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Oceanside Roulette: The next worst thing

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Coast News
June 3, 2005


Oceanside has been known for its gang troubles for more than two decades. Not a day goes by that a news story doesn't run reporting the open warfare between roving bands socially and ethically challenged individuals who seek to control their community by any means possible. And no, I am not referring to street gangs of East O'side. The gangsters of whom I speak have been fighting a turf war over city hall as long as I can remember.

As Oceanside voters go to the polls next week they really have no choice. What ever the outcome, the fighting will only intensify because voters are being asked to take sides in a turf war that is older than the pier and harbor. Of the 11 candidates, frontrunners Terry Johnson and Shari Mackin both represent politics as usual and have done little to distinguish himself or herself as someone who could introduce sincere civility to Oceanside City Hall.

Sadly Mackin decided her community activism fighting off Doug Manchester and his monstrous boondoggle, was not reason enough to vote for her so she has entered an unholy alliance with Melba Bishop and Mayor Jim Wood.

Bishop, a former Oceanside Councilperson, was not only the subject of a bitter recall; she was also found guilty of fraud and violating public policy as an elected official. Mayor Wood, familiar with both sides of the law, was mentioned in a sexual harassment lawsuit brought against his superiors at the Oceanside Police Department. Bishop and Woods are asking you to vote for Shari Mackin. Why?

Perhaps it has something to do with union politics and perpetual wage and benefit increases.

As for Terry Johnson, let's just say he comes with enough baggage to open a Samsonite outlet. No stranger to controversy and political in fighting, ex Councilman/Mayor Johnson is far from perfect and hardly ideal. Neither conservative nor liberal, Terry Johnson is a classic middle of the road centrist, who follows the money and governs accordingly. Starting his political journey as a democrat, only to become a Republican under the tutelage of political mercenary Jack Orr.Johnson also caused an uproar when he played the race card by pointing out racism in the OPD.

Opponents for the persecution of Terry Johnson, claim Johnson is pro-business, as if that were a bad thing. The last time I checked, advocating for a healthy business environment and commercial success was a good thing.

Tell me how is being in the pockets of the chamber of commerce any different from being in the pocket of service employee unions, OPA and San Diego Imperial Labor Council whose only purpose is to get as much as they can for union employees, municipalities be damned? If I am not mistaken, the current economic crisis in San Diego is the work of union politics, not an over aggressive chamber of commerce.

If Mackin is elected to fill the seat abandoned by Jim Wood is his quest for control, taxpayers will be negatively impacted when it comes time to negotiate with union representatives. Before Jim Wood served as Mayor of Oceanside, he served as President for Oceanside police union.

Personally I believe Shari Mackin, free of the negative influences of Jim Wood and Melba Bishop, would do well by the people of Oceanside. Unfortunately the successful citizen activism of Mackin and her supporters has been co-opted by individuals who wouldn't recognize Aristotelian ethics if it were a 30 ft wave heading for the beach.

Smart money says if elected, union activists and their political cronies, will use the well-meaning Mackin as a political pawn.

My advice for people thinking of opening a business in Oceanside is, don't. My advice to people thinking of moving to Oceanside is, don't. My advice to people who think Oceanside will avoid an economic crisis similar to the one currently rocking the City of San Diego, don't kid yourself.

The election on June 7th is just another turf skirmish in the gang warfare of Oceanside politics.

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