Ashbaugh and Carpenter debate Measure Y

May 16, 2014


The San Luis Obispo Property and Business Owner’s Association hosted a panel discussion on Measure Y renewal Thursday that featured opposing views expressed by councilmen John Ashbaugh and Dan Carpenter.

Ashbaugh said the city has properly handled the taxpayers’ half-cent sales tax dollars and that voters deserve the right to choose whether or not to renew Measure Y.

“We have done a reasonable job of spending the money and telling you where it went,” Ashbaugh said. “I’d like to let the voters sort it out.”

Carpenter said the Measure Y money went primarily to employee salaries and benefits. He said the voters should replace the current council majority with fiscally accountable people.

“I implore you to give me some leaders on council, so I can do the right thing,” Carpenter said.

Ashbaugh countered that the city spent 60 percent of Measure Y dollars on the Capital Outlay Fund, which includes capital improvement projects as well as routine maintenance. He touted the current skate park project, funded in part by Measure Y money, as an example of city sales tax dollars going to a desired project. The world-class skate park will draw people from all over the state and the country, Ashbaugh said.

Measure Y critic Steve Barasch also participated on the panel and agreed largely with Carpenter. He said the city did not deliver the capital improvement projects that it promised voters and that San Luis Obispo now has a negative net worth.

City Public Works Director Darryl Grisby and a co-owner of Café Roma restaurant, Marco Rizzo, formed the rest of the panel.

Grigsby took issue with comments made by both panelists and audience members about the costs of city employees’ pensions. He said many public employees come from poor backgrounds or have left the private sector where they were receiving much lower pay.

“There are human beings involved, and they’re not going to go off to some bloated retirement that everyone else is paying for,” Grigsby said.

Grigsby also defended the city’s use of Measure Y dollars, saying taxpayers got more than their money’s worth.

Rizzo, who hosted the panel at Café Roma, said it was unclear where the Measure Y money went.

A third member of the city council, Kathy Smith, watched the panel discussion from the audience. Smith is the swing vote on Measure Y renewal and is currently leaning toward putting it on the November ballot.

The Brown Act precluded Smith from participating on the panel.

The council will vote Tuesday whether or not to place Measure Y renewal on the ballot.


A YES vote ensures the Gravy Train proceeds, full steam ahead. A NO vote will help derail this taxpayer funded circus train. Let us NOT be the suckers born every minute.


Put it on the ballot. If we as voters are stupid enough to voluntarily raise our own taxes again then we deserve the consequences.

Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice – shame on me.




Yes, let us feel real bad for those “poor” City Employees and the salary and benefits because they are poor folk and we are just working folk. Here is a taste of just 19 City of SLO retired employees, provided by CALPERS under freedom of information act, showing their monthly/annual retirement pay (NOTE: The top four (4) are City retired policemen, 14 in total are police and fire, 2 administrators, a finance director, a recreation direction, a utility water/wastewater director):

BLANKE, DANIEL R (PD) SAN LUIS OBISPO $11,699.08 $140,388.96

BROWN, RONALD D (PD) SAN LUIS OBISPO $8,535.42 $102,425.04

CROCKER, RICHARD (PD) A SAN LUIS OBISPO $8,575.34 $102,904.08

DUNN, GREGG H (PD)SAN LUIS OBISPO $8,698.40 $104,380.80

DUNN, JOHN O (ADMIN) SAN LUIS OBISPO $8,768.68 $105,224.16

GARDINER, JAMES M (PD) SAN LUIS OBISPO $11,408.66 $136,903.92


HAZOURI, JOSEF S (PD) SAN LUIS OBISPO $9,231.34 $110,776.08

LESAGE, PAUL (REC) SAN LUIS OBISPO $9,138.68 $109,664.16

MILLER, STEVEN W (PD) SAN LUIS OBISPO $8,548.54 $102,582.48

MOSS, JOHN E (UTIL) SAN LUIS OBISPO $8,666.81 $104,001.72

NEUMANN, ROBERT F (FIRE) SAN LUIS OBISPO $9,058.17 $108,698.04

PARKER, BRAD R (PD) SAN LUIS OBISPO $9,273.18 $111,278.16

RUTLEDGE, ROBERT F (PD) SAN LUIS OBISPO $9,866.52 $118,398.24

STATLER, WILLIAM (FIN) SAN LUIS OBISPO $11,991.01 $143,892.12


TOLLEY, STEVE J (PD) SAN LUIS OBISPO $10,924.85 $131,098.20

TOPHAM, BARTON H (PD) SAN LUIS OBISPO $9,292.34 $111,508.08

ZEULNER, THOMAS D (FIRE) SAN LUIS OBISPO $9,440.91 $113,290.92

MEASURE “Y ” – Vote NO


There are 3 big supporters of Measure “Y” – Downtown Association who will benefit with more City contributions, sidewalks, trees, support, etc., Chamber of Commerce who will benefit with more City contributions, advertising, activities, etc. and of course the City Employees as stated by City Public Works Director Darryl Grisby. We already know that the City Council is getting a raise and again City Attorney Derrick is getting her THIRD raise in 3 years for a major increase, 22 new employees and a current study is under way for a job review of positions and salary which only means new titles bring more salary adjustments, raises, promotions, etc.




“The world-class skate park will draw people from all over the state and the country, Ashbaugh said.”

Give us a break, Ashbaugh. That’s such a small-townish bit of back-slapping silliness. What an idiot.


Only a government employees would be happy that 60% of something was used correctly, wasn’t 100% supposed to go to capital projects, Hey Mr. Ashbaugh what happened to the other 40%?

Isn’t 60% a “D” grade?. Mr. Ashbaugh says “We have done a reasonable job” , you usually do not get raises for getting a “D” grade or just doing a reasonable job.


Actually, 100% wasn’t “supposed” to go to anything at all. That’s the problem: this is a general tax that goes into the general fund, and can be used for anything at all the city spends money on. Since it went into the general fund, there’s absolutely no way to track how the money was spent. Therein lies the argument. Ashbaugh and company claim it was used for worthwhile things, but John Fowler’s analysis shows the city wasn’t spending more on those worthwhile things after the tax than before. So where did the money go? Who knows. It just disappeared someplace in the city’s expenditures.

Originally Kathy Smith held out for a renewal tax that was designated for specific purposes, and could only be used for those purposes. Problem is that takes a 2/3 positive vote, while disappearing money only takes a majority. The rest of the council wouldn’t go there with her. They prefer the easy road to nowhere.

Kathy, please vote no on putting this tax back on the ballot.


This was a real genteel but eye-opening meeting.Steve Barasch is a walking encyclopedia of city finances and is probably the best thing that ever happened for fiscal accountability. He pointed out that the city has grown by perhaps 1000 residents, while the budget has ballooned 400% in the past ten years, mostly for salaries and benefits and 20 new employees.

We should demand a better rate of return than 0.25 %, and that money should be used to paydown our pension obligations of $125 MILLION and rising monthly and pay down other expensive loans instead of holding on to it at a very low rate of return. At the very least some of it should be invested locally to the extent permitted by state law. Now the city wants to go more into debt by proposing a general obligation bond that will tax property owners, according to yesterday’s Tribune.


Voter’s need to understand and sympathize with Mr. Ashbaugh… his benefits from the city are expensive after all.


“Grigsby also defended the city’s use of Measure Y dollars, saying taxpayers got more than their money’s worth.”

SERIOUSLY??? Please explain.I think most would agree that is NOT the case, that we are in fact getting LESS…much LESS.

I think Measure Y should have been named Measure WHY.