Dan Carpenter reflects on his years on the SLO City Council
July 13, 2016
OPINION by DAN CARPENTER
With my tenure on the San Luis Obispo City Council ending in a few months, a reflection on what “representation” has meant to me as a public servant seems relevant and appropriate. I hope those who follow in my footsteps will see wisdom in my thoughts.
If you live in the city of San Luis Obispo, you’ve no doubt seen me walking about our streets stopping and engaging the public. This has been the hallmark of my accessibility to the people I serve.
Many find spontaneous conversations in a neutral area the most organic and unassuming environment to openly express their genuine concerns. Much less intimidating than a sterile office in City Hall.
A year and half ago, I became a candidate for District 3 supervisor knowing there would be challenges in serving my current elected position while campaigning for another elected office. Interweaving my daily constituent interactions in SLO with the need to be actively engaged in the rest of the district would require discipline. Thus far it’s been possible by committing to a seven day of week schedule and having the support of a very understanding family and business partner.
As an elected councilman, my commitment has been to serve without equivocation until I step off the dais at city hall later this year.
I’ve enjoyed the luxury of intimately serving residents in a very well defined geographical area. I have no illusion that serving a district with three incorporated cities and a vast rural area will be much different. I especially look forward to being actively engaged in the areas of the district that have no other elected representation.
Having spent my entire life in San Luis Obispo, it’s natural to question whether I’ll be able to make the transition to districtwide with the same commitment and enthusiasm as I have as a city councilman. While I have no hesitation in offering that commitment, the track record of my opponent and his lack of presence in many areas of the district, rightfully gives people pause in expectations of their next representative. While my opponent spends copious amounts of time pandering to special interests groups and isolated populations of the district, I assure you that is not my past and will not be my future. Many residents and business owners have expressed openly their frustration with my opponent’s neglect and look forward to having representation the way it was intended.
We’re fortunate to live in a republic where certain inalienable rights cannot be taken away by a government that elects it’s leaders by a majority of voters. It’s unfortunate that we have local representatives who only serve those constituents with similar ideologies secured with deep pockets of financial support during campaigns.
My record of representation clearly indicates a desire to never alienate anyone from the decision making process. That means genuinely listening to differing opinions and giving consideration to opposing viewpoints.
Many in District 3 have had to endure years of my opponent’s “you’re either with me or against me” style…..an extremely divisive character trait that should no longer be tolerated in our community.
It’s been an honor to serve you as a city councilman and and I look forward to continuing my public service as your supervisor.