God works in such mysterious ways. It sounds so cliché, but it is absolutely true. God has put me in a job that I never imagined. Many people ask me how I got involved in local politics as a San Marcos City Council member. It’s simple really: I got involved fighting a couple of decisions the city council at the time had made that I felt would negatively affect my family’s quality of life. I soon decided that I wanted to serve as a city council member because it would be so much easier, in my opinion, than fighting decisions after the fact. If you’d asked me 15 years ago if I’d ever consider serving in politics, I would have quickly answered, “Not a chance!” That’s why I stand by my statement that God works in mysterious ways. Let me start from the beginning to explain how God brought me to this path and has led me every step of the way.
My husband Paul and I moved to San Marcos in February of 2000 when I was pregnant with our second child, Natalie. We had already been blessed with our son, Grant, who was 3 at the time. I was so excited to move into a neighborhood where we could raise our children. There was a park that wasn’t yet built, a nice yard and a big cul-de-sac in a nice, quiet, family neighborhood. When Natalie was about a year old, we received notice that the city was planning to build a 65,000-square-foot facility that would be a temporary shelter for battered and abused children in the middle of the unbuilt park. In the beginning, the location seemed suitable, but after my neighbors and I really researched what this shelter would truly offer—an unlimited amount of occupants due to the designation of temporary shelter care facility, and supervised visitations to anyone that has had their child taken away and must have their visit supervised by a professional—I decided that in the middle of a park and residential neighborhood was not the most suitable location. My neighbors and I tirelessly put together volumes of information that we thought proved the location was flawed based on other facilities of this type and their locations. We met with the city council members and petitioned them not to allow this use in the park, and in the end, the use was not allowed.
In 2003, a proposed concrete batch plant came along to be located at the intersection of the roads Barham, Mission and Nordahl. There was also a spot zoning of a second Walmart off Rancho Santa Fe Road, where families live today and that was zoned residential—the city had wanted to change the zoning to accommodate the Walmart. At the same time, I was gradually becoming what I deem a “community activist.” After these actions by the city council, which would have been zoning changes I disagreed with, I realized that it would be a much more positive experience to help make policies and shape this community rather than fight decisions. I think this is how most people find themselves as city council members—that, and they are also generally encouraged by sitting city council members. I was no exception.
I decided to run for city council in 2006, but my plans changed when my husband Paul was diagnosed with cancer. We needed time to find out what his treatment and prognosis would be. He started therapy in fall of 2006, and in January 2007 there was a vacant seat available for an appointment. After praying about it, Paul and I decided I should apply for the vacant seat. I was selected and became the only woman (at the time) on a five-seat panel in January 2007. I was re-elected twice for additional four-year terms in 2008 and in 2012, and I am up for election this year.
If you were like me back in 2001, you may wonder what a city council member actually does. The most simplistic answer is that we develop policy, not run day-to-day operations. The five-member panel is made up of the mayor, vice mayor and three council members. We all have the same weight to our vote, and the majority rules. We make decisions on land use, rules and regulations, how to use city resources (revenues from taxes) and work to balance all these decisions to best benefit the 93,000 residents that call San Marcos home. I don’t want to say it is an easy job, but if you are thoughtful in reading the information that the staff provides, listen to feedback from residents, do a little of your own homework and not let your personal feelings get in the way, the job can be fairly simple and extremely rewarding. Land use is one of my favorite parts of the job—watching a project that we approve be built and enhancing citizens lives is very rewarding. I am the type of civic leader (I don’t call myself a “politician”) that I want to vote for and interact with. My goal is to always conduct myself in a professional manner by discussing differing opinions with both my colleagues and residents, listening to both sides of an issue, working to make the city well-rounded while providing opportunities for jobs, housing, shopping and dining for visitors and citizens. It’s very important to me to always treat city staff, business owners, visitors and residents alike with dignity and respect.
It is so important to serve any job you have to the best of your ability, with the highest regard for people you come in contact with while always maintaining your integrity. I have sought God’s direction for me and allowed Him to make clear my path while prayerfully seeking Him. He has stretched me in ways I never imagined and provided a path that didn’t make sense early on but now makes perfect sense because I believe it is part of His plan for me. Where He takes me from here only He knows, but I know that His plan is perfect.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rebecca Jones has been a San Marcos City Council member since 2007 and currently serves as the vice mayor. She is also vice chair of the North County Transit District and a member of the SANDAG Transportation Committee. Rebecca has lived in San Diego County her entire life, moved to North County in 1987 and to San Marcos in 2000. She has been married to her husband Paul for 22 years and they have two children together: son, Grant (19), and daughter, Natalie (15). Rebecca started attending TFH the second week of meeting at the San Marcos Community Center. In her spare time Rebecca enjoys crafting, scrapbooking and cooking, and is blessed to serve her community.