Here is an email interview with Eric Flodine 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?
Community. Education. Experience.
I am a San Elijo Hills resident. My family has lived in SEH for nearly 12 years. My wife began her teaching career at SEES. My children both attended SEES K-5, and now I have an 8th grader at SEMS and an 11th grader at SMHS. We have donated our time and resources to the SEES PTO, SEES Country Fair, Hops in The Hills, SEMS PTO, Double Peak Challenge, local HOA board, and more. We shop here, we eat here, we hike the trails here, even our dentist is here. My father moved to SEH a couple years ago. That means there are 3 generations of my family that live in SEH. We love being residents of SEH and San Marcos and feel truly blessed at the friends and neighbors we have made over the years. So, we understand firsthand the perspectives that our neighbors have.
Education is very important in our home. I earned a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from Cal Poly SLO and Master of City Planning from Cal Poly Pomona. I earned a Leadership Certificate from CSU San Marcos. My wife is an amazing elementary teacher in San Marcos with a Master’s Degree and a bilingual teaching credential.
For my civic experience, I have served on the City’s Planning Commission for 7 years, including 4 years as Chairman. Prior to that I served 2 years on the City’s General Plan Advisory Committee. So, for 9 consecutive years I have served the City, and have a solid understanding of our City’s process. My professional experience includes over 21 years as a Community Planner. Planning for the future of communities is what I do every day. I understand the levers to push and pull to achieve desired results. I look forward to engaging with local residents and businesses at the beginning of a project application, not at the end. As a Planner, I am PROACTIVE, and this is what the City Council needs in discussions on future decisions.
How can the council/mayor help address cut through traffic and school traffic in San Elijo Hills?
As a 12 year resident of SEH, I have lived here since before San Elijo Road / Twin Oaks Valley Road connected towards Highway 78. This connection was important for access to the rest of San Marcos, and for fire evacuation, but it also opened up the heart of our community to pass through traffic looking for a “short cut” from the constant logjam of Highway 78. The majority of our constant traffic issues are from cut through trips. To reduce this, we must pressure Caltrans and the regional agency (SANDAG) to complete the improvements of Highway 78 from Hwy 15 to Hwy 5. This will happen with collaboration with the adjacent cities, and with state influence by our state elected officials. I have the experience to push this through.
Every city has traffic jams around school zones during morning and afternoon times. We need to ensure safe routes to school to promote more students walking/biking/scootering to school. One idea I have heard from residents is to coordinate with the Senior Volunteer Program of the Sheriff’s Department to be present at intervals/crossroads along major routes to provide safety for the kids. I know I would feel more comfortable allowing my SEMS student to walk if there were going to be friendly officers along the way. Another idea that was shared with me has been through coordinated vanpools and/or neighborhood carpool sign ups. (I personally take 2-3 kids to SEMS every day). Busing should also be reconsidered in partnersjip with the School District. [I would love to hear other suggestions that we can analyze together.]
What is your position on future housing and commercial development around San Elijo Hills?
There are not many vacant private properties remaining around SEH for future projects. I will be sure that future housing and commercial developments around SEH must provide public benefits for the existing community. We have a wonderful community that future residents will utilize the amenities of, so in return, a future community must also provide benefits to existing residents and businesses. This will expand the amenities for the entire region, which is a positive for our community image and quality of life.
How can you work with San Marcos Unified School District to solve school crowding?
This topic is one of the main reasons I am running for City Council now. I heard loud and clear the frustrations from parents on school crowding (remember I have been a parent of SEES, SEMS, SMHS kids for over 11 years). The coordination between the School District and the City must be PROACTIVE; unfortunately, this has not been the case. There has been so much finger pointing over the last couple years (which really heated up during this campaign season). With my education and local experience, I can tell you the reality of the situation. The School District has had the information needed to project student generation throughout the City, and with this information could estimate the number of new schools, expanded schools, or portables needed to accommodate the City’s growing student population. Cities around San Marcos have shrinking student populations; we have a growing student population. The City General Plan estimates the amount of future homes and businesses throughout the City. The School District can use this information for its school needs assessment. The student population grew noticeably before the approval of recent projects that have become campaign fodder. This means the student increases have largely come from existing homes (i.e. growing families). However, fully understanding that General Plan Amendments are sometimes proposed, and that this impacts school planning, I do have a recommendation for the City Council to consider, and will champion this if elected. If an applicant proposes an increase in the number of homes currently allowed by the General Plan, or proposes a change from non-residential (i.e. commercial, office, etc.) to residential, then that project must pay 100% of the required school fees before 50% of the homes are built. This would result in the school district receiving millions of dollars in advance of the homes being built, and the new students attending the local schools. The school district should then use these funds to provide new schools or expanded schools as they determine best.
What are your goals to improve the quality of life in San Marcos-(events, parks, trails)?
As I mentioned earlier, my family has donated our time and resources to the SEES PTO, SEES Country Fair, Hops in The Hills, Double Peak Challenge, local HOA board, and more. We shop here, we eat here, we hike the trails here. I am also a member of the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce, and volunteer with the Boys and Girls Club and San Marcos Promise. Being involved in our community, our City quality of life is important to me. I will continue to be involved, and will collaborate with, and support the City Park and Recreation Department, Friends of San Marcos Park and Recreation, San Marcos Chamber of Commerce, School events, and the other local organizations that put on these amazing community events. These create a strong community where neighbors care for neighbors and shop locally supporting local businesses.
If elected what are the top 3 issues you would focus on for San Elijo Hills?
- Traffic Reduction. This includes:
- Collaborate with Regional Transportation and Transit Agencies for Traffic Congestion Reductions; b) Ensure New Developments Reduce Traffic Impacts on Adjacent Neighborhoods; c) Increase Bikeways and Pedestrian Routes Connectivity and Safety throughout the City
- Youth Enrichment. This includes:
- Proactively Collaborate with SMUSD, Palomar College, CSUSM and Private Universities on Future Growth; b) Ensure Safe Routes to School for Students and Parents; c) Support Youth-Focused Organizations throughout the City
- Youth Enrichment. This includes:
- San Marcos Advanced Fire Evacuation Systems (SAFES).
When our neighborhood evacuated in 2007 and 2014 due to oncoming wildfires, this was a scary experience for my children and your families also if you lived here then. The brave men and women of the fire department and sheriff department, saved our communities from danger. We are eternally grateful for these heroes. Unfortunately, what thousands of concerned neighbors experienced was extreme chaos when it was time to jump in cars and evacuate our homes. These personal experiences drove me to want to work with our public safety and city staff to significantly improve evacuation systems and procedures for when the next large fire occurs. This is why evacuation planning is part of my C.I.T.Y. platform. When elected to City Council, I will advocate for San Marcos Advanced Fire Evacuation Systems (SAFES). In short, the people of San Marcos should be clear about evacuation routes in advance of the firestorm. SAFES would include maps, defined routes, road closure info, custom app, and more, all understood before the need is there. Additional routes are also needed in specific areas of the City, and I will focus on this also. Speaking with public safety officials and city staff, I believe there is a way to plan better for a coordinated effort on evacuations, and communicate effectively with our City residents. We are fortunate to have trained experts among us that I will work with and be sure they have the resources to implement the SAFES program. I look forward to coordinating with City residents, City Staff, Sheriff Department and Fire Department to continue to make San Marcos a safe place to live.
Thank you for taking the time to read these brief responses to complex questions. Please visit my website for my personal contact information www.Flodine2018.us if you would like to discuss anything further.
Let’s work together proactively for the bright future of San Marcos.
Please VOTE for ERIC FLODINE for SAN MARCOS CITY COUNCIL.