OCEANSIDE — Former Mayor Terry Johnson is running for mayor after exiting office eight years ago.
Johnson first ran for councilman in 1992. After serving as councilman for two consecutive terms, he ran and was elected as Oceanside’s first black mayor in 2000. His election was a historic milestone. He was also the first black mayor in San Diego County.
Johnson served as mayor from 2000 to 2004, ran for re-election, and was defeated by current Mayor Jim Wood.
After his defeat Johnson ran unsuccessfully for the City Council seat left vacant by Wood in 2005.
Now he is ready to challenge Wood for the mayor’s seat.
Johnson said he sees the most pressing need of the city as “real” pension reform. He said he wants to keep the city from going bankrupt.
He added that when he left office there was a $34 million city surplus that has been “squandered away.” He said current budget woes could not be completely blamed on the economy.
“They’re at barebones now for services for residents,” Johnson said.
He said an immediate $400,000 boost to the city budget would be to eliminate city council aides.
“They’re a luxury in this climate when the municipal pool is closed and you’re closing neighborhood centers that help reduce crime and keep young kids engaged and off the streets.”
He said he would also like to end fiscal mismanagement and “unnecessary” studies for consultants for “unwanted” projects.
Johnson said his vision for Oceanside is to restore the city and city pride to what it had been when he served as mayor. He said present City Council members have become dysfunctionally polarized in their votes because of unnecessary partisan politics. He added that mayor and council positions are nonpartisan.
“People just want their potholes filled and police and fire services,” Johnson said. “We need to argue in closed session, seek consensus, and build upon that.”
Johnson, Wood and Councilman Jerry Kern are in the race for mayor.