Voter Revolt at the Coast?

by on October 28, 2022 · 6 comments

in Election, Ocean Beach

King Tide at OB, Dec. 22, 2018. Photo By Albert C Elliott

On Wednesday, during Farmers Market, a banner hung from the Ocean Beach Pier. It stated: “Vote Them All Out! Save OB”

While not as drastic as that, the banner does reflect a simmering among coastal voters, one of anger, a sense of betrayal, cynicism, pessimism and even of revenge.

Is there a revolt among coastal voters? If there is, the pundits and media columnists have missed it. Although, the Union-Tribune hinted at it when the editorial board endorsed Republican Linda Lukacs for the District 2 council seat.

Campbell Is in Trouble

Among older progressive voters, at least, in Ocean Beach and other coastal Democrats, Jen Campbell is in trouble. The incumbent, who won the primary with not even 30% of the vote, hasn’t been campaigning much and rarely shows her face of late in OB or Point Loma. And any meetings she has attended, didn’t end well for her. There is just too much anger and resentment out there of her failed administration.

Yet, Democratic voters at the coast in D2 are in a quandary. They can’t stand Campbell — but could not vote for a Republican — especially these days when the GOP appears to be controlled by election deniers. Some have told me they’ll leave it blank – leave the District 2 selection blank.

There’s even a sense of revenge. Some Democrats have such disdain for Campbell and what she represents — the “new” Democratic establishment in bed with developers — someone who placed the 30-foot height limit on the ballot and arranged a deal with a billion-dollar home share corporation to set policy for short-term vacation rentals — that they want to punish her and them.

Some life-long and local Democrats are also openly campaigning or supporting Lukacs, a total unknown. Campbell has left such a bad taste for them that they’re willing to buck their party and cross the aisle for this race. They feel it’s not necessarily a bad idea to have one Republican on the City Council. These are Democrats.

Now, those voters represent the true “revolt.” How many are there out there? Who knows. And we won’t know until November 9th probably.

But I took a poll among other Ragsters and friends — a totally unscientific one — and asked them to estimate the numbers of signs of candidates Campbell and Lukacs they’d seen in their walks, bikings or drives around their neighborhoods. All of them live in OB or Point Loma.

Nine people responded. The final tally – 11 signs for Campbell and 27 signs for Lukacs. Again, this is not scientific and bears no relationship with a real poll of local voters — but it is a reflection of what’s out there, an estimation of the ratio of campaign signs being viewed.

One respondent said he must be “oblivious” because he hadn’t seen any signs. Another commented that he had never seen such a small number of campaign signs.

At any rate, this nearly frivolous poll found at least twice as many Lukacs signs as Campbell’s. And this is a strongly blue area. OB is deep blue and much of Point Loma is a medium blue. But it does show there’s more visible support for the Republican in Democratic land.

Betrayal on Measure C

One of the substantive ways voters at the coast and in District 2 feel betrayed by Campbell — and the Democratic establishment — is their rush to place Measure C on November’s ballot, the measure that would eliminate the 30-foot height limit throughout the Midway District – an area over 1300 acres. The Democratic-controlled San Diego City Council did that, spurred on by the termed-out sole Republican Chris Cate — and Campbell.

There is a real sense that Campbell and the rest have joined Democratic Todd Gloria, the mayor, in his quest to make the redevelopment of the Sports Arena area and the entire Midway his — and their — legacy. For them, it looks like they’re acting to build more affordable housing, getting a new sports arena and finally coming to grips with the state of the Midway. (The state of the Midway is the result of decades of neglect and over-development by the city government itself; there is no certainty that affordable housing will be built.)

There has, however, been a whole-scale endorsement of Measure C by the city’s establishment: the local pols natch, the major media, labor unions whose members think they’ll have more jobs, and of course, the developer industry and their acolytes (Chamber of Commerce, etc.)

But now, a new understanding has been born: developers control the Democrats too. At least those on the council. How else to explain the kowtowing to Gloria, Midway Rising and the whole developers’ plan for a steady profit-stream off of public land and the newly soon-to-be “liberated” private land?

There is a number of small grassroots groups that have sprung up just recently in response to Measure C. One group filed a lawsuit; another formed on NextDoor and a few more have mobilized their small resources in this classic David vs Goliath battle against the well-heeled proponents of the measure.

The group Keep the Coast 30 sprang up in early September, wanting to remind their fellow San Diegans that it is the 50th anniversary of the passage of the 30-foot height limit this November; they strongly oppose Measure C, set up a GoFundMe page, a website and have been handing out fliers at OB Farmers Market and holding up banners this past week and a half.

This group includes members of the OB Rag staff, the Point Loma-OB Democratic Club, former activists from the Coastal Alliance and folks who have been championing the 30-foot height limit for much of their adult lives.

All of this – the wellspring of opposition to all of it — the Democratic Party push for Measure C, the elimination of key building constraints, and their endorsement of the hated Campbell – signifies a voter revolt among Democrats, progressives and independents. At the coast.

Is it true? November 9th is a week and half away.


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

retired botanist October 28, 2022 at 5:05 pm

Full disclosure, I can’t enter this as I live out of state now, but I implore folks to take the giant step- exercise your vote/non-vote and start refusing to vote for people you don’t believe in, people who don’t represent you. Otherwise you simply perpetuate a corrupt system. We know Campbell has been an epic fail. There is, LITERALLY, no reason (other than $) that Lukacs needs to align herself w/ the GOP if she actually believes in the platforms she espouses. Its that simple. If she REALLY represents the people, she should have campaigned on her own. Honestly? The times are a changin’, and the write-in/empty/Nader/ independent deal-breaker/stigmatized people who vote/ don’t vote by their conscience, rather than a party, or the lesser of 2 evils, are a reckoning that will finally have their say at some point. Sure, this is an unpopular rant, but I’ve been wearing it for decades! :-)


Tom Bailey October 28, 2022 at 11:33 pm

Vote NO on C.


laplayaheritage October 29, 2022 at 1:44 pm

Linked below is a Facebook Video regarding the Port of San Francisco Earthquake and Flooding Simulation video showing sea level rise and building on liquefiable soils.

This 2018 Video scared everyone resulted in a 83% Special Tax ballot approval for a new San Francisco Bay Embarcadero Seawall.,_California,_Proposition_A,_Embarcadero_Seawall_Improvement_Bonds_(November_2018)

The same engineering principles apply to the area for the City of San Diego’s Measure C including the Midway district, Pacific Highway, Airport, NAVWAR, and SANDAG’s Airport Connectivity project on former “Salt Marsh Tide Lands.”

Great thread on San Francisco’s Embarcadero Seawall.

The big difference is San Francisco Embarcadero has 200-250 feet depth to formation.

San Diego mainly has 10-40 feet depth to formation, making it easier to build bathtub foundation, and getting rid of the seismic hazard of liquefaction.


frankf October 30, 2022 at 8:08 am

Throwing taxpayer money at theoretical sea level rise while we have so many other here and now challenges that need taxpayer money (homelessness, drug addiction, poverty, energy, etc) is a bit removed from reality.

But hey, you live in a $3.25 million dollar house in La Playa where sea level rise is your only worry. Must be nice.


Paul Webb October 31, 2022 at 9:22 am

So, only rich homeowners need to worry about sea level rise. I’m glad you explained that. Now I can stop worrying about all the public infrastructure that is endangered and will need to be replaced.


stu November 8, 2022 at 12:19 pm

I am breaking a long liberal tradition for me this election season and voting red for city council. The blue candidate makes me blue
I also don’t have a problem allowing some development at greater than the 30′ limit, but not a blanket sweep like prop C. I believe a few years ago we voted to allow the Mission Brewery building to go beyond 30′. It was one building and the voters knew what it would look like


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