Joel Day Is Running for District 2

by on March 21, 2022 · 21 comments

in Election, Ocean Beach

A Voice for Residents, Not Special Interests, in City Hall

By Joel Day

Over the last months knocking on doors, attending community meetings, and listening to OB residents, I have heard a clear desire for new leadership in District 2.

I am running to be your council representative because we need a council that works for working families, not special interests. For me, that commitment isn’t just talk – it’s deeply personal. My father went to prison for 25 years when I was 6 years old. My sister and I grew up in a household of serious economic, addiction, and mental health challenges.

But we had a lifeline at our public library – where I learned to read and which set me on a path to be first in my family to graduate from college. We have to get back to investing in the basics that make our city a place of opportunity, grounded in the public promise of neighborhood infrastructure, community parks, and libraries. I know how important those things are, because those investments gave my family a chance at success. I’m running to make sure that every individual, family, and neighborhood gets the same opportunity.

Right now, that opportunity is slipping away in OB. STVRs and speculators push families out of the neighborhood, the cost of energy is skyrocketing, and crime is rising. The city plays whack-a-mole with homelessness instead of offering real solutions. For so many families in OB, the wolf is at the door and the city is nowhere to be found.

I am best qualified to bring serious change to our city. I hold a PhD in Comparative Government and teach public policy at UCSD. Both my education and profession are focused on identifying global best practices, from international security to local city planning and everything in between.

I have a passion for policy rooted in the circumstances of my childhood and what I hear from our neighbors. In addition to helping found an international non-profit fighting human trafficking, I served as a department director at the city of San Diego, leading initiatives on public safety reform, pandemic response, and immigrant and refugee integration. I’m intimately familiar with the bureaucratic structures of our government, so I can begin collaborating for solutions to our pressing challenges on day one.

My wife, Lauren, and I are raising our kids Bobby and Wesley, who are the 4th generation of our family to call District 2 home. Lauren and I both attended Point Loma Nazarene University (the university in D2), and our family still attends First Church in Point Loma. I understand the issues we have to solve, I have experience tackling them at City Hall, and our roots run deep in D2.

Councilmembers should be a delegate from the community to city hall, not the other way around. I’m not here to prescribe you policies manufactured by lobbyists behind closed doors. I’m not here to please other elected officials at the expense of the community I represent. I’m here to listen and find solutions with you. Here’s the priorities I am hearing about and how I’d work to address them:

We must get serious about investing in our beach infrastructure.

San Diego is known for our pristine beaches, but the city has abandoned this community. I spoke with another dad at Ebers Street Park, who has to check for needles in the grass before he lets his 2-year old play. A walk by the crumbling OB lifeguard station is another case in point. I’m going to fight for additional personnel and capital improvements in the heart of OB and hold the mayor and bureaucracy accountable for the state of our town.

Long term, we need serious climate resiliency plans for our beaches and cliffs. Following other cities around the world, I believe we need a Chief Resiliency Officer, who would work with the community to plan for sea level rise, fortify our coastline, oversee flooding mitigation, and implement the Climate Action Plan.

Citywide, we are hemorrhaging public safety personnel. San Diego lifeguards take home less pay today than they did in 2008, which has contributed to retention and recruitment problems. I would start with a comprehensive plan to bring lifeguards, fire, and police up to parity with peer jurisdictions, and put a full-time park ranger in every coastal park. Budget incompetence and poor planning have resulted in the crisis we see playing out on our streets, parks, and beaches. I have a comprehensive plan for rebuilding public safety, paired with my experience balancing multi-million dollar budgets. We can build a safer city, but we need new leadership that the community can count on.

Homelessness and housing costs are crushing OB and so many other neighborhoods.

I am the only candidate on the record with clear plans for both of these issues. I wrote recently about my plan for homelessness, which would build safe camping sites, create a city-led master-leasing program, and create a public land bank to leverage public assets to build deeply affordable housing.

I am committed to building subsidized housing on public parcels, homes that teachers, fire-fighers, and other middle class workers can actually afford. We need housing, but we also need infrastructure to go with it, which is why I would lock-box developer impact fees to address the communities impacted by development and boost capital improvement projects to align with any new development.

To combat the touristification of our family neighborhoods, I would also propose a 1% cap of STVRs in every planning area, scrapping the “Campbell Compromise” which unfairly dumps thousands of units in OB, and was predictably backed by AirBnB’s lobbyist.

I hope to see you at your door or a community meeting soon. You can email me directly at to chat about issues important to you. I’m here to put my experience to work for working families, to be an advocate and partner, and to lift up your voice in city hall.

I hope to earn your vote on June 7th.


See who else is running for District 2 as a Democrat.

Lori Saldana

Mandy Havlik

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Vern March 21, 2022 at 10:16 am

“YIMBY Dems of SD is a community of neighbors who welcome more neighbors. We say “Yes In My Back Yard”— … yes to more neighbors!”

Luxury and market rate densification of single family neighborhoods and communities.

No thanks, Joel!


Paul Webb March 21, 2022 at 1:00 pm

I’ve seen at least one other reference to Joel Day as a YIMBY. Is there anything to back this up or is it just name calling. I’m just asking the question here to be informed, not saying anything for or against him until I know more.


Mat Wahlstrom March 21, 2022 at 5:55 pm

Posted on YIMBYDems website for 1/19/22:

Tonight our members voted to endorse:
* Kent Lee for San Diego City Council D6
* Joel Day for San Diego City Council D2

And friendly endorsement to re-elect Monica Montgomery Steppe for San Diego City Council D4


Geoff Page March 21, 2022 at 2:11 pm

I think the YIMBY acronym is incorrect after observing those who use it most vociferously.

It should be YIYBY – Yes In Your Backyard.


Vern March 21, 2022 at 2:34 pm

You’re probably right, Geoff.


Frank Gormlie March 22, 2022 at 9:58 am

Good one, Geoff! How would you pronounce it?


Geoff Page March 22, 2022 at 10:19 am



Tessa March 21, 2022 at 5:18 pm

So far, so good. I look forward to meeting Joel. As a long term renter – hanging on by my fingernails and increasingly worried I won’t be able to, it would be refreshing to have some hope. Gas is now over $6.00 per gallong, my grocery bill is skyrocketing, and – on a fixed income – the squeeze is on.


Jennifer Whitney March 22, 2022 at 9:38 am

If Joel has personal experiences with family members in prison, mental illness, homelessness, 99% of the good residents of OB will be able to relate to him.


Geoff Page March 25, 2022 at 12:34 pm

Assuming that was written in jest?


Frank Gormlie March 25, 2022 at 5:25 pm

I got a hearty laugh out of the ridiculous statement.


GML March 22, 2022 at 1:50 pm

Joel, thanks for the interesting read. I think everyone in OB knows that homelessness and crime are serious issues that need to be addressed, and have been inadequately dealt with. You state “I have a comprehensive plan for rebuilding public safety, paired with my experience balancing multi-million dollar budgets. We can build a safer city, but we need new leadership that the community can count on. I wrote recently about my plan for homelessness, which would build safe camping sites, create a city-led master-leasing program, and create a public land bank to leverage public assets to build deeply affordable housing.”

Can you provide more details? How are you planning on dealing with the homeless / addicts living on our streets that refuse help, while accosting people and businesses? What about all the theft and vandalism in our neighborhoods?


Mark Schrammel March 24, 2022 at 7:21 pm

We all want OB to stay cool and weird but we also know that if we are to solve climate and inequality problems we cannot keep asking our children to leave the state or get a home 50 miles from their work just so the old hippies can live in their cool cottages or fancy folks can have the best views. We know density must happen to help solve these problems. Rather than pretend the future won’t come, I would rather ask someone I trust to help get it done properly and with the input of all the people. I have spoken with Joel Day, yes he is for more homes but I like what he says about housing and many other things too. I trust him, he’s a straight talker, he is sharp, and he rides a bike.


Mat Wahlstrom March 25, 2022 at 8:02 am

More tired virtue-signaling and discreditable claims.

When someone talks about density and new housing but isn’t concerned about impacts to existing housing or requirements for affordability and for use as homes not investments, you can be sure they value developers over people. And when it’s framed to make any discussion as divisive as possible, you can be sure they call themselves a YIMBY.

Thanks for letting us know whom *not* to vote.


Geoff Page March 25, 2022 at 12:51 pm

You know, Mat, so many of the people I see who call themselves YIMBYs do not have a backyard because they don’t own single family homes with backyards. What they really mean is Yes In Your Backyard. So I am no longer using their acronym, I prefer mine YIYBY.


Vern March 25, 2022 at 2:44 pm

Mark, start building up density in Fairbanks Ranch. According to YIMBYs, they want to build up density in wealthy neighborhoods. So, Fairbanks Ranch is the spot. MTS and SANDAG could build a beautiful “Destination Transit Center” there, and invite PF Changs, Better Buzz and In-N-Out to open up a food court cultural center. It’d be a YIMBY dream come true.


Geoff Page March 25, 2022 at 2:50 pm

It would be a big triumphant Yes In Their Backyard!


Geoff Page March 25, 2022 at 12:48 pm

You are certainly entitled to your opinion, Mark, and many would agree with you. You like Joel Day, that’s fine.

But two things caught my eye. The first was “so the old hippies can live in their cool cottages.” That is an insensitive and ignorant remark. Not everyone who is of that age and lives in a cottage was a hippie. Some of us living in much smaller spaces have had much less of a climate impact than many others.

If OB was left alone to continue being the neighborhood of older, smaller homes, its contribution to environmental damage would be much less than the future many others envision.

The second thing that caught my eye was when you said “and he rides a bike.” Since when did riding a bike become a relevant qualification for elective office? But, it does say something about you.


Mark Schrammel March 25, 2022 at 4:54 pm

Geoff, I don’t know you but If you knew me you might have commented as you did for Jennifer’s comment above. Most of our friends in OB are the old hippies I referred to. My comment was certainly in jest, with nothing but love. I used it only to balance my snide reference to the fancy folk protecting their views. Maybe Frank remembers us from Linda and Colin’s New Year’s parties, back when Che Che would bring Cohiba’s from Havana. We have been around a while.

As far as the several other comments that you and others made. One guy says I didn’t say something and then attacks me for not saying it. The main thread of your comment, and Vern’s, seems to be that you want others to shoulder the burden of increased density because OB has a lower carbon footprint? Am I getting that right?

We live in Clairemont Mesa East. We moved into our home in 1987 because we could not afford North Park or OB, where all of our cool friends lived. We rented it for 26 years and then bought the house at a market price long after our children were grown. When we bought it, it was a 1008 square foot uninsulated box with single pane windows. It is still that size but now has some insulation and three double pane windows and better paint. No cable, no microwave, no dishwasher, only 4 electrical circuits, very low carbon lifestyle. I say this not to signal virtue but to say that this housing model is not sustainable. We continue to enrich those who got in first, at the expense of everyone who follows. Inequality is embedded in this setup, especially in Prop 13 California.

Next door a new couple, the age of our children, has just paid 840K for a house just slightly larger than ours. Their taxes are 10K a year, twice ours, 20 times some of our Prop 13 neighbors. Clairemont Mesa East is where a lot of the density that y’all don’t want is getting built, not in Fairbanks Ranch. Out of town money is flipping houses, ADUs, JADUs, right and left. The next generation will be renters in shoddily expanded old houses. And if all the speculation going on with other people’s money doesn’t work out, all of this frenzy will get dumped on Uncle Sam for bailout. Everyone is a capitalist when the cash is coming in and a socialist when the bills are due.

Here’s the thing. I want our City to be run by professionals, who work for the people, not for themselves, not for their “funding partners.” For a city as large as ours it seems we manage to get small town talent. If we are going to fix our problems we need pros and we all need to work together! I also want robust discussion of issues, not this pedantic pettifoggery where we mustn’t say anything for fear someone might be offended. Far too much bickering over small details. Too much snark. Intellectuals were once comfortable having policy brawls and then laughing over dinner and drinks. And work got done! Can we bring that back?


Geoff Page March 28, 2022 at 3:27 pm

Mark, If you meant the old hippie comment in jest, it was not apparent to me. Maybe I’ve heard it too many times from too many people who mean it. So, I’m sorry if I misinterpreted it.

I’m not specifying who should shoulder the burden of increased density because I don’t think it should be anybody’s burden in particular. Density goes where it can fit. This was never a problem in past years when developers had vast tracts of land to build on. But, that option has dried up for them so the new focus is in-fill. They are using the housing “crisis” to justify ruining single-family neighborhoods and attacking the height limit. Some of us don’t like that.

Your house and your story are very similar to mine. I bought my house in 1987 and it is about that same size then and still is. Uninsulated with single pane windows. Not sure what having no cable, microwave, or dishwasher means or why that housing model is not sustainable. My house is almost 100 years old, I’d call that pretty sustainable.

“We continue to enrich those who got in first, at the expense of everyone who follows.” Basically, that is the story of real estate and has been forever, buy a house, keep it for years, then sell it and make money at the expense of the people who bought it, who will do the same one day.

I don’t agree with the Prop 13 criticism. There are 34 other states with higher property taxes, Prop 13 helped with that. It was designed to help keep people like you and I in our homes. If I had to pay property taxes based on the current, ridiculous valuation, I would have to move. The problem is not Prop 13, it is the crazy housing valuations, which will come down with a crash soon, I’m sure.

I completely agree with your last paragraph, completely. We can only hope.


Mark Schrammel March 29, 2022 at 6:36 am

This comment thread has gone on longer than the original brief comment. I appreciate your response. I will not drone on here about Prop 13, that is a topic that can (and has) filled books. These are the kinds of conversations best had on the patio, where digressions can occur as needed and arguments can be be recast if misunderstood. That is an invitation. A final comment about comments. If we can all try to assume the best intensions of our fellows rather than assuming them stupid or combative, we might find greater wisdom and utility in our public discourse. Respect breeds respect.


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