In response to that complaint, city leaders recently named one black and one Latino to a 28-member task force that has been coordinating plans for the January, 1988, National Football League championship game and the social extravaganza surrounding it that will generate millions of dollars for a wide range of businesses and vendors.
At least one prominent black leader, however, regards the recent appointments as "tokenism at its worst."
"When they pick one of this color and one of that color, there's no way to think of it as being anything but tokenism," said the Rev. George Walker Smith, former president of the San Diego school board and founder of the Catfish Club, one of the most influential social and political organizations in the black community.
After Smith complained to Mayor Maureen O'Connor in January about the lack of representation of minorities on the task force, the mayor's Black Advisory Board recommended two names--funeral home owner Hartwell Ragsdale and newspaper executive Gloria Vinson.
O'Connor's office forwarded Ragsdale's name to City Manager John Lockwood, but dropped Vinson in favor of Art Lujan, business manager of the San Diego County Building and Construction Trades Council.
"When blacks brought it up, we realized there also weren't any Hispanics on the task force," said Paul Downey, O'Connor's press secretary. "That's why the mayor decided to add a Hispanic."
Smith said he is confident that Ragsdale and Lujan will "adequately represent" their respective communities, but questioned why minority representation on the task force is not broader.
"It's pathetic that they think appointing one person does the job," Smith said.