supporting our businesses
At the heart of any successful city is robust commerce. Yet, as online commerce continues to reshape the business landscape, and as big box stores and massive shopping centers continue to decline, San Marcos will need to think differently about local business (and local tax dollars).
As a starting point, we need to support local as much as possible. When our dining, shopping, and service dollars are spent locally, those dollars tend to stay in the region, which is good for San Marcos. Spending your money locally is a reinvestment in your community, which is why Randy is a proponent of "shop and dine local" campaigns.
San Marcos must also take advantage of it's geography as the literal "hub" of North County. It's easy access from all North County cities makes it an excellent location for a variety of businesses, including our well-know educational assets, our restaurants, and our craft breweries. We should continue to develop that identity by trying to attract more educational institutions to our city, more locally owned (or small chain) dining, and more craft breweries. As San Marcos continues to be seen as a destination for school, food, and beer, our city will become more attractive to larger employers who see the value not only of a highly educated community, but a high quality of life for its employees.
Randy himself is a San Marcos business owner, and a member of the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce where he sits on the Governmental Affairs Committee.
Supporting and defending the San Marcos business community is not new to Randy. In 2004, the San Marcos City Council, in a 3-2 vote, decided to rezone a parcel of land at the corner of Ranch Santa Fe Rd. and Boulder Ridge Rd. to accommodate the placement of a 120,000 square foot Wal Mart store. Randy and several other concerned residents thought the decision to rezone this land from residential to commercial to accommodate this massive big box store was terrible and protested loudly. San Marcos did not need a second Wal Mart, and such a massive store in that little residential valley would have done irreparable harm to the neighborhood, and to local business. As Randy told the San Diego Union Tribune, “San Marcos would be bookended by Wal Marts, and that can’t be good for the businesses in between”.
Those early protests turned into a months-long fight, as Randy and others led a fight to reverse the city’s decision by letting the voters decide (Remember Proposition G?) whether a Wal Mart store should be built on Rancho Santa Fe Rd. The campaign was lively, and long, and not without hurdles. To get its way, Wal Mart sued Randy and (fellow fighter) Lori Drake, but the people of San Marcos had the last word on election day when a large majority of San Marcos voters said no to the proposed Wal Mart.
The Wal Mart lawsuit was quickly thrown out of court, but when an issue regarding attorney fees was appealed, the California Fourth District Court of Appeal held that Randy’s opposition to Wal-Mart “resulted in the enforcement of an important right affecting the public interest and conferred a significant benefit on the City's voters.”
In a time when dramatic technological change is changing the business and retail landscape, your government leaders should be anticipating the changes and planning accordingly.