3 new City Council members sworn in; Gomez elected president
SAN DIEGO — Three newly elected San Diego City Council members were sworn in Monday and then cast their first votes to elect Georgette Gomez the new council president.
Outgoing council members Lorie Zapf and David Alvarez gave parting remarks at the ceremony where incoming members Jennifer Campbell, Monica Montgomery and Vivian Moreno were officially welcomed to the 72nd City Council. Outgoing District 4 City Council President Myrtle Cole did not attend.
Campbell, a physician and a Democrat who defeated Zapf, a Republican, in District 2 with nearly 58 percent of the vote, compared the job of a council member to her work as a family doctor.
“Each profession is focused on preventing and solving problems,” she said. “In both, we listen to your problem, we learn the history of it, we make a diagnosis and provide a pathway to a cure. And that is how I will serve as District 2’s representative in City Hall.”
Campbell flipping Zapf’s seat gives Democrats a 6-3 supermajority on the technically nonpartisan council for at least the next two years.
“When we work together and we focus less on politics and focus more on the priorities of our communities, there is no challenge too great or obstacle too high that we cannot overcome,” Mayor Kevin Faulconer said.
Montgomery, a civil rights attorney, ousted Cole in District 4 by painting the incumbent as a City Hall insider out of touch with her own district. Montgomery finished with 57.7 percent of the vote and received the biggest applause, by far, of the four council members taking the oath of office.
“My prayer is that I never lose sight of the community that sent me to City Hall to do one job, and that is to advocate for you,” Montgomery said. “On November 6, 2018, District 4 said `no more’ … No more giving away of our community resources to special interests, no more back-door deals to decide our community’s fate, no more supporting leaders who abandon our community and no more leaving out children behind.”
Despite being a Democrat, Cole was Faulconer’s closest left-of-center ally on the council over the last two years.
Moreno replaced her boss, the termed-out David Alvarez, in District 8. While she is expected by some City Hall observers to tread largely the same path as Alvarez did in his time on the council, her election signifies the first time in city history that a majority of the council members are women.
“This is an historic day for our city,” said Councilwoman Barbara Bry. “We have five women — five strong women from diverse backgrounds are going to constitute a majority of our San Diego City Council.”
Moreno finished with 50.9 percent of the vote, 549 votes ahead of San Ysidro school board member Antonio Martinez.
“People want to know that City Hall is working for them, not for outside interests or those with their own agenda,” Moreno said. “They want to know that their elected officials listen to them and do all they can to help. To the communities of District 8, I promise to bring City Hall to you.”
Campbell, Montgomery and Moreno cast their first vote Monday afternoon to appoint District 9 Councilwoman Georgette Gomez as the next council president. While rumors had previously swirled that Bry, the council’s president pro tem, might challenge Gomez for the presidency, the council ultimately voted unanimously, 9-0, in favor of Gomez.
“As a council member, I worked to include the voices that are oftentimes not heard,” Gomez said. “I will continue to do so as council president. … I look forward to leading the 72nd City Council and developing stronger relationships with my colleagues.”