The San Diego City Council voted unanimously Monday to create a committee to deal with a backlog of infrastructure improvements, including streets that need to be repaved and flood channels that need to be cleared.
"By creating a standing committee that focuses on this issue, my expectation is this committee will continue to work on what this council had been doing in terms of streamlining our road repairs, trying to process contracts faster and get more of this work out on the street," council President Todd Gloria said.
Freshman Councilman Mark Kersey, who made "Rebuilding San Diego" the theme of his inauguration address, will head the the Infrastructure Committee. Council members Marti Emerald, Sherri Lightner and Scott Sherman also are expected to serve on the panel.
"We have a lot of work ahead of us, but I think we're going to do a lot of long-overdue things that the city needs done," Kersey said.
He promised to catalog all the jobs that needed doing and to develop a five-year construction schedule.
Kersey put the cost of catching up on capital improvements and maintenance at $900 million, but he conceded the actual figure was probably higher.
The council also voted to combine the Rules and Economic Development and Strategies committees under Lightner, who narrowly avoided defeat in the June primary and came back to win a second term last month.
Lightner will replace Councilman Kevin Faulconer as City Council president pro tem—becoming the first woman to hold the position.
"In my new roles, I hope to work closely with council President Todd Gloria and my colleagues to continue our work to improve our city's financial picture while responsibly restoring city services and improving our neighborhoods," Lightner said. "I am also honored to continue to lead the council's efforts to help craft a long-term vision for San Diego's economy—one that embraces innovation, creativity and sustainability."
She will review the council's committee structure and report back in six months, around the time a successor to outgoing Councilman Tony Young would take office. Young is resigning at the end of the calendar year to become chief executive of the American Red Cross of San Diego and Imperial Counties.
Other committee heads will remain in place—Gloria 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.
Keeping council members in charge of their same committees was "good for continuity," Gloria said.
He also 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.
-City News Service