One of the first questions Carlsbad focused on when it committed to switching to by-district elections, was “How many?”

The two options under consideration at the city’s public hearing last week were whether to create five districts and rotate the mayor among them, or continue to elect the mayor at-large.

Vista and Oceanside seemed to decide pretty swiftly to create four council districts each and elect the mayor citywide, but Carlsbad’s first public hearing on ideas for the map focused on whether the city can, and should, rotate the mayor’s position.

At least some residents supported a rotating mayor. The consulting demographer, Doug Johnson, said he received eight five-district maps from residents, though the Council ultimately chose to elect the mayor at-large.

Its reasoning was that even with the relatively recent passage of the California Voting Rights Act, an initiative passed by Carlsbad voters in the 1960s that called for a citywide vote to elect the mayor is still binding.

Johnson said residents have submitted nine more maps, which contain four districts. The city will unveil those maps, along with a few provided by the demographer, on Thursday, ahead of the first of two public hearings to discuss the districts on June 29.

Meanwhile, Poway has also got the districting fever and plans to leave its mayor elected at-large, and the Carlsbad and Oceanside unified school districts are also shifting to by-district elections for school board members.

Three Longtime Officials in Race for County Supervisor District 5

Three North County electeds are vying for the District 5 County Supervisor seat to replace Bill Horn, the Union-Tribune’s Joshua Stewart writes this week.

San Marcos Mayor Jim Desmond and Oceanside City Councilman Jerry Kern, both Republicans, have been campaigning for months now. Oceanside City Councilwoman Esther Sanchez, a Democrat, announced her bid in May.

The primary election is about a year away, but the two candidates with the most votes in the primary will advance to the general election in November 2018.

Though Republicans have an advantage with the number of registered voters, Sanchez might have an advantage in the primary as Desmond and Kern fight over conservative voters.

It’s likely that land use will be the main issue in the race, as it was in 2014 and in last year’s race in District 3. Developers Accretive Investments and Newland Sierra backed Horn in 2014, and both of their projects are still on the table.

In 2014, Horn narrowly won re-election against Oceanside Mayor Jim Wood, who many consider a “Republican in name only” and who was backed by labor groups and at least one Democrat.

Issa Urges HUD to Drop Support for ‘Housing First’

Rep. Darrell Issa penned a letter to Ben Carson, secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, urging him to drop requirements for organizations providing homeless services to use the “housing first” model.

The letter was signed by 22 other members of Congress, and said that the department’s policy, which affects groups that receive federal funding, takes away services for families, in order to fund programs that serve chronically homeless adults.

Though transitional programs that put requirements on clients before they can get housing do work for some populations, Issa’s letter doesn’t quite square with the success other cities have had with homelessness by implementing housing-first policies.

The premise of “housing first” is that homeless clients are best served by being housed immediately, and then working on the problems that contribute to their situation, like drug or alcohol addiction. Transitional housing, which the federal government is encouraging groups to move away from, often places clients in temporary housing as they access services like drug treatment or mental health counseling.

Providers are supposed to work within a coordinated system in the county, where clients can go to any provider, have their situation documented and entered into a system that will match them with a provider.

Despite the data, some providers still see values, like sobriety and work ethic, as central to the success of their programs.

One of those is Solutions for Change, a major provider in Issa’s district, which has turned down federal grants because it requires its clients to be sober. Solutions for Change wants to keep control over which clients it takes in.

The group’s website lists Issa as part of its community leadership team, along with several other North County elected officials. Issa doesn’t mention Solutions for Change by name in his letter.

Also in the News

North County Transit District has entered into agreements with Escondido and Oceanside to have police officers patrol transit centers. (Union-Tribune)

Confidential negotiations are under way between Southern California Edison and the group Citizen’s Oversight to move the waste at San Onofre. (Union-Tribune)

San Marcos has the most Mello-Roos tax districts, and the districts that pay the greatest and least amounts of taxes are in Carlsbad. (inewsource, KPBS)

Oceanside farmers are urging the city to allow marijuana operations. (Union-Tribune)

Polls conducted by the Democratic Party show they have a 9-point lead in the 49th Congressional District, currently held by Issa. (Politico)

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

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