OCEANSIDE:Old greievances surface in mayor's race

By Ray Huard in the NC Times on September 23, 2012

Put Oceanside Mayor Jim Wood and former Mayor Terry Johnson in a room together
and the animosity quickly surfaces, still festering from the last time the two battled
each other in an election.

In a meeting last week with the North County Times' editorial board also attended by
fellow mayoral candidate Jerry Kern, and in subsequent interviews, Wood and Johnson
lit into each other.

Wood beat Johnson for mayor in 2004 and now Johnson is hoping to best Wood in a
hree-way race for mayor in November. Kern is in the middle of a slug-fest between
the two old foes.

Wood and Johnson are digging deep into their past for ammunition to attack each other,
while Kern ---- who wasn't around for the 2004 race ---- ducks and portrays himself as
someone above the fray.

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OCEANSIDE: Downtown hotel groundbreaking set for Tuesday

By Ray Huard in the NC Times on September 11,2012

Spring Hill Suites Marriott has scheduled formal groundbreaking ceremonies for a long-awaited
downtown Oceanside hotel for 2 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 18, at the hotel site, 110 N. Myers St.

The 149-room hotel is estimated to cost up to 40 million. Construction is expected to begin in
October according to its owners, GF Real Estate Group.

Based in Colorado, GF Real Estate is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe.

The hotel will be built on land bordered by Seagaze Drive, Myers Street, Mission Avenue
and the railroad tracks.

OCEANSIDE: Downtown hotel plan revived, redesigned

By Ray Huard in the NC Times on September 9, 2012

A stalled $35 million hotel project on the edge of Oceanside's downtown has been
revived and redesigned with a goal of starting construction by next summer.

Renamed 1010 Oceanside, the former Belvedere project on Mission Avenue and
Horne Street across from Oceanside High School would have 124 hotel rooms and
90 residential lofts, 432 parking spaces, a 4,600-square-foot meeting room and a
rooftop pool with ocean views, said developer Hamid Nikkho of the Los Angeles
based Amidi Real Estate Group.

"It's going to be a very luxury building with all the amenities you could imagine,"
Nikkho said Friday.

Coming at the same time that construction is about to begin on the $40 million
downtown SpringHill Suites Marriott on Mission Avenue at Myers Street, the revival
of the former Belvedere has city officials and business leaders hopeful that the marke
for downtown development is back on track after an extended hiatus.

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Oceanside council candidates sound off

By Ray Huard in the NC Times on Sept 6, 2012

Outsourcing city services and taking private property for a controversial road project were
among the more contentious issues seven people running for two seats on the Oceanside
City Council addressed at a Thursday forum.

Speaking in the forum sponsored by the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce and MiraCosta
College at the college, some also said their top priorities would include restoring a measure
of civility to a council, which some said spends too much time bickering.

Running in the Nov. 6 election are incumbents Esther Sanchez and Jack Feller, and challengers
Dana Corso, H. "Chip" Dykes, Jimmy Knott, Donald Snyder and David Zernik.

The two candidates who receive the most votes will be elected to four-year terms in jobs that
pay $30,528 annually.

At issue in outsourcing city services is whether the city can save money by hiring private
companies to take over tasks performed by city workers.

All of the candidates ruled out outsourcing police or fire protection, although Dykes, a retired
Marine, said it it might make sense to regionalize some public safety activities.

Corso, who runs a dog grooming business and is a property manager, said she'd stick
with city workers.

"I don't believe in outsourcing," Corso said. "I think it's very critical that we keep all our
jobs in Oceanside."

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Oceanside may consider outsourcing harbor operation

By Ray Huard in the NC Times on September 5, 2012

Hoping to cut costs, Oceanside is looking for private companies to bid on taking over
operation of the city harbor.

"We've operated it for a long time and I'm not sure that we're getting all the things down
there that we need," said City Councilman Jack Feller, the council's liaison to the city
Harbor & Beaches Advisory Committee.

"If it doesn't pencil out, then we won't go any further," Feller said.

Harbor officials have issued a request for proposals from private companies interested
in assuming management of the harbor, which opened in 1961.

The deadline to apply is Oct. 15 but anyone interested must meet with harbor officials
Sept. 12 for a mandatory tour of the harbor.

"We're just seeing if it makes economic sense," said harbor and beaches division
director Frank Quan.

The division has an annual budget of about $6.2 million, Quan said, but part of that
includes maintenance and other functions associated with the beaches and the
Oceanside Municipal Pier, which would not be part of a harbor operating contract.

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Jack Feller still skeptical about solar energy

By Ray Huard in the NC Times on August 31, 2012

When it comes to ranking Oceanside City Council members on being an environmentalist,
Jack Feller wouldn't likely top the list.

For starters, Feller often scoffs at anyone who mentions global warming at a council meeting.

He's said he considers it a bunch of hooey.

Yet there was Feller this week, extolling the virtues of solar energy at groundbreaking ceremonies
for a solar energy project at the city's San Luis Rey Water Reclamation Facility. That's a sewage
treatment plant to most people.

Feller went on about how the project would offset emissions from 256 cars annually, and how it
would give the city a dependable source of power at the sewer plant.

"As a city, it is the right thing to do," Feller said of the solar project.

Has Feller, the skeptic, become Feller the alternate energy enthusiast?


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Oceanside finishes fiscal year in the black

By Ray Huard in the NC Times on August 28, 2012

Preliminary figures released this week show Oceanside ended the 2011-12 fiscal year
in the black as the result of ongoing spending cuts.

City Manager Peter Weiss said the city finished the year with about $240,000 to spare.

Final property tax figures expected next month will probably push that number to $300,000
or $400,000, Weiss said Tuesday.

"I think we're doing well, considering the circumstances," Mayor Jim Wood said Tuesday.
"We've done good to make ourselves a balanced budget."

Councilman Jerry Kern, who has repeatedly called for the city to address what he sees as
ongoing structural deficits in city spending, said the savings in the fiscal year that ended
June 30 could be the start of a favorable trend.

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Oceanside school officials discuss controversial bonds

by Stacy Brandt in the NC Times on August 30, 2012

Oceanside Unified School District officials called a special meeting with an oversight group
Thursday to explain the district's use of a controversial type of borrowing that pushes payments
far into the future at a higher interest rate.

Over the last four years, the district has borrowed about $70 million with the method, known
as capital appreciation bonds.

The bonds have become a hot topic recently because of attention focused on the Poway
Unified School District, where officials expect to eventually spend $982 million to borrow $105 million.

In Oceanside, the district has borrowed about $95 million of the $195 million voters allowed
in 2008 with Proposition H. About $70 million of that has been through capital appreciation bonds,
said Luis Ibarra, associate superintendent in charge of business services for the district.

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Oceanside city council approves update for taxi standards

By Ray Huard in the NC Times, on August 29, 2012

New rules that set minimum standards on how many taxicabs a company must have to operate
in Oceanside, on the age of the cabs and requirements on updated dispatching equipment were
tentatively approved Wednesday by the City Council.

The measure was approved without discussion by a 4-0 vote and without public comment.

Councilman Gary Felien was absent because he was attending the Republican National Convention
in Florida. A final vote will come next month.

The new rules ---- the first change in 30 years ---- require cab companies to have at least 10 cabs,
none of which can be more than seven years old.

They also require that at least one cab be equipped for use by disabled riders. The companies also
must use computerized GPS dispatching.

When the issue was first raised earlier this month, Coastal Cab Company President Jenny Oakson
told the council that the new rules were onerous to smaller companies who can drop riders off in
Oceanside under the current and the new rules but wouldn't be able to pick them up.

Oakson said her company has six cabs that are older than seven years. She also said smaller companies
can't afford the dispatch system the city would require nor could they afford specially equipped cabs
for disabled drivers.

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Oceanside library kicks off reward program

Article written on August 25, in the NC Times

The Oceanside Library and the Friends of the Oceanside Public Library will present the blues
music of Patrick Ellis and the BlueFrog Band to kick off National Library Card Sign-Up Month
at 2 p.m. Sept. 1 at 330 N. Coast Highway. Doors open at 1:30 p.m. and the event is open seating.
During September, the library will launching a program called "Reading Rewards You." The library
is partnering with local businesses to offer discounts to customers who show their Oceanside
Library Card that month. Visit or call 760-435-5600.


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