Coronado's New Port Commissioner

Date of Record: 2013-11-01
Contact:  Janine Zuniga; (619) 522-7340

City Council Appoints New Port Commissioner        

CORONADO, CA (December 11, 2013) - At a special meeting Tuesday, the Coronado City Council appointed local resident Garry Bonelli to the San Diego Unified Port District Board of Commissioners representing Coronado.

Bonelli will replace Lou Smith, who was appointed to the Port Commission Board in 2009. Smith announced in October he would not seek a second term.

"The City of Coronado will miss the distinguished leadership of Admiral Lou Smith as our Port Commissioner, but we are fortunate to have another gifted retired flag officer, Garry Bonelli, ready to serve," said Mayor Casey Tanaka. "He has an impressive combination of command experience in the SEAL community and executive experience in regional government, most recently at SANDAG." 

The five candidates, all local residents who submitted applications, were interviewed by the City Council Tuesday. Council members held a series of votes until they had a consensus and unanimously appointed Bonelli. The Port Commissioner term is four years and begins January 3, 2014.

Bonelli's career spans corporate, military and public policy development. His most recent professional experience includes a seven-year stint as the Force and Deputy Commander of U.S. Naval Special Warfare Command. Previously, Bonelli was an executive staff member with the San Diego Association of Governments and vice president of military affairs and communications at the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.

He enlisted in the Navy in 1968 and, during his career, became the only reservist to command an active duty SEAL Team. After a 45-year Navy SEAL career, Bonelli retired as a two-star rear admiral.
Bonelli said Coronado is a special place, its bay and tidelands providing an impressive setting to cherish, conduct business and have fun.

"Thanks to the Coronado City Council, I look forward to working for the betterment of Coronado and our Port with my fellow commissioners and the cities they represent, as well as the port's tenants, community groups and our Navy."

The Port is governed by a seven-member Port Commissioner Board, which manages San Diego Bay and surrounding waterfront land. Coronado is one of the Port's five member cities. One commissioner each is appointed by the cities of Chula Vista, Coronado, Imperial Beach and National City. Three are appointed by and represent San Diego.

The Port oversees two cargo terminals, two cruise ship terminals, 20 parks, the Harbor Police and hundreds of tenants with leases along the tidelands.