Recall Campbell Proponents Add Their Voices

by on February 24, 2021 · 0 comments

in Ocean Beach

Here are two Op-Ed pieces that ran in the San Diego Union-Tribune on Tuesday, Feb. 23, on the subject of recalling Jen Campbell.

Campbell Puts Special Interests Before Voters

By Wendy D. Gelernter

City Council President Jennifer Campbell has lost the trust of her constituents by ignoring their input, breaking campaign promises and siding with powerful special interests and corporations against the needs of her voters. This is why a diverse coalition of San Diegans this month announced a movement to recall Campbell from office.

As a small business owner and 34-year resident of Pacific Beach, I donated to and campaigned for Campbell when she ran for council. But I soon grew alarmed at her lack of responsiveness to community voices. So did other citizens, town councils, planning boards and Democratic clubs from throughout District 2. My concern grew when she regularly supported SDG&E, the mega-corporation that charges the highest electricity rates in California. My disappointment finally crystallized into action when Campbell sided with the powerful San Diego Police Officers Association, and against progress on racial and criminal justice reform, as outlined in a commentary by the San Diego Racial Justice Coalition posted elsewhere on this website.

Others joined the recall when Campbell promoted Measure E, widely seen as a boon to developers but opposed by a majority in her district. The recall drew further strength when Campbell reversed her campaign promise to eliminate illegal short-term vacation rentals, and instead struck a secret deal with Expedia to sacrifice thousands of homes to wealthy short-term rental operators.

Campbell’s actions are characterized by two main themes — lack of support for District 2 residents and loyal support for the needs of elite special interests Expedia, SDG&E, developers, wealthy landlords and the San Diego Police Officers Association — at the expense of her constituents.

Campbell has deflected criticism by labeling her opponents as “elites and extremists” — the very thing that she is guilty of! But who are the real elitists? Is it the working, retired and unemployed people; the students, nurses, minimum wage earners, stay-at-home parents and teachers; the homeowners and renters; and the Blacks, Whites, Hispanics and Asians, all of whom Jen Campbell swore to represent? Or is it the politician in service to the wealthy and powerful, rather than to the public?

Campbell tries to frighten voters with the potential cost of a special election. The recall coalition is also concerned about costs — including millions of dollars in exorbitant charges that we fork over to SDG&E, and the lost millions in revenues resulting from nonenforcement of the city’s vacation rental codes. These far exceed the cost of a special election. And the special election itself wouldn’t be necessary if Campbell had done her job.

The recall of an elected official is a serious matter that none of us takes lightly. But if we’ve learned anything recently, it is that we must hold our elected officials accountable for the damage they have done and prevent them from doing more damage in the future. This is why the democratic institution of a recall was developed, and it is why I hope that you will join us to recall Jennifer Campbell and to help make San Diego a safer, more just and more livable city.

Gelernter is a small business owner and lives in Pacific Beach.

Campbell Is Not Committed to Racial Justice

By Darwin Fishman

The movement to recall District 2 Councilmember Jennifer Campbell has quickly gained great momentum. Clearly, the tide of discontent is citywide.

Recent media coverage of the first legal step in the recall process — the publication of the notice of recall — focused on issues that more directly impact District 2 residents, for example, Campbell’s support for the elimination of the 30-foot height limit in the Midway District and her advocacy for the legalization of short-term vacation rentals in residential neighborhoods.

In addition to these issues, we, the members of the Racial Justice Coalition of San Diego (RJCSD), are deeply troubled by Campbell’s racial hostility and lack of support for public policies that would help the most marginalized communities in San Diego. In 2019, prior to the killing of George Floyd, RJCSD members met with Campbell to request that she back our “I Can’t Breathe” campaign and to lend her support for ending the use of all neck restraints used by the San Diego Police Department. In that meeting, Campbell appeared detached, uninterested and unconcerned. She was even ignorant of the fact that restraints are used disproportionately on Black and Brown men in San Diego. She actually argued that the carotid restraint was a safe tactic, using her medical background to bolster her position. She was the most avid proponent for allowing the SDPD to continue using it — even more so than the other elected officials we met with.

Then on Dec. 10, Campbell worked to prevent Councilmember Monica Montgomery Steppe from becoming president of the City Council. Her opposition to Montgomery Steppe, who was indisputably the more qualified candidate, was Campbell’s personal act of racial injustice that day. Campbell’s choice to run against Montgomery Steppe for council president was an affront to the most marginalized communities in San Diego, communities Montgomery Steppe has been working with and fighting for her entire life. Clearly, Campbell has shown us who she is. The depth of her ignorance and fundamental lack of understanding of systemic racism or how to achieve racial equality are apparent.

Going forward, what does this mean for racial justice in San Diego? Campbell has not introduced or supported any significant legislation that helps marginalized communities in San Diego. In fact, she has often been on the wrong side of the most critical votes for racial justice and equity. The Racial Justice Coalition will not stand idly by. We will not simply watch her wreak havoc on the communities we work and live in.

What Campbell has done, what she stands for, is an insult — not just to the RJCSD mission for racial justice and equity, but to all the marginalized communities in San Diego.

RJCSD calls for Campbell’s immediate resignation. Failing that, RJCSD will work tirelessly for her removal — her recall. We will not stand by and watch. District 2 residents and the city of San Diego need a councilmember who is devoted and committed to racial justice for all San Diegans.

Fishman is a member of the Racial Justice Coalition, a lecturer in sociology and Africana Studies at San Diego State University, a former resident of District 2 and a current resident of El Cajon.

And yes, the U-T also ran two op-ed pieces opposed to Campbell’s recall. We decline to repost them.


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