Opportunities in voting for Arroyo Grande’s City Council candidates

September 12, 2016
LeAnn Akins

LeAnn Akins

OPINION by LEANN AKINS

Voting is an economic decision because the act of voting can be directly tied to the idea of opportunity costs.

Every choice we make involves the idea of “opportunity cost.” Whether we choose one ice cream flavor over another, to spend time watching a movie or reading a book, or choose one candidate over another in an election, our decision leads to choosing one thing over the next best alternative. The cost involved is that once you make a choice, you give up the other choice.

Most people view opportunity cost as a negative concept because it relates to having limited resources. The bottom line is that scarcity exists and because it exists, we can’t have everything we want, and in some instances, not everything we need. As a result, scarcity dictates that we make a choice. Others may not view opportunity cost with a positive lens because they don’t like the idea of having to give up something in order to have something else.

In voting, it is difficult to find the perfect candidate (the idea of scarcity), so we vote for the next best option (opportunity cost). The field of candidates for Arroyo Grande’s City Council election is much deeper than it has been in the recent past; five people are running for two available council seats. How do you decide which candidate is the next best alternative based on the field of candidates?

AG City Council 6

One option is to look at past voting records. Those are easy to obtain by reading the minutes of prior council meetings posted on the Arroyo Grande City Council Agenda webpage.

Two of the candidates have voting records having held appointed council seats and an appointed supervisor seat in the past and currently.  Mrs. Barneich recently voted to approve a budget for the fiscal year of 2016-2017 which runs at a deficit. This budget overspends by $300,000.

I am running to ensure that Arroyo Grande adopts budget and spending practices that are fiscally responsible.

Another option is to look at items they support outside of their voting record.

For instance, three of the current council members, Mrs. Barneich being one, use the health insurance plan through the city.  The total cost involved in this is roughly $36,000 per year.

Given that city council members are not employees of the city, should the citizens of Arroyo Grande pay for city council members’ insurance benefits?  Even though the council members may not have voted for this benefit to be in place, they are supporting its existence by using this benefit. If elected, I will make a motion to eliminate city insurance as a benefit for city council members.

Additionally, the public can look at items that were not supported by current candidates in their prior positions on the council.  The San Luis Obispo South County Sanitation District, the spill in Dec. 2010, and the subsequent lawsuit would be one such example.

Neither Barneich, nor Caren Ray found reason to support viewpoints or findings of the issues at the plant, that a full forensic audit was needed, and that the lawsuit against the Water Board was a waste of time and taxpayer money.

Ms. Ray questioned the validity of the SLO County Grand Jury report and did not feel it was necessary to pursue additional and more rigorous investigations stating that all recommendations made by the Grand Jury were being addressed and that the issues were a matter of public perception.

Lack of asking tough questions and action assisted in the accumulation of a 1.9 million dollar fine, when we could have initially paid $400,000 for the spill. Elected officials are tasked with being good stewards of the taxpayer money. This lack of support of the Grand Jury report and the lack of recognition the lawsuit was detrimental to the ratepayers does not support solid examples of good stewardship.

Given your choice at the ballot box means that you give up another choice, it is important you know what choices you are giving up (good or bad) and determine the best candidate to represent you and the City of Arroyo Grande.

I respectfully ask for your vote in the Arroyo Grande City Council election.  If you would like to connect with me directly, please call me at 805-710-0406.


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30 Comments

  1. Josey Wales says:

    Folks,

    DO NOT vote for Caren Ray.

    Caren Ray is an Adam Hill clone, and we cannot afford more of these types.

    Caren Ray has some goofy opinions and lifestyle choices, and she had a scandal with a club that runs through town NUDE.

    Our children deserve better.

    No on Caren Ray

    Josey

    (1) 5 Total Votes - 3 up - 2 down
  2. Ishmael09p says:

    I tend to agree, Otis, allowing that Nixon’s great failing was his lack of faith in the American people — for whom he cared deeply, but also regarded as quite dim and decadent. It was this foible, precisely, that led him to secret dealings. Nixon wanted nothing more than to restore Eisenhower’s America for the benefit of us all, but chose to bestow this blessing through skullduggery because he believed us incapable of seeing or choosing the more difficult path regardless of the reward.

    (4) 4 Total Votes - 4 up - 0 down
  3. Ishmael09p says:

    I read much in the tone of your writing, Mrs. Akins. It is recollective of the brilliant yet widely misunderstood Richard Nixon’s own public works: paternal and kindly, yet (to he who has the ears to hear) benignly arrogant and patiently condescending. Mr. Nixon, too, had the habit of writing a brilliant and concise sentence and then wasting a paragraph washing the concept for the poor devils who could never hope to match his intellect or comprehend his erudite vernacular.
    Like you, the President was largely innocent of egoistic affect. He was dispassionate about the fact of his intellectual exceptionalism, yet ever aware of the inherent dangers of misunderstanding when communicating with the multitudes who were (so profoundly) lower on Weschler’s ladder.
    This cute coincidence and your prolific comments during the ‘Elect Jim Hill’ affair indicate a confidence in your own ideas that (in some prodigous, renissance minds — like President Nixon’s and your own) naturally precludes openness to ideas and opinions of others.
    I have no doubts about your heart, but I fear your healthy sense of worth would eventually out — quite likely amid duplicity done in furtherance of the greater good, but couched in secrecy to protect your dim constituency from confusing themselves amid high concepts and polysyllabicism.
    The only vote I can in good conscience cast is “No Confidence.”
    Good luck, nonetheless.

    (3) 21 Total Votes - 12 up - 9 down
    • Otis says:

      Respectfully Ishmael09p To compare Leeann to Nixon is a factual honor. Except for the disclosures of a few minutes on tape – that exploded the Watergate issue – Nixon’s historic tarnishment would be subordinated to his greater political and international conquests. Compare this with Hillary – who escapes legal indictment via the Obama’s administrations fix for the thousand of emails destroyed, her play for pay millions gained and the incidents of classified information possibly exploited by foreign agents.

      (-2) 8 Total Votes - 3 up - 5 down
  4. Otis says:

    Respectfully, Lee D. Any attorney’s advice can be legally ignored – especially when the advice is wrong or, in this case, probably tainted by the staff’s and the quest by certain Council members to have the Thompkins’ project approved.

    On Oct. 20, the FPPC informed Tompkins that Mack did not have a conflict of interest. Here is the background on the matter:

    Mack was judged to be not guilty of the charges you make by the FPPC and the City Council. He was officially judged two time to be not guilty of the charges you recite.

    Your disparagement is the bleating of a Ferrara hangover and serves the lie and not the truth with the transparent object to defamed Akins, Mack and Mayor Jim Hill in this election year. Here are the facts that you ignore:

    The Council’s consideration to dismiss Mayor Hill’s appointee to the Planning Commission, John Mack, was scheduled for hearing at the City Council meeting on November 10, 2015. (item12a on the Council’s agenda.). Go see it on the City’s wen site.

    The matter concerned developer Thompkins taking his project directly to the City Council thereby emasculating the Planning Commission’s final review on the Courtland matter. Thompkins requested the Planning Commission deny the project so that it could be immediately considered by the Council Troika endorsing his plan.

    Tompkins was upset with Mack’s comments on his project and filled a conflict of interest complaint that was denied. Tompkins had additional projects coming before the Planning Commission and had sought cooperation with certain Council members to have Mack removed — with alleged implications to embarrass highly regarded Mayor Jim Hill that continue today for the coming election.

    Those certain Council members — the Troika — strongly supported Thompkins in his visioning regarding the city — befitting his business model — with both positive and negative future implications for the city in terms of infrastructure requirements — water and traffic — and the city’s character.

    But this was and continues to be an apparent exercise in hostility, what many citizens believed was an inquisition, an inquisition continued today by your statement, Lee D, accusing Mack of being critical of Thomkins’ project. (staff report was 88 pages!)

    I suggested at the time in writing to the Council that Thompkin’s vision for the City may be positive and challenging and Mack’s planning discipline was regulatory and positive . I further suggested that item 12a to dismiss Mack from the Planning Commission on the Council’s agenda for November 10 be abandoned since the Council’s actions will be interpreted as being overwhelmingly influenced by developer interests — which is obviously apparent to many citizens even today considering the proposal on East Cherry. .

    What was the crux of the matter — no one asked what was Mack’s true intent in this matter? He was never given the opportunity. Mack’s intent was never to lie and cheat in using the quit claim issue to avoid the conflict of interest charge. Mack believed he had no conflict then, and that fact has been subsequently confirmed by the FPPC that considered the quit claim issue!

    Nevertheless, Mack has been slandered by the accusations — he was trashed by the three member of the Council. As an example, Barneich wandered all over the place on Mack’s personal issues in her indictment that he intentionally attempted to circumvent the law. Tim Brown courageously stated there was a “rush to judgment” by the three that supported Tompkins’s claim — particularly citing Harmon and Barneich. The Council unanimously voted not to convict him!

    The perception by the citizens following this matter was that there was conspiracy involving certain Council members supporting Tompkins. The perception of conspiracy was a real factor among the citizen observers who saw the contradictions and unfairness in the whole matter.

    I repeat as follows: If item 12a on the Council Agenda had been dismissed this matter would have gone away. But by addressing the issue the Council opened Pandora’s box as you do again, Lee D. The Troika never addressed what was Mack’s true intent. He was never asked. And he certainly — during the “fog of war” — was not given the opportunity to defend himself on the “intent question”.

    This is one handle you are pulling to falsly undermine Akin’s, Mack’s and Mayor Hill’s election. It fails as you do it making it.

    (-7) 19 Total Votes - 6 up - 13 down

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