Category Archives: Politics

San Elijo Life Interview with Mike Sannella Candidate for San Marcos City Council District 2

Here is an email interview with Mike Sannella who is running for San Marcos City Council District 2. San Elijo Life has invited all candidates for Council in District 2 and Mayor to answer the same set of email questions.

Why should the residents in San Elijo Hills vote for you? 

We live in a special community. I have lived in San Marcos for 22 years. I am a husband, a father, and I have more than 20 years of private sector risk management and business management experience. My community and elected experience includes having served on our City’s Planning Commission, the San Marcos Economic Development Corporation and currently I serve as an elected leader on the Vallecitos Water District Board. Vallecitos is in great shape with a diversified water portfolio, a cutting edge waste water recycling program, a balanced budget year after year, strong fiscal reserves, and is award-winning for our efforts in public outreach and transparency in government. I’m proud of what we have accomplished at Vallecitos and I look forward to building on those successes at City Hall.

How can the council/mayor help address cut through traffic and school traffic in San Elijo Hills?

Cut through and school traffic are the two primary pain points in San Elijo Hills. San Elijo Road is public so reducing cut though traffic is extremely challenging. Improving school traffic is much easier. I recently introduced a plan called SMARTS (San Marcos Area Resident Transportation Solution) that will start off as a student busing program. SMARTS will be partially funded by existing congestion management fees and will provide student transportation that is safer for our kids, better for our environment, will reduce traffic congestion, and will add convenience for parents. Look for SMARTS to be implemented before school starts in 2020.

What is your position on future housing and commercial development around San Elijo Hills?

If elected, I will take a balanced approach to new development throughout the City. The key factor for planning for development is to ensure that supporting road infrastructure is included and funded by development and that other agencies are able to accommodate the growth. I will collaborate with the school and water districts to understand their needs and challenges before proceeding with new development. I will balance this with an understanding that there’s a housing shortage crisis in our region, that our local economy depends on development, and infrastructure is largely funded by new development. To find this balance, I will apply smart growth principles that focus on new development that is more walkable and near transit options.

How can you work with San Marcos Unified School District to solve school crowding?

My wife, Amy, is an Assistant Principal in San Marcos Unified and my daughter, Brook, attends San Elijo Middle. I’m as invested in the success of our schools as anyone. I will collaborate with the school district to understand their challenges and needs prior to approving new developments and I will proactively pursue opportunities to help the school district identify and obtain sites for future schools.

What are your goals to improve the quality of life in San Marcos-(events, parks, trails)?

Parks and trails support a healthy lifestyle and enhance our quality of life. I mountain bike our trails and appreciate having access to them. I will be an advocate for maintaining the parks and trails we already have and I will require new development to contribute to those systems.

I envision the Creek District as an area primarily focused on entertainment and recreation. An area for music, food, and maybe even sports venues.  And, more parks and trails mixed in with some retail and residential components. I envision a truly walkable downtown focused on fun family activities, food, arts, and nature.

If elected what are the top 3 issues you would focus on for San Elijo Hills?

Implementing SMARTS (San Marcos Area Resident Transportation Solution) will be a top priority of mine and this solution will significantly benefit those who live in San Elijo Hills by reducing traffic around our schools, adding convenience for parents, and providing a resource to quickly evacuate our children from school in an emergency such as a wildfire. Secondly, I am supportive of updating our stoplight sequencing technology to improve traffic flow through the San Elijo Town Center. And third, public safety is a high priority for me, I have been endorsed by our Sheriff’s Deputies and I will ensure all of San Marcos has the best public safety resources to keep our streets and neighborhoods safe.

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Editors Note: We have invited all 2018 District 2 – City of San Marcos City Council and Mayor Candidates to answer the same questions. 

By-district voting begins in San Marcos with 2018 Election -San Elijo Hils and Old Creek Ranch are in District 2

 

The city of San Marcos proactively implements district-based voting and educational campaign to inform voters of the new election process

For the first time, residents in the City of San Marcos will vote for council members by district instead of an at-large election. In preparation for this change, the City of San Marcos is launching “Know Before You Go Vote,” an educational campaign to inform residents about the new election process and what it means for their 2018 ballots.

“We want to help educate our residents about this change because depending on where someone lives, they might not be voting for a council member this election,” said City Clerk Phil Scollick. “We are implementing district-based voting over the next two election cycles as our current council terms expire in 2018 and 2020.”

During this election, only residents from District 1 and District 2, as determined by their voting address, will be selecting a council member. Districts 3 and 4 will then vote for council members during the 2020 election. (City of San Marcos District Map) San Elijo Hils and Old Creek Ranch are in District 2

  • District 1 includes Richmar area and proceeds west to Poinsettia Avenue, east to Woodland Parkway, north to Borden Road and south to the 78 Freeway.
  • District 2 includes San Elijo Hills along with Old Creek Ranch, Discovery Hills, Rancho Dorado and adjoining neighborhoods.
  • District 3 includes area around Cal State San Marcos, the Creek District and Civic Center area, and extends east to the Nordahl Marketplace, west to Rancho Santa Fe Road and north to the 78 Freeway.
  • District 4 includes Santa Fe Hills, Palomar College and neighborhoods north of Borden Road and Santa Fe Road to the west.

To be eligible to run for office in San Marcos, candidates must reside in the district that they seek to represent. All San Marcos residents will continue to vote for the City’s mayor.

The San Marcos city council voluntarily adopted district-based voting in September of 2016 to ensure the City’s taxpayers are not exposed to the risk of future litigation for any alleged violations of the California Voting Rights Act.

San Marcos residents can find their polling place and learn about district voting by visiting, www.san-marcos.net/GoVote.

Desmond cleared of alleged campaign finance violations – The Coast News Group

Mayor Jim Desmond has been cleared of wrongdoing after an independent investigation found no “probable cause” to validate claims he violated campaign finance laws concerning his bid for the District 5 seat on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.The complaint was filed on May 29 by Realtor Ana Rosvall, among others, who claimed Desmond violated the city’s municipal code (2.16.010), which prohibits votes within 12 months of receiving a donation or receiving donations within 12 months of a vote. Rosavall’s complaint alleged Desmond accepted campaign donations from several sources prior to votes on development projects in the city.“Unfortunately, it was a last-minute campaign hit,” Desmond said. “An independent Elections Council was able to determine very quickly that there was no wrongdoing and I’ve been cleared of all allegations. So, we’re going to continue full speed ahead with the campaign.”Desmond, a republican, is running against Oceanside City Councilman Jerry Kern, also a republican, and Democrats Jacqueline Arsivaud and Michelle Gomez. Many consider Desmond the frontrunner for the June 5 primary. On June 2, Desmond continued his campaign by reaching out to voters.“We are phone calling, we’ve got several people walking precincts,” Desmond said. “We’re making sure people are going to get out and vote.”A letter to Desmond from investigators dated June 1 confirmed he did not violate any ordinances. The independent Elections Council verified what Desmond and his campaign believed since the complaint was filed. John Hoy, Desmond’s campaign consultant, said on May 31 the municipal code in question does not apply to elections outside the city. The code, he added, only applies to candidates running for election in a city race, and not any other jurisdiction.Also, Hoy said Desmond’s attorney, who is also his campaign director, did not send a formal letter to the Elections Council or have any contact with investigators.“Our position is it just simple doesn’t apply to him,” he said on May 29. “That’s a City of San Marcos ordinance drafted to regulate elections in San Marcos. He’s running in the county of San Diego for supervisor under the rules of the County of San Diego. This ordinance is just not applicable in this situation.”A letter from the law firm, states the alleged violations in question are not covered in the municipal code, are barred by the statute of limitations or will be by next Tuesday (June 5) and no sufficient facts to “demonstrate probable cause.” In addition, the letter states the amount of campaign contributions apply only to municipal elections, which has been the position of Desmond and Hoy since May 29.The complaint alleged Farouk Kubba of Vista San Marcos LLC donated $800 to Desmond’s campaign on June 6, 2017, and Desmond voted for the controversial San Marcos Highlands project on Nov. 15, 2017. In addition, $650 was donated to Desmond by David Hammer and Eric Armstrong, who worked on the Brookfield project.“I’m pretty disappointed,” Rosvall said of the investigation. “I feel that these laws should be applied to all elections. It seems like no matter what you do, they’re one step ahead of you.”

Source: Desmond cleared of alleged campaign finance violations – The Coast News Group

San Marcos Mayor Hit With Campaign Finance Complaint In Bid For County Supervisor Seat | KPBS

San Marcos Mayor Hit With Campaign Finance Complaint In Bid For County Supervisor Seat Thursday, May 31, 2018 By Leo Castañeda / inewsource Six days before the June 5 election, the city of San Marcos appointed an outside attorney on Wednesday to investigate a complaint alleging Mayor Jim Desmond violated city campaign finance laws as part of his run for the county Board of Supervisors.

Realtor Ana Rosvall filed the complaint on Tuesday with the city clerk and the California Fair Political Practices Commission. She alleges Desmond received contributions too close to when six donors had development projects voted on by the City Council. San Marcos requires a 12-month gap between campaign contributions and council votes. A spokesman for Desmond, a Republican running for Supervisor Bill Horn’s open seat, said he doesn’t believe San Marcos’ campaign finance rules apply to a county race. “The rules that govern our campaign are the county of San Diego rules,” spokesman John Hoy said. “We’re quite certain that we adhere to both the spirit and the letter of the law as they apply to the county supervisor race.” Also running for Horn’s seat are Oceanside Mayor Jerry Kern, a Republican, and two Democrats, Jacqueline Arsivaud and Michelle Gomez. Rosvall said she’s been involved in campaigns to stop housing developments that required zoning changes in San Marcos and unincorporated San Diego County. She’s a Democrat and said she filed the complaint against Desmond because she and others are concerned he is overly influenced by developers. Rosvall said she is happy the city is investigating her complaint. “It’s so amazing that someone is taking us seriously and listening to us, and that it’s a process that’s working the way it’s supposed to,” she said. Campaign finance rules in San Marcos say City Council members can’t vote on an issue that financially affects someone who gave them a campaign contribution of $100 or more during the previous 12 months. Council members also can’t receive contributions of $100 or more in the 12 months after casting a vote that affects that donor. The mayor is part of the council. San Marcos City Attorney Helen Holmes Peak told inewsource Shawn Hagerty, an attorney with Best Best & Krieger, has been hired to investigate Rosvall’s complaint. Hagerty specializes in municipal and water law and is Santee’s city attorney, according to his law firm’s website. The donors listed in the complaint include San Marcos Highlands developer Farouk Kubba. The council approved his project to build 169 single-family homes in November 2016. Kubba contributed $800 to Desmond’s supervisor campaign seven months later in June 2017. Three others working on the project also contributed a total of $1,350 to Desmond’s campaign. Two other donors who had worked on the Brookfield Residential project to build 220 condominiums in San Marcos contributed a total of $650 to Desmond’s campaign. The City Council approved the project in January.

Source: San Marcos Mayor Hit With Campaign Finance Complaint In Bid For County Supervisor Seat | KPBS

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