Oceanside’s Council majority makes changes

OCEANSIDE — Councilman Gary Felien requested the replacement of mayor-appointed city representatives to regional boards with himself on SANDAG, Councilman Jerry Kern on North County Transit District (NCTD) and Councilman Jack Feller on the San Diego County Water Authority board. 

Ousted from representing the city were Mayor Jim Wood on SANDAG and NCTD and Brian Boyle on the San Diego County Water Authority board.

The reappointments passed with an expected 3-2 vote in which Wood and Councilwoman Esther Sanchez voted no.

Felien said his intention was to broaden Council participation on regional boards.

Residents who spoke on the item countered back and said the reappointments were sour grapes for Kern losing the mayoal race to Wood. Speakers called the action mean spirited and criticized the “flawed” city charter for enabling it to happen.

“It’s sore loser tactics,” said Oceanside resident Linda Walshaw.

Resident Jim Jenkins said the council majority was acting like “hotdogs” and looked like a “package of wieners.”

Sanchez also questioned Felien’s stated intention for changing the mayor’s appointments. Felien named himself, Kern and Feller for primary and alternative reappointments.

“You want to strip the mayor of his powers,” Sanchez said. “He beat you guys, with 54 percent of the vote. You’re jealous of him.”

Sanchez added that SANDAG and NCTD are leadership positions that are best served by someone with a “middle of the road” position on issues.

Wood called the city charter a “flawed tool.”

“The city charter can get around the views of voters,” Wood said. “I’m not very happy when three people can circumvent the rights of voters.”

Felien made an additional motion to rotate the position of deputy mayor between council members rather than have the mayor appoint a council member. Felien added that the Council often reaches a deadlock in approving the appointment when the mayor is not part of the Council majority.

“The job of deputy mayor is to represent the mayor at events or run Council meetings when he’s out of town, none of which are policy making functions,” Felien said.

Wood said he feels the mayor should appoint the deputy mayor to ensure continuity in city representation. He added that it is difficult to appoint a council member who thinks too differently from him.

The motion to rotate the position of deputy mayor passed in 3-2 vote. Wood and Sanchez voted no. The item will return to Council so a rotation schedule can be set in which a council member does not serve as deputy mayor during the year they run for reelection.


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