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In an upset, Sean Elo Rivera becomes next San Diego City Council president

Moreno and Cate make the motion

Elo-Rivera described the role as governing responsibly, with transparency.
Elo-Rivera described the role as governing responsibly, with transparency.

A vote for president of the San Diego City Council took a surprise turn on Mon., leaving Sean Elo-Rivera to take over the meeting, abruptly ending Jen Campbell's one-year term.

Council presidents are chosen by majority vote of the council, and Campbell was the only dissenter in the 8-1 vote.

But it was an upset.

As the process to choose a president got underway, Council President Pro Tem Stephen Whitburn made a motion to elect Campbell to a 2nd term.

"With Dr. Campbell's leadership this Council has had a very productive year," he said. They'd tackled tough issues "previous councils were unable to resolve," such as a short term vacation rental ordinance and the Parks Master Plan, all amid a pandemic.

Campbell serves District 2, which includes Clairemont, Linda Vista, and several beach communities. Controversy over her plan to regulate, not ban, vacation rentals led to a recall campaign against her, but it failed to collect enough signatures.

Councilmember Raul Campillo "gladly" seconded the motion to extend her term.

But then Councilmember Chris Cate asked if there was an option to do nominations by individual members, which was followed by Councilmember Joe LaCava declining to vote "in light of" Cate's question until he heard what others would do with the motion.

Councilmember Monica Montgomery Steppe was "also a little curious about the process." Campbell replied that other nominees had not come forward. So, would they please just vote?

The motion failed, 5-4.

Campbell made her own motion to elect Whitburn president, which was seconded by Campillo.

She then called a recess to check with the city attorney, and when they returned, a new motion was made by Councilmembers Vivian Moreno and Cate to elect Sean Elo-Rivera.

This time, Whitburn waited to see how the others would vote.

Campillo, noting "an unusual turn of events has happened," asked to hear Elo-Rivera's vision for president before he cast his vote.

Elo-Rivera described the role as governing responsibly, with transparency, "doing everything we can to ensure that all San Diegans get the leadership they deserve."

He serves the ninth district neighborhoods of Alvarado Estates, City Heights, College Area, College View Estates, El Cerrito, Kensington, Mountain View, Mt. Hope, Rolando, Southcrest, and Talmadge.

The city council president has final say on the issues that are put on council agendas, making it a powerful seat in city government.

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Elo-Rivera described the role as governing responsibly, with transparency.
Elo-Rivera described the role as governing responsibly, with transparency.

A vote for president of the San Diego City Council took a surprise turn on Mon., leaving Sean Elo-Rivera to take over the meeting, abruptly ending Jen Campbell's one-year term.

Council presidents are chosen by majority vote of the council, and Campbell was the only dissenter in the 8-1 vote.

But it was an upset.

As the process to choose a president got underway, Council President Pro Tem Stephen Whitburn made a motion to elect Campbell to a 2nd term.

"With Dr. Campbell's leadership this Council has had a very productive year," he said. They'd tackled tough issues "previous councils were unable to resolve," such as a short term vacation rental ordinance and the Parks Master Plan, all amid a pandemic.

Campbell serves District 2, which includes Clairemont, Linda Vista, and several beach communities. Controversy over her plan to regulate, not ban, vacation rentals led to a recall campaign against her, but it failed to collect enough signatures.

Councilmember Raul Campillo "gladly" seconded the motion to extend her term.

But then Councilmember Chris Cate asked if there was an option to do nominations by individual members, which was followed by Councilmember Joe LaCava declining to vote "in light of" Cate's question until he heard what others would do with the motion.

Councilmember Monica Montgomery Steppe was "also a little curious about the process." Campbell replied that other nominees had not come forward. So, would they please just vote?

The motion failed, 5-4.

Campbell made her own motion to elect Whitburn president, which was seconded by Campillo.

She then called a recess to check with the city attorney, and when they returned, a new motion was made by Councilmembers Vivian Moreno and Cate to elect Sean Elo-Rivera.

This time, Whitburn waited to see how the others would vote.

Campillo, noting "an unusual turn of events has happened," asked to hear Elo-Rivera's vision for president before he cast his vote.

Elo-Rivera described the role as governing responsibly, with transparency, "doing everything we can to ensure that all San Diegans get the leadership they deserve."

He serves the ninth district neighborhoods of Alvarado Estates, City Heights, College Area, College View Estates, El Cerrito, Kensington, Mountain View, Mt. Hope, Rolando, Southcrest, and Talmadge.

The city council president has final say on the issues that are put on council agendas, making it a powerful seat in city government.

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