City Council Members – Including Jen Campbell – Taking Heat for Pretending Measure ‘C’ Didn’t Pass

by on April 10, 2020 · 4 comments

in Election, Ocean Beach, San Diego

Certain members of the San Diego City Council are coming under criticism for actions they took on Tuesday, April 7.

While the public was not attending the Council meeting due to coronavirus restrictions, a council majority passed a resolution about Measure “C” – the Convention Center expansion measure on March’s Primary ballot that did not pass because it did not reach the required two-thirds endorsement by San Diego voters.

The resolution passed by the Council majority on Tuesday came after they removed specific language in the original proposed resolution that stated Measure “C” had been defeated. Here’s the language that was removed:

“Measure C did not receive the affirmative vote of at least two-thirds of the qualified voters voting on the measure and is hereby declared to have been defeated.”

San Diego Union-Tribune reporter Lori Weisberg’s had this to say in the opening to her article published Wednesday:

In a move to keep alive San Diego’s defeated hotel tax hike initiative, the City Council agreed this week that it would not characterize the November election outcome as a defeat.

Bowing to a request from backers of Measure C, the council on Tuesday broke from tradition when certifying the March 3 election results and stated only the number of yes and no votes for the initiative, which had required a two-thirds majority vote for approval. It came quite close — 65.24 percent — but still fell short of the nearly 67 percent needed.

Not all council members were on board the majority’s train on Tuesday. Barbara Bry, for example, said this before the vote:

“I will be voting no on this measure today because to do so is to break faith with the voters.”

Councilwomen Vivian Moreno and Monica Montgomery joined Bry in voting against the resolution. Also, a grassroots group called Alliance San Diego opposed the deletion of the language.

The Alliance also made the point that a 2016 initiative approved by San Diego voters required that citizens’ initiatives be reserved for general elections, as it’s been proven that more people vote in the general than the primary. The majority back then who voted to place Measure “C” on the Primary ballot included Councilwoman Jen Campbell and then-Councilwomen Georgette Gomez – who is now running for Susan Davis’ old seat in Congress.

More criticism of the vote taken on Tuesday is manifesting itself. In today’s Letters to the Editor of the Union-Tribune, well-known Donna Frye took the Council to task. Here’s her letter:

Even though the public is not attending the City Council meetings in person, I hope it will take close notice of what the council did on April 7.

With the notable exceptions of Barbara Bry, Vivian Moreno and Monica Montgomery, the council voted to alter reality by removing language that described how Measure C, the convention center tax, failed at the ballot box.

The specific language removed was “Measure C did not receive the affirmative vote of at least two-thirds of the qualified voters voting on the measure and Is hereby declared to have been defeated.”

Measure C required a two-thirds vote to pass as stated in the ballot materials. Trying to pretend other wise does not make it so and shows disrespect for the voters and our election process.

Donna Frye

Frye, of course, served on the City Council a few years ago and narrowly missed being elected mayor of San Diego.

Also reflecting how people in District 2 – which Campbell represents – feel is a blistering email sent to Campbell’s office yesterday by well-known OB and Point Loma activist (and OB Rag reporter) Geoff Page. Here’s his email:

Councilmember Campbell,

The Union Tribune quoted you as follows:

“I am concerned that we are throwing out the will of 65 percent and more of San Diegans who voted in favor of this measure,” Councilwoman Jennifer Campbell said of proposed city language stating that Measure C failed to pass.”

The article stated that:

“Deleted Tuesday from the wording in a proposed City Council resolution was a passage stating “Measure C did not receive the affirmative vote of at least two-thirds of the qualified voters voting on the measure and is hereby declared to have been defeated.”

If you are correctly represented in this article as being in favor of this break from normal procedure in announcing voting results and are attempting to somehow subvert the process, as are Measure C’s supporters, that required a two-thirds vote, I could not be more disappointed.  I would have expected this from your predecessor but we thought we got a different person in District 2 when you were elected.  This puts you squarely in the developer’s camp.

Your previous refusal to listen to the community of Ocean Beach about the ridiculous million dollar plus ADA ramp at Dog Beach was pretty bad, but this is much worse, you are disrespecting the voting process. The hope we all had when Zapf was ejected has completely evaporated.  You have turned into just another political disappointment.

Geoff Page

So, why all the shenanigan about Measure “C” ? The expansion of the Convention Center has been the dream of San Diego’s establishment for – what? decades? and is Mayor Faulconer’s “legacy” he wants to leave us as he mulls a run for California governor. Many of San Diego’s building trades also were on board the Measure C gambit. And quite frankly, San Diego’s progressive community was absolutely split on the issue.

But it was defeated. And perhaps if Measure “C” was on the General Election ballot, it would have suffered a larger defeat. Who knows? It was placed on the Primary Ballot as a cynical move by its supporters who hoped the more conservative voters of the city would have passed it. But the two-thirds was not reached.

Despite Campbell’s concerns, which she stated on Tuesday, that the council was “throwing out the will of 65 percent and more of San Diegans who voted in favor of this measure,”she and the majority are disregarding the will of those who defeated it, and perhaps, more importantly, as Donna Frye said, are showing disrespect for the election process.


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Geoff Page April 10, 2020 at 1:23 pm

It is amazing isn’t it? They pushed to get this on the primary ballot thinking that with fewer people voting it would be easier to get the two thirds they needed and they failed. Now, they whine that the proper ballot should be the general election not the primary. If the city council allows this to be on the ballot again, those who vote to do that should be run out of office. If that does happen, I hope San Diegans will see this for the sham it is and overwhelmingly defeat it once and for all.


Paul Webb April 10, 2020 at 3:18 pm

Councilmember Campbell has certainly been a disappointment in this and other issues. The fact that it was a narrow defeat is irrelevant. Would her election victory have been illegitimate if she had won by only one vote? This is binary, there is a pass/no pass outcome. The measure either won or lost. There is no “almost didn’t lose.”


Richard April 11, 2020 at 8:52 am

Are we really surprised that a carpetbagger from Boston has become a sycophant of the corrupt status quo downtown? Remember Enron by the sea? Could it be the same crowd of scoundrels pushing for an expansion of the convention center. Her naïveté is showing.


Gary Wonacott April 11, 2020 at 10:05 am

I met with Dr. Campbell before the City Council election. What was apparent then, and has become increasingly obvious now, is her lack of understanding of District II concerns and issues. When she was elected, we hoped that she would be able to come up to speed rapidly, but this has not happened. As a result, she is completely dependent on other councilmembers to guide her decision making process. On the Measure C issue, she is following the Gomez and Ward lead. While I generally support the unions, this is one example where they got it wrong, as I believe will be the case if Gloria is elected as mayor of San Diego by the unions. This is not the first time and I suspect it will not be the last.


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