What we think of the incoming San Diego political class 2020

In general, we think we managed well this election. San Diego City Council, County Supervisors, and the Mayor are all Democrat-Controlled, which, while certainly better than Republicans, can mean many different things. We wanted to share our thoughts on the records of these officials, and where we would like to see improvement. So here are our current report cards for the political class, San Diego City and County, of 2020.

Mayor: Todd Gloria

San Diego has a long history of abusive law enforcement practices used in communities of color. The police department currently practices excessive force like curbing, lethal force, canine units, gang registrations, and gang suppression units. Mayor-Elect Todd Gloria has said explicitly that he will not defund the SDPD as mayor, but sponsored bills to demilitarize the police, end private prisons in California and ban the carotid restraint as an Assembly Member Gloria accepted endorsements from the Police Officers Association which represents San Diego Police Department officers. This may cause a conflict of interest in the future. This is pretty much inline with most elected official, but we want to see better. To stop the grade from lowering, we advise reinvesting funds from the police budget back into the community through services that improve public safety such as mental health, substance abuse and other services.



Board of County Supervisors: Nathan Fletcher

According to Climate Action Plan, the San Diego County Climate Action Plan is fatally flawed as it allows for continued urban sprawl, relies on dubious “climate offsets” and makes no attempt at curtailing road-based emissions. A Democratic controlled Board of Supervisors must act quickly to introduce a regional Climate Action Plan that addresses the climate crisis’ severity with bold action. Supervisor Nate Fletcher has been a longtime critic of San Diego County’s CAP and a welcome advocate for Community Choice Aggregation (producing regional clean energy) and smart housing plans (building housing around transit to reduce sprawl.) However, his approach is extremely technocratic and relies on electric vehicles which are unaffordable, carry large carbon footprints and ignores the fundamental intersection between good climate policy and environmental justice. He and the rest of the Board of Supervisors must produce a community-first model to tackle the issue of the climate crisis while dismantling environmental injustices present in our county. We advise Supervisor Fletcher and the rest of the Board to fully utilize this election’s Climate Mandate to fully transition San Diego’s energy, invest in robust regional mass transit and ban carbon offsets from being used to cheat San Diego’s emission reduction targets.



California Senate: Ben Hueso

Nearly 5.5 million Californians live within a mile of an oil well; the state ranks fourth in oil production in the country. Los Angeles County had 5,194 operational oil wells as of 2015, and as of 2017 over 80 percent of them sat within 2500 feet of a home, school, or hospital. AB 345 will mandate a 2,500-foot health and safety buffer zone between new oil and gas wells and sensitive land uses, which include schools, day care centers, residential homes, and hospitals, thereby creating a safe distance between drilling operations and vulnerable populations in order to avoid serious public health and safety risks and impacts. Ben Hueso made clear, in voting against AB345, that he does not stand with the frontline communities living near oil and gas extraction sites. In fact, he doesn’t want to hear these communities’ voices at all. Hueso called the legislation a “waste of time” and a “publicity stunt” by environmental justice groups. Instead of voting to protect California families and children from the health impacts of oil and gas drilling, Senator Hueso has once again failed our communities and the over 5 million Californians — mostly black, indigenous, and people of color — who live in a mile of drilling sites. During his state legislative career, Hueso has received $27,300 in campaign contributions from companies that lobbied against AB 345. Senator Hueso is bound to the interest of the fossil fuel industries, not his constituents, because he receives massive campaign donations from oil and gas corporations like Chevron, BP, and Western States Petroleum Association. We advise Senator Hueso to listen to the people, listen to his constituents, and reconsider his no vote for AB345.



California Assembly: Chris Ward

Sempra has been investigated for campaign financing violations in both the U.S. and Mexico, using strategic “contributions” to maintain and expand their network of natural gas plants. Their history of fossil fuel use, exploitation, and corruption cannot be ignored. Chris Ward has accepted campaign contributions from Sempra, giving them monetary stake and control over his political career. Chris Ward is agreeing to sacrifice air quality, noise pollution, and community health of San Diego by continuing to cooperate with Sempra. The current campaign finance structure allows coorporations to force politicians to choose profit over People. Chris Ward and the other members of the State Assembly must take the No Fossil Fuels pledge and reform campaign finance to remove the dangerous influence of corporate lobbyists.



San Diego City Council: Monica Montgomery-Steppe

Montgomery-Steppe has dedicated their career to racial justice, starting as a student in Bonita Vista Highschool by holding the school’s leadership accountable for enacting rules that racially targeted Black students for wearing bandanas. As chairperson of the City Council Public Safety committee, she has been a leading force by working with the community to put in place TRUST SD’s ordinances for protection from mass-surveillance and San Diegan’s for Justice’s Measure B for a new board to independently investigate police misconduct. In the FY 2021 city budget hearing, City Council voted 8-1 to adopt an increase of $27M to SDPD which accounts for 1/3 of the entire budget. In comparison, only $15M was allocated for COVID and rental relief. Montgomery-Steppe negotiated $3M for a Community Equity fund and to create an Office for the Race and Equity which will function to address systemic racism. We advise City Council to vote for Montgomery-Steppe for President. City Council needs to admit that systemic and institutional racism exist. Furthermore, they need bold leadership. One that has a record of working with community advocates like the Racial Justice Coalition, TRUST SD, Pillars of the Community. These relationships will build trust and make tangible changes to bring equity and racial justice to BIPOC people and communities.

Montgomery: A
City Council: B

KPBS Podcast: Monica Montgomery Responds To Criticism Over SDPD Funding

NBC: City Council Approves Budget with $27M

SDUT: Montgomery will bring ‘no-excuses’ attitude, policy expertise to San Diego City Hall

KPBS Video: Community Conversation: The Future of Policing in San Diego

VOSD Podcast: Why Montgomery Steppe wants to be city council president

We’ll be checking with everyone 100 days after being sworn in. We hope to see good progress from everyone, but are ready to do our part in keeping them accountable if they don’t.