California Primaries

Meet the Candidates Running in San Diego City Council District 2 Primary

There are five challengers running against incumbent candidate Jen Campbell to represent District 2 on City Council

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Jen Campbell, the current council member for District 2 and incumbent candidate in the June 7 primary election, is facing 5 challengers in this election. The entire Clairemont neighborhood has been united in District 2's new boundaries that were drawn by a volunteer committee after the last census. Old Town has also been added to the District. District 2 still includes Point Loma and Ocean Beach.

Campbell practiced medicine for four decades before being elected to the Council. She was serving as City Council President from 2020 to 2021, but the council voted for Sean Elo-Rivera to assume that role in December.

"I’m so grateful that Sean is the president, I really wouldn’t have had time and so I think it’s a wonderful thing, I think everybody should have a turn at it," Campbell said.

Campbell also faced a failed recall attempt last year. Organizers of that effort say Campbell has been unresponsive and not transparent during her time on the Council.

"You can't please everyone all the time and we’ve taken on the very hard issues that everyone else was afraid to take on so I’m not surprised that a few hundred people who were very vocal, complained," Campbell said.

She says during her first year in office she attended approximately 160 in person events, but that was dramatically cut down during Covid. She says she's looking forward to doing more in person engagements now that there aren't as many restrictions due to Covid.

Campbell says some of her proudest accomplishments over the last four years include reaching compromises on regulations on short term vacation rentals and street vendors in the city. She also says she is happy that Measure E passed, which changed the way the Midway district is zoned which she believes will create more affordable housing in her district.

"It's very important that we make enough housing not only for the people who live and work here, but also for those who have fallen into homelessness and help them to get back on their feet," she said.

She says if re-elected she hopes to prioritize tackling homelessness which has been an ongoing issue with encampments popping up around the Midway area. She wants to see the Safe Parking Program expanded and open new harm reduction centers in her district.

One of Campbell's opponents, Mandy Havlik, was an organizer in the effort to recall her. Havlik is a mom, a military spouse, and a Peninsula Community Board Planning Board Member. She's been a vocal activist against repealing the 30 foot rule in the coastal region and has also advocated for evenly distributing short term vacation rentals in all San Diego districts.

"I felt very strongly about that industry because it is being put on the backs of people trying to find long term housing," Havlik said.

She says she is also very concerned about traffic safety mitigations in the district.

The district's new addition of eastern Clairemont made former assembly woman Lori Saldana a new contender in the race. Saldana says her six years working in the legislature make her uniquely equipped to tackle important issues like housing and clean energy.

"I think that most people know me and they like the policies that I’ve authored and introduced through my legislative career and my volunteer career," Saldana said.

She says she is also worried about crumbling infrastructure, rising utility rates and a lack of affordable housing in the city.

Joel Day also comes from eastern Clairemont. He was planning to run in District 6, but pivoted when his neighborhood was reassigned. He's a college professor, a father of two young children and worked at City Hall for four years. He says his most pressing concern is the homelessness crisis in the city.

"Short term we need safe encampment zones, places where people can have wraparound supportive care and get the entrance into a continuum of care just like we did at the 20th and B site during the hepatitis A crisis," Day said.

He says he'd also like to see San Diego replicate a program he believes was successful in Bakersfield, where the city master leased thousands of housing units and removed barriers to housing for the homeless like credit checks and security deposits.

Linda Lukacs is the lone Republican in the race. She's a dentist, professor and small business owner. She says her top three priorities are homelessness, infrastructure and public safety.

"Our crime rate is out of control, I am hearing through our law enforcement agencies that our officers are overworked, they don’t feel like they're fairly compensated, they're tired, they're demoralized and these are the people that we depend on," Lukacs said.

She wants to focus on recruitment and retention efforts with SDPD.

The top two vote getters in the June 7 primary will advance to the general election in November.

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