Port of San Diego Swears in New Executive Officers

January 11, 2018

By Andrea Lopez-Villafaña

Photo by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña

New year, new executive officers, and a new theme for Board of Port Commissioners of the Port of San Diego.

On Tuesday, Jan. 9, the Port of San Diego held its 2018 swearing-in ceremony at the Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier to swear in Rafael Castellanos as chairman, Garry J. Bonelli as vice chairman, and Ann Moore, who was not present during the ceremony, as secretary.

The Board of Port Commissioners is the governing body of the Port of San Diego and is made up by seven members who are each appointed by port’s five member cities: the City of San Diego, the City of Chula Vista, the City of National City, the City of Imperial Beach, and the City of Coronado.

Castellanos is one of the three commissioners who represent the City of San Diego, Bonelli represents the City of Coronado, and Moore represents the City of Chula Vista.

Joined by movers and shakers of the county, Castellanos gave his inauguration speech.

As is tradition for the Chairman to present a theme for the year, Castellanos introduced his theme of “Ocean Optimism.”

In an interview with La Prensa San Diego prior to being sworn in officially, Castellanos shared that Ocean Optimism is focusing on the ocean economy, also known as the blue economy.

“Fundamentally every sea port is about the water, about the ocean, and the Port of San Diego is port on the edge of the greatest body of water in the world, the Pacific Ocean,” Castellanos said.

He stressed the importance of looking west and the importance of the blue economy.

“We must catch that wave, lifting up all boats on a rising tide of innovation, investment and optimism. If we’re successful, then just like the Santa Clara Valley came to be known as the Silicon Valley, perhaps one day the San Diego Bay will come to be known as the Blue Technology Bay,” he said in a Port press release.

Castellanos also shared his goals for the Port such as completing projects like the development of a resort hotel and convention center for the Chula Vista Bayfront.

Mayor of Chula Vista Mary Salas said they will be signing the financing agreement to begin the construction of the hotel.

“It’s very possible, if everything goes as planned you’ll start seeing construction either at the end of 2018 or the beginning of 2019,” Salas said. “We’re really hopeful that within several years we’re going to see a hotel at the bayfront and a convention center and it’s just going to be a great boom to the economy not only of Chula Vista but the whole South Bay region.”

Castellanos also mentioned completing the environmental review of the Port Master Plan Update, which is a document that serves as a blueprint for planning policies for the port.

And the completion of the first phase of a $24 million project, the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal Modernization project, and start the operation of the San Diego Bay Aquaculture company, which includes a oyster nursery commercial operation.

Outgoing 2017 Chairman Robert “Dukie” Valderrama, who wore a red and black zoot suit in honor of his father, gave his outgoing remarks.

Valderrama said the zoot suit became a symbol of defiance against racial discrimination and although it took place before he was born, he knew the history of what it meant to his community and family.

“The zoot suit also symbolizes my family’s values of work, family and community,” Valderrama said. “From the tuna canneries in San Diego to the slaughterhouses industry in National City, my father, mother, uncles, aunts, cousins and many others have supported their families with a good job on the waterfront.”

He mentioned his theme for the Port of San Diego, “Win, Win, Win” and the progress they made on projects.

The first Board meeting of 2018 was held after the swearing-in ceremony.

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