Council grants ‘do-over’ to commission candidates

SOLANA BEACH — Acknowledging they did not follow proper procedure when appointing members to
the View Assessment Commission, City Council reconsidered and nullified their previous appointments and renamed volunteers to the citizen advisory committee at the Feb. 10 meeting.
There are seven members on the View Assessment Commission. Each council member is entitled to one appointment. The other two are nominated by the council at large. This year there were five applicants for four vacancies.
During the annual appointments at the Jan. 27 meeting, Mayor Tom Campbell and Councilman Joe Kellejian were each entitled to nominate one resident. The other two would be appointed by the council at large. All nominees must be approved by a majority vote.
Kellejian nominated Paul Bishop, an architect for 37 years, and Campbell recommended David Zito, who was currently serving on the commission. Campbell’s appointment passed, but Kellejian’s did not.
At that point, Kellejian should have been allowed to nominate another candidate. Instead, Lesa Heebner suggested a slate — Pat Coad and incumbents Zito, Reed Philips and John Scales — which ultimately passed with a 3-2 vote.
Councilman Dave Roberts, who opposed the slate, questioned the procedure and asked the city attorney to review the process. As a result, the matter was reconsidered at the Feb. 10 meeting.
While council members agreed a “flaw” occurred during the first vote, Roberts said he didn’t support revisiting the issue. “I think this could create another problem for us,” he said, adding that a new vote “could kick someone off who was appointed.”
“I’m not going to be the one that does that,” he said. “I am not going to fix a fault with another fault.”
Before the discussion began, Kellejian told his colleagues he “agonized” over what had happened. “It’s very emotional,” he said, noting that he was entitled to an appointment.
“You folks actually took that away from me,” he said. “I didn’t have anybody to vote for. The whole process is terrible.”
Kellejian said he believes Coad is qualified, but he felt Bishop was a strong candidate based on his application. Heebner said the commission is trying to develop a view assessment ordinance. She said Coad has been involved in the process, making her a valuable addition to the group.
Coad was eventually appointed, again, on a 4-0 vote, with Campbell recused because Coad and her husband are his clients. Bishop was appointed with a 3-2 vote, with Heebner and Mike Nichols dissenting. Zito, Campbell’s appointment, and Scales were reappointed 5-0. Philips was not.

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