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November 8, 2016 — California General Election
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City of OceansideCandidate for City Council

Photo of Esther Sanchez

Esther Sanchez

Councilmember, City of Oceanside/Attorney
25,851 votes (24.46%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Represent all our diverse communities in Oceanside, especially with respect to jobs, housing, education, economic and environmental sustainability, economic development and quality of life
  • Ensure safe neighborhoods and preserve our residential communities, protect our senior neighborhoods, and address youth issues
  • Obtain zero waste, produce alternative sources of water to address current and future needs of our citizens, and address climate change issues



Profession:Council Member, City of Oceanside/Attorney
Attorney, Law Office of Esther Sanchez (2009–current)
Council Member, City of Oceanside — Elected position (2000–current)
Commissioner, California Coastal Commission — Appointed position (2009–2013)
Deputy Public Defender, San Diego County (1989–2008)
Deputy County Counsel, San Diego County (1987–1988)
Associate, Law Office of Richard Castillo, San Diego, CA (1986–1987)
Legal Intern, La Raza Centro Legal, San Francisco, CA (1985–1985)


University of California, Hastings College of Law Juris Doctorate, Law (1986)
Brown University Bachelor of Arts, Urban Studies and Latin American Studies (1978)

Community Activities

Attorney Member in Good Standing, California State Bar (1986–current)
Member, Citizens for the Preservation of Parks and Beaches, Oceanside (2000–current)
Chair , Oceanside Annual Noche Mexicana Cultural Festival (2004–current)
Board Member, Board of Directors, Oceanside (Eastside) community-based organization: UCAN (1999–2002)
Board Member, Board of Directors, Boys and Girls Club of Oceanside (1999–2000)


My name is Esther Sanchez. I was born and raised in Oceanside, first generation Latina on my mother's side, now part of a 5 generation Oceanside family. 

My parents worked in the fields, then in a rubber factory and Camp Pendleton.  With my parent’s strong work ethic and beliefs in family, faith, and education, I graduated from Oceanside High and then went on to receive my BA in Urban Studies from Brown University and JD from UC Hastings College of Law.  A lifetime commitment to the community, I served as a deputy public defender for 20 years and chair of the San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association in 1998. 

Encouraged by the election of Cruz Bustamante as the first Latino Lieutenant Governor, I decided to run for City Council in my hometown of Oceanside in 2000.  In a field of 15 candidates, I won the most votes and have easily won re-election three times, currently running for my fifth term. I have worked hard to represent all communities and residents of Oceanside and of the region. I have served on the city council as the only woman and only person of color for the majority of my 16 years.

I  was appointed Commissioner on the California Coastal Commission by Speaker of the Assembly Karen Bass, earning the highest ratings by statewide environmental organizations in ensuring the protection, preservation and public access of our California coastline and resources. 

I have a law practice in Oceanside.  I am a strong believer in representative government, with a passion for the Constitution of the United States and of the State of California.

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • Oceanside Police Officers Association
  • Oceanside Firefighters Association
  • Scenic Oceanside

Organizations (18)

  • Friends of Loma Alta Creek
  • Cavalier Mobile Estates Home Owners Association
  • Citizens for the Preservation of Parks & Beaches PAC
  • Mexican American Business & Professional Association
  • Labor Council of San Diego & Imperial Counties
  • Golden State Manufactured-Home Owners League (GSMOL)
  • Rancho Calevero Mobile Home Park Home Owners Association
  • Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC), San Diego & Imperial Counties
  • Oceanside Manufactured Homeowners Alliance, Inc.
  • San Diego Democrats for Equality
  • San Diego County Democratic Party
  • San Diego County League of Conservation Voters
  • San Diego County Democrats for Environmental Action
  • Sierra Club
  • Oceanside City Employees Association

Individuals (7)

  • Monica Hernandez, President, Eastside Neighborhood Association
  • Toni Atkins, Speaker Emeritus, California State Assembly
  • Dennis Huckabay, Vice President, Buena Vista Audubon Society
  • Diane Nygaard, President, Preserve Calavera
  • Dr. William Fischer, Trustee, Mira Costa Community College
  • Hershell & Pam Slater-Price, Supervisor Emeritus, San Diego County Board of Supervisors
  • Andy Mauro, President, Buena Vista Audubon Society

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters of North County San Diego (1)

What is the most significant challenge facing the City of Oceanside, and if you are elected, what steps will you take to address it?
Answer from Esther Sanchez:

The most significant challenge facing Oceanside is economic and environmental sustainability. There is consistent and unrelenting pressure by developers to change all zoning, including commerically zoned property, to high density residential, without addressing significant environmental impacts to the surrounding neighborhoods, such as unacceptable traffic congestion and air quality degredation, impacts to the general fund via increased demands for services, and lost opportunities for attracting new businesses and the creation of more jobs. We must hold the line on these pressures and pursue updates to the general plan, addressing economic development and climate change first. These two general plan elements will dictate our direction in prioritizing job creation for our city's economic sustainability and the preservation of our coastal and agricultural resources that are so important to our city's tourism economy.

Closely aligned with economic and environmental sustainability is preserving and expanding our local water supply. While "drought conditions" have been lifted, this is relatively a temporary situation. We must continue to expand our local water supply by pursuing best management practices in producing water from our San Luis Rey River basin aquifer and ground water, demonstration desalination project, and water recycling. The City of Oceanside is especially blessed with these alternative water supplies. We must continue to ensure that our water infrastructure remains a public resource, sustainable throughout our future.

Another huge challenge is the future of Oceanside via its youth. We must renew partnerships with our education and business communities, including Oceanside Unified School District, Mira Costa Community College, and Cal State, San Marcos to expand opportunities for our youth,especially with respect to our growing Latino community, so that they will be able to contribute to our local economy.

Finally, another very significant challenge is our growing homeless community. While Oceanside has become a proactive model via its Homeless Outreach Team, we need to take our model to all cities in the region to truly come up with solutions. Many of our homeless are families, veterans, the mentally ill and children. We must pursue Federal and State funds to address what is essentially a national/state issue.

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