Tony Young to head SD, Imperial County Red Cross

Young previously represented San Diego District 4

SAN DIEGO - City Council President Tony Young has been named the Chief Executive Officer of the American Red Cross' San Diego and Imperial Counties Chapter and will officially join the relief organization Jan. 2, officials with the organization said Friday.

"This is a great day for the Red Cross. Tony is the perfect choice to lead the chapter," Board of Directors Chair Bill Trumphfeller said. "We truly believe he will help further the Red Cross mission within our community as the organization continues to provide food and shelter in emergencies, assist members of our armed forces and their families, teach lifesaving skills and more."

Young, 47, has spent his career in public service advocating for policies and services that are critical to those within the community and taught middle school before joining local government, local Red Cross officials said.

He served in various leadership positions on the city council since 2004 and as council president since 2010.

Some constituents in Young's District 4 told 10News they wish him well but feel abandoned.

"He promised us, 'Oh, I'll be there… nothing's going on' so it is a surprise in that sense," said Sharon Whitehurst-Payne, a math consultant and District 4 resident.

When asked about his commitment to the constituents in his district, Young said, "Well, this is the great thing about this: This is an opportunity to provide services for not only my district but through the entire region of San Diego."

The city will need to hold a special election within 90 days to fill Young's seat, which represents southeastern San Diego.

The county Registrar of Voters estimates the cost at $355,000 to $385,000 minus about $100,000 if it is combined with a special election to fill Juan Vargas' State Senate seat.

When asked if money was motivating his move, Young responded, "If you look back at my history, it has not been about salary, it's been about service."

As a council member, Young's salary is capped at about $75,000. His base at the Red Cross will be $180,000, according to Red Cross officials.

District 4 includes southeast San Diego from Paradise Hills to Oak Park. One likely candidate is Barry Pollard, who ran against Young in 2010. He received nearly 40 percent of the vote at that time.

 "I'm not 100 percent sure that I'm going to run, but I'm pretty doggone close to it," said Pollard.

When asked if he would endorse a candidate to fill his seat, Young smiled and said that what he is going to be supporting for the next five years or more is the Red Cross.

He said he was honored and humbled to accept the position with the local American Red Cross chapter and that he looked forward to serving the needs of the community.

"We know many San Diegans are not prepared for an emergency or major disaster," Young said. "I intend to focus on our chapter's vision of community preparedness."

He added that he most looked forward to "continuing to support San Diego and Imperial Counties through the vital work the American Red Cross does each and every day."

Young will succeed Joe Craver, who announced his retirement earlier this year after five years with the organization. Craver will remain with the relief organization's local chapter until Jan. 31 to ensure a smooth transition.

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