Nearing the day when he would be removed from office for being absent for two months, Oceanside Mayor Jim Wood pulled a maneuver typical of the city’s strange political world.

Wood asked Council members to grant him another 60-day leave of absence, and threatened that if they didn’t, he was prepared to return to the dais to reset the clock on his unexcused absence, speech and mobility issues be damned. The Council will take up the decision on Wednesday.

“As a public servant that has served his community for over 46 years, my first inclination was to return to the Council for today’s 5 pm Council meeting,” Wood wrote in a letter to the Council. “I will if required to do so.”

Wood suffered his latest stroke in May, and was already granted a 60-day leave of absence by the Council, which expired in August, triggering a state-mandated 60-day period for him to return to a regularly scheduled public meeting, or be removed from office.

Wood said his speech and balance have been affected by the stroke, but that he was re-elected to serve until 2020, and is prepared to do so against advice from his doctors and family.

Every Council member has expressed interest in becoming mayor, so it’s unlikely they’ll come to a quick agreement about Wood’s request.

If they deny Wood, and he doesn’t run the full meeting, the Council can opt to appoint someone to fill his seat, or hold an election.

Two Council members – Councilwoman Esther Sanchez and Councilman Jerry Kern – are currently running for District 5 county supervisor, and the title of “mayor” in front of their name could help in the election. Sanchez, however, would be unlikely to get any support if she were to seek the mayor’s chair. Sanchez has often been at odds with the other members of the Council – they voted twice this year on changes to Council’s rules that seemed to be aimed at her.

An appointment to fill Wood’s seat would have to involve some cross-party agreement between Deputy Mayor Chuck Lowery, Kern and Councilman Jack Feller, but Lowery said that so far, he favors granting Wood’s request.

“I hope the council will join me and support giving Mayor Jim Wood the 30-days his doctor says he needs,” Lowery wrote on Facebook.

Wood’s absence has already meant some major votes have resulted in deadlocks, like funding for a new aquatics center, and the Reader reports that City Clerk Zack Beck says city staff aren’t even bringing some items forward knowing that’s the case.

Encinitas Councilwoman Announces Assembly Bid

Tasha Boerner Horvath, a freshman councilwoman from Encinitas, announced she’s making a bid for the 76th Assembly District, stretching from Encinitas to Camp Pendleton.

Boerner Horvath was just elected in November 2016, but intends to be the first Democrat to face incumbent Assemblyman Rocky Chavez in years. She’s already racked up a list of Democratic endorsements. Chavez, for his part, has enjoyed widespread support, having won past elections by wide margins over fellow Republican challengers.

When asked by The Coast News how she intends to win over veterans, who comprise a large voting bloc and are largely aligned with Chavez, Boerner Horvath said there are other issues just as deserving of attention.

“Veterans are very important and we need to do more for those people who risk their lives in defense of our freedoms,” she told The Coast News. “And our district has more than just veterans’ issues going on. We have a very pro-environment district … and (he) hasn’t come out and says he supports community choice aggregation, and that is what the people in his district want and are doing and he’s not supporting us.”

With a $10 Million Award, Vista Expands Personal Learning Program

Four years ago, Vista Unified School District interviewed students about their experience at school, and found many felt what they learned was “irrelevant.” That began a push toward personalized learning, a model that brings students and teachers together to design an engaging curriculum.

Two years ago, the program launched at Vista High to a group of 160 juniors. Now, thanks to a $10 million grant from the XQ Super Schools Project, the district will expand the program throughout the school, starting with 660 freshmen this term.

“What we mean by personalized learning is that it’s a way to bring the students to the table so that they work in collaboration with the teacher to help design what their learning experience can be like,” said Craig Gastauer, a former science teacher at Vista High told Voice’s Maya Srikrishnan.

The school is easing its freshmen into the saddle, and will give them increasing control over their curriculum.

It’s on the teachers to change how they deliver lessons, meet state requirements and keep it engaging.

For a math class, that meant taking concepts from the classroom, like producing scale drawings, and applying it in shop class to make blueprints.

The new model does come with its own challenges though, like scheduling all those classes for students.

Also in the News

 The Marine Corps says its water is clean now, after state and federal officials found decaying animal carcasses in reservoirs, a treatment plant that was closed sporadically and neglected maintenance. (Union-Tribune)

 Carlsbad bans commercial marijuana operations, while other North County cities grapple with writing new rules to allow them. (KPBS)

 Escondido’s Lawrence Welk Resort Theatre is closing for renovations, and hopes to attract a younger audience. (Union-Tribune)

 Carlsbad is looking to build a new city hall. (The Coast News)

 Decades-old plans to remake the streetscape in downtown Del Mar are coming closer to fruition. (The Coast News)

 Once at odds over water rights to the San Luis Rey River, representatives from local tribes and the cities of Vista and Escondido celebrated their new agreement to share the water, ending a 50-year legal battle. (Valley Roadrunner)

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

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