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Controversy Over Port Commission Appointments Continues

Mike McDade, a former San Diego Port Commissioner, and San Diego City Councilman Kevin Faulconer talk to KPBS about the flap at City Hall over the appointment of candidates to sit on the San Diego Port Commission.


Mike McDade, Former San Diego Port Commissioner

Kevin Faulconer, San Diego City Councilman

Katie Orr, KPBS Metro Reporter


There's a flap at San Diego City Hall over the appointment of candidates to sit on the San Diego Port Commission.

The City Council agreed on two nominees, Democrat Rafael Castellanos, an attorney, and Republican Marshall Merrifield, a business owner. But Mayor Bob Filner vetoed those candidates and is recommending a whole new procedure for making appointments to the Port.

City Council President Todd Gloria has said he will schedule a meeting in the coming weeks to override the mayor’s veto.

The mayor outlined the reasons for the veto in a memo. He mentioned a vacancy on the City Council, a need for the city to establish a vision and policy for the Port and set minimum qualifications.

But City Councilman Kevin Faulconer said the city already has an appointment process in place that’s worked for years.

"I think we've had a process that has served our city very, very well," he told KPBS. "We have an open process where we encourage candidates to apply, they submit their resumes and the finalists are brought before City Council."

"It's a process that not only has served the city well, but served it well in this round," he added.

The Unified Port of San Diego is governed by a seven member Board of Port Commissioners. One commissioner each is appointed by the city councils of Chula Vista, Coronado, Imperial Beach and National City, and three commissioners are appointed by the San Diego City Council.

In his memo, Filner also stressed the need to make appointees accountable to the city.

But Former Port Commissioner Mike McDade says that’s not the role of a port commissioner.

“This is a state agency that has broader responsibilities,” he said.

The Port of San Diego was created by the state legislature to manage San Diego Bay and surrounding waterfront land in 1962.

Its mission is to protect the Tidelands Trust resources by providing economic vitality and community benefit through a balanced approach to maritime industry, tourism, water and land recreation, environmental stewardship and public safety.

For more on the significance of the Port of San Diego and its regional impact check out the KPBS/I-Newsource Investigation Port Authority.


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