Tag Archives: 2018 election

‘Dark money’ pushing thumb on council races – The Coast News Group

Thousands of dollars of so-called “dark money” is emerging as a major factor in city council races in a pair of North County cities. In Encinitas and San Marcos, two cities where stakes are high in their respective council races, political action committees have pumped thousands into candidates.

SAN MARCOS-The Deputy Sheriffs Association PAC has received thousands from developers and the Building Industry Association of San Diego and has spent a corresponding amount on candidates throughout the county, almost exclusively on Republican or conservative candidates.

One of the races where the Deputy Sheriffs Association and Building Industry Association’s influence has been most heavily felt is San Marcos, where the PAC has spent thousands in mailers and campaign signs in favor of Rebecca Jones for mayor and council candidates Mike Sannella and Craig Garcia.

Many of the same individual contributors who have contributed to the Building Industry Association’s PAC and the Deputy Sheriffs committee have also contributed to an Irvine-based PAC called the California Taxpayers Coalition, which according to records has spent $10,500 in printing and mailing costs against one of Sannella’s opponents, Randy Walton.

San Marcos Vice Mayor and mayoral candidate Rebecca Jones returned a $250 campaign contribution from a developer behind a 14.4-acre development proposal. Courtesy photo/Facebook

One of the largest contributors to the Taxpayers Coalition is Diversified Projects, Inc., which has contributed $12,5000 to the committee. The Laguna Beach-based company was behind the controversial San Marcos Highlands project. Walton has aligned himself with Chris Orlando, current councilman and mayoral candidate, the lone council member to vote against the Highlands project.

One of the other major contributors is Lance Waite, who is developer behind the Sunshine Gardens project, a 193-unit multi-family project on 14.4-acres near San Marcos’ southeastern city limits that is currently being processed by the city.

Waite contributed $5,000 to each the Taxpayers Coalition and the Deputy Sheriffs PAC. Jones returned a $250 contribution Waite made to her campaign this year. 

San Marcos bars developers from contributing to campaigns within 12 months of a council vote.

Walton, a registered Democrat, said the race has gotten ugly as a result of the mailers paid for, and said developers are actively trying to deceive voters by funneling money into committees that appear to be advocating for taxpayers or law enforcement.

“It’s an outright effort to deceive voters, by putting out mailers saying that something is ‘law enforcement’s choice,’ when in reality, it’s thousands of dollars from developers and the building industry,” Walton said. “Most voters don’t know to look at the campaign finance forms and see who is behind some of these committees.

“And on the other side, there isn’t a group of citizens forming PACs, so there is no countervailing weight and it’s kind of an unfair advantage to the candidates who benefit from them,” Walton said.

“San Marcos has very strict limits on contributions to candidates of just $250,” Jones said in an email to The Coast News. “At that level, it would be difficult for anyone to influence an elected official in our city. As for independent expenditures, they are just that — independent. I have no ability to control their activities and am legally prohibited from doing so.”

The third candidates in the mayor’s and Dist. 2 races, Bradley Zink and Eric Flodine, respectively, have not been the target of any independent expenditures, nor have any been raised on their behalf.

Kousser said that the pattern of developers who otherwise would not be able to contribute to the campaigns due to the city laws contributing even more money through the PACs raises ethical concerns from the donor, not the recipient.

“I would say that the pattern and timing of the donations shows a clear circumvention of the goal of the campaign finance limits,” Kousser said. “But there’s no proof that the candidate is influenced by these contributions. So while it’s not an ethical violation on behalf of the candidate, it looks like a donor is clearly trying to have the same effect on the election and make the same contribution through a different route.”

READ MORE VIA Source: ‘Dark money’ pushing thumb on council races – The Coast News Group

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2018 San Marcos Campaign Statements

2018 San Marcos Election Campaign Statements
Residents of San Marcos can study and read about campaign donations from individuals and PACs in past and current elections and 2020 election.

San Elijo Life email Interview with Rebecca Jones Candidate for Mayor of San Marcos

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

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

I first moved to San Marcos in 1987, I’ve raised my kids in San Marcos, I’m so blessed to call this my home. I was a community activist prior to joining the council in January of 2007. I didn’t agree with the city council at the time over a few land use decisions that I felt would have changed the character of the community. I was encouraged by two councilmembers at that time, one Democrat and one Republican, that my love for the city would make me a great leader. They both still encourage me today. 

I’m running for Mayor because I love this city! I will work diligently to provide traffic solutions, Community safety, and thoughtful growth. I regularly serve in many capacities as a volunteer. I recently had a San Elijo resident tell me that he is supporting me because “I’m the People’s Mayor”, I roll up my sleeves regularly because I care and serve. I feel strongly that as a leader you should lead by example. I feel it is especially important to teach our kids to serve others and give back to their community. My philosophy is don’t just say what you want to do, actually do it.  I want our children to grow and come back to our city.  In order for our city to have longevity I believe that Traffic solutions, safety, education, and thoughtful growth with affordable housing are imperative.

I have served the youth of the community, for over 15 years, through the Boys & Girls Club and am a current Advisory Board Member. I am also a member of the San Marcos Promise Board. I am supportive of the San Diego County Sheriff Department’s RESPECT Program, a gang intervention program for “at risk” youth. Before joining the San Marcos City Council, I petitioned the City to provide Megan’s Law information to residents (prior to this info being available to the public online) and worked to develop an ordinance to strengthen Jessica’s Law.  When dangerous synthetic drugs were emerging, I was the councilmember that created, with city staff, an ordinance that prohibited these drugs.  Along with that effort, I pushed for tougher enforcement of the laws, preventing the sale of smoking materials to minors.  I crafted an ordinance to stop these sales and in 2016 was awarded the Excellence in Prevention Advocacy Award by the Red Ribbon Commission. These are some of the reasons that the Deputy Sheriffs’ Association have endorsed me to be the next Mayor of San Marcos. 

Our San Marcos Firefighters are top notch, I am very supportive of their efforts, making sure they are provided with the best training and equipment available.   Under my leadership we have built the San Elijo Hills Fire Station, invested in several new firetrucks and ambulances, and enacted “boundary drop”. This is a collaborative effort with surrounding districts that ensures the best service using the closest emergency vehicles and personnel to respond to any emergency. This is important to San Elijo since Carlsbad has a station just outside the entrance to San Elijo Hills.  The “boundry drop” enables either station to respond to San Elijo emergencies, which is like having two stations in the community. I served on the North County Fire Dispatch Joint Powers Authority for 6 years including as chair. 

I have been an advocate for small businesses in San Marcos.  I routinely meet with small businesses to better understand the constraints they face when growing or opening a business in the city.  When the Bellows was having issues with red tape I stepped in to help bring about a resolution enabling them to open on time.   Our small businesses need community support to thrive, and when they thrive so does our city; that is why I will always work tirelessly to support local business. I worked with the development partners of the San Elijo Town Center to bring in small businesses and I believe it is important to frequent locally owned businesses. I’m excited to say that a supporter of mine will soon be opening Sourdough & Co. in the town center!  I enjoy meeting residents at locally owned coffee shops or restaurants to help support our small business community.  I am the only council member that has voted against the congestion management tax on new businesses that are moving into a location that previously had a business, or for businesses that are moving within our city limits.  

This allows new business to come to San Marcos and established businesses to stay here. I always have voted to require developers to pay this congestion tax for new development. 

Collaboration is key to success, which is why having the support of 2 of my colleagues for Mayor is so important. I also have the support of many Mayors countywide in order for us to receive State and Federal Dollars; San Marcos Mayor Jim Desmond and our SANDAG representative must work collaboratively with others on boards like SANDAG to bring improvements to the 78.

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

I have spent over a year working to find ways to ease traffic congestion. We cannot just build new lanes through San Elijo, there isn’t the room.  As surrounding communities continue to grow and workforce housing is pushed further north to Riverside, we will always continue to struggle with this challenge, it’s been an issue since I first moved here in the late 80’s. What I have learned is that while our technology is supposed to synchronize, it is antiquated technology and the newer technology is 3 steps above what we currently have. The latest technology is artificial intelligence (smart lights) and doesn’t require processing through normal sequences like traditional lights.  I’m so excited to see how these dynamic sequencing lights will work in San Elijo!  There are many studies and examples of this successful program locally and nationally. Carlsbad and Chula Vista have just voted to bring this technology citywide. This technology talks to each other across city boundaries. I am also working with Council Candidate for District 2 on a concept, called SMARTS, that will also bring traffic relief through school buses. This program will be partially funded by congestion management funds.  I recently met with current Mayoral candidate Brad Zink and put politics aside to discuss collaborative opportunities to get the SMARTS school bus program funded.

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

 I believe that all development must pay for its portion impacts – this includes schools, traffic mitigation, as well as park fees. Earlier this year I asked the council to pause the Creek District Specific Plan because the amount of housing seems too dense based on infrastructure needs and the loss of redevelopment. This pause is not a pause on the bridges at Via Vera Cruz and Bent or the widening of Discovery, those projects will move forward. This was a difficult decision for me personally, as I was on the last task force in 2005, and then approved the plan as a city councilmember. This project is also incorporated into our general plan and though it is not adjacent to San Elijo, it will bring more homes to our city. This general plan, that I mention, is a plan both my opponent and I approved in 2012, which includes nearly 11,000 more homes. 

The past 2017-18 legislative session the State has passed approximately 17 new bills that regulate housing and development, many of these bills bring penalties if we ignore State law to deny projects that comply with our 2012 general plan. The Housing Accountability Act (SB167, AB678 and AB1515) states that a city cannot deny a project or reduce the density of a project (for both affordable and market rate housing) if it complies with the general plan, without a preponderance of evidence. One of the criteria it must meet to be denied is an adverse impact on health/safety. In essence, the State wants housing built and if we attempt to ignore state law we will be taken to court with litigation fees and fined $10,000+ per unit just to be forced to approve the project anyway. 

I’m transparent, I will follow the law and not incur unnecessary fees and litigation costs only to ultimately be forced to approve a project.  I am working hard to balance the wishes of our residents and these mandated state laws.   I have the courage to stand up to developers to pay for extra infrastructure.  I have been and will continue to be transparent about our General Plan and Laws that affect local control.

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

I have met monthly with one school board member for the past year discussing strategies of how to better work together. I will no longer dwell on past shortcomings with further finger pointing, I want to move forward together with solutions collaboratively. San Marcos Unified has done an excellent job of educating our children, this is a fact. When the city council and school board met in 2017, SMUSD told us they needed 12 new schools, which seemed excessive (they now are telling us they will need 3).  It became obvious the school district needed assistance, so I immediately contacted real estate agents, community members and former City Manager Rick Gittings to work on locating new school sites or current sites that could be built quickly. This group worked together and provided the district with a list of over a dozen sites district wide in 2017. To date the city has sold one piece of land, on Twin Oaks Valley, for a school.  I know that under my leadership we will be able to work more closely with the district and experts in the field to come up with more solutions. The BIA is currently suing the District over what they deem excessive fees and in September I wrote a letter to the BIA asking them to give the district an extension of the time required, in the suit, to continue negotiations with SMUSD in an effort to find a resolution on school fees (they agreed). My understanding is that there is a disconnect in information sharing, and believe that collaborative efforts will bring resolution.  I am a leader who works with others to accomplish what we all want- a great place to call home, educate our children, and create a life that is exceptional.

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

I brought forward the county initiative to support us becoming a Live Well San Diego city.  Live Well San Diego is the County of San Diego’s vision for a region that is Building Better Health, Living Safely and Thriving. It aligns the efforts of individuals, organizations and government to help all 3.3 million San Diego County residents live well. I take this to heart in every decision, since joining the council we have built or rebuilt 12 parks and have grown our trail network to over 60 miles. I am working with partners on several entertainment ideas that I believe will significantly improve our quality of life. This is one of the areas that I see we can collaborate with San Marcos Unified, CSUSM, and Palomar College to bring music entertainment to the community. I love hearing ideas from our community on how San Marcos can be improved and figuring out how to turn these ideas into action. When a member of the community came to me with the idea about the National Fitness Campaign Fitness Court I was thrilled to see how many residents from San Elijo Hills could use this and what an asset it would be. I love being healthy and this fits right into my Live Well San Diego initiative. I can’t wait to see this actually built. I’d like to see this same concept built throughout the city with San Elijo leading the way. 

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

My top focus is the quality of life for our community. This will require traffic solutions that will include implementing my SMARTs program and the dynamic sequencing lights.  I’m a leader that does my homework, coupled with the tenacity to follow through with implementation.  I’m excited to bring this technology to San Marcos and specifically San Elijo Hills to improve our quality of life.   

I will continue to make sure we are safe and remain the safest city in North San Diego County. I’ve served on the board and as Chair of the SANDAG Public Safety Committee. This experience along with my support of the RESPECT project, and my Prevention Policies are some of the reasons why the San Diego County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association supports me as the next Mayor of San Marcos. When our Captain approached us in June asking the council to approve another school resource officer I quickly agreed because the safety of our kids is a priority. I’m proud to have always supported the city’s funding the SRO program, when the district unable.  I will always support this program at the level that our expert, the Sheriff’s Captain, asks us to because our kids should feel safe at school. I will continue supporting our Fire Department and the Boundary Drop program which translates into a higher level of service for San Elijo Hills. 

 I will continue working to bring entertainment venues to San Marcos and will focus on the Rancho Tesoro Park because I know the field space for our kids is limited. My daughter played soccer for many years in San Elijo so I know first-hand how many of our youth depend on sports to keep them healthy and fit and how limited our field space is with such incredible participation. I also want to make sure the National Fitness Campaign Fitness Court is built. I will work hard to make sure we continue to provide park space so we can keep our nickname “San Parkos”.

As Mayor, I will continue to have transparent discussions and will continue to bring solutions to the table that include implementation of plans. I have the experience and support of other local elected officials to secure funding for regional improvements like the 78. This election is our first district election with district’s One and Two being voted on this year and Three and Four in 2020.   The role of Mayor is vital in bringing district representatives and community members to the table to make decisions that benefit the entire city. For any one member of the council to get their agenda passed, it takes collaboration and support from other members of the city council. I have the experience and record of doing just this, I have two members of the council and many city commissioners supporting me because they believe in my leadership and know that I care about our community.  I am always ready to serve.  I’m accessible and have always included my personal contact information on my campaign materials. I’m grateful for your vote and I am looking forward to serving you for the next 4 years as your Mayor.

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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. Please search our site to read interviews.

San Elijo Life email Interview with Chris Orlando Candidate for Mayor of San Marcos

Here is an email interview with Chris Orlando who is running for Mayor of San Marcos. 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? 

As a 16-year resident of San Marcos and the San Elijo Hills community (Promontory Ridge), I am running for mayor of San Marcos to ensure that the residents’ voice is always the most important voice at city hall.  

As a resident of this community and during my 12 years on city council I have worked to enhance and protect the quality of life in San Elijo Hills. I first became involved in local government by working to get the fire station at the top of San Elijo Road built and by standing with residents who opposed and helped defeat a second Walmart at the corner of Melrose and Rancho Santa Fe.   

Once elected to city council in 2006, I continued to work for the San Elijo community. One of my first accomplishments on city council was to get the stop sign installed at Questhaven and Hollowbrook/Brightwood, making that intersection safer for kids walking to school. When the newly opened Chevron was painted an awful turquoise color (yeah, that’s right, it was turquoise), I worked with the developer and the city to have it repainted. 

When progress on the Town Center lagged, I met with the developer dozens of times to urge them to build. That effort helped get the first phase (the east side where Shane’s and Vine & Tap are located) built sooner. As the middle portion of the Town Center stalled, I was in continual communication with the developer and the city to re-craft the development plan to something that would bring much needed amenities to San Elijo. As with the rest of the community, I was very happy to see it open this year.  

Because school safety is incredibly important, I was very thankful that the council approved my request in this year’s budget to work with SMUSD to fund an additional school resource officer (SRO). The new SRO will be stationed at San Elijo Middle School and help improve the safety of students throughout San Marcos.

There’s still more to do. The truth is, San Elijo faces significant development pressure from nearly every direction. As the only candidate for mayor to vote against projects that negatively impact our community, I will continue to fight for our quality of life. 

As mayor, I’ll take a resident-first approach to every decision – putting what’s best for residents before everything else. My agenda will be to implement solutions to our traffic problems, enhance parks and trails, and protect our neighborhoods by only supporting developments that bring needed infrastructure or amenities. I’ll take concrete steps to ensure the city’s budget remains balanced, actively promote economic development to attract and retain businesses, and support our fire and public safety personnel. 

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

Both of our sons have attended San Marcos schools since kindergarten (SEES, SEMS, and SMHS – our youngest is a junior at SMHS and our oldest graduated from SMHS in June), so I understand the school traffic issue first-hand. As a longtime resident of this community, I also know cut-through traffic is only getting worse. These are significant concerns in San Elijo, but also symptoms of our city-wide traffic issues. 

To address traffic congestion, we must first stop adding to the problem. That’s why I voted against projects that will add cars to our crowded roads without bringing new infrastructure. As mayor, I’ll take an infrastructure-first approach to new development to make sure we have the roads to support our growth. 

Second, we need to work collaboratively with the school district to find solutions to help minimize the impact on residents. There will always be some traffic at school sites at peak times, but I’ve been a leader on the council in urging the city to create a more productive dialogue with the school district so that we can address these issues together.  

Finally, we need to develop more transportation options in San Marcos. That’s why I supported and helped pass a Congestion Management measure that requires developers of large projects to contribute to a fund that supports transportation improvements. The first project supported by the fund will be a walking bridge over Barham, connecting the North City development and Cal State. It will give students another way to get to campus, taking pedestrians out of traffic, easing a bottleneck, and making that intersection safer.

My opponent opposed and has repeatedly voted against this Congestion Management measure yet is now suggesting it be used to help bring back school busing. A report presented by the school district says it will cost $3.8 million to re-start busing and $4.5 million annually to operate district transportation. The Congestion Management Fund currently has only about $500,000 available. But cost is not the only factor in the school transportation conversation. It is highly regulated by the State, in terms of being equitable to all, as Randy Walton has said. This is obviously a complex issue.

Unfunded, unrealistic and incomplete proposals won’t solve our traffic problems. We need real solutions, like completing key road projects and only approving new development that brings needed infrastructure.    

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

I stood with the San Elijo Hills and Discovery Hills residents who opposed the Brookfield MU4 project on Twin Oaks Valley Road. I was the only councilmember and only mayoral candidate to vote against the new development which will add to traffic congestion, increase how long it takes to get from the top of San Elijo Road to the 78, and make school crowding worse. I believe we need to be very careful about any future development that will push more traffic through the San Elijo community. 

The question is not “Is development good or is development bad.” As a city we are going to grow. The question is how we’re going to grow. Do we approve every project that comes through, or do we take a more thoughtful, incremental approach –  working hard to make sure the projects that come forward benefit our communities and our businesses? 

As mayor, I’ll ask the hard questions about new development and make sure only projects that bring new infrastructure or other benefits to the city are approved.

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

I was the first councilmember to raise concerns about school crowding and I have been the strongest voice for working collaboratively with the school district. With a junior at SMHS, I see and hear first-hand about crowded parking lots, hallways and classrooms. As mayor, I will continue to work in partnership with SMUSD to help address school capacity issues.  

Our student population in San Marcos has grown from 12,800 in 2001 to more than 20,000 today. To keep pace with this growth and add capacity, the school district has built, rebuilt or remodeled 10 schools since 2004. Even with these additions, we need new schools in San Marcos. As mayor, I will actively work with the school district to ensure the city does all it can to help them locate and build additional schools.

But it will take more than the city and the school district working together. Despite saying they wanted to be a partner in addressing the problem, the Building Industry Association, which is actively supporting pro-growth candidates in this election, is suing the school district. Developers argue that asking them to do more to support new school construction is “unjustified and grossly excessive.”

I’ve called on the developers to drop their lawsuit and to work with the city and the school district to address the problem. Any candidate for mayor or city council in San Marcos who is serious about helping our schools should do the same. 

Our highly regarded schools are critical to keeping San Marcos a thriving city. The city needs to work collaboratively with the school district and the development community to address our school capacity issues.

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

In my time on city council I have been a strong advocate for improving our parks and trails and doing more to enhance our quality of life. As mayor I will continue that work.  

I have been working for years to get South Lake Park opened, so kids can (legally 🙂 fish there. I have engaged community members to hear their ideas to enhance San Elijo Park by bringing new amenities to underutilized areas of the park. I encouraged the city to create a fitness event which became the Double Peak Challenge. And I was the strongest voice on the Council pushing for the completion of the Town Center, meeting the developer dozens of times to express the concerns of the residents about the lack of progress. 

We enjoy a high quality of life here in San Elijo Hills and I will work hard to maintain that.

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

As mayor of San Marcos, I will focus on several priorities for the entire city. The top 3 issues that impact San Elijo Hills are: 

  1. Take a common-sense, incremental approach to new development and reduce traffic – I am the only candidate to vote against projects that will add traffic to our roads and increase crowding in our classrooms, without adding to our infrastructure. As mayor, I will push for an update of critical parts of our General Plan. I voted for and consistently supported a congestion management program that requires developers of large projects to offset their traffic impacts by supporting transportation options. My agenda includes implementing new transportation solutions and making sure we grow in a way that doesn’t make our traffic problems worse.  
  1. Keep our Community Safe – Throughout my time on the city council, I have been a strong supporter of our fire and sheriff professionals. I will continue that as mayor and ensure they have the resources they need to keep our city safe. We will face another fire event like the 2014 Cocos Fire. I will make sure the city continues to be prepared and takes appropriate measures to protect our community.  
  1. Protect our parks, trails and open space – I supported and helped pass our Ridgeline Protection Ordinance and have been a strong voice for our parks. I will continue that support as mayor, and seek to continually expand our parks, trails and open space. 

As mayor, I will work to achieve these objectives by having an honest conversation with residents about how we’re going to grow as a city, what the impacts of that growth will be, and how we will manage those impacts to maintain our quality of life. 

I believe I am the only candidate for mayor who will stand with residents and protect our quality of life.  That’s what I have done in my 12 years on city council and that is exactly what I will do if elected as your next mayor.  I appreciate your support and your vote in this election.

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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. Please search our site to read interviews.

San Elijo Life Email Interview with Eric Flodine Candidate for San Marcos City Council District 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Community

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 

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.

Experience

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?

  1. Traffic Reduction.  This includes: 
    1. 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
    1. Youth Enrichment.  This includes:
      1. 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
    1. 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.

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.

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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