Monica Montgomery Steppe for County Supervisor

by on August 11, 2023 · 28 comments

in Election, San Diego

By Mat Wahlstrom

As a rule, I rarely endorse anyone for public office — as when they invariably disappoint, as holding office tends to do, the mud may splatter back on one’s petticoat. And while I always assess a field of candidates and express my thoughts if asked, I tend to keep my own counsel.

I have not met any candidate or been contacted by any campaign. But after the barrage of disinformation and dirty tricks I’ve seen being used to rig the outcome of the special election this Tuesday for the District 4 seat on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, I must speak out.

If you choose to vote, the only person running who deserves it is Monica Montgomery Steppe.

Yes, I know, Gentle Reader. I have decried many of her votes while on the San Diego City Council — most notably the needlessly punishing adoption of one-mile (un)Sustainable Development Areas in lieu of half-mile Transit Priority Areas for distance to transit and the illegal Tailgate Park deal.

But then, that is my point. Montgomery Steppe is a known quantity with an actual public record, with which one can agree or disagree. And that record speaks to her being more independent and more aware than most of her peers serving under our disastrous ‘strong mayor’ system.

She was one of only three of nine councilmembers to vote against the current SDG&E ‘franchise agreement’ picking your pockets as you read this. One of the three to oppose overturning the popular vote to reject the Convention Center expansion. And most recently, one of the four to oppose the “homeless camping ban” and of just two to oppose spy streetlights and license plate readers.

She was active during the height of the COVID pandemic to get food and services to constituents, and delivered bottled water when a main break and subsequent boil water notice affected hundreds of our poorest residents.

Montgomery Steppe was a protégé of Councilmember Myrtle Cole, until she very publicly broke with her in 2016 over Cole’s support of law enforcement’s openly racial profiling. She then followed up in 2018 (after working as a criminal justice attorney with the ACLU) to run against and defeat Cole for her present office.

Her peers elected her Council President Pro Tem and chair of the Budget and Government Efficiency Committee.

Contrary to the propaganda against Montgomery Steppe, she has approved every regular budget increase for police — to the dismay of members of the actual Defund the Police movement.

Read between the fine print of all the mailers you’ve been sent, and the calumny being heaped upon her by the Police Officers Association and Deputy District Attorney PACs is based solely on her refusal to rubber stamp the endless stop-gaps of millions to fund extra-budget overtime and her temerity to oppose police state surveillance.

Janessa Goldbeck from campaign website.

And who is her main opponent, judging by the polls and the sheer volume of money spent and mailers sent to support her, overwhelmingly by these same POA and Deputy DA PACs? Janessa Goldbeck.

It’s understandable if you never heard of her until a few weeks ago, as Goldbeck has never won election to any public office — not even the proverbial dogcatcher.

Her highest credential in city government is as a Todd Gloria-appointee to the mayor’s LGBT Task Force. Hardly the hallmark of a maverick. But definitely a tell as to why she’s the Establishment’s favorite.

Yet voters in multiple municipalities are being asked to hand Goldbeck the District 4 Supervisorial seat, to be one of only five persons controlling a budget of $7.36 billion who render decisions that affect 3.3 million people over a county nine-tenths the size of Connecticut. And not just one of those five: the representative for the district with the most densely populated and racially diverse population in San Diego.

She is a bright, shiny object being waved to distract you.

Goldbeck has passed on numerous opportunities to straightforwardly disavow the “unaffiliated” PAC money shamelessly resorting to racist dog whistles against Montgomery Steppe on her behalf. She had the chance to make up for a deficiency in experience with a demonstration of character. Yet while tirelessly reminding voters of her status as a military veteran, women’s rights advocate and LGBTQ+ minority member, she still refuses to reject this support as irredeemably tainted.

A look at the endorsements for Montgomery Steppe versus Goldbeck is a tableau of how Establishment players versus more numerous and broadbased community advocates have lined up.

Your choice of course is yours. But in conclusion, consider this: the one person who stands most to benefit from having Goldbeck on the Board of Supervisors isn’t you — it’s Todd Gloria.

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Gormlie August 11, 2023 at 12:51 pm

Looks like Bill Walton has just come out in support of Goldbeck. That could muddy the waters between her and Gloria.


Helen Rowe Allen August 11, 2023 at 1:13 pm

Happiness is reading a Wahlstrom column. This one especially. Montgomery Steppe: Experience Education Ability. She has my vote


Frank Gormlie August 11, 2023 at 5:26 pm

The newspaper La Prensa has come out and endorsed Montgomery Steppe.


lw August 11, 2023 at 6:55 pm

Has the city improved since 2018 when she was elected or have things gotten worse?


Frank Gormlie August 12, 2023 at 8:47 am

That’s not the question at issue. She’s one councilmember and as Mat has outlined, was consistently on the side of progressive politics — usually. She survived the Gloria-infused city council and his ability to mete out rewards and punishments. As you note she now has 5 years of governance under her belt, and is clearly the better candidate.


chris schultz August 15, 2023 at 10:27 am

Oddly progressives want change until they become conservative always choosing and/ or supporting progressives. By that rational, Gloria has experience too then.


chris schultz August 12, 2023 at 2:50 pm

She’s backed by the labor unions where Goldbeck has Atkins endorsement (SB9). Both big money Democrats. If you like getting crap like SB9 & 10 slammed down your throats by majority left tax anything politics. Don’t complain when it happens.


Mat Wahlstrom August 12, 2023 at 3:15 pm

So, who would you suggest instead? Amy “God told me to run” Reichert, or Paul McQuigg? Neither has any experience to recommend them, plain and simple.

And if you think someone with an ‘R’ next to their name is automatically to be preferred over someone with a ‘D,’ and that all of our problems are the fault of “the other side,” then you’re perpetuating the party machine politics that got us into this mess.


chris schultz August 13, 2023 at 1:13 pm

Experience doesn’t always mean the best ideas. Both of these Dem candidates will fit nicely into Gloria’s pocket. Go to the websites. Read and evaluate. E-mail and ask questions instead of blindly taking a recommendation. Big money candidates are there for a reason. All I’m saying.


Mat Wahlstrom August 13, 2023 at 8:33 pm

If after what I’ve written you believe Montgomery Steppe “will fit nicely into Gloria’s pocket,” all I’m saying is you haven’t followed the money.


Greg August 13, 2023 at 8:29 am

SB9 and SB10 are both classic supply side policies usually associated with Republican politics. I don’t think complaining about Democrats and the left is going to lead you anywhere away from supply side economics, SB9, and SB10.


chris schultz August 13, 2023 at 1:17 pm

Supply Side Policy (SSP) refers to measures governments take to increase the availability or affordability of goods and services, along with generous tax reform, which refers to tax cuts and changes in tax laws that may encourage or discourage productive behavior.

How’s the stance on taxes with these candidates? What’s your take there?


Frank Gormlie August 13, 2023 at 2:30 pm

Do you live in this County Sup district 4? If not, it’s easy to toss pebbles at candidates involved in local elections. You didn’t answer Mat. If both Dems are in the pockets of Gloria, who are you recommending? There’s only one other viable candidate, Amy R, and she’s just this side of Tito Mussolini.


chris schultz August 13, 2023 at 4:04 pm

Yes I’ve voted for this seat. Support who you wish. Do your own DD. Don’t blindly place your support based on a blanket reporter’s influence towards a particular candidate. We all have our ideas to what is best for our city. Just going with a flow can be a mistake. Who I recommend is not relevant. Don’t pollute mindsets.


chris schultz August 13, 2023 at 4:22 pm

Maybe reread A bridge too far for San Diego from the rag and reflect?


lw August 14, 2023 at 6:11 pm

Right On Chris
Some one who can THINK for himself.
Not drink the Cool-Aid…


Frank Gormlie August 14, 2023 at 7:39 pm

Looks like we’ve stirred the right. Chris S and lw – you don’t offer any alternative, except you imply both Dems are bad, therefore, we have to conclude you support our little nazi, Amy R.


chris schultz August 15, 2023 at 8:06 am

You haven’t stirred squat other than insinuating my political view, which you know nothing of. It’s not up to me to offer an alternative, to pollute the narrative. It’s up to everyone to do their homework before voting their conscience without a blanket recommendation from a opinion reporters article.

Alternatively, I suggested a reread of a Rag article from three years ago to reflect if things have really changed from then or if today’s policies are doomed to a repeat of failure. If you think Gloria’s operational view is great for the city, then entrench him with people who support his general views, like either of the two Dem candidates. But when he’s making policy or decisions you may not care for, any opinion piece written on the Rag is pointless, because you’ve endorsed the people to allow his ways to continue. It’s the same result as Sacramento, too many people comfortable in their seats.

Disclaimer: I have voted Democrat since Bill Clinton.


chris schultz August 15, 2023 at 10:03 am

reporter’s opinion article.


Frank Gormlie August 15, 2023 at 10:20 am

Okay, Chris S, thanks for the clarification. FYI, the Rag did not support Gloria when he ran for mayor.


Frank Gormlie August 15, 2023 at 9:09 pm

Early results for the District 4 Supervisor Special Election in San Diego County are in. Here’s where the tally stands as of 8:10 p.m.:

Democrat Monica Montgomery Steppe, San Diego City Council president pro team
Democrat Janessa Goldbeck, Marine veteran and nonprofit organizer
Republican Amy Reichert, founder of Reopen San Diego
Republican Paul McQuigg, Marine veteran

One more update is expected Tuesday night at 10 p.m. or later, according to the Registrar. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, the top-two candidates will advance to a runoff election Nov. 7. The successful candidate will fill the seat for the remainder of the current term ending in January 2027.


Gravitas August 16, 2023 at 8:47 am

Fabulous and OBRag can be proud of supporting Montgomery Steepe AND NO on SB .IO


chris schultz August 16, 2023 at 11:34 am

The labor unions never met a project they didn’t like so I consider her pro construction. They care about keeping the membership working. Construction is great, properly planned, and the unions do a considerable amount of infrastructure. SB 10 circumvents infrastructure. So one issue becomes, are you going to cater to your constituents or are you going to be mindful to all voters towards being reasonably financially frugal? Then there’s the compatibility of her positions with the ones being put forth from Gloria’s positions.

I also will say the SANDAG tax concerns me. Our state is getting to the point of every solution is to implement another tax. Taxes are another measure of reducing purchasing power while we complain about inflation. And yet proposals being considered are gutting all your nat gas appliances. Paying for your electric based on income. Getting rid of our gas cars, without the infrastructure for charging electric ones let alone grid requirements and lithium battery recycling. How do you charge your electric car if you live at an apartment, or an ADU for that matter? And thinking people will give up their cars and walk a mile to mass transit. How fun will it be when there are too many cars from the ADU’s that you can’t get your trash cans emptied? Having a little fun here playing what are we thinking about. Peace, out.


Geoff Page August 16, 2023 at 3:11 pm

What did you mean by this? “So one issue becomes, are you going to cater to your constituents or are you going to be mindful to all voters towards being reasonably financially frugal?”


Greg August 16, 2023 at 2:07 pm

The “SANDAG tax” is not a thing. It is important to remember SANDAG Regional Plans are done every couple of years and are pretty meaningless outside of the first five years of the plan since everything in there is essentially non-binding and can/will be re-done in a couple years when they re-do the plan.

The “SANDAG tax” was included in this non-binding planning document because the California Air Resources Board (CARB) or the State signaled to SANDAG that a mileage tax is most likely coming sooner or later at the state level to deal with the declining revenue from the gas tax and they were allowing SANDAG to provisionally include this state level tax as well as a local version in their non-binding plan to meet GHG emissions targets set by CARB. They included it in the out years of the plan to meet GHG targets so the region remained eligible for certain transportation funding sources.

SANDAG does not have the authority to implement this kind of tax nor does its presence in a non-binding planning document mean it is set in stone. A usage tax will most likely first come down at the state level and then local MPOs and jurisdictions will decide what they can and will do next.

Any criticism of EVs or mileage taxes should be directed towards State representatives as they are creating and implementing these policies.


chris schultz August 16, 2023 at 3:27 pm

Appreciate the response. And I realize we’re all using the roads and there needs to be maintenance. We pay taxes at the pump and to add a mileage tax is an insult when you’ve bought an economical car. And it still smacks along the lines for instance of getting solar, and electrical providers grind away at the credit from the personal systems generating to the grid unless you want to add a battery expense. Or even back when water conservation was a necessity only to get hit with a price hike because revenues had decreased. All self defeating. Anyways, a bit OT.


Geoff Page August 16, 2023 at 3:29 pm

Great piece, as usual, Mat.


Mat Wahlstrom August 16, 2023 at 6:19 pm

Muchas gracias, compadre. I was “inspired” by no less than three versions of these despicable mailers waiting for me when I got home last Thursday.

Judging by the election results, it appears I wasn’t the only one for whom the shameless racism of this POS (Police Officer Syndicate) campaign backfired spectacularly.


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