Environmental attorney Cory Briggs, the bane of downtown developers, on Wednesday night signaled a run for San Diego mayor in 2020.
Angered that no politician had pushed back against Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s vow Tuesday to expand affordable housing by removing development restrictions, Briggs posted a statement that ended: “So in the mayor’s race, if nobody else is gonna fight to protect San Diego’s environment and our quality of life, count me in.”
Briggs, who has never run for public office before, confirmed his intentions Thursday morning.
Voice of San Diego editor in chief Scott Lewis also read the message as a mayoral candidacy, saying Briggs “appears to have announced he’s running for mayor as backlash to mayor’s embrace of expanding housing supply.”
Later Lewis tweeted: “The height-limit left was bound to attract or create a mayoral candidate.”
In his tweet, Briggs called Faulconer’s State of the City address “outrageous.”
Here’s my statement on the 2020 race for mayor of San Diego. pic.twitter.com/vP5jdQPJMj
— Disagreeing≠Bigotry (@corybriggs) January 17, 2019
“Using the affordable-housing crisis as an excuse to remove development limits throughout the city except along the coast will only make rich developers richer while ruining all the neighborhoods and their surroundings that make San Diego a great place to live – that is, except in the coastal communities where many of those developers live,” Briggs said.
“Exporting Mission Valley’s gridlock to the rest of the city – again, everywhere except where the rich developers live – will do nothing but harm the rest of the city’s residents. And, of course, gutting the regulations won’t make a dent in the shortage of affordable housing.”
Briggs said he expected at least one politician to condemn the plan, “point out its gross inequities, and stick up for all the hard-working San Diegans who love where they live. Sadly, that did not happen.”
So he said, regarding the mayor’s race, “count me in.”
He would be the third major candidate in the race, joining Councilwoman Barbara Bry and Assemblyman Todd Gloria, both Democrats.
Briggs, 50, is a Sunset Cliffs resident, according to online records.
His legal battles include victories against San Diego Convention Center expansion but also crushing defeats.
In an August essay celebrating the failure of a Faulconer initiative to put convention center expansion on the ballot, Briggs wrote: “Many City Hall insiders on the right and the left … are guilty of gluttony. They invite lots of other groups to the party because they want to appear inclusive, but then they elbow their way to the front of the food line and fill their plates to excess; their guests get whatever’s left.
“That approach to San Diego politics is stupid, has a long history, and needs to stop.”
A fierce advocate of open-meeting laws, Briggs also has attacked news outlets, especially inewsource — which had run a series of exposes against him. (An appeals court threw out a lawsuit by a Briggs-backed group, San Diegans for Open Government.)
In July 2013, Briggs joined former Councilwoman Donna Frye and attorney Marco Gonzalez in calling for the resignation of Mayor Bob Filner over early sexual harassment allegations.
Briggs wrote: “I have spent the better part of my career standing up for principles of open, accountable, responsible government. It’s clear to me that your office has violated these principles.”
Cory Jay Briggs, whose Briggs Law Corp. has offices in Upland and San Diego’s Moreno area, attended San Diego’s California Western School of Law and was admitted to the State Bar of California in June 1995.
In November 2017, the San Diego Reader touched on suits brought by Briggs against the Pentagon, Navy, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric over spent nuclear fuel set for burial at San Onofre nuclear plant.
Briggs shares his battles on a Facebook page — including his support for soon-to-be-elected San Diego Councilwoman Vivian Moreno.
In 2016, Briggs gave $7,000 to the Democratic Party of San Diego County, according to opensecrets.org. In June 2017, he was an early donor to Ammar Campa-Najjar, giving $2,000 to the Democrat who challenged Rep. Duncan Hunter in the 50th Congressional District.
In 2012, Briggs cut a $250 check to Lori Saldaña, then a candidate for Congress in the 52nd District.
Updated at 1:10 p.m. Jan. 17, 2019