Candidates target leadership in district attorney race debate

April 24, 2014

During the second debate between San Luis Obispo County district attorney candidates Dan Dow and Tim Covello, the candidates focused on leadership ability and experience.

dan dow 1

Dan Dow

During the debate at the San Luis Obispo Library, Covello, who has been with the district attorney’s office for 21 years, said Dow does not have the experience as a prosecutor to lead the office. In addition, other prosecutors in the county office have more experience than Dow, which would hamper his ability to lead, Covello said.

Dow countered by listing his past leadership experience in the Army and California Army National Guard. He also noted the support he has received from the majority of district attorneys in the office.

Both candidates are seeking to replace Gerry Shea, who announced he would serve out the remainder of his term late last year. Prior to that announcement, Shea had been slated to step down six months before the end of his term and recommend Covello as a replacement.

The past two district attorneys before Shea, stepped down amid their last term and recommended that the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors appoint their choice for district attorney who then ran as the incumbent and won the seat.

Tim Covello

Tim Covello

Inside sources said after several prosecutors complained about Covello’s selections for management positions, Shea announced he would serve out his last term. Shortly afterwards, a group of prosecutors met to discuss the best person to run as a candidate for office, and Dow was selected, sources said.

The majority of prosecutors in the office, 23 district attorneys, are supporting Dow’s election bid. Dow said during the debate that Covello is unapproachable and has a top-down management style that hurts morale.

Covello argued that some of the deputies have created the morale problems because of work related issues such as not working a full day.

The primary election is on June 3.

JB Bronson

Mr. Covello saying gangs have been slowed down because of the effective policies he has helped write with the Probation Department (while the Sheriff has to coordinate multiple law enforcement agencies to do “gang sweeps” because those policies are doing so well)…

…is like CAPSLO saying they have a handle on the homeless, Ms. Neal telling us Mr. Hill did not violate any conflict of interest laws and the Gibson emails are coming soon, Mr. Collins telling us Social Services knows what they are doing…

Mr. Dow wants to hear from the tax paying, voting public. This is the change we have been calling out for.


While I fully believe that electing Tim Covello will result in a continuance of exactly the same type of attitude and operation of the office we got from Gerry Shea, I do have a slight reservation about Mr. Dow; while Mr. Covello is apparently a “decline to state” as to political affiliation, Mr. Dow is listed as a Republican. If Dan Dow can operate the office of the District Attorney in a non-political manner, I would definitely see myself voting for him; my concern is based on how many many Republicans have obtained political office across the country in various positions and have used the power of their position to further the Republican agenda of restricting voting rights, keeping in place harsh drug sentencing laws and 3 strike laws, doing anything they can to help their richest supporters and trying to weaken any and all gun laws to try and return us to the old wild west so anyone can carry almost any weapon anywhere they want, anytime they want.

If Mr. Dow can make a promise to leave the politics out of the operation of the office and follow through on that promise, then I will most likely vote for him; if not, the “status quo” wouldn’t be the worst thing for our DA’s office.


Well said. It doesn’t seem like either choice is necessarily an improvement.


I agree with you on most points but not the gun law issues. Widespread gun ownership is a deterrent to would be tyrants from either side of the political spectrum. A fair number of us who own guns are not stereotypical conservatives and don’t appreciate your characterization of gun rights advocates.


Respectfully, I disagree that “widespread gun ownership is a deterrent to would be tyrants from either side of the political spectrum”; if you honestly, truly believe that your owning a gun, owning several guns, owning a whole arsenal of lethal weapons is somehow going to stop a government agency from coming into your house to arrest or detain you, you really do not have a firm grip on reality. The argument that an armed populace is going to resist a tyrannical government does not face up with the reality that any government agency is either going to completely overwhelm a situation, or they are going to step back and come up with other means to achieve their goal, like with the deadbeat rancher in Arizona.

You could have illegal fully automatic weapons, rocket propelled grenade launchers, surface to air missiles and still the odds are woefully NOT in your favor if the government determines that you need to be arrested. Resisting the government by armed means is insurrection, plain and simple. Your particular argument just doesn’t hold water, IMO.

My concern is having an elected official who has a similar out-of-touch-with-reality attitude that you have just exhibited; the only way to “rein in” an out of control government in a democratic republic is to vote the bastards out of office, utilize the Freedom of Information Act to uncover illegal and/or nefarious activities, and to force them answer to us, the voters, using the courts if necessary to get the results wanted. Armed rebellion is just that, rebellion.


My bad; the rancher, Cliven Bundy, is in Nevada, not Arizona.


less then 10 miles from the Arizona strip


It boils down to this….

If you like the way Gerald Shea has run the SLO DA office then vote for Covello.

If you want to see a positive change in the SLO DA office then vote for Dow,

I thought it was telling that Covello had ‘sour grape’ feelings and showed his true conviction that he did not know if he would stay on if Dow was elected and Dow said he would stay regardless of the outcome.


I agree that voting for Covello will maintain the status quo and I don’t want to do that. However, Dow could be either better or worse. He will have to convince me that he offers an improvement not just something “different.” I made that mistake voting for Obama because McCain sounded like he wouldn’t be different than W. I learned from that mistake.

JB Bronson

If you want more of the same, vote Covello. Okay he wrote all the policies for this and for that. Bottom line is, he is out of touch with how bad the gangs are in this county.

Dan Dow will ask people who live where Covello’s policies have been written about, and he will hear that gangs are bad, heroin is prevalent, massage parlors are really not providing back rubs.

We are getting squeezed from the North and the South and the status quo through another policy is not working for me.


Approaching the problem of gangs using gang enhancements unfortunately creates a self fulfilling prophecy. If you focus on certain communities and increase the penalties for crimes they commit, then you create a focal point of people with felonies who are unable to get jobs, unable to properly care for and educate their children, broken homes, and a variety of other issues. The result? more people from that community turn to crime.. Do you see the cycle?

fishing village

Covello is the man for me, nothing like experience and putting Crebs away is a good thing!


So he convicted Rex Krebs with a slam dunk case.

If that’s what you are basing your vote on then good luck SLO county.

Kevin Rice

You can’t even spell Krebs and that’s the extent of your consideration?


Its been awhile; not so sure, but I thought Trice prosecuted Krebs?

Jorge Estrada

This is an interesting dilema, vote for a nice guy who’s seniority has seen a citizen of the year become a ostracized squirrel without nuts or vote for a fresh start with a smug focus on the law? For this job, not the first pick on the vacation schedule, the deciding factor for me is who will preserve the respect of the public at the expense of alienating many.


I just watched part of their debate, and I have to say that Dan Dow, who I was originally leaning toward, is starting to look like a guy that just sucks up to everyone to get elected. But that is not what concerns me. What concerns me is that he thinks marijuana is a gateway drug, that heroin is killing our youth, and that gang enhancements are a good way to combat crime.

Just like guns don’t kill people by themselves, heroin doesn’t kill people by itself either. And whether either has a legitimate use is purely a matter of opinion. There is no such thing as a “gateway” drug. If you remove one gateway drug, then another drug will become the most popular first-step. And finally, gang enhancements are discriminatory. If we were going to be consistent about gang enhancements, then any time that more than one person convicted of a white collar crime who were members of the same fraternal organization, a gang enhancement would be applied.

This kind of ignorance is disturbing. This is what we have to choose from!?


A lot of Covello’s comments are intended to make him look like a down-to-business, no-nonsense, tough kinda guy; but they pretty much just make him look like a jerk.


Covello argued that some of the deputies have created the morale problems because of work related issues such as not working a full day.

I will vote for the leader not the blamer, Vote Dan Dow