News

Oceanside to seek federal funding for road plan

By Ray Huard on.Jan. 21, 2013 in the U~T San Diego

A controversial plan to complete a missing segment of Melrose Drive has been
added to a list of projects Oceanside officials will take with them to Washington, D.C.,
next month in a search for federal funding.

City Manager Peter Weiss said he added Melrose Drive to a list of six other projects
because the City Council majority of Jerry Kern, Jack Feller and Gary Felien
“made Melrose a priority.”

“They told us to take all actions to move it forward,” Weiss said.

Mayor Jim Wood and Councilwoman Esther Sanchez are against completing
Melrose Drive and Sanchez said she’s contacting staffers for U.S. Sens. Barbara
Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, urging them to reject the city’s request.

“I don’t think in the 12 years I’ve been on the council, I’ve ever seen the city manager
go forward on something so controversial,” Sanchez said. “It makes us look like idiots.
What I’m concerned about is it may threaten our other projects.”

Oceanside council majority fails to win coveted SANDAG slots

By Ray Huard3:56 p.m.Jan. 17, 2013 in the U~T San Diego
Removing Mayor Jim Wood as Oceanside’s primary representative to a regional planning
agency failed to produce the results a City Council majority hoped for when they did it.

Councilmen Jack Feller, Gary Felien and Jerry Kern voted Jan. 2 to dump Wood from
SANDAG, saying they hoped it would lead to plum committee assignments on the
regional agency for Feller and Felien — but that didn’t happen.

The pair wanted slots as North Coastal city representatives on SANDAG planning
and transportation committees, which Feller said were the two most important
posts for Oceanside.

“It didn’t work out,” said Feller, who has temporarily taken over Wood’s duties on
SANDAG until a permanent replacement is picked by the Oceanside council majority.

Oceanside council reaffirms its control over appointments

By Ray Huard7:19 p.m.Jan. 16, 2013 in the U~T San Diego

For the second time in a month, a three-member majority of the Oceanside City Council
voted Wednesday to enact an ordinance which would give them control over appointments
to regional boards and commissions rather than Major Jim Wood.

The council majority of Gary Felien, Jack Feller and Jerry Kern earlier this month voted to
remove Wood as the city’s primary representative to SANDAG, a powerful planning agency
that oversees regional projects from transportation to beach restoration.

Wood urged city residents to remember how the council majority voted when two of
them --- Kern and Felien are up for reelection in 2014.

By voting for the ordinance, Wood said the council majority was ignoring the will of voters,
who reelected him to a third four-year term in November with 54 percent of the vote.

“This is about your voting rights and it’s been changed,” Wood said.

Residents survey to shape city goals

By Ray Huard in U~T San Diego on January 15, 2013

Oceanside residents see no need for major changes in the direction their city government is
taking, but also don’t believe that the city is living up to its potential and would like some
services restored or expanded, according to a new report by a city-hired consultant.

The report by Mercer Group Senior Vice President Mike Letcher was created as the result
of six community meetings in late October and early November.

In delivering feedback, some residents said the city should stop spending money on two controversial
road projects favored by a three-member City Council majority — completion of Melrose Drive to create
a new link between state Route 78 and state Route 76, and construction of a state Route 78
interchange at Rancho del Oro Drive.

Others suggested that the council could save money by doing away with separate aides for
each council member.

Tenant vs. tenant at De Anza Cove mobile home park

By Dorian Hargrove, on Jan 11, 2013 in the San Diego Reader

Now that a settlement is near, the melee over the De Anza Cove mobile home park now
has resident pitted against resident in a fight for relocation benefits.

A new lawsuit, filed by James and Michelle Bloch on January 9, accuses the owners of
their mobile home plot, James and Jo Cummings, of trying to evict them and reoccupy the
property in order to lay claim to relocation benefits.

It is the newest conflict in what has been a decade long dispute.

The issue? The City wants the prime bay real estate back but in order to get it back it
needs to follow state law and pay to relocate the tenants.

That will be a tough check to write for a cash-strapped City like San Diego. That considered,
it's no surprise that since 2003, when the park's lease expired, residents and the City have
butted heads over the correct payout.

Oceanside City Councilman Jack Feller takes seat on SANDAG — for now

by Ray Huard in the U~T San Diego on Jan 8 2013

City Councilman Jack Feller has temporarily taken over as Oceanside’s primary representative to
a powerful regional planning agency after a vote by the council majority to take the job away
from Mayor Jim Wood.

Feller, the city’s alternate representative on the SANDAG board of directors, said he met with
SANDAG officials Thursday in preparation for assuming Wood’s responsibilities pending appointment
of a permanent replacement for Wood.

“Until there’s an appointment, I replace the primary,” Feller said. He said he plans to represent the
city at SANDAG’s next meeting, Jan. 11, and in negotiations with other coastal North County cities
in making appointments to five SANDAG committees.

DAVY: Iciness in Oceanside is about politics, not weather

In the NC Times on January 5, 2013

It was cold enough last week near the confluence of Loup and Platte rivers to freeze
your eyelids shut — 7 degrees below one morning.

That, of course, wasn’t in mild San Diego, but in frigid Nebraska, where Mother Nature
gave the family a White Christmas and the smoothest ice for skating we’ve seen at
the lake in years.

The kids, particularly all those from California and Florida, reveled in the wintriness of it
all, and my folks basked in the joy of having the entire family, down to the newest
baby, together.

Back here, a different kind of iciness prevails in coastal North County, and it could stay
that way for a long time.

Wood wins election but loses power

By Logan Jenkins in U~T San Diego on Jan. 4 2013
Deep in the Friday news obituary for Murray Galinson, a true All-Star in the San Diego political,
business and philanthropic lineup, I was struck by an obscure sliver of his biography.

In his native Minnesota, young Galinson, a Democrat, wanted to serve on a city board, but a
strictly partisan Republican mayor denied his request. Politicized by the petty rejection, Galinson
went on to win a council seat and work with a new Democratic majority to deny the mayor
his appointment powers.

Ring a North County bell?

In Oceanside, Mayor Jim Wood is still threatening a lawsuit now that the council majority —
Gary Felien, Jerry Kern, Jack Feller — has stripped Wood of the customary power to make
appointments, specifically appointing himself to the city’s coveted seat on SANDAG, the
regional planning agency.

As it happens, Oceanside has been through this SANDAG movie (“Mayor’s Mojo Manhandled!”) before.

In 1990, a new council majority of Melba Bishop, Don Rodee and Nancy York replaced Larry
Bagley as SANDAG rep shortly before Bagley was to be named SANDAG chairman.

Six years later, the council turned on Mayor Dick Lyon and, in a tense 3-2 vote, yanked Lyon
from his SANDAG seat.

“What we have here clearly,” Lyon told a reporter, “is 1990 revisited when the troika summarily
removed the mayor from SANDAG.”

While it would be weird if Wood weren’t upset over losing a prestigious post, he cannot
claim that the world has been turned on its head by this insult to his executive privilege. Mayoral
power has been subject to rude checks before.

Throw into the mix the city’s 2-year-old charter, a hurriedly cobbled “constitution” that grants
enhanced home (as opposed to state) rule, and it would seem that Wood’s case gets
weaker, not stronger.

To get a smart read on Wood’s legal prospects, I contacted two attorneys, both familiar with the
crossroads of law and politics.

“Do I think any potential lawsuit by Wood against the City of Oceanside would have merit?” began
Leon Page, deputy counsel for Orange County, MiraCosta College trustee and public policy activist.

“I think it’s doubtful. In my various lawsuits against public agencies, I have always had to overcome
the ‘political question’ doctrine. Courts generally don’t like to get involved in the internecine struggles
fought in the political trenches of government. I think most judges would conclude, quite properly,
that the voters will sort all this out, one way or the other, sooner or later. Why jeopardize the grandeur
and nonpartisan authority of the judicial branch by wading into the muck and intervening in what
inherently is a temporary dispute, lasting no longer than the time until the next election? The controversy
will be over by the time the case gets to the appellate court, so why stick one’s judicial neck out?

“I think the courts will generally only intervene in a political dispute when the normal political processes
have gone off the rails, and an intervention is necessary to get the system functioning and back on track.
What we have here, however, is a political system working to process conflicting voter signals. The system
is actually working fine. And that is why I think Jim loses at the courthouse. The appointment to SANDAG
is entirely a political question.”

Fight between Oceanside mayor, council heats up

by Ray Huard in the NC Times on December 28, 2012

The fight between Oceanside Mayor Jim Wood and three of his council colleagues over who
will represent the city on regional commissions is intensifying, with Councilman Gary Felien
calling for a vote that would kick Wood off a key panel and Wood hiring outside legal help
to try to block the move.

Felien is asking the council to vote Wednesday to remove Wood as the city’s representative
to SANDAG, a powerful planning agency that oversees regional projects ranging from transportation
to housing. Meanwhile, Wood has hired the law firm of fiery former San Diego City Attorney Mike
Aguirre to represent him in challenging the council’s actions.

Aguirre’s office could not be reached for comment Friday.

Wood said Thursday that’s he’s ready to go to court if the council majority of Jerry Kern, Jack Feller
and Felien doesn’t back down.

“We’ll see what the three boys want to say, if they want to go to court or not,” Wood said.
“I’ll be happy to go to court.”

The mayor said he’s challenging the council majority to protect the rights of future mayors.
He also wants the city to pay his lawyer’s fees.

“It’s not about me,” Wood said.

Felien said he’s not about to concede and that one way or the other, Wood will be booted off SANDAG.

“The mayor needs to understand he’s part of the minority, not the majority,” Felien said Thursday.
“No lawsuits, no referendum is going to keep Jim Wood as the SANDAG representative.”

In a 3-1 vote on Dec. 12, the council adopted an ordinance giving it the power to remove city representatives
to regional boards and agencies who were appointed by the mayor. The ordinance also gives the council the
authority to veto appointments the mayor makes to those boards and agencies and appoint someone of
their choosing.

to read entire article, go to http://www.nctimes.com/news/local/oceanside/fight-between-oceanside-mayo...

Oceanside could boot mayor off transportation agency

Written by Ray Huard in the U~T San Diego on December 5, 2012

A three-member City Council majority in a preliminary vote Wednesday advanced a
measure aimed at dumping Oceanside Mayor Jim Wood as the city’s representative
to a regional transportation agency.

Wood said the move by Gary Felien, Jerry Kern and Jack Feller to remove him from
the San Diego Association of Governments, known as SANDAG, was illegal.

Wood last week said he wanted the city to hire a private lawyer to advise him and raised
the prospect of taking the matter to court.

Instead, Wood said Wednesday that he will ask for a state attorney general’s opinion,
leaving open the option of seeking further legal advice later.

“I’m not going to roll over and die on this,” Wood said.

Wood said it’s been “a longstanding process” for the mayor to appoint the city’s
representatives to regional boards.

“I’m standing up for the past, present and future mayors,” Wood said.

The mayor said he needed an outside opinion because City Attorney John Mullen said the
move by the council majority was legal.

Felien, Kern and Feller said Wood should be removed from SANDAG board because he
opposes road projects they support.

They also said Wood hasn’t worked hard enough to bring SANDAG money to Oceanside.

To get Wood off SANDAG, the three councilmen want to change the rules under which
city representatives are appointed to SANDAG and other regional boards.

An ordinance proposed by Felien would effectively give the council majority veto power over
nominations made by Wood and give the council authority to make their own appointments
f they don’t like people Wood nominates.

The council by a majority vote also could remove people they don’t like as city representatives
on regional boards.

The mayor now makes those appointments, subject to council approval, and Wood has appointed
himself to the SANDAG board. The council now does not have the power to remove someone.

“The system as it exists worked fine as long as the mayor was part of the majority,” Felien
said. “The system breaks down when the mayor is part of a minority.”

The 3-2 vote Wednesday was to formally introduce Felien’s proposal. The council scheduled
a 2 p.m. Dec. 12 special meeting for a second vote on the proposal.

Members of the public who spoke on the matter Wednesday were divided.

“We have not had the representation Oceanside deserves,” said resident Saundra Waecker.

Reading from what he said were statements from 15 voters, former City Councilman Chuck
Lowery said the move to change appointing procedures was “shameful and contemptible.”

Resident Susie Coker said that to change the way appointments are made disregards the
will of voters, who reelected Wood Nov. 6 with 54 percent of the vote.

“Our mayor has more than proven his remarkable ability to run this city,” Coker said.
“What you’re doing is obviously punitive and it is shameful.”

Mullen said that the ordinance proposed by Felien is lawful because Oceanside is a
charter city which can set its own rules unless they conflict with state law. He said
there was no conflict in this case.

Sanchez said the charter, adopted two years ago, was “defective” and state law prevents
he council majority from changing the way appointments made.

“I believe the mayor has several legal options here,” Sanchez said.

She said the move to remove Wood from SANDAG was “ugly. It’s obnoxious,
it’s degrading, it’s every negative thing you can think of.”

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