San Diego District 2 City Council Candidate Campbell Apologizes for ‘Fake Homeless’ Remarks Caught on Video

by on January 19, 2018 · 2 comments

in Ocean Beach

Editordude: District 2 candidate, Dr. Jen Campbell, gave a speech back on January 4th, during which she spoke disparagingly of homeless panhandlers. Candidate Bryan Pease videotaped it and sent it out – and Campbell’s brand sank. I saw the video, was disgusted, wrote about it, and sent it to among others my colleague Doug Porter over at our sister site, San Diego Free Press. He too was disgusted by her remarks and posted the video in his Tuesday column . Her remarks:

“You see all those panhandlers on the corners? They’re probably not even homeless! They’re just pretending they are. They’re begging. Do they have a license? I doubt it. In the city they have to have a license. Is anyone checking that? No. We don’t have enough police!”

Dr. Jen then sent the Free Press – not the OB Rag – an apology of sorts; we repost it below.

By Dr. Jen Campbell

Thank you for the opportunity to respond to your article in the San Diego Free Press.

My comments referenced were regrettable and off-the-cuff and I apologize. They do not reflect my values or my beliefs of what we must do to responsibly and effectively address homelessness. This is a multi-faceted, difficult issue and I must stay focused on the right paths forward. Our latest movement toward Housing First and Wrap Around Services through the work of the Regional Task Force on the Homeless must be held sacrosanct.

As a new candidate, I have learned that I need to choose my words more carefully. I vow to use this opportunity as a candidate to contribute to a better civic dialogue, focused on the right approaches.

Like many District 2 constituents, I am frustrated at the rising numbers of homeless, associated impacts on our community, and the inability for our current Councilmember to embrace national best practices which have demonstrated success in Houston, Orlando, or Salt Lake City.

The failure to appreciate and promote Housing First strategies, finding excuses, and ignoring opportunities for action these past four years has led to the current Homeless crisis and last year’s Hepatitis A outbreak. We know what we get under Lorie Zapf, and I will bring a different level of attention and set of approaches.

The solutions to homelessness are not rooted in criminalization and enforcement, but in funding services and building affordable homes. Fortunately for San Diego, we have pioneered a Homeless Outreach Team model that helps police who interact with the homeless to take them to services, not to jails. These efforts strain police resources which have been woefully understaffed.

We need a Councilmember who will apply additional and steady pressure on the County Supervisors to step up and support the social services critical for street outreach and mental health assistance for those in need, as their large reserves are intended to support.

As a doctor, I put caring for the ill first and no one who needs help should be refused. As a member of the City Council, I will support City resources toward addressing homelessness as a moral, economic and quality of life imperative. I welcome you to contact me if you have any further question.

Thank you again for the chance to respond.

Sincerely yours,

Jennifer Campbell, MD

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Val January 23, 2018 at 3:19 pm

Yeah, things I say are not reflective of who I am. What a load of BULLSHIT. Thank you Jen for showing us who you are before we waste more time on you. Bye.


lori saldaña April 16, 2019 at 12:54 pm

One year later: her April 15, 2019 City Council vote – siding with Georgette Gomez and the remaining 3 Republicans on the Council- placed a bond measure for the Convention Center on a low-voter turnout primary ballot.

Proving once again:
“When someone shows you who they are: believe them.”


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