The Coast News Group
Community Commentary

On a highway to Bell

Another alarming, highly patronizing post-election insult has been delivered Oceanside by its city council. 

The latest blow smashed down on voters Dec. 12, 2012 in the City Council’s adoption of the Ordinance to Amend Chapter 2, Section 2.1.64(g) of the Oceanside City Code.

The ordinance provides for the modification of the appointment process for regional boards and commissions. The ordinance strips freshly re-elected Jim Wood of his mayoral power to appoint and remove representatives to local and regional committees and boards. But the casualty isn’t just Mayor Wood. The casualties are all Oceanside’s future mayors, Oceanside’s system of checks and balances and Oceanside’s current and future city majorities.

We should all become alarmed when a city charter becomes a mere contrivance to serve any bloc that seeks to subsume ordinary deliberations of government so that ill-intentioned concerns can quickly advance.

Whenever ordinance-mongering is used to pry city government loose of its democratic process of checks and balances, to contradict the will of the majority, true government falters and a town’s future goes “up for grabs.” The consignment of any city mayor to a ceremonial roll rings in a heritage of governmental power grabs by transitory bodies not responsible to the citywide majority. It’s a nightmare.

The putsch against Oceanside’s citywide majority was swift and professional.

In interviews stumping for a hasty “coup d’etat,” Ordinance Spokesmodel, Councilmember Gary Felien, vogued the Union Tribune and the North County Times with convenient re-definitions of majority rule.

As if nattering the equation for the number of times a lie can be repeated before it is accepted as truth, Felien expanded on the democracy-crushing myth that “one city council bloc a general majority makes.” It does not. If it did, cities should never have had need of mayoral representation.

Majority rule is molded like soft putty by empire-builder wannabes Gary Felien, Jerry Kern and Jack Feller. The council bloc bases its hare-brained claim to majority rule on the sleepy re-election of Jack Feller.

The bloc conflates the slim margin Feller gained over relatively unknown challenger and smart-growth proponent Dana Corso into a citywide approval of their ill-planned projects. The bloc’s absurd claim that “city body majority rule trumps citywide majority rule,” combined with their frank misrepresentation of the popularity of their projects belies a flagrant disregard for Oceanside’s voter intelligence and will.

The council bloc incapacitated Oceanside’s city majority in order to formally and swiftly deliver Oceanside into the greedy maw of Builders Industry Association-style hit-and-runaway development and an uncertain future.

No casual blunder, the ordinance lays bare Oceanside to the brand of rapacious plunder and political piracy afflicting California’s coastal cities and precious natural resources — a juggernaut that concretes-out our Golden State shoreline and backcountry to an oblivion of boondoggles and sprawl.

Kern, Feller and Felien’s ordinance consigns Oceanside to an un-captained future, exposing it to smash-and-grab opportunism from any quarter so inclined. This type of artful misuse of government isn’t just Oceanside’s problem. It’s all California’s concern.

Oceanside has already let its City Council know it is against becoming Orange County’s back-door-another boring urban-blight island locked inside a snake-ball of interchanges to be looked down on by streams of motorists headed somewhere else.

Oceanside did this by re-electing Mayor Wood to remain Oceanside’s representative to SANDAG.

In that, Oceanside has made it known it does not want to drink the BIA Kool-Aid of plonked-down, traffic-snarled, high-density housing, “world-class shopping centers and sports-facilities.”

Rather, we want Oceanside to prevail as the last haven for legions of weary pilgrims seeking the unsullied California — one where our coastland majesty wends back through our agricultural heritage. That is our true value.

Oceanside is California’s last stand. And we stand against any council bloc that would wrest our town away from us.

Mr. Kern, Mr. Feller and Mr. Felien seek to hobble our city with the craft of unconscionable enterprise — to obstruct ordinary deliberative process.

Theirs is the road to a heritage of government shorn of majority will, a mockery of democracy.

We have seen the breakdown of other cities where blocs have so interfered. Kern, Feller and Felien want to put Oceanside on the same fast track to nowhere.

It is a Highway to Bell.

Windy Bravo is an Oceanside resident.



Robert Markley December 22, 2012 at 8:36 pm

BRAVO for Windy Bravo. She artfully described the pain visited on us by the current City Council majority. Lost on Felien-Feller-kern is the fact that newcomer Dana Corso came from nowhere to within a few hundred votes of unseating the councilman-forever Jack Feller. They can (or at least should) expect a much tougher battle in two years when the pariahs Kern and Felien try to fool the voters again. It ain’t happening, boys. We are on to your shenanigans, and you will BOTH be on the outside looking in.

L. Walshaw December 22, 2012 at 10:59 am

Ms. Bravo is right. Mayor Wood was overwhelmingly re-elected by the VOTERS of Oceanside, yet the day he was sworn in for another term of office, Messrs. Kern (who LOST the election), Feller and Felien used their 3-man bloc of votes to strip the Mayor of his powers of office and transfer those powers to themselves. This violates democratic process if a losing candidate can simply vote away the winning opponents powers of office. The Oceanside Charter (written by a Building Industry lobbyist) gives 3 men the power to overrule the will of the People and should be abolished.

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