Category Archives: San Marcos News

Shop small this holiday season to make a big impact in your community

Small businesses are the heart of a city’s character and vibe. That’s why this season’s Small Business Saturday, happening Nov. 28, is more important than ever.

It’s no surprise that small businesses have been hit particularly hard throughout the pandemic. San Marcos residents are encouraged to show their support by shopping local on Small Business Saturday and throughout the holiday season. Mayor Rebecca Jones announced the City of San Marcos’ participation in the 11th annual national effort to support the independent businesses that make our community unique and provide valuable contributions to the local economy.

“When you treat your loved ones to a special present or gift certificate from our local businesses, you’re truly investing in our community and helping our small businesses thrive,” Jones said. “That’s something we can all feel great about this holiday season.”

Created in 2010, Small Business Saturday serves as the ceremonial kickoff to the holiday shopping season for small businesses across the United States. An average of two-thirds of every dollar ($0.67) spent at a small business in the U.S. stays in the local community, according to the 2018 Small Business Economic Impact Study by American Express. That means consumer’s local impact during the important holiday shopping season could be significant.

“During this pandemic, I’m amazed and energized by the passion and creativity of business owners to continue to do business in the face of unparalleled adversity,” said Rick Rungaitis, CEO of the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce. “Now, more than ever, it’s critical for the community to support our local businesses. This holiday season, think of supporting them by shopping locally.” 

In 2019, 800+ mayors and city officials joined together to support Small Business Saturday. Highlights include:

  • U.S. shoppers who visited independent retailers and restaurants on Small Business Saturday reported spending a record high of an estimated $19.6 billion.
  • Seven in ten American adults reported being aware of the day.
  • 96 percent of respondents who shopped on Small Business Saturday agree that shopping at small, independently owned businesses supports their commitment to making purchases that have a positive social, economic, and environmental impact.
  • 97 percent of consumers who shopped on Small Business Saturday agree that small businesses are essential to their community.
  • 95 percent of consumers who shopped on Small Business Saturday reported the day makes them want to shop or eat at small, independently owned businesses all year long, not just during the holiday season.

Learn more about Small Business Saturday and the Shop Small initiative here.

City of San Marcos launches podcast to inform and engage community members

Your city news. On your time. That’s the idea behind the new ‘San Marcos City Podcast,’ hosted by City Manager Jack Griffin and other city staff. As a podcast aficionado himself, Griffin knows the podcast platform allows and encourages listeners to take a deeper dive into issues they care about.

So why not offer San Marcos residents podcasts that demystify city government and offer a transparent listening opportunity about current projects and how government works?

“Most cities are increasingly challenged getting communications out to the public,” Griffin said. “The podcast is a great platform to engage our residents in thoughtful, in-depth discussions about the city they call home. We won’t be talking politics here, but we will be focusing on important city issues and updates.”

Listeners can tune in to listen to interviews with local experts, business owners, higher education leaders and more. As a leader in public safety, infrastructure, recreation, industry and cultural programs, the City of San Marcos features a wide variety of innovative offerings and services to share with the community.

The San Marcos City Podcast currently features four podcasts:

–        Introduction

–        Interview with Fire Chief Dan Barron and District Chief Dean White regarding wildfires

–        A summary of key items the San Marcos City Council approved in September

–        San Marcos Creek Project update with Project Manager Isaac Etchamendy

To learn more and tune in, go to the San Marcos City Podcast webpage where you will find links to a variety of podcast platforms to listen in from.

To provide feedback or submit podcast topic requests, email podcast@san-marcos.net.

Voting information from The City Of San Marcos

The next general election is right around the corner on Tuesday, Nov. 3 – make sure you’re registered to vote! In addition to the presidential election, you’ll also have the opportunity to vote for a San Marcos City Council Member for District 3 and District 4.

The deadline for voter registration is 15 days prior to the election.

How to register to vote

  • In person: Complete a voter registration form with the City Clerk at San Marcos City Hall located at 1 Civic Center Drive.

What to consider before you vote

Who and what is on the ballot? Do you want to vote but are unsure who is running or what issues are on the ballot? The County of San Diego has compiled a list of candidates on the ballot in November 2020. Campaign statements and campaign status for San Marcos City Council candidates are now available.

Mail-in vote or in-person polling? In light of COVID-19, many residents have questions about how and where voting will happen. Per the Governor’s executive order in August 2020, postcards have been mailed to registered voters in San Diego County to encourage voting by mail ballot. If you’re registered to vote by mail, ballots are expected to start to arrive in early October. Voters can still visit their local polling place to vote in-person, but there will be fewer polling locations and some locations may have changed from previous elections. The County of San Diego encourages you to vote early and be prepared. Bring a copy of your mail ballot with you and expect long lines.

San Marcos district elections

San Marcos residents now vote for City Council members by district instead of an at-large election. During the November 2020 election, only residents from District 3 and District 4, as determined by their voting address, will be selecting a council member. The filing deadlines for candidates has closed and the list of San Marcos City Council candidates is now final.

  • District 3 includes area around Cal State San Marcos, the Creek District and Civic Center area, and extends east to the Nordahl Marketplace, west to Rancho Santa Fe Road and north to the 78 Freeway.
  • District 4 includes Santa Fe Hills, Palomar College, and neighborhoods north of Borden Road and Santa Fe Road to the west.

Still not sure what district you live in? The City has developed a district map as a resource for residents. To learn more, watch the City’s Know Before You Vote video or visit the City’s webpage on district elections.

About the San Marcos City Council

The City of San Marcos is a Charter City governed by a five-member City Council consisting of a Mayor and four Council Members from four districts. The term of office for each member is four years with staggered terms. There is a limit of three consecutive terms for each position.

Questions?

For more information, please contact the City Clerk’s Office at (760) 744-1050, ext. 3100.

Quick Links and Resources

City of San Marcos launches ‘Learning Hubs’ program for employees

Thousands of San Marcos students were scheduled to start school in-person on Aug. 18. In the weeks leading up to the start of school, COVID-19 numbers spiked, and plans to start in-person learning vanished. City of San Marcos leadership recognized an opportunity to support City employees as they prepared to balance the demands of their essential jobs and distance learning with their children.

The Parks and Recreation and Human Resources departments teamed up to quickly determine how to best assist City employees. That’s where the idea for ‘learning hubs’ was born.

Learning hubs are socially distanced classrooms providing online learning support for students of different ages and grade levels at the San Marcos Senior Activity Center. There are two classrooms with an average of 18 students that attend daily. Desks are spaced out and aisles are lined with power strips where students can charge the devices they need for online learning. While there are not on-site teachers, City staff members oversee the classrooms and provide support to students when needed. The City follows CDC guidelines by checking temperatures before students enter, prohibiting visitors (including parents) from entering the classroom, providing hand sanitizer and wipes to students, and following a strict cleaning protocol.

“The City has a number of staff members, across several departments, who have limited or no ability to work from home,” said Darren Chamow, program manager for the City of San Marcos Parks and Recreation Department. “When we got the news about school districts continuing distance learning due to COVID-19 numbers, we saw challenges ahead for City operations. The City is providing critical services and programs to the community. Without the learning hub, it would not have been possible for some of our employees to continue to work and support our community and assist their kids at the same time.”

The concept of the learning hub not only supports the City’s essential workers and their children, but also provides new job responsibilities for other City employees whose programs were put on hold or canceled for the year due to COVID-19. In addition, the learning hubs program provides the City with an opportunity to leverage underutilized facilities to provide support to City employees, who are providing essential services during the pandemic.

“Launching the program was a perfect example of timing meeting opportunity,” said Janelle Laughlin, human resources manager for the City of San Marcos. “The demands on our employees, as public servants, have never been greater. Overnight, we had to completely change the way we do business and how we provide programs and services to the San Marcos community.”

Program costs for this new offering have been largely covered by funds available from programs that were canceled due to COVID-19. The program will likely continue to provide support for City staff through the end of 2020 and potentially beyond.

“The math made sense and we got buy-in from City leadership, allowing us to quickly launch a program to support our employees, at a time when they needed it the most,” Laughlin said.

 

Join the City’s Bilingual Virtual Housing Workshop

The City will be hosting a “live” virtual presentation online using Zoom Meetings Tuesday, September 29 at 6 p.m. The meeting will be facilitated in English and Spanish and the project team will be available to answer questions from the public. The link to the Zoom presentation will be provided on this site prior to the presentation.

For more information about community workshops please visit this link.

City of San Marcos launches new COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program

San Marcos renters who have experienced financial setbacks due to COVID-19 may be eligible for the City’s new COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program.

The program, funded with $1,051,615 of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) resources, will provide immediate financial aid to residents experiencing a loss of income directly related to COVID-19. It provides residential rental assistance (up to $10,000, total) to residents whose incomes are at or below 80 percent of the Area Median Income, who were current with rent payments prior to March 16, 2020 and who are otherwise in good financial standing.

“Thanks to these CDBG resources, the City of San Marcos is able to extend a helping hand to renters facing extreme financial hardship during the pandemic,” said Lisa Fowler, City of San Marcos Finance Director. “Our goal is to raise awareness about this valuable program and encourage residents who are eligible to apply.”

The development of the Rental Assistance Program was approved by San Marcos City Council on June 9. Program funds will likely be fully expended by June 30, 2021.

Applicants with the lowest income levels will receive priority over other eligible applicants. Residents may receive up to $10,000 per household, per application, for up to six months of partial or full rent. A rent reasonableness assessment may be conducted by the program administrator to determine the amount of assistance that will be provided.

To learn more about the COVID-19 Rental Assistance program, eligibility and the application process, go to the COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program webpage.

SDG&E Update – 3 Days Left – Thursday Morning Call-in

SDG&E Update – 3 Days Left – Thursday Morning Call-in

This Thursday, September 24 beginning at 10:00 a.m. the CPUC Commissioners will again hold their public comment period before casting their vote on SDG&E’s proposed project.  Our goal is to get 100 people to call in sometime during the morning to make them aware of how much we want them to consider other options by conducting an EIR before approving this project OR immediately approve placing these lines underground.  Help us reach that goal, mark it on your calendar and make sure to tell at least one neighbor and share with your social network.   The call-in number is:

 

1-800-857-1917, passcode: 9899501 – once in the system you must press *1 to get into the queue to speak

(If you called in previously, you cannot speak again.  However, others from your household can speak and you can also help by finding a neighbor who will call in.)

 

Webcast link:

www.adminmonitor.com/ca/cpuc

 

We encourage everyone to call and voice their concerns and share any personal stories, but we are also looking for people who are available from 9:30 until 10:30 to 11 ish, to help us in presenting to the Commissioners an ‘organized’ presentation.  If you are available and interested in this chance to help, please email Robert Pack at packrobert@gmail.com for more information.

 

You can call in anytime starting at 9:50 all the way until the public comment period ends.  If you are busy around 10:00 a.m., try calling in whenever you are free, hopefully the call in period will last until at least 1 or 2 p.m. (or beyond).  The public comment period ends when there are no more callers waiting to speak in the queue, so the longer the comment period stays open the better.

 

Let’s not miss what will probably be our last opportunity to make our voices heard.

 

As always if you need more information and ideas for talking points visit our website at sanmarcospowerlines.com or email Robert Pack at packrobert@gmail.com.

 

SDG&E Power Line Committee

Tune in to view the Mayor’s virtual ‘State of Your Community’ address

San Marcos Mayor Rebecca Jones has recorded a virtual ‘State of Your Community’ address to keep residents in the know about all things San Marcos. Click here to tune in!

Although hosting a ‘State of Your Community’ event isn’t currently possible due to COVID-19, the Mayor felt a virtual presentation would provide a helpful update to residents. In her address, she covers a wide range of topics including: Community safety, quality of life, supporting local businesses, lending a helping hand, the importance of community input, healthcare and education and infrastructure and mobility.

“2020 has certainly been a challenging year, unlike anything we have experienced before,” Mayor Jones said. “Yet the resilience I’ve witnessed in our community has been absolutely astounding. From businesses navigating uncharted waters and families supporting each other, to online solutions for what we used to do in person and creative new communications tools that are helping us bridge the gaps. I am incredibly proud of who we are and how we have adapted.”

The Mayor’s ‘State of Your Community’ address will air on San Marcos Television at 2:30 p.m., and can be viewed anytime on the City of San Marcos Youtube channel here.

San Marcos Unified Superintendent Carmen García resigns – The Coast News Group

The San Marcos Unified School District (SMUSD) announced at Tuesday’s board meeting that Superintendent Dr. Carmen García has resigned effective immediately. Assistant Superintendent Tiffany Campbell will step in as the acting superintendent of the district.García was not present at the board meeting, but the district posted a farewell message from the former superintendent on its website.In the letter, García thanks the board for the “amicable separation” and “for the opportunity to work together these past two years with phenomenal students, teachers, parents, staff, administrators, and the community at large.”García goes on to thank teachers, students, administrators, the district and the community as a whole for their service and dedication to the district. She concludes with a note to the SMUSD Community: “As our world continues to shift with the twists and turns brought forth by a global pandemic, our students rely upon the ongoing courageous conversations and support that will provide the best education for all SMUSD scholars. Thank you for your dedication in moving forward with this endeavor in order to create an equity-based system that supports all students, from all backgrounds with multidimensional needs, so that, one day, “all means all” rings true everywhere.”García was appointed by the board in Oct. of 2018. She came to San Marcos from San Diego Unified School District where she served as a lead principal at San Diego High School.

Source: San Marcos Unified Superintendent Carmen García resigns – The Coast News Group

Encourage participation in the 2020 Census

Efforts and planning to encourage participation in the 2020 Census have been underway since last year.

As of 9/14/20 San Marcos has a 76.1% self response rate.  In 2010 San Marcos finished with a 70% participation rate.  Out of 18 cities in the County, San Marcos has the third highest participation rate, with Poway being number one and Carlsbad being number two.  Among the same cities, San Marcos has the second highest increase in participation compared to the 2010 census, behind La Mesa.

You might ask why does it matter if you participate or not.  The census provides critical data that lawmakers, business owners, teachers, and many others use to provide daily services, products, and support for you and your community. Every year, billions of dollars in federal funding go to hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads, and other resources based on census data.

The results of the census also determine the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives, and they are used to draw congressional and state legislative districts.

Thank you to 76.1% of households who have already participated.  If you haven’t participated yet, please do so by 9/30/20. You can answer online at www.my2020census.gov.

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