Council Votes to Strip Mayor of Power to Appoint

In a 3-2 vote, the council supported Councilman Gary Felien's proposal which could remove Mayor Jim Wood from the SANDAG board.

A divided Oceanside City Council voted Wednesday to strip Mayor Jim Wood of his authority to appoint representatives to regional boards and commissions.

Councilman Gary Felien proposed the change so any councilmember could nominate appointees and make motions to remove appointees. Deputy Mayor Jack Feller and Councilman Jerome Kern voted with Felien.

“I represent you, not the three of them,” Wood said to attendees. “They don’t like that.” 

If the proposal passes when the matter is brought before the City Council again in December, Wood could eventually be removed as the city’s representative on the SANDAG board, which governs the agency that oversees countywide transportation planning and funding. Felien said Wood, who appointed himself to the board, doesn’t represent the views of the council majority or the city’s best interests. 

“I believe that since those appointees are supposed to represent the City Council as a whole, the City Council as a whole should have more influence,” Felien said. 

Feller agreed and said he would like to appoint someone who will fight for Oceanside projects.

“I don’t think we’re getting what we need at SANDAG,” Feller said. “Somebody has to be fighting for things like Highway 78 and 5.”

Councilwoman Esther Sanchez, who voted with Wood against the proposal, said the motion was “one of the most undemocratic acts” she has ever seen.

“I’m embarrassed by it. I’m ashamed of it,” Sanchez said. “Now is the time to rebuild. Stripping the mayor and saying that the mayor doesn’t count isn’t going to get anyone to want to talk to us.”

The majority of public speakers opposed the motion and expressed their support of Wood, who was re-elected Nov. 6 with 54 percent of the vote.

“I don’t understand why this issue with SANDAG is being created just to attack Mayor Wood, when the voters have clearly stated our position to move forward in support of Mayor Wood,” said Eastside Neighborhood Association President Maria Russell, a 12-year resident of Oceanside.

Resident Holly Martin said she has often heard Gary Felien say, “Let the people decide.”

“Well the people just decided,” Martin said. “The people love this mayor … He cares about every faction and that’s why we care about him.”

Charles McVay added: “Just because someone does not agree with you is certainly no excuse to enact a new ordinance just so one can have their way.” 

Wood said he may seek legal action to retain his appointing authority.

“If I get removed, I’ll have a battle on my hands and we’ll see where it goes from there,” Wood said. “It might cost you, the taxpayers, some extra money.” 

“This isn’t over yet with this vote,” he added.

Linda Sills November 29, 2012 at 06:19 PM
I also attended the meeting last night, and used my opportunity to speak. I disagree with the council majority on this one--big time. The people of Oceanside re-elected Mayor Jim Wood, because he has the people's interest at heart. I hope Jim Wood goes through with his statement that he will fight this ordinance proposal, legally.
Chris Wilson November 29, 2012 at 08:00 PM
I find it amusing and sad that the council majority has chosen to set us on a course that will wind up with the people of Oceanside paying for both sides of a lawsuit. The city suing itself- now *that's* a great efficient use of taxpayer dollars. And these guys claim to be fiscal conservatives?
Robert Markley November 29, 2012 at 09:53 PM
This is just another naked power grab exercised by the City Council majority (Felien-Feller-Kern) because they have the ability to do so. Just because you CAN do something does not mean you SHOULD do it. The voters will remember this in two years when Felien and Kern are up for re-election. Shame on you, FFK.
Mike Croghan November 30, 2012 at 04:49 PM
I like all of the comments but Mr. Lambert hits on a key point. Mr. Felien is never ever to be confused with someone who represents the community of Oceanside. Instead, he represents his own reactionary biases and displays those biases, as I've noted elsewhere, in a way that shows a complete absence of fair play and sportsmanship. He wants HIS ideology to be represented in the mayor's appointments and, after pouting in the corner, returns to the dais to push his own interests rather than accept the will and choice of the electorate. Shameful and discgusting. And such a marked contrast with Mayor Wood's measured, fair, and rational explanation of how SanDag works and why it votes the way it does. We have to continue to support him and let him know it. It can't be easy for him.
Mandy Barre November 30, 2012 at 06:45 PM
You don't really think Gary thinks this stuff up by himself do you? His crony Kern and his sidekick Ben Sullivan definitely are behind this- did you not notice HIS absence of comments on the issue? No one in town is nastier or more vindictive than Sullivan. Now do you think people will get off their butts and stop voting against their self-interest? Many changes can happen in two years that negatively affect the populous that overwhelmingly elected Mayor Wood. Are they read for that with their idiotic vote to keep Feller in office? Sigh......


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