Port Commissioner Bob Nelson Announces Resignation After Six Years of Service
Port Commissioner Bob Nelson has resigned from office, effective at the close of the Board of Port Commissioners meeting of May 16, 2017, in order to pursue funding for a key public project for the San Diego region, the proposed San Diego Convention Center Expansion.
Nelson was sworn in to represent the City of San Diego on the seven-member Board of Port Commissioners in January 2011. The Board includes representatives of San Diego, Chula Vista, Coronado, Imperial Beach and National City.
“Working to improve the San Diego Bay and the surrounding communities has been my passion,” Nelson said. Nelson said that his tenure as Port Commissioner, which included the 2014 Chairmanship, has been focused on two main goals: build a stronger economy through more trade and development; and create stronger protections for our water, air and quality of life.
The other two Board members representing the City of San Diego on the Board are Vice Chairman Rafael Castellanos and Commissioner Marshall Merrifield.
Port Chairman Robert “Dukie” Valderrama said that Commissioner Nelson has been a strong ally for the communities surrounding the Port. “I have been honored to work with Commissioner Nelson and benefit from his passion for public service, his deep appreciation for the people and businesses of the Port, and his reverence for the Port’s stewardship of the waterfront on behalf of the People of California,” Valderrama said. “In our years as colleagues, I know I could count on him to support high-quality development coupled with environmental sensitivity and community benefit. He will be greatly missed on our Board.”
"Commissioner Nelson's dedication to the greater good of the San Diego region and the State of California is unquestioned. His experience and intellect have made him a highly effective member of the Board of Port Commissioners,” said Vice Chairman Rafael Castellanos. “He has served as a mentor and friend to me since I joined the Board and I wish him the best in his next chapter."
"The Board of Port Commissioners is losing a fine team member who has demonstrated leadership and commitment to the State of California, the San Diego region and the many communities we serve,” said Commissioner Marshall Merrifield. “Commissioner Nelson has brought a unique and valuable perspective to our work as a steward of our dynamic waterfront. I will miss working with him on all the great projects ahead of us, but I know he will continue to contribute to the region through public service in his next venture."
Nelson announced that he is leaving 19 months before the end of his term because of the opportunity to expand the San Diego Convention Center. “Before becoming a Port Commissioner I spent nearly five years as a member of the Convention Center Board, working for a contiguous expansion to create more jobs for San Diegans, to pay for more neighborhood services throughout the City, and to generate new revenue to improve the Port,” he said.
As the Vice Chairman of the Port of San Diego in 2013, Nelson led outreach and community engagement on a team effort that garnered broad support for the proposed expansion of the Convention Center. The effort resulted in the California Coastal Commission’s approval of the Port’s application for a Port Master Plan Amendment to allow for the expansion.
Nelson continued: “The Convention Center expansion will face its final challenge when we go to the polls later this year. After 11 years working toward this milestone I cannot now remain on the sidelines. At the same time, I do not believe the public trust would be served were I to campaign in the community for a ‘yes’ vote by night, and then make land-use and financial decisions about the related Port property by day,” said Nelson, who is a partner of a San Diego-based advertising and public relations firm.
“Conflict of interest rules that rightfully govern me also constrain my business partners from participating in many of the public affairs challenges facing San Diego, including future decisions affecting the fate of the Convention Center. Stepping down from the Port board enables me to pursue my passion as a private citizen and lets my associates provide professional services uncomplicated by my role as a Port Commissioner.”
Nelson thanked City of San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, former San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, former Interim Mayor Todd Gloria and the San Diego City Council for entrusting him with the office.
Nelson paid tribute to his colleagues on the Board of Port Commissioners, along with the San Diego Port Tenants Association and other Port businesses, and stakeholders in the military, labor, environmental, research, energy, and economic development communities.
Nelson also recognized the work of Chief Executive Officer Randa Coniglio, who was appointed by the Board in 2015; interim CEO John Bolduc, who is the Port’s Vice President of Public Safety and Harbor Police Chief; General Counsel Tom Russell and Port Auditor Bob Monson.