REGION — San Marcos has had an extended period of electoral calm, as residents appear satisfied with the direction and leadership at City Hall.
Voters on Tuesday again reinforced this notion as they re-elected Rebecca Jones and Sharon Jenkins to the City Council by a wide margin over their lone challenger, Matthew Stack.
Jones and Jenkins received 37 and 32 percent of the vote, respectively. Stack finished with 15.7 percent of the vote and RJ Hernandez, who dropped out of the race three weeks ago, received 14.65 percent of the vote.
“Of course I am thrilled with the results, and am honored that citizens have chosen me to represent them,” said Jones, who thanked her volunteers for their support. “I think people are very happy with the city, I think that is what the results show, that they would like to continue with the current council.”
Jenkins, who said she had just finished collecting her smaller yard campaign signs Thursday morning, said she was happy with the outcome.
“I appreciate the opportunity to serve the community for another four years,” Jenkins said. “I respect the confidence given to me and will always do what I think is best for San Marcos after diligent and thorough evaluation of any given situation.”
“I think the community overall has been pretty happy with San Marcos and likes the direction it is headed, and they like how the city has been managed in the past, and I think that contributed to the outcome significantly,” Jenkins said. “I think they also like to see people who have been involved in the community and know the community.”
Stack, the lone challenger, had recently moved into the community when he launched his council bid and was a relative unknown in political circles. He did receive the endorsement from the Republican Party of San Diego County.
“We were running to win so of course we were disappointed but I couldn’t concede to any two better people than Rebecca and Sharon,” said Stack. “I have a lot of respect for them and what they’ve done for our city. Our team was so thrilled to just be a part of this election.”
This was the final citywide election before the city transitions to district elections in 2018, when they will vote on the seats currently held by Chris Orlando and Kristal Jabara, as well as mayor, which is still a citywide position.
The council begrudgingly supported the change to avoid a lawsuit that alleged that the city’s election system disenfranchised Latino voters.
Jenkins said it will be crucial during the next election campaign for candidates to keep the focus on the city’s best interest, not just the best interest of their district.
Probably the most pressing thing as we start switching to voting by districts is helping people understand that we need to look at what is best for the city as a whole, not just for your district,” Jenkins said. “It will be important for them over the next several elections.”
Jenkins also pointed to the re-evaluation of the city’s long-imagined Creek District plan as another critical item on the council’s to-do list. A consultant recommended the city drastically change the plan from one that focuses on retail to one that is built around multiple housing types.
“The consultant provided input about what we needed to be looking at, so we need to take that information and determine what adjustments we need to make, and we are continuing that process,” Jenkins said.
In other local races:
• Voters re-elected Nancy Densch and John Halcon to the Palomar College Governing Board and elected newcomer Nina Deerfield from the field of six candidates.
• The three incumbents in the Vallecitos Water District election — Mike Sannella, Hal Martin and Betty Evans — all returned to their respective posts after besting challengers AJ Van de Ven, Wayne Ludwig and Michael Hunsaker, respectively.
• San Marcos Unified School District voters returned Randy Walton and Janet McLean to office as well as newcomer and business owner Victor Graham, who bested teacher-union backed candidate Lucie Acosta by about 300 votes.
• Leucadia Wastewater District voters re-elected a trio of incumbents, Judy Hanson, Donald Omsted and Allan Juliussen.
• Voters re-elected Larry Watt to the Olivenhain Municipal Water District. Watt notably served as the Encinitas interim City Manager last year.
• In Palomar Health, voters ousted incumbents Linda Greer and and Aeron Wickes and chose incumbent Jeff Griffith and newcomers Doug Moir and Joy Gorzeman to the board
Newcomer Leigh Ann Grass, who was supported by the local employees union, was the leading vote recipient in Tri-City Healthcare District’s four-seat election. Incumbents Larry Schallock, RoseMarie Reno and Julie Nygaard won the other seats as current board member Ramona Finnila was voted out of office.