A Snapshot of the Race for District 2 for San Diego City Council

by on April 19, 2018 · 3 comments

in Ocean Beach

By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

There are six candidates challenging Zapf in 2018 for the district which encompasses the Bay Ho, Bay Park, Morena, Midway, Ocean Beach, Pacific Beach, Mission Beach, and Point Loma neighborhoods. (I’m going to focus on her three high-profile Democratic challengers (in alphabetical order) in this post.

Republican incumbent Lorie Zapf was redistricted into her seat, meaning her earlier tenure (2010-2014) as the District 6 Councilperson didn’t count towards the term limit as written in the City Charter.

Zapf would like us all to believe the criminal justice reforms, especially Proposition 47, are responsible for the increase in homelessness in San Diego. The cost of housing versus what people get paid apparently has nothing to do with it. And she’s really big on spinning anecdotes to fit the myths conservatives love to share about the failures of the system.

The fundamental issue facing the district is Short Term Vacation Rentals. Zapf is a hardliner on the subject, as she explained in a Union-Tribune op-ed.

While absentee landlords renting homes as a business is problematic, I do support home-sharing. Home-sharing, where the owner lives on site and rents out single rooms, does not create the problems that “whole home vacation rentals” create. Home-sharing allows homeowners who are in financial need to make extra income to pay for their retirement, medicine, etc.

My goal has been and always will be to protect the integrity of the neighborhoods and uphold the city’s obligation “to promote neighborhood quality, character, and livability” (Municipal Code 131.0403). City Attorney Mara Elliott has put forth her memo stating what I’ve argued from the beginning — that short-term vacation rentals are not permitted in single-family residential zoned neighborhoods.

When it comes to issues not related to property rights, Zapf is a reliable Republican vote, so forget about her when it comes to social justice issues.

Lorie Zapf | Facebook | Twitter

There are six candidates challenging Zapf in 2018.

Local Democratic party leaders sidestepped the question of endorsing a candidate, choosing to rate Jordan Beane, Jennifer Campbell, and Bryan Pease as ‘qualified.’ The three candidates I’m skipping over, mostly because I don’t see much grassroots or donor interest, are Daniel “Danny” Smiechowski, Kevin D. Melton, and Randy Hahn.

Photo via Point Loma Democratic Club

Democrat Jordan Beane is a new face in local politics. He describes himself “a good husband, bad surfer and Democrat running to represent San Diego’s District 2.”

I’ve met him a couple of times and been impressed. He studied journalism in college and worked in professional football as a media developer.

From his website:

Neglecting the big issues has long been a staple of San Diego politics. That stops with me. That stops because we’re no longer a conservative city accepting the current state of affairs. America’s Finest City has come a long way from being the piggy bank of Richard Nixon and the launching pad of Pete Wilson. Now, it’s a blue city that’s starting to realize its potential at a critical time in our nation’s history. Winning this race here in District 2 is crucial to finalizing that transition.

There’s one more critical reason I feel so compelled to serve.

November 8th, 2016.

Donald Trump’s victory that night shook me like no loss I’ve ever experienced during my time in professional sports. I was in a fog for days afterward, trying to get my head around the implications of this self-destructive national decision. Trump and the current Republican Party represent, nearly point-by-point, the antithesis of what I hold dear and of how I live my life.

Here’s Frank Gormlie’s take on the OB Rag:

Then there’s Jordan Beane, the former Chargers employee with no political experience. Beane is a really nice guy – and he’s tried to make his name and face known at community meetings in a non-aggressive fashion. He’s one of the few candidates who has called Zapf out – but his inexperience shows; he needs to be tougher. He also needs to understand that some neighborhoods at the beach are some of the densest in the city.

Beane does have compassion. He told the Voice of San Diego he would “change the city’s strategy of ticketing people who are homeless and using police force to keep them from congregating on downtown streets and sidewalks.”

I offered the three Democratic candidates the opportunity to say something short and sweet about Short Term Vacation Rentals since it’s a major issue in District 2.

Here is Beane’s response:

The beach communities are burdened by too many vacation rentals. We’ve been waiting far too long for city council to pass sensible regulations and enforce them. That includes include a cap on whole-home rentals, restrictions on outside investors and allowing for single room & ADU rentals. We also must impose escalating fines for bad actors and increased fees on STVRs. As a younger renter in an incredibly expensive community, any loss of housing stock – especially when it comes in the form of all cash offers from out of town investors – hurts those of us looking to get their piece of the American Dream in San Diego.

Jordan Beane | Facebook | Twitter

Campaign photo

Dr. Jennifer Campbell, former president of the Clairemont Democratic Club, has the support of some big-name local politicos, including Rep. Scott Peters, Rep. Juan Vargas, state Senator Toni Atkins, Assemblyman Todd Gloria and Councilman Chris Ward.

Campbell’s website describes the campaign as follows:

We deserve a City Council representative who treats their communities and constituents with respect.

Union-Tribune politics writer David Garrick tagged Campbell as the challenger to watch early on, based on early financial prowess and her ability to call in second cousin David Axelrod, who previously served as chief strategist for former President Barack Obama, for expertise and exposure.

“The district has changed a lot and the Democrats are very energized this year,” said Campbell, who retired as a medical doctor two weeks ago. “I feel like I have a chance, but I have to work very hard to earn people’s support.”

Campbell said she was spurred to run partly by a white supremacist rally in Virginia in August.

“It’s very upsetting, what’s going on in the country,” she said.

Candidate Campbell ran into a bit of buzzsaw politically earlier this year after opponent Bryan Pease leaked footage of her saying some not very smart things about homeless people. Here’s the money quote:

“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!”

She apologized for those statements in an op-ed we posted here at SDFP:

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.

I offered the three Democratic candidates the opportunity to say something short and sweet about Short Term Vacation Rentals since it is a major issue in District 2.

Here is Dr. Campbell’s response:

The City Council must update the city’s codes to define Short Term Vacation Rentals to make regulations for permitting, registering, taxing, and enforcing the rules of their operation. We must protect our residential neighborhoods from being overtaken by individual or corporate investors using our housing stock for commercial purposes. In District two alone, so many long term whole home rentals have turned into STVRs, that it is difficult to find housing to rent or buy. Neighborhoods made up of families are disappearing and along with them, we are losing schools, churches, and community non-profit organizations that are the backbone of society.

Our City Attorney has ruled that there are no city statutes that allow for short term rentals in residential zones. Yet, our city administration has done nothing to uphold our zoning laws and has allowed for exponential growth of this market. Despite years of wasted effort in subcommittees and on the council dais itself, our council remains deadlocked. The incumbent, while painting herself as an opponent of short term vacation rentals, was unable to bring forth any kind of legislation to curb their effect despite chairing the Committee on Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods for three years.

We must codify STVR use and be sure that the City Government protects its citizens by enforcing the laws. There are already municipalities that have enacted legislation and withstood court challenges by various on-line platforms. San Francisco, where the housing crisis was so severe that the city did away with non-owner occupied STVRs, is one of the most successful. Visit shorttermrentals.sfgov.org for their balanced approach to managing this new industry.

Jennifer H. Campbell MD | Facebook | Twitter

  • Longtime Democrat with service in San Diego County and California State Democratic Party. Gay, Retired Physician
  • Union-Tribune profile, SDFP article on careless comments about homeless, Voice of San Diego podcast.
  • Endorsed by Democrats for Equality, Clairemont Democratic Club, Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters, Run Women Run, Equality California and eight local Democratic officials, including Congressman Scott Peters, 52nd CD, California, Congressman Juan Vargas, 51st CD, California, State Senator Toni Atkins, San Diego 39th SD, Assemblymember Todd Gloria, San Diego 78th AD, City Council Member (D3) Christopher Ward, Rich Leib, President, Solana Beach School Board, Colin Parent, City Councilmember, LaMesa, and David Arambula, City Councilmember, Lemon Grove
  • No issues page on the website.
  • My take: Many connections to local party leadership, fundraising prowess. She lacks fire on the campaign trail and has low name recognition.
  • 2017 Fundraising: $60,060

Via Twitter

Bryan Pease may be the outsider Democrat in this race, but his previous runs for office and mentions in the media for taking on social justice-related legal cases give him the best name recognition of all the challengers.

Pease is an environmental attorney, who first came into the public eye with his advocacy for the seals at La Jolla Cove. He also served as an elected board member of the Ocean Beach Peoples Organic Food Market and ran a nonprofit thrift store as a volunteer in the Clairemont to benefit animal protection and environmental causes.

Aside from his environmental cred, Pease has a strong progressive stance on housing issues, including advocacy for rent control, and changing requirements for new developments to make the creation of affordable housing a priority.

He’s also clear on the oft-cited point about simply building more housing as a solution to San Diego’s affordable housing crisis–unless affordable housing is included, nothing will change.

I offered the three Democratic candidates the opportunity to say something short and sweet about Short Term Vacation Rentals since it is a major issue in District 2.

Pease did not respond to our email.

On a Voice of San Diego podcast, he made his opposition to whole house short-term vacation rentals clear, differentiating those from homeowners who made rooms available to vacationers.

He has been on the receiving end of negative feedback from local activists over his endorsement from the Working Families Council, a breakaway labor group led by Mickey Kasparian.

The Pease campaign has also drawn criticism for his willingness to cast shade on his Democratic opponents.

I’m not going to belabor the point by posting a bunch of screenshots, but as a candidate, he has shown a willingness to get into completely unnecessary pissing matches. For the life of me, I can’t figure out how he’ll get very far in politics with skin as thin as his obviously is.

Bryan Pease Facebook | Twitter

  • Democrat, lawyer, activist, animal rights advocate
  • Endorsed by nine local Democratic officials, including California Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez, San Diego City Councilmember Marti Emerald (retired), Oceanside City Councilmember Esther Sanchez, Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina, Imperial Beach City Councilmember Mark West, Imperial Beach City Councilmember Ed Spriggs, San Diego County Supervisor Pam Slater-Price (retired), San Diego Convention Center Chair Gil Cabrera, and San Marcos School Board Member Stacy Carlson
  • Club support includes San Diego Democrats for Environmental Action, San Diego Democratic Woman’s Club, San Diego Young Democrats
  • Also endorsed by Mickey Kasparian’s Working Families Council and Laborer’s International Union of North America Local 89
  • Has a poll showing he’s the most popular Democratic candidate. (It’s a ‘push poll’ which is easy to manipulate.)
  • Profile by Voice of San Diego from 2012 District 1 City Council race, Voice of San Diego podcast.
  • Wikipedia article on 2016 City Attorney race. (came in fourth, with 11% of the vote)
  • Issues page
  • My take: Best name recognition of any Democrat in this race and therefore the best shot to make it through to November. Has burned some unnecessary bridges in local politics.


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

kh April 19, 2018 at 2:51 pm

Pease is the only challenger that seems to have waded into any type of policy discussion, for better or worse.

I could give 2, maybe 3 shits about their stance on Donald Trump or racists in Virginia because its not in their job description.


Tom April 20, 2018 at 10:44 am

Let vote Lorie Zapf and all the Republican out on their ears!


ZZ April 23, 2018 at 1:40 pm

Beane sounds interesting but I can’t vote for someone involved with pro sports without them loudly disavowing any taxpayer subsidy to pro sports teams. I am so proud of my fellow citizens of San Diego for standing up to the NFL blackmail and all the connected politicians and construction companies pushing a giveaway to billionaires.

Few cities have ever done this.

Now the politicians want to give away for free valuable land that could be worth more than a billion dollars in Mission Valley for a pro soccer team.


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