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Commission appointments result in rare failed vote

SOLANA BEACH — As council members made their final appointments to the city’s citizen advisory commissions during the Jan. 27 meeting, what should have been a routine item resulted in a failed vote — an almost unprecedented occurrence in Solana Beach — and further action scheduled for the Feb. 10 meeting.
The city’s municipal code governs how residents are appointed — either
by individual council members or the council at large. The View Assessment Commission consists of seven members. Each council member is entitled to appoint one resident. The other two are nominated by the council at large.
This year the commission had five applicants for four vacancies — one to be filled by Mayor Tom Campbell, one by Councilman Joe Kellejian and two by the council at large. Three of the five applicants — David Zito, Reed Philips and John Scales — were reapplying. Campbell selected Zito. Kellejian chose to appoint Paul Bishop.
When asked to nominate a candidate, Lesa Heebner, the council ad hoc member for the View Assessment Commission, suggested a slate of Zito, Philips, Scales and Pat Coad.
Heebner said Coad applied for the position previously and her husband has been working with the group as it develops a view assessment ordinance.
“She is very knowledgeable about this ordinance and I think that her family experience … would be very valuable,” Heebner said.
She appealed to Kellejian to reconsider his choice, but he said he felt strongly about his appointment. “This gentleman has 37 years of architectural experience and would be just invaluable to the process,” Kellejian said.
Dave Roberts supported Kellejian’s appointment, but the vote failed 2-3. Heebner’s slate passed 4-1.
“I’ve been on this council for 18 years now and this is the first time that an individual has ever recommended somebody and had it denied by a council,” Kellejian said.
Roberts asked the city attorney to review the procedure. The item was scheduled for discussion at the Feb. 10 meeting, with recommended action to rescind, repeal, cancel or nullify the Jan. 27 appointments and, if necessary, appoint four new members.
Council appointed residents to the other four commissions without discussion. Kelly Harless and incumbents Geri Retman-Opper and Christine Antonelli