Jon Wizard

Jon Wizard during his 2020 campaign for Seaside mayor. He lost to incumbent Ian Oglesby.

Elected to the Seaside City Council in November 2018, Jon Wizard was seen as a rising star in the local Democratic Party and a strong regional leader advocating for affordable housing. This past spring he ran for the California State Assembly in District 30, coming in third place in a five-way race for a new district with no incumbent running. It was his first bid for a statewide office. 

Even though the Democratic Party machine swung in favor of Dawn Addis, a former Assembly candidate and city councilmember from Morro Bay, and Wizard lost in the primary, he was still seen as a progressive with a future in politics if he persevered. 

On Aug. 15, Wizard announced that he is not running for reelection to Seaside City Council.

The Assembly race was not the first time he aspired to higher office. In 2020 he ran against the incumbent mayor, Ian Oglesby, and lost. 

That year Wizard attracted both praise and criticism for marching with Black Lives matter protesters after the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. Wizard, a former police officer, was outspoken in his support of the movement calling for defunding the police, which favors shifting some funds from police departments to preventative social services.

Oglesby, who is retired from a career with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said he was against defunding the police, but supported the Black Lives Matter movement. It was a divisive moment, prompting a failed recall effort to remove Wizard from council, but Wizard and Oglesby continued to serve alongside each other since then. 

In Wizard's announcement, he mentioned accomplishments he is most proud of: helping Seaside to secure $1 million in state grants for accessory dwelling units; pushing staff to enroll the city in the Great Plates program that fed homebound senior citizens during the pandemic; fighting to expand a youth employment program.

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He's also been a leader regionally on housing, since even before he was first elected. He helped shepherd Casa de Noche Buena, a shelter for women and families, to the finish line in Seaside and convened a town hall to hear resident concerns. He has served as a county planning commissioner, and chair of the Housing Authority of Monterey County through a time of transition.

"While everything the council does is a team effort, it feels good to have focused my energy on the most impactful things affecting the quality of life in, and the future of, our community," Wizard said.

He said he is "both very fortunate and excited to have been selected to join the United Airlines pilot development program," which begins in early 2023. "Several years from now, we just might recognize each other at the airport or on one of your flights," he wrote.

"As I prepare to step away from the council, I wish to make one final plea to the residents and to the council," he added.

"To the residents: Please get involved. Please make public comment. Please vote. If no one hears your input, prepare to be disappointed by the council's output.

"To the council: We speak often of the city's limitless opportunity and potential, but we spend a lot of time talking about the present and thinking of the past. If we do what we've always done, we'll get what we've always got, so step outside your comfort zone and vote for what could be, not just more of the same."

(1) comment

mark sears

Good choice by Wizard. I supported his initial run but, like many others, I felt he underperformed.

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