OCEANSIDE — Perhaps one of the most difficult decisions Mayor Jim Wood made was handing in a letter of resignation effective Jan. 1, 2018. Wood, who turns 70 in January, has served the city of Oceanside for 46 years as a police officer and detective and council member and mayor.
The decision to resign came after returning to his seat in December following a stroke he suffered in May. Wood led the meeting with limited speech and said he was not happy with his performance.
“I couldn’t do it because of my voice,” Wood said. “I was ready to come back. For me it was the worst part.”
Upon resigning Wood sent a letter to fellow council members with the recommendation to appoint City Clerk Zack Beck or former City Manager Peter Weiss to serve as mayor for the remaining years of his term, which ends in 2020.
He said the qualities he sees necessary for the job are honesty, dedication and experience.
Wood said he does not endorse any of the present council members to be appointed as mayor.
“They want my job, but I don’t endorse them,” Wood said.
He added those who are running for a county office will not have the focus needed to serve as mayor. He said he learned that lesson when he ran for county supervisor and chose his duties as city mayor over his campaign to win.
The mayor does not plan to attend the Dec. 20 council meeting before his resignation is final. Instead he will focus on his health and recovery full time.
His stroke, which was caused by an angiogram procedure, hospitalized him for two months, followed by intense outpatient rehabilitation.
Initially he could not speak or walk. Through rigorous physical therapy he is now able to communicate in short sentences and use a walker.
In addition to the physical challenges of recovery there have been the mental hurdles of wanting to get back to normal routines faster than his body is ready.
Wood recalled trying to walk across the room when he first returned home. “I didn’t know why I couldn’t get up and walk,” Wood said. “I was ready to go.”
The sedentary recovery routine led him to suffer a brief bout of depression, which is common to recovering patients.
He said he received a lot of encouragement and well wishes through cards and emails, some saying he was the best mayor residents ever had.
“It reminded me why I did this,” Wood said. “After a while I wanted to go back to work, I needed to go back to work.”
Wood stayed informed of city business through the city manager and city attorney, and offered his input. He also attended key functions as a city representative that included the ceremony to celebrate families moving in to the Mission Cove affordable housing project and a resident’s 100-year birthday celebration.
Wood said he will now take the needed time to fully recover before returning to serve the city.
“It’s a wonderful city,” Wood said. “I think I’ll always be a part of it.”
Wood said once he is able to walk he would like to serve the city in some way, perhaps on the Tri-City Hospital board or school district board. He also has not ruled out running for mayor in the future.