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Oceanside councilwoman doesn't live at 815 North Pacific Street

Appointee Kori Jensen's home on Airbnb for $500/night

Kori Jensen
Kori Jensen

What does it take to become a member of the Oceanside City Council? One might be surprised to know how easy it was for the newest member of the the five-person body that controls a budget of $169 million and which oversees the third largest city in the county.

Forget name recognition. There was a pool of 35 who applied for the District 1 seat left vacant by Esther Sanchez when she became mayor. They included an ex-mayor, a current planning commissioner, a retired military officer, an ex-cop and a former staffer from the Trump Administration. None of the regulars who watch city hall had ever heard of Kori Jensen when she was appointed at a special city council meeting January 27.

Jensen Airbnb listing

Civic service also doesn’t seem to matter. Appointee hopefuls were asked: “Are you serving or have you served on any Oceanside advisory groups?” Jensen’s response: “No.”

Raising money didn’t matter either. Council members Ryan Keim and Peter Weiss raised $72,000 and $60,000 (mostly from developers), respectively, for their campaigns. Jensen, on the other hand, didn’t have to spend a dime for her place on the city council dais.

And, you apparently don’t need community support. Mayor Sanchez says many of the other 35 applicants received recommendation letters, but that “No one sent anything in for Kori Jensen.”

Of the 34 applicants who did not get selected, one has a Harvard degree, another is a doctor. Appointee Jensen is a licensed real estate agent and does not have a college degree. In her written application where it asked about her “background and experience,” she cited her four grandparents who she says were longtime locals. At her teleconferenced live interview, she said a reason she should be picked was because, “My son is not only gay, he is a Pan-Asian.”

It worked. Jensen was appointed Oceanside councilmember for District 1 by a 3-1 vote. Although Mayor Esther Sanchez made it clear she preferred that a special election select her District 1 successor, councilmembers Keim, Weiss, and Christopher Rodriguez outnumbered her and voted instead to appoint Jensen.

But what may be most noteworthy about newly appointed Oceanside city councilmember Kori Jensen is that she does not appear to live in the address she listed on her application.

Jensen stated she lives at 815 North Pacific Street. Records show she did purchase the ocean-view, three-bedroom, two-bath house in 2003. While there was a foreclosure action against her ownership initiated by World Savings Bank in 2010, records show that she is currently the owner of the home which affords breathtaking views of a big sandy beach, the pier and the nearby Oceanside Harbor.

Only one obvious problem: Jensen uses the Airbnb website to market the home as a short-term rental at $500 a night. That site shows it has been continuously used by short-term rental clients. According to the city of Oceanside’s short-term rental data base, the property at 815 North Pacific Street is an “un-hosted” short-term rental.

The airbnb ad says the home is rentable for up to eight people at a time. “This house is available on a weekly basis June through September and monthly October through May,” says the ad. It lists Jensen as the rental contact.

Jensen's next-door neighbor confirmed that Jensen rents out 815 North Pacific Street to short-term tenants and that she does not live there. A sign in front of the house at 815 North Pacific Street invites prospective renters to call Jensen on her cell phone if they want to stay there. The MLS website used by real estate agents shows that Jensen claims that her other property at 7039 Estrella Del Mar in Carlsbad is “owner occupied” and that 815 North Pacific Street in Oceanside is not owner-occupied.

The value of 815 North Pacific Street has increased significantly. In 2009 it was listed for sale for $1.9million. In March 2020 it was valued at $3.3million.

Jensen's home is in the most expensive part of District 1, the northwest quadrant of Oceanside. The district includes the soon-to-open pier-adjacent high-rise hotels, as well as the apartment-heavy Crown Heights neighborhood adjacent to Oceanside High School.

City Clerk Zeb Navarro says making a false claim of residence would be illegal but that his office does not have the responsibility or the power to investigate the legitimacy of false residency claims made by applicants. “That would have to go to the District Attorney’s office,” he said.

In 2018 Jose Fragozo was accused of lying about where he lived when he was elected to the Escondido elementary school district in 2016. He pleaded guilty to one felony count of voter fraud. Because he lived up to terms of probation, the felony was reduced to a misdemeanor. Fragozo had to step down from his position as trustee as a condition of his probation.

Solana Beach native Tere Renteria became councilwoman in 1992 and then mayor in 1995. Some Solana locals claimed she was spending more time at her home in Escondido which made her an Escondido resident. She denied the claim but decided not to run for reelection after those claims became publicized.

In 2016 Oceanside city treasurer Gary Ernst was re-elected even though he had died five weeks earlier. Candidate Nadine Scott who was defeated by the dead treasurer claimed the election was invalid because Ernst was a resident of Carlsbad when he died. Her protest went nowhere. The city council ended up appointing Dr. Rafe Trickey to replace Ernst.

Mayor Sanchez was born in Oceanside’s District 1 at the Oceanside Community Hospital on Horne Street in 1956. She now lives in same Eastside home where she and her brothers were raised.

“This process proves why we need an election,” says Sanchez. “It just does not seem fair that these three [councilmen] who don’t even live in my district get to speak for the over 22,000 voters who do live in District 1.”

The other councilmembers maintained that a District 1 special election was just too costly. “Cost should not be our primary consideration,” says Sanchez. “What is the cost of democracy? We have had three appointments in three years and that is simply not healthy.”

Jensen operates her real estate work through Beachside Realty at 404 Wisconsin Avenue, Oceanside. Beachside Realty is currently operating with a restricted broker’s license imposed by the California Real Estate License Board in June 2019 due to the mis-handling of a Trust Fund.

Records show that Jensen became registered to vote at 815 North Pacific Street in July, 2020.

I called Jensen two days after her appointment and told her I wanted to speak to her for an article. She was pleasant and said she was “headed into a meeting” but would call me after the meeting. She did not call back.

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Kori Jensen
Kori Jensen

What does it take to become a member of the Oceanside City Council? One might be surprised to know how easy it was for the newest member of the the five-person body that controls a budget of $169 million and which oversees the third largest city in the county.

Forget name recognition. There was a pool of 35 who applied for the District 1 seat left vacant by Esther Sanchez when she became mayor. They included an ex-mayor, a current planning commissioner, a retired military officer, an ex-cop and a former staffer from the Trump Administration. None of the regulars who watch city hall had ever heard of Kori Jensen when she was appointed at a special city council meeting January 27.

Jensen Airbnb listing

Civic service also doesn’t seem to matter. Appointee hopefuls were asked: “Are you serving or have you served on any Oceanside advisory groups?” Jensen’s response: “No.”

Raising money didn’t matter either. Council members Ryan Keim and Peter Weiss raised $72,000 and $60,000 (mostly from developers), respectively, for their campaigns. Jensen, on the other hand, didn’t have to spend a dime for her place on the city council dais.

And, you apparently don’t need community support. Mayor Sanchez says many of the other 35 applicants received recommendation letters, but that “No one sent anything in for Kori Jensen.”

Of the 34 applicants who did not get selected, one has a Harvard degree, another is a doctor. Appointee Jensen is a licensed real estate agent and does not have a college degree. In her written application where it asked about her “background and experience,” she cited her four grandparents who she says were longtime locals. At her teleconferenced live interview, she said a reason she should be picked was because, “My son is not only gay, he is a Pan-Asian.”

It worked. Jensen was appointed Oceanside councilmember for District 1 by a 3-1 vote. Although Mayor Esther Sanchez made it clear she preferred that a special election select her District 1 successor, councilmembers Keim, Weiss, and Christopher Rodriguez outnumbered her and voted instead to appoint Jensen.

But what may be most noteworthy about newly appointed Oceanside city councilmember Kori Jensen is that she does not appear to live in the address she listed on her application.

Jensen stated she lives at 815 North Pacific Street. Records show she did purchase the ocean-view, three-bedroom, two-bath house in 2003. While there was a foreclosure action against her ownership initiated by World Savings Bank in 2010, records show that she is currently the owner of the home which affords breathtaking views of a big sandy beach, the pier and the nearby Oceanside Harbor.

Only one obvious problem: Jensen uses the Airbnb website to market the home as a short-term rental at $500 a night. That site shows it has been continuously used by short-term rental clients. According to the city of Oceanside’s short-term rental data base, the property at 815 North Pacific Street is an “un-hosted” short-term rental.

The airbnb ad says the home is rentable for up to eight people at a time. “This house is available on a weekly basis June through September and monthly October through May,” says the ad. It lists Jensen as the rental contact.

Jensen's next-door neighbor confirmed that Jensen rents out 815 North Pacific Street to short-term tenants and that she does not live there. A sign in front of the house at 815 North Pacific Street invites prospective renters to call Jensen on her cell phone if they want to stay there. The MLS website used by real estate agents shows that Jensen claims that her other property at 7039 Estrella Del Mar in Carlsbad is “owner occupied” and that 815 North Pacific Street in Oceanside is not owner-occupied.

The value of 815 North Pacific Street has increased significantly. In 2009 it was listed for sale for $1.9million. In March 2020 it was valued at $3.3million.

Jensen's home is in the most expensive part of District 1, the northwest quadrant of Oceanside. The district includes the soon-to-open pier-adjacent high-rise hotels, as well as the apartment-heavy Crown Heights neighborhood adjacent to Oceanside High School.

City Clerk Zeb Navarro says making a false claim of residence would be illegal but that his office does not have the responsibility or the power to investigate the legitimacy of false residency claims made by applicants. “That would have to go to the District Attorney’s office,” he said.

In 2018 Jose Fragozo was accused of lying about where he lived when he was elected to the Escondido elementary school district in 2016. He pleaded guilty to one felony count of voter fraud. Because he lived up to terms of probation, the felony was reduced to a misdemeanor. Fragozo had to step down from his position as trustee as a condition of his probation.

Solana Beach native Tere Renteria became councilwoman in 1992 and then mayor in 1995. Some Solana locals claimed she was spending more time at her home in Escondido which made her an Escondido resident. She denied the claim but decided not to run for reelection after those claims became publicized.

In 2016 Oceanside city treasurer Gary Ernst was re-elected even though he had died five weeks earlier. Candidate Nadine Scott who was defeated by the dead treasurer claimed the election was invalid because Ernst was a resident of Carlsbad when he died. Her protest went nowhere. The city council ended up appointing Dr. Rafe Trickey to replace Ernst.

Mayor Sanchez was born in Oceanside’s District 1 at the Oceanside Community Hospital on Horne Street in 1956. She now lives in same Eastside home where she and her brothers were raised.

“This process proves why we need an election,” says Sanchez. “It just does not seem fair that these three [councilmen] who don’t even live in my district get to speak for the over 22,000 voters who do live in District 1.”

The other councilmembers maintained that a District 1 special election was just too costly. “Cost should not be our primary consideration,” says Sanchez. “What is the cost of democracy? We have had three appointments in three years and that is simply not healthy.”

Jensen operates her real estate work through Beachside Realty at 404 Wisconsin Avenue, Oceanside. Beachside Realty is currently operating with a restricted broker’s license imposed by the California Real Estate License Board in June 2019 due to the mis-handling of a Trust Fund.

Records show that Jensen became registered to vote at 815 North Pacific Street in July, 2020.

I called Jensen two days after her appointment and told her I wanted to speak to her for an article. She was pleasant and said she was “headed into a meeting” but would call me after the meeting. She did not call back.

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Comments
11

I wonder why she would want to be a council person in Oceanside if she owns property there, but lives elsewhere. Until I read she registered to vote at that address in July, 2020. Is she planning on moving in, or did she do it for "city council" reasons.? My husband and I own two homes, but we're only registered to vote at the address where we live. Regardless, she doesn't sound qualified.

Feb. 1, 2021

There is an error in your quote of the livestream interview with Jensen. Jensen said her son is "Pan-Asian" not "trans-Asian." I suggest you correct your photo caption and the text within your article.

The video (with closed captioning) is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yy57iZe36jI&feature=emb_title

Feb. 1, 2021

So, I live in district 1 and my councilwoman is a resident of Carlsbad? She lied? We need an election, she needs to be prosecuted.

Feb. 1, 2021

The Oceanside city clowncil blows it again, huh? What's new? They can be counted on to make a mess of the simplest things. Brain dead voters in that city should take a look at Weiss, Rodriguez, and Keim. All owe their seats to developer money, and wanted a like-minded person on the dais with them to rubber stamp all the developer requests.

Feb. 2, 2021

Just another bought-and-paid-for politician.

Feb. 2, 2021

Echoes of former Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District Governing Board-member Rebecca L. Clark, who was discovered in the mid-1990s to not be living at an address in La Mesa......because the "house" was an empty lot! Steve Saint, editor of the now-defunct East County Community Newspaper chain (which was rolled into The Californian of El Cajon, creating The East County Californian by 2001), looked up her Registrar of Voters-listed address, and in an era before Google Maps street view, he drove out to the spot himself. As far as I remember Saint never figured out where R.L. Clark was living, though it is weird that she did not use 7171 Alverado Road as a mailing address; the Clark family owns that office building and it is within La Mesa!

Feb. 2, 2021

The best part about losing to Kori Jensen is not being Leightonized. Yeah, I just made that up. It's a new phrase. I walked into the waiting area and saw the ex-mayor. I almost turned around and walked out. I figured he would be a better choice than me, especially since he was the only candidate that actually had experience in the position. Can't get mad about losing to someone I voted for. My qualifications were meager. I only had 58,720 full time employment hours with the city. That's 28 years. I got to know the place a tad little bit. I'm not a sore loser; you actually can't lose when winning is impossible from the start but unknown. Plus, and bonus, no Leightonization factor! I can only imagine. and somewhat frightened by what Ken would write about me from an impression alone.

Feb. 2, 2021

SashaBooboo...don't know what you mean about "impressions." The city itself says 815 North Pacific Street is a "no host short term vacation rental." Do you know what that means SashaBooboo? Also, Jensen herself said her Carlsbad condo is "owner-occupied" and that 815 North Pacific is not. The neighbor I spoke with told me she doesn't live there and then today I read that another neighbor, Pamela Meyers, says that house is exclusively a vacation rental. Oh, and SashaBooboo, did you see the airbnb ad Ms. Jensen placed to rent out her place? Thanks for reading SashaBooboo. You sound like a real stand-up person.

Feb. 2, 2021

The city of Oceanside just announced through city clerk Zeb Navarro that the District Attorney's office is now looking into it. I do not think the city would announce that if it was standing behind Kori Jensen. It appears (but we know for sure tomorrow night) that Ms. Jensen has lost the support of at least one of the councilmen who voted for her, and that city management does noes seem willing to back her. It seems likely that once she resigns, the council will vote to hold an election to avoid another dumpster fire. The council can not un-appoint her or reverse her swearing in. All the city can do is try to convince her to resign. Unless she resigns, nobody can force anything until and unless she is convicted in a court of law and that could take a long time.

Feb. 2, 2021

"Dumpster fire" sums it all up. I cannot figure out why that city is so politically fouled up, but anyone who watches it for a few months has to realize that it is, fouled up, that is. As to whether our sad faced DA will actually do anything about this case of low-level political corruption is not obvious. She knows many things but nearly nothing about corruption and how it comes about. Rodriguez escaped recall when the pandemic shut down signature gathering. He should be toast in the next election, but then, this is Oceanside and you can never tell. A few years ago, I couldn't imagine ever agreeing with Esther Sanchez about anything, nowadays she's on the side of honesty and at least trying to take care of the residents of the city.

Feb. 2, 2021

Any city will become "politically fouled up" if they don't have the right people on the city council, and Oceanside doesn't. It's not just Rodriguez.

Feb. 3, 2021

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