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Young leaving City Council for Red Cross CEO gig

San Diego City Council President Tony Young confirmed mounting speculation Thursday when he accepted a position as CEO of the local chapter of the American Red Cross.

Young’s decision to quit his position representing the city’s fourth district means San Diego will need to hold a special election to replace him within 90 days; the council will also need to elect a new president.

“I’m honored and humbled to accept this position and look forward to serving the needs of our community,” Young said in a press release. “We know many San Diegans are not prepared for an emergency or major disaster. I intend to focus on our chapter’s vision of community preparedness.”

He replaces outgoing CEO Joe Craver, after serving as council president since just after the 2010 election.

With Young still serving, the City Council had a 5-4 Democratic majority, though it’s ostensibly a nonpartisan body. The Democratic majority meant Young was likely assured of retaining his role setting the council’s agenda, but also that Mayor-elect Bob Filner, the city’s first Democratic mayor in two decades, had leverage in overhauling the city’s budgetary priorities.

Between now and the special election — during which Democrats will have a decided advantage in retaining control of the seat, given their registration advantages in the fourth district — the City Council will have a 4-4 split, temporarily nullifying the advantage the Democrats won with the re-election of Councilwoman Sherri Lightner in the first district.

The special election could be combined with one to replace Congressman-elect Juan Vargas in the state Senate, but will nonetheless cost around $300,000, according to what the San Diego County Registrar of Voters told 10News.

Councilman Todd Gloria is considered the favorite to succeed Young as council president.

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