Christianson wins SLO council seat

June 19, 2013

CarlynChristiansonSan Luis Obispo County Planning Commissioner Carlyn Christianson will fill the vacant seat on the San Luis Obispo City Council after winning a special election Tuesday night.

Christianson captured 48 percent of the vote, edging former councilman Paul Brown who received 39 percent.

The city clerk has yet to conduct the final tally, but Christianson concluded the night with an 877-vote lead over Brown, who conceded prior to the latest vote count.

Los Angeles County firefighter Kevin Rice, who dropped out of the race and endorsed Brown, finished third with 5.7 percent of the vote, followed by San Luis Obispo attorney John Spatfore, who received 5.3 percent.

Spatafore dropped out of the race prior to Rice doing so, and said he did not want to split the vote. However, Spatafore never endorsed another candidate.

San Luis Obispo welder and three-time mayoral candidate Don Hedrick finished fifth with 2.5 percent. Hedrick campaigned throughout the race.

Christianson will take over the term of Andrew Carter, who resigned from the council to become city administrator of Guadalupe. She will be up for reelection in November 2014.

Most observers expect Christianson to form a voting block with Mayor Jan Marx and Councilman John Ashbaugh, who both endorsed her and are active in the San Luis Obispo County Democratic Party.

The County Democratic Party, too, endorsed Christianson and made a contribution to her campaign last month of more than $4,000.

Councilman Dan Carpenter, who endorsed Brown, criticized the local Democratic Party for getting involved in the council race. Carpenter also requested during the campaign that Christianson step down from her position on the city’s Land Use and Circulation Element task force.

On the task force, Christianson has supported the South Broad Street Area Plan, which would transform a neighborhood bordering Broad Street between South Street and Orcutt Road from a primarily manufacturing zone to a hub for mixed-use development.

The plan stalled in March when the council failed to break a 2-2 deadlock. Marx and Ashbaugh voted for the plan, but Carpenter and Councilwoman Kathy Smith, who also endorsed Brown, did not.

Carpenter and Smith said the plan threatened the businesses in the area and voted in favor of making traffic and safety improvements to Broad Street while scrapping the rest of the plan. Marx and Ashbuagh voted against the compromise but, with the addition of Christianson to the council, now have majority support of the South Broad Street plan.




  1. Slowerfaster says:

    Geee … no one has congratulated Christianson on her winning and her God centered campaign ( How could she not, given her name ? ) .
    So, I will do it !

    Congratulations Ms. Christianson !

    I would have voted for Don Hedrick had I not been off on Mission, as we need more of his kind in public service, but Ms. Christianson will do !

    (-1) 3 Total Votes - 1 up - 2 down
  2. pasoparent5 says:

    I heard Kevin Rice on KVEC this afternoon and was reminded how much I hate it when candidates run for office, do the media circuit, then drop out. Both Rice and Spatafore did that, yet their names were still on the ballot so undoubtedly some SLO voters were confused & voted for one of them anyway.

    Politically, I disagree w/most of Christianson’s positions but she clearly ran a better campaign than any of her challengers. Paul Brown’s political future is done. Kevin Rice…not sure…but if he runs again, he needs to stay the course until the end. Win or lose, don’t be a quitter!

    (0) 10 Total Votes - 5 up - 5 down
    • r0y says:

      That’s because running a good CAMPAIGN directly translates into running a good GOVERNMENT, right? Right? …?

      (-3) 9 Total Votes - 3 up - 6 down
    • GalaxyTraveler says:

      Rice has no political future. He’s a union firefighter who hates unions and complains about the pensions bud gladly takes all the union pay and benefits. No one really knows the real Kevin Rice.

      (4) 8 Total Votes - 6 up - 2 down
  3. Dave says:

    WiserGuy–You need to spend more time with Dr. Langford. You clearly did not read the extensive article in The Tribune about Paul Brown’s ex-wife. If the smear campaign played a factor, then blame the Tribune for their article and all the Letters the published. Paul lost for three main reasons (1) Carlyn ran a smart, aggressive campaign, (2) She had the backing and the resources of the locals Dems and (3) She had the firefighters and the police unions on her side.

    But I don’t blame you for not putting your name on your opinion. I wouldn’t either if this is the best I could come up with. Maybe Nell can set you straight.

    (2) 14 Total Votes - 8 up - 6 down
  4. ApathyWillKillYou says:

    Fun fact… if Brown got Spatfore’s and Rice’s votes he would have WON by 152 votes.

    (3) 13 Total Votes - 8 up - 5 down
    • unlisted says:

      Fact? You could have a easily said that if Paul didn’t have a peni$, he’d be a woman.

      (7) 19 Total Votes - 13 up - 6 down
    • ApathyWillKillYou says:

      Really more like FUN FICTION…

      (5) 5 Total Votes - 5 up - 0 down
  5. GalaxyTraveler says:

    Horrible turnout. But the result pretty much aligns with SLO’s political leanings. 50% progressive, 40% conservative, 2% worried about the government stealing their brainwaves.

    (13) 19 Total Votes - 16 up - 3 down
    • unlisted says:

      …and the rest have no clue what’s going on! 11% voted for people who dropped out of the race.

      (17) 19 Total Votes - 18 up - 1 down
      • ApathyWillKillYou says:

        excellent point Unlisted…

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

        Could it be they sent in their vote before their candidate dropped out?

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

      I think the brainwave percentage is alot higher

      (8) 10 Total Votes - 9 up - 1 down

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