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San Marcos opts to cancel council elections

Cancellation is believed to be first time in 51-year history

SAN MARCOS — There will be no city council election in San Marcos on Nov. 4, as a divided council voted to cancel the election as all of the incumbents — Mayor Jim Desmond and council members Kristal Jabara and Chris Orlando — are running unopposed.

It is believed to be the first time in San Marcos’ 51-year history that an election was cancelled due to lack of opposition.

The City Council voted 3-2 in a special session Wednesday afternoon to cancel the upcoming mayoral election election and 3-1 to cancel the upcoming council election. Desmond, Jabara and councilwomen Rebecca Jones voted for the cancellation, Orlando voted against the mayoral cancellation and abstained from the council vote and councilwoman Sharon Jenkins opposed both votes.

Reached after the vote, Jenkins said she believed voters deserved the right see their local representatives on the ballot, even if there were no challengers.

“My reason of wanting to have it is that I think it is the most transparent process and that the American way is to vote,” Jenkins said. “I think the community would rather see their local representatives also.”

Jenkins said cancelling the election also eliminates the possibility of someone mounting a write-in campaign, despite the fact such campaigns are rarely successful.

“Again, I think our residents deserved that right,” she said.

Desmond, when asked about a potential write-in campaign, said being a good steward of public funds outweighed using the money for an election with a remote chance of success.

“I think that option, since no one stepped up in regular process, that option would be have a very remote chance of being successful, I think it is less than a five percent chance that it would have any traction,” Desmond said. “Having up to $30,000 in taxpayer money to maybe pay for a write-in election, which has a 95 percent chance of not happening, I just think that money could be spent some place else.”

Desmond agreed with Jenkins in regards to the state of the city.

“I don’t know, I would like to think people are pretty happy with direction city is going,” Desmond said. “We don’t have internal bickering, tend to get city business done, and then we go home.”

The San Marcos Council has had a relatively controversy-free stretch, with the most divisive issue most recently being the overhaul of the city’s wireless communication tower ordinance.

Jenkins said she thinks the lack of challengers speaks to the fact that residents are pleased with the governance.

“I think overall people are satisfied in San Marcos,” Jenkins said. “Maybe we don’t always agree, but I think people are satisfied with the work being done by the Council as well as staff.”