My coverage of the 2018 general election will focus on the City of San Diego over the next few days, starting with the City Council and moving on to ballot measures. Today’s topic is the District 2 contest between Lorie Zapf and Dr. Jen Campbell.
Let’s face it. For a city with a seemingly bright future and a terrific climate, if you had to pick a color to represent San Diego’s mood, it would be dark gray. When progressive things happen, they get tripped up by a petulant group of land speculators and
scam artists entrepreneurs.
From an economic and political point of view, the “May Gray” is a year-round state of mind for all-too-many of us. All the promises of prosperity made over the past half-century compared to the ever increasing number of people who are economically challenged amount to a solid argument for why “trickle down” is a myth.
Entirely too much energy is expended on the Big Shiny Things coveted by our local gentry and not enough on the structural and people problems facing us. Now, thanks to a split in the ranks of the developing class, we’re supposed to be concerned about which group gets the rights to re-do the last generation’s Big Shiny Thing in Mission Valley.
One can only hope they’ll be distracted enough with their quest for gold and glory not to notice or understand the fundamental shifts happening in the electorate. As they say at the beach, surf’s up. And there are successive blue and brown waves headed our way.
I don’t think we’ll see much of this in 2018,–mostly because those kinds of choices aren’t the ballot–but the groundwork is being laid for 2020 and beyond. I believe some of our “safely” incumbent Democrats will face primary challenges in the next election.
For now, too many of our local ballot choices are between the mediocre and the mundane. Given the realities of creeping authoritarianism under the current batch of DC dimwits, we have to make some less-than-optimal choices.
Staying home on election day is not an option.
Communities: Bay Ho, Bay Park, Morena, Midway, Mission Beach, Ocean Beach, Pacific Beach, Point Loma
Much to almost everybody’s surprise, City Council District 2 has become a key partisan battleground. If Democrats can flip this seat they’ll have a veto-proof supermajority.
In recent decades, council incumbency has made re-election a given. Incumbent Lorie’s Zapf’s failure to garner more than 43% of the votes in the primary has pundits wondering whether this is about to change.
The big issues in D2 are development, short-term vacation rentals, and the homeless population. Many of the neighborhoods in the district have a strong sense of community identity, with active town councils and other civic organizations playing a prominent public role.
A superheated housing market has driven real estate developers to look for ways to get around height limits and other measures limiting density. An amazing amount of residential property in the areas near the ocean has been converted into vacation rentals, changing the character of those neighborhoods. And there is animosity bordering on the kind of “other hating” coming out of the Trump administration toward the ever-growing numbers of unhoused humans.
Total Registered Voters 87,080
No Party Preference 27,074
Lorie Zapf (Incumbent Republican)
Issues: “Working to Improve Our Neighborhood Quality of Life- Delivering Real Services – Fiscal Responsibility – Cleaning Up Our Parks & Beaches”
Organizational Endorsements: Republican Party of San Diego, San Diego Police Officers Association, Associated General Contractors – San Diego Chapter, California Restaurant Association PAC, Lincoln Club of San Diego County, San Diego Downtown Partnership, Building Industry Association of San Diego County, San Diego County Apartment Association
Incumbent City Council Member Lorie Zapf doesn’t list the local GOP’s blessing on her page of endorsements, although she certainly hews to the party’s line on most issues affecting San Diego. Perhap’s that’s because her district has nine thousand more registered Democrats than Republicans.
She became the D2 representative in 2014 after her home was redistricted from D6, and because that move reset the term-limit clock, Zapf is now running for an unprecedented (since 1992, anyway) third term.
From a D2 pre-primary profile I wrote:
Zapf would like us all to believe the criminal justice reforms, especially Proposition 47, are responsible for the increase in homelessness in San Diego. The cost of housing versus what people get paid apparently has nothing to do with it. And she’s really big on spinning anecdotes to fit the myths conservatives love to share about the failures of the system.
*An Independent Expenditure committee has amassed $300,000 from the Chamber of Commerce PAC and the Lincoln Club in support of Zapf.
Dr. Jen Campbell (Democrat)
Issues: “Ensuring that the City Government is putting Residents First – Tackling our Homeless Crisis – Facing our Housing Shortfall – Addressing Climate Change”
Organizational Endorsements: San Diego Democratic Party, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Sierra Club, Climate Defenders Action Fund, League of Conversation Voters, San Diego & Imperial Counties Labor Council, San Diego County Building and Construction Trades Council, Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters, The Victory Fund, Run Women Run, Equality California, San Diego Democrats for Equality, San Diego Democrats for Environmental Action, San Diego County Young Democrats, Clairemont Democratic Club, Pacific Beach Democratic Club, Point Loma Democratic Club, San Diego Labor Democratic Club
Union-Tribune: San Diego City Council candidate Jennifer Campbell on the issues
OB Rag: Dr. Jen Campbell’s Candidacy in District 2: Is She the Cure?
San Diego Reader: Now Jen Campbell’s going after Zapf’s seat
Dr. Jen Campbell bested two serious challengers in the primary, and, in case it isn’t obvious from her list of endorsers, she’s backed by just about every part of San Diego’s Democratic establishment.
Campbell’s pounding away at what should be considered gross negligence of her duties by the incumbent.
From Brett Warnke’s profile at the OB Rag:
“Zapf is just ineffective,” Campbell said. “She missed 400 votes in 2 years. She’s been there how long? 8 years! She’s just not interested in the details. Her constituents contact her–they tell me this–she’s just not there. However, I get things done, I don’t sit around and do nothing. Zapf brags about how many streets have been paved. Baloney.”
Her challenge in this election is turnout. If enough Democrats are energized by Dr. Jen’s candidacy, she’ll ride to victory in November based on partisan registration alone.
However, San Diego’s City Council elections are technically non-partisan. The real life consequence for a Democratic challenger taking on a Republican incumbent is the tendency of apathetic people who make it to the polls to vote for the name they recognize. And the Second District’s Democratic-leaning neighborhoods are great about showing up.
I know some of San Diego’s Democratic clubs, along with Indivisible chapters have been going door-to-door in support of Dr. Jen’s candidacy. I have also heard in recent days about fundraising for an independent expenditure committee to offset the war chest that the Lincoln Club and the Chamber of Commerce have gifted her opponent.
Dr. Jen is a Democratic activist–and she’s worked hard it–who’s decided to make the leap to being an elected official. Let’s hope she can be as diligent as an office holder as she has been with the party.
Tomorrow: District 4-Will the Election Be a Victory for SouthEast San Diego?
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