OCEANSIDE — A number of District 1 and District 2 residents have thrown their names into the ring for Oceanside City Council seats in the upcoming November elections.
Both the current terms of District 1 and District 2 council seats are set to expire at the end of this year. So far, five people are vying for the District 1 seat, including its current representative Councilwoman Kori Jensen, who was appointed to the seat in early 2021 after Mayor Esther Sanchez was elected to her current position.
Sanchez was elected in 2018 as the first council member to represent District 1 when the city transitioned from at-large council elections to district elections. That term is still set to expire this year despite Jensen only taking over last year, which means she must now run for election to keep her seat.
Jensen is challenged by four other candidates: Eric Joyce, a current Oceanside Unified School Board trustee; Darin Selnick, a retired Air Force officer; David Turgeon, one of last year’s mayoral candidates; and Drew Andrioff, a member of the city’s Downtown Advisory Committee.
In District 2, Fernando Garcia, a retired Marine and mayoral candidate last year, is challenging fellow retired Marine and current Councilmember Chris Rodriguez, who may not even run for re-election if he wins the Republican primary nomination for the 49th Congressional District race this spring. If Rodriguez doesn’t win the primary, he can still run for his council seat and told The Coast News he would consider it.
“I’m honored to serve my community in any capacity,” Rodriguez said.
Garcia said he was running for the seat because he wants to give back to the community and because he isn’t happy with Rodriguez’s current representation of the district.
“My top priority is homelessness,” Garcia said. “City Council is doing an O.K. job so far and the Homeless Outreach Team is great, but we need more community partnerships.”
Garcia said the police department is currently understaffed and wants to hire more well-trained and highly qualified officers, and also wants to see safer development along North River Road in District 2.
“That road needs to be amplified to support traffic connecting Camp Pendleton and Vandegrift Boulevard,” he said. “As it stands now it’s a very dangerous road and it’s only a matter of time before we see more accidents.”
Both Jensen and Rodriguez have had recall attempts against them that ended up falling short. Several residents questioned whether or not Jensen actually lived at her Pacific Street address, which she occasionally rents out for short-term stays.
Residents posited that she actually lives in a house she owns in Carlsbad, but Jensen denied those claims, arguing that she did in fact live at her Pacific Street address while renting her home out while her son lives with his family in the Carlsbad home.
Joyce, whose school board trustee term is set to expire at the end of this year, wants to continue serving his community as a council member.
“I want District 1 to be represented by someone who makes decisions in the best interest of Oceanside,” Joyce told The Coast News. “We’ve had lots of major investments in our city’s tourism sector while some of our neighborhoods have been left behind.”
Joyce said he wants to restore residents’ trust in the City Council.
Selnick, one of the other District 1 candidates, has a background in veteran healthcare and assisting homeless veterans through his work as a former senior advisor to the secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs and as a board member of New Directions for Veterans, a Los Angeles-based organization that helps homeless veterans obtain employment and other services.
Selnick wants to create a homeless advisory committee as well as a military veteran affairs commission in Oceanside.
“There are over 15,000 military veterans who live in Oceanside and yet we don’t have any formal commission or anything that works to support them,” Selnick said.
The Coast News has also reached out to Jensen, Turgeon and Andrioff for comment, but did not receive a response in time for publication.
There is still plenty of time for more candidates to step forward and for those who already have to back out. So far, the current candidates have filed the paperwork necessary to help them fundraise, while the official filing period for candidates is this summer.