Inside Oceanside: One step forward, two steps back

It’s time to do-si-do and do that good old Oceanside square dance where you put one step in and one step out: let’s move ahead while we also slip back.

Consider first the good news. Come to find out our city clerk Zack Beck has been working for a year trying to get a new system in place where all the campaign expenditures by city council candidates will be available to everyone online.

Used to be, you’d have to go into the city clerk’s office at City Hall and request to see these unwieldy three ring binders full of candidate’s financial statements. Copies were available for a fee. Not only was this a waste of time, money and paper, it discouraged public participation.

Mr. Beck proposed the new system called Netfile and the Council unanimously approved it last month. Now, if a certain candidate gets a big lump of cash from someone who wants to do business here, the voters can readily see this information. It will be in place by June or July, just in time for this year’s council election (Councilmen Jerry Kern and Gary Felien are up for reelection in November).

Thank you Zack Beck and thank you city council.

One step forward.

But somehow it seems we can’t get ahead without simultaneously slamming it in reverse.

Councilman Jack Feller took on one particular heckler who berated him during a council meeting. Of course Mr. Feller is correct. You don’t throw out verbal slurs at a public meeting. It’s amateurish and petty.

By the same token, just because you are a city councilman and you have access to city letterhead, you don’t have the right to send out a letter representing the city as a whole and/or specifically the city council. This is also rank amateur behavior.

But what do you know? That’s what Kern and Felien did when they sent out a letter to San Diego business groups saying the tax climate is a lot nicer up here in Oceanside.

Well maybe it is. And maybe (actually, probably) a majority of the council would have voted to send out such a letter.

The mayor had no idea that such a letter went out until he heard about it from a reporter.

Felien was quoted as saying: “We just got together and thought that it would be a good idea to advertise that we have land and we don’t have this fee.”

How a bout a little decorum? How about a little less amateur recklessness? Do Mr.’s Kern and Felien have no clue how such statements are put out by the body they have served on for a combined 10 years?

I’m hearing banjos. And Jethro by the cement pond. And Elly May with her critters out back. Welcome to Oceanside where the political demeanor is hillbilly and the business vision apparently begins and ends with Walmart.

Passing the bar

We reported a few months ago that longtime bartender David Rassel and his family are taking over the bar and restaurant at 1903 South Coast Highway (recently known as the Beach Club). He announced he would reopen the place after a remodel and rename it the Pour House.

As often happens, the remodeling has taking longer than expected. Rassel says he now hopes to be open by St. Patrick’s Day.

But Dave and his family have decided to change the name from the Pour House to….well, he’s not sure and he’s open to suggestions.

I suggested the Buccaneer, based on the nearby South O’side beachbreak of the same name. There’s also the tie in with the Oceanside High mascot, the Pirates. David says he likes it, but that maybe there’s an even better name out there.

Fair enough. If you come up with one, drop him a line at the bar or email me and I will forward it.

It got me to thinking about other Oceanside bars that have come and gone. Some were part Oceanside’s more wild and wooly past.

You know you’re a longtime Oceansider if you recall these speakeasy names: Amber Glow, Seabags, Duck Inn, Captain Jim’s, The Pump, Across the Tracks, McCabe’s, Normandy, Rusty Spur, Town House, Trails Inn, Sunset Room (at the long defunct VFW lodge overlooking the pier), Trails Inn West, Long Bar, 101 Club, Alibi, Greystokes, Capri, Embassy Room, The Strand, Andy’s, Brother’s Three, Phil’s Place, Morey’s, The River Bottom, P’s & Q’s, L. B.’s, Jug Head’s, Bub’s Whiskey Dive, Shenanigan’s, Hooligan’s, El Paso, Mom’s, Abe’s Place, The Chat Room and even a previously named Pour House.

There were the lounges withing the swanky Flying Bridge and the Mira Mar restaurants on Coast Highway.

Then there was the bar at the harbor connected to the restaurant with a very un-politically correct name. Don’t expect the name La Beaners to reappear any time soon.

Oceanside born and raised, Ken Leighton is an Oceanside business owner. He may be reached at oogumboogum@earthlink.net.

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