Oceanside Councilman Jerry Kern can cross one name off his list of endorsements in his bid for the 76th Assembly District – Assemblyman Rocky Chavez, who announced on Monday that he will seek re-election to his seat after all.

Chavez was running for U.S. Senate, but during a debate hosted by KOGO on Feb. 8, he halted his campaign, and simply walked out of the studio.

The Sacramento Bee reports that Chavez only took in $105,000 for his Senate effort, but ended with $369 in cash and $43,000 in debt. Chavez himself estimated that he spent $40,000 of his own money.

No word yet from Kern, or the (now) third Republican in the race, Phil Graham. In addition to Chavez’s endorsement, Kern has the support of many Republican North County electeds. Graham boasts fewer, but bigger names in the party, like San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, Reps. Kevin McCarthy and Darrell Issa, and both the current and former Rep. Duncan Hunter.

Encinitas Still Trying to Embrace Its Rural Side …

Members of the Encinitas Planning Commission said they are struggling through an update to the city’s urban agriculture rules, which, as we reported last year, would make it easier for residents to grow and sell crops, and hold agricultural events.

The commission has been reviewing the ordinance piece by piece, and they say they are less than halfway through the document. While the commission didn’t vote on expediting the process, most seemed to support re-reading the full draft, and seeing if they can make a recommendation to the City Council.

“I do feel it’s a little taxing – it’s a little exhausting to do it the way we’re doing it,” Commissioner Ruben Flores said.

Having considered the ordinance since last year, in addition to their other work, one commissioner was confused about the content of the current draft, and spoke against measures that had already been removed in November. He suggested the commission wait until other pressing planning issues have been decided, and take up the agriculture rules in six months.

No date has been set for further consideration of the ordinance.

… and Its Urban Side

Encinitas is also struggling to address the need for low-income housing.

One creative solution the city tried in order to boost its affordable housing stock: a program that let homeowners with so-called “granny flats” or accessory units on their property rent them out at a reduced rate, in order to dodge fees for operating the units illegally. The program didn’t do enough to entice residents, though, and only six — six! — people ended up signing up.

Maya Srikrishnan has more on the depth of Encinitas’ housing woes, why people didn’t jump at the chance to go from illegal to legal landlords and what the city is now trying to do to salvage the program.

Another North County Project Goes to the Ballot

Accretive Investments, the developer of the 1,700-home Lilac Hills Ranch project in Valley Center, is turning to the ballot to get voter approval for the project.

The move seems to be an attempt to get around two hurdles, VOSD’s Maya Srikrishnan writes: a California Supreme Court ruling on a case in Los Angeles that could requires projects to change the way they calculate their greenhouse gas emissions, and the loss of Supervisor Bill Horn’s vote for the project. Horn was twice told by the Fair Political Practices Commission that he should abstain from the vote, because his property value stands to benefit from the Lilac Hills development.

The move toward a ballot initiative is similar to that taken by Rick Caruso, the L.A. developer who is trying to build a mall on the shores of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon in Carlsbad. That project is set to be decided on in a special election on Feb. 23, but still faces Coastal Commission approval.

Also in the News

• WPA-era paintings in Oceanside will get new life. (Union-Tribune)

 The local chapter of the civil rights group National Action Network will rally at the Poway Unified headquarters today, saying the district discriminated against a parent who was barred from volunteering. The district says the parent was threatening to school employees. (Times of San Diego)

 Oceanside’s public golf course re-opened after a $2.6 million facelift. The golf course won out over a plan to develop the park into a private soccer academy, backed by a Major League Soccer team. (Union-Tribune)

 Vista-based Solutions for Change, a nonprofit that operates an aquaponics farm, is tripling the size of its operation, to 21,000 square feet. The group provides housing and jobs to homeless families, and is trying to develop a new residence in Oceanside. (Union-Tribune)

 Opponents of Escondido Mayor Sam Abed in the race for District 3 county supervisor dispute his fundraising claims, saying that much of his campaign’s money comes from Abed himself. (Coast News)

Ruarri Serpa

Ruarri Serpa is a freelance writer in Oceanside. Email him at ruarris@gmail.com and find him on Twitter at @RuarriS.

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