San Diego Business Journal

Mayor Vetoes Appointments to Port Commission

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Mayor Bob Filner vetoed two appointments to the San Diego Port Commission, saying he wanted to wait until a vacancy is filled on the City Council to make new appointments.

In a memo delivered late Jan. 18 to the City Clerk, Filner said residents of District 4 were unable to participate in the decision. The vacancy in that district occurred last month when Tony Young resigned to take a job heading up the American Red Cross here.

On Jan. 7, the council voted unanimously for two new representatives on the commission, a seven-member board that oversees management of the Port of San Diego. They were Rafael Castellanos, an attorney, and Marshall Merrifield, a business owner.

The appointments were chosen from a field of six candidates nominated by council members.

Filner called the selection process flawed, and said that the council violated its policies pertaining to the process.

“This should be more than just a popularity or personality contest,” Filner said in the memo.

A special election to fill Young’s seat has been set for March 26, but if no candidate wins a majority of the vote, there will be a runoff election 49 days later.

The council also has the power to override Filner’s veto, but needs six votes from a possible eight members to do so.

Councilman Todd Gloria said he intends to pursue an override vote, another instance where Gloria has opposed Filner, a fellow Democrat.

“After the State of the City address where the mayor stressed the importance of the port to our economic future, he appears to want to leave the city of San Diego unrepresented on the Port Commission for the foreseeable future,” said Gloria, who represents District 3 on the council.

— Mike Allen