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Council appoints 18 to citizen commissions, three vacancies remain

SOLANA BEACH — From a field of 27 applicants, council members at the Jan. 27 meeting filled 18 of 21 vacancies on the city’s five citizen commissions.

Parks and Recreation had the same number of applicants as vacancies, with Linda Swindell the only incumbent reappointed. Sharon Gross and Mac Law were selected for the remaining positions, all of which are two-year terms.

Lynne Truong and John Lawson, whose terms expired, did not reapply

Current commissioners Paul Bishop, Gary Garber, Pat Coad and Molly Fleming were the only applicants for four vacancies on View Assessment, so all were reappointed for another two years.

Public Arts had five applicants for five spots but Law and Gross had previously been named to Parks and Recreation.

So Sharon Klein, Nancy Pfeiffer and incumbent Harry Grossman were appointed to serve until January 2018, leaving two positions still available.

The committee had an existing vacancy, and Michael Swanson and Nicolle Selby-Thomas chose not to reapply.

The Climate Action Commission, which was formed at the meeting, had the most applicants.

Thirteen residents and four environmental or energy professionals were vying for seven available positions.

Because it is a new group the terms were staggered.

Steven Goetsch and David Kramer were appointed to one-year terms. Judy Hegenauer, Mary Yang and Shawna McGarry were selected to serve for two years.

Chester Koblinsky and Nicole Capretz were chosen as the nonresident professionals with terms that expire in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

Most positions are filled by the council at-large. However, each council member selects one of the five Budget and Finance members.

This year the terms of Mike Nichols’ and Ginger Marshall’s appointees were expiring.

Nichols wasn’t at the meeting but he sent an email nominating incumbent Jeff Anderman, who was one of three who applied for two vacant positions.

Current member Craig Nelson also reapplied but Marshall nominated Judith Hamilton. With Nichols absent the motion to appoint her ended in a 2-2 vote so it failed.

“I have been supportive of Mr. Nelson because he’s been on the commission for a very long time,” said Councilwoman Lesa Heebner, who voted against Marshall’s nomination. “He’s qualified as a banker, and he’s been a great contributor.

“I read his application and felt it was thorough,” she added. “I don’t see Miss Hamilton here to speak for herself. Perhaps if she wanted to at another time I might be able to vote for her.”

Reading from Hamilton’s application, Marshall said the 39-year resident holds two accounting degrees, has been a certified public accountant for 38 years and is a registered investment advisor.

“She is very committed to this community and that’s why I’m nominating her,” Marshall said.

“I have nothing against Miss Hamilton, but Mr. Nelson has given the city, I think, some excellent advice over several years so that’s the reason for my vote,” said Councilman Peter Zahn, who also didn’t support the motion.

“With the way I voted it was not any knock on Mr. Nelson whatsoever,” Mayor Dave Zito said. “I fully appreciate the contributions he’s made over the years. I think he’s an excellent member of the Budget and Finance Committee.

“However, the appointment does go to council member Marshall,” he added. “And reading the resume for Miss Hamilton, it seems like it was certainly a job that she could contribute to.”

It’s not the first time Marshall’s colleagues failed to support her commission nomination.

When Rebecca Lawson stepped down from View Assessment late last year before her term expired, Marshall nominated Gary Garber, one of two applicants.

That vote also ended in a tie, with Nichols abstaining. Garber addressed council at a subsequent meeting and was appointed to the commission to fulfill Lawson’s term, which expired this year.

He was reappointed 4-0, with Nichols absent, with no discussion.

Council will attempt to fill the vacancies on Budget and Finance and Public Arts at a future meeting.