The Meltdown of Oceanside Mayor Jim Wood

Steve Gramm Steve Gramm


Now that the Tri City Healthcare District Board has cleaned up its act, all eyes have turned to the Oceanside City Council to provide the political entertainment for North County. After the spectacle of last Wednesday’s city council meeting, lets just say Oceanside does not disappoint.

Oceanside Mayor Jim Wood had a meltdown at the dais – all recorded on TV — over the outrageous idea that his council colleagues might actually negotiate a compromise on the wording of a proposed ordinance to ban smoking in outdoor patio restaurants.

While Councilmembers Gary Felien and Esther Sanchez were discussing a possible compromise, Mayor Wood began to loudly interrupt, proclaiming there would be no compromise and demanded an immediate vote. Wood’s fellow councilmembers watched in dumbfounded amazement at his unprofessional behavior.

When Felien and Sanchez had the temerity to defy Wood and continue their discussion, the mayor began yelling at Sanchez to stop discussing a compromise, then declared an immediate recess, leaving the meeting. “Esther they aren’t going to vote for it … I’m calling for a break!”

In Wood’s absence a compromise was quickly reached. He then called Sanchez into the back room behind the council chamber and words were exchanged. After the lively discussion, Sanchez returned to the meeting and announced she would not support the compromise language.

Wood never returned to the chamber, leaving it to Deputy Mayor Kern to restart the meeting and act as chair to its conclusion. Kern introduced a motion to adopt the compromise language, which passed 3-1 with Sanchez voting no.

Bringing childish pettiness to a new low, Wood later in the meeting sent a city employee to remove the gavel from Kern’s hand while he was running the meeting.

Mayor Wood is the man planning to challenge incumbent Supervisor Bill Horn for the 5th District seat on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. Wednesday night’s embarrassing spectacle put on ample display the leadership talents he would bring to the County Board.

One is left to wonder how Oceanside survives at all. No mere words can do justice to the events described. For any skeptical reader that believes your humble correspondent must surely exaggerate, you are encouraged to go to the City website, watch the June 5 meeting (opt for Item #38 and #38 part II in the drop down menu), and draw your own conclusions.