- What does a San Diego City Councilmember do?
- What issues are facing the San Diego City Council?
- Who are the candidates for District 2?
- Who are the candidates for District 4?
- Who are the candidates for District 6?
- Who are the candidates for District 8?
- Quiz: Where do they stand on issues that matter to you?
- Find this race in your virtual ballot ↗
What does a City Councilperson do?
The San Diego City Council is the city’s legislative body. The city can't spend money, sign major contracts or change neighborhood zoning without the approval of the council.
It's usually the mayor or city staff who originate policy proposals. But because San Diego has a "strong council," council members can propose their own laws. Most actions require a 5-vote majority approval from the council. But some — including overrides of mayoral vetoes — require a 6-vote supermajority.
There are nine city council districts. Elections in odd numbered districts coincide with presidential elections, while even numbered districts coincide with gubernatorial elections. To find your council district, search for your address here.
What issues are facing the San Diego City Council?
Housing is one of the most important issues the city council has control over, in particular the panel's power over zoning. A neighborhood's zoning dictates what property owners can build on their land — apartments, detached houses, commercial buildings or a mix of uses. Much of the city's zoning hasn't changed for decades, and restrictions on building have contributed to a housing shortage that is pushing up rents and home prices. City planners are in the process of updating the zoning in several communities to allow for more housing, and those updates require city council approval. While a council member does not have sole authority over the zoning in their own district, in practice, their colleagues and city planners often defer to that councilmember's judgment when a zoning decision is particularly controversial.
Infrastructure is another key issue the city council has power over, though it’s severely limited by restrictions on raising taxes. The city would need an estimated $4.32 billion in additional revenue over the next five years to fully fund all of its infrastructure needs. Without approval from voters to raise taxes to bring in more revenue, the council and mayor have to prioritize funding for infrastructure projects. That means road repairs compete for money with libraries and parks. Storm drains have to compete with police and fire stations.
Police accountability has been a major issue before the council for several years, and grew in prominence after the murder of George Floyd. One of the most significant proposals before the city council is to bar police from conducting "pretext stops," when officers use minor issues like a broken taillight to detain someone they suspect of a more serious crime, and "consent searches," when police search someone with their consent because officers don't have a warrant. Data show such police practices disproportionately target racial minorities in San Diego. Police say making them illegal would hurt their ability to investigate crimes.
Who are the candidates for District 2?
- Retired physician
Campbell was elected in 2018, unseating an incumbent and flipping District 2 from Republican to Democrat. Since taking office, she has won council approval for policies around short-term home rentals and street vending. She also initiated the 2020 ballot measure to lift the 30-foot height limit in the Midway District, which is on the ballot again as Measure C because of a court challenge. She was city council president for one year before being ousted from the position in December 2021.
Campbell on regulations for short-term home rentals:
"We will close the chapter on the unregulated market that has vexed our city, our residents and the good faith hosts who wanted a clear set of guidelines to follow."Jennifer Campbell
- Dentist, professor of dental hygiene
- Also holds a real estate license
Lukacs is notably the only candidate for city office endorsed by the San Diego County Republican Party and the conservative Lincoln Club. Though in light of the district and city's trend of electing more Democrats, Lukacs says she would not lead as a partisan and would compromise with her colleagues to get work done.
Lukacs on police funding:
"We have to make sure they're fully funded. We have to support them. We have to staff them."Linda Lukacs
Who are the candidates for District 4?
Monica Montgomery Steppe
- Advocate for police reform
Montgomery-Steppe was elected in 2018, unseating an incumbent in a surprise to many longtime observers of San Diego politics. She previously worked as a policy advisor under former Mayor Kevin Faulconer and a criminal justice advocate for the San Diego branch of the ACLU. Since taking office she has led campaigns to ban the carotid restraint among local law enforcement agencies, establish a new independent police oversight commission and create the city's Office of Race and Equity.
Montgomery Steppe on violent crime:
"I'm not going to just stand on a corner with partners and say 'We need to stop the violence.' I'm going to address the fact that there has been state-sanctioned violence. The fact that we have had underinvestment in our communities, which causes residents to go towards violence. I'm going to address it all holistically."Monica Montgomery Steppe
- Hasn't reported any campaign donations
Gloria Evangelista is a dietician with a limited campaign presence. She is a registered Republican but is not endorsed by the county GOP.
Evangelista on partisanship
"I do not have an allegiance to a political party or a political agenda. My allegiance is to God first and then to the residents of San Diego, especially to those in District Four."Gloria Evangelista
Who are the candidates for District 6?
- Former radio host
- Co-founder of San Diego County Democrats for Environmental Action
Hough ran in District 6 in 2018 and lost to the incumbent, Chris Cate, who is now termed out. He organized neighbors in Mira Mesa to oppose a new design of bike lanes, called "advisory bike lanes," which Mayor Todd Gloria later removed.
Hough on building more housing:
"We still aren't answering the basic question: How is this housing that we're building going to be somehow more accessible, more attainable and more affordable for our neighbors?"Tommy Hough
- Nonprofit executive
- Sits on Mira Mesa Community Planning Group
Lee is the outgoing executive director of Pacific Arts Foundation, the nonprofit that puts on the San Diego Asian Film Festival. He says the experience of his parents, who immigrated from Vietnam and Burma (now Myanmar), shaped his belief that everyone has an obligation to serve and give back.
Lee on San Diego's problems:
"Some of the biggest challenges we face at the city are actually behind the scenes. You look at the fiscal challenges that we've faced, the staffing of vacancies that we currently hold, and I think these are critical components that explain why the city is failing to deliver on some of its most basic services that people think of every day."Kent Lee
Who are the candidates for District 8?
- Served as board member of San Ysidro Women’s Club, Border View Family YMCA and MANA de San Diego
Moreno was first elected in 2018, when she faced the same opponent and won by fewer than 600 votes — though she won the June primary by a landslide. In 2021 Moreno won passage of a policy that allows the city to pave dirt roads and alleys, most of which are in low-income communities. She gave birth to her first child, Michelle, on Aug. 31.
Moreno on the planned expansion of the San Ysidro Transit Center
"When I joined (the) SANDAG board and when I joined MTS, I said this has to be our number one project. Why? Because 12,000 people go on this trolley on any given day."Vivian Moreno
- Legislative staff for Congressman Juan Vargas
- Board member of San Ysidro School District
Martinez narrowly lost the race for District 8 in 2018. Before becoming a staff aide to Congressman Vargas, Martinez worked as director of public relations for the Imperial Beach Community Clinic, which also has a location in Nestor. He has also served on the volunteer San Ysidro Community Planning Group.
Martinez on housing affordability:
"If you're working two or three jobs, if your family is working two or three jobs, and you still can't make ends meet, there's something seriously wrong with what we're doing."Antonio Martinez
Where do they stand on issues that matter to you?
Still don't know who you're voting for?
Scroll down to play an interactive quiz that will help you find out where local candidates stand on issues that matter to you. Answer five multiple choice questions covering topics from funding law enforcement to mask mandates.
🗳️ Vote-by-mail ballots begin to be sent to all active California registered voters starting Oct. 8. The last day to register to vote is Oct. 24. (If voters miss this deadline they can still register and vote in person at any vote center location.) Nov. 8 is the statewide election day but many vote centers are open prior to election day. Vote center and drop-off locations close at 8 p.m. on election day.