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Frank Urtasun Joins Port of San Diego as Newest Commissioner

Frank Urtasun was sworn in on Jan. 2 as the newest commissioner for the Port of San Diego, representing the city of Coronado.

SAN DIEGO一 On Jan. 2, the Port of San Diego welcomed their newest commissioner, Frank Urtasun, representing the City of Coronado, to the Board of Port Commissioners.

The Port is governed by a seven-member board with three representatives from the City of San Diego and one from the City of Chula Vista, City of Coronado, City of Imperial Beach, and National City.

Urtasun is a life-long resident of San Diego and previously held a position as a port commissioner from 1992-2002 for the City of Imperial Beach.

He was voted in by the Coronado City Council on Nov. 30, 2021, to replace Garry Bonelli, who stepped down after two four-year terms as Coronado’s representative.

“I volunteered to step forward to bring my experience to the board of port commissioners to hopefully make some sound decisions,” said Urtasun.

Urtasun spent 38 years working for Sempra Energy, a Fortune 500 energy services company based in San Diego, before retiring in 2019 and opening Regional Strategies Group, a communication consulting firm.

Aside from his career, he has also served in other government and community positions including, San Diego Unified Port District (1992-2002) (2021-Present) – Chairman twice, Downtown San Diego Partnership (2012-2019) – Chairman 2016-2018, and San Diego Housing Commission (2013-2019) – Chairman 2017-2018.

Urtasun is looking to bring a new perspective to his latest round on the board by focusing on the business side of the port.

“I hope to be able to bring a business perspective for the port,” said Urtasun. “I think that it is important that we balance the various perspectives on the board, including the environmental perspective, the social equity perspective, but also the business perspective.”

Urtasun wants to utilize the port’s real estate business and the maritime operations to continue to generate revenue for the port to continue to support the port district while remaining a self-reliant entity.

“So that is a priority for me that we are able to create revenue streams to be able to stay as healthy financially and not have to go back to the voters and ask to retax themselves,” said Urtasun. “So that is kind of where I am going to be coming from this time around.”

Currently, maritime operations for the port make up 26 percent of the revenue for the port, which is a 21 percent change from Urtasun’s first tenure, which ended in 2002, according to Urtasun.

“We’ve shown that we can grow,” said Urtasun. “…I want to try to help on that front as well…We are able to create maritime operations and increase revenue from maritime operations in a sound, environmentally responsible manner.”

Urtasun is also looking to work with the community to ensure that residents are being heard when it comes to major decisions on the port.

“…We have to listen to the public,” said Urtasun. “…We want to work with the public and make sure we abide by their answers as much as possible. You know there are times it is going to be a challenging position on the board whereby we have to weigh the business perspective of being able to create greater revenue for the district while abiding by the greater concerns of the community.”

An example Urtasun gave is the public urging to say no to more hotel rooms placed in Coronado. Real estate is a major player in the port’s revenue, but it is being weighed against the needs of the residents.

Urtasun has a job ahead of him to learn to work with the community while continuing to provide a business perspective to the board.

“I am excited to be back,” said Urtasun. “I am excited to bring my background to the table. I hope that it will be helpful to offer my perspective on decisions.” Urtasun was sworn in by Port District Clerk Donna Morales, who administered the oath of offices.

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