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Recall Campaign For Council President Jennifer Campbell To Officially Begin

City Councilwoman Jen Campbell smiles while attending a trash pick-up in Rose Creek, April 27, 2019.
Andi Dukleth
City Councilwoman Jen Campbell smiles while attending a trash pick-up in Rose Creek, April 27, 2019.

UPDATE: 12:38 p.m., Feb. 3, 2021

A campaign to recall San Diego City Council President Jennifer Campbell became official Wednesday when a notice of intent to recall her was published in a legal newspaper.

Once the notice is published, recall leaders must wait 21 days to begin collecting signatures. Campbell has that time to publish a rebuttal the recall campaign must pay to publish.

Recall backers have until June 3 to collect 14,421 signatures from registered voters in District 2, 15% of its 96,140 registered voters. The district consists of Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach, Point Loma, Mission Beach and part of Clairemont.

Campbell described the campaign as a waste of time and money.

"At a time when the city is facing a budget deficit, a small group of individuals are trying to force San Diego residents to spend a million dollars for a recall that might be held a few months before a regular election in 2022," she said. "It is selfish and irresponsible."

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If the recall supporters collect enough verified signatures, the City Council would be required to schedule a special election within six months on whether Campbell should be recalled and if so, who should replace her.

Supporters of the recall effort said they have lost faith in Campbell, a Democrat. The San Diego City Council, like all local government bodies in California, is officially nonpartisan.

"Councilmember Campbell has betrayed the voters and is unfit for office. Having no other recourse, we the residents of District 2, together with concerned residents throughout the city, have come together to take this action," the notice reads.

The recall notice appeared in Wednesday's issue of the San Diego Daily Transcript, a legal newspaper, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

Campbell has served on the City Council since ousting Republican Lorie Zapf in 2018. She was elected City Council president over Councilwoman Monica Montgomery Steppe by a 5-4 vote in December.

Many of the complaints against Campbell are a result of what critics describe as a too-lenient attitude toward vacation rentals and her support for a ballot measure allowing developers to exceed a long-standing 30-feet height limit in the Midway neighborhood.

Campbell's supporters describe her as a progressive leader not afraid to take on controversial issues.

Leaders of the campaign include five prominent civic leaders from each neighborhood in Campbell's district: Kevin Hastings, vice chair of the Ocean Beach Planning Board; Cathie Umemoto, a director on the Pacific Beach Town Council Board of Directors; Mandy Havlik, board member and secretary of the Peninsula Community Planning Board; Erin Cullen, board member of the Clairemont Community Planning Group; and Gary Wonacott, former president of Mission Beach Town Council.