The Coast News Group
Oceanside City Council chambers. Photo via Facebook

Oceanside updates Legislative Platform, priorities for city

OCEANSIDE — City Council approved updates to the city’s 2020 Legislative Platform at its Feb. 26 meeting.

The city’s legislative platform guides the city’s advocacy efforts on state and federal legislation. It also enables staff to pursue legislative proposals supporting the best of the city and its residents, and to oppose cuts to critical services.

Council is required to review and update its official legislative platform on an annual or as-needed basis, according to council policy.

Priority areas in the 2020 Legislative Platform include:

  • Seeking funding and tools to promote public safety, such as an increase in emergency preparedness and cyber-security defenses
  • Advocating for state and federal funding to provide more affordable housing
  • Supporting economic development opportunities
  • Supporting legislation for more funding of roads and other transportation infrastructure
  • Maximizing sustainability initiatives
  • Supporting legislation funding beach sand retention and replenishment while also opposing offshore oil drilling along the coast
  • Supporting or opposing legislation depending on how it impacts local control over revenues, land use, community development and other municipal policies.

Some residents wanted to see the legislative platform include more on climate change and action.

“The fact is that we’re rapidly approaching a climate crisis, but the proposed legislative platform does not reflect the urgency of action needed on climate issues,” said Roger Davenport, resident and co-chair of the Sierra Club’s Oceanside team. “Although a call for increased renewable energy production is included, we feel much more is needed.”

Davenport said Oceanside should be “actively pushing our state governments to prioritize and strongly support our local efforts to address these issues.” He noted the city needs funding to support transportation systems that avoid greenhouse gas production and reduce road expansion and vehicle miles traveled.

Davenport also called for more incentives to retrofit existing buildings to make them more efficient and reduce their carbon footprints. Any new buildings need to be built so that they do not depend on fossil fuels, he added, and coastal protection needs funding to effectively deal with sea-level rise.

Councilwoman Esther Sanchez said the city will likely need to update the legislative platform relatively soon given that the city is working on updating its General Plan as well. She encouraged staff and council to “do a better job next year” regarding the platform.

“I agree there are certain things that should have been included at least at this point and that includes the Climate Action Plan as a separate item,” Sanchez said.

Council approved the city’s first Climate Action Plan (CAP) last spring.

Mayor Peter Weiss also noted that he would support having an additional bullet-pointed included on the city’s CAP.

Sanchez also wanted to see the platform include prioritizing community policing and community-police relations.

Councilman Chris Rodriguez explained that the platform is not a “wish list.”

“This is not a wish list … this is purely just guidance so that (staff) knows what to look for and how to respond when it comes across their desk,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez added that he thinks the platform is a bit “winded” but appropriate regardless, and noted the platform touches on advocating for the city’s CAP.

“I think our city staff has done a wonderful job in advocating for our city’s needs,” said Councilman Ryan Keim.

Keim added that when city staff went to the Bureau of Reclamation in Washington, D.C., the Pure Water Oceanside project was highly praised.

“One of the quotes that stood out to me was, ‘Your city is actually getting things done,’” Keim said.

Pure Water Oceanside is a project that has recently broken ground in the city to help Oceanside achieve 50% water independence.