Oceanside is going on a "Road Diet"
Oceanside is the latest city to make more room for more bikes and pedestrians by proposing the removal of two car lanes on Coast Highway between Harbor Drive to Oceanside Boulevard. Six intersections will be converted into roundabouts, and there will also be improvements to lighting and landscaping as Oceanside looks to build more housing around public transit stations.
Everyone loves the idea, and the moment it was approved last week a parade of cheering orphans burst into the City Council chambers to hoist officials on their shoulders, shouting “more, more, more!”
Just kidding. But the proposal didn’t receive the same level of vitriol it might have in other communities.
The plan was approved 4-1, with the city’s lone Democrat, Esther Sanchez, voting no. She argued that the city isn’t ready for the change and should instead focus its resources on building more parking and helping the homeless. Several residents echoed her opposition and said the city’s new “road diet” would only make traffic worse in other neighborhoods.
At the same time, supporters of the plan argued that it was necessary to make roads safer by forcing cars to slow down. The lane reductions are intended to “dramatically alter life on the historic roadway,” the Union-Tribune reports, “in an effort to get people to stop and shop or stay and play along Coast Highway.”
Councilman Chris Rodriguez said it would help turn Oceanside into a tourist destination rather than a “pass-through city.”
Elsewhere in Oceanside: The developer of a “farm-themed” residential community in South Morro Hills has unveiled yet another proposal, the U-T reports. Previous drafts drew opposition from the city planning commission. The latest proposal includes fewer homes and more open space, and could go before the City Council as soon as this fall.
Dems Want to Stay Neutral in D3 Primary
Democratic leaders in North County met last weekend to consider an early endorsement in the District 3 Board of Supervisors’ race — and concluded that both Olga Diaz and Terra Lawson-Remer are qualified candidates.
Diaz received a majority of the vote in multiple rounds, but fell several votes shy of the 60 percent threshold needed to secure an early endorsement. The party’s central committee will take up the issue next month. Party members tell me it’s possible but unlikely the central committee will overrule its own activist groups in North County and elevate one above the other.
The seat is currently held by Republican Kristin Gaspar, and it’s among the most important local contests in 2020. Conservatives outnumber liberals 4-1 on the board, but the South Bay seat is likely to go blue. So if Democrats can also flip District 3 in North County, they’ll suddenly be in control of the county government.
Lawson-Remer, an academic and former White House official under Obama, has the most cash on hand at the moment. The Coast News also analyzed the latest fundraising numbers and found that much of the money came from outside the district and outside the state. Real estate developers were among the most prevalent donors.
Stuff We're Working On
School districts and unions tend to point the finger at one another when teachers behave inappropriately but hold on to their jobs. Kayla Jimenez highlights one such case out of Poway Unified School District, where two coaches sent inappropriate texts to students.
Until recently, federal and state elections in North County were considered safe for Republicans. With state Sen. Pat Bates termed out in 2022, Andrew Keatts writes, Democrats are hoping to expand their control over the area.
I went to a San Diego Hate Crimes Coalition forum in San Marcos and heard District Attorney Summer Stephan drop a few interesting stats. There were fewer reports of hate crimes across California in 2018, she said, but the number of suspected crimes committed against Latinos had gone up.
In Other News
- Carnegie-Knight News21, a national reporting initiative based at the Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, featured North County in a piece and documentary series about development in wildfire zones.
- The president of Palomar College spent public funds on gifts — including cakes and floral arrangements — for elected officials who oversee the district and evaluate her performance. (San Diego Bulldog)
- Meanwhile, Bonsall’s superintendent turned down a $10,000 raise, citing the district’s budget. Escondido is considering yet another bond measure and San Marcos is considering a new special tax district. (Union-Tribune)
- A nonprofit alleges in a new lawsuit that Carlsbad has too few parks and open space. (Union-Tribune)
- As sea levels rise, the California Coastal Commission has strongly suggested that Del Mar reconsider its opposition to “managed retreat,” which means moving away from the shore. The state commission is also frowning at a proposal to keep commuter railroad tracks along the Del Mar bluffs but in a slightly different spot, citing erosion concerns and beach access. (Union-Tribune)
- A proposed townhome development in Oceanside has agreed to conduct “a ground penetrating radar survey” of the future construction site to assuage the concerns of what appears to be one person. The land in question has never been part of a cemetery but is adjacent to one. (NBC 7)
- Escondido’s planning commission nixed a plan to double the size of an elderly care facility because, in the words of one official, it would harm the “character of the neighborhood.” (The Coast News)
Correction: Carlsbad’s economic development staff concluded that recruiting and retaining workers was difficult because of the commute, not the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce as originally reported.