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Kristal Jabara. Courtesy photo
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San Marcos councilwoman Kristal Jabara will not seek re-election

SAN MARCOS — San Marcos City Councilwoman Kristal Jabara will not seek re-election, creating three open seats on the council up for grabs in November. 

Jabara, 47, has served two terms on the council after her election to office in 2010. She said she is returning to the workforce full time with her daughter graduating from high school this week, as well as undisclosed personal reasons. 

“She’s off to college and I am going to be an empty nester,” Jabara said. “Balancing the campaign, a full-time job and other personal things would be too much.”

Jabara, a graduate of Point Loma Nazarene University, began her career as an elementary school teacher but left after one year to sell residential and commercial title insurance and later worked at Discovery Bank.

In 2007, she was appointed to the city’s Economic Development Corporation, a nonprofit corporation which promotes business growth and retention in the city, and was elected president to the organization.

She was appointed to the planning commission in 2008 and sat on the city’s budget review committee, helping fight “Proposition O,” an unsuccessful ballot measure that would have required the city to place general plan amendments before a public vote.

Jabara felt the proposition amounted to a “no growth ordinance,” and believed it would stifle the city’s growth.

She joined the council when the region was in the throes of the Great Recession. She said one of her proudest accomplishments was helping lead the city through the tumultuous time with balanced budgets and in a stronger financial position than before the downturn. 

“When I came on to the council, we were struggling to balance the budget,” she said. “Not only have we been able to balance budgets, but we’ve been able to accrue some rainy day savings, create funds for vehicle replacement and infrastructure improvement, as well as for catastrophic incidents.”

She also points to the fruition of the city’s popular North City district, just north of Cal State University San Marcos, the addition of Pima Medical Institute and the University of St. Augustine, the upcoming construction of two bridges in the city’s flood-prone creek area, as well as the creation of the city’s economic development department has some of the biggest accomplishments during her term. 

“There have been so many good ones,” Jabara said of the city’s accomplishments during her eight years on the council. 

With San Marcos transitioning from at-large elections to district elections this fall, Jabara would have been facing re-election in District 2, the city’s southernmost district which includes the prominent San Elijo Hills and Discovery Hills neighborhoods.

With her announcement, both Districts 1 — where Councilman Chris Orlando has termed out of office and is running for mayor — and 2 are open seats, as is the mayor’s seat, as Jim Desmond is also termed out of office and is running for county supervisor. 

Three candidates have announced runs in District 2, including Planning Commission chairman Eric Flodine, San Marcos Unified School District board member Randy Walton and Vallecitos Water District board member Mike Sannella. 

Jabara said she has endorsed Sannella and council colleague Rebecca Jones, who is running for mayor against Orlando. 

“He’s been a great representative on the water board, and had been interested in running, and was going to wait until after I termed out of office, but once I decided I wasn’t going to run, I reached out and gave him my support to run earlier than expected.”

Jabara said she will remain involved in local politics, and plans to actively campaign for Desmond and Jones in their respective races. 

“The great thing about San Diego County is there are great people wiling work for higher office, and there are those people willing to support the candidates,” Jabara said. “I’ll be one of those getting information out and cheering from sidelines.”