Info on the Recall of Jen Campbell

by on January 12, 2021 · 25 comments

in Ocean Beach

By Judi Curry

Until now, I didn’t know what was really happening with the recall of Councilmember Jennifer Campbell. I got a phone call from Bridger Langfur who kindly filled me in. Here’s what I learned.

The core of the movement is a large group of District 2 community members who, having witnessed Jennifer Campbell’s “governing style” over the last two years, now agree that her removal from office is the only way forward.

Campbell’s tenure has been characterized by reversals of promises she made during her campaign. Two notable examples are short term vacation rentals and the preservation of the 30 foot Coastal Height Limit Law.

During her campaign, she vowed to advocate for enforcement of the existing municipal code ordinances which prohibit short term rentals in residential zones. She’s now pushing an ordinance that not only would legalize short term rentals, but also earmarks thousands of San Diego housing units to be used as tourist lodging, in perpetuity, by billion dollar multinational corporations such as Airbnb and Expedia.

She also aggressively campaigned, along with conservative Councilmember Chris Cate, for the complete elimination of the height limit in the Midway District — Measure E. It passed without the support of residents in Campbell’s district, who voted overwhelmingly against it.

Moreover, Campbell has chosen not to seek input from the community — not from planning groups, town councils or groups like Save San Diego Neighborhoods claiming they are hostile to her personally, impede progress and she “knows what she’s doing” and doesn’t want or need their advice.

Additionally, Campbell has sided with SDG&E in the debate over whether the City should create a truly public utility owned and operated by the City and residents of San Diego, which would reduce both residents’ energy costs and carbon emissions.

She has also failed to engage with the community and her constituents (and failed to pursue solutions) on the issues of housing, climate change and racial justice — all issues she claimed she was knowledgeable about, felt strongly about and would lead on, when she was running for office.

“Community engagement and input from residents” was one of the principle talking points of Campbell’s run for City Council. Her complete failure in this regard, her abandonment of the community, now drives the recall movement.

Expect the Notice of Intent to Circulate the Recall Petition to be published in the next week or so. This is the first step and starts the 120 day clock running. The Petition itself will begin to be circulated 21 days later, around the second week of February.

Although the required number is closer to 15,000, approximately 20,000 signatures from residents and registered voters of District 2 will be collected — “gathered”, to avoid problems like duplication or legibility.

The Movement to Recall Jen, as it is being called, is now engaged in enlisting volunteers to be the “boots on the ground” in the collection of signatures and community outreach representatives. It is also now actively seeking donations, having filed with the Secretary of State forming the Committee to Recall Jennifer Campbell, last week.

Learn more at

To volunteer – email here:

To donate:


{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Judi Curry January 12, 2021 at 10:21 am

Volunteers will be needed. If interested, use the link.


Mervie January 12, 2021 at 11:41 am

Thanks for posting! I just donated $100 and can’t wait to sign the official recall petition.


Paul Webb January 12, 2021 at 11:42 am

It’s not just that she negotiated a deal with a STVR provider and a local union, it’s that she did so without any community members or organizations having a seat at the table. That is inexcusable.


GML January 12, 2021 at 12:22 pm

I agree that she failed in her campaign promises. However, I still fail to see how a city council person is going to make any impact/difference on issues of “climate change and racial justice”.


Geoff Page January 12, 2021 at 12:39 pm

That’s not the point, GML. The writer said “all issues she claimed she was knowledgeable about, felt strongly about and would lead on, when she was running for office.” THAT’s the point, just more things she promised and has done nothing on.


Mervie January 12, 2021 at 5:06 pm

Despite overwhelming support from citizens for Monica Montgomery-Steppe, Jan Campbell still won the city council presidency, “which can be one of the most powerful in city government because its holder has the final say over what issues make it on council agendas.

Some who called into the meeting said the council majority’s support for Campbell was the result of backroom deals struck with special interests. Will Rodriguez-Kennedy, chairman of the San Diego County Democratic Party and backer of Montgomery Steppe, was blunt in his response to the decision.

“None of this matters because of powerful special interests have locked up this decision behind closed doors, and I’m left feeling powerless,” Rodriguez-Kennedy said.”

The city council is the legislative branch of San Diego’s government and Campbell is currently the head of it. Recalling her would make a difference as she is not serving the will of the people.


triggerfinger January 12, 2021 at 9:08 pm

She also claimed her medical license uniquely qualified her on responding to such things as the Hep A outbreak that the city failed at. Yet on homeless sanitation and Covid issues, she’s been pretty much absent.


Adam Huntington January 13, 2021 at 8:35 pm

She’s a city council rep in the 8th Largest City in America. She has a ton of power and control over our district’s services like trash pick up. Police attention. Scooter numbers etc.


Kathleen Blavatt January 15, 2021 at 1:26 am

Did Doctor Jen Campbell ever work on gunshot wounds?
I have been upset and woken up by gunshot fire in Ocean Beach the a few years now, especially on 4th of July and New Year’s Eve.
These gunshots mixed in with illegal fireworks have gotten out of hand. Some are coming from residents, but many are coming from Air B&B’s.
Arizona license plates are on most of the cars in front of these Air B&B’s. These visitors don’t seem to understand that blasting guns into the air and fireworks are illegal here. An O.B. friend with a military background was talking to us about having gone to a nearby by Air B&B and explaining to the visitors, while looking at the gun casings on the ground, that bullet, like all things must come down somewhere. If they didn’t stop shooting, he would call the police.
My question is “why do resident have to put themselves in harm’s way because most times Air B&Bs and police don’t take on these problem? Dr. Campbell seems more interested in insider deals than District 2 residents.
Recall her and put in someone that really cares, understands and wants to help our communities.


kevin January 15, 2021 at 8:26 am

I have found Rep Campbell’s office to be responsive and helpful. She has had representatives at community planning group and other local meetings I’ve attended. Most of the arguments articulated here are vague (did D2 vote ” voted overwhelmingly against” E? What are the numbers?) or contradictory (Measure E aims to help with housing so how can you say she has failed to pursue novel solutions to big problems). It seems she failed to take maximalist positions on two issues (Measure E and STVR) that you’re focused on and you’re gonna try to take your ball and go home. Politicians often have to compromise to find solutions and move forward on issues. From my perspective, that is what she’s done. If you want to keep fighting the same small-minded fights for another decade, join these people in the recall effort. I hope as Council President, Rep Campbell can help move our city forward – even if it doesn’t mean getting everything I want.


Paul Webb January 18, 2021 at 9:58 am

Okay, I’ll be real specific:
1. She and/or her staff are mainly not responsive to constituent inquiries or communications. This has been the experience of almost everybody I have been in contact with. I personally have reached out to her office five times and only once received anything other than a automated reply acknowledging my email.

2. In her “negotiations” regarding STVRs, no community members were involved, consulted or even informed until the deal was done. I recognize that you cannot have everybody at the table, but on an issue that has so much community concern there should have been some community representation.

3. She appears to be ignorant of city laws and processes, and refuses to listen when members of the community try to explain how things actually work. I know this from personal experience.

4. Absolute silence on community health/Covid-19 issues.

I could go on but I won’t.


Geoff Page January 15, 2021 at 10:49 am

Yea, I’ve seen some of her representatives at planning board meetings. I’ve seen one who attends the OB meetings scold and lecture the board for taking a position contrary to Campbell, he was outright insulting. She has others who are much better but that guy was lucky I wasn’t on the board at that time.

The point you miss, kevin, is that she promised, promised during her campaign to shut down the STVRs and to defend the height limit. I don’t care what you think about the issues, I don’t like being lied to and a whole bunch of other people feel the same way. Had she described what she actually did, she never would have been elected. She knew that.


Kevin January 15, 2021 at 11:10 am

If you’re going to accuse her of lying, could you at least provide clear evidence? Does anyone have the vote tally for Measure E in D2? At least bring some specifics to your cause.


Geoff Page January 15, 2021 at 12:43 pm
“The Faulconer Administration didn’t care,” Campbell said of short-term vacation rentals. “It’s their job to enforce the law and the last 3-4 years our zoning laws simply have not been enforced. Our housing availability is down to zilch when we’re discussing middle class people.”
There was a brief discussion of the 30-foot height limit and Dr. Campbell agreed it is under assault and should be defended. She knew about the push to raise the limit along the new trolley line to La Jolla and was at least familiar with concerns the community has about attempts to selectively raise the height limit.


Kevin January 15, 2021 at 2:23 pm

You are holding her to a maximalist position (No STVRs) that it seems like she never held. From that quote, it sounds like she is against STVR and the lack of action from the Faulconer administration, but she never said she would ban all STVRs. What she has decided to do is draft new regulations that limit STVRs and have actual enforcement. I am against STVRs, personally. However, I realize that politics requires compromise. The recall Campbell people just sound like children who don’t know that you don’t always get everything you want. Were things better under Zapf? Not as I can recall. I don’t understand.


Paul Webb January 18, 2021 at 10:01 am

You are missing the point. She said on the record that her position was that enforcing the existing zoning laws was necessary. People voted for her for taking that position. Period.

I agree that compromise is necessary, but to stake out a position, get elected and then abdicate that position, that is unacceptable. I could understand if she used enforcement of existing laws to gain leverage with the STVR industry, but that’s not what is happening.


triggerfinger January 15, 2021 at 12:49 pm

Here is a map of the votes on measure E:

I get that she doesn’t simply work for D2. But she is supposed to represents D2’s interests while also trying to fulfill citywide needs. If she thinks she knows better than the citizens of D2, she should at least try and make her case for that. But why bother if she doesn’t care what her constituents think. Even her organized opposition to the recall has been special interest groups, not citizens. It’s abundantly clear who she works for.

Also Measure E was not a housing measure. It did not add any density. It allowed short wide buildings to become tall skinny buildings, with larger, more expensive units. If anything it was contrary to providing middle class housing.


Kevin January 15, 2021 at 2:27 pm

Thanks for providing the link. I’m not convinced that this supports the claim that D2 “voted overwhelmingly against it”. It appears there are at least some parts of the district that voted in favor of it. I can’t tell what the overall D2 vote margin is.


Adam Huntington January 15, 2021 at 4:10 pm

Kevin, no offense but it sounds like she could dump water on our heads and you would try to convince us that it is actually sand. Just based on your comments, it doesn’t sound like you’re open minded about what is actually happening in our district nor does it sound like you’re evaluating the information in an unbiased fashion. You can continue to debate the community here in the comments section but it really seems tone deaf. Not sure what you think is so great about the complete destruction of our beach communities, their services, and safety but to each their own I guess.


Kevin January 15, 2021 at 4:49 pm

I guess I just see persuasion and engagement as more effective ways to improve the beach communities than a hopeless recall effort. She has more power now as Council President. This might be a good time to push for accountability on some of our most important issues. She won’t be recalled – that is very obvious. I wish the small and vocal contingent who wants the recall would use their time and energy more constructively for our beach communities. Of course, you’re free to use your time and effort as you see fit, but hey, opinions are free on the internet.

I think there are a lot of problems that need more attention in our community. Some of those problems are getting worse, but most of them (at least non-covid related) are about as bad as they were for the past 10 years. Recall efforts should be reserved for particularly egregious behavior. Maintaining the frustrating status quo doesn’t fit the bill, imo. I think I’m pretty open minded and understanding of the problems. I’m not hugely impressed by Jen Campbell, but recalling her seems like a waste of time and a distraction from the real problems that need fixing.


Geoff Page January 15, 2021 at 5:08 pm

“Recall efforts should be reserved for particularly egregious behavior.”

Not just not opposing, but being behind, the effort to remove the height limit in the Midway area, when she said she would defend the height limit, is egregious behavior. She insulted the legacy of those folks who worked so hard to get the limit restricted.

Sitting in while a multi-billion dollar travel company negotiated with a small San Diego union about how many illegal STVRs should be allowed to remain, after saying that the law should be enforced when campaigning is egregious behavior. She let them scare her or they have her in their pocket.

Not only not listening to the people of OB, who opposed spending $1 million on an ADA sidewalk to nowhere, but making the motion at council to approve this idiocy is egregious behavior. OB came up with many good ideas to improve on that plan that she igored.

This woman thinks she knows what is best for us all without asking. No, a recall is not a waste of time, it is the mechanism to remove people from office that every politician should see is always a consequence.


triggerfinger January 15, 2021 at 12:55 pm

Campbell vs. Zapf on the 30ft height limit, during the D2 campaign. Note her criticism of Zapf “flipping on the issue” due to pushback from residents. LOL!

Union-Tribune: When you go door to door when you’re talking to people are things like Sea World expansion, the limits, the height limits is that something that’s at the top of their minds or…

CAMPBELL: The height limits are definitely in the top of the minds of the people who live near Mission Bay. Yeah. And also the other parts of the water of course. Yeah the 30 foot height limit is a big thing, I pledged to maintain 30-foot height limit. I’ve pledged to bring the residents in on all the planning so that they can have their say and they can give their suggestions.

The plan that came out from the city for the Linda Vista, Clairemont Drive transit station areas, on Monday evening was terrible. It completely ignored what the citizens had been saying for four years. Four years ago it came up that they wanted to have higher height limits I think they were talking 90 feet. Now they’re talking 100 feet. Well that got the citizens up in arms. They did not want the height limit raised. And so the plan was dropped. Now Lorie Zapf used to be for raising the height limits, but four years ago when she was running for reelection, she flipped completely on the issue. And now says she’s for 30-foot height limits.

Well I’m also for 30 foot height limits but when I knock on the doors, people say to me, we don’t trust Laurie Zapf to live up to that. We see her donations are from big developers. People actually say that, I’m impressed with the citizens over there. They know what’s going on. And they want a change.



Frank Gormlie January 15, 2021 at 10:52 pm
Douglas Blackwood January 25, 2021 at 7:05 pm

Jen, you gotta: GO GO GO GO GOODBYE!


Maggie J. Campbell February 3, 2021 at 9:11 pm

I have read everyone’s post. This recall is certainly necessary. I met Jennifer during her campaign which at the same time, my campaign was open for State Assembly in district 78 against Todd Gloria in 2018. Her team came to my home because my last name is also, Campbell. We are not related and until her team showed up at my door, I did not know she existed. I attended a meeting she held four doors down from my home where I heard the promises that you all are speaking of here. I can certainly understand the disappointments.
As you know, I won my primary election in 2018 and wrote a book about the experience. I did not win against Todd Gloria’s re-election campaign in 2018. As we know he immediately left the State Assembly and ran for Mayor right after he won that re-election. I did not run again, instead I decompressed and took a break.
It would be my honor to step up to the plate to assume this city council seat to work for the people in our district. Feel free to reach out to me with your interests at: or 619-787-3362.
Maggie J. Campbell


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