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Mayor Rebecca Jones
During her address, Mayor Rebecca Jones paid tribute to healthcare workers, local business owners and first responders, and touted city programs helping residents through COVID-19. Photo by Jordan P. Ingram
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San Marcos mayor highlights resilience, innovation in State of City address

SAN MARCOS — San Marcos Mayor Rebecca Jones delivered the 2021 State of the City address on Wednesday, May 19, hosted by the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce. The virtual event highlighted themes of resilience and innovation while paying a special tribute to frontline workers.

The event started with messages from sponsors followed by a tribute to local healthcare workers who were on the frontlines of navigating the COVID-19 pandemic.

Councilwoman Maria Nuñez then highlighted Kaiser Permanente, which is set to open a new 7-story hospital in San Marcos by 2023.

Councilman Randy Walton highlighted San Marcos’ North City neighborhood, which is the new downtown district that is still only 25% developed. Once completed, it will include new housing, restaurants and businesses with an emphasis on sustainability.

This was followed by a message from Councilman Ed Musgrove paying tribute to Palomar Health, one of the largest healthcare systems in the county, and an overview of the Discovery Village Development Project by Chamber CEO Rick Rungaitis.

During her address, Mayor Jones highlighted some of the city’s programs that helped residents navigate through a COVID-19 year, including the business sustainability program, the rental assistance program and the various virtual solutions the city implemented in place of city services.

“Our city has taken an innovative approach at every bend in the road, charting our course for recovery. There is certainly renewed hope on our horizon, and it’s important to reflect on what this community has accomplished in the past year,” Jones said.

Jones highlighted local business owners in her address, Steve Munsen, owner of Dos Desperados brewery, and David Susuga, owner of Umami Japanese, for their perseverance in carrying their businesses through a difficult year.

Jones then paid tribute to the city’s fire department.

“I commend our world-class fire department for achieving the prestigious class one public protection classification, the highest level of recognition available from the insurance service organization,” Jones said. “Only 37 fire departments in the state of California and 348 fire departments nationwide have earned this distinction.”

Jones also praised the sheriff’s department, noting that the city’s crime rate has dropped 40% in the last five years.

Jones briefly touched on the city’s Climate Action Plan update and the Housing Element update that the public can stay informed on through the city’s website.

She also promised a summer of activities, events and even the return of Fourth of July fireworks on the horizon.

“As we move back towards what was once business as usual, we will never forget the integration and resilience of our city and local businesses to weather the storm and continue dreaming big,” Jones said. “The city of San Marcos is a diverse, vibrant community that we can all be proud to call home. We know that it takes a collective effort from all of us to dream big, move our city forward and achieve great things into our future.”