OCEANSIDE, Calif. -- The City of Oceanside appointed a new mayor Wednesday night.
The City Council appointed former city manager Peter Weiss to be mayor.
When the announcement was made, those in the room gasped in surprise. Weis was not present at the meeting for the announcement.
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Many who attended the city council meeting spoke in favor of holding an election in June or November. Others said they supported for Deputy Mayor Chuck Lowery to be appointed the mayor since he was already taking on the responsibilities.
The council took turns on council motions to appoint any of the interested members as mayor, but none could win a majority of the council’s vote.
The council then started discussing a deadline for accepting mayoral applications and scheduling presentations, when all of a sudden Lowery made a motion to make Weiss mayor. The motion passed 3 to 1.
“The audience gasped, they were in disbelief that the decision happened so quickly,” Victor Roy said, describing the moments in the council chambers after the motion passed. Roy spoke earlier urging the council to hold an election for a new mayor.
“It bothers me more that he never ran for any elected position before and we have no idea what he thinks about anything,” Lisa Hamilton said. “The people of Oceanside don’t get a chance to say anything about it is something that I really don’t like."
“Three individuals just put the new leader of our town by a three-person vote. You just disenfranchised a lot of voters,” Amanda Mascia said. “I find that a disgrace to Oceanside voters.”
Lowery said he heard the gasps in the rooms and attributed it to people being shocked the council moved so quickly to fill the mayor seat. In the end, he understands his motion was made out of the blue but says it wasn’t staged or planned.
Lowery said it was about the city’s need for leadership; a November election would be too long to wait.
“That would leave us nearly two years without a fifth person on the city council. When we get to significant decisions, the council splits on them right away,” Lowery said.
Lowery also said that former Mayor Wood recommended Weiss along with the city clerk. The clerk wasn’t interested. Lowery said Weiss is very familiar with Oceanside because of his time as city manager and his current consulting role; Weiss could hit the ground running.
10News caught up with Weiss after the meeting. Weiss says he expressed his interest in the position yesterday when he sent in his application. But he was surprised with his quick appointment.
“I haven’t had a chance to process it yet that much,” Weiss said.
Weiss said he expected Lowery to be appointed. Weiss said that if he weren’t appointed, he would not have run in the election in June or November.
“I’m not a politician,” he said. Weiss also says it was hard to say no to Mayor Wood when he talked to him about becoming a possible replacement. He says he only plans on finishing his term and not running after that.
“Part of it was to honor Mayor Wood,” he said, “I think there are things coming forward that need to have a full five-member council.”
Former Oceanside Mayor Jim Wood announced his resignation effective January 1.
"I have made the difficult decision to resign my position as Mayor of Oceanside," Wood's letter to City Clerk Zack Beck stated. "I want to thank all of my supporters, my friends and most importantly, my family, for all of their love and support through this untimely event in my life.”
"It has been such an honor to serve the City that I have lived in for over 65 years; as a Police Officer, a Councilmember and Mayor."
Wood briefly returned to work after a stroke in the spring of 2017. Wood served as Mayor of Oceanside for 13 years.
More information as it develops and on 10News at 11.