Last place candidate appointed to Paso Robles council

December 3, 2014

PASO ROBLES BRICK SIGNPlanning Commissioner Steve Gregory has joined the Paso Robles City Council despite finishing last in a five-way race for two council seats.

On Tuesday night, Councilman Steve Martin took the oath of office for mayor, vacating his seat on the council. The four-person council then decided between the third, fourth and fifth place finishers in the November election for someone to serve out the remaining two years on Martin’s council term.

Previous mayor Duane Picanco finished third in the council race, just 14 votes behind Jim Reed, who also took the oath of Tuesday. But, the council passed over Picanco and newcomer Pam Avila, who finished fourth in the council race.

Martin supported appointing Picanco, but Reed and councilmen Fred Strong and John Hamon voted for Gregory.

Gregory has served on the planning commission since 2009 and works as a project design consultant for homes and small businesses. He developed and helped build the Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort in Avila Beach, and he helps his wife Dawn Gregory run the Odyssey World Café in downtown Paso Robles.

In November’s election, Gregory received 18.15 percent of the vote. The council race ended with less than a 4 percent margin between the first and fifth place finishers.

By opting not to appoint Picanco, the Paso Robles council may have relinquished its representation on the San Luis Obispo County Local Agency Formation Commission. Strong’s seat on the LAFCO board will now be up for grabs by council members in any of the county’s seven cities.



  1. robert a says:

    I voted for Reed, ’cause I thought he was a ‘wild card’, populist kinda guy, and his own man.

    Now I’m beginning to regret that vote. Apparently, Reed is going to be led around by his nose by Hamon (and now Gregory).

    I have to wonder what the back room conversation was BEFORE the vote appointing Gregory.

    My, my, how quickly one is disillusioned.

    (-2) 4 Total Votes - 1 up - 3 down
  2. JB Bronson says:

    If Jim App was a mayor, he would be called Tony Ferrara.

    Picanco could never stand up to App. Better to make a change.

    (6) 6 Total Votes - 6 up - 0 down
  3. pigsrule says:

    The voters wanted new blood and got it with Reed. I personally like Picanco and he’s helped me in the past. But with that said, he represents the old guard and folks weren’t interested in having him again. Avila was backed by unions which is a non-starter here in Paso – so no way was she going to be nominated.

    However, my real problem is with the appointment of Gregory. He’s an insider and definitely not what voters were looking for. I’m afraid the city officials don’t understand the message.

    Here we go again?

    (2) 10 Total Votes - 6 up - 4 down
  4. BeenThereDoneThat says:

    Funny thing here, people bitch about Gov. officials staying in office for a long time and no new ideas. Hell if memory serves Duane has been on the council since the late eighties or early nineties. 25 years + or -. So what is it you want folks?

    I don’t see this necessarily as a bad reflection on Duane. I see it more as new blood. Hell back when Harry Ovitt was on the B.O.S. I voted for him the first few times. The last I went with Frank Mechem. Nothing personal against Harry, just thought it was time for new ideas.Well guess what? I have voted for Duane in the past but the last two cycles I have not. Again time for some input from others.

    (8) 8 Total Votes - 8 up - 0 down
  5. gracefulife says:

    As I recall you were an original member of change paso now and wanted every one off the council and have been up in arms voiceferously about Picanco leadership, yet here you are trashing Jim Reed at his first meeting. My, my the true colors come out, perhaps you should stop whining and try supporting our newest council members and give them a chance. Obviously you weren’t up to the task.

    (6) 8 Total Votes - 7 up - 1 down
    • gracefulife says:

      This is a reply to viamagnolia1’s comment below.

      (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
    • viamagnolia1 says:

      Not an ice cube chance. I am not whining. I have been attending City Council Meetings
      for some time. More than I can say for Reed. I changed my mind. I have that right.
      So mind your own business and stop referring to people as whiners for having an opinion.

      (1) 5 Total Votes - 3 up - 2 down
      • whatdouno says:

        Pretty sure when you post your opinion to a public forum it becomes everyone’s business who has an interest. As for the whining thing; here’s a definition from Merriam Webster Dictionary: Whiner: a person who makes frequent complaints usually about little things.

        (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  6. south says:

    Duane has given many years of service to the Planning Commission and Council and he should be lauded for his public spirit and willingness to give of his time and talents. However, it is time to move on and allow others who wish to do the same the opportunity. Newcomers Reed and Gregory are not newcomers to the city. Both are well vested in the issues and have first-hand knowledge of how the system is broken.

    Please CC – first look at the management of the city and have an outside consultant audit the processes. As a person who just recently got a simple business license I will tell you that it was laughably complex and actually not in compliance with state law (service fees requiring direct nexus with services rendered).

    Best wishes to the new CC and especially to the new members.

    (12) 14 Total Votes - 13 up - 1 down
    • south says:

      As an aside, it is not uncommon that candidates run on a platform of change and gather votes claiming that they will be the agents of said change. But it is a rare thing when it actually happens.

      (16) 18 Total Votes - 17 up - 1 down
    • pasoparent5 says:

      Sorry, south but unless Jim App is ousted, (highly unlikely since he would get a Lisa Chitty size payout of $200K+ if he’s terminated) very few procedures at City Hall will change much.

      These new councilmen can promise “change” in Paso but for 2 decades, Jim App’s been the puppet master and the elected council members have been (for the most part) his willing puppets.

      Paso would improve dramatically if there was a new city manager, new city attorney, ANDa new capital projects engineer. Jim App, Iris Yang and Ditas Esperanza have been complete trainwrecks.

      (14) 14 Total Votes - 14 up - 0 down
  7. Paso_citizen says:

    I was in attendance at the CC meeting and I have some observations.

    Duane Picanco got shafted. I personally have not agreed with him on many topics;
    but to have the CC flaunt the voters so openly a manner and ‘appoint’ the 4th
    place candidate to the council just demonstrates the depth to disdain the council has for
    the voters (even though only a very low percentage voted). Dictatorships have been
    born this way all over the world.

    The new mayor gave a brilliant, sometimes moving speech on his vision of where he
    wants to go and how he is going to run the council. But now the rubber meets the road;
    words may get you elected – but hard actions are necessary. Time (3- 4 months max)
    will tell just how big a pair he has – or was it all in the description.

    The other new council member, Jim Reed, looked like a lost deer in bright headlights.
    He is going to have to do some things real quickly or be relegated to
    a “who cares about him” position on the council. Again, time will tell just what kind
    of council member he will be.

    (-7) 17 Total Votes - 5 up - 12 down
    • Kevin Rice says:

      Oh please! I entirely disagree. THE VOTERS DIDN’T WANT PICANCO. HE LOST.

      All three (3rd, 4th, 5th) were within 1.6% of each other. There is no “flaunting” of the voters. The ACTUAL election winners ran on a completely different platform AND BEAT Picanco. Why the heck would anyone appoint the guy they ran against and whom they BEAT?

      (10) 22 Total Votes - 16 up - 6 down
      • kayaknut says:

        If 1st and 2nd place beat 3rd place, didn’t they also beat 5th place?????

        (6) 10 Total Votes - 8 up - 2 down
      • kayaknut says:

        If 1st and 2nd place beat 3rd place, didn’t they also beat 5th place?????

        (0) 8 Total Votes - 4 up - 4 down
      • viamagnolia1 says:

        Kevin I did not see you at he council meeting last night. Everyone that spoke asked that the council seat be given to he 3rd place candidate. About 10 people spoke.

        (-6) 10 Total Votes - 2 up - 8 down
        • BeenThereDoneThat says:

          WOW ten people spoke out of 29000 in Paso? Well there is your majority!!

          (4) 6 Total Votes - 5 up - 1 down
        • Kevin Rice says:

          Getting 10 friends to speak is easy and hardly equates to the 7,994 voters who elected the majority that appointed Gregory.

          (2) 8 Total Votes - 5 up - 3 down
        • standup says:

          Jeez, 30 people got up and spoke so greatly about Lisa Soleman after her so-called escapades. Thank God she got dumped.

          (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
    • whatdouno says:

      The ballot should have had three options to select three candidates for council member as it was clear Martin would be mayor and there would be a void. All the people who voted for Harmon and Reed did not vote for Picanco. If we were given the opportunity to vote for the third member Picanco could have easily lost by a long shot. It is not even fair to state that what the citizens wanted was thwarted, because the third seat WAS NOT voted on. Move on.

      (6) 10 Total Votes - 8 up - 2 down
    • Citizen says:

      Paso Citizen. John Hamon was the one who nominated Steve Gregory. Hamon led the Gregory appointment. Why no criticism for Hamon?

      Instead, you criticize Steve Martin and Jim Reed, based on what they may do in the future.

      (10) 12 Total Votes - 11 up - 1 down
  8. whatdouno says:

    The most excellent news! Good first voting results for JIm Reed, new blood, fresh eyes will hopefully go a long way in correcting some issues here in Paso. Picanco basically said he wanted to do a half assed job by not being mayor but staying on the council. He’s out of touch with the citizens, let him go quietly into the night.

    (14) 18 Total Votes - 16 up - 2 down
    • viamagnolia1 says:

      Jim Reed looked bored last night. Looking up at the ceiling, looking everywhere but at
      the Council Member speaking. Did not give the impression of being interested in
      anything being said. Just sayin.

      (-1) 11 Total Votes - 5 up - 6 down

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