San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

September 1st, 2009
Three join fray for San Marcos council

Shane Scott, left, and Monica Garcia, right.

By ANDY SEVILLA
Associate Editor

As the filing deadline for city council candidacy in San Marcos approaches Wednesday, the list of candidates is growing fast.

Incumbent Councilmember John Thomaides, the only candidate to file for his Place 6 seat when filing began last month, now has a challenger in seven-year San Marcos resident Monica Garcia, who graduated a year ago from Texas State. Meanwhile, an already contentious race to replace outgoing Place 5 Councilmember Pam Couch now is up to four candidates, with Shane Scott and Anita Fuller entering the fray against Lisa Marie Coppoletta and Shaune Maycock.

“My husband and I heard about it (the possibility of running for city council),” said Garcia as she recapped the steps leading up to her filing. “We spoke with our pastors (at the Hill Country Church). We fasted, and that’s how we came to a decision.”

Garcia received an exercise and sports science degree from Texas State University in May 2008. She has been married for two years to Brandon Garcia, after meeting him while at Texas State. Garcia, a former U.S. Marine, is a Mary Kay Beauty Consultant and does not currently own a home in San Marcos.

“Ultimately as we prayed about it, we chose to run for Place 6,” Garcia said, adding that her decision came “out of an obedience of what I thought I was being called to do … I’m running because I feel there is a need for me to serve the community at large.”

Garcia said she has no experience in public office, and never sought an appointment from the city council to any of the voluntary boards and commissions, though she said, she has volunteered at the South Side Community Center, Youth Service Bureau, Sights and Sounds of Christmas, and at her church for the vacation bible school.

“I don’t have a lot of experience,” Garcia said. “But I love to serve.”

Garcia said growth, while protecting the rivers and parks, will be her main priority. She said she will specifically advocate for green jobs, sports tourism, tourism, and continuing the retail tradition that is identified with San Marcos. She said special attention needs to “capitalize on” on why people come to San Marcos, citing what Disney World has done for Orlando, Florida. Garcia said that before Disney World began operations in Orlando, it use to be empty marshland, and now it has become a tourist destination.

“We should be embracing the growth that’s coming and not try to inhibit it … with a cautious eye of course,” Garcia said. “We should be considering the forward movement of our city.”

Garcia said she supports financial incentives for attracting businesses into San Marcos, but only on a case by case basis. She said each request should be scrutinized individually, adding that incentives shouldn’t be used as “a blanket effect for all business coming in.”

Garcia said she will also concentrate on listening to what the residents want, adding that talking to people gave her “confirmation” that she needs to run for office.

“As councilmembers, they have to remember who they’re serving — the citizens of San Marcos,” Garcia said. “I am willing to listen to what they (San Marcos residents) have to say. As we become more unified as a community, we can grow and we can prosper.”

Garcia said San Marcos is her home, where she has matured, grown, “found the Lord”, and changed.

“I’m not from San Marcos, but I’m very passionate about San Marcos,” she said.

Thomaides is seeking his third-term as a councilmember, after first winning election in 2003.

Couch announced in August that she would not seek re-election for her Place 5 seat once her term expired. Coppoletta, defeated in a council race by incumbent Chris Jones in November 2008, announced her intention to run for office in January. Coppoletta was the first to file for the Place 5 seat, soon followed by Maycock.

The race between Coppoletta and Maycock quickly turned into a public tit-for-tat over political signage.

Scott and Fuller have responded by filing, bringing the number to four hopefuls to Couch’s seat.

“I’ve watched San Marcos from the sidelines, quietly,” said Scott. “I like the direction that it’s going in and I want to be a part of it.”

Scott is a single-parent of a 13-year-old girl and has lived in San Marcos since 1988. He received a degree in criminal justice from Texas State and is the business owner of German Elite Autos and Room Closet Studios. Scott has never held public office, nor has he served on any of the city’s volunteer boards and commissions.

Scott said he chose to run for Place 5 because citizens can look at each candidate and what they stand for, as opposed to Place 6 where an incumbent with a following is seeking re-election. Scott said the Place 5 election allows for an “even playing field.”

Said Scott, “The current council is doing a great job, and I want to be a part of it. I want to make sure our children get a great sense of community and town, so that later they can too pass it on, and San Marcos can continue to be the great place that it is.”

Scott said his top priorities include education, smart growth, protection of natural resources, and attracting high-paying jobs.

“San Marcos has enough minimum wage jobs,” Scott said. “I would like to see more high-wage jobs. Biomed, for example.”

Scott said he supports financial incentives for businesses that produce living-wage jobs, and businesses that attract Texas State graduates. Scott said incentives are “a good thing” if businesses “follow through” with their promises to the city.

Scott said education needs to be strengthened, not only in schools, but throughout the community. He said residents need to be aware of the rules and laws the city has enacted. Smart growth is also on his forefront. Scott said “smart growth” growth is “beneficial to San Marcos,” adding that protection of the river, green spaces, and the environment should be highly considered.

Scott said he has an interest in listening to San Marcos residents, describing himself as positive, approachable, easy to get along with, and as having integrity.

“I have no agenda,” Scott said. “My interest is keeping the community first.”

Scott said his background in criminal justice allows him to “sit back and really look at things, get the truth, and not make judgments on who I know or who brings something forth.”

Another challenger in the Place 5 race, Anita Fuller, declined to speak with Newstreamz, citing fatigue.

“I’m extremely tired and want to be coherent when dealing with such an important issue in my life right now,” Fuller said at approximately 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, adding that she was in the process of finalizing a press release for the media.

Miller did not return multiple calls Monday.

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0 thoughts on “Three join fray for San Marcos council

  1. Since Ms. Garcia has absolutely no experience, and how could she being so young, and her interest in life lies in peddling makeup, I wonder who it is that she will be happy to ‘serve’, if elected. My guess is that by default she will serve the interests of the other sitting council members who will be happy to have a complete and utter blind innocent on the diocese.

  2. I am sure Mrs. Garcia is a nice enough person and probably capable of serving as a City Council member, despite lack of experience.

    John Thomaides has a strong record of hearing and acting on the wishes of the citizens that he serves, whether the issue is better jobs, protecting our neighborhoods, bike/pedestrian improvements, council pay, etc. Often times he has been in the minority when taking these stances in support of the people of San Marcos.

    IMHO, we need more people like John on the Council and I would be very hesitant to vote for someone else, based on a gamble that they *might* be just as good, or better.

    I applaud Mrs. Garcia for stepping up to run. I know that I can’t find the time and have little interest in the headaches that come with a campaign, so I am grateful for anyone willing to make this sort of sacrifice. In the end, John Thomaides strikes me as the right person for the job and I’d love to see what he could get done with more support.

  3. Even if Mrs. Garcia doesn’t win (which seems doubtful at first blush), I certainly hope she considers applying to serve on a commission or board. I am never one to discourage somebody from participating in local government, and it is a good way for her to gain some experience and familiarity with the details of various issues San Marcos faces. Some of her comments about emulating the growth of Orlando make me nervous–they are hardly an example of growth balanced with resource protection.

  4. Amen and amen to Mr. Marchant. The fact that Thomaides dares to question those Council stampedes alone lends at least a semblance of balance. And he has been there long enough to know how to do the job. Integrity, constraint, and experience, says the public, except for the money folks and the interest groups, who’d rather buy than earn their votes.

  5. Hill Country is indeed The Susan’s church, so I’m not too sure I trust Mrs. Garcia’s sweet innocence and naivety. Susan is much to manipulative to let an opportunity like this escape her greasy little fingers. John Thomaides is definitely the man for the job. He has the experience and the wherewithal to challenge the Mayor and call her bluffs. I’m not so sure a politically inexperienced person who goes to the same church as the mayor will stand up for the citizens of San Marcos in opposition to the mayor’s agenda. I applaud Mrs. Garcia for taking a stand and running for public office, it’s definitely not something to take lightly.

  6. On another note, what is up with Anita Fuller? You dont want to shy away from interviews, it only creates doubt.
    “Miller did not return multiple calls Monday.” Ok so you’re tired early on Sunday, and after having the whole evening to prepare, no answer on Monday? OK NEXT!
    Even Lisa Marie Coppoletta and Sean Maycock create theater in public.

  7. I’ve said it before: we need to consider full time pay for council members, maybe then we’d get qualified candidates.

    Mrs. Garcia,
    San Marcos is in the midst of transforming from a sleepy college town to a small city. We have a lot of important, complex issues that require experience, perspective, and political savvy to understand. A facility with legalese is an important trait for successful council members, as is a thorough understanding of how city government operates. Council members are unpaid, yet a good council member has the workload of a full time worker. A love of bureaucratic minutia is also important, as well as an ability to stay focused on complicated, yet incredibly dull issues. Someone considering a campaign should be well-versed in current and pending state legislation, as well as activities and projects occurring at the local COG (CAPCOG here) and county level. An understanding of water quality, water availability, development regulations, MUDs, environmental regulations, greenspace, brownfields, ESDs, and grant administration is also necessary. Proven success as a leader, boss, business owner, or manager is important as well, as are vested interests in the community (e.g. home/business ownership). An ability to speak extemporaneously on contentious or emotional issues is useful, as is a thick skin. A thorough knowledge of the U.S. Constitution is obviously necessary as well. In addition, public offices require a tremendous amount of personal responsibility and integrity – I don’t think that you understand all of these things, if you did, you wouldn’t be running. I don’t know how many of our council members have the above traits, but its pretty clear that you don’t.
    You say you’re “running because I feel there is a need for me to serve the community at large”. Nothing about your description in this articles suggests that you are qualified. If you want to serve the community, try volunteering at the food bank.

    Ted and hack, you are doing the city a disservice by encouraging someone with her credentials to run, esp. given her vague opinions on economic growth. Give your encouragement to someone qualified, maybe then we’d get some decent leadership. I would rather have a competent, responsible conservative republican councilmember than an ignorant liberal (e.g. Copaletta)and I’m as Left as it gets.

    I’ve said it before: we need to consider full time pay for council members, maybe then we’d get qualified candidates.

  8. Let me be clear: I will never discourage somebody from running for office. However, DO NOT mistake that for an endorsement of her. I would not vote for her. John already knows he has my support for this Council election and for a future mayor run, should he decide that his calling to public service guides him in that direction. He has been the one consistent voice for growth balanced against the needs of existing neighborhoods, resource management and community quality of life. I want Mrs. Garcia to participate in local government so we can help build people that have knowledge of issues. If history is any indication, participating on boards can sway a person’s views before they decide to make another run for office.

  9. One article with a few quotes and you all made your mind up. I for one will give her a chance and actually see what she has to say. An opponent for Thomaides might make him a better council person and allow him to define a consistent ideology and approach that could make him a stronger rival for the other side of the council.

  10. I like John and hes got my vote, but having an opponent keeps him on his toes like all politicians need to be. No free rides. I agree with Chris North she smells like one of Susan’s lackeys.

    The other two folks in the place 5 race are looking like alsorans, unless they have some mysterious funding or support and if Anita fuller can learn how to talk to the media.

  11. I agree. I hate seeing people run for elected office unopposed–they tend to lose focus and forget how they got there. You can even see that with Susan pre-2006 election versus after she won re-election unopposed.

  12. I wish everyone on council were gone ! The whole bunch of them ! Wish we could start with a clean slate. I know that is unrealistic but I can always wish cant I

  13. Disney World? They would sell that to Texas State in a heart beat. We had attractions but the salamandors took it over, (insert t-shirt logo here). I also applaud Garcia for running. Although maybe she wanted on a board and this was an alternative suggested. Who knows. Best of luck to all the canidates.

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