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The Port of San Diego swore in its 2019 Board of Port Commissioners Executive Officers on Wednesday, January 16, 2019 during ceremonies held at Coasterra restaurant on Harbor Island.
Garry Bonelli, who represents the City of Coronado, was sworn in as Chairman; Ann Moore, who represents the City of Chula Vista, was sworn in as Vice Chair; and Michael Zucchet, one of three City of San Diego representatives, was sworn in as Secretary.
During his inauguration speech, Chairman Bonelli stated his theme for 2019, “Renaissance on the Bay.”
“In old French, the word ‘renaissance’ means ‘rebirth.’ Nothing better describes the Port of San Diego and its waters, which churn and change ceaselessly, never quite the same from moment to moment. Each of us can look at San Diego Bay and see something different, which is as it should be,” Bonelli said.
Chairman Bonelli laid out four priorities for a new, better San Diego Bay in 2019 – clean water, the Port Master Plan Update (PMPU), the Chula Vista Bayfront project, and the Coronado Ferry Landing – and noted the progress the Port has already made. Bonelli reported that San Diego Bay is cleaner today than it has been in decades and will become cleaner still due to various Port programs and campaigns, as well as partnerships with many private organizations and public agencies. For the PMPU, public and stakeholder outreach continues in 2019 as Port staff prepares draft policies that are already becoming visible with greater innovation and sustainable development. Launched in 2013 by Commissioner Ann Moore, the bay-wide planning effort, is often referred to as the “future of the Port” and will set a blueprint for developing the bay for decades to come. Public review of the draft PMPU and Environmental Impact Report is anticipated for 2019. On the Chula Vista Bayfront, Bonelli shared that the next year promises highly visible progress: construction is anticipated to start on a new RV resort and a bike and pedestrian path; design will be finalized for two new parks; and work is on track to begin at the site of the resort hotel and convention center project. For the Coronado Ferry Landing, Bonelli would like the Port to consider partnering with the City of Coronado and Port leaseholders to re-imagine the retail and restaurant development to offer residents and visitors an even more special experience.
Outgoing 2018 Chairman Rafael Castellanos, one of the three City of San Diego representatives on the Board, recapped his 2018 theme of “Ocean Optimism” to highlight the importance of the water to the Port’s social, economic and environmental future. He noted that the Port welcomed two new major cargo business customers and that the Port celebrated its strongest cruise season in seven years. Castellanos also affirmed the Port’s commitment to the Blue Economy and furthering new water-dependent business ventures.
“My theme of “Ocean Optimism” reflects my belief that water-dependent businesses are a key economic driver. I see their potential to create good jobs and employ local workers in this emerging industry,” said Castellanos. “And, some of these businesses will have a profound impact on our quality of life.”
Two examples of Blue Economy businesses the Port is partnering with on pilot projects are Zephyr Debris Removal and Sunken Seaweed. Zephyr removed 30,000 pounds of trash and debris from San Diego Bay in 2018 utilizing a custom vessel that can access rough or shallow areas that are difficult for other vessels to reach. Sunken Seaweed is a startup that is growing and harvesting seaweed off Grape Street Pier to be sold on the commercial market.
Chairman Bonelli was sworn in by his sons, Jeff and Jake Bonelli. Vice Chair Ann Moore was sworn in by her husband, Curtis Moore. Secretary Zucchet was sworn in by District Clerk Donna Morales. The executive officers are elected by the Board and serve a one-year term.
Following the swearing-in ceremony, Chairman Bonelli presided over the first Board meeting of 2019, held at the Port Administration Building.
There are seven Commissioners on the Board. In addition to the executive officers and the outgoing Chairman, the other Board members are Commissioner Dan Malcolm, representing Imperial Beach; Robert “Dukie” Valderrama, representing National City; and Marshall Merrifield 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.
ABOUT THE PORT OF SAN DIEGO
The Port of San Diego serves the people of California as a specially created district, balancing multiple uses on 34 miles along San Diego Bay spanning five cities. Collecting no tax dollars, the Port manages a diverse portfolio to generate revenues that support vital public services and amenities.
The Port champions Maritime, Waterfront Development, Public Safety, Experiences and Environment, all focused on enriching the relationship people and businesses have with our dynamic waterfront. From cargo and cruise terminals to hotels and restaurants, from marinas to museums, from 22 public parks to countless events, the Port contributes to the region’s prosperity and remarkable way of life on a daily basis.