Recall Campbell Effort Becomes Official

by on February 1, 2021 · 11 comments

in Ocean Beach, San Diego

The effort to recall Councilwoman Jen Campbell is becoming official this week. The Notice of Intent to Circulate Petition is being published and Campbell will likely be served over the next few days. Once these procedural elements have been accomplished, the recall effort can begin to officially collect signatures.

The Petition outlines a host of reasons for the recall effort (see below) and ends with, “Councilmember Campbell has betrayed the voters and is unfit for office. Having no other recourse, we the residents of District 2, together with concerned residents throughout the city, have come together to take this action.”

Five fairly prominent and active residents of District 2 have stepped up during this crucial moment and have signed their names to the Petition. They represent every neighborhood of District 2 and include:

  1. Kevin Hastings – Vice Chair, Ocean Beach Planning Board
  2. Cathie (Jolley) Umemoto – presently a director on the PB Town Council Board of Directors. Cathie is two-time past President of PBTC and 2019-2020 Honorary Mayor of PB.
  3. Mandy Havlik – Board Member & Secretary, Peninsula Community Planning Board
  4. Erin Cullen – Board Member, Clairemont Community Planning Group
  5. Gary Wonacott – Past President, Mission Beach Town Council

Reasons given for the recall:

“A lot of powerful forces —from business and development interests to labor leaders and the San Diego Police Officers Association —helped [Jennifer Campbell] become council president. Already, lobbyists and political consultants representing some of those interests have met to organize an anti-recall campaign.”- Union-Tribune columnist Michael Smolens, December 23, 2020

Recall of an elected official is very serious and should only be undertaken when it is clear the official has lost the trust of constituents.

  • Councilmember Campbell has advocated passage of laws and policies that detrimentally impact the quality of life for all San Diegans.
  • She broke promises made to voters when campaigning for office.
  • She held closed-door meetings with representatives of special interests like Expedia and SDG&E that seek to take advantage of residents.
  • She makes decisions that benefit special interests without input from the community.
  • She is pushing legislation to legalize short term vacation rentals in residential neighborhoods in violation of the city’s zoning ordinance, increasing crime, and allowing precious housing stock to be used as lodging for tourists in the midst of a housing crisis.
  • She advocated for elimination in the Midway District of the voter-approved 30-foot coastal height limit law–which has protected our coast for over four decades –a developer give-away without providing commensurate public benefits, despite the fact elimination of the height limit was opposed by the majority of District 2 residents.
  • She has consistently refused to seek or accept recommendations or advice from community groups, town councils, planning groups and residents, frequently storming out of meetings when residents disagree with her views.


{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael Russell February 1, 2021 at 12:35 pm

She seems to be one of those rare unicorns of politics that actually has the backbone to stand for something she believes in, namely that the coastal communities should not stand apart from the needed increase in multi-family building due to the housing crisis, and refuse to pander or play games with those who are out there to profit off their real-estate at the cost to the poor, who make up the majority of Americans, San Diegans, and, if we are to be honest, those who live in these beach communities. If you earn less than 7-figures (i.e. 100,000/yr.) and you ever want to live, or even vacation, along the cost in San Diego, you need to keep Jennifer Campbell in office.


Geoff Page February 1, 2021 at 1:58 pm

First, I agree with everything Paul said. I live in a tiny Craftsman cottage that I bought in 1987, two bedrooms and one bathroom. Raised two kids in it. I did that because I love the ocean, in my 44 years in San Diego, I have always lived near the ocean, it is why I came here. The value of my house now is ridiculous and, like Paul, it means nothing to me. I’ve lived all over the country and there is just no better place to live. Sell it? Where would I go?

Campbell lied, outright lied to the voters. Backbone? That’s a laugh. If she had one she would not have been frightened by the threat of a legal battle with the short term rental industry that many a lawyer will tell you was a farce. She went along with the height limit challenge because the former mayor and the development industry wanted it and promised her the moon. Nothing she does will have an effect on the cost of coastal living, it has always been high because it is coveted.

This stupid position that selfish people are the cause irritates the shit out of me. I found OB in 1980 and moved in because I loved the feel of the place. That extends to all of Point Loma. So I’d like to maintain that feel that development interests do not give shit about. I refuse to be called selfish because I’m trying to protect my home from people who just want to make money off it. If you want something different, move to Manhattan Beach. Oh, yea, that crowded anthill is really expensive. That’s not what we want for Point Loma and OB.


Sam February 1, 2021 at 3:08 pm

Nice try Jen…I mean “Michael.” Go sell your BS somewhere else. The jig is up! Can’t wait to sign the petition!


Frank Gormlie February 1, 2021 at 3:32 pm

Michael, let me repeat this: six out of every 7 residents in the OB Planning Area rent. Period. That’s the only 7-figure they know.


Sam February 1, 2021 at 3:50 pm

Nice try council member Campbell! See you at the polls!


Paul Webb February 1, 2021 at 1:45 pm

Michael, let’s assume for the moment that what you say is true. If that was the case, why did she run on a platform that opposed changing the height limit and promised to enforce the zoning code which prohibits STVR’s? If she believed as you have said that the height limit and the illegality of STVR’s were a symptom of the inequality in our system, she should have run on that platform and seen how great of a mandate she would have received.

And, please, stop trying to shame people who simply want to live in the neighborhood where they have chosen to live. I don’t live here because of how much profit I may or may not ultimately realize when I sell my home, I live here because this is the community in which I chose to invest not just my money but my time, volunteering for the community. It really doesn’t matter to me how much my home is worth. I don’t view my home as a piggy bank, I view it as the place where I live, and where I intend to live as long as it is possible for me to do so. In fact, I’m probably going to leave feet first.

If you want to shame people, why not shame the exploitative real estate speculators who buy homes to demolish them and build McMansions? Or who build multi-family structures that rent or sell for multiples of the homes they displaced?


Jerry Loomis February 2, 2021 at 7:01 am

I have a different take on Jen Campbell as our District 2 council representative. I speculate that she is indeed a “rare unicorn”, a hapless and inexperienced politician who somehow got elected in a reaction to popular discontent with Lori Zapf. Once she was elected, it seems that she came under the influence of her staff and special interests. She seems to have no guiding principles, is unable to deal with her district constituents directly, and is manipulated by special interests and shepherded by her chief of staff, Venus Molina, who all somehow worked together to get her elected as the Council President. Again, this is my speculation, but it all fits the limited evidence that we have, since Jen Campbell doesn’t give us many opportunities to ask questions of her directly. All the more reason to work to have her recalled. Where can I get a recall petition to pass around?


Paul Webb February 2, 2021 at 9:33 am

I think you’ve pretty much nailed it, Jerry. The first time I saw her in person at a PCPB meeting, I was stunned by how naive and actually uninformed she seemed to be. She is not who we need representing our community.


Frank Gormlie February 2, 2021 at 10:45 am

Petition circulators can begin collecting signatures 21 days after publication of the Notice.


Jerry Loomis February 2, 2021 at 11:53 am

What are the specifics of signature gathering for the recall petition? I’m sure that there are legalities that need to be observed so that a petition will be acceptable. I’ve seen paid signature gatherers at Home Depot with various petitions in the past, and there seemed to be some documentation for each signature. Can an individual walk their neighborhood to get signatures? What I would like to be able to do is to give my neighbors a short version of the petition, with space for 1-5 signatures, so that they can complete it themselves and mail it to the appropriate address. Would that be legal and acceptable? What is required in a recall petition?


Frank Gormlie February 2, 2021 at 3:28 pm

Jerry – go to the recall site for answers. There’s a link either in this article or an earlier one. (If you have problems, let me know.)


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