OCEANSIDE — Incumbent Fifth District Supervisor Bill Horn and his opponent, Oceanside Mayor Jim Wood, faced off in their first face-to-face debate at MiraCosta College on April 3.
Horn and Wood are running for district supervisor, an office that bears the responsibility of helping control the $5 billion county budget, which funds a variety of social services programs.
About 80 percent of the county budget is tied to state and federal programs that the county runs. The other $2 billion can be spent on board priorities.
Each of the five district supervisors has a discretionary $1 million to designate, with the board’s approval. Most of the county funding comes from property taxes.
Horn has served as supervisor for 19 years. He is a former Marine, and works as an avocado and citrus farmer.
A land dispute prompted his first run for supervisor. He will be running for his fifth term, and continues to champion rural issues.
His list of accomplishments include helping to build an AAA county bond rating, and working to extend the runway at Palomar Airport to allow jet traffic.
He said his record shows he is proven and prudent with money.
Wood has served as mayor for 10 years, and was as a police detective for more than 30 years. Safety and community concerns are his priorities.
He prides himself on being honest about issues and understanding community needs.
Wood said he has successfully improved the safety and image of Oceanside.
During the debate Horn and Wood both spoke in support of public safety and North County regional collaboration.
Horn said he initiated the Prosperity on Purpose Plan, which was successful in paying for the zoning of NCTD stations.
He added he would like to see city general plans share a common language, and help form a North County economic development council.
Wood said he has worked to build regional collaboration.
Oceanside is part of a regional fire department drop boundary agreement that speeds response times.
He also boasted a five-city buy-in to the 78 corridor joint marketing plan that was recently formalized by Oceanside and fellow cities along the corridor, and will kick off this year.
Both said they oppose the Gregory Canyon landfill.
Horn said decisions on the landfill were out of supervisors’ hands years before he was elected to office. There were several other questions that Horn reminded the moderator were city decisions.
He added the company that proposed the landfill has filed bankruptcy, and at this point he would like to see the property turned into a park.
Wood said a landfill close to a local water supply is irresponsible, and he has fought against it at a city level for 15 years.
Their differences remained over the county general plan.
Horn said he opposed the plan because it infringed on the property rights of farmers.
“It basically confiscated property from property owners who had it for years,” Horn said, in an earlier interview. “I fought for agriculture for 19 years. I want to keep it a viable industry. That moniker I’ll take for sure.”
Wood said he believes in the general plan and its smart, slow growth component.
Following the debate Horn said a lot of the questions asked needed more background, which he tried to provide within the response time limits.
Wood said a lot of topics were covered, and he couldn’t think of questions that should have been asked.