SAN MARCOS — Chris Orlando, who has served on the City Council since 2006, cannot seek re-election due to term limits. He’s running for the seat being vacated by Mayor Jim Desmond, who is also termed out of office and is running for District 5 Supervisor.
“My priorities as mayor will be reducing traffic congestion, keeping city finances and infrastructure strong, planning for our future with a more thoughtful approach toward growth and constantly focusing on improving the quality of life in San Marcos for families, students and seniors,” Orlando said.
On a council that has voted in unanimity on most issues, Orlando has been the lone dissenting vote on a pair of highly controversial housing issues. In 2016, he voted against the 189-unit Highlands project, and last month voted against the Brookfield Homes request to build 218 units adjacent to the already existing 346-unit project under development.
On both occasions, Orlando expressed concerns that the city was building too many homes without the necessary infrastructure to support them.
“We used to have redevelopment dollars, now we don’t have the ability to do infrastructure at the rate we used to,” Orlando said when explaining his opposition to the Brookfield project. “We are going to deal with (the infrastructure woes) for a very, very long time, yet we keep doing things the same way.”
Orlando’s chief opponent in the 2018 election looks to be fellow council colleague Rebecca Jones, who announced her candidacy last year. Jones, who is a Republican, has racked up endorsements from several high-profile Republican elected officials, including Current Dist. 3 Supervisor and Congressional candidate Kristin Gaspar, Carlsbad Mayor Matt Hall, Vista Mayor Judy Ritter, Escondido Mayor Sam Abed and Desmond.
While City Council seats are nonpartisan, the influence of party politics on local races has ramped up in recent years.
Orlando is a registered Democrat.
Orlando has lived in San Marcos since 2002 with his wife Jenny and two sons, who attend San Marcos High School. He served a term on the planning commission before running for office in 2006, and also served on the boards of directors for the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce and San Diego Youth and Community Services.
San Marcos will be having its first by-district elections in the fall, with Districts 1 and 2 up for election. Districts 1 and 2 will be decided in 2018; districts 3 and 4 will follow in 2020.
Kristal Jabara and Orlando live in District 2, but no current council member lives in the first district. Two people — Clifton Ireland, Jr. and Craig Garcia, owner of the Old California Coffee House & Eatery in Restaurant Row — have filed notices of intent to run for the Dist. 1 seat.