Paso Robles council to appoint member to vacant seat

November 21, 2014

PASO ROBLES BRICK SIGNThe Paso Robles City Council is expected to fill a vacant seat by appointing a fifth council member at its upcoming meeting, rather than opting to hold a special election. [Tribune]

Council member Steve Martin ran unopposed for mayor, and won, creating a vacancy on the council. Following a close five-way race for two council seats, Martin is joined on the council by current members Fred Strong and John Hamon and by newcomer Jim Reed.

The likely choices for the final council seat are the third through fifth place finishers in this month’s election, each of who have expressed interest in receiving the appointment. Outgoing Mayor Duane Picanco ran for a council seat and fell short by 14 votes.

Newcomer Paul Avila finished just six votes behind Picanco and only 20 behind second-place Reed. Planning Commissioner Steve Gregory finished in last place, but only trailed Reed by 212 votes.

Each of the five candidates in the race received 18 to 22 percent of the vote.

If the council opts to appoint Avila or Gregory, the city may lose its seat on the San Luis Obispo County Local Agency Formation Commission. Picanco is currently a member of the LAFCO board, which will oversee the formation of a water district for the Paso Robles groundwater basin.

Picanco’s seat on the LAFCO board could go to a council member from another city if he does not return to the Paso Robles council.


We just had an election and the next vote getter is Picanco who was 20 votes behind Reed. He should get the appointed position. Go by the will of the voters, not the personal whims of the Council.


Correction. 14 votes behind Reed.


What about the people who voted for Hamon and Reed in the last election? They don’t get a say? For all the waste this current council has created, 95k is a small price to pay to see what the voters say when they all have a chance to vote on only these three?


Low voter turnout is the culprit here. The question now becomes what is best for the community in the long run. Nobody had a mandate here so what now? If you want to consider the will of the people we have to look somewhere else for answers. The only other public “poll” of the people was conducted by the Paso Robles Daily News. In that poll Steve Gregory was a runaway winner with Picanco coming in dead last far behind any of the others. What do the citizens really want? I think standup makes a valid argument in what about the people who voted for Hamon and Reed, who was the next choice of those voters? I think it is pretty clear though that the citizens of the community want new leadership so I think that rules out Picanco, LAFCO excuse aside. The Mayors are the ones who vote for that seat. Martin can always vote for another city council member to refill that seat.


Of course they’ll keep Picanco.

Though he’s old, out of touch, and was a huge supporter of disgraced former top cop Lisa $olomon Chitty, he’s still a longtime member of Paso’s good ol’ boys club.


Don’t think it is going to happen. Jim Reed big advocate for change. One no vote. Hamon said he would weigh his options. Two no votes. Strong has not commented one way or the other but he has been on the opposite side of Picanco in many city issues like the Marijuana issue for example. He may be older too but is not out of touch. Three no votes. And that leaves Martin who as the new Mayor must take what is best for the community as a whole into account. Four no votes. So now the fun begins and they start nominating alternatives.


I’ll give you another reason it would look bad for Martin to support Picanco. It will look like he cut a deal with Picanco not to run for Mayor again. It may not be true but that perception will certainly be out there and I don’t think he would want to start out as the new Mayor with that hanging over his head for the next two years.


Picanco is in, LAFCO position is hard to beat.


That’s crap, new people can be appointed. One long time, out of touch politician isn’t the answer. Dump Picanco, his time has come and gone, and his LAFCO ace in the hole is tired and worn out.

Paso Robles needs fresh eyes and a new perspective.