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City Councilman Brian Maienschein nominated Port Commissioner Stephen Cushman today to serve a rare third term on the regional board that oversees the five-city agency.

The prospect of reappointing Cushman, despite the council’s tradition of limiting commissioners to two terms, has caused a political splash at the city. Labor unions, environmentalists, maritime businesses and the Chargers have trumpeted Cushman as an irreplaceable power broker, while some officials, including Mayor Jerry Sanders, have said it’s time for new blood.

In his memo nominating Cushman, Maienschein wrote:

Mr. Cushman has been a tremendous asset to the San Diego Unified Port Commission. Lending his professional experience, he has demonstrated a vast knowledge of the unique needs of the San Diego community.

Cushman’s term expires in January. The City Council will end its legislative meetings for the year on Wednesday, so a hearing on the port appointment – considered the city’s plum political gig – will take place after the New Year.

EVAN McLAUGHLIN

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