The ‘Recall Campbell’ Campaign Must Be Official – the U-T and Beacon Both Reported On It and ‘Contra’ Recall Group Forms

by on December 22, 2020 · 4 comments

in Ocean Beach, San Diego

The Recall Jen Campbell campaign must be official – now that both the San Diego Union-Tribune and The Beacon have reported on it. (In contrast, the lowly OB Rag has been reporting on it for over a month.)

The recall effort is not only official, it now officially has an opposition group that has formed to oppose the recall, to counter the signature gathering petitions, to contradict those efforts. It is the “Contra Recall” group.

As the U-T reported, the recall campaign “gained significant momentum since Campbell was elected council president” on Dec. 10 by a very narrow 5-4 vote – which split up the Democratic super-majority on the council. As per the U-T: “Leaders of the campaign say they’ve been flooded with donations and offers to volunteer from across the city since the Dec. 10 vote ….”

Plus, the recall campaign now has a bit larger profile since former Councilwoman Barbara Bry has lent her name to it.

The issues that have angered coastal residents of District 2 about Campbell are not new – we’ve been reporting on them for months – but they include Campbell’s efforts to legitimize short-term vacation rentals and her successful push to eliminate the 30-foot height limit in the Midway District with Measure E. And there are plenty of other issues; one of the main complaints from beach community groups has been that Campbell has been MIA, doesn’t listen to her constituents, and hasn’t confided in them about her major policy changes.

The U-T quoted Cathie Jolley, a Crown Point resident and longtime community leader, as saying recent vacation rental legislation sponsored by Campbell galvanized the recall effort, which was mostly quiet and less organized before that. Jolley said the legislation, which would allow such rentals with new restrictions, was written by the travel industry and ignores the concerns of neighborhoods most affected.

“She doesn’t listen to her constituents,” said Jolley, noting that Campbell declined to discuss the legislation with residents before proposing it. “I challenge you to find any community in District 2 that is sympathetic to her.”

Another issue is that Campbell voted against the rewilding of Mission Bay despite overwhelming support by local and environmental groups and her claim to be an “environmentalist.”

The Beacon quoted Bry on why there’s a recall. “It’s a combination of factors,” she said. “One issue is her stance on short-term rentals and her agreement with Expedia. Another is her support for Measure E, which raised the 30-foot height limit in the Midway District. The third is a general belief that she has not been responsive to her constituents on District 2 issues.” Bry added:

“The timing (of the recall) had always been to wait until January because it was too confusing to try and do it during the middle of an election. The irony is, if [Campbell] had not tried to become the council president, it would not have happened. This is a big deal.”

It is such a big deal – the U-T said “credible enough to prompt an anti-recall coalition that has hired some of San Diego’s most experienced public relations and election strategists to help keep Campbell in office.”

One of those political consultants on board the Contra Recall Campaign is Dan Rottenstreich, who said the campaign will be “broad-based” because the recall is disruptive and dangerous for the city. “This is really about a small group of people who are frustrated they can’t get their way,” Rottenstreich said.

Rottensreich is apparently married to (or partnered with) Bridget Browning, the head of the union that signed on to Campbell’s disastrous plan to bow down to the short-term vacation industry.

Other Contra voices, quoted by the U-T, said the recall would be a divisive and unwarranted distraction at a time when the city is facing the COVID-19 pandemic, a budget crisis and several other key issues. The recall campaign is undemocratic because signature gathering and other bureaucratic requirements would delay a recall election until next fall, roughly six months before Campbell must run for re-election in the June 2022 primary.

Yet, these are the same complaints made by Campbell’s detractors; that she orchestrated Measure E while the public could not participate due to the pandemic and COVID restrictions, during a budget crisis, in a non-transparent and undemocratic manner. The same with her STVR plan.

Both Rottensteich, the consultant, and Venus Molina, Campbell’s chief of staff – who is supposedly the architect of the surrender to the travel industry – are critical of the group Save San Diego Neighborhoods. Okay, but they are walking on thin ice if they believe that group represents the extent of the dissatisfaction with Campbell. It is much, much wider.

People and groups that support the recall include environmental groups, advocates for aggressive vacation rental regulations and leaders of most of the community groups in District 2, which includes the city’s beach communities.

Perhaps the Contra group are the same folks rumored to be upset with the OB Rag for our constant criticisms of Campbell. Allies of Campbell supposedly put their heads together to try to figure out a way to get back at the OB Rag. Maybe go after our advertisers – hey, good luck with that! Or some other nefarious way to strike back at OB’s online newspaper.

So, be forewarned Contras – your slick Contra campaign may be broad-based but just remember, the people who sign the recall petitions live in District 2. Campbell’s supporters don’t.





{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Judi Curry December 22, 2020 at 2:01 pm

I’m ready to sign. Last night witnessed an almost accident on Sunset Cliffs – where there are still no street lights even though it was reported over 6 months ago. The mailman, in delivering mail in the dark, had some people dash out in front of his cart to cross the street. If he had been faster, he would have hit them all and it would have been the pedestrians fault but he just couldn’t see them. And where was this located? Right under the street light that is not lit.

I talked to Campbell’s office about this and other things going on at the Cliffs after sunset and was told that something would be done about it. This was on July 8, of this year. Still waiting!


Frank J December 22, 2020 at 2:13 pm

‘campaign will be “broad-based” because the recall is disruptive and dangerous for the city’- Rottenstreich.
Remember when Scalia said counting all the votes in Florida (Bush/Gore) would cause irreparable harm to the country? How did that turn out?


triggerfinger December 22, 2020 at 6:42 pm

Lol! So she has to fetch some political consultants to fend off the recall?

I guess that’s what you do when you have zero grassroots support.


Bart December 28, 2020 at 8:45 am

Simple issue here. She is supposed to represent district 2 & hasn’t been. She’s supposed to help with our agenda’s, have our back, and is actually acting against district 2 wants & needs. Campbell has spent so much time secretly dealing with the Building Industry & STVR Industry making deals unrepresentative of her constituents, that she has no time to return calls or emails from citizens of district 2.
-Who wants STVR’s in their family neighborhoods?
-Who wants tens of thousands more people living at the beach, with no parking & blocking our access to the rest of the city?
-Who wants to get rid of the 30’ height limit in district 2?
-When voting to “Clean up the Midway District”, most folks would not know this meant cleaning it up by removing the 30’ height limit! Wake up San Diego! We are being sold out again, in a way that is like none other before.


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