San Diego City Council

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Coordinates: 32°43′01″N 117°09′47″W / 32.71691°N 117.16297°W / 32.71691; -117.16297

San Diego City Council
Coat of arms or logo
Term limits
2 Terms
Georgette Gomez, Democratic
since December 2018
President Pro Tempore
Barbara Bry, Democratic
since December 2017
San Diego City Council 2019.svg
Political groups
officially nonpartisan

Majority (6)

  •   Democratic (6)

Minority (3)

Length of term
4 Years
Single-member districts
Last election
November 6, 2018
Next election
November 3, 2020
Meeting place
San Diego City Council chambers.jpg
San Diego City Hall 202 C St # 10, San Diego, CA
Official Website

The San Diego City Council is the legislative branch of government for the city of San Diego, California. The city council was first established in San Diego in 1850. The council uses a strong mayor system with a separately elected mayor who acts as the executive. There are currently nine members of the council. City council members serve a four-year term and are limited to two successive terms.


San Diego was first incorporated as a city government with a common council on March 27, 1850. However, the city went bankrupt in 1852 and the council was replaced by a board of trustees. A new charter was adopted in 1889 reestablishing a common council under the strong mayor form of government. The common council consisted of two houses, a nine-member board of aldermen and an eighteen-member board of delegates. The council was consolidated into one nine-member house in 1905 and reduced to a five-member commission in 1909.[1]

In 1931 a new charter established a council-manager government. This charter is still in effect today with modifications. The new charter included a seven-member council. Six council members were nominated in districts and voted on citywide. The mayor was the leader of the council and elected citywide. This form of government was modified over time by the electorate. Notable changes include expanding the council to eight districts in 1963, making the council a full-time job in 1974, electing council members by district in 1988, and establishing term limits in 1992.[1]

In 2006 the city's form of government changed back to a strong mayor system. The change was made for a 5-year trial period by a citywide vote in 2004 and was made permanent by another vote of the electorate in June 2010.[2] The Mayor of San Diego is, in effect, the chief executive officer of the city, while the council is the legislative body.[3] Since December 2012 there have been nine members of the council, expanded from eight under the terms of a city ballot measure passed in June 2010.[4]

Duties and powers[edit]

As members of the legislative branch of the City of San Diego, the city council has the authority to introduce and pass the ordinances and resolutions that make up the city's ruling documents. Each council member has the right to vote on all questions brought before the city council. All council actions require an affirmative vote of five council members to pass unless a greater number is required by other superseding law. With some exceptions, the mayor has the right to veto legislation passed by the council. This veto can be overridden by an affirmative vote of six members of the city council.[5]

The city council has the right to determine its own rules and order of business for council meetings. This includes the right to establish and modify council committees, advisory boards, and citizen committees.[5] Under current rules, a council president and president pro tempore are elected each year to serve as the presiding officers of the city council.

Council members earn an annual salary of $75,386. In March 2012, the city's Salary Setting Commission proposed that council members be paid $175,000, but the city council unanimously rejected the recommendation.[6] In November 2018, voters passed Measure L which ties future City Council salaries to those of Superior Court judges. In 2020, pay will increase to 60 percent of Superior Court judge salaries, or about $120,000 at current rates. In 2022 it will increase again to 75 percent, or about $150,000 at current rates.[7]


Current Council Districts

Each city council member is elected from a single-member district. Elections follow a two-round system. The first round of the election is called the primary election. The top-two candidates in the primary election advance to a runoff election, called the general election. Write-in candidates are only allowed to contest the primary election and are not allowed in the general election. Council members are elected to four-year terms, with a two-term limit.[8] City council seats are all officially non-partisan by state law, although most members identify a party preference.

The most recent general election was held in November 2016 for districts 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9. The next elections for these seats will be held in 2020. General elections for districts 2, 4, 6, and 8 were last held in November 2018. The next election for these seats will be in 2022.

Current Council[edit]

Members of the City Council are elected from 9 single-member districts and currently include Council President Georgette Gomez and Councilmembers Barbara Bry, Jennifer Campbell, Chris Ward, Mark Kersey, Monica Montgomery, Chris Cate, Scott Sherman, and Vivian Moreno. The districts cover the following neighborhoods, approximately. The current members of the 2018-2020 City Council were sworn in December 10, 2018.[9][10]

District Councilmember Neighborhoods and Areas Represented Party (officially nonpartisan)
1 Barbara Bry (Council President Pro Tem) Carmel Valley, Del Mar Heights, Del Mar Mesa, Pacific Highlands Ranch, La Jolla , Torrey Hills, Torrey Pines, University City, and the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) campus.[11] Democratic
2 Jennifer Campbell Bay Park, Morena, Midway/North Bay, Mission Beach, Bay Ho, Ocean Beach, Pacific Beach, and Point Loma.[12] Democratic
3 Chris Ward Balboa Park, Bankers Hill/Park West, Downtown San Diego, Golden Hill, Hillcrest, Little Italy, Mission Hills, Normal Heights, North Park, Old Town, and University Heights.[13] Democratic
4 Monica Montgomery Alta Vista, Broadway Heights, Chollas View, Emerald Hills, Encanto, Greater Skyline Hills, Jamacha, Lincoln Park, Lomita Village, North Bay Terrace, Oak Park, O'Farrell, Paradise Hills, Redwood Village, Rolando Park, South Bay Terrace, Valencia Park, and Webster.[14] Democratic
5 Mark Kersey Black Mountain Ranch, Carmel Mountain Ranch, Rancho Bernardo, Rancho Encantada, Rancho Peñasquitos, Sabre Springs, San Pasqual Valley, Scripps Ranch, and Torrey Highlands.[15] Independent
6 Chris Cate Clairemont Mesa, Kearny Mesa, Mira Mesa, North Clairemont, and Rancho Peñasquitos.[16] Republican
7 Scott Sherman Allied Gardens, Del Cerro, Linda Vista, Mission Valley, San Carlos, Serra Mesa, Tierrasanta, and Lake Murray.[17] Republican
8 Vivian Moreno Barrio Logan, Egger Highlands, Grant Hill, Logan Heights, Memorial, Nestor, Ocean View Hills, San Diego, Otay Mesa East, Otay Mesa West, San Ysidro, Sherman Heights, Stockton, and the Tijuana River Valley.[18] Democratic
9 Georgette Gomez (Council President) Alvarado Estates, City Heights, College Area, College View Estates, El Cerrito, Kensington, Mountain View, Mt. Hope, Rolando, Southcrest, and Talmadge.[19] Democratic


As of the term beginning December 2018, the city council has the following nine committees.[20]

  • Audit Committee
  • Budget and Government Efficiency Committee
  • Budget Review Committee
  • Economic Development and Intergovernmental Relations Committee
  • Environment Committee
  • Active Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
  • Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee
  • Rules Committee
  • Land Use and Housing Committee

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "A History of San Diego Government". City of San Diego. Retrieved 12 January 2013.
  2. ^ San Diego Union Tribune, February 19, 2010
  3. ^ "San Diego City website". Archived from the original on 20 July 2010. Retrieved 14 December 2010.
  4. ^ San Diego Union-Tribune, June 9, 2010
  5. ^ a b "ARTICLE XV Strong Mayor Form of Governance" (PDF). City of San Diego City Charter. City of San Diego. Retrieved 12 January 2013.
  6. ^ "City Council Rejects Salary Hikes For Mayor, Council". 5 March 2012. Retrieved 4 December 2012.
  7. ^ Garrick, David (November 21, 2018). "Ballot measures hiking council pay, boosting transparency approved by wide margins in San Diego". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  8. ^ "How To Run For Office Details". City of San Diego. Retrieved 14 December 2010.
  9. ^ Garrick, David (December 12, 2016). "Cole selected San Diego City Council president". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved December 12, 2016.
  10. ^ "New San Diego City Council members sworn in at inauguration ceremony". CBS News 8 (December 10, 2018). City News Service. Retrieved December 10, 2018.
  11. ^ "Communities | City of San Diego Official Website".
  12. ^ "Communities | City Council District 2". City of San Diego. Retrieved December 12, 2014.
  13. ^ "Communities - City of San Diego Official Website".
  14. ^ "Council District 4 Communities". City of San Diego. Retrieved 21 August 2013.
  15. ^ "Communities - City of San Diego Official Website".
  16. ^ "Council District 6 Neighborhoods". City of San Diego. Retrieved May 15, 2016.
  17. ^ "Communities - City of San Diego Official Website".
  18. ^ "Communities - City of San Diego Official Website".
  19. ^ "Communities - City of San Diego Official Website".
  20. ^ "City Council Committee Meetings". City of San Diego. Retrieved December 22, 2018.

External links[edit]