Former City Manager To Step Into Oceanside Mayor Role
Peter Weiss Appointed
Former Oceanside City Manager Peter Weiss will move into the Oceanside mayor’s office on Monday and assume the duties of mayor for at least the next two and a half years.
Weiss is replacing Mayor Jim Wood, who suffered a stroke last year. When his speech did not recover sufficiently to run city council meetings. He stepped down, as of January 1. His term runs through 2020.
Weiss won three out of four votes on the city council to support his appointment. While all four city council members expressed interest in becoming mayor, none of them could get enough support to win the appointment. Deputy Mayor Chuck Lowery made the proposal to appoint Weiss, and councilmen Jerry Kern and Jack Feller supported the motion. Councilwoman Esther Sanchez was the lone "no" vote.
Weiss stepped down as city manager in 2013 and has been a consultant to the city since then, advising on new hotel developments downtown and the El Corazon property. He was one of two candidates that the retiring Jim Wood had suggested the city council appoint, to avoid the cost of a special election.
The other person Wood recommended, Oceanside City Clerk Zack Beck, wrote to the council withdrawing his name. Beck said most of the feedback he received from residents led him to believe they wanted an election, rather than an appointment.
However, Weiss said emails received by the city manager’s office suggested a majority of residents wanted an appointment in order to avoid the cost of an election. The city council did have the option to put the mayor’s seat on the June or November ballot this year at a cost of between $25,000 and $75,000. The cost of a special election, which would not be necessary this year, would be over $500,000.
A Fifth Vote to Move the City Forward
Weiss is a registered Republican, but has no history of elected office to reveal his position on issues. He said the city needs a fifth person on the council to move forward on significant matters that have been tied up by 2-2 votes. One of the issues to be resolved soon is whether to put a half cent sales tax on the ballot in November. Weiss indicated his vote would move that issue forward. He mentioned the need to improve the band shell by the Oceanside pier and beach facilities in order to attract higher-end businesses to the city.
Weiss said he has not had time to read the documents from the city’s ad hoc committee on medicinal marijuana. An ordinance that would regulate cultivation in agricultural areas of Oceanside, and allow some dispensaries, is due for a full council vote in the near future.
Weiss said Oceanside’s pension deficit is not as bad as in some cities, but he believes pensions are unsustainable, and need state legislation. He said he had not realized how lucrative they were until a few years ago, when he himself resigned as a city employee.
His pension may be a contributing factor to his decision to accept the position of mayor, which pays about $32,000 a year.
Weiss said he is not planning to run for elected office in 2020 but he is leaving his options open.
“If the election had been in the next few months, I would not have run." he said. "What happens in two and a half years, I don’t know. It is not my intention to run. I had no political aspirations before. We'll see what happens.”