city councilmember jen campbell at a podium
Councilwoman Jen Campbell speaks at the San Diego City Council inauguration ceremony. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

Late Thursday night, after hours of public calls and several tech hiccups, the decision was finally made: Dr. Jen Campbell is San Diego’s new City Council president.

This follows weeks of an unusually public campaign in which Councilwoman Monica Montgomery Steppe stacked up institutional support, stoked the fires of local progressivism and racial equity, and sought to make the typically quiet process a lot louder and more transparent. After the new City Council members were sworn in, they sat through hundreds of comments by citizens who largely voiced support for Montgomery Steppe. But in the end, Campbell had the handful of votes she needed.

On the podcast this week, which was recorded as the Council meeting was still playing out, hosts Scott Lewis, Andrew Keatts and Sara Libby took stock of all the moving political parts that are setting our new San Diego public stage.

Later in the show, Lewis connected with Joel Day, senior adviser for COVID-19 response and recovery for the city of San Diego under former Mayor Kevin Faulconer. Day talked about what happened that one week in March when everything changed, how the city’s approach to homelessness has been remade since then — and how it may never go back.

Related reading: This week, Lewis tried to suss out why exactly the state closed outdoor dining (even though it’s supposed to be safe). He found an answer to try to clear up the state’s mixed messaging.

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Nate John is the digital manager at Voice of San Diego. He oversees Voice's website, newsletters, podcasts and product team. You can reach him at

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