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March 3, 2020 — Primary Election
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City of San DiegoCandidate for City Council, District 1

Photo of Aaron Brennan

Aaron Brennan

Firefighter/Naval Reserve Officer
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Properly resource and staff public safety to bring response times to national standards.
  • Reduce homelessness to effectively zero through proven solutions: Housing First, mental healthcare, substance abuse treatment, housing homeless families.
  • Protect our neighborhoods. Stop out of control Short Term Vacation Rentals. Oppose overdevelopment.



Profession:Firefighter, Navy Reserve Officer
Lieutenant, US Navy (1988–current)
Firefighter, San Diego Fire-Rescue (2002–2019)
Ocean Lifeguard, San Diego Fire-Rescue (1990–1998)


University San Francisco Master of Arts, Public Leadership (2019)
San Diego State University Bachelor of Science, Finance (1993)

Community Activities

Trustee, La Jolla Town Council (2018–current)
Big Brother, Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Diego County (2002–2009)


I've been a firefighter for the City of San Diego for the past 17 years and I was an ocean lifeguard for 8 years before that. l've had  a front row seat to how the City has been run. I've had the privilege of working all over the city of San Diego and l've seen personally the disparity in levels of City services. l've been on the receiving end of Council Member's decisions and felt the repercussions directly. I have served our country for the past 30 years as a Navy Reservist, the last nine as a commissioned officer. I understand sacrifice and service because I have lived them my entire life. I have a BS in Finance from San Diego State, I have an MA in Public Leadership from University of San Francisco. 

Additionally, I am  a trustee of the La Jolla Town Council. I have been a member of San Diego Firefighters Community Responsibility Fund  (a philanthropic 501c(3) that provides funds to dozens of local community charitable organizations each year) for the past 17 years. I volunteered for San Diego Big Brothers and Big Sisters for 7 years, until I had children of my own. I am an active member of San Diego County Democrats for Environmental Action and the Veterans Democratic Club of San Diego, as well as my "home" democratic club, La Jolla Dems. We support, Planned Parenthood, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, San Diego Zoo, and Prevent Drowning Foundation of San Diego. 

I believe this combination of  life experience and education make me uniquely qualified to serve as a council member. 

Questions & Answers

Questions from The League of Women Voters of San Diego (3)

What are the three biggest challenges facing this region in the 2020s, and how can you use this office to help our community prepare for (and meet) those challenges?
Answer from Aaron Brennan:

The three biggest challenges are:

1. Adapting to/mitigating the effects of Climate Change.

The effects of climate change (coastal inundation, decreased water supply, etc) will have drastic effects on San Diego.  We must meet our Climate Action Plan goals of reducing GHG emissions, pure and simple. My priority will be ensuring that we do just that by addressing our woefully inadequate mass transit system and actually implementing the various GHG reduction strategies outlined the CAP such as shifting to CCA (renewable energy), planting trees, and encouraging walkable neighborhood development. 

2. Affordable Housing Shortage

The City of San Diego can take steps to affect the permitting process (create afaster process, lower fees etc), change building requirements in a way that incentivizes developers (reduction of parking requirements for example). We need to develop “fast track” options for projects that meet certain requirementsI would be supportive of a housing bond that was aimed at providing down payment assistance for first responders, teachers, nurses, as these public servants should be able to live where they work. 

Ending homelessness.  

As I said before, The bad news is San Diego has a large homeless population. The good news is people who are experts in solving this have told us what works. It’s called permanent supportive housing. Almost no one can deal with any mental health or substance abuse issues, or financial catastrophe they might be having if they don’t know where they’re going to sleep or get their next meal.  I am committed to finding funding and getting it built. I will work with the County to see to it that no one has to sleep on the streets. 


What action (personal or professional) that you have taken most exemplifies how you would execute the duties of the office you are running for?
Answer from Aaron Brennan:

My entire adult working life has been in the service of our community or our country. Lifeguard, Firefighter, Navy Reservist. Serving our city as a council member will look no different. 

How do your plans to help the City address the many causes and impacts of homelessness balance the rights and needs of all?
Answer from Aaron Brennan:

First, this is a moral issue, these are humans we are talking about, and they have a story, none of them set out to be homeless. These people are someone’s kid, parent, sibling, and there but for the grace of God, go you or I. The bad news is San Diego has a huge homeless population. The good news is people who are experts in solving this have told us what works. It’s called permanent supportive housing. I am committed to finding funding and getting it built. I will work with the County to see to it that no one has to sleep on the streets. 


Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

I believe in the fundamental idea of a government that serves the people and works for the betterment of the community. My political philosophy is that good government ideas don't belong to a political party. Perhaps it is from my 30+ years of service in the Navy, but I believe that ideas stand (or fall) on their own merits. As a council member, my decision making process will be data driven and my goal in every situation will be to come up with the most equitable solution for all parties involved. I believe that it is my responsibiity to transparent and accountable to all constituents, not just those who suported me. I will transparent in all my actions. I will uphold my Navy Core Values : Honor, Courage and Commitment of as a still serving member of the Navy and as a career public servant.



I am accountable for my professional and personal behavior. I will be mindful of the privilege I have to serve my fellow Americans.


Courage is the value that gives me the moral and mental strength to do what is right, with confidence and resolution, even in the face of temptation or adversity


Commitment. The day-to-day duty of every person who serves the public is to join together as a team to improve the quality of our work, our people and ourselves.


You don't have to wonder what I'll do when I am on City Council. I'll do what I've always done, serve my community. 





Videos (1)

— January 25, 2020 Aaron Brennan for San Diego City Council 2020

Biographical video about candidate and his priorities. 

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