Dr. Jen Campbell celebrates with her supporters at Golden Hall.
Dr. Jen Campbell celebrates with her supporters at Golden Hall following her election in 2018. Photo by Chris Stone

A campaign to recall San Diego City Council President Jennifer Campbell will become official when a notice of intent to recall her is published in a legal newspaper Wednesday.

Once the notice is published, recall leaders must wait 21 days to begin collecting signatures. Campbell has that time to publish a rebuttal the recall campaign must pay to publish.

Recall backers have until June 3 to collect 14,421 signatures from registered voters in District 2, 15% of its 96,140 registered voters. The district consists of Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach, Point Loma, Mission Beach and part of Clairemont.

Campbell described the campaign as a waste of time and money.

“At a time when the city is facing a budget deficit, a small group of individuals are trying to force San Diego residents to spend a million dollars for a recall that might be held a few months before a regular election in 2022,” she said. “It is selfish and irresponsible.”

If the recall supporters collect enough verified signatures, the City Council would be required to schedule a special election within six months on whether Campbell should be recalled and if so, who should replace her.

Supporters of the recall effort said they have lost faith in Campbell, a Democrat. The San Diego City Council, like all local government bodies in California, is officially nonpartisan.

“Councilmember Campbell has betrayed the voters and is unfit for office. Having no other recourse, we the residents of District 2, together with concerned residents throughout the city, have come together to take this action,” the notice reads.

The recall notice is scheduled to appear in Wednesday’s issue of the San Diego Daily Transcript, a legal newspaper, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

Campbell has served on the City Council since ousting Republican Lorie Zapf in 2018. She was elected City Council president over Councilwoman Monica Montgomery Steppe by a 5-4 vote in December.

Many of the complaints against Campbell are as a result of what critics describe as a too-lenient attitude toward vacation rentals and her support for a ballot measure allowing developers to exceed a long-standing 30-foot height limit in the dilapidated Midway neighborhood that is home to many strip clubs.

Leaders of the campaign include five prominent civic leaders from each neighborhood in Campbell’s district: Kevin Hastings, vice chair of the Ocean Beach Planning Board; Cathie Umemoto, a director on the Pacific Beach Town Council Board of Directors; Mandy Havlik, board member and secretary of the Peninsula Community Planning Board; Erin Cullen, board member of the Clairemont Community Planning Group; and Gary Wonacott, former president of Mission Beach Town Council.

Updated at 11:30 a.m., Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021