Lightner named council president again in do-over vote

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SAN DIEGO — San Diego City Council voted to name Sherri Lightner president for the second time in a week Tuesday.

Lightner won the post last Wednesday, but she scheduled a revote because allegations surfaced that discussions among various council members might have violated the state’s open meeting law. She succeeds Todd Gloria, who served in the position for two years but was unable to muster a majority of his colleagues to remain in the post.

She said she called for another vote “under an abundance of caution.”

“I want to set a tone right from the start of my tenure as council president that I am strongly committed to being open and transparent, and I will put a particular emphasis on making sure we conduct council meetings consistent with the Brown Act’s goals of public access to all public meetings and to the information on which all decisions are made,” Lightner said.

Assistant City Attorney Paul Cooper said the allegations of Brown Act violations were not substantiated, but if they were, the remedy would have been another vote.

The tally in support of Lightner was 6-1, with Gloria opposed. Councilman David Alvarez, who supported Gloria last week, and Councilwoman Marti Emerald did not attend the special meeting.

The council president wields considerable power over setting meeting agendas, determines committee assignments and often appears with the mayor in a ceremonial role.

Also, the panel voted to make Marti Emerald council president pro tem, the second-highest ranking on the panel, and approved Lightner’s appointments to council committees and outside agencies.

The biggest change for City Council committees is Myrtle Cole replacing Lightner as chairwoman of the Economic Development and Intergovernmental Relations Committee. Lightner will lead a new committee empaneled to recommend sweeping changes to the City Charter — suggestions that will go before voters as soon as June 2016.

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