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Oceanside City Council
Oceanside City Council's demand letter was submitted to San Diego County health officials on April 24. File photo
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Oceanside demands county health officials revise COVID-19 mandate

OCEANSIDE — The Oceanside City Council has issued a letter demanding San Diego County health officials allow individual cities to determine when to reopen their respective parks and local businesses.

During its April 22 meeting, the council voted 4-1 in favor of drafting a demand letter to Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer, urging her to amend the current health order related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On April 24, the demand letter, signed by the councilmembers, was sent to the county. On the same day, county officials modified the public health order to reopen beaches for limited activities at cities’ discretion. The county has not yet responded to the city’s letter.

The city’s demands include allowing local municipalities to decide when to open businesses and outdoor recreational activity areas, such as beaches, parks and golf courses.

If granted, the City of Oceanside would continue to require residents and businesses to follow the county’s social distancing and sanitation requirements that are currently being followed by essential businesses.

The council is requesting the amendment take effect immediately, but no later than May 1.

As of April 27, Oceanside has opened its beaches for limited public access. Residents can use the beach for exercising, running, walking, swimming, surfing, paddling and kayaking.

Sunbathing, picnics, gatherings, group exercising and games, standing or sitting and recreational boating (except kayaking) are all still prohibited at Oceanside beaches.

The Oceanside Pier, Junior Seau Pier Amphitheater and The Strand are still closed to vehicular traffic, with the exception of residents leaving and returning to their adjacent properties. Beach parking lots remain closed.

Two weeks ago, Councilmember Chris Rodriguez pushed for the demand letter during the city’s April 8 meeting, but there wasn’t enough support from other council members at the time.

“Oceanside has put forth extraordinary efforts to flatten the curve but as we push down the curve, like a large balloon, a new curve is created,” Rodriguez said at the April 22 meeting. “In this case, it is unemployment and loss of essential revenues curve.”

Rodriguez said the county and state health orders to close small businesses have come “remarkably close to compromising our constitutional rights as guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.”

Councilmember Esther Sanchez was the only member opposed to the letter.

“I do feel that the decisions have to be based on data and science,” Sanchez told Rodriguez at the meeting. “We have really good, positive results because we are sheltering-in-place, otherwise our infrastructure would be severely overloaded.”

Sanchez said the decision to allow cities to reopen should be left to the county health officer.

“As much as I want us to get back to work, it has to be at the time when we can ensure our public safety, our residents’ health and safety,” Sanchez said.

7 comments

Julie April 28, 2020 at 12:11 am

OMG. I’m so ashamed of my city. How can you be so selfish. Everyone’s sacrafice will be for nothing. I am old and have grave underlying health concerns so thanks alot
I don’t care so much about that because I can choose for myself but all the people busting their ass trying to put us back together again. How dare you

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Kathryn Carbone April 28, 2020 at 6:55 am

Thank goodness Esther Sanchez continues to fight for the residents of Oceanside. Another four to one vote proving she’s the only person on the dais doing what she was elected to do, and that is to vote the way her constituents want.

Christopher Rodriguez is a self centered failed businessman who runs everything he touches straight into the ground.

He’s also figured out how to “get press” by making ridiculous statements on camera. In the past few years he’s been sued for financial fraud and fought of foreclosure by selling himself out of it in the ninth hour. He’s currently being investigated by the FPPC and also rightly being recalled by the voters in his district.

Of course he wants to drain the coffers of the City to help his Chamber of Commerce buddies, leaving the rest of Oceanside holding the bag. Citizens will pay the bill and take all the health risk for his off the cuff plan to reopen which defies all County health orders, while he moves on to his next shady business transaction or back room handshake.

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Joel M April 28, 2020 at 4:47 pm

If you’re scared, stay at home. If you’re in an at risk group, stay at home. Don’t make the 99.85% of us who will either not contract the virus or have only mild affects be punished for your highly vocal hysteria. Personal freedom and choice always has risk.

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Gail April 30, 2020 at 8:44 pm

Joel, I agree with you. Those who are at risk should stay home, but people need to get back to their regular lives. Working to put food on the table. This virus is not as bad as the flu. More people have died from the flu. This is just more contagious

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Dan Leja April 30, 2020 at 8:25 pm

Thank God the majority of the Oceanside City Council and Mayor are advocating for Oceanside to safely reopen!!! #Oceanside

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J Melendez April 30, 2020 at 9:41 pm

Rodriquez, Feller and Weiss would sell their own mothers down the river if offered a dollar. I’m sure they can be trusted to impartially uphold the best health interests of the overall community when it conflicts with the financial interests of the boys at the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce.

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ray pearson May 1, 2020 at 2:37 pm

As a resident of Carlsbad I admire the courage and thoughtful decision by the Oceanside Mayor and majority City Council to want the decision making to open the City to business be local and accountable.

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