By Oceanside True Friends PAC
Is it possible for an unincorporated area to have a political “machine”? If Oceanside doesn’t have one, it’s not for lack of trying.
On October 30, 2021, the Oceanside Neighborhood Association president announced that a “task force” had been assembled to investigate “incorporation.” The same email announced that the findings of the “task force” would be rolled out in a series of emails (their work wasn’t finished) and a vote by the ONA membership was scheduled for December 2 on whether to “endorse” incorporation.
Many community members were dismayed to learn that this was no Trick or Treat prank, but an effort to fast-track a new form of government for a small community.
The ONA president was not deterred by
- the fact that the ONA’s bylaws do not empower the president to assemble a “task force.” Committees other than the standing committees can be formed, but only if the president requests it and the membership votes affirmatively knowing the composition, time frame, and tasks.
- the fact that the ONA took much more time to openly investigate topics of much less importance (for example, an examination of “exterior lighting standards” took over a year).
- the fact that no alternatives analysis was conducted. The alternatives were only the status quo or incorporation.
- the fact that no true listening sessions were held around the various areas of Oceanside to see if the perceived problems were actually taking place in all areas, or if they were concentrated in a particular area.
- the task force came up with a budget although no one on the task force had very much, if any, budget or finance experience.
As the ONA was rolling out the installments of its illegal task force, it was raising an alarm about a pre-proposal for a hotel on the site of the Oceanside Cabins and using that as an example of what was to come.
Reasons for the rushed vote were various: the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) would need to know the ONA’s position; incorporation must be on the May election ballot or the city would have no or little revenue with which to operate for over a year; some ONA members had their “hair on fire” about the pre-proposed hotel and were clamoring for “action.”
The only downside identified by the “task force” was that Oceanside’s population might be too small to have interested citizens fill the positions needed (city council and volunteer committees). The rushed vote was begrudgingly moved to December 11 and it passed. The petition process for incorporation was begun three days later, with the ONA president listed as one of the two “chief petitioners.”
So much for an honest and transparent process.
After the first petition failed, the petitioners tried again, now with an additional person listed as a “chief petitioner.”
At the same time, the ONA was holding its annual elections. The 2021-22 ONA president was now running for vice-president, and the new “chief petitioner” was running for ONA president. Only one person outside the ONA/petitioner clique ran for an office (there were four offices to be filled), demonstrating that the one and only drawback identified by the “task force” was indeed real: Oceanside has too few people to fill needed positions.
The second petition was approved and a “yes/no” vote will be on the November ballot along with elections for five city council seats if the voters approve incorporation.
By now you might expect that the ONA did not let the community know anything about city council elections until after the deadline for filing. You’re right. The ONA has been silent on topics other than a re-hash of the “task force” report topics or things the petitioners want to emphasize.
When challenged on the budget, the petitioners fall back on the position that their budget was merely hypothetical and it’s the responsibility of the new city council to determine the budget. They don’t give that same deference on other issues, however.
We have an indication how this new city will be run if a city is formed and the wannabe machine gets hold of the levers of power: obfuscation, no meaningful community involvement or input, retrospective rationalizations when called out.
Luckily, three candidates are running for council that are urging a “no” vote, but are committed to fiscal responsibility and full representation of all Oceansiders if a city is formed: Bruce Jaeger, Cynthia Miller, and Craig Wakefield.
Stop the wannabe machine. Vote No. Vote for Jaeger, Miller, and Wakefield.
For more go to https://www.noincorp.com/