Steve Cushman served three terms as a commissioner at the Port of San Diego. He's now vying to return and fill a vacant seat left by Bob Nelson. Screenshot of a November 2015 inewsource interview with Cushman.

The departure of public relations executive Bob Nelson from the Port of San Diego’s board has sparked a rush to fill the spot at the powerful government agency.

At least nine people are lobbying San Diego city councilmembers for the job that is unpaid but exerts control over the waterfront of five San Diego County cities. Nelson was one of three commissioners representing San Diego. He departed last week, citing conflicts of interest with his new business and with his intent to lobby in favor of an expansion of the downtown San Diego convention center.

Prominent among the list of contenders is Steve Cushman, a former car and travel salesman, philanthropist and mayoral advisor who served three terms on the port board from 1999 to 2010. He currently sits on the San Diego Convention Center board of directors. That board manages the center, which was built on port-owned land.

Cushman steered the port with a strong arm during the development of the North Embarcadero Visionary Plan, which was supposed to open up downtown’s waterfront to the public. Today, the plan’s promised parks and open space have been replaced with a cruise ship terminal, hotels and parking lots. inewsource spoke with Cushman last year for “The Port, the lawyer and the salesman” — an investigation into the public and behind-the-scenes maneuvers that shaped the development.

North Embarcadero Visionary Plan
Click here to read inewsource‘s “The port, the lawyer and the salesman,” which detailed the powers that shaped the North Embarcadero Visionary Plan. Photo by Brad Racino, inewsource.

According to a spokesman for councilman Scott Sherman, Cushman has offered to serve the remainder of Nelson’s term, 18 months, instead of a four-year appointment. He also offered to relinquish his board seat at the San Diego Convention Center. Cushman did not respond to inewsource’s request for an interview nor did he verify those statements.

Another former port commissioner, who served with Cushman and was at odds with his forceful tactics, is also seeking the position. Laurie Black* lost a bid for the port seat against Cushman in 2007, but was appointed a few months later after a commissioner resigned. She served for nearly two years before stepping down for personal reasons.

The remaining seven candidates have a variety of occupations and include former elected officials.

The port board has seven members that represent five bayfront cities — three from San Diego and one each from Coronado, Imperial Beach, National City and Chula Vista. Each serves a four-year term and is appointed by their city council after a nomination process. The position affords worldwide travel and influence over billions of dollars of development and the future of San Diego’s maritime industries.

Many of the candidates share expertise in real estate, development, politics and lobbying. inewsource compiled the list by asking each city council office who has contacted them for a nomination. All offices responded except for councilmember Lorie Zapf and Mayor Kevin Faulconer, so the list below may not be exhaustive.

inewsource sent emails to each of the candidates asking three questions: What are the biggest issues facing the port, how would you balance public access with future development, and what conflicts of interest do you have? Each verbatim response is below.

The San Diego City Council is expected to discuss the commissioner appointment on June 13.

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Paola Avila | Laurie Black | Steve Cushman | Susan Guinn | Donna Jones | Adrian Kwiatkowski | Joe Lacava | Cynthia Morgan-Reed | Mike Zucchet
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Steve Cushman speaks at the groundbreaking of the Broadway Pavilion in 2009.
Steve Cushman speaks at the groundbreaking of the Broadway Pavilion in 2009.

Steve Cushman

Convent Center board member, philanthropist, former three-term port commissioner, advisor to several San Diego mayors.

Cushman did not respond toinewsource’s questions.

Laurie Black
Photo credit:

Laurie Black

Past president of the Downtown San Diego Partnership, former port commissioner, political strategist and civic activist.

What are the three biggest issues facing the port and how will your expertise help find solutions?

“You don’t have to be sick to get better” is one of my favorite sayings, and this is how I would like to begin to delve into the 3 biggest issues facing the Port of San Diego. First up is continuing implementation of the climate action plan compliance for maritime, large hotels and all current and future infrastructure projects. In December of 2013 the Port of San Diego was one of the first ports in the country to adopt a sustainability guide to reduce greenhouse gas (GHS) on all tidelands properties in the five cities: San Diego, Coronado, National City, Imperial Beach and Chula Vista. This was passed almost 6 years after the Port of San Diego was one of the first ports in the country to adopt a Green Port policy in 2008. The Green Port originally was a way that we could educate as well as highlight to all port tenants, employees, and businesses the importance of environmental stewardship. It was an honor to be a part of the team that pushed for real green policies, with teeth, the Green Port.

In the original Green Port program we sought ways to reduce the environmental impact of port operations, especially throughout the fleet. We also sought to implement alternative energy technology that eventually was incorporated into the Broadway Pier Cruise Ship Terminal. Furthermore, we approached San Diego Gas and Electric and other institutions and received grants of almost $5 million to provide shore power infrastructure for cargo ships as well as cruise ships. I was fortunate to work with Commissioner Spane and Peters along with many stakeholders including port tenants and the Environmental Health Coalition to establish the original goals of the Green Port policies.

Today and moving into the future it will be critical for the Port of San Diego to continue to take a lead role for administrating the environmental stewardship of San Diego Bayfront as well as the bayfronts of the other port cities, including their effective collaboration with varied stakeholders. Indeed it has been this collaboration that has been one of the keys to success for Green Port and sustainability going into the future.

My experience on the Regional Water Quality Control Board from 1998-2004 was critical to enabling me to identify the climate crisis issues (implementing AB32) at the Port and comprehend critical issues and problems with port tenants trying to implement Green Port into their own narrative and eventually into their businesses and business plans. At the time I sat on the Environmental Committee of the Port I was the lead on establishing the Green Port – if I am appointed to the Port, I look forward to continuing my passion for all things green. The good news is that there is no “illness” at the port in terms of their priorities to establish and embrace climate issues. Today it is a matter of going the next step and continuing their good work to incorporate all possible “green” measures into daily life along tidelands properties and water. The Port needs to continue to integrate their green culture into all projects, which would include:

-Alternative energy generation
-Energy conservation and efficiency
-Transportation and land use
-More work on the Clean Truck policies on port terminals
-Shore Power for cruise ships can reduce diesel emissions.

It is important for all of us to recognize that the Port of San Diego has taken the regional lead in environmental stewardship and were recognized for their good works with an award at the Climate Leadership Conference in 2013. There has been a huge culture change in the last decade and the collaborative efforts made by many will continue to help far into the future. It would be an honor to continue to participate with new and better strategies along with the successes already implemented at the port.

The next important issue for the Port of San Diego is to continue with responsible and inclusive development for San Diego Waterfront and Chula Vista waterfront. The good news is that our San Diego port has a Port Master Plan, a guide if you will, to ensure that all development, projects, infrastructure, piers etc. are consistent with the California Coastal Act. All tidelands are under jurisdiction of the State of California, Ports in the state of California are the “stewards” of the tidelands properties and administrate all actions, but the state ultimately has the final say in what is built, eliminated, approved etc. The Chula Vista Bayfront was a project that I was intimately involved with and it is a very complicated land agreement with public and private sectors. I recall supporting a land exchange agreement with Pacifica sometime in 2010 and eventually the State Lands Commission gave its approval for this large project. This is a very exciting project for the Chula Vista waterfront and there are many public benefits that all stakeholders recognized in the public outreach and approval processes. The port and Chula Vista have formed a JPA (joint powers authority) to manage varied issues of authority, possible financing opportunities and investment funding for the convention center portion of the project. One of the best parts of this particular infrastructure project is the preservation of the National Wildlife Refuge ensuring protection of residential development in the area. Thus a land exchange was approved and while I was unsure it would work, so far so good. It has been fun for me to watch this particularly large infrastructure move forward after more than a decade and the public benefits of improvements to roadways, LEED certified public buildings, restaurants, cafe’s, and some replacement of industrial land to make way for mixed use projects, live work condos, offices, and public open space with walkways and pathways along the waterfront.

The San Diego Convention Center expansion is another possible large infrastructure project moving forward, at a snails pace; nevertheless, it is one of the critical infrastructure discussions at the port right now. And like the Chula Vista Bayfront, the San Diego Convention Center will require the guidance and leadership necessary to move a project like this forward. With so many diverse interests it will take a commissioner with resourcefulness, vision and creativity to help it with it’s future.

The third critical issue which intersects with the other two issues is increasing maritime revenues with includes planning for cruise operations. Inherent in all of this is responsible infrastructure improvements that include smart city technology. It is common knowledge that the Port of San Diego will never be a mega-port like Los Angeles or San Francisco. Indeed, the future of our port as it relates to maritime is importing and exporting specialty goods like fruit and windmills, which require different kinds of cargo infrastructure in compared to other California Ports. They move thousands of containers annually. Nevertheless, maritime trade is extremely important to our region’s future economy. The value of our maritime port tenants cannot be underestimated.

I had the opportunity to travel to Korea, China and Japan when I was on the Commission and WOW; it changed how I understood the diverse portfolio of the port, specifically cargo business. Furthermore, the kind of good paying careers associated with maritime trade make it vitally important to protect and continue to invest in this critical resource for San Diego. However, in order to keep these jobs and still stay within the goals of sustainability, close collaboration with the tenants and the cities is so important. The Ports maritime terminals help create new middle class jobs needed to invigorate our economy, and the terminals are where there are greatest opportunities to continue to move our economy forward. I saw first hand our international trade and was excited to learn that one of my meetings in Japan helped bring in a big shipping line back in 2012. While there is a Maritime Business Plan Update, keeping this on top of the priority list is certainly one of the biggest issues here in the region. SANDAG helps with funding to improve access to the two terminals but we have to make sure that National City and the City of San Diego keep up their end of the bargain – working together with staff at the Port and the development services of National City and San Diego so that general plans and zoning regulations to not create problems with land uses along the terminals, both ingress and egress routes. Continuous collaboration with all municipalities is what I have always advocated and will continue to do so, because it works!

While President of the Downtown Partnership 1997 – 2001 I started working with some of the neighborhoods that bordered downtown including Barrio Logan. It was clear this neighborhood needed help, especially for the children who have such high rates of asthma. Then I was able to connect this issue while sitting on the Regional Water Quality Board, and I learned even more about the conflicting issues of co-location. This issue is still a problem for the neighborhood and yet, with leaders like Mark Steele and Diane Takvorian of the Environmental Health Coalition I have great hope in eventually managing the tenants sustainability regulations with the needs of the people. Inherent in all of this is responsible infrastructure improvements that include smart city technology.

You have been a big proponent of maintaining open space and access at the port but you also voted in favor of constructing the $28 million cruise ship terminal on Broadway Pier — which according to the North Embarcadero Visionary Plan was supposed to be open parkland. If you’re appointed, how will you balance the port’s mandate of maintaining public access with future development?

In 1996 I was thrilled when it was announced that there was a new Joint Powers Authority being formed called the North Embarcadero Visionary Plan. Within a year I became the President of the Downtown San Diego Partnership and this project was one of three that I worked on tirelessly. In 1998 we sponsored a large planning charrette with the Port, County, CCDC, and the city of San Diego specifically to meet with the architect Owen Lang and ferret out various issues. One of the big ones was keeping Broadway Pier open and creating an oval green space at the end of Broadway. Still, always keeping the pier open.

By 2002 I started working with the Port and the JPA on how to manage the transit of the North Embarcadero Plan as well as creating pathways, walkways, green spaces etc. We were looking at the possibility of an intermodal project from the airport, through the North and South Embarcadero up Park Blvd and then down Laurel Street back to the tidelands properties. It was stalled and never went anywhere. In the meantime, more and more cruise ships started coming into San Diego and it became clear something had to be done on days when 2 or 3 ships were in the harbor. There was no place for 3 ships 10 years ago.

In 2007 I was appointed to the Port of San Diego and I was thrilled because I could finally have a say in regulating the dreams of the Visionary Plan, including Broadway Pier. At the second meeting of my tenure, August 2007, there was a “project” on the docket to build a manufactured glass “hut” onto Broadway Pier, an ugly “hut” that clearly was permanent, albeit some said it was not permanent. I met with staff and let them know that I would not support their efforts to put a building on Broadway Pier. It was a 6 – 1 vote, I voted NO! Within 24 hours Mayor Jerry Sanders called in Chairwomen Sylvia Rios, Commissioner Cushman and myself, along with Nancy Graham of CCDC and staff from all agencies. It was a full tension filled meeting. At the end it was decided that the Port staff along with CCDC staff would manage stakeholder outreach meetings with CCDC to come up with alternatives to the “hut” on Broadway Pier in order to mitigate the many ships coming into San Diego at that time. (I volunteered to be the lead Commissioner and attended every single meeting) Mark Johnson of Civitas was the lead planner and architect for those stakeholder meetings and within 7 – 9 months there was some agreement of a LEED certified building with pedestrian walkways and public art that intersected with new plans for the Visionary Plan. Yes, I eventually voted yes for Broadway Pier because at the time there was no way B Street Pier was headed for any kind of renovation (even though the late Councilmember Bill Cleator begged for a new B Street Pier in 1985). While there are some in my community that were angry that I seemed to sell out, I am proud that I was a lonely 1 vote and helped managed a very public process with the City and CCDC along with staff to come up with a solution that turned out to be a 7 – 0 vote. And, Broadway Pier has turned out to be a moneymaker for the Port and not an ugly hut on the doorstep of the City. It’s a place people gather, get married, raise money for non-profits or just go out to the waters edge and ponder.

Bob Nelson stepped down due to potential conflicts of interest. What past or present business dealings do you feel could present a conflict during your term?


Donna Jones
Photo credit:

Donna Jones

Lawyer with experience in land use and entitlements, including environmental law, municipal law, project development and lobbying.

What are the three biggest issues facing the port and how will your expertise help find solutions?

The first issue on which I could help would be the Port’s multi-year Port Master Plan Update. I have been through the Port Master Plan Amendment process with the Port and the Coastal Commission, and have learned first-hand what the Port Master Plan is required to contain and where the current plan most needs revision. In addition, I have worked on dozens of community plan updates and general plan amendments during my 25 years as an environmental and land use attorney, and that experience will be invaluable in helping the Port finalize a Port Master Plan Update that will best balance the needs of development with the need to ensure that the Port’s natural resources are protected and enhanced in a way that conforms with the public’s vision for its waterfront. Besides my direct experience with community, general, specific and port master plans, I also served on Implementing Committee for the Downtown Community Plan in 2006-2007, helping to review the progress of the Downtown Community Plan’s implementation, seeing what was working and what was not. This continued with my service on the board of CCDC and Civic San Diego. This experience and familiarity with the Downtown Community Plan is relevant not only because that plan is what governs the land adjacent to the Port, but also because the Downtown Community Plan is a model to learn from in creating a plan that provides flexibility while also streamlining the development process, in part by clarifying the vision for the community (or Port’s) development upfront.

A second issue facing the Port is how to best achieve public access to the waterfront, finding a multi-modal solution that takes car-sharing, free rides, shuttles, bike paths, pedestrian walkways and, of course, parking that is adequate but does not unnecessarily pave area that could be better used as park or green space or even for visitor-serving or other development. I have worked for many years on traffic and transportation issues as part of my client’s various projects. In addition, I helped work on the planning for the Bayfront Shuttle at the Port, and served on a number of committees that evaluated various downtown transportation options, ultimately resulting in The Free Ride (“FRED”) downtown. We must look broadly at our transportation/circulation system and multiple modes of transportation to ensure we have a system that provides the public with access to the Bay while maintaining the best uses of our waterfront.

A third issue facing the Port how to best reach all segments of the public in seeking input into planning and other decisions, so that it is not only those most opposed or supportive of a project or issue that have their views heard but the broader community as well. And, it also is important that the communications are done in a way that the public understands the financial requirements to build and sustain the public realm. My years of working on development projects that require community input and consensus, as well as my service on other boards and commissions that seek similar public input, and my exposure to innovations in outreach and communications as well as user experience design through my connections with TED and TEDxSan Diego have given me a particular interest in finding new ways of reaching out and in receiving public input in a way that not only will allow more voices to be heard. Moreover, if done properly it would be my hope that the process can be completed more quickly as well, so projects do no languish for years.

Not being able to limit myself to three, I am also excited about helping expand the blue tech economy in a way that also supports vocational training for maritime skills and expertise in community colleges and creates shared lab space and equipment for the businesses in the blue economy space that could not only save them money and make their businesses even more viable but also help create connections and networks that weave them more deeply into the San Diego fabric as well.

You list Lane Field as a project you’ve helped get approved. That development was a major blow to proponents of the North Embarcadero Visionary Plan who felt it should have been public land. If you’re appointed, how will you balance the port’s mandate of maintaining public access with future development?

If appointed I absolutely would balance the Port’s mandate of maintaining public access to the waterfront with future development; that, in fact, would be my primary goal. Your question I believe wrongly characterizes the Lane Field project, which is consistent with the North Embarcadero Visionary Plan and which ultimately had broad-based support and is, I believe, an example of balancing the needs to provide visitor-serving amenities and development with the need for public space. As mentioned above, public access is essential to the Port’s mission and something I take very seriously. My goal would be to help the Port achieve its potential to create a world-class waterfront that can be a place in which not only visitors come to enjoy our beautiful city but a gathering place for San Diegans as well.

Bob Nelson stepped down due to potential conflicts of interest. What past or present business dealings do you feel could present a conflict during your term?

Just as was the case when I have served on other boards or commissions, I would as a matter of course follow the rules on conflicts of interest and take whatever steps were necessary to ensure that my personal and private financial considerations would not enter into any decisions I would make at the Port.

Joe Lacava
Photo credit:

Joe LaCava

Civil engineer, development manager, community advocate, and public policy practitioner.

What are the three biggest issues facing the port and how will your expertise help find solutions?

My focus will be (1) Quality Jobs, (2) Environmental Justice, and (3) Public Access. Those three areas have been at the heart of my community service reinforced by my expertise in land use and public policy. The underpinning of those three issues is resiliency of the Port to sea-level rise. In addition I will bring to bear my expertise in land use and real estate as the Port considers the largest wave of development projects in its history—including, the Chula Vista Bayfront, Seaport Village, and Harbor Island Redevelopment—while concurrently working on the Port’s master plan update.

How do you view the port mandate of maintaining public access while striving to make a profit off port tenants and development?

Both are critical and we must not treat them as mutually exclusive. Access to the bay front and the bay is of prime importance to the public and an element of both the Port District Act and City Council Policy 700-20. While the working waterfront is critical to industry and access is important to tourism, recent implementations of “maintaining public access” have been disappointing at times. Furthermore, the Port must comply with the Coastal Commission’s interpretation that public access includes affordable accommodations.

Bob Nelson stepped down due to potential conflicts of interest. You’ve had business in the past with several port clients, including Lennar and Pacifica. What past or present business dealings do you feel could present a conflict during your term?

The integrity of the commissioners and the process is of utmost importance; furthermore, commissioners must be available to vote on critical matters and maintain a quorum. Even in cases where I have not had business dealings for 20 years (Pacifica) or even 10 years (Lennar) I would seek legal counsel for guidance and err on the side of caution. At this time, I have no current business dealings that would present a conflict. I am well-versed on this issue based on my service on numerous city-recognized boards and filing of disclosure statements over the years.

Mike Zucchet
Photo credit: San Diego Union-Tribune video screenshot.

Mike Zucchet

General Manager, San Diego Municipal Employees Association, former city councilman, former Deputy Mayor of San Diego.

What are the three biggest issues facing the port and how will your expertise help find solutions?

Issues include completing the Port Master Plan update; resolving issues related to the potential Convention Center expansion; implementation of the North Embarcadero Visionary Plan; meeting the goals of the Port’s Climate Action Plan; and various parking, mobility, walkability, liveability and public access issues. When I represented District 2 on the City Council, Port issues were among the most interesting and challenging. For instance, re-starting stalled progress on the North Embarcadero redevelopment (via creation of a JPA) was a big accomplishment at the time given the political stalemate in place before I got elected, and that JPA set the stage for the funding and construction of the initial phase. In terms of approach, I think I have a pretty good track record of being able to work with everyone and maybe even bridge some divides every once in a while. So along with the experience I think that is an important quality.

How do you view the port mandate of maintaining public access while striving to make a profit off port tenants and development?

It is a balance obviously, but public access and growing revenues are not mutually exclusive. And both are very important.

Bob Nelson stepped down due to potential conflicts of interest. What past or present business dealings do you feel could present a conflict during your term?

I don’t have any foreseeable conflicts. The San Diego Municipal Employees Association only represents City of San Diego workers, and we are an independent union.

Paola Avila
Photo credit: Wilson Center.

Paola Avila

Vice President of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, Civic San Diego board member, experienced in public policy, community outreach, and government relations.

What are the three biggest issues facing the port and how will your expertise help find solutions?

Maintaining a thriving port district and building reserves considering a potential downturn in the economy in the near future.

Securing state and federal funding for Port improvements and supporting infrastructure. As an example, more than $400 million in Harbor Maintenance Taxes are collected annually from California’s ports and deposited in the Harbor Maintenance Trust (federal). Less than 25% of which is returned to California for reinvestment in the System.

Executing a Port Master Plan Update with an eye towards the future of the blue economy while protecting the environment, generating jobs and ensuring public access of coastline.

I have 20 years of experience in public policy, community outreach and government affairs working both in the public and private sectors which provides me with a broad perspective and deep understanding of the Port issues and stakeholders.

How do you view the port mandate of maintaining public access while striving to make a profit off port tenants and development?

The two goals are not mutually exclusive, but rather, the success of one depends on the success of the other. A profitable Port District is achieved through the development of a bayfront accessible to all. Businesses thrive by attracting a diverse and plentiful consumer market and increased public access.

Bob Nelson stepped down due to potential conflicts of interest. What past or present business dealings do you feel could present a conflict during your term?

I don’t foresee any conflicts, should a conflict arise, I would recuse myself.

Additional statement:

Our coastline is a tremendous economic engine and quality of life asset in our region. As a life-long San Diegan, protecting and enhancing our Port is in my heart. I am excited to be considered for this appointment and have the opportunity to bring my expertise, my love for San Diego its people to this position.

Cynthia Morgan-Reed
Photo credit:

Cynthia Morgan-Reed

Lawyer with experience in land use, lobbying, permitting, California Environmental Quality Act.

What are the three biggest issues facing the port and how will your expertise help find solutions?

We are at a critical moment in the redevelopment of San Diego’s waterfront. To ensure the Port obtains the best deals on its leasehold land, the Port must strategically negotiate the leases it enters into for the myriad real estate redevelopment projects that are in the current waterfront pipeline. It’s crucial that these leases benefit both the Port and the public. I’ve built my career as a lawyer in the areas of land use and real estate. My experience representing developers means I know how to analyze and ensure real estate agreements like leases benefits all parties, provides public benefits, and preserves public assets. While on Civic San Diego, the City of San Diego’s downtown economic development agency, I scrutinized development projects to ensure that public amenities were provided whenever possible and advocated for green buildings that would improve the environment. I believe this experience will be invaluable to me should I be appointed to serve the Port.

It is also very important that the Port and the City of San Diego enjoy a strong working partnership – particularly as it pertains to the San Diego Convention Center, where the Port and the City must work together as landlord and tenant to run and maintain a public asset that is of vital importance to our local economy. As former Chair of Civic San Diego, I understand the importance of a vibrant City that benefits and encourages tourism and economic growth throughout the region. The City and Port must work together to maximize job growth and tourism to provide regional benefits to our economy and ensure long-term fiscal stability.

To that end, economic stability should continue to be an overarching goal and guiding principle for the Port. During my tenure as a member of the Joint Powers Authority between the Port, Civic San Diego, and the City, I worked to redevelop assets like Phase I of the North Embarcadero. I have seen firsthand the impact the Port can have in providing better public access to the waterfront. The Port must plan and allocate appropriately to ensure monies are available to develop North Embarcadero Phase II. The Port must also be prepared to not only benefit from a strong economy but weather economic downturns by leveraging its public agency power to guard against liabilities.

You’ve represented hotel and real estate developers in your practice. If you’re appointed, how will you balance the port’s mandate of maintaining public access with future development?

The Coastal Commission mandates the requirement of public access for any development within the purview of the Port, and that’s reflected in the Port’s Master Plan, which guides Port Commissioners’ actions on development projects. Those requirements are also reflected in the agreements the Port negotiates with developers and other public agencies. I am committed to encouraging more and better public access to our waterfront through the creation of public parks, public-private spaces, and tourism-oriented uses, and, if appointed to the Port, would bring that commitment to bear on my work as a Commissioner. I would like to see the Port obtain grants and partner with non-profits to provide more access to underserved youth so they can experience firsthand the joys of our incredible waterfront.

Bob Nelson stepped down due to potential conflicts of interest. What past or present business dealings do you feel could present a conflict during your term?

As a lawyer I take the issue of conflicts seriously and would recuse myself from discussing or voting on any issue where an actual or potential conflict existed.

I am very familiar with the California Government Code guidance on conflict of interest issues thanks to my tenure as a deputy city attorney for both the City of San Diego and the City of Oceanside. While on the Board at Civic San Diego, I always reviewed each Board meeting agenda through a rigorous conflict check against my law firm’s conflicts list to ensure I would not participate on any matter that could pose a conflict. If appointed to the Port, I would continue to follow that same rigorous and transparent conflict checks process.

Adrian Kwiatkowski
Photo credit: Bartell & Associates.

Adrian Kwiatkowski

Vice president, Bartell & Associates, a government and public affairs firm.

Kwiatkowski did not respond to inewsource’s questions.

Susan Guinn
Photo credit: Uptown News.

Susan Guinn

Civil and human rights lawyer, community leader, San Diego Zoo Global Foundation Board Director, environmental advocate.

Guinn did not respond to inewsource’s questions.

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*Laurie Black is an inewsource donor.

Brad Racino was the assistant editor and senior investigative reporter at inewsource. He's a big fan of transparency, whistleblowers and government agencies forgetting to redact key information from FOIA requests. Brad received his master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri in...