Local attorney Lee Burdick’s nomination for port commissioner may stem in part from her appeal as potential compromise candidate between two other high-profile nominees, hotelier Bill Evans and Environmental Health Coalition Executive Director Diane Takvorian.

“I think they both bring great demeanor and qualifications to the position if they are appointed,” Burdick said of Evans and Takvorian. “I think there are very real perception issues that may stand in the way of either of them getting the appointment. It’s unfortunate perhaps when perception overwhelms the reality, but unfortunately that often is the nature of politics.”

Burdick, a Democrat who’s involved in the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, was nominated today by Council President Ben Hueso and Councilmen Tony Yong and Carl DeMaio. She touts her experience in land-use issues and environmental review.

Burdick said it’s telling that she was approached by both people in the chamber and in organized labor about the nomination. Though she declined to state names, she said some in labor thought she’d be a good commissioner if their preferred candidate, Takvorian, failed to garner five votes on the eight-member council.

“I don’t think anyone thinks I’m their best candidate,” Burdick said. “I think business understands there are people out there who are probably much more staunch business advocates. I think labor understands there are people out there who are much more staunch labor interests, and the same is true with environmental. … I think where I have garnered the support is where folks see value in [a person] who can balance all of those interests.”

A written comment DeMaio made through his spokeswoman strikes a similar tone:

I believe the Port needs a consensus builder who will not favor any one special interest, but will work cooperatively to advance the public interest. By drawing bipartisan support for her nomination, I believe Lee Burdick is that person.

Burdick is a partner at Higgs, Fletcher & Mack who ran briefly for city attorney last year.

There are three other nominees for the port seat: Evans, Takvorian and Marshall Merrifield, a former City Council candidate. For more, read my story from earlier this week.


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