The Sins of Councilwoman Lorie Zapf – Part 2

by on November 2, 2018 · 8 comments

in Ocean Beach

originally posted 9/5/18

By Frank Gormlie

Here is Part 1.

Zig-Zags on the 30 Foot Height Limit

These days, it does appear Councilwoman Lorie Zapf is a strong supporter and defender of the sacrosanct 30-foot height limit for San Diego’s coastal and and beach communities. She did come out against a 4-story monstrosity on Emerson Street in the Roseville neighborhood of Point Loma, and along with Mayor Faulconer, issued a joint statement announcing a “stop-work” order for the project :

“Mayor Faulconer and Councilmember Lorie Zapf strongly support the coastal height limit and protecting coastal views. Further review of the Municipal Code has determined that this [Emerson Street] project does not conform to the City’s development regulations. Today the City issued a stop work order on the project to ensure it follows all codes and regulations.”

However, we have to note, as we reported then in June 2016:

The stop work order comes after a community protest by nearly a hundred residents … and after a widely-attended town hall meeting about the huge duplex … after a facebook page was set up and after an online petition to stop the project was begun – … it had close to 550 signatures. It came after the OB Rag and other media shown spotlights on the project.

Yet, it was four years ago when valid questions were raised about just where Lorie stood on the 30-foot height limit during her 2014 campaign against Sarah Boot. At a Clairemont town hall forum in late April 2014, Boot claimed Zapf had changed her position from what it had been 3 months earlier and that Zapf had then supported a new study by the City that would have allowed developers to build buildings taller than the height limits next to two new trolley stops.

The study stated one property next to the trolley stop near Clairemont Drive – where there is a 30-foot limit – should have its limits increased to 60 feet, and in an larger area south of the Linda Vista Tecolote stop, the 45 foot height limit should also be exceeded.

This did not sit well with residents – they were downright mad as hell.

Once Lorie figured that out – that she was up against a grassroots wall of opposition – she did change her position. She came out and claimed she was against any plan or study that would raise Clairemont’s height limit, and then upon her request, the planning department changed its recommendation.

Yet, as the Voice of San Diego reported in a “fact check” back then, Zapf had told a January 24, 2014 meeting of the San Diego County Apartment Association she did support the study or plan. She said:

 “We have a trolley that will go along Morena Boulevard, …. We need to look at a plan with more height and density and less parking than we see there today,” reported by the San Diego Daily Transcript

At a Pacific Beach April 16 candidate forum that year, Boot reiterated her claim Zapf was in favor of the study/plan, using Lorie’s comments to the apartment association. “Yeah, I did say that,” Zapf responded. But her explanation ‘why’ sounded like a mishmash of bureaucratic gobbledygook. It was a week later when Zapf sent her request to the planning director to nix any recommendations to raise Clairemont’s height limit.

Zapf’s staff did acknowledge Lorie’s change of heart was due to the community response. In conclusion on their fact check, VOSD stated:

 … Zapf’s own statements suggest she was at least open to the idea [of changes in height limits] until she witnessed the community reaction. Now, Zapf says Clairemont’s height limit is sacrosanct.

That’s a change.

Now, of course, Zapf supports the 30 foot height limit and opposes efforts to change it along Morena Boulevard. SDUT

How has Lorie Zapf been on other development issues? Here’s one example.

It is often said, Zapf has a deep bias in favor of the building industry. The building contractors have consistently supported her in her various electoral campaigns. So, reflecting that bias, back in the Spring of 2015, Zapf voted to approve the very controversial mega-project One Paseo slated for Carmel Valley . Many San Diego community planning committees had voted to deny it or oppose it, as did the Ocean Beach Planning Board, which blasted Zapf for her support, saying the project “does not meet the requirement of City and local community plans.”

Another manner in which Zapf serves the building industry is her “laissez-faire” approach to how the City Development Services Department enables developers, a bureaucracy which often turns a naïve – or blind eye to their abuses. At times, projects are approved and then built as if no one at the city was at the switch. This is how the boondoggles at that Emerson project in Roseville and at the corner of Ebers and Greene Streets in northeast Ocean Beach went up without anyone at the city seemingly noticing.

It’s clear Zapf doesn’t keep a pulse on the construction projects within her District 2, and it’s not until her constituents cry “foul!” that she or her staff step into a project that is not up to code or violates important measures to limit over-developments. This is what happened at Emerson and Ebers. So, even despite her verbal support for the 30 foot height limit, when projects go up over it, she is slow to respond.

OB Surveillance Cameras

In early 2016, Zapf caught flak from some members of Ocean Beach for her support for a plan to place police surveillance cameras along the town’s waterfront. She had snubbed a December 2015 community forum on the cameras and had refused to meet with or even talk to the organized group formed in opposition to them. So when she attended a January 27 meeting of the OB Town Council, it was the first opportunity for curious residents and opponents of the cameras – and community members at large – to question and confront Zapf about the cameras. When queried on where the impulse for the cameras came from, she responded: “The Community overwhelmingly asked for them”.

But this was simply not true, as no group other than the merchants had asked for them. As the OB Rag reported:

Councilmember Lorie Zapf’s response to this question, and all other inquiries regarding the controversial, was a flustered collage of unsubstantial nonsense with statements like, “This is life”, “That’s how they caught the Boston bomber”, “There’s going to be signs everywhere!”,

In another account of the same meeting we reported:

And at one point, after Zapf tried to give a rigorous defense of the cameras, Town Council Gretchen Newsom took a straw poll of the audience. With at least 4 local TV cameras rolling, hands went up – and it was clear that the crowd was split almost down the middle between supporting and opposing the cameras. … Newsom spontaneously announced: “See what did I tell you. It’s divided.”

In more from that telling meeting in 2016, we quote from the writer of the report on it:

Bottom line was that our elected represented had no real data or no real statistics to provide to justify her action on behalf of our community, and as many present voiced, continues to be disrespectful to the Ocean Beach community. …

Clearly, Councilmember Lorie Zapf is out of touch with those she is supposed to represent. No matter what she thought and says she did or didn’t, let’s see if she is alert enough to realize a better process for future decisions in our Community is needed.

The “overwhelming requests” she received for the cameras and all the community input she claims to have received is hard to understand when most community members that I’ve encountered are surprised by the news and don’t want them installed at all.

Perhaps the “Community Voice” she hears is only of that which matches her agenda.

Alas, with the community divided and with OB’s Councilwoman on board, the cameras went up.

Special Election on Convention Center

Often Lorie follows the Republican line on issues the City Council confronts. In June 2017, the Council looked at whether to finance a special election for a public vote on expanding the San Diego Convention Center – an issue pushed by Mayor Faulconer and other Republicans on the Council.

The five Democrats on the Council opposed having a costly special election, estimated to cost $5 million, while the mayor at the same time was proposing deep cuts to other city departments, including the Police Department. Critics argued having the vote in 2018 made more sense financially and logistically – as there were still unresolved details -, not to mention San Diego voters in 2016 had passed a measure calling for proposals like that to be decided in higher-turnout general elections – not special elections.

Critics also said it would be highly unlikely for such a ballot measure to receive the necessary two-thirds, as a tax increase for a specific purpose, and that the proposed measure didn’t include project labor agreements. Councilman David Alvarez had argued:

 “The mayor wanted to waste $5 million on an unnecessary special election, even while he proposed deep cuts to the San Diego Police Department. The City Council made a different choice.”

Calling that shortsighted, Councilwoman Zapf replied:

“I believe the expansion of the convention center is the single most important investment we can make for long-term additional revenue. There’s a lot more money down the line than $5 million.” San Diego Union-Tribune

On a 5 to 4 party-line vote, with Zapf following the GOP lead, the City Council voted down the plan to hold a special election in November 2017. Times of San Diego. And now, as we know, that issue is still simmering.

The Border Wall

Everyone knows president Trump wants a border wall. As part of the California push-back, City Councilwoman Georgette Gomez in September 2017, proposed a resolution opposing the construction of a border wall. Stating the border wall to be detrimental to San Diego’s environment and tourism, the motion asked for public disclosure of all companies involved in financing or construction of the proposed project.

During Council discussion – even though the vote was largely symbolic – Zapf voiced her clear opposition to the resolution, and actually went out of her way to insult Gomez and city staff. As we reported then:

…when it became Zapf’s turn to speak, she launched into a rambling, pedantic, back-and-forth schoolmarm approach with city staff and people in the audience. Zapf displayed contempt for Gomez and staff and for the issue involved. Plainly what she said was an embarrassment to the folks back home.

[Go to SDFP for a video of Zapf at the City Council hearing.] The resolution was approved by a 5-3 vote.

Zapf Votes Against Measure to Allow Pot Industry Local Supply Chain

On an issue that’s dear to many in Ocean Beach and District 2 – the legalization of marijuana – we have to ask how did Lorie vote when it became time to set up regulations on San Diego’s cannabis industry?

First, know this: on September 11, 2017, the San Diego City Council made an historic vote when it approved by a vote of 6 to 3 to legalize marijuana cultivation, manufacturing and testing within city limits; it also voted to create a total cap of those businesses.

Arguing that authorizing a local supply chain for certified dispensaries adds to the local economy, helps to create jobs, and helps the environment by not forcing pot businesses to truck product in from other places, the Council majority voted its approval (Alvarez, Bry, Cole, Gomez, Kersey, Ward).

However, the District 2 Councilwoman was not in that majority, as Lorie voted to oppose the reasonable measures to regulate an industry approved by California voters. Sherman and Cate joined her in her opposition.

But before the Council voted, they heard from out-going Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman, who expressed her concerns of the dangers and threats to public safety by authorizing rules for the industry, concerns that are not outweighed by any new tax revenue from the pot industry, she warned. She said:

“The negative consequences and secondary effects of the legal marijuana industry being allowed to operate on a larger scale in our city of San Diego are enormous. I urge you not to allow any further marijuana facilities within our city.”

Then, importantly, Zimmerman made an outrageous claim – and stated the city’s certified “legal” pot dispensaries generated hundreds of calls for service from police for burglaries, robberies, thefts, assaults and shootings. That was enough for Zapf, as she said she joined Chief Zimmerman in her concerns. She said:

“I think we should listen to our police chief. We were elected if nothing else to oversee public safety and we’re just absolutely going down the wrong road.”

Problem is, as we now know – thanks to a recent investigation by Voice of San Diego’s Jesse Marx  – the Chief’s numbers were all wrong, that she manufactured crime statistics in an apparent effort to block expansion of the cannabis industry within San Diego.

For instance, as the OB Rag reported:

All in all, out of the 272 radio calls Zimmerman declared were proof of the “enormous” public safety threats that legalized cannabis would bring, just a fifth were directly traceable to a dispensary. Some of the crimes, undeniably, were scary stuff. A security guard had to break up a big fight, for instance, and Marx cites the armed robbery of another dispensary employee.

But the rest? They include things like graffiti and vandalism complaints, water leaks and men being refused service because they couldn’t bring a dog inside the shop

A more recent study by Voice of San Diego concluded, “only a small number of crimes, nearly all of which are non-violent, can be attributed to San Diego’s legal pot shops,” and “a closer look at the calls, however, revealed that Zimmerman had wildly overstated her case.”

It was too late. Zapf had bought Zimmerman’s case. Not only did Lorie buy Shelley’s prejudiced views and fake numbers, she claimed the expanding cannabis industry use was making high school students high. “I know what’s going on with teenagers,” Zapf said, as she expressed her concern that high school students are frequently “high” in class. Councilwoman Barbara Bry came back and said that marijuana is not a new phenomenon on high school campuses. (For more critique of that historic vote and Zapf’s lack of knowledge of the science of cannabis, see this report.)

In an interview by the San Diego Union-Tribune with Lorie in April this year, she was still touting  her concerns for the “public safety issues” that go with recreational cannabis and all those “illegal operators” in District 2. She was asked:

How would you change the city’s approach to recreational marijuana use?

We created strict regulations for the permitting of shops and production facilities. The city’s own regulations just went into effect early this year. It is important that we revisit the issue after a year has passed. We need to do a comprehensive review of our regulations to make sure they have been effective.

While we have addressed the land-use issues, we need to make sure we are also looking at any public safety issues that may come with recreational marijuana use. While Council District 2 has experienced many illegal operators, we need to make sure we are enforcing our codes to keep illegal shops out of our communities.

Vote swapping on council July 27, 2016

A couple of years ago, there surfaced allegations by then-Councilwoman Marti Emerald that Mayor Faulconer was seeking her vote on an election-reform ballot initiative that he opposed – in exchange for Faulconer rounding up Republican votes for one on her pet projects. This is called “vote swapping” which is illegal and a serious crime in California.

Emerald, a Democrat, had claimed the mayor’s chief of staff had promised her six votes for her project – a firehouse bond – if she sided with Republicans in blocking a separate measure to change San Diego’s election rules. Republicans were opposed to rule changes that would end the practice of candidates  winning outright in a June primary by garnering more than 50 percent of the vote. Dems wanted the changes to allow voters in the General election – when more people vote – to make the decision.

Reportedly, Emerald refused the offer, all which was denied by the Mayor’s office. As San Diego CityBeat reported, soon after, Lorie changed her vote on Emerald’s firehouse measure.

Then … Republican Councilmember Lorie Zapf switched her previous yes vote on Emerald’s Firehouse Bond measure to a nay, thereby denying it the two-thirds majority council vote required to place it on the ballot.

Zapf told KPBS that she changed her vote after deciding an alternative proposal to build five fire stations in underserved District 4 and repair 25 “public safety assets that are not in good condition” … would be a better approach. San Diego CityBeat .

Section 8 Voucher

In late June of 2018, the Smart Growth and Land Use Committee of the City Council – which Zapf sat on – sent on to the full council a code amendment about housing discrimination but without a recommendation as the committee was split. The amendment would prohibit housing discrimination against applicants who use Section 8 vouchers or other rent subsidies.

State law doesn’t protect tenants with Section 8 vouchers from discrimination by landlords based on income source, meaning landlords can refuse to rent to certain individuals as a business practice. The amendment would prohibit landlords from rejecting applicants based solely on voucher status, although landlords would still retain a right to choose tenants without subsidies.

Within the City of San Diego, more than 15,000 low-income households receive Section 8 assistance through the San Diego Housing Commission, which breaks down to 36,478 individuals, with 86 percent being people of color. Georgette Gomez and David Alvarez supported the proposal, while Lorie Zapf and Scott Sherman did not.

Alvarez said:

Creating affluent communities and creating poor communities —that was done by design. Anything that we can do to ensure people of all income levels have access to live anywhere they want must be made an option.”

Well, Zapf had an interesting counter point. She said she wasn’t “ready to say it’s discrimination” to deny a rental application based on Section 8 voucher use, and she thought the proposal amendment needed more vetting. Then she said this:

“I want to live in Rancho Santa Fe. I live in Clairemont. I live in a very basic, modest neighborhood. And I think this would be a great place to have family homes and so forth. But I can’t go to the wealthiest areas…. I’m just not seeing a big problem with 100-percent utilization.” Times of San Diego


Okay, that was in late June. By time the amendment came to the full City Council a little over a month later, Zapf switched her vote and joined the Democratic majority; it passed 6 to 1 with only Mark Kersey opposed, as Republicans Chris Cate and Scott Sherman went absent for the vote.

San Diego’s Housing Crisis

Although with her support for restrictions on short term vacation rentals, Zapf aided in recovering housing stock for long-term renters, and in turn helped ease the housing crisis, in general, as mentioned, she definitely takes on the developers’ views for resolving problems – not the tenants’ perspective. Her job, she feels, is to make it easier for developers by loosening government regulations.

In that SD U-T interview, she was asked, How would you address the city’s housing crisis? She responded:

A study conducted by Point Loma Nazarene University showed that 40 percent of the cost to build housing is due to local government regulations and the amount of time it takes to comply with the regulations.

This is why when I was chair of the Smart Growth and Land Use Committee, I worked on finding ways to reduce permitting costs, streamline the permitting process and other measures to make it easier to build housing by reducing the cost to build.

These views are in line with the GOP lens on her glasses. Her role is to reduce government, government regulations and government oversight. This is classic Republicanism. The role of government is to enable capitalists they say, to make it easier for businesses to make a profit. Nothing about the little guy or little woman, nothing about tenants’ rights, more affordable housing or god forbid rent control. For Lorie, affordable housing means more affordable for the builders, more room for their profit margin.


However you feel about the homeless and homelessness, if you believe the City of San Diego has done a good job in addressing it – then you’re in good company with Lorie. She was asked in an April 19, 2018 interview with San Diego Union-Tribune, “Evaluate what the city has been done on homelessness. What would you do differently?”

She answered:

The city has taken necessary steps to help reduce homelessness through the bridge shelters. Partnerships with agencies who have expertise in handling homelessness has helped place people into permanent housing and has provided needed services to help homeless get back on their feet.

It is important to have other agencies, like the county of San Diego and neighboring cities, increase efforts to combat homelessness and increase mental health services and to assist the chronically homeless.

I think it is important to not take a one-size-fits-all approach to combating homelessness. We need to focus on causes of homelessness and get people the help and services they need. That means more mental health facilities, more mandated drug and alcohol treatment and job placement assistance.

We now know the numbers of people from the bridge shelters who – as Lorie touted – are being placed into permanent housing – are woefully low. Zapf had joined others on the council last November to spend $6.5 million to open the massive tents for a combined total of 674 beds. They set a goal then of at least 65 percent of the occupants leaving for permanent housing. But, so far it’s a lot less, only 12 percent.

Observers say homeless people are using the shelters like “revolving doors” and by a ratio of 3 to 1, people are returning to the shelters compared to those who have moved into housing. The agencies managing the shelters have criticized the Council’s 65 percent goal as unrealistic – there aren’t enough housing units and rental subsidies available. Bob McElroy, the head of Alpha Project, which runs the tent in Barrio Logan, said:

“There’s certainly not housing out there for 65 percent of the people in the shelters, If there was, they would be in it.”

Yet, Lorie has been part of the helm of this large municipality for 8 years now – and her constituents need to ask themselves if the homeless situation in San Diego has improved. She has followed her Republican-colleague Mayor Faulconer’s lead on the homeless issues. Neither, unfortunately have pushed the city to grapple with the nation’s fourth-largest population of homeless people, or attendant issues like the Hep A crisis – in ways that reflect the enormity and gravity of the situation.

A city this large with this large of a homeless population needs to mobilize the resources to adequately address the immediate lack of housing and other immediate needs, like lack of restrooms for the homeless. For years, the homeless said their biggest complaint was the lack of public restrooms. But the city didn’t respond. We know what happened next.

When in the Spring of 2017, the city council held their very first hearing on homelessness, San Diego CityBeat summarized some of the council’s reaction:

Councilmembers Mark Kersey and Lorie Zapf seemed utterly oblivious to the severity of the problem, asking questions and making statements that were the verbal equivalent of the “meh” emoticon.

Becoming an environmentalist

When Lorie ran against Democrat Sarah Boot in 2014, she was running to represent the coasts and beach communities, neighborhoods generally liberal, Democratic and environmentally-conscious. She became aware that no one can get elected in District 2 who is not an avid environmentalist.

She needed a make-over. There had not been anything in particular about her history as the former District 6 rep that made her stand out as any kind of environmentalist. So the answer she came up with was to tout herself as an outdoor enthusiast – after all she hiked the Himalayas and scuba dove the Great Barrier Reef and backpacked around the world in the late 1980s.

Plus, no one is opposed to clean-ups, right? So, Lorie began cementing partnerships with I Love a Clean Diego and San Diego River Park Foundation to sponsor river, canyon and beach clean-ups. (See this puff piece by Susan DeMaggio  in an interview with Lorie, July 2017 San Diego Union-Tribune)

Ever since, Zapf has been burnishing her credentials as an environmentalist. Once in a while she’ll join the Democrats on Council and vote for something positive for the ecology, as she did in July of 2016 in voting for a plastic bag ban.

And recently she came out against off-shore oil drilling on the San Diego coast. When Trump floated the idea, everybody locally opposed it. Why, the entire Republican County Board of Supervisors opposed it. It was a no-brainer for any local politician, as the Navy would never allow it to happen. So, she spoke at an rally in Mission Beach in February 2018 sponsored by SanDiego350, Greenpeace and the Sierra Club. See, she says, I’m an environmentalist.

Who Supports Lorie Zapf?

For the Primary election last June, Zapf had cash from the Lincoln Club and Chamber of Commerce flowing in plus $20,000 from the Building Industry Association of San Diego PAC , the March 9 filings showed. The GOP group’s effort for Zapf reported expenses of $97,128. SD Reader

Lorie is also the beneficiary of a big-money Republican political consultant named Chris Wilson who is tied closely to San Diego’s GOP Lincoln Club and Chamber of Commerce. Wilson is CEO of the political consulting group WPAi working on behalf of the reelection bid of Lorie Zapf. Wilson’s company is currently practicing his “online wizardry” for an independent expenditure committee set up by the Lincoln Club on behalf of Zapf. It had reported spending a bit over $35,000 for “polling” services for her. Wilson’s firm boasts on its website that it “mixes traditional polling with what critics say are dark arts of the Internet.” SD Reader

This year’s campaign is similar to others she has run in years past. According to Jordan Beane, one of Lorie’s Primary Democratic opponents, she won “in “District 2 in 2014, with nearly $900,000 dollars in political contributions.” His online campaign website asserted Zapf’s campaign raised over $568,000 back then. But, he said, “it wasn’t just direct contributions that put Councilmember Zapf over the top. She had some outside help as well.” He cited the following:

The Super PAC “Coalition of Coastal Communities for Lorie Zapf” raised $188,611.38. The PAC was neither “Coastal” (no zip codes registered by the donors were close to a beach) nor represented “Communities” … but it was able to support Lorie Zapf’s reelection efforts through a steady stream of mailers.\

Beane added:

Meanwhile the succinctly named “Neighbors United for a Better City Government Supporting Lorie Zapf for Council 2014 sponsored by the Lincoln Club of San Diego County” PAC raised $138,800 to re-elect Councilmember Zapf. …once again this was a way for special interests to funnel untraceable money into getting their preferred candidate re-elected.

And now, it appears Zapf has once again a massive war chest courtesy of the deep pockets in the Lincoln Club and Chamber of Commerce. Once again she is endorsed by the Lincoln Club, which represents San Diego business interests; it says its vision –

is one of a county wherein taxes are low, government is small and accountable, children receive a world-class education, regulations are reasonable and business is encouraged.

And its mission:

is to advance free market principles and ideas by recruiting, endorsing, and financing business-friendly candidates and ballot measures that reflect our commitment to responsible public policy, the expansion of economic opportunity, and an enhanced quality of life throughout San Diego County.

Obviously, the Lincoln Club and the Chamber have expectations of Zapf – to further their pro-business and capitalist interests, “to advance free market principles” and be a “business-friendly” candidate. They expect their people to run our local city government like a business.

Latest Fundraising Numbers in District 2 Race Between Lorie Zapf and Jen Campbell

The latest fundraising data from the District 2 campaigns shows incumbent Zapf having raised nearly 2 and a half times what her Democratic opponent, Dr Jen Campbell, has raised in the period from May 20 to the end of June.

Zapf has raised more than $417,000 total for this election, compared to Campbell’ s $176,000 total for this period. The Republican Party spent more than $7,500 on opposition research from May 20 to July 21 supporting Zapf, and nearly $7,900 to support Zapf by helping produce door hangers and voting guides.

Prominent locals who have given to Zapf’s campaign, include former San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders (now CEO of the Chamber of Commerce), who contributed the full amount for individual donors, $550, and Sempra executive Frank Urtasun, a top official at its lobbying arm Sempra Services, who gave $250. inewsource:

Bringing pro-business bias to government

Business and capitalist groups like the Chamber of Commerce, the Lincoln Club and the Associated Builders and Contractors appreciate Zapf’s pro-business bias. After all, Zapf, who ran a natural foods company before she was in politics, has said removing some of the bureaucratic hurdles such as lengthy permit approval processes can make a big difference for small businesses.

Even Zapf’s opposition to short term vacation rentals helps a key group of her supporters, the hotel industry. Bill Evans – owner of the Bahia Resort, for instance, was a major contributor of the hotel industry’s campaign against Airbnb.

Others in the hotel industry have backed Zapf’s campaign – such as the support for her from the Bartell Hotel family. The Bartell hotels are the largest, locally-owned hotel empire, which includes Humphreys Half Moon Inn, The Dana on Mission Bay, Sheraton La Jolla Hotel, and Hilton San Diego Airport / Harbor Island – eight in all.

Zapf’s support for the hotel industry was evidenced when she joined a majority of the city council in October of 2017 to approve an 18-acre Christian-themed resort to be built by controversial televangelist Morris Cerullo at the west end of Mission Valley. The opposition to the center was primarily from the LGBT community, as Cerullo is notorious for being outspoken in his opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage, although opponents cloaked their arguments in traffic and congestion concerns.

During one of the debates, Lorie Zapf suggested it was the religious nature of the development that was in fact fueling opposition. “The comments I heard were clearly religious-based, and that is not a reason in this country to not have a faith-based project,” Zapf said.

Councilman Scott Sherman, whose district includes Mission Valley, raised the issue of property rights – which he seems to do in nearly every council discussion, and stated:

“We have property rights and it’s very important we don’t abridge those property rights, especially when it comes to matters of religious organizations.”

One current stance Lorie could be taking as an “environmentalist”may, however, throw her into direct conflict with part of the hotel industry. This could happen if she joins those who are opposed to hotelier Bill Evans’ public land-grab in Mission Bay. Evans, the owner of Bahia Resort, plans to double his hotel at the expense of public parking and public access to the Bay. Even though, to date, she has met with one of the groups opposed to Evans’ plot, it’s not as if she has given the effort the prestige of her name and office.

Primary Shenanigans

During the Primary election campaigning, Lorie was absent much of the time. She missed three candidate forums hosted by District 2 town councils, the Pacific Beach Town Council candidate forum, the Ocean Beach Town Council forum on April 25 and then the Clairemont Town Council forum on May 3.

Sure, Lorie would have been facing 3 or 4 Democratic candidates and at least one other Republican, but that is what incumbents have to do – face their opposition, so these antics violate basic democratic and transparent campaigning; yet if you have the dough, you don’t have to show, eh?

Then just 6 days before the Primary, Lorie did it again. On May 30 Lorie Zapf joined Mayor Faulconer for a major photo op announcing a set of new bridges across San Diego River, to be constructed later this year. The bridges will replace the existing West Mission Bay Drive bridge and will help to improve traffic flow to SeaWorld and the beach communities. She has made this tactic of photo ops right before an election a time-honored tradition of hers.

General Election

The General Election is in just 2 months. And it’s extremely important District 2 voters have a balanced view of Lorie Zapf in order to make an informed choice.

Our review of what Zapf stands for and what she’s voted on has not been fully comprehensive in that we trace every vote and every position she’s taken. Yet, we have reviewed enough to provide some fairly basic understandings of just who and what she is.

One thing jumps out – Lorie Zapf is clearly a partisan Republican and enjoys her party-line votes, such as her vote when the City Council took up the issue of Assembly Bill 805 which was to make SANDAG votes more proportional in August of 2017. She joined her Republicans on the Council to vote against it. Voice of SD

She also enjoys the support from San Diego’s business community, the Chamber of Commerce, the Lincoln Club, the Associated Builders and Contractors, the hotel industry. She is on the City Council to do their bidding – as much as she can without taking off her environmental costume.

Eight years ago, a local magazine called her “Zig-Zag Zapf” for the twists and turns of her changing positions over the years, as reported by SD CityBeat and we’ve highlighted some of them, particularly on the 30 foot height limit and her stance on gay marriage.

From her opposition to project labor agreements, to her politicization of every little event and her partisan games to deny opponents any credit, to her opposition to raising San Diego’s minimum wage, to her obliviousness and incompetence on complicated issues such as how much city workers make, to her dis-connect on OB’s police surveillance cameras, to her definite non-progressive votes on such issues as special elections, the border wall, Section 8 vouchers where she takes the lead from her Republican benefactors, to her total non-comprehension of the validity and science of the city’s budding cannabis industry, we have her very conservative views on the city’s housing crisis and the state of homelessness.

When we review her antics during the Primary where she avoided candidate forums hosted by District 2 town councils – and when we examine the list of those business interests who support her, we have an incumbent establishment-backed candidate who simply just does not deserve the votes of District 2 residents.

In the end, Lorie Zapf is a defender of the the status quo, not a woman of the “people.” When we look at some of her acceptable “good” votes, they generally were without controversy and they largely benefit the haves, not the have-nots. She has a long history of anti-progressive opinions and votes that should cancel out the new and improved retread of Zapf as environmentalist, Zapf as constituent supporter.

Indeed, the sins of Lorie Zapf have now been laid bare and they are rushing to catch up with her. And you, dear reader and dear voter, have been forewarned.

(Hat tip to Anna Daniels for her inspiration.)


{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

rick e callejon September 5, 2018 at 5:31 pm

Anyone know if the beach cameras have led to a single criminal conviction?


triggerfinger September 5, 2018 at 11:12 pm

Is it a flaw to change ones mind when a compelling argument is made against it?

She is certainly a republican by default, but there are many reasons to vote contrary to party, some of which are genuinely for the public’s best interest.

I don’t think it’s fair to dismiss all of those votes as serving some sort of underhanded political expedience.


Kate Yavenditti September 6, 2018 at 7:09 am

As a member of Women Occupy San Diego, we have been asking the City Council to support our proposed Charter Amendment that would replace the current Community Review Board on Police Practices, which reviews SDPD investigations of complaints against officers with an independent Commission on Police Practices that would conduct independent investigations of complaints. Lorie Zapf voted against this proposal and does not support independent investigations of community complaints of police misconduct.


Frank Gormlie September 7, 2018 at 1:21 pm

Thanks Kate, this ought to be added, indeed.


Val September 6, 2018 at 10:45 am

Wolf in sheeps clothing.


Molly September 7, 2018 at 1:24 pm

Yay, you finished it, but not by last Monday as you promised. It’s a rather long read. Plus you left out some things about Zapf that should be included. (see other comment)


Richard September 8, 2018 at 9:43 am

Another manner in which Zapf serves the building industry is her “laissez-faire” approach to how the City Development Services Department enables developers, a bureaucracy which often turns a naïve – or blind eye to their abuses. At times, projects are approved and then built as if no one at the city was at the switch. This is how the boondoggles at that Emerson project in Roseville and at the corner of Ebers and Greene Streets in northeast Ocean Beach went up without anyone at the city seemingly noticing.

And let’s ad the boondoggle project at 4651-4653 Orchard Ave in S. OB No body at the switch in development services or OBPB.


obcliffhanger November 2, 2018 at 3:51 pm

I wrote to her office in July, August and early October asking about regulations for businesses that establish themselves on residential streets and corners, in reference to the plague of scooters and bikes. Didn’t hear back until yesterday, 5 months later, with the claim that “Councilmember Lorie Zapf has been a very strong advocate on establishing a regulatory framework for deckles scooter and bike companies”, referring to her work on the city’s Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee.

The framework for which she has been a “strong advocate” addresses speed limits, safety, and data sharing – NOTHING about the presence of scooters and bikes on so many OB street corners. But … it makes her sound responsive to our coastal community, like her being such an environmentalist. I wonder, are there scooters on her streets in Clairemont?

So, five months later, still no answer from someone who is my City Council representative. Maybe if I’d signed my question “Lincoln Club Treasurer” I’d have heard back from her sooner.


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