Democrat to challenge Arnold in District 5 race
September 14, 2015
A Pozo rancher has announced he will challenge San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Debbie Arnold, also a Pozo farmer, for the District 5 seat on the board of supervisors.
Eric Michielssen, currently an organic farmer, announced his candidacy during a County Democratic Party Labor Day picnic in Arroyo Grande. Arnold, who has enjoyed support from much of the local agricultural community, is a conservative Republican.
Michielssen said during his Labor Day speech that he is a small farmer, and Arnold is a big farmer. He also said he is better qualified to oversee a large budget.
Michielssen previously worked for 17 years as a broker, asset manager and counselor at People’s Self-Help Housing. He has also worked as a school teacher and as a developer, as well as in a role for a union while teaching, Michielssen said during the speech.
The Democratic candidate particularly takes issue with a vote Arnold cast earlier this year in favor of a proposed Santa Margarita rock quarry. Arnold cast one of the two votes in support of the project, which the supervisors rejected.
The quarry would produce up to 500,000 tons of rock a year on a property along Highway 58 about three miles outside of Santa Margarita. Opponents argue it would create too much truck traffic and noise.
Public opinion on the project was split.
District 5 consists of Atascadero, California Valley, Creston, Garden Farms, Pozo, Santa Margarita and parts of Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and Templeton. CalCoastNews reported earlier this year that Republicans edge Democrats in the district by about 3,974 registered voters.