OCEANSIDE — Mayor Jim Wood has thrown his hat in the political ring to run for the County Board of Supervisors District 5 seat against Supervisor Bill Horn, who has held the seat for 19 years.
Supporters of Wood say he will bring change to the way the county does business by working with districts to reach consensus.
“People are so mad at Bill Horn the last 20 years they’re looking for someone different,” Wood said.
“I’m still a Republican, but I get along (with) all other government officials, Republican, Democrat, Independent,” Wood said. “(The) Oceanside population has all three.”
Wood has served as an Oceanside police investigator for 31 years and Oceanside mayor for 12 years.
One example of Wood’s ability to build consensus is his success in working with North County mayors to drop city boundaries for fire and public emergency responses. This action reduced countywide emergency response times.
“I’m the one who listens to the people and neighborhoods,” Wood said. “Bill is a bully.”
Supporters describe Wood as a “people person.”
“Jim Wood is a people person even with others he disagrees with, that’s different than the bullying tactics of Bill Horn,” Richard McIntyre, Wood’s senior advisor of campaigning, said. “Jim communicates with people and believes in consensus.”
Horn disagrees with the picture Wood and his campaign staff paint of him. He said he gets along well with the mayors of Carlsbad, San Marcos, Escondido, and the council majority in Oceanside.
“I know where I stand,” Horn said. “My mind can be changed if I have all the facts.”
District 5 is 1,800 square miles and has a population of 619,992. It includes the cities of Oceanside, Carlsbad, Vista and San Marcos. Two of the district’s major industries are tourism and agriculture. Other industries include biotechnology and business.
In the upcoming race for supervisor Wood may have an upper hand may in promoting tourism and Horn, a Valley Center businessman, farmer, and decorated Marine, is a strong proponent of agriculture.
“Jim has had the most successful tourism campaign in North County,” McIntyre said.
McIntyre added more details of that success would be shared in the months ahead.
McIntyre said one big political difference between Wood and Horn is that Wood believes in the county general plan and its smart growth component and Horn has worked to change the plan.
“Jim is a strong proponent of the general plan,” McIntyre said. “It took years to come to the agreement.”
“Jim believes in controlled smart growth.
“Bill Horn was the only supervisor to vote against the general plan,” McIntyre added. “He used every tool, every tactic, every method to try to circumvent it one year after its adoption.”
Horn said he opposed the general plan because it infringed on the property rights of farmers.
“It basically confiscated property from property owners who had it for years,” Horn said. “I fought for agriculture for 19 years. I want to keep it a viable industry. That moniker I’ll take for sure.”
Horn said he views the general plan as a living document that is open to change.
“The day it’s finished it begins to change,” Horn said.
He added that he stays an arm’s length from transactions and does not support every development project.
Wood said another strength he brings to the race is his opposition to the Gregory Canyon landfill and support for solar energy.
McIntyre said Horn has not come out with a formal position against solar energy, but has opposed several solar proposals.
“This is the way Bill Horn does business,” McIntyre said. “His arrogance for power may be because he has been in office for a long time. It’s time for a change.”
Horn said these claims are not true. He said he has voted in support of solar projects and opposed the Gregory Canyon landfill, which was voted on before his term in office.
“The voters approved it,” Horn said. “We don’t have jusrisdicion as a county. I don’t see why that would be on table for this race.”
Horn said he understands the comments are part of “politics” but stressed candidates’ actions are a better measure of their success.
“Let him run on his record any day,” Horn said.
McIntyre reiterated that the key difference between Wood and Horn is their style of leadership.
“Communication demands personal relationships and respect for other people,” McIntyre said.
“Jim is a guy who believes in making promises and keeping promises. He has been married to his wife for 30 years, lived in the same house for 30 years. He represents the average citizen and will do a much better job than Bill Horn.”
“The true difference is people are looking for someone with higher principles who listens and respects people.”
Horn describes himself as a “straight shooter.”
“I tell the truth and it may sound like I’m giving him hell,” Horn said. “I’m a very frank person and get right to the point. You need to deal with the facts. Jim beats around the bush.”
Wood will formally kick off his campaign in September.
“Jim was re-elected by a large margin and has a record of accomplishments,” McIntyre said. “People know who he is and we’re going to introduce him to the rest of the district.”
“I’m enthusiastic about the race,” Wood said. “I want to win and do a good job.”
Wood’s campaign kick off is Sept. 11, on the steps of the County Administration Office.