Monica Montgomery Discusses Win, Future On The San Diego City Council
This is KPBS midday edition. I'm Maureen Cavanagh the biggest upset victory in the city of San Diego this Tuesday was the election of Monica Montgomery and City Council District 4. It wasn't a total surprise since Montgomery pulled in a few more votes than incumbent Myrtle Cole back in the June primary. But beating a fellow Democrat and city council president is a rare accomplishment. Joining me is city council member elect Monica Montgomery. And welcome to the show and congratulations. Thank you for having me. Now with all the precincts counted the vote in the fourth district is you fifty six percent of the vote. Myrtle Cole at 44 percent has council president Cole called you to concede. I have not heard from Councilman recall yet. OK. But you are certain of this victory. Yes. With the registrar voters coming out with the numbers that they did and unofficial results were pretty show with an 11 point spread that will be at an inauguration on December 10th. Now it's not easy beating an incumbent and Myrdal Cole also had the support of the Democratic Party Labor mayor Faulkner. So how did you manage to beat her. We stayed true to our strategy from the very beginning which was to be in the community to be visible in the community to listen to community members to walk every single day to call to text. We did everything possible to reach out to the people that really matter and those are the people that live in District 4. Now the Democrats and Labor attached to you and a mailer at the very end of the campaign do you think you'd be less willing to work with them because of that as a member of the council. I'm going to do whatever is best for the community. I believe in the values of labor. I think that leadership made some bad decisions by releasing that puts their membership in an awkward position. And it also you know it kind of leaves them in a position where they have to come to the table in a place not as much power maybe as they had before. It's unfortunate for the membership. That's what my concern is. And I think leadership made some bad moves by doing that. But I will lead with continued integrity and I will do what is best for my community. Now you said if you win you wouldn't keep anyone on Myrtle Coles current staff. Is that still the case. That is the case. My comments have been clear about that. There has been a sense in the office that you know the community doesn't deserve the resources that everyone else gets. That is something that comes from the top down. And we need new ideas. We need folks that have a mentality that has compassion for our community and will fight for our community. And that includes Myrtle Coles chief of staff who served as chief of staff in District 4 for more than a decade. That absolutely includes Jimmy slack. So what do you think your victory says about the constituents in District 4. I always say to the constituents what better district to make history than our own. We are community oriented but we don't care about the opinions of the rest of the city. You know we live in District 4 we see the devastation on our streets. We see the good the bad and the ugly and we took it into our own hands. This is amazing what the community with the district what the people have done we just unseated an incumbent a council president backed by the Labor Council backed by Republicans backed by the entire Democratic Party. District 4 is amazing for doing this. What do you think the biggest issues are in District 4. I mean is it economic development. Is it criminal justice reform what are you really looking at both of those things are part of the platform this approach that we're going to take with these issues will be a holistic approach. Because we really can't look at one without looking at the other. We can take homelessness for example in the county we have about 53 percent of people who are unsheltered who have been through the criminal justice system. So it plays a role in our economic opportunity. It plays a role in the homelessness problem and we really have to begin to look at government that way that not only are we tackling just one problem but we don't want to play whack a mole we've got to have a holistic approach to the issues that we have in the district and in the city given the win of Democrat Gen. Campbell in District 2 the Democrats now have a veto proof majority on the council. Have you thought about what you and fellow Democrats could accomplish in terms of policy. With that advantage yes I have a lot of other things are wrapped up into the platform. We had a lot of things in common as Democrats going through this process. But I really want to have a strong local hire provision at the city something that encourages employment of City of San Diego residents. You know we can. Excited about looking at the criminal justice reform the police reform that we can do while building the relationship with police officers and in our community. And you know homelessness issue is just we hear about that everywhere we go in the city and the county. So looking forward to tackling all the all of those things with a veto proof majority. As you look ahead to December what what's the first thing you want to do when you get to city hall. Well right now I want to get a little rest and I want to make sure that we have a strong staff going in what's really important to me is to remain in the community. I am excited about visiting the community councils that we have set up within the community getting some priorities from the people that live in the community and really putting all of that on paper so that we can execute for our community. I've been speaking with Monica Montgomery newly elected San Diego City Council member and district for Monica. Thank you. Thank you
The biggest upset victory in the city of San Diego this Tuesday was the election of Democrat and civil rights attorney Monica Montgomery in District 4. The district includes the neighborhoods of Oak Park, Encanto and Paradise Hills.
With 100 percent of the precincts reporting, unofficial election results show Montgomery received 56 percent of the vote, 44 percent went to Cole.
The results weren't a total surprise since Montgomery pulled in a few more votes than her opponent, Democratic incumbent Myrtle Cole in the June Primary. But ousting an incumbent and Council President is a rare accomplishment.
“This is amazing what the community, what the district, what the people have done. We just unseated an incumbent, a council President backed by the Labor Council, backed by Republicans, backed by the entire Democratic Party, District 4 is amazing for doing this,” Montgomery said.
Republican incumbent City Councilwoman Lori Zapf also lost her re-election bid in district 2 to Democrat Jennifer Campbell giving the Democrats a veto-proof majority on the council.
No incumbent San Diego city councilmember has lost re-election since 1992.
Montgomery says she would like to see the new Democratic majority push for a local hire provision and criminal justice reform.
She also said she stands by her pledge to not retain any of Cole's staff members, including Cole's chief of staff who has served in that capacity for District 4 for more than a decade.
“My comments have been clear about that. There has been a sense in the office that the community doesn’t deserve the resources that everyone else gets. That is something that comes from the top down. We need new ideas. We need folks that have a mentality that has compassion for our community and will fight for our community,” she said.