Op-Ed: The Case Against Jen Campbell

by on December 9, 2020 · 4 comments

in Ocean Beach, San Diego

By Cathie Jolley, Gary Wonocott, Greg Knight, and Mandy Havlik

The City of San Diego is headed into one of the toughest budget situation we’ve seen in decades. A city government that is already financially burdened with a pension debt and budget deficits now braces for a looming shortfall of Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) revenues as a result of the COVID-19 public health crisis that has devastated our local tourism industry.

The need for a strong, steady hand to lead the City Council has never been greater than at this moment. It will require someone with the ability to address the many challenges of recovering from the pandemic, our housing affordability crisis and navigating potential budget cuts to essential services.

It will take someone who has a track record of bringing people together, listening compassionately to the communities across San Diego and building consensus among Councilmembers to take action.

Councilmember Jen Campbell has proven that she is not the right person to set an agenda for this City Council.

How can Jen Campbell lead the City Council when she has failed to provide leadership for the constituents of her own Council District??

Town councils and planning groups from across District 2 are beyond frustrated by Councilmember Campbell’s unwillingness to listen, support, collaborate or represent their communities. Some have become so dissatisfied that a recall effort is now underway that will soon be gathering signatures to give District voters an opportunity to remove Councilmember Campbell from office.

On the issues of protecting the environment or providing meaningful restrictions to short-term vacation rentals, she has failed to address the community’s needs. Instead of collaboration or listening to residents, Councilmember Campbell has cut deals that align with industry interests  or developer profits, cutting out her own residents in the process. We feel she does not listen to us. Why would making her Council President change her approach of ignoring her communities?

There are countless issues with relatively simple solutions that have gone unresolved, forcing residents to take actions. If Councilmember Campbell is not listening to District 2 communities, then who does Jen Campbell represent?

Our other City Councilmembers cannot reward Jen Campbell with this position of responsibility including the power to set the agenda for the entire City. What message does that send to other elected officials? It could only lead to all concerned residents of San Diego being ignored, just as we have.

In contrast, Councilmember Montgomery Steppe in her time on the Council all of the attributes that we need now. Newly elected Councilmembers, please hear our plea and consider this case against Councilmember Campbell.


Cathie Jolley, Honorary Mayor of Pacific Beach
Gary Wonocott, former President of Mission Beach Town Council
Greg Knight, former board member Mission Beach Town Council
Mandy Havlik, board member of the Peninsula Community Planning Board

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Geoff Page December 9, 2020 at 12:47 pm

Ms. Havlik, are you representing the opinion of the Peninsula Community Planning Board?


Nicole Sours Larson December 9, 2020 at 5:16 pm

Extremely well stated. Jen Campbell has been a huge disappointment as a council member. She continues to ignore her constituents and makes no effort to represent our interests. That’s why I’m supporting Monica Montgomery Steppe for City Council President.


Mandy Havlik December 10, 2020 at 4:58 pm

Hello Mr. Page! No. I am not representing the opinion of the PCPB board. Just representing my own opinions. Thank you for asking.


Geoff Page December 10, 2020 at 9:42 pm

Thank you for the clarification, Ms. Havlik. The point of my question was that there is a requirement that a planning board member, identifying themselves as a planning board member at a public meeting, state whether they are there representing the board as a whole or representing their own personal opinion. There is nothing wrong with representing yourself as a board member, as a credential, as long as that point is clarified, and it has been now.


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