The City Council would create a committee to address San Diego's estimated $800 million infrastructure backlog under a proposal made Wednesday by council President Todd Gloria.
The plan is part of his proposed committee membership assignments, which will be voted on at a special meeting on Monday.
"I am proposing creation of the Infrastructure Committee to bring necessary focus to the condition of the city's streets, sidewalks and structures," Gloria said. "I have heard the call of San Diegans that they are tired of driving over potholes and tripping over sidewalks. This committee will be able to develop comprehensive solutions to a citywide challenge."
Most of the items that go before the full City Council originate and are vetted at the committee level.
The backlog ranges from streets that have to be repaved to flood channels that need to be cleared of debris.
Gloria suggested that freshman Councilman Mark Kersey, who made "Rebuilding San Diego" the theme of his inauguration address, lead the Infrastructure Committee. Council members Marti Emerald, Sherri Lightner and Scott Sherman would also be on the panel.
Lightner would also replace Councilman Kevin Faulconer as City Council president pro tem -- the second-in-command -- under Gloria's plan. If approved, she would be the first female to hold the position.
He also wants to combine the Rules and Economic Development and Strategies committees and place them under Lightner, who narrowly avoided defeat in the June primary and came back to win a second term last month.
His other nominations for committee heads would keep current leaders in place -- himself for Budget, David Alvarez for Natural Resources and Culture, Emerald for Public Safety and Housing, Faulconer for Audit, and Lorie Zapf for Land Use and Housing.
He stressed the bipartisan nature of the appointments. While the two council-wide positions would be held by Democrats, three of the seven committees would be led by Republicans.
"I respect the viewpoints and ideas of each of my colleagues, and have structured the membership of committees to encourage healthy dialog and balanced decisions," Gloria said.
He asked Lightner to lead a review of the committee structure and report back in six months, around the time when a successor to outgoing Councilman Tony Young would take office. Young is resigning at the end of the calendar year to become CEO of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Chapter of the American Red Cross.
-City News Service