Candidates for SLO council state positions in forum

April 25, 2013

slo forumFive candidates vying to fill the open seat on the San Luis Obispo City Council stated their cases in a forum Tuesday at the San Luis Obispo Senior Center.

Former councilman Paul Brown, current county Planning Commissioner Carlyn Christianson, welder Donald Hedrick, Los Angeles County firefighter Kevin Rice and attorney John Spatafore are aiming to fill the seat vacated by Andrew Carter, who stepped down to become the city administrator of Guadalupe. The election winner will join the current council with about a year and half remaining in Carter’s former term.

At the forum Tuesday, the five candidates discussed issues facing the city including Measure Y renewal and the proposed homeless services center.

Only Hedrick unconditionally opposed the renewal of the city’s half-cent sales tax, which is expected to appear on the ballot in 2014. He said Measure Y drives business from the city to other areas of the county.

Rice and Spatafore said they would support a renewal of Measure Y if the revenues go toward specific purposes.

“I support it if it’s focused. I support it if it’s well delineated. I support it if it’s discussed around the community and the priorities are established and it’s used for those purposes,” Spatafore said.

Christianson said there should not be restrictions on the use of Measure Y money because the council should be able to tap into the funds in the case of an emergency like a natural disaster.

Brown said he supported the adoption of Measure Y while he served on the council and now supports its renewal.

“It’s the least invasive way for us to generate $6 million in our city,” Brown said. “We’re actually putting most of the burden on tourists and people who are using our city just for the day.”

In addressing the city’s growing homeless population, Brown said he does not want to create a magnet for homeless people across the country.

Spatafore said he supports the Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo’s plan to build a multimillion dollar homeless services center. He said the center belongs at 40 Prado Road, as opposed to the initially proposed location on South Higuera Street.

Christianson, who also supports the proposed CAPSLO homeless services center, said the city should rely heavily on law enforcement and case management to handle the homeless population who do not want to enter aid programs.

“As Steve Gesell, our police chief, has said, we need to stop being an enabling city,” Christianson said.

Rice said the city must avoid further litigation in its approach to handling the homelessness problem. He said the lawsuit the city lost over its ticketing of the homeless was very costly and that the city should revise its ordinances to allow churches and nonprofits to offer nighttime parking for those who wish to sleep in their vehicles.

“The problem I have is we are trying to build this very nice institutional like building that costs millions of dollars and nothing’s getting done today,” Rice said.

Hedrick said the city should relax its “mean spiritedness” toward the homeless.

“I’m also hearing complaints about CAPSLO taking donations and selling them to the homeless and pocketing the money,” Hedrick said.

Hedrick said he knew Maxine Lewis, the namesake of the current CAPSLO homeless shelter and that “she’d be rolling over in her grave” if she knew about some of the treatment the homeless are receiving.

The city will hold a vote-by-mail special election for the open council seat. The city clerk will begin mailing ballots on May 20, and voters must return them by June 18.

 


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13 Comments

  1. WiserGuy says:

    Anyone else find it ironic that Kevin Rice speaks out against “costly litigation” about the same time that he cost taxpayers heaps of money filing his anti-environmental lawsuit regarding the Oceano Dunes? The lawsuit had so little merit it was dismissed by the court.

    Many times I’ve known people to ask Kevin Rice a straight yes or no question and, though he can’t seem to help himself from responding, he simply does to give a straight answer and instead tries to be clever and twists his response to try to make the questioner look bad. Isn’t that right, Kevin?

    Kevin Rice is a pretty good actor. Maybe he should play a politician in Hollywood where saying one thing and doing another and misleading the public for his own selfish purposes is expected from that kind of character. But in SLO County? I think we can do better.

    (2) 6 Total Votes - 4 up - 2 down
  2. r0y says:

    Again, Mr. Hedrick seems to be the most sane of the group..
    Only Hedrick unconditionally opposed the renewal of the city’s half-cent sales tax, which is expected to appear on the ballot in 2014. He said Measure Y drives business from the city to other areas of the county. – uh, yeah! No one else had the Moxie to say this!

    …and…
    Hedrick said the city should relax its “mean spiritedness” toward the homeless.

    “I’m also hearing complaints about CAPSLO taking donations and selling them to the homeless and pocketing the money,” Hedrick said.

    Hedrick said he knew Maxine Lewis, the namesake of the current CAPSLO homeless shelter and that “she’d be rolling over in her grave” if she knew about some of the treatment the homeless are receiving.
    More than rolling over in her grave… I would hope she was actively HAUNTING these people for what they are doing!

    (4) 20 Total Votes - 12 up - 8 down
  3. GalaxyTraveler says:

    Ok, so we have two ultra-conservatives with anger management problems and one who wears a tinfoil hat to keep the government from reading his mind. That leaves Carlyn Christianson and John Spatafore, the only two viable candidates. I am anxious to read the Tribune’s interviews with these two in order to make a decision.

    (-12) 18 Total Votes - 3 up - 15 down
    • r0y says:

      Looking back on just the last 5-10 years… I’m going to make my own tinfoil hat! You know it’s getting bad when “crazy” isn’t so… crazy anymore.

      (11) 15 Total Votes - 13 up - 2 down
      • mkaney says:

        Crazy is the new normal. To be part of it, you have to suffer from extreme cognitive dissonance and be able to totally ignore the logical fallacies in any politically popular cliche. Like, “Terrorists aren’t entitled to the normal criminal process.” Why? Because they’re terrorists. How do you know they are terrorists if they haven’t been found guilty in court with evidence? Because we tell you they are.

        I think I will wear my hat proudly if this is how the “sane” crowd works lol.

        (6) 6 Total Votes - 6 up - 0 down
    • r0y says:

      A lawyer is NEVER a viable candidate. Lawyers and “educators” should never be voted into office.

      (8) 8 Total Votes - 8 up - 0 down
      • GalaxyTraveler says:

        Oh, sorry. Only developers and land speculators. Got it.

        (-6) 6 Total Votes - 0 up - 6 down
    • womanwhohasbeenthere says:

      Carlyn Christianson is/was Adam Hill’s appointee to the Planning Commission and the former head of the local Planned Parenthood. John Spatafore is a workers comp lawyer who dropped off the school board. What makes them so “viable”? Could they just possibly bring a bias in favor of more planning regulations and more benefits for public employees? Paul Brown is a former councilman and owned a downtown business. Kevin RIce has attended more city council meetings than all the other candidates put together in the past two years and has organized a beach clean-up day for the past several years. Because they have both expressed concerns about the city’s very serious financial problems this makes them not “viable”? Get your head out of the sand. I think the Tribune will endorse Christianson because of her “experience” and “community involvement” and “dedication” none of which has anything to do with resolving our city’s financial problems. Too bad as such a council will simply kick the can down the road…

      (5) 7 Total Votes - 6 up - 1 down
      • GalaxyTraveler says:

        Attending a lot of council meetings? Come on. That’s like saying you see a lot of movies so you could produce and direct films. If you really want to know Mr. Rice, you should read some of his rabid anti-government rants on his old website. The guy doesn’t even work in this county! And for Mr. Brown, I guess you forgot he was basically drummed out of office after his ex-wife got a restraining order on him after he choked her. All in the public record. And for Mr. Hendrick. Please.

        (-5) 5 Total Votes - 0 up - 5 down
        • Kevin Rice says:

          Which old web site is this? I’d like to read it before I vote. :rolleyes:

          Yes, attending (and participating in) council meetings is imperative to knowing what’s going on. I don’t recall ever seeing anyone else but Hedrick at a council meeting in the last two years–until there was a seat vacant. I have already changed policies, procedures and even ordinances because I was there and participated.

          (-2) 6 Total Votes - 2 up - 4 down
          • GalaxyTraveler says:

            Remember all the angry blog comments you made on the Trib comment section? They’re still there Mr. Rice. Shall I pull some up so people can read your real anti-SLO attitude? You hate most of the people who live here. Be honest. Please drop out of the race and avoid being embarassed.

            (-1) 5 Total Votes - 2 up - 3 down
  4. womanwhohasbeenthere says:

    Yes, by all means, let’s continue to give the city council more tax money like $6 million a year with no strings attached so they can spend it on salaries, benefits, retirement obligations etc. The city has spent almost NOTHING on capital improvements in the past five years, yet the money rolls in..What has been passed off as Measure Y capital improvements is nothing but basic maintenance, and even that has dropped to almost nothing..

    The binding arbitration ruling sopped up the Measure Y money after its first year, and continues to do so.

    CalPERS is now calling for a 50% increase in contributions due to underfunding. The new GASB accounting rules require pension obligations to show up on the ledger in plain sight. Be prepared to be stunned! That is where this Measure Y money will go.

    Measure Y will not be floated as a tax for a specific purpose because this would require a higher percentage of voter approval, and it won’t pass.

    The city does not have a revenue problem. It has a spending problem. Major cuts in personnel, benefits, etc., outsourcing, and cuts in services must be made to balance the books. DO NOT vote for Measure Y again. If it should pass, it won’t solve our fiscal woes and the city council moreover will use that as a green light to lobby all of us for more taxes on other things to keep that revenue coming in.

    It is a vicious cycle like the old military-industrial complex: the city wants/needs money, so they charge higher fees, surcharges, rates, and fines; this and aggressive enforcement of tickets and administrative citations results in more money for the city; departments heads then say they need more personnel to manage the workload, so more personnel are hired and higher salaries and benefits are negotiated; then the city wants/needs more money, and on it goes, year after year.

    Don’t feed the machine..Let’s get back to basics. This city was well run for many many years on a lot less money. It can be done again but we need a council with backbone to start the process. Will we get that?

    (8) 18 Total Votes - 13 up - 5 down
    • r0y says:

      Well said, but as with any call to common sense, it will fall mostly on deaf ears, I’m afraid.

      Perhaps not on this site, but the average voter DID vote for Marx twice… I’m pretty sure there’s a lot of people who lack real information and historical facts (or just don’t care, more likely).

      Cakes and circuses all around!

      (9) 13 Total Votes - 11 up - 2 down

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