OCEANSIDE — Mayor Jim Wood and Councilman Jerry Kern have announced that they will run for mayor in November 2012.
Jim Wood said he announced his run early to answer supporters’ questions on his re-election status. Kern made an early announcement of his candidacy for mayor, too. “Normally candidates don’t even mention they’re running until February of next year,” Wood said.
Wood said the political timing of Kern’s announcement surprised him. “Kern made every senior in the community mad by his stand on rent control and the water issue,” Wood said. “He woke a sleeping giant in the senior community.”
While Kern has already held a fundraising rally, Wood said his fundraising efforts will likely start in October.
Wood said he sees himself as a popular mayor that has done well for the city in his two terms as mayor. He will continue to represent the city as a nonpartisan mayor and move the city forward with a focus on public safety.
During his terms Wood has improved the image of Oceanside, mostly due to an over-30 percent drop in crime rate. Another milestone Wood reached in public safety was ensuring that first responders are paramedics that have the ability to treat victims on the spot. Additionally an adopted boundary drop agreement between cities ensured first responders are on the scene quicker.
“We’re moving in a good direction for the city,” Wood said. “We’ll continue to make the image even better.”
Wood said the downturn in the state economy is putting city growth on hold. Thirty projects that have been approved are currently not moving forward because they are waiting for financing.
Regardless Wood continues to reach out to businesses and persuade them to move to Oceanside.
Wood said Oceanside’s future lies in sustainable growth. Building bigger, taller, wider is not the best answer.
Kern held his campaign kickoff for mayor Aug. 20. Kern said an early start will help him match campaign funds Wood is anticipated to receive from union contributions.
Kern said he has the support of the business community and chamber of commerce members.
His focus for the city is to create more jobs. “We need to get out there and get people working,” Kern said.
Kern, like Wood, said the biggest problem facing Oceanside is the statewide recession. San Diego County faces 11 percent unemployment and Oceanside is facing a similar percentage of unemployed workers.
“When people have jobs they spend money, buy houses and buy cars,” Kern said. “Nothing happens until people get back to work.”
Kern has vigorously supported the City Charter, reduced fees and regulations to promote economic growth, and increased city employees contributions to their own benefit plans. “I believe we deserve a government that is accountable — with an eye towards the future rather than the past, without letting special interests or vocal minorities guide the process,” Kern said.