OCEANSIDE — After two recall notices were submitted to the City Clerk in the last two months, it’s clear that some residents want Councilman Chris Rodriguez to be removed from office, but the final petition was not submitted to the city by its deadline.
The first Notice of Intent to Circulate Recall Petition was submitted in November, but City Clerk Zeb Navarro found insufficiencies within the document and could not approve it.
That particular notice only had 19 instead of the 20 required valid signatures from registered voters in District 2, where Rodriguez was first elected to represent in late 2018. The notice also failed to include the city in the address lines of each person who signed it.
On Dec. 6, a new recall notice was submitted to the clerk’s office. No insufficiencies were identified the second time around, and Navarro approved the notice.
The recall notice cited several reasons for wanting Rodriguez off City Council, including his promotion of the controversial North River Farms development project on social media and before a public hearing. According to proponents, Rodriguez’s actions eliminated his ability to provide a fair and impartial analysis of the project.
The notice also claims a potential conflict of interest because of the property he owns in South Morro Hills where North River Farms will be built. City Attorney John Mullen has stated there is not a conflict of interest because Rodriguez’s property is more than 1,000 feet from the site.
Residents are also concerned with Rodriguez operating vacation rentals with “numerous code violations.”
Rodriguez submitted his response to the recall notice by his Dec. 12 deadline. His response did not directly reference the reasons why residents want him out.
“As a United States Marine Combat Veteran, I take my oath very seriously,” Rodriguez writes in his response. “I am committed each day to ensuring that our city always has a balanced budget and a prudent ‘rainy-day’ fiscal reserve for emergencies.”
Rodriguez also mentions working to solve Oceanside’s affordability, homelessness, infrastructure and public safety issues.
Petitioners had 10 days to submit a petition after Rodriguez filed his response. Friday, Dec. 20 was the last day the petition could have been filed, but Navarro said his office did not receive it.
Samantha Nelson 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