The state’s legislative counsel says the mayor should not have been allowed to veto two appointments to Unified Port of San Diego commission. I got the memo on Sunday night but it was issued in late February.

It apparently came in response to a request from Assemblyman Ben Hueso (now a state senator).

The Port Act, the state law that governs the port, says it is the role of the city councils of each of the cities that have representatives on the commission to appoint its members: San Diego, National City, Chula Vista, Imperial Beach and Coronado.

On the other hand, the city attorney has opined that the City Charter gives the mayor the power to veto the council’s port appointments. He acknowledges the Port Act gives the council the right to appoint the port commissioners but “The power of appointment of Port Commissioners, however, must be distinguished from the power to veto,” City Attorney Jan Goldsmith wrote in a January memo.

The legislative counsel says state law trumps the City Charter, as the port is a scheme that “transcends the boundaries of individual municipalities, and thereby falls within the regulatory powers of the state.”

None of this matters unless either the port or City Council or someone else wants to take it to court.

Today, there is a discussion set for the City Council about the process for appointing port commissioners. Recall that the mayor had several conditions: He wanted a new process and he wanted the City Council’s District 4 seat to be filled first.

San Diego has three spots on the port commission and only one is filled. The mayor vetoed two appointees as one of his first major conflicts with City Council President Todd Gloria. Here’s my explanation of why it matters.

The memo provoked some responses on Twitter. Former Councilman Carl DeMaio wondered what effect it would have: “For the record, I do believe the mayor has veto here. But if he didn’t, then the Port should seat the 2 appointees, no?”

That would be the dilemma if the legislative counsel was right and someone tried to prove it.

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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