SAN MARCOS — City Council elections are held every four years in San Marcos, and the names of those who have announced their candidacy this year thus far should be familiar. Both Hal Martin and Rebecca Jones are running for re-election, and it is not yet certain if they will be opposed.
Vice Mayor Martin has been on the council since 1996. Council members are normally allowed just three terms, but because that law was enacted during his first term, Martin will get to serve another four years if elected.
Martin said in a recent interview that the biggest change in San Marcos since he began his service has been the doubling of the city’s population with all the attendant construction concerns.
Martin has been the council’s transportation guru, consistently championing infrastructure improvements that would ease traffic issues for the growing city, including more freeway interchanges and a wider Highway 78. He serves as a liaison to the North Coast Transit District and the San Diego County Association of Governments.
A big proponent of the popular Creek and University district developments, Martin has also opposed projects including a potential Wal-Mart and a proposed swap meet. He also voted to close a landfill in south San Marcos. The last was the issue that brought Martin into politics from the private sector.
He said of himself and his fellow council members, “… we were looking at the city and actually realizing that becoming part of the answer was better than being on the sidelines.”
Martin said he is proud of the profusion of trails, parks and shopping opportunities that have sprung up in the city under his watch.
“Everything goes back to people’s quality of life, what makes them want to live here rather than anywhere else,” Martin said.
The 57-year-old councilman owns the local Focus on U Wedding Photography studio.
Rebecca Jones is the council’s newest member, having been appointed to fill Jim Desmond’s seat in January 2007 after he became mayor. But her career in political activism dates back to before she was sworn into office.
“Before I was even on the council, I had asked the council … that we make any place where kids hang out a safe place that sex offenders could not be within 300 feet of so the kids could feel safe, the moms could feel safe,” Jones said.
A persistent advocate for public safety, Jones fought the siting of a foster care reunification center in a San Marcos park, concerned that it would fill a public place with angry, perhaps abusive, parents congregating to visit their children. Jones also opposed the construction of a concrete plant on Barham Road, citing pollution and traffic issues.
Jones continued this trend as a council member. She voted for clarification and expansion of the “intimidation-free” zones where gangs are not allowed to congregate. Jones made safety a consideration as she helped articulate the city’s goals and objectives document.
“We want to keep public safety very high on our priority list,” Jones said. “Public safety and quality of life … go very much hand in hand.”
Jones is also focused on keeping the city fiscally responsible. She touts the fact that San Marcos has not had to cut services nor dip into its reserves to meet its budget.
Jones also believes that, as the only woman on the council, she brings a new and needed perspective.
“I’m just a mom and I want to keep our city safe and make it the best I can possibly make it,” she said.
The 41-year-old councilwoman is married with two children. She and her husband run a local marketing company, selling television stands to retailers.
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