OCEANSIDE —Deputy Mayor Chuck Lowery and Councilman Jerry Kern attended their last Oceanside City Council meeting as members on Dec. 5, a week before the newly elected officials are sworn-in.
Kern, a 12-year veteran of the council, thanked the other members, city staff and the public at the end of the meeting.
“It seems like day after day this is a slow grind, but when you look back after 12 years you see how the city has changed,” he said.
Kern recalled how the city was trying to revitalize its downtown area when he first came into office.
“We’ve finally come to a point now where we’ve hit our stride,” he said. “I think the city is in good hands.”
He said the city’s current staff is “much better” than the staff 12 years ago, and noted the police department and the city’s planning and building divisions have improved as well.
“It’s been a wonderful ride, and we’ll see what the future holds,” he said.
Lowery did not address his departure at the meeting, but previously told The Coast News he was “disappointed” about losing his bid for re-election to Councilwoman Esther Sanchez. Lowery was first elected in June 2010 to complete Rocky Chavez’s unfinished term. He lost the seat in an election later that year, but won his full four-year term in 2014.
In 2017, Council adopted an ordinance establishing by-district elections for City Council offices. District 1 and District 2 were introduced this year, and Districts 3 and 4 will be introduced in 2020.
Previously, all council members were elected “at-large,” meaning they represent the city as a whole. Once all of the districts are established, City Council will be comprised of four members who each live in and represent those districts, as well as a mayor who will continue to be elected at-large across the city.
Sanchez and Lowery competed for the District 1 seat, which Sanchez won. Chris Rodriguez won the District 2 seat. Both Sanchez and Rodriguez will be sworn-in during a special meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 12 at 2 p.m.
Samantha Taylor covers Oceanside, Camp Pendleton and the decommissioning San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. She earned her journalism degree from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, and has previously reported for The Athens Messenger in Athens, Ohio, and USA Today in McLean, Virginia. Follow her on Twitter: @samm1son