Oceanside Mayor Jim Wood will seek to end Bill Horn's two-decade run as the county supervisor representing nearly 1,800 square miles of the North County in today's primary election, while the other supervisor up for reelection, Ron Roberts, is running unopposed to represent the majority of the city of San Diego.
Wood and Horn, both Republicans, are vying to serve the coastline from Camp Pendleton to Carlsbad, along with Oceanside, Vista and San Marcos, and several unincorporated communities.
Horn, 77, is a former Marine officer and Vietnam veteran. The avocado and citrus grower was elected to the San Diego County Board of Supervisors in 1994. He is seeking his sixth term.
Wood, 66, served on the Oceanside City Council since 2002 following more than 30 years in law enforcement, and became the city's mayor in 2004.
Horn's supporters credited him as the driving force behind a 1997 bankruptcy-avoiding move to sell the county's trash system; working to streamline county government services; and in creating a notification system for changes to the Megan's Law website.
Wood approved hotel development at the Oceanside Pier to attract tourists and businesses, helped come up with ways to combat traffic congestion and worked to maintain public safety in tough economic times.
Both Horn and Wood listed economic development, public safety and fiscal responsibility among their top issues, but their opinions differed drastically on the county's land use plan.
The often-outspoken Horn voted against a general plan update because he said property owners' rights would be violated. In a 2010 editorial in the San Diego Union-Tribune, he wrote the plan changed the allowed uses of agricultural properties and reduced their values.
"The reality is agriculture is dying in this county," Horn wrote. "Water cutbacks and extreme environmentalism are forcing our farmers out of their homes and businesses."
Wood hailed the plan as curtailing sprawl and saving money in infrastructure and services, and said he would maintain its "integrity and benefits."
Wood listed his other key issues as increasing permanent open space areas; curtailing water pollution; improving emergency response times and firefighting equipment among others.
"We all know that times are tough," Wood said in a campaign statement. "I will make sure that we spend your tax dollars wisely. Your safety and protecting your tax dollars is my first priority."
Horn's other priorities include making McClellan-Palomar Airport safer and more accessible for direct and international flights.
Combined, the supervisors represent about 3 million residents and oversee a nearly $5 billion budget.
In other county elections, consumer advocate attorney Susan Guinn, real estate professional George Mantor and financial analyst Jonathan Gordon are challenging Assessor/Recorder/County Clerk Ernest Dronenburg, who made headlines after filing court papers seeking clarification on issuing same-sex marriage licenses, but later withdrew the petition.
If reelected, Dronenburg plans to improve customer service in his office, place fair values on properties and cut budget expenses.
LGBT advocacy organization board member Guinn's priorities are eliminating the property assessment appeals backlog, ending "bloated budget, excessive fees and over-taxation," and replacing outdated systems.
Mantor said he would take a stand against the destruction of land title records and would work to restore them transparency and reliability.
Gordon was not actively campaigning, and may have filed in an effort to force Dronenburg into a runoff, U-T San Diego reported.
—City News Service