Jen Campbell Becomes City Council President Despite Protest

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(left to right:) New San Diego City Council President Jennifer Campbell & Councilmember Monica Montgomery-Steppe

Cori Zaragoza | Contributing Writer

December 10th marked the inauguration of a new San Diego City Council, followed immediately by a special meeting to vote on a new council president. The meeting was long and tumultuous; starting with public comments on who should take the new role.

For over four hours, callers voiced their overwhelming support for Councilmember Monica Montgomery-Steppe. Stories poured in from all over San Diego expressing personal moments with the Councilmember and showing how involved Montgomery-Steppe is in her community.

Lawana Richmond, a San Diego resident, explained her reason for supporting Councilmember Montgomery-Steppe as president to the council as “We’re at a moment where we could demonstrate that San Diego is ready to be governed by the people, for the people, and this could be a step in that direction.”

Despite this, five affirmative votes ushered in Councilmember Jennifer Campbell as the new City Council President, beating Councilmember Montgomery-Steppe by one vote.

Councilmembers Jennifer Campbell, Stephen Whitburn, Marni von Wilpert, Chris Cate, And Raul Campillo voted in favor of Campbell while Councilmembers Monica Montgomery-Steppe, Joe LaCava, Vivian Moreno, and Sean Elo-Rivera casting their votes for Montgomery-Steppe.

In the non-agenda public comment, callers immediately voiced their disappointment in the City Council’s decision and felt that they had not been listened to.

In response to the results, former Councilmember and mayoral candidate Barbara Bry has announced that she will lead a coalition to recall Jen Campbell from her Council President position. In an interview with KUSI News, Bry shared that “this is a city-wide issue…what we saw was very sad…[Councilmember] Monica is a very smart, independent woman who can ask the tough questions and represent the members of our city well…I heard new Councilmember Von-Wilpert, Campillo, and Whitburn talk about people over politics in their inaugural speeches and then just a few hours later they voted with the special interest, who they think will fund their political future.”

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