Last summer, Mayor Jerry Sanders decided not to reappoint Gil Cabrera to the city’s Ethics Commission. He was the commission’s chairman and he was eligible for one more term. To not reappoint him was to send a message.
Although a City Council member must suggest someone for the mayor to appoint, the mayor is in the driver’s seat of these deals.
The Union-Tribune asked him what was up:
The mayor cited the need for diversity in dismissing Cabrera, a Latino, while at the same time reappointing two white men. A spokesman for Sanders later clarified that by diversity, Sanders meant adding another woman to the panel.
Last month, the City Council finally confirmed the mayor’s appointment of John O’Neill and Graydon Wetzler and to re-appoint two of Cabrera’s colleagues. All are white men (and are all qualified, by the way).
I have nothing against white men. I am, of course, one. But it was the mayor who said the reason he couldn’t reappoint Cabrera, a Latino, to the post was because of the need to add a woman to the commission, you know, for diversity.
Spokesman Darren Pudgil tells me the mayor tried to appoint attorney Nadia Bermudez to the post. Cabrera had suggested her as a possibility and Councilman Ben Hueso had nominated her. But she withdrew her interest. Apparently she’s the only woman around.
So a Latino was replaced by white men in the name of diversity.
Obviously the mayor had more reasons not to support Cabrera for another term but he doesn’t want to be honest about them. And you know what, that’s OK too.
Just do us the courtesy of not explaining it at all instead of peddling fiction. At the very least, don’t hide behind — and in the process, trivialize — a valuable public pursuit like the push for diversity.
— SCOTT LEWIS