Council President Ben Hueso’s co-nomination of attorney Lee Burdick to fill a vacancy on the Port Commission has puzzled some who expected Hueso to back Diane Takvorian, the director of the Environmental Health Coalition and the pick of organized labor.

Takvorian has her opponents, including Rachel Ortiz, a prominent community activist in Barrio Logan. Hueso said Ortiz did call him and tell him she wasn’t supporting Takvorian, but Hueso said “that was not the reason for my decision.”

Rather, Hueso said Burdick has a strong track record, experience and good attitude. She’s has been touted as a compromise candidate between Takvorian and hotelier Bill Evans. Given the importance of the port’s decisions on the region, Hueso said it’s important for constituents to feel like they can give input to their representatives.

“If they feel like one candidate is too far to the left or the right, they’re not going to want to approach that candidate with that same eagerness,” he said.

Asked why Ortiz was opposed to Takvorian, Hueso said, “I don’t recall, but there’s definitely been some tension between them over the years.”

Former City Council candidate Marshall Merrified is also a candidate for the post, which council members will consider Monday.


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