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Council meeting not just business as usual

OCEANSIDE — The Jan. 14 City Council meeting took two surprising turns. First was the service of a notice to recall Councilman Jerry Kern. Second was the abrupt tabling of the next deputy mayor.
During the meeting’s public communications, Oceanside resident Jim Sullivan served Kern a notice to circulate a recall petition. There was no reply from Kern to the notice that asked for his recall and included charges that Kern puts developers and the council majority above the interest of residents, discourages public input by assaulting and disrespecting citizens, and violated city open bidding by forming a clandestine relationship with a private company to privatize paramedic services.
In a later interview, Kern said the allegations are unsubstantial. “They’re accusing me of everything under the sun,” he said. Kern filed a response Jan. 22.
For the recall to go forward, a special election would need to be held to vote Kern out of his remaining years on the council. A recall election would cost $500,000, Kern said. “My seat is up in two years,” Kern said. “The next available election is Nov. 3.”
Discussion on the appointment of the next deputy mayor brought up differing ideas and was cut short before an appointment was made.
Mayor Jim Wood initiated discussion saying he wanted to appoint a council member who shares his goals. “I would like someone to be the deputy mayor who has similar goals and objectives when I am not here,” Wood said.
The expected appointment was Councilwoman Esther Sanchez, but before Wood made an appointment, present Deputy Mayor Rocky Chavez called for “fairness” in selecting a council member for the position and suggested council members rotate the duty of deputy mayor. Chavez pointed out that he served as deputy mayor in 2005, 2007 and 2008, while Councilman Jack Feller has never served as deputy mayor during his eight years on the council and should serve his turn.
Wood disagreed with the idea of council member rotation. “I’m not going to give up the mayor’s authority to appoint,” Wood said. “I try to be as fair as I can be.”
Following a recess called by Sanchez, the item was tabled for consideration at a later date.