San Diego City Councilwoman Monica Montgomery Steppe in El Cerrito on Aug. 15, 2023.
San Diego City Councilwoman Monica Montgomery Steppe in El Cerrito on Aug. 15, 2023. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

San Diego City Councilwoman Monica Montgomery Steppe will advance to a runoff in November in the race to fill a vacant county supervisor seat.

It’s a bit too early to say who may join her: Republican Amy Reichert had a lead of 2,913 votes over Democrat Janessa Goldbeck as of late night Tuesday — a difference of 3.5 percentage points of the total vote. And that lead kept growing.

The numbers: Montgomery Steppe had 40.63 percent of the 79,289 votes counted, as of 10:30 p.m. Tuesday. Reichert had 29 percent and Goldbeck 25.3 percent. Republican Paul McQuigg was behind all three with only 5 percent.

There are 20,000 votes left to count, according to the San Diego County Registrar of Voters. The next results will drop on Aug. 17.

You’ll have to wait: They don’t plan another update until Thursday evening.

What they’re saying: The candidates are waiting. There’s a lot of waiting.

  • “While we wait for every vote to be counted and every voice to be heard — we are feeling optimistic about the future of San Diego County,” Montgomery Steppe wrote on Twitter. She also said the work is far from over in the fight for the county. 
  • “We are waiting for all the votes to be tallied, but I feel very good about our position and confident I will be on the ballot for the November 7 runoff,” Reichert wrote on Twitter.
Supervisor Candidate Amy Reichert during an interview at Bully's East Prime Bistro Sports Bar in Mission Valley on Aug. 15, 2023.

Eyes on Montgomery Steppe’s council seat: If Montgomery Steppe is triumphant in November, her City Council District 4 seat will open. That district includes the neighborhoods of Lincoln Park, Encanto, Chollas View, Emerald Hills, Paradise Hills, Mountain View and more. 

As the Union-Tribune reported, the city would have to hold a special election because there would be more than one year left on her term. The U-T also pointed out that potential candidates for her seat could include Henry Foster, Montgomery Steppe’s chief of staff, local activists Francine Maxwell and Tariq Harris. 

On Tuesday night activist Shane Harris wrote on Twitter that he is “#ready” to step up. 

Housing and Homelessness Top of Mind

A polling place sign near the City Heights Recreation Center polling station on Aug. 15, 2023.

Our Kathryn Gray hit the streets to find out what was motivating voters in the special election. 

Most all said homelessness was a major issue, but others also talked about crime, cops, housing and wages. 

One voter was torn between the two Democratic candidates, but said he decided to vote against Goldbeck, because she was supported by the police union. 

Read all the voters’ takes here. 

Speaking of the voters: Photographer Ariana Drehsler also visited polling stations across the county. Check out her photo essay here

Newly Homeless San Diegans Continue to Outpace Housing Efforts

Mercedes Ortega moves some of her belongings from Commercial and 15th Street to another location in the outskirts of downtown on July 31, 2023.

For the sixteenth month in a row, the number of people falling into homelessness in San Diego County outpaced the number moving into homes.

The Regional Task Force on Homelessness reports that 1,189 San Diegans became homeless for the first time in July and 828 exited homelessness.

March 2022 marked the last month that the number of people accessing housing outpaced the number becoming unhoused.

The bottom line: Local efforts to combat homelessness can’t keep up with the flood of people seeking homeless services for the first time. 

About that camping ban: It’s now been more than two weeks since San Diego police began enforcing the city’s new homeless camping ban. Through Friday, police say they wrote four misdemeanor citations and made seven unrelated arrests. A spokeswoman said officers are now enforcing the ordinance throughout the city after initially beginning in Balboa Park.

Another sobering reality: Shelter is hard to come by. In the first week of the camping ban, Housing Commission data shows just 20 percent of shelter referrals resulted in someone getting a bed. Police alone made 55 referrals – and got just 14 placements.

In Other News 

Correction: The story, “Water Authority OK’s Suit to Keep Districts from Leaving as they Rush to Pack,” along with yesterday’s Morning Report have been updated to correct that the Water Authority board voted 21 to 2 to pursue a lawsuit. It was not a slim margin as we described it.

The Morning Report was written by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña, Will Huntsberry and Lisa Halverstadt. It was edited by Scott Lewis.

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