OCEANSIDE — “It’s not over yet,” Mayor Jim Wood said, after a 3-2 City Council vote on Nov. 28 pushed forward the motion to draft a city ordinance to allow council members to nominate or make a motion to remove an individual from any regional board or commission.
Councilmen Jerry Kern, Gary Felien and Jack Feller make up the council majority and voted to support the motion that will strip the mayor of his sole privilege to nominate a council member to serve on a regional board or commission as well as make a motion to remove that person from their position.
Wood said if the ordinance is passed he would seek an attorney, and if necessary would take the matter to the Attorney General’s office.
Felien brought the motion forward and said he did so because the mayor does not represent the City Council majority when he serves on the SANDAG board.
The ordinance would allow City Council to reappoint someone.
“We don’t have a strong mayor form of government,” Felien said. “City council should have more of a voice in the decision.”
Felien specifically noted a SANDAG vote to award $5 million to a project in south San Diego County and said Wood did not fight hard enough to secure the funds for the Interstate 5 widening at state Route 78.
“We’ll have to wait to 2035 (for funding),” Felien said.
Wood noted several reasons the I-5 widening project was not funded. One of the reasons is that SANDAG wants shovel-ready projects and the EIR for I-5 widening had not been completed.
Both Wood and Councilwoman Esther Sanchez, who is also a California Coastal Commissioner, said that removing the mayor from the SANDAG board would make securing monies through SANDAG more difficult.
SANDAG credits San Diego County cities with votes according to population size. It also recognizes the number of years a city representative has served on the board. Wood is recognized as a senior board member.
“Saying the mayor doesn’t count doesn’t get anyone to talk to us,” Sanchez said. “Please don’t do this.”
The majority of residents who spoke at the meeting said they believe in the mayor and felt the motion was a political maneuver and a waste of time. Many speakers noted Wood’s super majority win over Kern for mayor.
“It’s jealousy of the Mayor,” Brenda Souza, Oceanside resident, said. “Jealousy of what he’s done.”
“To remove Mayor Wood from SANDAG simply because he does not agree with you (the council majority) is setting a very bad example,” Charles McVey, Oceanside resident, said.
“People love this mayor,” Holli Morton of Oceanside said. “He cares about every faction. That’s why we care about him.”
A few residents spoke in support of the motion.
“Council nomination will enable a decision making process,” said John Frazier. “Discussion does reveal solutions.”
City Council will vote on the ordinance Dec. 5.