Last July, the City of San Marcos and the San Marcos Unified School District established the Joint Task Force on School Development (Task Force) to formally partner in planning for the future of San Marcos schools.
With a decade’s long history of supporting one another, the city and district serve the community of San Marcos together and their destinies are intertwined.
While growth presents challenges, it also brings energy to the community and strengthens the local economy. Growth has been instrumental in supporting a robust School District and is a key component in providing funds to build future schools.
The recently established Task Force is focused on sharing information with their respective elected bodies and the public, identifying possible locations for school sites, and planning for the future.
Already, the Task Force has taken numerous steps to understand school needs and growth trends, and to come up with solutions for the current challenges:
Data Sharing & Growth Projections: While the district regularly collects data regarding growth trends, the Task Force has further examined information on the City General Plan – a 20+ year long term planning document –and data regarding actual build out.By analyzing current and anticipated residential growth, the School District is better able to determine its needs to increase capacity at school sites and to locate and purchase land for new school sites.
Exploring Options for Schools: The Task Force continues to review options for addressing increasing student enrollment across the city.Options include ways to optimize existing schools to handle current and projected demand, and ways to increase resources for school infrastructure.
School Site Search: A focus of the Task Force has been to identify possible sites for new schools.The district is in the initial phases of exploring several potential sites.
The San Marcos City Council early next year will consider whether to approve a six-story hotel proposed near the Nordahl exit of State Route 78.The project would be located at the southwest of Montiel Road and Leora Lane, near UEI College and Turner’s Outdoorsman, according to a staff report to the planning commission.The commission recommended approval of the project on a 4-3 vote on Dec. 4.The hotel would offer 128 guest rooms, a cafe, fitness room and indoor pool, and would incorporate architectural features such as colored glass and metal fins. It would also include a partially underground parking structure with 141 parking spaces. Although the site near the Nordahl offramp of Route 78 near Costco and Walmart receives frequent commercial traffic, the hotel plan would not significantly affect traffic, so it would not require any road or highway improvements, according to San Marcos spokeswoman Sarah MacDonald.
SAN MARCOS — The city of San Marcos will become the second North County city to elect its council members by electoral districts rather than in citywide elections.The San Marcos City Council voted last week to change its election system after receiving a litigation threat last year that alleged the city’s at-large voting system discriminated against Latino voters.The changes will take effect for the 2018 election, when three of the council seats are up for election.The council’s unanimous vote was made reluctantly, as several of the council members said they were concerned that the change could prove to politically divide the community.San Marcos received a litigation threat in December 2015 from a Malibu-based law firm that said the city’s at-large system “dilutes the ability of … Latinos… to elect the candidate of their choice or otherwise influence the outcome of San Marcos’ council elections.”According to the letter, San Marcos, which is 37 percent Latino, had not elected a minority council member in 22 years.The city’s most recent election in 2014 was cancelled after no candidates emerged to challenge the incumbents. This year, two challengers emerged against the two incumbents, Rebecca Jones and Sharon Jenkins.The new voting districts include one that has 70 percent Latino population, largely centered around the Richmar community in central San Marcos.The other three districts have much smaller Latino populations.San Marcos officials also approved their preferred district map, which splits the city into four voting districts. The fifth seat on the council, the mayor, will still be voted at large.The boundaries of the four districts are roughly as follows:• District 1, which includes Richmar, stretches west to Poinsettia Avenue, east to Woodland Parkway, north to Borden Road and South to the 78 Freeway.• District 2 includes the neighborhoods of San Elijo Hills and Discovery Hills and extends west to White Sands Drive, east to Questhaven Hills, south to the southern tip of San Elijo Hills and north to San Marcos Creek.• District 3 includes much of the Creekside District, Cal State San Marcos and the Heart of the City District and extends east to the Nordahl Marketplace, west to Rancho Santa Fe Road, south to the southern tip of the university’s sphere of influence and north to the 78 freeway.• District 4 includes Palomar College and Santa Fe Hills and is generally the rest of the city north of Borden Road and Santa Fe Road to the west.Each district represents roughly 8,000 voters.Districts 1 and 2 will be decided in 2018; districts 3 and 4 will follow in 2020.
The next General Municipal Election is scheduled for Tuesday, November 4, 2014 for the expiring terms of Mayor Jim Desmond, Councilmember Kristal Jabara, and Councilmember Chris Orlando.San Marcos City Council will hold a special meeting August 20th, at 1:00 pm. to consider canceling the November election and appointing of incumbent candidates for four year terms, because no other candidates have signed up to run for election.
The City has a deadline set by the Registrar of Voters of August 21 to tell them whether or not they are going to hold an election.
Write-in candidates have from 9/8 – 10/21 to file as a write in candidate, City Council could vote tomorrow to eliminate that possibility.
The San Marcos City Council and the Vallecitos Water District (VWD) Board of Directors will convene a joint public meeting on Thursday, Oct. 3 at 6 pm in an effort to work cooperatively on issues that affect San Marcos residents and businesses. The meeting will be held at the District’s office, 201 Vallecitos de Oro in San Marcos.
This is the first joint meeting of the two agencies in recent history, and will address mutually important topics like landscape and irrigation system design, water efficiency standards, storm and landscape runoff, new development standards and conservation outreach.
“So much of our work is intertwined with one another that it makes sense to get together and collaborate on high-level policy issues,” explained San Marcos Mayor Jim Desmond.
The meeting is open to the public and will be recorded for re-broadcast at a later date on San Marcos Community Television.
Here is an interview with Michael Hansen who is running for San Marcos City Council. San Elijo Life has invited all candidates for Council the answer the same set of email questions.
Why should the residents in San Elijo Hills vote for you?
San Elijo Hills, and all of San Marcos, has a unique opportunity to prosper in a wounded economy. As a taxpayer advocate, I promise to protect homeowners and small business from excessive government interference. By holding true to my principles of liberty and fiscal conservatism, San Marcos residents will always know where I stand. I commit myself to being an honest and passionate voice for all residents of San Marcos.
How can you help solve school crowding issues in San Elijo Hills?
Unfortunately, there is no magic wand for this issue. School overcrowding is a problem that not only effects student’s quality of education, but also limits the positive impact teachers have on student’s lives. As classroom and student populations increase, teachers have limited ability to ensure individuals’ understanding of the curriculum. This is a challenge that falls before the entire country.
Like many school districts, San Marcos Unified faces a mountain of fiscal challenges which often burdens children’s quality of education. As a candidate for City Council, it would be dishonest of me to promise action where I have no jurisdiction. San Marcos School Board determines their own fiscal policy and direction. If elected to Council I would encourage joint meetings with the District and put pressure on issues affecting the prosperity of our City.
As a Councilmember, I would advocate policy that promotes a sound quality of life and financial security. Issues such as infrastructure, traffic congestion and inadequate parking all must be addressed and mitigated. Currently sitting on the Traffic & Safety Commission, I understand how prevalent these challenges are around schools and the impact they have on the neighborhood. I believe that these problems are not only detrimental to children’s quality of education but to San Marcos’ future.
How can the council help address aggressive cut through traffic and school traffic in San Elijo Hills?
Until serving on the Traffic & Safety Commission (TSC) for the last few years I did not understand how severe this issue was for San Elijo Hills. I can think of few people who enjoy their neighborhood being treated as a “short cut.” With the connecting of Twin Oaks Valley Rd and San Elijo Rd, there have been many concerns with the impact on comfort and safety. While I understand there is no easy answer to this problem, I will work with residents and community leaders to find viable solutions.
School traffic is an ongoing issue that makes up most of our City’s traffic problems. On the TSC I have faced several challenges regarding school traffic and problematic student “drop-off.” We need to partner with the School District and residents in finding solutions to these issues surrounding schools. As I have demonstrated in voting with San Elijo homeowners off Brightwood dr regarding student “drop-off,” I will always stand with the homeowner.
How can the city of San Marcos work with San Elijo Development to complete the San Elijo Hills Town Center?
As the economy struggles to recover, the city must look to partner with developers and business to find viable paths to success. I believe that the Council should advocate for a more attractive relationship between business and government. By examining the city’s permitting fees and requirements for fairness and feasibility we can alleviate one of business’s more controllable burdens. If San Elijo and the rest of San Marcos is to prosper, we must send a clear and positive message to those wishing to come here to create jobs.
What are your goals to improve the quality of life in San Marcos, such as events, parks, and trails?
As the council has discussed over the years, San Marcos is in need of a signature event. I would like to see the city council (with the Chamber) advocate for more city-wide events, which will not only benefit local business but help foster a stronger sense of community and identity. Parks and trails are essential to maintaining an esthetically pleasing backdrop for San Marcos and increase potential residents’ desire to move here.
Being a passionate outdoorsman, I am proud to live in a City that promotes trails and the protection of the “Ridgeline.” Like many San Marcos residents, I walk our trails and enjoy every moment of it. We are also blessed as a City to have parks that serve as a testament of our past and who we owe it to. The San Marcos All Veterans Memorial is a reminder to who we owe our freedom, and one of San Marcos’ truly “hallowed grounds.” Our Heritage Park is a reflection of our past and those who put us “on the map.”
On the Council, I would encourage and advocate for events and parks relentlessly. They are more than landmarks- they make us a community.
If elected what are the top 3 issues you would focus on for San Elijo Hills?
When elected, I will focus on residents and homeowners right to a fiscally sound budget. Poor financial decisions would not only damage our security but threaten our quality of life. I promise to stand with homeowners and residents against reckless spending and high taxes. It is for this reason that I have enthusiastically signed the “Taxpayer Promise.”
I also make a firm commitment to make real progress on issues regarding traffic. San Elijo and all of San Marcos should be known for all of our positive attributes- not defined by record traffic congestion.
Third, we need leadership that is willing to listen to the needs of residents and small business. As the economy remains sluggish, we need to find innovative ways to attract small business to San Elijo and all of San Marcos. By examining our relationship with entrepreneurs and the businesses they build, we can come up with solutions to be a partner, not a hindrance.
How will you clean up the campaign signs after election?
I plan on having my signs removed in the first 48 hours following the election. While political signs are a great way to grab people’s attention and generate political interest, they are often an eyesore to many.
Three candidates are running for two seats on the San Marcos City Council, where future development,redevelopment and the outcome of a growth-management initiative are the major issues.
Challenger Dean Nelson is facing incumbents Hal Martin and Rebecca Jones. Martin and Jones have separate campaigns but use the same Web site, martinandjonesforcitycouncil.com; Nelson’s is nelsonforcouncil.com.
Martin, 58, owns a wedding-photography business and is seeking a fourth term.
Jones, 41, who owns a furniture-marketing business with her husband, was appointed last year to the seat vacated by Jim Desmond, who was elected mayor in November 2006.
Nelson, 46, a city planning commissioner and general manager of the Ace Hardware store on Grand Avenue, ran for council in 2006. READ ENTIRE UT ARTICLE