EDITOR’S NOTE: Copies of some of the complaints filed by Oceanside Deputy Mayor Chuck Lowery are available to view at the bottom of this article. This story was first reported on Aug. 31 by Adam Racusin for ABC 10 News.
OCEANSIDE — Sometimes being neighbors and being neighborly are two very different things.
A Carlsbad-based attorney has alleged that her neighbor, Oceanside Deputy Mayor Chuck Lowery, has illegitimately used his position in local office to expedite a bevy of personal complaints against his neighbors which has crossed the line into harassment.
Lowery spoke exclusively to The Coast News, saying that the attacks on him are politically motivated, and that he, through his complaints, is conveying concerns of not only his own, but of other neighbors around the vacation rental property.
North County attorney Alexandra McIntosh told 10News that she purchased a home located on Wisconsin Avenue in 2012 as part of her retirement plan. McIntosh said she purchased the home as a full-time, short-term vacation rental to help “offset the house payments and help the city of Oceanside make money,” according to her interview with 10News. The North County resident added that she plans to move in to the house upon retirement.
Since then, McIntosh has been thrust into a constant battle with the city over a variety of complaints filed by Lowery, who lives directly behind McIntosh’s property on Alberta Avenue.
The Coast News has obtained copies of 15 city code violation complaints dating back to 2015 with Lowery listed as the complainant. Lowery’s complaints range from graffiti and overwatered flowerbeds to “washing an abundance of cars” and an at-large rooster.
The series of complaints were directed at a number of individuals, including McIntosh, who live in the area surrounding Lowery’s home.
In May, McIntosh received a letter from Airbnb regarding her listing. Lowery had complained to the online vacation rental company about McIntosh’s home: “Your manager/owner of the home directly behind me is unwilling to consider the neighbors when the property is in use. I’ve asked the Oceanside Police Department, Code Enforcement, City manager and City Attorney to deal with the noise, whether that’s dogs barking all day or people partying all night,” according to the letter. Lowery later states, “ … I’ve had no successful contact with the owner, so I’m asking you (Airbnb) to address the situation.”
McIntosh denies the allegations listed in the complaint and said she’s never heard from Lowery since she purchased the home in 2012.
“It’s outrageous,” McIntosh said. “(Lowery) has made no effort to contact me despite his claims. Never. I don’t believe him for one minute.”
A family who recently stayed at McIntosh’s home for two months expressed their concern over an encounter they had with Lowery regarding their dogs.
In a text message sent to McIntosh, the woman wrote: “All is good except the guy behind us yelled, ‘Shut up’ after five seconds of Lincoln (a small dog) play-barking at 8:45 this morning.” The renter noted that a couple days earlier, there was another neighbor in the area with a barking dog.
When asked if Lowery had spoken to them directly about the dogs, the short-term renter said, “No, he just yelled over the fence.”
Nadine Scott, an Oceanside attorney who has worked on several of Lowery’s election campaigns, said she has become increasingly disheartened by the councilman’s actions directed toward McIntosh and other constituents.
“A pattern of conduct is emerging,” Scott said. “(Lowery) is draining public resources from more important things. It’s an abuse of city resources.”
Lowery’s aide Don Greene emailed the following statement to 10News, that reads in part: “Elected officials are expected to resolve problems within the city at the request of residents. And, as an elected official and good neighbor, Deputy Mayor Lowery attempts to resolve residents’ problems as best as he is able. As a resident of the City of Oceanside, Deputy Mayor Lowery is also able to make reports to City Departments just like any other resident; being an elected official does not remove protections granted to him via the First Amendment.”
Lowery echoed Greene’s statements in an interview with The Coast News on Oct. 17.
He said that neighbors have approached him with their concerns about the property, but some didn’t want to file complaints out of fear of reprisal. He complained on their behalf, which he said was his duty as an elected official, echoing Greene’s statement.
“If you don’t want your elected representative representing you, why even bother voting?” Lowery said. “We are supposed to do a job, and I am simply doing my job.”
ABOVE: A video clip of Deputy Mayor Chuck Lowery speaking about the complaints he filed against McIntosh at an Oceanside City Council event.
Lowery said that McIntosh, rather than correcting the issues at her vacation rental — which he said were straight from the municipal code— went on the attack through the press.
“She decided the best approach to her situation, because she didn’t want to do anything about the issues, was to attack me,” he said. “And these issues weren’t negotiable, they were straight out of the code, which is black and white on these things.”
Leslie Davies, an Oceanside resident who was a once a strident supporter of Lowery, has also voiced her concerns over Lowery’s penchant for filing municipal grievances.
“We have so many issues we need to be worrying about,” Davies said. “I cannot believe we are spending city resources on this. I am appalled.”
Lowery said that Scott and Davies’ involvement signals to him that this has become politically motivated, as the two women are supporters of Lowery’s chief campaign rival, Esther Sanchez.
Once political allies, Lowery and Sanchez’s relationship soured over the years, and now the two are pitted against each other in the District 1 election in 2018.
“They (Davies and Scott) are doing anything they can to protect Esther,” Lowery said.
But McIntosh steadfastly denies any political involvement, noting that the first time she met Davies and Scott in person was on Tuesday, Oct. 14 during an interview with The Coast News.
“I’ve never met those two women before the other day,” McIntosh said. “I reached out to the press when I discovered who had been harassing me for over two years.”
McIntosh added, “I do believe that the citizens of Oceanside should know what’s going on here. I think it’s wrong what he’s doing and I think he’s a pathological liar.”
Below are copies of the complaints filed by Lowery:
CE18-1863 CE18-1862 CE18-0143 CE17-0919 CE17-0565 CE16-5147 CE16-0846 CE16-0110 CE15-6037 CE15-5144 CE15-4792 CE15-4154 CE15-2484 CE15-1597 CE15-1248