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Former City Councilman Chuck Lowery announced his intention to run in November. He said he would work to make the city a viable economic engine. Photo by Promise Yee
Former City Councilman Chuck Lowery announced his intention to run in November. He said he would work to make the city a viable economic engine. Photo by Promise Yee
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Former councilman announces November run

OCEANSIDE — While it is well ahead of the July 14 start date for candidates to file their nomination papers for the November City Council race, former Councilman Chuck Lowery announced on Facebook that he plans to run.

Lowery previously ran for City Council in 2008, June 2010 and November 2010.

He won the June 2010 race, and served on City Council for five months. In November of that year, Gary Felien, who currently holds a council seat, defeated him.

Lowery said he is compelled to run because of city giveaways he sees going to big developers.

Lowery said he is all for thoughtful downtown development and major hotels coming to Oceanside, but does not agree with the 15-year fee deferral the current City Council approved for hotel developers.

He said this courtesy to big developers puts off collecting needed funds that could pay for maintenance on water, sewer and roadway infrastructure the hotels use. It then puts the burden of paying for infrastructure maintenance on residents and smaller businesses during the 15-year wait.

“The current City Council is pouring money down the drain for four years, and I can’t take it any longer,” Lowery said.

“We’re behaving like we are a bank, giving away interest-free loans to big developers.”

One critical need the city faces is funding repairs for the La Salina Wastewater Treatment Plant. Lowery points to this expense as one example of the importance to collect developer fees up front.

“We should have the money to maintain it,” Lowery said. “It’s just about to break. There could be huge penalties.”

Lowery said keeping city infrastructure up to par benefits all residents and businesses.

He added the need to maintain infrastructure was a lesson learned when he voted against repairs on the Haymar sewage pipe while on City Council. The pipe broke, spilled sewage, and cost the city fines, cleanup expenses and the price of the emergency pipe repair.

He said the council majority over-focuses on downtown development, with the hope it will benefit the city down the road. He added the focus should remain on overall city prosperity.

Lowery said it is his priority to balance the city budget long term, and build healthy city reserves.

“If we don’t develop a viable economic engine, we’re going to be in trouble.”

Felien and eight-year incumbent Jerry Kern both confirmed they would run for re-election.

Felien said he is a fiscal conservative who will continue to keep an eye on the budget and employee pensions.

“My issue is fiscal solvency, budget and pensions (reform),” Felien said. “We cannot afford anything else — parks, streets infrastructure — without long-term financial solvency. We need to make sure we’re focused on the long view.”

He said city reserves of $12 million were squandered down to zero by the previous City Council.

He also criticized earlier labor contract agreements.

Felien said a major challenge for Oceanside and all California cities is anticipated increases in CalPERS pension costs.

He said frugal budgeting and continuing to improve the city’s economy are critical.

Kern said he shares many of the same beliefs about city governance as Felien, but is more of a more a social moderate.

Kern said he decided to run for re-election because the business community asked him to run.

He added he is pleased city revenues have increased over past three years. There has been a steady increase in taxes and TOT and service fees collected.

The rewards for residents have been increased quality of life and added safety.

We restored services, put more cops on the streets, we have a (police Homeless Outreach Team) HOT Team to deal homelessness,” Kern said.

“We’ve done a very good job with fiscal responsibility.”

Kern said the November election would be his final City Council run.

Candidates have from July 14 to Aug. 8 to file their nomination papers.

 

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3 comments

DavidOceanside June 12, 2014 at 1:00 pm

GO CHUCK LOWERY!!! There is no reason to give any beach hotel developer a break on any City fees. Developers will pay a lot for the privilege of putting up a beach hotel. We could have auctions for City fees on beach hotels and see how much we can get. Lowery looks like a true fiscal conservative: pay for what we need, take care of emergency workers so they protect us in emergencies, don’t give away money to developers who would build no matter what the cost. Get rid of Big Government bullies. Vote for Chuck Lowery!

Trueheart Allgood June 12, 2014 at 12:14 pm

Hooray for Chuck Lowery! Hooray for Oceanside! The bought-and-paid-for Felien and Kern can go packing. They have voted against the interests of EVERY Oceanside resident over the past 4 years, on multiple occasions. We can’t WAIT to get rid of the Dastardly Duo of Felien and Kern, who for years have been in the pockets of out-of-town millionaire developers, builders, and mobile home park owners. DUMP KERN AND FELIEN IN 2014!

OsidePride June 11, 2014 at 2:25 pm

Kern & Felien “fiscal conservatives”?! Kern a “social moderate”?! That would be FUNNY if only they haven’t harmed so many Oceanside communities, taxpayers and VOTERS along the way. Aren’t these the same Councilmembers who voted to END rent protections for the 4,000+ seniors, disabled and veterans who OWN their homes in Oceanside’s manufactured home parks? Didn’t they IGNORE the 15,484 voters who said NO to Prop. E in a referendum and then spend $250,000 of YOUR tax dollars on holding a special election that would benefit only park owners and out-of-town developers (their campaign backers)? Don’t they spend 100’s of 1,000’s of $$$$ on “consulting fees” for “studies” on their pet development projects ($850,000 on the Melrose Extension alone AFTER it had already been rejected by City Planning.) Wasn’t it Kern & Felien who closed soup kitchens and homeless shelters?! Didn’t they vote to strip the Mayor’s powers of office the day he was sworn in after defeating Kern 2 to 1?! DUMP KERN & FELIEN IN 2014.

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