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Chris Rodriguez bows out of Oceanside politics

Backing retired fire chief Robinson for council

Rodriguez and Murray
Rodriguez and Murray

Christopher Rodriguez appeared four years ago as one of North County’s most promising Republican up-and-comers. An Iraq war veteran who was awarded a Purple Heart, he still sports a high-and-tight Marine haircut. During Oceanside City Council meetings, he’s told stories about how he had to look after his younger siblings when his gang-banging, drug-peddling dad would get violent back home in Chicago. Rodriguez’s campaign ads have used the tagline “No excuses” to point out his initiative and self-reliance.

When Mayor Esther Sanchez was handing out proclamations earlier this year honoring female movers and shakers from Oceanside, Rodriguez handed Sanchez her own commendation making clear they were fellowispanics.

Rodriguez is pro-gun and pro-life. He is expecting his eighth child.

Rodriguez uses photos of himself standing next to farmland to illustrate he is a farmer (he also sells real estate). Youthful, photogenic and well-spoken, Rodriguez positioned himself as a winner. And sure enough, he won his first race for city council four years ago. He bested the second place opponent by 17 percentage points.

“The Republican party asked me to run against Congressman Mike Levin in 2020,” Rodriguez boasted in 2019.“I turned them down. I just felt I had too much to do for the city of Oceanside.”

Rodriguez eventually did run against Levin, running in the June primary.

When he spoke out against abortion, he did so with credibility: He is his expecting his eighth child. But while his pro-life, pro-gun Trumpian platitudes attracted campaign donations from across the country, Rodriguez and his message did not sell well here. He drew an underwhelming 9.7 percent at the polls, putting him in fourth place after incumbent Levin and two other Republican challengers. When Rodriguez ran for mayor in 2020, he lost to Sanchez by 11 percentage points.

On Friday July 22 the “C-ROD” political juggernaut pulled off the road.: He made the surprise announcement that he would not be running for a second term as Oceanside's District 2 city councilman.

Fire chief Robinson has spoken in support of the North River Farms project.

When pinned for specifics, he says he is not going to be working for Congressman Darrell Issa. Nor does he have any plans to work for any of the developers longing to build out Oceanside. A lion's share of his campaign donations over the years were given by developers.

Rodriguez says he is in the prime of his working career. “We billed $150 million in sales last year,” he says of his work with his real estate company. He says past political campaigns have cost him income. “Unlike most of the others on the city council, I am not a retiree.”

Oceanside city councilmembers get about $40,000 a year including benefits.

The deadline to file for all city offices for the November election is August 12 at 4 pm. Districts 1 and 2 are up for election. Rodriguez says the only way he would change his mind and run again is if Fire Chief Rick Robinson changes his mind and decides not to run

Robinson is retiring as Oceanside fire chief on July 29. He has announced he will run for the District 2 seat which covers the northeast quadrant of Oceanside. “When I heard that Rick was running, that was when I decided to pull out,” says Rodriguez who says he thinks the fire chief suited for the job. “I am endorsing Rick Robinson.”

Robinson says he accepts the endorsement. “I welcome anyone who lives in District 2 who wants to support me."

While it might seem that Rodriguez would be the darling of the Republican establishment, GOP love eluded the ex-Marine. He did not get the endorsement of local or state GOP central committees as he ran for congress. In fact, two fellow Republicans on the Oceanside city council, Peter Weiss and Ryan Keim, decided to endorse Brian Maryott over their own city council colleague.

Rodriguez has many detractors. The Oceanside Votes Facebook page regularly proclaims Rodriguez is an “unscrupled former house flipper,” and documents his legal issues, It points out he has had his city council wages garnished and has had “seven property loan defaults since 2018.” Rodriguez is facing two lawsuits this fall that claim he failed to repay debts he took out to buy property.

“In California, you can sue a ham sandwich,” is how Rodriguez responds to his pending lawsuits.

In his first year in office Rodriguez caused a stir when his full-time city council aide and fellow ex-Marine Michael Murray announced he was running for California’s 76th Assembly district, hoping to unseat Democrat Tasha Boerner Horvath. Murray raised eyebrows when a ribald comedy video surfaced/

Murray explained that he was once a semi-professional comedian and that the video went up before he became a politician. Murray claimed he was simply using the same brand of ribald humor used by Richard Prior or George Carlin.

Murray eventually dropped out of the Assembly race and resigned his position as a city council aide which pays between $80,000 and $103,000 annually Some contributors to Murray’s Assembly race included developers who sought and received city council approval for their projects.

This year’s Oceanside city council election could alter its pro-developer direction. Mayor Sanchez often votes on the losing end of a 4-1 vote, with the majority supporting high density projects with inadequate on-site parking. Fire chief Robinson has previously spoken at city council meetings in support of the high-density North River Farms project which was rejected by voters by nearly two-to-one. Rodriguez voted for North River Farms. Retired nuclear plant administrator Dan Dominguez who is also running in District 2 says he was against North River Farms.

One city hall observer warns that this year’s city council election could be the year that “The foxes take over the hen house.” Should Robinson get elected in District 2 and should former Deputy City Manager Mike Blessing and current member of the Oceanside Unified School District board follow up on his potential plans to run in District 1 (northwest quadrant) and get elected, that four of the five council members would be ex-city of Oceanside employees. They would join former city manager Weiss and former Oceanside policeman Keim. Blessing has not yet pulled paperwork.

Rodriguez was the first candidate elected to Oceanside’s District 2 in 2018. That was the first year Oceanside switched to district elections instead of four at-large seats.

Rodriguez says he would not rule out other political runs in the future.

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Rodriguez and Murray
Rodriguez and Murray

Christopher Rodriguez appeared four years ago as one of North County’s most promising Republican up-and-comers. An Iraq war veteran who was awarded a Purple Heart, he still sports a high-and-tight Marine haircut. During Oceanside City Council meetings, he’s told stories about how he had to look after his younger siblings when his gang-banging, drug-peddling dad would get violent back home in Chicago. Rodriguez’s campaign ads have used the tagline “No excuses” to point out his initiative and self-reliance.

When Mayor Esther Sanchez was handing out proclamations earlier this year honoring female movers and shakers from Oceanside, Rodriguez handed Sanchez her own commendation making clear they were fellowispanics.

Rodriguez is pro-gun and pro-life. He is expecting his eighth child.

Rodriguez uses photos of himself standing next to farmland to illustrate he is a farmer (he also sells real estate). Youthful, photogenic and well-spoken, Rodriguez positioned himself as a winner. And sure enough, he won his first race for city council four years ago. He bested the second place opponent by 17 percentage points.

“The Republican party asked me to run against Congressman Mike Levin in 2020,” Rodriguez boasted in 2019.“I turned them down. I just felt I had too much to do for the city of Oceanside.”

Rodriguez eventually did run against Levin, running in the June primary.

When he spoke out against abortion, he did so with credibility: He is his expecting his eighth child. But while his pro-life, pro-gun Trumpian platitudes attracted campaign donations from across the country, Rodriguez and his message did not sell well here. He drew an underwhelming 9.7 percent at the polls, putting him in fourth place after incumbent Levin and two other Republican challengers. When Rodriguez ran for mayor in 2020, he lost to Sanchez by 11 percentage points.

On Friday July 22 the “C-ROD” political juggernaut pulled off the road.: He made the surprise announcement that he would not be running for a second term as Oceanside's District 2 city councilman.

Fire chief Robinson has spoken in support of the North River Farms project.

When pinned for specifics, he says he is not going to be working for Congressman Darrell Issa. Nor does he have any plans to work for any of the developers longing to build out Oceanside. A lion's share of his campaign donations over the years were given by developers.

Rodriguez says he is in the prime of his working career. “We billed $150 million in sales last year,” he says of his work with his real estate company. He says past political campaigns have cost him income. “Unlike most of the others on the city council, I am not a retiree.”

Oceanside city councilmembers get about $40,000 a year including benefits.

The deadline to file for all city offices for the November election is August 12 at 4 pm. Districts 1 and 2 are up for election. Rodriguez says the only way he would change his mind and run again is if Fire Chief Rick Robinson changes his mind and decides not to run

Robinson is retiring as Oceanside fire chief on July 29. He has announced he will run for the District 2 seat which covers the northeast quadrant of Oceanside. “When I heard that Rick was running, that was when I decided to pull out,” says Rodriguez who says he thinks the fire chief suited for the job. “I am endorsing Rick Robinson.”

Robinson says he accepts the endorsement. “I welcome anyone who lives in District 2 who wants to support me."

While it might seem that Rodriguez would be the darling of the Republican establishment, GOP love eluded the ex-Marine. He did not get the endorsement of local or state GOP central committees as he ran for congress. In fact, two fellow Republicans on the Oceanside city council, Peter Weiss and Ryan Keim, decided to endorse Brian Maryott over their own city council colleague.

Rodriguez has many detractors. The Oceanside Votes Facebook page regularly proclaims Rodriguez is an “unscrupled former house flipper,” and documents his legal issues, It points out he has had his city council wages garnished and has had “seven property loan defaults since 2018.” Rodriguez is facing two lawsuits this fall that claim he failed to repay debts he took out to buy property.

“In California, you can sue a ham sandwich,” is how Rodriguez responds to his pending lawsuits.

In his first year in office Rodriguez caused a stir when his full-time city council aide and fellow ex-Marine Michael Murray announced he was running for California’s 76th Assembly district, hoping to unseat Democrat Tasha Boerner Horvath. Murray raised eyebrows when a ribald comedy video surfaced/

Murray explained that he was once a semi-professional comedian and that the video went up before he became a politician. Murray claimed he was simply using the same brand of ribald humor used by Richard Prior or George Carlin.

Murray eventually dropped out of the Assembly race and resigned his position as a city council aide which pays between $80,000 and $103,000 annually Some contributors to Murray’s Assembly race included developers who sought and received city council approval for their projects.

This year’s Oceanside city council election could alter its pro-developer direction. Mayor Sanchez often votes on the losing end of a 4-1 vote, with the majority supporting high density projects with inadequate on-site parking. Fire chief Robinson has previously spoken at city council meetings in support of the high-density North River Farms project which was rejected by voters by nearly two-to-one. Rodriguez voted for North River Farms. Retired nuclear plant administrator Dan Dominguez who is also running in District 2 says he was against North River Farms.

One city hall observer warns that this year’s city council election could be the year that “The foxes take over the hen house.” Should Robinson get elected in District 2 and should former Deputy City Manager Mike Blessing and current member of the Oceanside Unified School District board follow up on his potential plans to run in District 1 (northwest quadrant) and get elected, that four of the five council members would be ex-city of Oceanside employees. They would join former city manager Weiss and former Oceanside policeman Keim. Blessing has not yet pulled paperwork.

Rodriguez was the first candidate elected to Oceanside’s District 2 in 2018. That was the first year Oceanside switched to district elections instead of four at-large seats.

Rodriguez says he would not rule out other political runs in the future.

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Comments
3

The Oceanside City Council, as well as the residents of Oceanside are better off without Rodriguez. He's well-accomplished despite his upbringing, but he's a troubled man. I'm surprised he was ever elected. City Council members (in every city) should have their act together. It's a pre-requisite for taking care of business.

July 25, 2022

I think we can agree that while you might want him as a neighbor or enjoy a chat with him standing in line waiting to get your oil changed, any politician who posts a Christmas photo of them with an assault rifle in front of a Christmas tree likely lacks the maturity and gravitas to represent those of us in District 2.

You can be pro-gun (like me) without making it central to your identity.

July 25, 2022

I'm tempted to say that Rodriguez could have happened "only in Oceanside", but other cities have elected people like him to office. But ol' O'side just never gets a break, and the comment of how the foxes may take over the hen house is a good one. Unfortunately, that has already happened when it comes to the sort of housing developments and other uses that the council approves. Did anyone notice that the cockamamie scheme to redevelop the former drive in theater with, among other things, an artificial surf generator so that surfers don't have to do their rides at the beach. Your city government at work in Oceanside!

Aug. 5, 2022

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