The Port of San Diego swore in its 2018 Board of Port Commissioners Executive Officers on Tuesday, January 9, 2018 during ceremonies held at the Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier and at the Port Administration Building.
Rafael Castellanos, one of three City of San Diego Commissioners, was sworn in as Chairman; and Garry J. Bonelli, who represents the City of Coronado, was sworn in as Vice Chair at the Port Pavilion. Ann Moore, who represents the City of Chula Vista, was sworn in as Secretary at the Port Administration Building.
During his inauguration speech at the Port Pavilion, Chairman Castellanos stated that his theme for 2018 is “Ocean Optimism.”
“The San Diego region is known for its innovation, but much of its success has been directed eastward, away from the ocean. The 21st century is also about looking west, at the swelling importance of the Blue Economy,” said Chairman Castellanos. “We must catch that wave, lifting up all boats on a rising tide of innovation, investment and optimism. If we’re successful, then just like the Santa Clara Valley came to be known as the Silicon Valley, perhaps one day the San Diego Bay will come to be known as the Blue Technology Bay,” Castellanos said.
Outgoing 2017 Chairman Robert “Dukie” Valderrama, who represents the City of National City on the Board, made a dramatic entrance to the event, wearing a Zoot Suit that in the 1940s became a symbol of defiance against racial discrimination.
“I’m wearing this Zoot Suit in honor of my dad who passed away before I ever became a Port Commissioner. The only regret I have in serving as a Port Commissioner is that my dad never got to witness any of my service,” Valderrama said. “The Zoot Suit also symbolizes my family’s values of Work, Family and Community. From the tuna canneries in San Diego to the slaughterhouse industry in National City, my father, mother, uncles, aunts, cousins and many others have supported their families with a good job on the waterfront.”
Valderrama was honored at the ceremony for his achievements during 2017. In his outgoing remarks, he mentioned the initiatives that made progress last year. He recapped his theme of “Port of San Diego: Win, Win, Win” for the entire San Diego region. Valderrama gave several examples of Port projects that produced, or will produce, a win to the Port, its five Port cities, its tenant businesses, and the public. High on the list was a project that will modernize the Port’s Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal, improving cargo operations, along with improvements that will lessen the terminal’s environmental impacts on the community. In 2017, the Board of Port Commissioners approved the first contract to proceed with the $24 million project.
Another key project mentioned by Valderrama was the Port Master Plan Update, which will set a blueprint for developing the bay for decades to come. In 2017, as Port staff wrote the plan, the Port invited the public to be part of the process, hosting 12 public Board meetings and events to seek input on draft policies in great detail.
The Chula Vista Bayfront was mentioned by Valderrama as another example of a win-win-win. This underutilized industrial landscape is gradually being transformed with business investment and community benefits, including new parks, trails and recreation, along with new places to shop, dine and enjoy the water. In 2017, in partnership with the City, the Port approved a resolution authorizing a letter of intent with RIDA Chula Vista, LLC which defined the terms of a future deal for the development of a resort hotel and convention center.
Chairman Castellanos was sworn in by his fiancé Angie Lake.
Vice Chairman Bonelli was sworn in by District Clerk Donna Morales.
Secretary Moore was sworn in by Outgoing District Clerk Tim Deuel.
Following the swearing in ceremony, Chairman Castellanos presided over the first Board meeting of 2018, held at the Port Administration Building.
The executive officers are elected by the Board and serve a one-year term.
There are seven Commissioners on the Board. In addition to the executive officers, the other Board members are Commissioner Dan Malcolm, representing Imperial Beach; and Marshall Merrifield and Michael Zucchet, both representing San Diego. Commissioners are appointed by the City Councils of their respective cities. They are appointed for four-year terms and may be reappointed for additional terms by their City Councils. The Board of Port Commissioners is responsible for setting the policies by which the Port of San Diego conducts its day-to-day operations, under the guidance of its President and CEO.