As expected, Mayor Bob Filner has decided to veto the City Council’s appointments to the port commission. This sets up a standoff with Council President Todd Gloria, who said he will schedule a meeting to override the veto.

The problem for Gloria is that he’ll need six votes to override the veto. He only got five for the port commissioners appointed: Marshall Merrifield and Rafael Castellanos.

Here’s my explanation of the showdown.

In his memo, the mayor echoed Councilwoman Marti Emerald’s reasoning. He wants the District 4 City Council seat filled before a choice is made. He wants to upgrade the process for port appointments. He wants the city to settle on a vision for the port and then appoint people to fulfill that vision.

Interestingly, our reporter Liam Dillon passed along a classic exchange he had with Filner at a press conference just before the Council voted on the port appointments.

Filner didn’t seem to realize the power he had to veto the City Council’s appointments (a power the city attorney affirmed in a new opinion).

Check out this exchange in front of a room full of the mayor’s newly announced staff and reporters.

Dillon: Given the centrality of the port to your agenda, do you have a preference for who the council picks for port commissioner today?

Filner: I don’t. This is a purely Council decision and they will make that decision. Is that coming up today? Is that on the agenda?

Dillon: Yes.

Filner: Do you know who’s going to be the port commissioner? (Room laughs.)

Dillon: I thought you might know, that’s why I asked.

Filner: You know more than I do.

Dillon: I doubt it.

Filner: I could have done a fact check on you. (Room laughs.)

Did Filner only realize he had the power to veto the picks the moment he was asked to approve them?

I’m Scott Lewis, the CEO of Voice of San Diego. Please contact me if you’d like at or 619.325.0527 and follow me on Twitter (it’s a blast!):

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Scott Lewis

Scott Lewis oversees Voice of San Diego’s operations, website and daily functions as Editor in Chief. He also writes about local politics, where he frequently...

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