The Coast News Group

Two lifelong Oceanside residents vie for city clerk position

OCEANSIDE — Two candidates are vying for the City Clerk position: the current incumbent who was previously appointed to the role, and a newcomer to civic service.

City Clerk Zeb Navarro was originally appointed to the role of City Clerk in early 2019 when the previous City Clerk Zack Beck left office for another City Clerk position in Escondido.

Navarro, a lifelong resident of the city’s East Side area, has decided to run for the seat to continue the work he has been doing since taking office.

“I feel that this is my calling,” Navarro said. “I enjoy helping the citizens and being their access point to their local government.”

Navarro also wants to continue ensuring that city government and the Clerk’s office, in particular, is transparent, “especially with the type of politics Oceanside has.”

“I have shown I can be impartial and I want to continue being that local government access point,” Navarro said.

One project Navarro has been working on while in office is making more city documents accessible online.

“Right now if you wanted an ordinance or resolution, you would have to file a public records request, but these are already public documents,” Navarro said. “It shouldn’t be where you have to file a public records request to get one, it should be readily available.”

Navarro wants to make these documents accessible on the city’s website, especially with more people stuck at home as the COVID-19 pandemic drags on. He noted the project will require working with the city attorney’s office and the IT department, but the pandemic and shutdown have slowed that process.

Navarro is also looking into moving City Council meetings onto Zoom to allow the public to actually participate in meetings rather than simply submitting their responses to council items and having the clerk read them.

“I can’t convey what the public wants to convey as far as emotion,” Navarro said.

He added that other cities like Carlsbad and National City conduct their council meetings on Zoom, and so does the Oceanside Unified School District School Board as well.

Outside of his work for the city, Navarro teaches media studies at Palomar College and is the advisor and station manager for the college’s radio station. He is currently working on a doctorate in education and a certification in being a certified municipal clerk.

Ultimately, Navarro enjoys being a servant to the community that “has given so much to me and that has invested in my growth.”

The other candidate for City Clerk this November is Laura Bassett, another lifelong resident of Oceanside who lives in her childhood home in Fire Mountain.

Bassett grew up civic-minded. She graduated El Camino High School in 1985 then attended the University of Southern California where she earned a degree in accounting. After working in that field for a short time, she jumped into marketing and sales in the Los Angeles area before moving back to Oceanside.

Bassett previously worked with the Burbank Chamber of Commerce and then the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce, like her mother Colleen O’Harra. Bassett also helped with her mother’s campaign for City Council in the 1990s.

Now, Bassett feels like she is following in her mother’s footsteps, and O’Harra is serving as treasurer for her daughter’s City Clerk campaign.

Bassett spent the last few decades raising her six children. During that time, she was active in various roles throughout the community including as a volunteer at the Star Theatre.

Now that most of her kids have moved out and her youngest is a senior in high school, Bassett said she is ready to jump into city politics — something she has wanted to do for quite some time.

Bassett considered running for City Council but noticed there were too many other vying for the seats, so she decided to start with City Clerk. She feels that the position is a “natural fit” for her as a highly organized person.

“I was very good friends with former City Clerk Barbara Wayne, and she had this amazing legacy with the city,” Bassett said. “For me, it’s just a matter of wanting to build on the good reputation of the office.”


Mandy Barre August 9, 2020 at 1:10 pm

Isn”t Bassett a Realtor? A pro-development lackey for sure.

eric s anderson August 5, 2020 at 3:47 pm

Just to make sure I got it right, one of the candidates is a zealot that ascribes Mosaic “life calling” attributes to a city clerk job, while the other candidate wants something else and is doing this as a foot-in-the-door until the council position opens up again. Navarro has ideas, but they cost money. No, we aren’t going to spend tens of thousands of dollars so you guys can meet remotely.

Todd Maddison August 7, 2020 at 10:49 pm

“Tens of thousands” for Zoom? Isn’t a subscription like $20/month?

Comments are closed.