3 challengers to take on councilwoman Lorie Zapf in next election

SAN DIEGO – A Bay Ho man said Monday he intends to run for the San Diego City Council seat currently held by Lorie Zapf, increasing the number of challengers to three.

Daniel Smiechowski, 63, works in real estate and is a longtime community volunteer.

“I’ve been in this district for 50 years,” Smiechowski told City News Service. He said none of the other candidates “can hold a candle” to his experience in District 2, which is comprised of Point Loma, the beach communities and the area just east of Interstate 5 where he lives.

Lawyer Bryan Pease and Jordan Beane, best known for hosting videos on the Chargers website, are the other candidates who have declared their plans to run against Zapf. Both said they want to bring progressive policies to the City Council.

Smiechowski described himself as a more centrist Democrat who would bring the midwestern values of his Missouri roots.

He said he supports San Diego being a “sanctuary city” as the U.S. debates immigration policies and backs short-term vacation rentals, which have turned into a contentious issue because the city’s code compliance efforts are too weak to challenge bad property owners.

“We don’t want development that isn’t smart development,” Smiechowski said. “We want development that benefits the community, in affordable housing and housing the homeless.”

The triathlete is also a Francophile who says he visits the Normandy region of France once or twice a year.

Pease, most known for representing animal rights activists in the controversy over harbor seals at the La Jolla Children’s Pool, was the second person to take on the incumbent. He ran for city attorney last year but didn’t make it out of the primary.

Pease said he is currently representing the San Diego branch of the NAACP in its lawsuit against the El Cajon Police Department and San Diego County Sheriff’s Department. The plaintiffs contend that the agencies shut down peaceful vigils in the wake of the Alfred Olango shooting last year and arrested people for refusing to disperse a prayer circle.

“I have a history of fighting for what’s right, even if it’s not popular,” Pease said. “As a City Council member, I will continue working to protect the public interest, civil rights, consumers and the environment, and will push the city to embrace the evidence-based, taxpayer saving model for solving homelessness that city leaders have so far neglected to implement.”

Pease said his priorities include environmental protection, ending chronic homeless, increasing housing affordability and public safety.

“It’s time for progressive leadership for the district,” Pease said. “Our community needs someone who will fight for us at City Hall, not just rubber stamp special interest projects and luxury condos.”

The 13-year San Diego resident has served as a board member of the OB People’s Market — a member-owned grocery store in Ocean Beach, as president of the Animal Protection and Rescue League and is an elected member of the San Diego County Democratic Party Central Committee.

Zapf, a Republican on the technically nonpartisan panel, would be seeking her second and final term in the district if she decides to run again. She previously represented Clairemont Mesa, but her residence fell into District 2 during redistricting.

In other races, council President Myrtle Cole and Councilman Chris Cate have declared their intention to run for reelection with the City Clerk’s Office. Cole represents Southeast San Diego and Cate’s district covers Mira Mesa and Kearny Mesa.

Keith Wong filed a notice of intention to run against Cate, while Antonio Martinez, director of a community clinic, did the same in a bid to succeed David Alvarez, who represents Barrio Logan, Otay Mesa and San Ysidro.