Oceanside Council Member Addresses Recall Attempt
A grassroots organization called Let Oceanside Vote is collecting signatures to recall Kori Jensen, the appointed City Council member for District 1 in Oceanside.
Jensen was appointed to the vacant seat after Esther Sanchez became mayor of Oceanside.
No special election was held and Jensen was selected by three of the four council members for a term lasting until November 2022.
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Let Oceanside Vote team leader Cindy Davenport told KPBS, “Twenty-two thousand voters should have their voice instead of just three council members making a choice for us as to who will represent us in District 1.”
Davenport and volunteers have been going into the District 1 community informing voters of the recall and collecting signatures for an election.
Davenport said the organization's efforts are a “public service” because many residents are unaware that Jensen was appointed or what district they are a part of.
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She said the event that “galvanized” the organization's actions was Jensen's vote to close the Brooks Street Pool, a neighborhood pool in her district, in order to fund a newer pool in another part of the city.
It was Jensen’s first council meeting vote.
“At her first council meeting, the first vote she took was closing the Brooks street pool. Our jaws dropped. That immediately told us that this person is not representing us and we need to vote,” said Davenport.
Jensen said the Brooks Street Pool vote was a misunderstanding while the city was trying to find ways to pay for its pools.
“If that helped us with the shortfall regarding the pools, then I thought well that's probably an option to do seasonal hours like Marshall Street Pool,” said Jensen.
In a later vote, Jensen reversed her position and voted to keep the pool open.
But that incident, and tax records showing she had a Carlsbad address, led to scrutiny and an investigation by the District Attorney. Jensen was cleared of any wrongdoing, and said the Carlsbad address is a rental property she owns.
Jensen said her family has deep roots in Oceanside.
“My mother’s parents came from Mexico, in the 1940s they came to Oceanside. My grandfather started the first linen supply business here in Oceanside to service Camp Pendleton. Both my mom and dad went to Oceanside High School together, class of 1957,” she said. “Oceanside is where my heart is, it's where my family is and this is where I live and have always lived. This is my home. I'm happy to have the opportunity to work for the people of District 1.”
But recall organizers said Jensen has not provided tangible proof that she is an Oceanside resident.
“She did live in Carlsbad quite recently," Davenport said. "It just shows she’s not in our community and doesn’t know us and therefore, isn’t representing us. She has no service record in the community.”
Jensen said she understands residents wanting their voice heard and rallying for an election.
“I just hope they’ll give me a chance to do some good and then we’ll go from there, because we will have an election. And if I do a good job and I run for election, hopefully, I’ll get my position back. But it's going to be up to the voters at that point,” she said.
One of Jensen’s accomplishments since she took the District 1 seat is getting shade sails to Alex Road Skatepark. She said a new bathroom is also in the works for the skate park.
Affordable housing is also on her agenda. “I think every economic level needs to have an opportunity at home ownership. We need to make that happen and I know we can. I want the children of Oceanside to be able to raise their children in Oceanside,” she said.
Let Oceanside Vote has until September 10 to collect 4,484 signatures, representing 20% of District 1 voters. Then the Registrar of Voters will have 30 days to verify those signatures before the recall can proceed.