OCEANSIDE — City Council appointed former City Manager Peter Weiss as mayor on Jan. 24. A number of residents left the council meeting expressing frustration the decision to fill the vacant mayor’s seat did not go to a citizen vote.
Following the meeting, Oceanside resident Amanda Macia said the decision made her sad and angry.
“The majority of people did want an election,” Macia said. “A three-person (council) vote disenfranchised and completely ignored us.”
During the meeting more than a dozen speakers shared feedback on how to fill the position. The majority called for an election. Speakers said voting is an honored right, and the position of mayor is too important for a three-person council majority to decide.
A retired U.S. Marine said the city would be “going backwards” if it didn’t hold an election.
Others in favor of an election discredited the council majority and said the council was “not to be trusted” in its decisions on the city’s future. Speakers mentioned council’s favoritism to developers, and the resident-supported SOAR initiative to preserve open space and farmland.
Close to 80 people provided email feedback prior to the meeting. Most of them requested an appointment.
Other speakers either introduced themselves as candidates for the mayor appointment, or recommended Deputy Mayor Chuck Lowery be appointed. Those who asked that Lowery be appointed said he has done a good job as deputy mayor during the mayor’s lengthy absence and shown he is fit to be mayor.
There were also 27 email requests that Lowery be appointed to mayor since the Jan. 10 meeting when the vacant mayor’s position was first discussed and community input was requested.
Four candidates submitted paperwork to be considered for mayor. John Tyner, Adrianne Hakes, Tanner Axt and Weiss gave notice of their interest to serve. Several additional candidates announced interest during the Jan. 24 meeting.
A 3-1 council vote secured Weiss’ appointment, with a no vote from Councilwoman Esther Sanchez. The vote came after speakers’ input and a round robin of motions and failed votes to appoint current council members as mayor.
The council majority favored an appointment over a lengthy and costly election process that would leave the mayor’s seat vacant until a June or November vote. Concerns were shared that the current four-person council could run into tie votes with the mayor’s seat empty.
Council members are familiar with Weiss who served as city manager for seven years before retiring in 2013. Prior to his position as city manager he worked as city engineer and public works director. Since his retirement he has continued to work as a city consultant.
Weiss also received Wood’s recommendation to be appointed to mayor when Wood retired Jan. 1. Weiss was not present at the Jan. 24 meeting.
A request was made by council to swear in Weiss prior to the next council meeting. Following the meeting, City Clerk Zack Beck said an informal swearing in ceremony might take place as soon as the following day.