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Councilwoman Monica Montgomery Steppe showed us the very best of what a City Council president could be. She has exported the values of her district to the city at large. Thanks to Montgomery Steppe, the privacy of San Diegans in all Council districts is more respected and the city rests assured that the San Diego Police Department will operate with oversight from communities.
Montgomery Steppe is ambitious and inclusive in pursuit of solutions to constituents’ needs. When the smart streetlight program infringed on all San Diegans’ privacy rights in yet another lopsided contract that drained taxpayers, Montgomery Steppe effectively worked to defund it. As the community awoke to a reckoning over police practices, Montgomery Steppe turned action into administration; she helped to pass Measure B that coupled effective policing with an independent community review board.
Her opponent for the Council presidency, Councilwoman Jen Campbell, works against her district. How can we burden the entire city with Campbell’s leadership? Campbell supported Measure E amid the loudest opposition from her own community; now the new heights of an impending building developer free-for-all loom over our neighboring Midway District. Campbell’s permissive approach to short-term rentals will harm San Diego’s working residents.
The Point Loma/OB Democratic Club invited Montgomery Steppe and Campbell to its last two online meetings. When Campbell attended, she refused questions about Measure E’s community impact. She abruptly left our meeting. Campbell’s sudden and sensational exit from the meeting was a reminder of what her leadership had already made apparent; Campbell has left her community behind.
Montgomery Steppe showed us the power of coalition-building during the Sunday evening that she spent with our club. She listened. She answered questions. She put community first. Montgomery Steppe’s leadership is needed to face economic and health recovery from COVID-19, housing affordability and policing.
So at November’s Point Loma/OB Democratic Club meeting, I made a motion to support Steppe for City Council president in a break from the area’s current Council member. The club’s body joined in support. I hope the new Council will too.
Kip Eischen is secretary of the Point Loma/OB Democratic Club.