Council member Sherri Lightner leads the pledge of allegiance. Photo by Chris Jennewein

Newly elected San Diego City Councilman Chris Cate and three re-elected members were sworn in Wednesday in a special ceremonial meeting of the council in Golden Hall.

“I’m really excited to begin serving the neighborhoods and residents of District 6. I’m honored to be your council member” said Cate, who received a standing ovation. Also sworn in to new terms were David Alvarez, Myrtle Cole and Lorie Zapf.

Council member Sherri Lightner led the pledge of allegiance before a crowd of hundreds of government and civic leaders, and Mayor Kevin Faulconer thanked Ed Harris for his eight months of service representing District 2 following redistricting.

Harris called the service a “deeply rewarding” experience, and was given a standing ovation after brief remarks.

“Somebody wondered why a lifeguard would leave the beach and come down here for a short assignment,” said Harris. “I’ll return to the water, but I’ll still be a constituent of District 2.”

Cate, who was the vice president of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association, won the runoff election last month for District 6, which includes Mira Mesa, Miramar, Kearny Mesa and parts of Clairemont Mesa and Rancho Penasquitos. He is a former council staff member for Faulconer.

Sworn in for second terms were former mayoral candidate Alvarez, who represents Barrio Logan and South San Diego communities, and Zapf, who had represented District 6. She shifted over to District 2 — Point Loma, Mission Bay, Bay Park — for reelection because of a shift in City Council boundaries.

“I believe the role of government is to be a bridge, not a barrier, to our neighborhood businesses,” Zapf said in her remarks. “We need more certainty to provide our local businesses.”

Alvarez thanked his staff and voters and called for new investment in his district. “We need to do the basics better,” he said. “Throughout District 8…we must address the long-standing under-investment.”

He called for spending decisions to be based on data and need rather than politics, and said it was time to consider new sources of revenue. “In my second term I will advocate that we prioritize city spending decisions based on performance metrics and data,” he said.

Cole will begin her first full term on the panel, representing Southeast San Diego. She took office last year after a special election that followed the resignation of Tony Young.

Cole detailed improvements that have taken place in her district over the past year, from street repairs to business development. “We have accomplished a lot in a short amount of time,” she said. “We must continue to focus on restoring and rebuilding the infrastructure in the city…Let’s get to work.”

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.