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New port commissioners sworn in after mayoral veto ruled moot

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Port of San DiegoSAN DIEGO — Lawyer Rafael Castellanos and businessman Marshall Merrifield were sworn in to the Port of San Diego Board of Commissioners Monday.

The two were appointed by the San Diego City Council in January, but Mayor Bob Filner vetoed the action. He objected to the process used to make the selections, and said a city policy on the waterfront should be adopted first.

Last week, the state legislative counsel opined that Filner did not have the authority to veto the appointments. The port district was created by the state, so state law applies, according to the opinion.

On Friday, the City Attorney’s Office issued a similar finding and said the appointments of Castellanos and Merrifield should be certified by City Clerk Elizabeth Maland.

“I am pleased to welcome these two community leaders to the Board of Port Commissioners, where they will provide valuable expertise and perspective as we continue to pursue integrated planning for public access, commerce, development and other activities taking place along our waterfront,” said Ann Moore, chairwoman of the Board of Port Commissioners. “I look forward to working with them as a steward of our Big Bay.”

Critics of Filner’s action contended that the city of San Diego had a lesser voice while the two seats were vacant. The mayor, however, said the action got the City Council to approve his policy toward the port and adopt new guidelines for selecting appointees.

San Diego has three of the board’s seven seats. The others are selected by the cities of Chula Vista, Coronado, Imperial Beach and National City.



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