Tag Archives: Jack Griffin

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.

San Marcos City employees donate $1,970 in shoe store gift cards to local students

On Wednesday, Dec. 18, Santa Claus visited City Hall to deliver a total of $1,970 in shoe-store gift cards to 58 local elementary school students and homeless teens thanks to a partnership between City employees and the San Marcos Unified School District (SMUSD).
City employees donated $1,680 toward the purchase of Famous Footwear gift cards, and an in-store promotion enabled staff to purchase an extra $290 in gift cards to spread holiday cheer to schoolchildren identified by SMUSD.
The children and their families attended a festive holiday reception at City Hall on Wednesday evening. “Jingle Bells” played as smiling kids danced, enjoyed cookies and posed for photos with Santa and City of San Marcos firefighters.
“We are proud of the steps that City staff took to help Santa make the holidays a little brighter for families in our community,” said City Manager Jack Griffin. “We appreciate the assistance of SMUSD to help us connect with deserving students and families.”

New captain takes command of San Marcos Sheriff’s Station

Captain Dave Brown

Earlier this year, city officials announced that Dave Brown will take over as captain of the San Marcos Sheriff’s Station. Captain Brown has been with the sheriff’s department for 28 years He began his career as an intern with the probation department in his senior year at San Diego State University.

“Captain Brown is a well-respected member of the sheriff’s department and we are fortunate to have this capable lawman assigned to our City,” said City Manager Jack Griffin.

During his tenure with the San Diego Sheriff’s Department, Captain Brown has been assigned to various areas including homicide, special assistant to the Sheriff and special investigations-criminal Intelligence. He has experience working throughout San Diego County at the Vista, Imperial Beach and Ramona patrol stations as well as the jail in Vista and court assignments in downtown San Diego and Vista.

Awarded the Medal of Lifesaving as a patrol deputy, Captain Brown has received several awards and was featured in documentaries and books for his role in leading the investigation into the murders of Chelsea King and Amber Dubois.

He is also a recent graduate from the Senior Management Institute for Police at Boston University.

Captain Brown’s transfer to the San Marcos station comes after the former captain of the station, Mike McClain, was assigned to the department’s central investigations division (homicide.)

“We have welcomed Captain Brown to San Marcos and look forward to partnering with him and all the dedicated employees at the San Marcos Sheriff’s Station,” said Griffin.

Captain Brown lives with his wife and he has two adult children. His daughter is in her fourth year at Cal State San Marcos (CSUSM) in the School of Nursing and his son is a graduate of CSUSM and is now an English teacher in Vietnam.

San Marcos and CSUSM join forces to benefit the community

San Marcos and CSUSM join forces to benefit the community

As North County’s education hub, San Marcos is building tomorrow’s workforce—and thanks to a new initiative, some of that homegrown talent is being channeled to help city staff better serve the community.

The City and Cal State San Marcos (CSUSM) recently joined forces to launch Democracy in Action, a pilot program that lets students spend a semester working on city projects.

“Some of the region’s brightest minds are on that campus, right down the street from City Hall, so this partnership felt like a natural win win,” said Economic Development Manager Tess Radmill, who helped oversee the effort.

Over the past few months, about 100 students tackled projects that included: finding ways to curb unnecessary 911 calls; developing a marketing plan for the Double Peak Challenge race; analyzing data to help reduce stormwater pollution; and creating a promotional video about the city.

Already, the project has delivered tangible benefits. For example, students created a trash collection map that will help staff meet new environmental state guidelines. And the video produced by students is already being used to attract potential businesses and residents.

“We’re also graduating students who leave with a deeper understanding of a how a local community works—and with that, they can influence outcomes down the road,” explains Scott Gross, CSUSM Associate Vice President of Community Partnership Engagement.

Fostering civic minded graduates is especially important to the region because many stay local after graduation. In fact, about 80 percent of CSUSM alumni continue living in the region. By comparison, about 60 percent of San Diego State University (SDSU) alumni stay local—and the same is true for only about 25 percent of University of California San Diego (UCSD) alumni.

Democracy in Action was inspired by the University of Oregon’s Sustainable City Year Program— which works in largely the same way, but focuses on boosting sustainability. CSUSM liked the concept, but felt it was important to focus instead on civic engagement.

“We wanted students to realize they can inform and impact their local government,” Gross said. “They’re not just sitting in a classroom talking about theories—they’re actually putting their knowledge to work in a meaningful way, and their eyes light up.”

CSUSM student Kristina Kalchev is a testament to that.

“It was great working on a project that extends beyond an assignment and impacts people,” said Kalchev, who worked on the city’s promotional video. “I’m proud to include the video in my reel. I don’t feel so fresh out of the water now. I feel ready for the workforce.”

Kalchev plans to stay in San Marcos and earn her graduate degree while working locally. She says as a San Marcos resident, she now has a deeper appreciation for what the city does.

“We were able to see how much city staff does behind the scenes to keep our community safe. The project really opened my eyes to what local government does,” she said.

Storm Water Program Manager Reed Thornberry also saw a ha moments happening when he took students out into the field.

“I wanted to take them beyond the data. A lot them live in San Marcos—some have even grown up here—but they’ve never explored our creek system,” he said. “They spotted bullfrogs, turtles and crawfish—entire ecosystems thriving. And seeing the impacts of trash, they got a sense of why they’re worth protecting. I think that drove home the mission.”

These students will be among the approximately 3,000 graduates CSUSM produces every year— which is partly why San Marcos is North County’s education hub. In fact, San Marcos is responsible for about 10 percent of the region’s total academic program completions.

“San Marcos is fueling a workforce pipeline that will strengthen our region for generations to come,” said San Marcos City Manager Jack Griffin. “But beyond that, our partnership with Cal State San Marcos underscores how we can collaborate to benefit our community, and we are proud of that.”

To learn more about the Democracy in Action program,
visit https://www.csusm.edu/community/civiclearning/democracyinaction.html.

The City of San Marcos to begin licensing tobacco retailers

Beginning Jan. 1, stores that sell any kind of tobacco products including electronic cigarettes in San Marcos will be required to get a tobacco retail license as part of the city’s efforts to curb youth access to the products. All affected businesses must return mailed applications by Dec. 31 for the 2017 calendar year in order to continue selling tobacco products.

According to a recent survey by Vista Community Clinic, there are some businesses in San Marcos that are selling tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to minors in violation of state law.

The licenses will cost roughly $190, which the city will use to make sure businesses are following tobacco laws, including restrictions on selling to underage users.

Increased compliance checks conducted by the San Diego Sheriff’s Department will review existing tobacco laws regulating underage sales, compliance with state sign and identification requirements, and a requirement that retailers refrain from selling drug paraphernalia.

“Compliance checks are the best monitoring technique because tobacco retailers risk losing their ability to sell tobacco products if there are repeat violations,” said City Manager Jack Griffin.

Stores caught violating the ordinance up to four times in three years will face suspensions on selling the products. A store that has five violations in three years could have its licensed revoked. Any store found selling drug paraphernalia could have their tobacco retail license suspended or revoked.

Tobacco retailers in San Marcos can receive cumulative discounts on the licensing fee for passing compliance checks and taking proactive steps to help minimize tobacco product sales to minors. Discounts will be available the second year of a license after at least one compliance check has been completed.

For more information about the Tobacco Retail License, visit www.san-marcos.net/tobaccolicense, or contact Administrative Services Manager Michael Gordon at (760) 744-1050, ext. 3116 or mgordon@san-marcos.net.

San Elijo Park Splash Pad will turn on for the Summer

Beginning Friday, June 17, the City of San Marcos will be turning on public splash pads to offer residents and visitors a place to enjoy water recreation during the hottest summer months.

Moving forward, splash pad hours will be from 10 am to 6 pm from Memorial Day weekend through September 30.

Located at Sunset Park, San Elijo Park, Buelow Park, Mulberry Park and Discovery Lake Park, splash pads are hand-activated water features within the playground that run for a limited time with little to no standing water to create a safe, water recreation destination.

“Thanks to continued water saving efforts this past year both in San Marcos and regionally, we are pleased to announce that one of our most popular summer attractions is returning,” said City Manager Jack Griffin.

In addition to splash pads, the City of San Marcos is home to two public pools – Woodland Park Aquatic Facility and Cerro De Las Posas Aquatic Facility – and boasts a comprehensive aquatic program featuring open recreation swim, family swim nights, swim assessments and ability-based swim lessons.

The city continues water conservation efforts with reduced irrigation schedules, converting conventional sprinkler spray heads with high efficiency sprinkler heads, installing drip irrigation, using native and/or drought tolerant plants in new or rehabilitated public space landscaping, retrofitting city buildings with low-flow water fixtures, and conducting landscape irrigation audits.

For more information about city water saving efforts, visit www.san-marcos.net/savingh2o.

To learn more about San Marcos aquatic facilities, splash pads, pool hours and aquatic events, visit www.san-marcos.net/aquatics.

San Marcos names Economic Development Manager

San Marcos names Economic Development Manager

San Marcos names Economic Development Manager

San Marcos, CA— Tess Radmill, former Executive Director of Cardiff 101 Main Street, has been tapped to serve as Economic Development Manager for the City of San Marcos.

“We searched far and wide for the right person to step into this important role,” said City Manager Jack Griffin. “In Ms. Radmill, I believe we’ve found someone that understands the San Marcos vision –economic development that is good for our residents and good for our economy—and has the talent and skill set to help get us there by building a program from the ground up.”

Stepping into the new role Aug. 31, Radmill said she is ready to get to work in one of North County’s fastest growing cities.
“San Marcos has truly been innovative and embraces an entrepreneurial spirit that is unique,” said Radmill. “I am excited to be a part of the many upcoming projects that will shape the San Marcos community for years to come.”

As Economic Development Manager, Radmill will have a key role in attracting and retaining businesses in San Marcos. She is also charged with developing and managing an economic development program that aligns with city goals while capitalizing on the city’s partnership with the Innovate 78 initiative. Innovate 78 is a collaborative effort between the five 78 Corridor cities–San Marcos, Carlsbad, Vista, Escondido and Oceanside—that is focused on boosting economic prosperity in North County.
“I’m eager to hit the ground running and look forward to collaborating with and learning from the other Innovate 78 cities,” continued Radmill. “One of my first priorities will be to meet with San Marcos businesses to learn their goals and how the city can better support them.”

For the past seven years, Radmill has served as the Executive Director for the Cardiff 101 Main Street Association, a nonprofit that works with local government and business owners to improve the community’s overall quality of life.

Under her leadership, the Encinitas nonprofit grew from its grassroots infancy to a state-certified Main Street organization. By building strong partnerships with local business and community leaders, Radmill was able to grow the program to include two full-time staff members and an annual operating budget of $250,000. She also helped the City of Encinitas develop its economic development efforts as part of a steering committee, lending her expertise and guidance to city staff.

“I am proud of Cardiff 101 Main Street and my experiences there have given me a unique understanding for what it takes to successfully develop and nurture economic prosperity,” said Radmill.

Born and raised in North County, Radmill holds a bachelor of arts from Claremont McKenna College. She is also a recent graduate of Cal State San Marcos’ Leadership North County, a program that connects local leaders so they can work collaboratively to build a stronger region.

San Marcos City Council adopted a balanced budget for fiscal year


On June 9, the San Marcos City Council passed and adopted a $66.9 million general fund budget for Fiscal Year 2015-16, which begins July 1. The general fund pays for important services such as fire protection, law enforcement, street and park maintenance, recreation services, land use planning and general administration.

The City strives to improve the budget document to make it easier for individuals unfamiliar with the government budgeting processes to understand. The budget document includes revenue and expenditure summaries for each department, and was enhanced to show departmental budget requests and the recommended requests by the City Manager. The document also summarizes each department function, outlines how the budget supports the City’s strategic goals and includes information on non-general fund spending.

“The goal is to make it easier to learn about the City’s budget, programs and services while presenting a more accurate depiction of costs and where each dollar is being spent,” said Finance Director Laura Rocha. “As stewards of the public dollar, the City is committed to continually improving transparency and accountability.”

Overall, the City’s finances remain steady and the budget for the new fiscal year supports the policy to maintain a reserve of at least 40 percent of the projected general fund expenditure. Despite the mixed pace of economic recovery, the City has benefited from moderate revenue increases. Sales and property tax, which account for 50 percent of general fund revenues, have increased by more than four and eight percent, respectively.

“As the economy continues to recover and challenges remain for all levels of government, San Marcos is positioned well and has maintained a slow and steady fiscal approach moving forward,” said City Manager Jack Griffin.

Setting a new precedent, City Council approved a revision to the General Fund reserve policy in May to reduce reserve levels from 50 percent to 40 percent. This move makes funds available to incrementally reduce the city’s backlog of facility and infrastructure rehabilitation and replacement projects.

To support the change, the budget also sets aside 2.6 percent of the General Fund for long-range maintenance of City buildings, roads and sidewalks, lighting and storm drains, parks and landscaping, and equipment and vehicle replacement. As San Marcos ages, it becomes increasingly important to maintain existing infrastructure.

“The 2015-16 budget exemplifies City Council’s commitment to invest in the future of San Marcos,” commented Griffin. “By making small investments over time and supporting long term financial planning, the City is taking steps to control future costs.”

The budget set-aside will help the City address the accumulated maintenance project backlog, reduce long-term costs and improve the quality of life in San Marcos.

For more information, please contact the city’s Finance Department at (760) 744-1050, ext. 3126.

City of San Marcos adopts balanced budget plans to invest in infrastructure rehabilitation

The San Marcos City Council passed and adopted a $63.7 million general fund budget in June for the Fiscal Year 2014-15, which begins July 1. The general fund pays for important services such as fire protection, law enforcement, street and park maintenance, recreation services, land use planning and general administration.

After undergoing a significant overhaul last year, the budget document is now easier for individuals unfamiliar with budgeting processes to understand. The document also includes revenue and expenditure summaries for each department, summarizes each department function, outlines how the budget supports the City’s strategic goals and includes information on non-general fund spending.

“The goal is to make it easier to learn about the City’s budget, programs and services while presenting a more accurate depiction of costs and where each dollar is being spent,” said Finance Director Laura Rocha. “As stewards of the public dollar, the City is committed to continually improving transparency accountability.” Read more

San Marcos City manager to discuss budget, future with San Marcos Economic Development Corporation

View from top-TJ to Catalina

On Wednesday, June 19, City Manager Jack Griffin will meet with the San Marcos Economic Development Corporation (SMEDC) to deliver a message on the community’s fiscal health and plans for the City’s future.

While the economy may still be sluggish and challenges at the state and federal level remain, Griffin has explained that San Marcos has positioned itself very well through the economic downturn and therefore has a stable budget.

“Ultimately, our strong foundation will help us continue to provide quality services while still preparing for our future,” said Griffin.

Griffin is expected to discuss the City’s future, which calls for three keystone developments in San Marcos: the San Marcos Creek District, University District and Palomar Station. Significant progress has already been made on the University District and Palomar Station broke ground in May. The Creek District has been slower to materialize due to redevelopment cuts and the economic situation.

The City also plans to ramp up its economic development efforts in hopes of bringing new business and jobs to the area. San Marcos is participating in a five-city initiative to brand the region with Carlsbad, Escondido, Oceanside and Vista.

Charles Zahl, director and treasurer of SoCal Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Development Inc. will also speak at the meeting to provide an update on the San Marcos Wireless Health Incubator Program. The program is designed to connect entrepreneurs with mentors, support services and access to start-up capital so that new business can be successful. As North County’s education hub, the City has a rich pool of intellectual capital making San Marcos an ideal host to incubator programs and new businesses that will add jobs to the region.

For more information about San Marcos’ budget or economic development efforts, please visit www.san-marcos.net

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