Meet Tommy Hough
"We need a city government that has the wisdom of our neighborhoods." A journey from working behind the mic to leading from the front.
Neighbor and Advocate
My name is Tommy Hough (it's pronounced "how").
I've enjoyed a great deal of professional success in San Diego, particularly during my years as a radio host at FM 94/9, KPRI, and 91X. I've also had the good fortune of working for strong environmental organizations like Surfrider and San Diego Audubon, and helping lead and coordinate the ReWild Mission Bay campaign.
I've similarly enjoyed a great deal of personal success in San Diego. My wife Cory and I met while we were both living in Bankers Hill. I later proposed to Cory at Sunset Cliffs, and we were married at Our Lady of the Rosary in Little Italy in 2006.
As the co-founder and original president of San Diego County Democrats for Environmental Action, I grew the organization into one of the largest and most influential bodies in the San Diego County Democratic Party. And with the help of neighbors, friends, and a legion of committed volunteers and true believers we made my first run for San Diego City Council in 2018 a close race to the end, and did so again in the 2022 primary, walking for a year until there were holes in our shoes.
Regrettably, despite our lock on District 6 neighborhood issues, grassroots support, and strong media coverage throughout the general election season, we ultimately came up short after a tsunami of negative and attack mailers in the final three weeks of the campaign. To ensure a win, my opponent's Downtown supporters smeared my campaign and I to the tune of some $2 million in special interest PAC funds – an unprecedented amount to be spent in a San Diego City Council race.
Despite the District 6 contest being a Democrat-on-Democrat race, the Downtown developer and political class was determined to avoid the close result that prompted my opponent to dismiss his campaign staff after we tied in the primary, and ensure "their guy" win big in the general. And they had the money to do it. The implication for future grassroots campaigns is clear.
But if one thing was also made clear from our 20-month grassroots effort, it's that our D6 communities are the most resilient and hopeful in San Diego. Our neighbors don't just deserve better, they deserve the best. I will always have their back.
While our District 6 communities are essentially the economic center of the city, they're up against a Downtown establishment and developer-government nexus at City Hall that has little interest in addressing the basic, long-term needs of the 160,000 San Diegans who make the Heart of San Diego home in Mira Mesa, Kearny Mesa, University City, North University City, UTC, Sorrento Valley, Sorrento Mesa, Convoy, MCAS Miramar, Rancho Encantada, western Scripps Ranch, and who power the jobs across our region.
When was the last time a councilmember independent of Downtown fought for us at City Hall? Since 2008 our council seat has been co-opted by developer and real estate special interests that use our council seat to advance their aims. And now those aims and goals, enabled by an increasingly intrusive and centralized city government, will begin to affect our quality of life.
Standing With Our Communities
Years ago Cory and I made Mira Mesa our home because we love the community, the location, and our neighbors. I ran for City Council in 2018 and 2022 because our communities suffer from decades of deferred maintenance in the form of broken streets that must be rebuilt, ineffective and too few transit options, persistent public safety concerns, and the worst traffic congestion north of Interstate 8.
We need effective planning now to manage how new housing is built so we're not adding more traffic to our congested streets or building homes only the wealthiest among us can afford. Now that our neighborhoods and communities have lost access to their DFIs (developer impact fees), we must lean on the city and developers alike to ensure new developments have more than adequate amounts of park space and services for new residents. But first, we must restore our built infrastructure before it fails further.
Our city is in the midst of a homeless crisis that needs a menu of compassionate solutions, with permanent supportive housing being the ultimate goal and key component. I don't want to see more kids forced to do their homework under the dome light of a parked car, and we cannot stand for more of our unsheltered neighbors suffering and dying on our city streets, subjected to terrorizing sweeps that solve nothing, exposed to medieval diseases, or cry broken, alone, and desperate for relief on a bus stop bench. As a community, we must be better than what is occurring now.
I was proud to have the support of the Sierra Club, League of Conservation Voters, San Diego County Democrats for Environmental Action, and Hammond Climate Solutions, and in an environmental capacity I remain committed to fulfilling our Climate Action Plan, preserving our diverse environment, ensuring the implementation of Pure Water, expanding rooftop solar access for all who want it, and capturing and treating stormwater so our creeks, beaches, and bays no longer become toxic soups during stormy weather.
I will always stand with ratepayers over shareholders, and I believe in Neighborhoods First with safe streets and sidewalks, healthy canyons, vibrant neighborhoods, and restored infrastructure.