The U-T Endorses Either Saldaña or Day for District 2 City Council Race

by on May 16, 2022 · 4 comments

in Election, Ocean Beach

The following are the comments about District 2 endorsements by the San Diego Union-Tribune editorial board:

District 2: Joel Day and Lori Saldaña

There’s a lot to unpack in this race, so we’ll stick to the highlights — or lowlights.

Incumbent and former City Council President Jennifer Campbell might seem like the frontrunner given that she was somehow able to negotiate a city compromise on the intractable issue of short-term vacation rentals, that she survived a recall attempt and that only twice since 1992 has an incumbent not been re-elected to the San Diego City Council.

But in recent months, Campbell has lost the trust not only of some of her colleagues — who ousted her from the council presidency in December — but also of some 10,000 district residents who signed an ultimately failed recall petition in part over complaints she had been not just unresponsive but dismissive of them.

That disconnect was on display at our candidates’ forum in Point Loma last week. Campbell responded to criticism she had been ignoring her community, saying, “It’s so easy to criticize. When you’re on the outside you have no idea how government really works, and it works very slowly, which is extremely frustrating to me as a physician, who could order things stat if I needed them.”

But what could and should have sounded like a punchy and pithy campaign line rang hollow — and dismissive. The thing is it’s her job to not only explain how government really works but also to make it work. That so many people are so upset at Campbell shows the divisiveness of the issues she has dug into — STVRs and a proposal to eliminate the sports arena redevelopment site’s 30-foot height limit — but it also calls into question a second term. The San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial Board long called the recall effort against Campbell a waste of time and money. “If she disappoints,” we wrote, “vote her out in the 2022 election.” We think it’s time to do so.

So we considered the crowded field of capable candidates to replace her — fellow Democrats public policy educator Joel Day, community volunteer Mandy Havlik and retired professor and former Assemblymember Lori Saldaña and Republican dentist/professor Linda Lukacs — and, without a clear consensus around any single one, suggest this:

A runoff between Day and Saldaña would offer Clairemont, Old Town and coastal communities like Mission Beach, Ocean Beach, Point Loma and Midway exactly what they deserve: a referendum on the city’s pro-growth policies. The two understand a depth and breadth of city issues and are even more experienced in government than Campbell — Saldaña spent six years in the Assembly and Day has worked at City Hall as a department director and as the senior adviser for the city’s COVID-19 response.

Either could be the “bulldog,” to use Day’s term, that the district needs to defend and stand up for a divided constituency. And both would be a better communicator than Campbell. We don’t agree with either of them — or any candidate, really — on every issue. So we suggest it’s the district’s biggest current issue — development — that should take center stage. Other than Campbell, only Day supports — as the board does — eliminating the height limit to redevelop the sports arena site. How different are Day and Saldaña on the issue of development?

Day: “We do need to work with developers.”

Saldaña: “We have a systemic problem with development and developers running the show in San Diego. They’re the ones who are pushing through their agendas.”

We recommend votes for Day or Saldaña. Then let’s continue the debate in the fall and see who wins.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Tessa May 18, 2022 at 9:27 am

I am looking forward to voting for Lori Saldana for City Council. Am grateful to the Rag for exposing the “dark money” behind the flyers against her candidacy.
I’m with the UT – time to replace Dr. Campbell.


Frances O'Neill Zimmerman May 18, 2022 at 11:13 am

U-T Primary Election endorsements this year have been trending toward grassroots game-changers like Lori Saldana for City Council District 2 and education activist Lily Higman, candidate for SDUSD School Board in sub-district C. Saldana and Higman are the best choices in their races. Good analysis, good advice for voters. Thank you, U-T.

City Council District 2 sorely needs an intelligent, experienced and responsive representative like native Lori Saldana whose habit is thoughtful work to resolve the area’s pressing issues rather than self-serving or dividing the community into warring camps. Lily Higman, an informed and involved parent of three kids in our faltering public school system, can be the first person in many years to breach the wall of rubber-stamps on the Barrera Board of Education.


Douglas Blackwood May 20, 2022 at 12:13 pm

Are debates scheduled for District 2?
Campbell must go!


Flustercluck May 20, 2022 at 3:41 pm

There were two recent debates in OB/PL, Campbell was a no-show for the last, which was the larger one, hosted by local community groups . She is a coward and refuses to be accountable to her District.


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