Owning San Marcos Mayor Rebecca Jones

San Marcos Mayor Rebecca Jones, standing center behind dais, at a January 2019 city council meeting during which she engineered, with almost no discussion, the controversial appointment of Jay Petrek, Escondido assistant city manager, to fill the council seat she vacated to become mayor./dweisman

According to her 2018 campaign disclosure statement, mayoral candidate Rebecca Jones received $50,965 in donations from 180 individuals. Only 53 have San Marcos addresses. Seven of ten of her cash supporters were, like me, not eligible to vote in the election.

Jones’s opponent, Chris Orlando, raised $29,000 in donations from 139 individuals, 94 of whom have San Marcos addresses.

I was disappointed to learn that our new home in San Marcos, although within city limits, is located in the San Diego County unincorporated area of Lake San Marcos. We cannot vote in city elections, even though we are functionally subservient to the city.

As the November election draws near, I’ve resolved not to vote for any county, state or national candidate before I follow the money to find out who gave them the cash to run their campaigns. Thanks to federal and state law requiring candidates to file public disclosure statements, you can find out who owns an elected official’s loyalty.

Here’s an example of how that works at the federal level. According to the Government Affairs Institute at Georgetown University, Incoming first-term members of Congress are instructed to spend upwards of four hours per day raising money, which is time taken away from the legislative responsibilities of being an elected official.

Without a vote, but with the power of the pen, I’m following the money of San Marcos elected officials, beginning with Mayor Jones.

Addresses and occupations of donors are required on the California Fair Political Practices Commission Form 460. If a total of $100 or more is received from a single contributor during a calendar year, the name, street address, city, state and zip code of the contributor must be included. Self-employed donors must give the name of their businesses.

Missing from Mayor Jones’s disclosure statement, posted on the city’s website, were both the addresses of donors and the businesses or occupations of those listing “self-employed,” as required by law.

The city’s communications manager, Robin Rocker, told me the addresses had, in fact, been redacted by the city, which is allowed by California’s TITLE 9. POLITICAL REFORM  ACT of 2016, and which reads, in part: The data made available on the Internet shall not contain the street name and building number of the persons or entity representatives listed on the electronically filed forms…The local filing officer shall make a complete, unredacted copy of any statement…including any street names, building numbers…to any person upon request.

The act does not prohibit posting on the Internet a donor’s city of residence. Carlsbad, unlike San Marcos, lists each donor’s city of residence.

The act also does not allow self-employed donors to withhold the names of their businesses.

San Marcos city officials have chosen to deny the public’s access on the Internet to find out where a candidate lives and what self-employed candidates do for a living.

Upon my request, the communications manager gave me Mayor Jones’s and Candidate Orlando’s unredacted campaign statements that list the addresses of donors. But the occupations of the self-employed, as required by law, were withheld. I had to resort to Google searches to find that information.

Here’s what I discovered from Jones’s unredacted campaign statements: John Franklin, a Vista resident, is President of Pacific Political, Inc. a company that provides “political consultation and management to Republican candidates across America.”

A total of $750 came from three donors, S E Triandafilidis, Stephen Triandafilidis and John Triandafilidis, each kicking in $250, the maximum allowed an individual. All three gave the same address, 3535 Princeton Drive NE Albuquerque, NM 87107. All say they are “self-employed,” with no businesses named.

A Google search of Corporation Wiki, a business directory site which aggregates business and employee information from the public record, reveals that Stephen Triandafilidis is Manager for Lvp Acquisitions, LLC, and has been associated with fifteen companies. John Triandafilidis is Manager of Bases Loaded LLC, associated with twenty-eight companies. I could find no information at all about S E Triandafilidis.

So, who owns the mayor of San Marcos? I’m guessing it’s not the 53 local residents who gave cash to her campaign.

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After 35 years in public education as a high school English teacher and university administrator, Richard Riehl began a second life as a freelance writer, winning San Diego Society of Professional Journalists awards for his opinion columns in the former San Diego daily North County Times and the San Diego Free Press. For more, visit The Riehl World.

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