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Oceanside Mayor Jim Wood Resigns

Promise Yee
Oceanside Mayor Jim Wood gives a thumbs up before the city council meeting, where he was granted an extension to his medical leave. His council aide, Debbie Walker-Mikulay, is at his side, Oct. 4, 2017.
Oceanside Mayor Jim Wood Resigns
Oceanside Mayor Jim Wood Resigns GUEST:Alison St John, North County reporter, KPBS News

Our top story midday edition after a long difficult recovery from a stroke he suffered last spring, Oceanside Mayor Jim Wood has decided to resign. He tendered his resignation Wednesday effective January 1 in now the city Council of North County's largest city has to agree to appoint a new mayor or put the question to the voters. Joining me is Alison St John. Mayor Jim would return to office last week after a long recovery. How serious was the stroke? >> This was the most serious stroke he has suffered. He's had a couple before this but they only knocked them out for a few weeks. This one he's been a wheelchair and been to a couple meetings but it's very difficult for him to talk and express himself. I think that his appearance at the meetings convinced them this is not going to work. >> You believe that his physical impairments are the reason he is resigning? >> Yes, definitely. His physical and possibly mental impairments. It's not clear how his mind has been affected in the sense that the city attorney says he's been keeping up with legal basis so it's possible that internally he is still thinking fairly clearly but not physically able to take the role of Mayor and hold the gavel and vote. >> What the state law say about how long elected official can be gone before they are replaced? >> They say that you can't be gone for more than 60 days without permission. In this case because he's a very popular mayor, the city Council gave him two sixty-day leave of absence plus an extra 30 days, which comes to an end this week. He decided to resign. >> Tell us about how the city Council operates at Oceanside. Does the mayor have a vote on the Council? >> Yes Mac that is what makes them significant. Is not a strong mayor. The mayor is not that much of a mover but he is very key because on a five Council vote, many issues that fifth vote is key to getting a lot of more issues past. >> What does his resignation mean to the balance of power in Oceanside? >> It is not easy to assess and not traditionally along party lines. Many issues don't split down party lines. It's frequent that there are two votes. The city Council is known to be more contentious in North County. Carlsbad was unanimous all Republicans until quite recently. Oceanside has always been very fragmented. You often need that third vote in order to get anything passed. This could make a difference in terms of North County because many of the cities are dominated by Republicans. Mayor Jim Ward is a Republican and some people would say he is a Republican in name only. He was very committed to the police department so police and fire were behind him. He had a lot of support from the senior population who lived in the mobile home parks where he got his start. It could be that Oceanside starts to evolve into being slightly less conservative after this. We shall see. >> He suggested two men as is possible successors. Can you tell us about them. >> Beck is the city clerk. He is young and he is only just 30 but he's been doing an excellent job as the city clerk. He is very popular and concerned about maintaining transparency. He's already built up a very good position. Peter has an excellent reputation. He worked for the city for 27 years and only resigned as the city manager in 2013 when he resigned he got a standing ovation and everybody was horrifying that he was leaving. I spoke to both of them and they both send, well, if this is what the city wants, we are willing to step forward. It was interesting that Zack Beck said if this is what the citizens want , I'm able to step up. It remains to be seen how this works itself out. >> What are the city councils options how does the replacement process work? Pet -- >> They could appoint someone to fill the post for the remaining three years. The city council members all four would like to be mayor themselves. This is not something that would be easily resolved. It's hard to tell whether they would even agree on appointing someone. They need to decide before early February if they are going to put this on the ballot to let the voters decide or appoint someone. It is unclear whether this is coming up at the next meeting, but they've got a few weeks before the deadline to decide can we appoint someone and agree to appoint someone or will we put it on the June ballot? >> So we leave this with something to think about, what are some of the big issues coming up before the Council that has not been able to agree on? >> There is a marijuana issue. All the cities have voted to stick with banning marijuana on all levels rather than trying to regulate it. Oceanside does have a committee on marijuana that has been working very hard and many people would like to see marijuana cultivation. That boat is coming up next week and unclear whether it will be another split or what's going to happen. There's other issues like a huge project of a swimming pool which is also a split. It cannot get ahead because it cannot get full approval. >> I've been speaking with Alison St John. Thank you. >> Thank you.

One week after returning to the City Council dais after recovering from a stroke, Oceanside Mayor Jim Wood resigned, effective Jan. 1, the city announced Wednesday.

Wood, 69, submitted his resignation in a letter to City Clerk Zack Beck.

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He suffered his stroke in the spring and announced in May that he would take a leave of absence. Deputy Mayor Chuck Lowery filled in during while he recovered.

RELATED: Oceanside Council Extends Mayor Wood’s Medical Leave

Wood was mayor for more than 13 years, following three decades of service in the city's police department.

"It has been such an honor to serve the city that I have lived in for over 65 years; as a police office, a councilmember and mayor," Wood wrote. "I will truly miss the daily interaction with both staff and the community. My sincere hope was to continue my current term of office; however, I now need to focus on my health full-time."

The city faces several contentious issues that will not be resolved without a fifth vote on the city council: for example, next week they will vote on whether to allow marijuana cultivation within the city

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The mayor is parting with a recommendation: he respectfully requests his colleagues to appoint either the city clerk, Zack Beck, or the former city manager, Peter Weiss, to fill the remainder of his three year term.

Both Beck and Weiss say they would be willing to accept the position if appointed.

The City Council has until February 7th to appoint a successor or call a special election in June.

Wood was reelected last year with 63 percent of the vote.

Oceanside Mayor Jim Wood Resigns
One week after returning to the City Council dais after recovering from a stroke, Oceanside Mayor Jim Wood resigned, effective Jan. 1, the city announced Wednesday.