Why We’re Launching ‘District 3 for Barbara Bry’

by on September 30, 2020 · 7 comments

in Election, San Diego

Neighborhoods of San Diego Council District 3

By Kate Callen and Tom Mullaney

The people who live and work in San Diego’s City Council District 3 have a long tradition of upholding the livability of their neighborhoods. From Golden Hill to Normal Heights and North Park to Mission Hills, these have been communities of modest homes, small businesses, and a family-friendly human scale.

Or that’s how they used to be. Today, District 3 is where City Hall’s worst policy decisions have come home to roost. Our neighborhoods are declining because the politicians who were elected to represent us did not provide the courageous leadership we needed.

We support responsible growth.  We believe in development that plays to neighborhood strengths and includes affordable housing. Instead, we have been force-fed massive high-priced condo projects that dwarf surrounding homes.

The City’s push to solve “San Diego’s housing crisis” through District 3 upzoning and density bonuses makes no sense. North Park and Uptown together have capacity in their existing community plans for 20,000 more homes, more than a 20-year supply.  We’d like to know the rationale for adding even more capacity. Nobody at City Hall will give us one.

Our last four Councilmembers easily won election because they persuaded residents they cared about our neighborhoods. For each of them, the District 3 Council seat quickly became a springboard to bigger arenas.

One of them is running for Mayor. Many of us supported Todd Gloria early in his career. We held fund-raisers for him and put out his yard signs. We thought he showed great promise, and back then, he did.

Then higher office beckoned, and special interests came calling.

Many years and many disappointments later, we can’t help feeling we were sold out. Community leaders across this district can cite too many examples of broken pledges and jettisoned agreements.

There was the Uptown Community Plan, crafted over seven years by city planners and community representatives. During the final days, with Gloria’s consent, City Hall scuttled the consensus. They rammed through changes to scrap the Land Use plan,  raise height limits, and eliminate  the schedule for reviewing historic districts.

And there was the North Park Jack-in-the-Box outlet, which flouted the terms of its remodeling permit by razing the building. Because the subsequent reconstruction violated the law, the eatery’s drive-through lane at the busy 30th & Upas intersection should have been closed. It’s still open.

Both episodes ended the same way: Community groups sued their own city government for failing to uphold its own laws. And Gloria, who had earlier assured District 3 constituents that he was in their corner, took sides against those constituents and told them to accept defeat and move on.

We began to feel that we could never trust another candidate for city office. Then Barbara Bry came to visit.

Over the past 18 months, Bry has spent time in neighborhoods across District 3 doing something that hasn’t happened here in a long time. She has really listened to us.

In numerous conversations with District 3 residents and business owners, Barbara has taken notes, asked probing questions, and understood the root causes of our concerns. Best of all, she has always followed up. This woman is as good as her word.

Bry is showing enormous courage in going up against a political machine with a big war chest. And she is taking on tough issues that resonate with neighborhoods, like the money drain of 101 Ash, the AB5 war on independent contractors, Sacramento dictating local land use policies, and short-term rental “party houses” that disrupt the peace.

The more we have spoken with and learned about Barbara, the more she has renewed our hope that strong leadership at City Hall can finally give us a functional, transparent, and accountable government.

That’s why we have formally launched “District 3 for Barbara Bry” (D3 for Bry), a coalition of nearly 100 (and growing) residents and small business owners who will work from now until Election Day to spread the word about Barbara and her commitment to neighborhoods, residents, and small businesses.

Based on our District 3 experiences, we are uniquely positioned to explain to the rest of the city what is at stake in this mayoral election. And we are uniquely motivated. The future of our neighborhoods is hanging in the balance.





{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

DIANE STRUM September 30, 2020 at 12:26 pm

I totally agree with everything that is said in your article and your reasons for supporting Barbara Bry. D3 for Bry.


Eugene Polley September 30, 2020 at 1:50 pm

One of the many District 3 issues Barbara has had a positive reaction to is the mayor and Councilman Ward’s plan to remove 450+ parking places along 30th St. and replace them with dedicated bike lanes. The community plan and common sense dictate the dedicated bike lanes be installed a few blocks west on Utah which is already stripped for regular bike lanes. Despite heated opposition to the plan, neither the mayor nor the Councilman have had the courtesy or the guts to meet with the community and discuss the plan. Barbara opposes inflicting the bike lanes on North Park, Todd Gloria refuses to divulge his position and instead brags how he installed bike lanes elsewhere in District 3.


Oscar Tavera September 30, 2020 at 2:09 pm

As a District 3 resident I am happy to still support Todd Gloria.
I don’t feel like Barbara’s view points truly represent the future of San Diego, just keeping the status quo and keeping the ones in power in the same position that they have benefited for years. I support Todd’s new leadership and ideas of increasing housing in the right areas.


Roy McMakin September 30, 2020 at 4:02 pm

Oscar, Todd has held elected office in SD since 2008. In other words he, not Barbara, has making decisions for us for 12 years. Barbara was first elected to City Council in 2016 9which I believe is the first elected office she has held in her life). Todd does the bidding of the same special interests who have controlled this city for years. Also, he supported by the SD Dems, who control much of the purse strings for party money. I live in District 3 and have experienced Todd’s governing style for years. He says one thing to placate his constituents but secretly does what his big donors want. He is the very definition of the power structure of this city. The fact that he seems to have gotten you to believe otherwise shows how he and the donor class that supports him will say and do anything to stay in power.


Sam September 30, 2020 at 6:05 pm

Oscar, it’s Gloria, not Bry, who has brought the city’s finances to its knees. If the city were a house and you try to add onto said house, when the foundation is in disrepair, not only will the addition fall down but it will take the rest of the house with it. Fix the city then add on, not the other way around. I’d prefer not using Gloria’s “new” ideas, thank you very much!

And PS – Gloria voted to enhance a broken statutory rape law, rather than take the opportunity to fix the current version of the law. Look into SB145.


norma damashek September 30, 2020 at 3:28 pm

Kate and Tom – what’s the best way for people to support District 3 for Barbara Bry?
Is there a website or an email address?


Kate Callen September 30, 2020 at 6:30 pm

Norma, we are just setting up a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/D3-for-Bry-110772630789640. And anyone interested should contact me directly: katecallen@cox.net. This is taking off fast, and we are really excited. Thanks!


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