EDITOR’S NOTE: The San Marcos Mercury asked city council candidates to answer a few questions about their positions on issues. We are publishing them as they come in. First up is Mayor Daniel Guerrero and his challenger Thom Prentice. Early voting starts Oct. 22. Election Day is Nov. 6.
Occupation/employer: Executive Director, San Marcos Education Foundation
How long have you lived in San Marcos? 35 years, 9 months
Where in San Marcos do you live? Blanco Gardens
The city’s Capital Improvements Program has identified tens of millions of dollars in infrastructure investments that city officials say need to be made in coming years. Many of these projects are underway but every year many more are deferred for lack of money.
Do you have anything concrete to offer in terms of special skills or ideas that will help the city identify more funding so streets and public works projects can be completed sooner?
I do not have any particular skills that could be considered special, but in 2011 the city council encouraged the staff to evaluate all of the CIP projects and to return with a reprioritized listing of projects that were of the highest urgency, projects that could be delayed and those that may no longer be critical to the needs of the community. By providing this direction we were able to work as a council and organizational staff to reallocate several millions of tax dollars towards infrastructure projects that were of immediate need and would have a significant and immediate impact on the transportation and municipal service needs of the community. The skills used to accomplish this task were a collective sense of confidence in the city staff, collaboration among council colleagues and open communication among citizens. These skills are essential in aiding in the progress of any organization.
You are sharing the ballot with a nonbinding referendum on whether the city should step in to buy property along the San Marcos River known locally as Cape’s Camp. At the same time, a developer is proposing an apartment complex that would include giving 20 acres of riverfront property to the city for a park. Do you think the city should buy Cape’s Camp and adjoining property upfront or take the developer’s donation offer?
Since this is a project and negotiation that is currently within our development process and will eventually come before the council for direction and an eventual vote, I must refrain from sharing an opinion in this forum.
This year, the San Marcos City Council voted to outlaw the display or consumption of alcohol in any city-owned park, including those along the San Marcos River. The alcohol ban goes into effect Jan. 1. New park rules approved by the city council also increase littering fines and ban tobacco, Styrofoam and spearfishing. Did the council gets the new rules package right? Please explain your answer.
Yes, the parks rules have been in development over a period of several years through the Parks and Recreation Department, parks advisory board, endorsed by several parks, neighborhood and civic groups, and then approved by the city council following a community open house to review all of the aspects of the package. The rules will cover urgent matters in regards to park preservation, cleanliness, safety, and quality of place in an effort to improve the experiences and usage of our parks guests. The rules that will go into effect in 2013 will be introduced through an initial period of educational enforcement. The goal of these new rules is to insure the safety of our guest, preservation of our park space and to improve the overall quality of experiences for our residence and visitors to San Marcos.
Will you vote to further restrict smoking in public places or put the measure on the ballot for a citywide vote?
Yes, I would like to see this item brought back for discussion among the council through the efforts of a community petition for a n eventual community vote. I feel strongly that a signature petition from citizens that are interested in seeing our community move towards becoming a smoke-free community would speak volumes in moving this initiative forward.
Under current law, the city can issue only about a dozen conditional use permits to operate a bar in the Central Business District. All the allotted permits were claimed years ago. The current system does allow entrepreneurs to serve alcohol at restaurants but the legal definition of “restaurant” has been in a constant state of flux under city law for the last decade.
Do you support changes to the city’s CUP system for bars? If so, what changes do you suggest? If not, please explain why you think the current ordinance is good policy?
At this time I am satisfied with the current CUP system. As a council, we would prefer to see a greater investment in the development of true restaurants that serve alcohol in the downtown district and not simply bars that happen to serve food. I do believe that the current system is sufficient, but it is important that the Downtown Association, Economic Development San Marcos and the City of San Marcos continue to work together to invest in the demolition of old blighted structures in downtown for the purpose of developing new restaurants that will be able to enhance the dining experiences in downtown San Marcos.
Do you support forgiving property tax over a set period as a way to encourage companies to relocate or expand in San Marcos? If so, what kind of companies do you support giving economic development incentives to?
Yes, I would support incentives for both small businesses and large industrial manufactures that will commit to bring jobs to San Marcos with salaries and wages that will help lift our citizens above our current per capita income. I would also support incentives for potential employers that are low water users with intentions of developing new square footage within our corporate growth corridors along the east side of IH-35 near the Clovis Barker industrial park and in the northern portion of San Marcos in the River Ridge industrial area.