City Council Republicans tend to stick together.

Conservative council members have registered the same votes on nearly every contentious issue that’s come before them since Mayor Bob Filner and council newcomers took office in December.

The only differing votes came this week when Councilwoman Lorie Zapf and Councilman Scott Sherman separately broke away from the unofficial Republican bloc.

A Voice of San Diego review of City Clerk’s Office records found those defections to be the exception.

The City Council has voted hundreds of times since new council members were sworn in late last year. Of those, the City Council was not unanimous on only 19 votes. Those include votes on an unsuccessful attempt to override a mayoral veto, a handful of controversial land use quandaries and appointments to outside boards.

Clerk’s Office records show City Council members Kevin Faulconer, Mark Kersey and Zapf voted the same way 17 of those times. Sherman was with them, though he recused himself in five of those votes.

Council Democrats sometimes united with their conservative counterparts. Council President Todd Gloria voted with the Republicans 13 times while Councilman David Alvarez joined them 11 times. By contrast, Council members Marti Emerald and Sherri Lightner voted with the four Republicans six and five times respectively.

The Republican bloc was less predictable this week.

Zapf broke with her colleagues Monday when she opposed postponing a decision on whether to allow an appeal of a city decision that a La Jolla project is exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act.

Zapf sighed and shook her head Monday, exasperated with how city delays have affected the property owner. She was the only council member to oppose putting off the vote until later this month. Sherman recused himself from that vote.

The next day, Sherman stepped away from the Republican bloc and was a no on a vote to impose a cap on campaign contributions from political parties.

Sherman criticized the timing of the limit, saying it was unfair to change the rules in the midst of City Council campaigns that are already underway. Zapf, who is one of those campaigning, recused herself.

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Lisa is a senior investigative reporter who digs into some of San Diego's biggest challenges including homelessness, city real estate debacles, the region's...

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