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San Diego City Councilman Tony Young, still fuming over council’s vote Monday to appoint outgoing Council President Scott Peters to the San Diego Unified Port Commission, called me to reiterate some strong feelings he has about the top job on council.
First of all, Young is adamant that the lame duck council not vote for Peters’ replacement. There has been talk of a vote before the new council is seated, but it hasn’t gained much traction.
Young, who has expressed interest in the post, said that the “people who have to live with the new president are the people who should vote for the new president.” And referencing Peters’ port appointment, Young said conflict of interest issues could also come up if the vote is taken by the current council.
On Monday, council voted 5-2 to appoint Peters and incumbent Commissioner Laurie Black. Young and Councilwoman Donna Frye, who recorded the no votes, said it was inappropriate for the council to appoint Peters while he was still a sitting member.
Young called the vote “pathetic,” and said council members chose to make the appointments this week because Peters was a candidate. He told me that a similar smell of conflict could arise with an early vote on president. The new president could be indebted to the termed-out council members, who would be private citizens in the future and could need something from the council.
“Obviously it could be beneficial for some folks to have the vote early, but it would clearly have less to do with the public and process, and more to do with the self-serving mentality we have seen in the past,” Young said.
Young, however, is not in favor of a proposal by Frye and Councilman-elect Carl DeMaio to curtail the job’s primary perk, control over the council’s docket. Frye and DeMaio want to change council rules to allow any council member to docket items with the City Clerk. Young said such a rule change would end up strengthening Mayor Jerry Sanders’ hand when it comes to issues before council.
If docketing power is taken away from the president, Young said, Mayor Jerry Sanders could conspire with friendly council members to put his agenda on the docket.
“Nothing against the mayor, but you have to have a balance of power,” Young said.