San Diego city councilmembers unanimously agreed to reappoint council president Ben Hueso to another term during the December 7 council meeting. Fourth district representative Tony Young backed Councilmember Todd Gloria's motion for reappointment without discussion as to any other potential nominees.
After the motion, the issue moved to public comment where half a dozen residents spoke in favor of Hueso's appointment. "I'm here on behalf of the 180,000 workers in the region...[who] know that in Ben Hueso we have a leader who understands and knows the quality and the experience that they have as workers," said Lorena Gonzales, CEO of the San Diego Imperial Counties Labor Council. "That's probably the first time we've had that in the City of San Diego."
Not all residents were in support of Hueso, however. "When Mr. Hueso announced his intention to run for council president a year ago, I felt that he was ill-prepared and unqualified. Having watched him very closely this year my biggest concerns have proven to be true," said resident Phil Hart. For Hart, the biggest issue is Hueso's unwillingness to manage the city's mounting deficit, one that Hart claims to be as much as six billion dollars once the pension fund, city employee retirement funds, and "infrastructure backlog" are added together.
"[Hueso] has not helped this city, he has made this city worse during this fiscal crisis," added Hart from the podium. "We need better leadership than Hueso has provided and I think he is currently incapable of providing."
Once public comments were heard, councilmember Tony Young addressed the audience and the council. "A couple of those comments were very much off base.... We have worked very hard in the last couple of years to accomplish a lot of things, specifically related to our budget, even though we have a long way to go."