City Council Politics May Cost Scott Sherman His Smart Growth Post

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San Diego City Councilman Scott Sherman. Photo by Chris Stone

The City Council is poised to strip Scott Sherman of his chairmanship of the panel’s Smart Growth and Land Use Committee next week, while Barbara Bry is being nominated to supplant Mark Kersey as the council’s second-in-command, according to documents made available Friday.

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The moves stem from the reappointment of Myrtle Cole as City Council president on Monday with the strong backing of organized labor representatives.

Sherman is fiercely opposed by labor union leaders, who have called for more Democrats in leadership roles on the council. The demand was difficult to meet one year ago since three Democratic members were brand new to office.

Sherman’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. At Monday’s meeting he contended that Cole had issued a memo in which she said she planned to maintain the committee leadership as it was.

The City Council is technically nonpartisan and while its members are in general agreement on the vast majority of issues, partisanship does raise its head from time to time. Democrats hold a 5-4 majority on the council.

Democrat Georgette Gomez, who just completed her first year on the council, was nominated by Cole to become the new chair of the Smart Growth committee, which oversees affordable housing and related issues.

While the Republican Kersey would be replaced as council president pro tem, he would remain head of the Infrastructure Committee, a post he has held since joining the council five years ago. City officials have made significant progress in getting their arms around the city’s substantial needs in capital projects and maintenance since Kersey has been in the role.

Like Gomez, the Democrat Bry also just completed her first year on the council and earned plaudits for her leadership of the Budget Committee, which she would continue to chair.

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Cole also proposed that Democrat David Alvarez continue to chair the Environment Committee, sophomore Democrat Chris Ward take over as chairman of the Economic Development and Intergovernmental Relations Committee and remain chairman of the Select Committee on Homelessness; that Republican Chris Cate continue to lead the Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee, and Republican Lorie Zapf take over the Audit Committee.

Cole would continue to head up the Rules Committee.

The nominations, expected to be approved given the Democratic majority, are set to go before the City Council on Wednesday.

—City News Service

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