SAN MARCOS — After years of the same faces on the San Marcos City Council, Dec. 11 officially brought the start of a new era.
Gone are Mayor Jim Desmond and council members Chris Orlando and Kristal Jabara, the first two who termed out of office and the latter did not seek re-election.
In their place are new Mayor Rebecca Jones — previously the city’s vice mayor — and newly elected council members Randy Walton and Maria Nunez.
The trio of council members were officially sworn into office at last week’s meeting, as Jones became the city’s 14th mayor.
“As North County’s education hub and safest city, San Marcos is a rising star,” Jones said. “With tremendous success, comes new challenges — I’m all about the solutions and ready to work collaboratively so that generations to come will be afforded the same opportunities to thrive right here in San Marcos.”
In a region of political turnover, San Marcos has been a model of consistency. Since Sharon Jenkins’ election to the council in 2012, the city has had the same five council members. In 2014, the city canceled the election, citing the lack of challengers.
But with the advent of term limits, several venerable council members would not return to office. And with the council transitioning to district-based elections for the first time, it set off the most competitive election season San Marcos has seen in more than a decade.
Walton, formerly a San Marcos Unified school board member, will represent District 2 after defeating Vallecitos Water board member Mike Sannella and Planning Commission chairman Eric Flodine. Nunez, a bankruptcy attorney, will represent District 1 after defeating businessman Craig Garcia and local political aide Clifton Ireland.
Desmond, Orlando and Jabara were formally recognized for their service on the council during the Dec. 11 meeting.
The City Council must now determine how it will fill the two-year vacancy created with Jones’ election to the mayor’s seat. Since she was elected at large in 2016, the council can select her replacement from anywhere in the city. They will determine whether to appoint or call a special election for her replacement at the next council meeting.