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Effort to recall San Diego City Council President Jennifer Campbell picks up steam

Signature gathering will start Feb. 23
Posted at 6:00 AM, Feb 19, 2021

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - An effort to recall San Diego City Council President Dr. Jennifer Campbell is underway and picking up steam.

"For a doctor, she sure cannot find the pulse of her community," says Mandy Havlik, one of the "RecallJen" organizers.

The movement filed its official "Notice of Intent to Circulate Petition" on February 3, the first step towards a recall. City rules say they are allowed to begin gathering signatures 21 days later.

The recall needs to collect signatures from 15% of the registered voters in District 2, which Campbell represents. That area includes Pacific Beach, Mission Beach, Ocean Beach, Point Loma, and the Midway District.

In all, they need 14,421 signatures. They say their goal is to get 20,000.

"We are going to make sure she is an example of what happens when elected officials do not do their job and do not listen to the constituents as a whole," says community activist Tasha Williamson.

Recall organizers say Campbell lied to voters when she campaigned in 2018 on a promise to ban short-term vacation rentals. She has since supported a plan that would cap the number of STVRs in the city while adding regulations.

They also say she didn't listen to her constituents' concerns about development in the Midway and even went against their wishes when she supported Measure E in the 2020 election. That measure removed the 30-foot height restriction in the area and passed with 56% of the city-wide vote.

"I have been disappointed with her lack of engagement with her community, with her lack of accountability, her lack of leadership during this pandemic, and her betrayal to the community regarding short-term vacation rentals," says Havlik.

Campbell's office says the recall effort is "ridiculous" and "selfish."

"It's a group of entitled individuals that are upset because we did not do what they wanted us to do," says Campbell's Chief of Staff Venus Molina.

Molina told ABC 10News that Dr. Campbell changed her position on the STVR issue because she realized a complete ban would be caught up in legal battles for years, allowing the problem to grow. She decided a compromise that focused on regulation and enforcement would be better for the city.

As for the Measure E vote, Molina says Dr. Campbell supported the Measure because the Midway Planning Group did as well.

"This is something that was not only beneficial to the Midway community, but to the city," says Molina. "It brings a new sports arena and new development."

If the recall gets to the ballot, the vote will take place sometime between October 1 and December 31. Molina says that would be a waste of taxpayer money since Dr. Campbell has to run for reelection anyway in the June 2022 primary, just six months later.

"If this recall moves forward, it'll force us to spend that money on a District Two election that could easily be resolved within a couple of months," Molina says.

Recall proponents say the city can't afford 6-9 more months of having Campbell in office.

"Why would we wait nine months to have more damage when we can get rid of her now?" asks Williamson. "Accountability is not the enemy. A doctor would not wait nine months for a surgery if it was needed right now. We need her out now."