later mayor -- Nancy Hoover, another environmentalist who became a friend and political supporter.

Hedgecock first ran for public office in 1976, and on Jan. 3, 1977 became a San Diego County supervisor. In 1980, he was re-elected.

In both of his campaigns, he depended heavily upon volunteers.

As a supervisor, he pioneered proposals in energy, growth management and environmental protection. The latter won him the backing of the Sierra Club.

When San Diego's 11-year mayor, Pete Wilson, was elected to the U.S. Senate, Hedgecock ran for the remaining 18 months of the mayoral term in May 1983 against port commissioner Maureen O'Connor. He won by 10,000 votes.

It was the most expensive mayoral campaign in San Diego history, with each candidate spending over a half-million dollars.

Hedgecock campaigned on a vow to prevent the 'Los Angelization' of San Diego, meaning he would respect the city's controlled-growth master plan and would work to avoid leap-frog sprawl. Like-minded San Diegans generally call this, 'Keeping the developers out of our canyons.'

In November 1984, Hedgecock's bid for re-election was challenged by fellow Republican Dick Carlson, a businessman with no public service experience.

Despite having already been indicted by the county grand jury, Hedgecock won by the largest plurality in San Diego history.

Hedgecock met his wife Cynthia (Cindy) in 1970 in San Francisco and they were married in 1975. The couple has two sons, Jamie, 7, and Christopher, 4.

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