Primary Candidates Have Lined Up Against Campbell for District 2 Council Seat

by on February 15, 2022 · 8 comments

in Election, Ocean Beach

Lori Saldaña

Nearly a half dozen candidates have lined up to take Jennifer Campbell on for the June primary election in going after the District 2 city council seat. Campbell is seeking a second term, having ousted Republican Lori Zapf in 2018.

Campbell has some solid opponents such as Joel Day and Lori Saldaña – with Saldaña having tremendous name recognition from her stints on the city council and in the state assembly plus her previous runs for mayor and supervisor. Of course, some of that “name recognition” could be negative. Ironically, her online presence is still somewhat weak. However, she just picked up the endorsement of the San Diego County Democrats for Environmental Action.

Most of the challengers are Democrats like Campbell and at least two or three – Saldaña, Day and possibly upstart local Mandy Havlik –  appear to be coming at her from the left. On the right, there’s one Republican contender, Linda Lukas.

Joel Day

Other candidates whose names have been mentioned in the press are business professor Leslie Michelle Codling-DiChet – who did file in November 2021 but who doesn’t appear to have any campaign online – and progressive Loxie Grant, who has has no online presence or filing record. At community (online) meetings, Daniel Smiechowski tells people he is a candidate, but there is no filing on record. [FYI – he has been banned from making comments on the OB Rag due to his previous statements that violated our comment policy.]

Campbell is vulnerable and could follow her predecessor into retirement. She did survive a recall effort but her vulnerabilities became visible when she upset District 2 voters on two key issues: unilaterally working out a deal with homeshare companies on short-term vacation rentals, not taking into account what her constituents felt about the hot button issue; and leading the charge to dismantle the 30-foot height limit with Measure E in the Midway District, despite the issue being “the third rail of San Diego politics.” (Voters in District 2 – including Midway voters – rejected the measure, but of course, it passed city-wide.) Instead of admitting something went haywire, Campbell has consistently double-downed on her positions and her attack dog consultants still call recall proponents “extremists.”

Mandy Havlik

The fissure with Campbell over these issues also exposed other frailties of her office; a real disconnect with her constituents; many complaints surfaced on how out of touch she was; the lack of responses to constituents over day-to-day issues; the un-returned phone calls. Campbell even upset her colleagues on the council and in an unheard of move, they ousted her after one term as council president.

Due to her experience and name-recognition, Saldana could be real trouble for Campbell. Of course, what Campbell is hoping is that all her challengers nullify each other and she can sweep the primary – although the law guarantees an opponent. It’s true; Day and Saldana and Havlik could split whatever oppositional vote there is.

But supposedly at the latest financial filing for candidates, Joel Day has some money.  According to the San Diego Union-Tribune:

Campbell significantly outraised challenger Joel Day during the second half of 2021, $69,000 to $21,000. But Day trails Campbell by a much smaller margin in cash on hand, $115,000 to $94,000.

Linda Lukas

Day is UCSD faculty member who has experience in city government as the Executive Director of the City of San Diego’s Human Relations Commission and International Affairs Board. He lives in Clairemont and may be late in understanding coastal D2 issues. For more on that experience go here . Day has a campaign website that provides more information:

Mandy Havlik has emerged from the Peninsula grassroots to run her campaign. She is on the Peninsula Community Planning Board and sits on the OBPB’s transportation subcommittee. Havlik was unhappy with Campbell’s stance on the 30-foot height limit and short-term vacation rentals and publicly supported the recall. She is married to a retired Navy officer and has three children.  Here’s a link to her campaign website.

Linda Lukas, the sole Republican, is little known outside GOP circles. She is a dentist, registered nurse, and realtor.

Here’s how she touts her candidacy:

I’ve lived in San Diego County for approximately 27 years, having relocated here from … Cleveland, OH. I’ve …resided in PB, UTC, Mt. Helix and now, OB.

I bring a comprehensive skill set … that includes careers in healthcare, academics and entrepreneurship.  I am a dentist, registered nurse, realtor, educator and businesswoman. I’ve held numerous leadership positions, some of which include: Trustee to the California Dental Association, Past President of San Diego County Dental Society, Past Chair of the California Section of the American College of Dentists….

Thanks to the Point Loma – OB Democrat Club for helpful links. The Club is actually holding their City Council District 2 endorsement meeting, Sunday February 20. It’s a Zoom meeting and at 4 pm they discuss and then vote on their endorsement. Here’s the Zoom registration

[Editordude: an earlier version incorrectly stated Saldaña served on the San Diego city council.]

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Geoff Page February 15, 2022 at 3:57 pm

I like Saldaña for a number of reasons, experience being a big one. She is the only politician who ever knocked on my door years ago when running for office. She was all by herself, as I recall, going door to door. I also align with her beliefs. She makes Campbell look like a bit actor.


kh May 9, 2022 at 10:36 pm

That’s admirable. Joel knocked on my door last month, fwiw. Nobody else did.


Dave Potter February 15, 2022 at 9:04 pm

Don’t think Lori ever served on the city council.


Frank Gormlie February 15, 2022 at 9:14 pm

Ah….you are right and I stand corrected.


Frank J May 7, 2022 at 4:38 am

‘ On the right, there’s one Republican contender, Linda Lukas’…. Assuming Linda is a woman, I’m not sure I understand how one can associate with this party anymore if they truly understand politics today.


John Van De Walker May 9, 2022 at 5:08 pm

Saldana seems to be a SB9 and SB10 surporter .


Vern May 10, 2022 at 6:35 pm

This would be very important to know. Saldana should be asked directly if she supports SB9 & SB10. She should also reveal who all her donors are, as should all candidates.

Additionally, “NOTA” should be a ballot option.


Vern May 11, 2022 at 7:33 am

It appears that Mandy Havlik opposed SB9 & SB10 and some of the radical YIMBY (YIYBY – Yes in Your Back Yard) agenda.


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