Popular Oceanside ex-mayor keeps counsel

Jim Wood withholds endorsements

Wood usually was seen as the peacemaker.
  • Wood usually was seen as the peacemaker.

When Jim Wood talks, Oceanside listens. But Oceanside’s most popular politician is keeping mum.

Chuck Lowery is buoyed by his support of liberalizing marijuana laws.

Chuck Lowery is buoyed by his support of liberalizing marijuana laws.

After serving 30-plus years as an Oceanside policeman, Wood was elected to the Oceanside City council in 2002. Two years later he was elected as mayor and was reelected three consecutive times, often beating his closest opponent by two-to-one margins.

Esther Sanchez. Wood could not stomach Sanchez’s open contentiousness.

Esther Sanchez. Wood could not stomach Sanchez’s open contentiousness.

Oceanside City Council is fractious. “It’s hard to imagine a more conflicted group than Oceanside already has [on its council],” said longtime political operative Tom Shepard on an interview show on Oceanside’s public access KOCT-TV.

Dana Corso, a Fallbrook dog groomer, is backed by Sanchez.

Dana Corso, a Fallbrook dog groomer, is backed by Sanchez.

Wood usually was seen as the peacemaker among enemies on the council dais.

His influence was obvious even when he stepped down as mayor last year following a stroke. He urged the council to avoid a costly election and appoint either city clerk Zack Beck or former city manager Peter Weiss. But insiders say an appointment simply was not going to happen because of the two-Republican/two-Democrat council makeup.

Yet to the surprise of most everyone, Democrat Chuck Lowery took Wood’s advice and in January moved to appoint Weiss, a pro-development Republican. The two GOP councilmembers agreed and Weiss became mayor.

Wood’s endorsement for the November election is considered valuable for the two council seats that are up for election. This is the first election cycle since district elections were approved two years ago. Councilmembers Lowery and Esther Sanchez are slugging it out for District 1 in the northwest quadrant, and northeast District 2 is wide open since incumbent Jerry Kern is not running again.

On July 11 Wood announced he is taking a hiatus and is not endorsing anyone in the 2018 election.

On paper it may seem Wood would side with either Lowery or Sanchez, since all three were once supported by the late Melba Bishop, a two-term pro-citizen councilmember who used her organization to help all three get elected the first time.

But someone close to the ex-mayor says Wood could not stomach Sanchez’s open contentiousness (they didn’t speak for over a year), and Wood thought Lowery had voted too many times with pro-developer councilmembers Jerry Kern and Jack Feller.

This means both District 1 incumbents must compete without Wood’s support and rely on their own constituencies. Sanchez is buoyed by the SOAR (Save Open Space and Agricultural Resources) group. SOAR successfully collected 11,000 signatures to get an initiative on the November ballot which would mandate any zoning changes of Oceanside’s agricultural land be approved by a vote of the public. Lowery is buoyed by his support of liberalizing marijuana laws and on helping homeless with outreach and housing.

At his June 30 campaign kickoff, Lowery called Sanchez a liar for claiming if she were not elected in November she would be kicked off the council. Because of this unusual transitional period from at-large to district elections, Sanchez would actually remain on the council if she were not elected and serve for two more years on an at-large seat that will be dissolved in 2020.

While Lowery is correct on that count, he is wrong about another issue. He has said that if Sanchez wins, the city would have to dole out up to $750,000 to cover a special election to elect her replacement for that at-large seat.

Not true, says city clerk Zack Beck, who says he was notified by the state attorney general’s office last week that based on the California election code, in this case, if the Oceanside council does not appoint a replacement councilmember, it can {ital}not{ital} hold a special election and that seat must remain vacant for two years. This 2-2 tie vote scenario could cripple the council’s effectiveness for those two years.

Wood declined to endorse any of the major candidates in District 2. They include: 12-year councilmember Terry Johnson whom Wood defeated for mayor in 2004; Christopher Rodriguez, a realtor and wounded combat veteran who has a small farm and plans to open a bed-and-breakfast; and Dana Corso, a Fallbrook dog groomer who previously ran two failed campaigns for Oceanside city council. Corso is backed by Sanchez and the SOAR group.

The nomination period for candidates to file paperwork with the city clerk's office to qualify for the ballot begins Monday, July 16 and closes August 10.

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It should be noted that Mayor Wood has endorsed both Sanchez and Lowery in past elections.

That being the case then Wood should stay neutral.

For the record, this article about former Mayor Wood's endorsement being withdrawn is absolutely false. It was concocted by Ken Leighton, et al... who has done dirty work for the disgruntled Tom Missett, whom owns the Oceanside Blade Newspaper, also known as the "Oceanside Rag". I met with Mayor Wood many times and he reassured me there was no "press release" and I still had his endorsement! He is a man of his word, period. I contacted Oceanside's City Clerk, Zack Beck who also confirmed the City never received a press release, nor did any other paper. Due to the Mayor's health and integrity that I have, I did not challenge this for the sake of him and his family. It's despicable that the Reader doesn't verify press releases and allowed Ken Leighton to write such an article. Mayor Wood also told me that his Sister-In-Law (Debbie Mikulay) whom was his aide- was looking for another aides seat... she was also in the mix of this deception. Which proved to be true when she posted lies on Facebook stating the same. When I asked the Mayor why is Debbie sinking to this level of trash? He replied, "a job and she has divided our family"! That's where I draw the line, family always comes first, including Mayor Wood's family. I took the high road and perhaps it cost me the election, but at the end of the day, all we have is our family, friends and of course, our character. I can sleep at night, I worked very hard for my candidacy and Yes on Measure Y, but unfortunately, the citizens of Oceanside got fooled by the money and by the Blade's garbage. Christopher Rodriquez stated at an event that Debbie Mikulay was running his phone banks...of course she was, and I'm sure she thinks he will hire her as his aide. Wait for it..my prediction, Debbie was used and what comes around goes around! Mr. Rodriquez lied his ass off and won. He stated, "I don't know of any farmer in South Morro Hills that wants to develop their farms". Omg, let's see the Negata's, Mellano's and the Singhs all have HUGE projects already in the works! Probably why Integral Developers donated over a million dollars to the No on Y campaign and Rodriquez was funded by the Developers, Building Industry Assoc and the No on Y- Negata's and Mellano's. C'mon folks wake up! Did we not learn our lesson from the Lilac Fires whereas, 46 horses burned to death running for their lives! Now the Campo fire, how many human lives were lost, as well as animals, homes, and life long memories...We are smarter than this, we need and should be demanding responsible development! In addition, we need to implement term limits and contribution limits so that special interests don't buy our City Councilmembers. The good news is - looks like Sanchez beat Lowery and Victor Roy won as our new City Treasurer! Now everybody watch as Lowery begs to be appointed! NO! Out with the old and in with the new. I do congratulate Rodriquez on his win and hope he makes the right choices or he too will be out! Let the truth be told!

Ms. Corso, you are lying about this. You absolutely were told that by Jim Wood and his family about how you were no longer being endorsed by him. I will have comment here in the coming weeks in this space about how and when you were contacted. Phil Diehl of the UT was also given the press release the same time I got it. I asked him why he didn't do something about it, and he basically said he had bigger fish to fry. I have been inundated by like seven of your neighbors who have told me about the numerous times they have sued you and won and about how your dishonorable behavior drew them to actively fight against your election. Their words not mine. I will make sure they weigh in here about their confrontations with you and how they were resolved. You shamelessly dogged Mr. Wood at his home after his stroke begging for his support which he did not give to you. What you do in the dark, Me. Corso, will come out in the light. I respect you wanting to illuminate this issue more. As you wish.

Ms. Corso. I just left a message on your phone that says if you have any factual proof of what you said, please send it in an official letter to the editor. I will then be able to officially respond.This will allow me to directly address what you said what facts and bring up the history of complaints of harrassment that have filed against you, the resulting legal rerstraints, and the lawsuits that you have lost including one that was just decided Nov. 2. I look forward to this healthy communication.

Mr, Leighton, I have NEVER been sued by any of my neighbors first of all! Where you are getting your information is beyond me. I filed restraining orders through the advice of OPD when I had plants and my dog poisoned to death! My immediate neighbor admitted to shooting and killing squirrels in my yard and also complained about my dogs before they were violently poisoned. Obviously, you are shooting your mouth off without the facts...which anybody who knows you, knows you are a fireball with no credibility! Shocked the Reader would hire you and print your fake news...furthermore, I received your threatening voice mail and clearly you are scrambling now to cover your ass...same ole same ole from you.,,do you wonder why people don't return your calls?

Ms. Corso... I have lawsuits forwarded to me from your neighbors. Are you saying there was not a decision not handed down Nov. 2? My call to you was asking you to to send in a letter to the editor so I could officially respond. Send it in, and we will respond. An email is ok. Look forward to hearing from you. I know you aren't just grandstanding.

Come on Dana. The truth shall set you free. Your letter will be printed in its entirety. Surely you have nothing to hide. Send it in and let's get this thing officially vetted.

Dana...this is just silly back and forth. Please send in an official letter to the editor which you have not done so far so we can openly uncover your complaints.

Mr. Leighton, Clearly you are speaking out of both sides of your mouth. I repeat, I have never been sued by any of my neighbors. Let's not get off track here...the subject is the fake article you wrote undermining my campaign and Mayor Wood's endorsement. Mayor Wood NEVER told me that he rescinded his endorsement. My husband and I met with him and confirmed this. So please stop with your lies. How about we all sit down with Jim wood and have him set the record straight. He gave me his word and reconfirmed that I had his support, period.

Ms. Corso- I guess you forgot about these North County courthouse cases including Holtman Vs. Corso (1/28/11), Nelson Vs. Corso (8/29/03), or Moyer Vs. Corso (9/13/05). And then there is the latest on decided Nov. 2 which is not yet available on the internet but which your neighbors have told me about. Do you still maintain you have never been sued by any of your neighbors?

Mr. Leighton, I didn't forget about anything. As I stated before, under the advice of OPD and Mayor Wood, I filed restraining orders against two of my sick neighbors, in retaliation, they filed against me but the cases were dismissed. I have never threatened or harassed any of my neighbors, quite the opposite. Let's not forget, I have been a successful business owner for 30 years. Many of my neighbors are my friends and my clients. In addition, I am also a licensed California realtor and investor. Yes, I have a few sick neighbors, that have nothing better to do than contact you and make up lies...these same individuals created havoc in their old neighborhood, before blessing Jeffries Ranch with their evil presence. They are bullies and most recently threatened my son - who was helping one of our 94 year old neighbors! So here again, let's not get off track about Mayor Wood's endorsement and your fabricated story about him rescinding his endorsement...Mayor Wood has always supported me and your story is trash and evidently you are sinking to the level of my evil lying neighbors who will soon wish they hadn't supported Rodriquez as they sit in Jeffries Ranch trying to get onto Melrose. By the way, I have video of this same evil neighbor stealing my signs and putting them in the garbage...case filed with OPD as vandalism...worse neighbors ever!

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