Meet Chris Orlando, Hoping to Become San Marcos’ Next Mayor

Chris Orlando has been on the San Marcos City Council for 12 years, but that is not where he started his political career. His experience and knowledge have great breadth and depth as was discovered during his presentation to the club at the monthly meeting.

After acquiring a BA in political science from the University of California, Santa Barbara followed by an MBA from George Washington University, he began his career in Washington, DC working for Rep. John Dingell from Michigan, the longest serving member of Congress. He spent most of his time in DC working for Dick Gephart and then for the DCCC on various national campaigns. 

In 1998 he moved to San Diego, then on to San Marcos where he has lived for the last 16 years. The San Marcos City Council had been in place with many of the same members for years and Chris decided it was time for a change. The first time he ran he wasn’t successful, but he won the second, and subsequent times such that he has served the fully allowed term of 12 years and was unopposed in his last election. Now he’d like to be our Mayor!

His time on the city council provided more opportunities for him to fully understand the key issues impacting the city and also what is top of mind for residents: development, and the resulting impact on traffic and schools. He spent 6 years on the NCTD Board, helped pass a congestion ordinance requiring developers to donate to transit infrastructure and also served on SANDAG. “Every decision was made with what’s best for the city and its citizens,” he explained. 

He says he “takes a common sense approach to development.” He originally supported the Ridgeline development plan and supports more parks to preserve wildlife and habitats, but ever since the Ridgeline ordinance was passed he feels it hasn’t helped too much. He’s been fighting to maintain the right interpretation of it to no avail.

Chris has often been the only dissenting vote in most of the 4-1 votes taken by the Council, mainly because he feels strongly that residents input must be heard first and “that input taken to heart.” That often hasn’t happened. For example, he voted against several development projects because residents weren’t heard regarding impacts. “My candidacy is about the future of San Marcos from a resident’s perspective,” he said. It should be noted that his opponent, Rebecca Jones, has voted for every development project that came before the Council during her tenure.

So what ideas does Chris have to mitigate development impacts? First, he believes that new developments should “bring infrastructure with them and it should be put in place before the first home is occupied.” The biggest issue is Rt. 78, as people are using surface streets to avoid it. “Transit has not been on the minds of any of the Mayors in the 78 corridor,” Chris explained. “We need to do better there.” 

The “Regional coalition” that has been in place isn’t working well, according to Chris. He cited the current controversial Newland Sierra project as an example. This project will add 2,135 new homes and contribute almost 30,000 more cars to Twin Oaks Valley and Deer Springs roads plus add over 800 new students to the already overcrowded San Marcos and Escondido schools. “This project will really impact San Marcos’ traffic, schools, athletic leagues but we have no say in the project as it’s being processed by the County. I asked the San Marcos City Council to request a briefing and they wouldn’t do it.” As a result, Chris now feels that “we got it wrong” and need to rethink how to make San Marcos more livable and walkable.

Chris is only the second Democrat to serve on the city council. San Marcos has only had one Democratic Mayor in the last 53 years and that was only for two years. Republicans dominate all levels of government except for a few on the school board. “It doesn’t reflect the electorate,” Chris explained. And our “suburb” is becoming more purple recently. There now are only 1500 more registered Republicans than Democrats and only 1500 more No Party Preference voters than Democrats and the gap is closing. 

But Chris needs help. “The Republican establishment is strong and my opponent has already received lots of dollars especially from developers and is supported by the Lincoln Club.” Chris went on to explain that although he has worked well with and appreciates Jones, his opponent, she doesn’t realize that “not every development project is perfect. And if the developers view that someone is always going to say yes to every project they don’t work as hard to mitigate concerns.” Furthermore Chris went on to explain, “if she wins and her council seat becomes vacant, she likely will appoint a Republican to fill her seat giving Republicans the majority.”

Housing projects, shopping centers, traffic, school overcrowding – all issues of concern to Chris as both a resident and a politician. He is determined to work with residents to solve these problems, but he won’t be able to if he does not become our next Mayor. 

To read more about Chris and support his campaign you can check out his website. 

Jun 23 – OB Street Fair – The Start of the 2018 Elections

It’s June. That means that we don’t have our regular meeting at the Point Loma Assembly instead we have it at the OB Street Fair. This is the start of our General Election work to elect Democratic candidates for District 2, and across the city and county.

Don’t sit home and think of it as a month off from our regular political meetings, think of it as a chance to meet voters and ask them what they’re concerned about. What are the issues that will get them out to vote?

Are they spurred into action by the abuses of children whose parents are fleeing violence at home? Or are they concerned about the local environment, or short term vacation rentals?  Are they up in arms over affordable housing development in Point Loma, or the proliferation of brightly colored bicycles?

As well as enjoying political conversations at the booth, you’ll get the chance to sample the delights of the fair.

You can help citizens register to vote, promote our candidates, and enlarge your political mind.

The fair runs from 10am – 8pm with lots of events for all the family.

If you’d like to volunteer to help staff the booth for an hour or so, please contact Merrin Muxlow [email protected]  or (619) 800 5098.




Jul 7 – Western Services Workers Association 41st Anniversary Dinner Celebration

We have a long standing tradition of supporting the Western Service Workers Association and we encourage you to attend their annual fundraising dinner. The music, entertainment and speakers are always impressive. If you can’t attend please consider making a donation.

You are cordially invited to join the WSWA’s membership of service workers and other low-income workers in celebrating 41 years of determined struggle and victories in building a winning strategy for labor.

This evening includes dinner, live entertainment and speakers.

Sunday July 7, 2018

St Patrick Catholic Church
3585 30th St
San Diego, CA 92104

Mail or call:
Western Service Workers Association
3014 Imperial Ave, San Diego, CA 92102
(619) 238-9763

June 26 Program- Analyzing Primary Results and Looking Towards the November Election



Speaker: Howard Wayne Esq

Howard Wayne represented San Diego in the California Legislature for six years, where he was the Chair of the Assembly Natural Resources Committee.  He authored the first laws in the country to require testing of beach waters to protect human health, and to fund breast cancer treatment for poor women.  His also established the San Diego Airport Authority and city-wide curbside recycling.
An adept political analyst, Howard told our club two years ago that a Trump path to victory was through the upper Midwest.  That was exactly what happened the following November when Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin voted Republican.  He came back in December to explain why that happened.
Howard will discuss political trends, where we are now, and how the fall elections may well turn out.
June 26– Joyce Beers Community Center
Social 6:30 P.M.
Program 7:00 P.M.