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Editorial Another thorn in the City Council’s side

Just when it appears the dark cloud hanging over the San Diego City Council’s chambers appears to be clearing, in rolls another storm.

This time the thunder and lightning is provided courtesy of the Committee to Recall Byron Wear, which is seeking to oust the two-term representative of the powerful and highly influential 2nd District. This group claims Wear has ignored the citizens of his district in favor of big-business interests.

Indeed, Wear’s district includes three of the largest and perhaps most controversial projects in the city’s history: the downtown ballpark, the redevelopment of Naval Training Center and SeaWorld’s planned expansion on Mission Bay.

In our opinion, Wear has taken an open-minded, objective approach to each of the projects. While Wear may have business interests in his camp, his actions have not painted him as a big-business advocate.

Wear has been a vocal proponent of the ballpark, and with good reason. The 26-block ballpark district has the potential to take Downtown San Diego to the next level, creating a true world-class destination for residents and visitors alike.

Like Downtown, the redevelopment of NTC is still a work in progress. Coastal commissioners recently added their two cents, yet the project has been under the microscope for the past five years.

Wear hasn’t ramrodded any plan down the throats of Point Loma residents. Discussions have been open and frank, and nothing leads us to believe any deals were cut in some smoke-filled back room. If Wear could be accused of anything, it’s being a “homer” for having voted for locally based Corky McMillin Cos. as the developer instead of Miami-based Lennar Partners.

Where the councilman stands on the current expansion of SeaWorld has yet to be determined, as he has kept his opinions on the proposed master plan private. However, Wear did oppose Proposition D, the 1998 ballot measure to increase height restrictions at SeaWorld.

Recall advocates also are angered by Wear’s stance on Lindbergh Field’s expansion. While it’s true the councilman favors expansion, his opinions fall in line with those of Port District executive director Dennis Bouey, who only wants to expand Lindbergh as needed until leaders across the county determine where to locate a new airport.

Wear ultimately may play a role in that decision, if a regional panel that controls transportation and infrastructure issues ever comes to fruition. Wear’s current role as chairman of the Regional Governance Efficiency Commission, an exploratory panel to see if such a need truly exists, could position him for a job that would shape the county’s future development.

Because of term limits, Wear cannot run for re-election in 2002. His accomplishments as a city councilman, despite the public battering the council took during the Golding administration, shouldn’t be tarnished by some narrow-minded special-interest group.

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