SOURCE: San Diego Union-Tribune

Two of the most prestigious volunteer posts in local politics went to attorney Rafael Castellanos and businessman Marshall Merrifield as the City Council filled San Diego’s vacancies on the Port Commission on Monday.

Rafael Castellanos is a partner with the law firm Solomon Minton Cardinal Doyle & Smith, where he specializes in commercial real estate and business transactions, and president of La Raza Lawyers Association.

“I am absolutely committed to working to continue to make this city and this region an absolutely wonderful place to live and work for all of us,” Castellanos said before the vote.

Marshall Merrifield is former president and CEO of General Lock and Clark Security Products, a member of San Diego’s Campaign to End Homelessness and a former economic adviser to ex-Mayor Jerry Sanders.

“This port, this economic engine has got such a tremendous opportunity to continue to be a job creator here in this county and for the five port cities,” Merrifield said.

City Council President Todd Gloria, a Democrat, joined with his Republican colleagues to appoint Merrifield. Then the Republicans — Kevin Faulconer, Mark Kersey, Scott Sherman and Lorie Zapf — returned the favor by voting with Gloria for Castellanos. The compromise was needed because the council is split 4-4 between Democrats and Republicans following Democrat Tony Young’s Jan. 1 resignation. Five votes are required for an appointment.

In all, it took four rounds of voting to fill the appointments. Councilman David Alvarez, who nominated Castellanos, didn’t cast a vote for him in the deciding tally.

The unsuccessful nominees were Lisa Bicker, co-founder of CleanTECH San Diego; Reese Jarrett, a real estate executive; Sid Voorakkara, former statewide program officer for The California Endowment; and Richard Vortmann, former president of National Steel and Shipbuilding Co.

Castellanos and Merrifield will replace former commissioners Scott Peters, who was elected to Congress in November, and Lee Burdick, who resigned to become director of special projects and legal affairs for San Diego Mayor Bob Filner.