Christianson wins SLO council seat
June 19, 2013
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.