Cole used to be a member on that committee, but since she was elected Council President on Dec. 12, she now must chair the Rules Committee and determine what is on the Council’s docket each meeting. She is the first female African-American Council President.
The new chairperson of the public safety committee is Sixth District Councilmember Chris Cate, and he acknowledged “it’s going to be a learning curve for me.” Cate urged the speakers and anyone else to call him on issues involving public safety.
The five speakers Monday are all African-American and several asked Cole to reconsider her choices, saying the new members might not understand crime issues in their area.
“You’ve taken yourself off (the public safety committee),” said one unidentified man to Cole. “It’s like a spit in the face. We don’t have any voice. We need somebody to represent us.”
(Normally people are identified who speak before City Council, but someone else filled out his speaker slip in their name but let him speak for her.)
Dwayne Harvey said he was disappointed “in no representation” on that committee. A representative from the San Diego Organizing Project said she was “disheartened” over the committee membership.
“I’m still part of public safety,” responded Cole, saying she will determine the Council docket. “We will continue to go forward.”
First District Councilmember Barbara Bry, who is on the public safety committee, pledged to the speakers she will look out for them.
The other members on the public safety committee include Third District Councilmember Chris Ward and Second District Councilmember Lorie Zapf.
That committee hears all matters involving police including four crime statistical reports per year, police, ambulance and fire response times, and other public safety matters such as lifeguards at beaches.
These other committee heads were approved:
*David Alvarez, Environment Committee
*Georgette Gomez, Audit Committee
*Scott Sherman, Smart Growth & Land Use
*Barbara Bry, Budget & Government Efficiency
*Mark Kersey, Infrastructure Committee
*Lorie Zapf, Economic Development & Intergovernmental Relations Committee
The Council also unanimously approved Kersey to be president pro tem who will conduct meetings if Cole is absent.
Cole started the meeting by thanking the Councilmembers for their 6-3 vote to make her Council president. “I am humbled and honored,” she said.