For Immediate Release
August 18, 2020
Contact Information: Scott Ashton, Chief Executive Officer
Oceanside Chamber of Commerce
(Oceanside, CA) - The Oceanside Chamber of Commerce today announced its endorsements for the 2020 City of Oceanside Elections. The Chamber Board of Directors voted to support Ryan Keim for District 3 and Peter Weiss for District 4.
Both candidates currently serve in appointed roles on the City Council, with Weiss serving as Mayor and Keim in an at-large Council seat. While the Chamber has been very vocal on local business issues for many years, today marks the first time in recent history that the organization has participated in candidate endorsements.
Chamber CEO, Scott Ashton explains why the Chamber decided to become engaged in the local political process, “The mission of the Oceanside Chamber is to ‘stimulate economic prosperity and foster a vibrant community’. For this to happen, it is critical that our elected leaders have a strong understanding of the importance of creating a business-friendly environment. The Chamber is viewed as an important thought leader on business issues in our community and therefore our input into the election process is critical”.
As a 501(c)(6) the Chamber can endorse candidates, with or without a Political Action Committee. The Chamber’s Advance Oceanside PAC is the mechanism that allows the organization to back up its endorsements with financial support.
The endorsements by the Chamber Board followed several months of work by the Advance Oceanside Political Action Committee. Much of 2019 was spent developing policies and procedures and seeking Chamber member input on what issues were most important to them.
Chamber Board Chair and PAC member, Debbie Allen commented on the importance of the work that has been undertaken. “The prosperity of the City of Oceanside is critical and the Advance Oceanside PAC and the Chamber have worked very hard the past couple of years to be
able to put into place policies and procedures, to interview and to ultimately endorse business friendly candidates. I am so proud of all the hard work that these men and women have accomplished. 2020 is the first year in many to come, to support those wanting to continue to have a healthy economic environment”.
The Advance Oceanside PAC will now focus its efforts on fundraising and helping its candidates secure victories in the two district seats.
Chamber PAC members noted that Keim has been diligent to keep open lines of communications with the business community, regularly reaching out to Chamber staff and leaders. He has participated regularly in chamber events and roundtables and stays in close communication with business leaders. He has advocated for a streamlined permit and approval process for development, increased height allowances and density downtown, and a new program that makes it easier and more affordable for residents to build accessory-dwelling units.
Keim has a deep understanding of the challenges that business owners are facing with the criminal behavior associated with certain segments of the homeless population. He recognizes the need to proactively focus on property and quality-of-life crimes that have a tremendous impact on the livability of our City. Along those lines, he has proactively sought to end safe havens for criminal behavior by holding budget motels accountable for their impact on the community. He advocates for a two-pronged approach that connects homeless individuals with critical services such as mental health treatment, substance abuse recovery, and bridge housing while at the same time addressing crime and the individuals who choose to victimize our residents.
The PAC noted in its endorsement recommendation of Peter Weiss that he has consistently demonstrated his support for business and overall economic development to expand the City’s tax base. Having served in various staff roles, including City Manager, consultant and now Mayor, Weiss understands our City from a wide variety of perspectives.
Weiss has been consistently available to our business community, participating in the Chamber’s regular updates to businesses on COVID-19 issues, joining our small business roundtable forums last year and attending numerous Chamber events.
Weiss has expressed recognition for the need for housing stock for all income levels. He has strong ideas for encouraging developers to build affordable housing units, advocating for a variety of opportunities including infill projects along the coastal corridor to “reasonable and planned development of South Morro Hills”.
The Chamber has decided to not make an endorsement in Oceanside’s Mayoral race. The Advance Oceanside PAC interviewed several candidates and noted that Deputy Mayor Jack Feller and Councilmember Christopher Rodriquez both demonstrated that they continue to be strong advocates and leaders for the business community and would continue that support as Mayor. It was noted specifically that both Feller and Rodriguez have been instrumental in streamlining the permitting process for the development of much needed housing in Oceanside. “We have recently seen an unprecedented efficiency in the entitlement of mixed-use projects in our downtown area. It is incredibly important that we keep the City moving in the positive direction that these two leaders have been part of building in recent years”, said Ashton.