News from Ocean Beach and Point Loma – January 2021

January 22, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

San Diego Real Estate Industry Awards “Public Official of the Year” to Trio – Including Jen Campbell

The San Diego Building Owners & Managers Association (BOMA San Diego) awarded its 2021 Public Official of the Year Award earlier this month to a trio of City of San Diego figures: Council President Jennifer Campbell (District 2), Councilmember Chris Cate (District 6), and Planning Director, Mike Hansen. The BOMA press statement included this: “Councilmember Dr. Campbell and Councilmember Cate each were recognized for their bi-partisan vision and effort in writing, promoting and successfully passing “Measure E” to lift the height limitation in the Midway Community of the City of San Diego. The award reflects their vision, leadership, and bipartisanship in securing support for a catalytic change to this important area.”

City Park & Rec Worker Got Her Start in OB

For the better part of 15 years, five days a week, San Diego Parks & Recreation Department employee America Diaz has set foot at the city’s shoreline parks with one job: to make them look better. “Me and my workers maintain the trash, pick up litter and would clean the bathrooms as best we could when the bathrooms were open,” she said. For the last 8 years, she’s worked at Scripps Park, but Diaz started with the city in Ocean Beach and at Belmont Park in Mission Beach before transferring to Scripps Park.

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Former San Diegan Peter Navarro Exits White House

January 18, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

Older San Diegans who know their local history might get a chuckle – or grimace – over this photo of Trump trade advisor Peter Navarro exiting the West Wing.

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Serial Killer of Homeless Men – Including OBcean – Sentenced to 4 Life Sentences

January 13, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

On Tuesday, Jan. 12, the serial killer of homeless men, Jon David Guerrero, was sentenced to four life sentences without parole, plus an additional 143 years to life in prison. One of those homeless men was an Ocean Beach man, Shawn Mitchell Longley.

Guerrero, 42, pleaded guilty on Jan. 27, 2020 to murdering four homeless men during a grisly serial killing spree in 2016. Four of the sleeping, homeless men were stabbed to death with rail spikes and two of those were set on fire.

Guerrero also pleaded guilty to five counts of assault with a deadly weapon and two counts of arson. He agreed to be sentenced to four consecutive life terms in prison without the possibility of parole and an additional 143 years to life in prison. This will occur on May 1. The charges stem from his attacks on 12 men and one woman over six months between February and July 2016.

Guerrero is diagnosed with schizophrenia, and he had been treated at Patton State Hospital, then returned to court where he was recently pronounced mentally competent in order to stand trial. He has a history of arrests and mental competency hearings.

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House Impeaches Trump for Second Time

January 13, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

10 Republicans Vote to Impeach

Today, Wednesday, January 13, 2021, at 4:30 pm ET or there about, the US House of Representatives voted to impeach Donald Trump for the second time.

By a bi-partisan vote of 232 to 197, the House impeached Trump. 221 Democrats and 10 House Republicans voted to uphold the resolution.

Never before in American history, has a president ever been impeached twice.

Trump was impeached for insurrection – on charges that grew out of his assault on the Capitol and insurrection against our government.

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The Trump Insurrection Is Not Over Yet

January 11, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

If you thought the siege at the Capitol was a one-time event, you need to rethink that. The Trump seditious insurrection is not over yet.

Encouraged and spurred on by their “success” on January 6, White supremacists and armed militias are planning further violent attacks against the Capitol – and state capitols around the country. They have plans for January 17th, the 19th, and January 20th – the day of Joe Biden’s inauguration.

These plans have been seen on the platforms that the extremists use. Just Monday, an internal FBI bulletin reported they are warning of plans for armed protests at all 50 state capitals and in Washington in the days leading up to Biden’s inauguration. The FBI bulletin warned that, as of Sunday, the nationwide protests may start later this week and extend through Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration.

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No Time for Pot-Holes and Height Limits During National Security Crisis – Caused by Trump’s Insurrection

January 11, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

By Frank Gormlie

This is not news: the entire country is reeling from Trump’s insurrection attempt, and we’re in a very serious national security crisis as long as he’s in the White House.

The OB Rag believes this is such a serious crisis that we will refrain from publishing our usual array of articles – until the crisis has been resolved. We will continue, however, to post articles about this dark moment.

So, this is not a time for pot-holes and height limits. We cannot in good conscience pretend that everything is back to normal – and be focused on the local issues that usually take our attention. “Pot-holes” are synonymous with those ubiquitous, nagging problems that we wish government would fix. Height limits are damn important – but mean nothing if our federal government is attacked.

The Rag will continue to remind and inform our readers about this still evolving crisis. It’s not over yet. Armed white nationalists are still planning on more violence later this month – and not just at the Capitol on January 20 for Joe Biden’s inauguration.

There is some good news: there is a dramatic and deep revulsion going on across the nation against Trump, his acolytes, his fellow insurrectionists, his enablers in Congress and around the country.

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Trump and His Fascist Cohorts Must Be Held Accountable for the Attempted Coup on American Democracy

January 7, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

By Frank Gormlie

It’s difficult writing anything today after watching 16 hours of TV yesterday, trying to be a witness to the fully-anticipated attempt at a coup by Trump and his supporters – one of the darkest days in American history.

But the main thing that comes to mind is that Trump and those who instigated the attempt at a fascist coup yesterday on the citadel of liberty, the Capitol, need to be held accountable for what they did.

Read no further if you’re bothered by the term “fascist” here as I’m not going to spend time trying to justify the use of the word to describe Trump and his cohorts.

And plenty of pundits and politicians have already called what happened Wednesday, January 6th – a day of infamy – a “coup” and “insurrection.” Why, newly-elected President Joe Biden used those terms just today. He also called the mob that stormed the Capitol, “domestic terrorists.”

The terrorists, the insurrectionists, the mob, the fascist crowd – packed with Proud Boys, Qanon supporters, white nationalists, Klan supporters – have to be held accountable. They tried to take over our government and disrupt the business of Congress – making the final certification of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ election.

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Woman Killed During Insurrection at Capitol Was From Ocean Beach

January 6, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

The woman who was shot and killed inside the U.S. Capitol Building on Wednesday was from Ocean Beach, according to local media who have had contact with her extended family.

35-year-old Ashli Elizabeth Babbitt has been identified as the person who succumbed to a gunshot wound during the mob action. She had been carried out of the area on a stretcher and reportedly died at a hospital.

Babbitt was part of the violent pro-Trump insurrection and attempted take-over of the Capitol.

According to the Union-Tribune, a reporter spoke to a family member who said they saw videos of the incident and are positive the woman shot was Babbitt. “It’s her. It’s her. It’s definitely her,” the family member said. The family as of the local media reports had not been able to confirm anything with DC authorities. No one at the time of the report had contacted the family.

An Air Force veteran, Babbitt was a big Trump supporter, promoted QAnon conspiracies and her twitter page contained references to the fringe, extremist group. She had gone to DC to “stop the steal.” She wrote:

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DC Hunkers Down for Trump’s Seditious Coup and Insurrection on Wednesday, Jan.6

January 5, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

National Guard Deployed, Proud Boys Mobilized and Street Closures Are Matched by Warnings from 10 Defense Secretaries and Wall Street

The nation’s capitol is in hunker-down mode as the city – and the country – prepare for Wednesday, January 6 – the day Donald Trump has called for rioting in the streets. A seditious insurrection. Called by a sitting president – the most treasonous action since the Civil War.

The DC mayor, Muriel Bowser, has asked residents and other demonstrators not to come downtown and not to engage with those “seeking confrontation.” She also warned pro-Trump people visitors that local laws bar anyone from carrying firearms within 1,000 feet “of any First Amendment activity.” City police have closed down many streets near the Capitol as preparations are made for a multitude of rallies, marches and demonstrations by pro-Trump supporters. The DC National Guard has also been called up – but in limited numbers and with more restrictions that previous engagements.

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Trump-Voting Faulconer Joins Recall Newsom Effort Funded by ‘Dark Money’

January 5, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

Could Faulconer Really Represent 11 Million California Voters Who Voted for Biden?

By Frank Gormlie

Well, your former mayor didn’t take long to get back into the political spotlight.

Kevin Faulconer has established his mandatory exploratory committee to make a run for governor of California. And at the same time, he has jumped onto the “Recall Newsom” bandwagon, a bandwagon being pushed by “dark money”, it has come out.

So, Kevin has his feet in both pots: a gubernatorial campaign and getting ready to benefit if the recall effort is successful (unlikely however).

Now, don’t forget, our Republican mayor recently admitted he voted for Trump in November 2020.

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OB Rag Answers U-T Editorial on Campbell Recall an ‘Unnecessary Distraction’

January 4, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

On the last day of 2020, the San Diego Union-Tribune ran an editorial, headlined, “Campbell Recall Is Unnecessary Distraction,” which castigated Campbell critics as “angry” and “disgruntled”. (The U-T online article used a different headline.)

The reasons the editorial gives for why people in and outside her District 2 are angry and disgruntled are Campbell’s “compromise on short-term vacation rentals” and because she was elected as Council President over fellow Democrat but more progressive Monica Montgomery Steppe.

Then the editorial makes this bold statement: “The notion of recalling her because critics think she is unfit is undemocratic.” The editorial assumes that most people are upset with Campbell because of her council prez election, and that Campbell critics should just wait and vote her out in the 2022 election.

It says that, “Given the time it takes to collect signatures, a recall election likely wouldn’t happen until late 2021 when her re-election campaign would be in full swing.” Otherwise, it says, because her leadership has not been tested yet, it’s all just “an unwarranted distraction.”

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Jen Campbell Is Looking for Feedback on District 2 Priorities

December 23, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

A friendly reader wrote us and suggested the OB Rag offer this post as one way for input to our council member, Jen Campbell.

Campbell’s office just recently emailed constituents looking for feedback for District 2 budget priorities.

Here is the link to the Campbell survey.

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The ‘Recall Campbell’ Campaign Must Be Official – the U-T and Beacon Both Reported On It and ‘Contra’ Recall Group Forms

December 22, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

The Recall Jen Campbell campaign must be official – now that both the San Diego Union-Tribune and The Beacon have reported on it. (In contrast, the lowly OB Rag has been reporting on it for over a month.)

The recall effort is not only official, it now officially has an opposition group that has formed to oppose the recall, to counter the signature gathering petitions, to contradict those efforts. It is the “Contra Recall” group.

As the U-T reported, the recall campaign “gained significant momentum since Campbell was elected council president” on Dec. 10 by a very narrow 5-4 vote – which split up the Democratic super-majority on the council. As per the U-T: “Leaders of the campaign say they’ve been flooded with donations and offers to volunteer from across the city since the Dec. 10 vote ….”

Plus, the recall campaign now has a bit larger profile since former Councilwoman Barbara Bry has lent her name to it. The issues that have angered coastal residents of District 2 about Campbell are not new

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With Just One Bid for Gas and Electricity, Advocates for Publicly-Owned Utility See Opening for San Diego

December 18, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

On Thursday, December 17, the San Diego City Council and Mayor Gloria opened the bids for the right to provide gas and electric services within the city limits and discovered that San Diego Gas & Electric was the only entity that placed a bid.

This does not mean that SDG&E will be able to continue with its century-long monopoly on the city’s power. Neither the Council nor the Mayor took any action.

Jessica Lawrence, Gloria’s director of policy, informed the Council the mayor’s staff would review the bids along with the City Attorney’s Office to determine whether the SDG&E bid has met all the requirements laid out by the city. His office will then consider what steps should be taken next. Lawrence said, “The mayor may reject (the bids), he may cancel the process entirely, he may make recommendations for award of any responsive bid.”

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New Mayor and Council to Review Bids for City’s Utility Franchise Thursday, Dec.17

December 16, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

This Thursday, December 17, newly-elected Mayor Todd Gloria and the newly-seated City Council will review just from whom and what bids have been made for San Diego’s electric and gas franchise agreements.

The Council will not be making any decisions, however, on granting any franchises. There is no vote – and the agenda item is listed solely as an “informational” one.

The old franchise agreements run out on January 17, 2021. They’ve been held, of course, by San Diego Gas & Electric. The current one was granted in 1970, and SDG&E had held the earlier 50-year agreement. So, that’s one hundred years that the company has had a monopoly here in San Diego. A lot of people think it’s time for a change, where the utility company with the franchise places the residents and businesses of the city at the top of whomever it serves – not its investors.

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Cruisin’ Through OB During a Pandemic Holiday Weekend

December 14, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

Under the new Southern California “lock-down” due to the continuing ravages of COVID, I wanted to check out how the business district of Ocean Beach was handling it. Especially during the holiday-time.

Cruising down the several blocks of OB’s main commercial avenue, Newport, and out along the waterfront, I could see many people with masks on. Most had them on, but not all.

Also, most businesses were open – although under limited capacities. Most of the restaurants had customers – there were even lines at a few. Eating was only allowed outside, of course, and there were a few folks having lunch at isolated tables.

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None Dare Call It Treason

December 11, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

Staying up late last night, I spent a good amount of time trying to wrap my brain around this Republican effort to use the Supreme Court to overturn the 2020 election.

The fact that over half of the Republican representatives in Congress and 18 GOP states attorneys general have filed “friends of the court” briefs in support of the Texas AG’s suit to overturn the 20 million votes of people in four battle ground states of Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia has made me livid.

I searched for analogies and comparisons and parallels in an attempt to grok it all, to understand what it really meant, despite the frivolous nature of the law suits, and especially what it meant to the rest of us.

The Reichstag fire came to mind. So did the firing on Fort Sumter.

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Campbell Selected as Council President But Still Faces Invigorated Recall Effort Back in Her District

December 11, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

Despite a tide of public opposition, the newly-sworn in City Council voted to install Jen Campbell as San Diego’s new Council president Thursday night. The vote was narrow: 5-4 vote after nearly seven hours of public testimony. The lone Republican still on the Council, Chris Cate, got to play spoiler and voted for Campbell.

As the Union-Tribune reported:

“The vast majority of the roughly 300 residents who spoke at the meeting lobbied council members to choose Councilwoman Monica Montgomery Steppe as council president instead of Campbell.

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Explaining the Supreme Court Lawsuit from Texas, Trump’s Gambit at a Coup, and 17 GOP-Led States Challenge Biden’s Win

December 10, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

Public Service Announcement from CNN:

Although all 50 states have certified their election results and the Supreme Court swiftly rejected an emergency request from Pennsylvania Republicans to block election results in the commonwealth, the justices are now grappling with a new controversial bid from Texas, supported by President Donald Trump and 17 other Republican-led states.

They are asking the Supreme Court for an emergency order to invalidate the ballots of millions of voters in four battleground states — Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania — even though there is no evidence of widespread fraud. Here’s what you need to know:

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Scenes From OB’s Historic ‘Reverse Holiday Parade’

December 8, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

Here are some wonderful photos of what will be long-remembered as OB’s historic “Reverse Holiday Parade.” They were lifted right off the Ocean Beach Town Council’s facebook page (and we don’t know who the photographer(s) are). Neither do we know who is in the pics or what groups were being displayed – although some are obvious.

The reverse parade had stationary floats and residents drove by in their vehicles in the parking lot of Dog Beach.

Just remember, there’s only one Santa – but he was there.

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Who in San Diego Got the $6 Billions Worth of PPP Loans?

December 8, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

NBC7 here in San Diego released a list of the local entities that received loans from the Paycheck Protection Program of the federal government.

The data was just released by the feds after it was sued by 11 news organizations, NBC News among them. The New York Times called the data “the first full accounting of how federal money was spent through the program.”

Released this week, the data includes specific details on who exactly, got the money, how much they got, and how many employees were expected to benefit from the loans. It also included locations, making it easy to break down locally. The list is very interesting and somewhat surprising when one views the businesses, churches, private schools, and large law firm that received millions in loans.

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Pearl Harbor Day – Can We Muster the World War Two Strength to Combat the Third Wave?

December 7, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

Today – December 7th – is Pearl Harbor Day – it was 79 years ago today that the US fleet was attacked in Hawaii – an attack which pushed the country into World War II. It’s difficult for us to even remember the day; there’s hardly any veterans of the day still alive, there was absolutely no mention of Pearl Harbor in today’s San Diego Union-Tribune.

But the day is symbolic of a time when our nation mobilized to combat a common enemy. Our forebears had the courage and strength during the war years to give all, to make many sacrifices at a time when it was needed.

Today, we’ve faced with another common enemy – the coronavirus.

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San Diego Planning Commission Likes Jen Campbell’s Plan for Short-Term Vacation Rentals

December 4, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

The San Diego Planning Commission liked Councilmember Jen Campbell’s plan for short-term vacation rentals so much that on Thursday, they unanimously endorsed it and even made it more friendly towards STVR hosts.

The Commission raised the percentage cap of short-term rentals of the city’s housing units. Campbell had proposed 0.75 percent threshold of the city’s more than 540,000 housing units to be STVRs. The Commission raised the cap to 1 percent. Both Campbell’s and the Commission’s versions allow a “carve-out” for Mission Beach.

Proponents of the plan say the new regulations “would slash” the number of vacation rentals by a whooping 50%! Aren’t we lucky.

Apparently, a lot of people raised objections to Campbell’s plan.

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News from Ocean Beach and Point Loma – Early December 2020

November 30, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

Gas Leak on Cape May Causes Evacuations Sunday

A gas leak forced an evacuation Sunday of an Ocean Beach neighborhood, police said. The leak was reported at about 4:45 p.m. at 4700 Cape May Avenue and the north side of the street was evacuated,

Young Man Fatally Shot in Point Loma Heights

Padre Outfielder Sues Midway’s Strip Club

San Diego Padres outfielder Tommy Pham has sued a Midway District strip club where he was stabbed last month.

Professors Ben Cater, James Wicks examine the history and culture of surfing at Nazarene U.

OB and Pt Loma Restaurants – Bars Join Long List of 2020 Establishments in San Diego Closed for Good

Here’s a list of OB and other local restaurants and bars that have joined a long list of eateries and bars that have closed for good (for various reasons – not all related to COVID-19):

San Diego Highway Man Helped by Hundreds of Locals

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Hey Everybody! Let’s All Email Emily Murphy of General Services Admin and Tell Her to Do Her Job

November 23, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

Walter Shaub (former head of Office of Government Ethics) has recommended that people contact Emily Murphy of General Services Administration and ask her to ascertain the election.

It is her responsibility, and the longer she delays, the more the COVID response will be hampered.

Her email address is Emily.murphy@gsa.gov . I hope that an effort of massive public outcry will make a difference.

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News Briefs for Ocean Beach and Point Loma During the Pandemic Holidays

November 23, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

Sports Arena redeveloper delinquent on $190 million loan

A unit of the Toronto investment behemoth that bankrolled the demise of San Diego’s Midway area height limit in the form of this month’s successful Measure E is falling short on mortgage payments to retire a multi-million-dollar debt.

OB Holidays Will Be Different This Year

Ocean Beach is ramping up for its year-end charity fundraisers, Christmas parade, community brew, and other holiday highlights. Like everything else with COVID, things will be handled a little differently this year. Though fear not, the “crooked” Christmas tree will be firmly planted in the oceanfront sand. And people can still buy and decorate ornaments, especially Ocean Beach MainStreet Association’s annual themed ornaments, to decorate that tilted tree.

There will be a parade. Though social distancing will require parade floats to be stationary in the Dog Beach parking lot. Families can drive through the lot to check them out, like a drive-through light show.

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Faulconer and Republicans Pile On Over Gov. Newsom’s Screw-Up But Should Look to the White House for the Real Problem

November 19, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer has emerged as Gov. Newsom’s chief critic and was the first one out of the gate to come down on Newsom’s screw-up of attending an indoor party with people from more than three households. Faulconer tweeted:

“His kids can learn in person. But yours can’t. He can celebrate birthday parties. But you can’t. He can dine on a $350 meal at one California’s fanciest restaurants during the worst recession in generations. But you definitely can’t. Can you believe this? I can’t.”

Faulconer’s tweet came out the same day as the news of Gavin’s party. This means he’s taking the gov on and has added fuel to the speculations that he is running for the office next time around.

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Local Democrats Support Monica Montgomery Steppe for City Council President

November 18, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

During Meeting, No One Spoke in Favor of Jen Campbell

The San Diego County Democratic Party leadership met on Tuesday, November 17, and endorsed Councilwoman Monica Montgomery Steppe for San Diego city council president.

At the beginning of the electronically-held meeting of the Central Committee, chair Will Rodriguez-Kennedy asked for public comments and 32 people expressed support for Montgomery Steppe (who was recently married). Three people believed the party should stay neutral on the issue – and importantly for District 2 residents – no one spoke in favor of Councilwoman Jen Campbell – who was a no-show.

The final vote was 42 to 11 in favor of the resolution supporting Montgomery Steppe.

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SDG&E Tries to Bully San Diego – Refuses to Negotiate Extension of Franchise Agreement

November 13, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

SDG&E is throwing its weight around and trying to bully San Diego. And in particular, it’s trying to bully Georgette Gomez, president of the city council.

In a letter sent to city officials Thursday, SDG&E – who has had a 100-year monopoly on our electricity and gas – said it would refuse to consider an extension to the franchise agreement for one year – something city officials are asking for in order to allow the new city council to have a say in all of it. The new city council – with 5 new members – is sworn in on December 10.

SDG&E senior vice president and general counsel Diana Day stated in the letter:

“We do not believe that a one-year extension is in the best interest of the City or San Diego electric and gas consumers.”

Setting aside the audaciousness of that statement,

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Jen Campbell Does Not Deserve to Be San Diego City Council President

November 12, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

For the first time – probably ever – there is an ongoing public battle over who will be the next Council President of the San Diego City Council. Councilwomen Jen Campbell and Monica Montgomery Steppe – both Democrats elected in 2018 – have publicly declared their desire to become the next Council president.

Usually, the race for a position that controls the Council’s agenda and is in charge of committee appointments is under the radar, behind the scenes. As the Voice of San Diego recounts, “That process has broken wide open now, and interest groups are lined up behind the two visions.”

On December 10, the five newly-elected council members will be inaugurated and their first order of business is choosing a president.

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