May 11, 2021, San Marcos City Council Meeting notes

If you were unable to be at or see the San Marcos City Council Meeting on May 11, 2021, you can get a recap here.

REPORT ON THE MAY 11, 2021 SAN MARCOS CITY COUNCIL MEETING

The first matter of business was the presentation of the San Marcos Inspiration, Leadership and Excellence (SMILE) Award.  This is only the second time it has been presented.  Councilmember Randy Walton, who had nominated her, presented the award to Tanis Brown for her more than 4 decades of volunteer work at the San Marcos Historical Society, Heritage Park, the North County Cemetery District, Parks and Recreation, and many other San Marcos community projects.  Congratulations to San Marcos Democrat Club’s own Tanis Brown!  🎉🎈 (Tanis Brown will be featured in the Meet Our Member section of the San Marcos Democratic Club’s June Newsletter.  Watch for it on June 1)

San Marcos proclaimed May Water Safety month and May 16-22 Public Works Week.  This is the 61st year that Public Works Week has been honored in Canada and the United States, so it was nice to hear San Marcos was doing the same.  Proclamations were presented to the Parks and Recreation Department and the Public Works Department.

PUBLIC SPEAKERS:

Two speakers asked the Council to amend or rescind prior decisions restricting delivery of cannabis and/or selling and cultivating cannabis within the San Marcos city limits.  The Federal courts have ruled delivery is allowable, so the restriction is against the law and hurting those who use cannabis for medicinal purposes but cannot get transportation to dispensaries outside the city limits.  Also, the speakers felt San Marcos was losing business revenue and taxes by not allowing cannabis dispensaries and grow farms, while allowing multiple breweries and wineries. 

Mayor Jones reminded the speakers that because the item was not on the agenda, it would not be discussed at this Council meeting. 

ORDINANCES

Much of the evening was spent discussing Ordinance No. 2021-1496, restricting targeted residential picketing.  City Attorney Peek explained the Ordinance:  1) the 300 foot limit on picketing applies ONLY to residential property and does not limit walking through neighborhoods, going door to door, picketing on public property or places of business, or any other First Amendment Rights;  2) an almost identically worded Ordinance has been in place in other San Diego County cities;  3) restrictions on picketing residential property has been upheld by the Federal Courts, including the more liberal 9th Circuit Court here in California;  4) the initial penalties are fines for infractions, but if the picketing continued well beyond the norm, there could be a misdemeanor charge.  After hearing public statements, both oral and written and mostly supporting unrestricted free speech, the Councilmembers each commented on their opinions of the Ordinance.  Councilmember Randy Walton expressed his support based upon his research the law and what other cities were doing.  Councilmember Ed Musgrove and Mayor Pro Tem Sharon Jenkins also expressed their reasoning for their support.  Councilmember Maria Nunez expressed her concern that this Ordinance was prejudicial to people of color and carried criminal penalties that would be used more on people of color.  She would support the Ordinance if there were no criminal penalties.  In answer to a question by Councilmember Nunez, City Attorney Peek stated specifically that the Ordinance requires fines for infraction and that if someone did not pay the fine or show up at a court ordered hearing, they would be subject like anyone not showing up to whatever penalty went with failure to appear. 

Ordinance No. 2021-1496 passed:  voting for:  Councilmember Walton, Councilmember Musgrove, Mayor Pro Tem Jenkins, and Mayor Jones; voting against:  Councilmember Nunez.

COUNCIL REPORTS

Mayor Jones presented her report on SANDAG.  Monies from the COVID19 Fund will be used by NCTD and MTS for operational matters.  The next SANDAG meeting is May 14. 

Councilmember Musgrove attended the League of California Cities (LLC) for Councilmember Nunez. 

CalTrans will be working in partnership with cities regarding litter pickup every two weeks.  For San Marcos, that is the 78 Corridor.  CalTrans is responsible for litter cleanup on Highway 78, including the on and off ramps.  CalTrans will be cleaning homeless encampments but did not say if that meant cleaning litter in encampments or clearing those encampments. 

LCC is continuing to work on broadband mandates specifically connectivity and infrastructure.  There is concern that the FCC regulations restrict cities from charging service fees for poles and other infrastructure being used to meet broadband mandates.  Those are the types of surtaxes often seen on landline bills.  LCC is asking that California cities be repaid out of the State surplus for regulations they are required to follow but for which they are not paid –  those instances where cities have to come up with funds to meet State requirements. 

Mayor Pro Tem Jenkins reported that the North County Transit District is continuing its work toward zero emission fleets and has a grant for a hydrogen station in Oceanside specifically for buses and a grant for electric buses.  NCTD is looking into bringing all maintenance in-house and stopping outside contracting.  This will create jobs.  The rail from San Luis Obispo to San Diego is the second busiest rail corridor in the nation. 

Councilmember Walton did not have a report on the North County Dispatch Joint Powers Authority as they had not yet met. 

City Manager Griffin reported that the Creek Project is moving along well and work continues. 

COUNCIL COMMENTARY

Mayor Jones and Councilmember Walton gave a presentation on their visit to Spinergy, a local business making high end bicycle wheels and wheelchair wheels.  They were impressed with the business and its owners, as well as how the business adjusted when the pandemic hit.  It was surprising to learn that when not connected to the wheel, the spokes can be tied in knots, but once attached the torque is so great they are solid and firm.  https://www.spinergy.com/

Mayor Jones expressed her desire for the City to be part of the Belgian Waffle Ride on July 18, 2021, which with complete its last mile in North City.  Wynn’s Ice Cream will be front and center during the event.  https://belgianwaffleride.bike/pages/california

The meeting was adjourned and the next meeting is Tuesday May 25, 2021. SEE YOU THERE!

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