Steve Martin’s election story

October 26, 2016

Paso Robles Mayor Steve Martin

Paso Robles Mayor Steve Martin

Special to CCN by William Peischel

The closure of Diablo Canyon Power Plant, gang-related activity, homelessness and the drought are among the largest issues in the race for supervisor in the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors District 1 election. Two candidates are vying for the position. John Peschong, a Republican, is from Templeton, and works as a partner in the political consultation firm Meridian Pacific. Steve Martin is a Democrat from Paso Robles. He is currently the mayor of Paso Robles.

Martin, a Democrat, calls the homeless community’s lack of access to services a key issue for the county. Homelessness is a problem that exists everywhere; the most realistic way to confront the issue is to mitigate rather than try to eradicate, he said.

One of Martin’s proposed solutions for the homeless that live in the county is to expand a project of his own creation, The Mobile Assistance and Services Addressing Homelessness.

That first mobile assistance event, last October, had representatives from CAPSLO, California Health Center, the Paso Robles Department of Community Services, the Department of Motor Vehicles, Social Services, ECHO Shelter, Supercuts and the Food Bank, to meet and provide for arrivals. He says hosting events that are centrally located allows San Luis Obispo County’s homeless community to more easily access services for them.

“We had over 70 homeless come through. They got the dogs vaccinated, they got a haircut, they got a meal, there was someone to help them write their families,” Martin said.

Martin advocates for the expansion of such events. He says there is another mobile assistance event planned in Grover Beach, with at least four others planned in other parts of the county.

“I hope that if it’s really successful, which it has been to date, that would be replicated at least half a dozen times a year,” he said.

Martin has also proposed a reopening of the California Youth Authority Facility outside of Paso Robles to serve the homeless. The facility is not in use. The facility costs $730,000 a year to maintain, the San Luis Obispo Tribune reported.

“You have a medical facility, food service facility and workshops. Why can’t we use at least a portion of this property to establish a beyond homelessness campus?” said Martin.

Martin says he will propose a plan to the state to lease the facility to the county, or the city of Paso Robles. He says various organizations, the Paso Robles Housing Authority and School District have expressed interest in using the facility in conjunction. He says he hasn’t developed a specific plan yet.

“I don’t have a concrete proposal really to ask for that,” he said.

The facility is about four miles from Paso Robles. Bus routes could be added that stop at the facility, especially as city development moves outward, he said.

Martin acknowledges that the closure of Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in 2025 is a massive issue facing the county. The plant pays approximately $8 million in yearly property taxes to the county. There is also the welfare of the 1,500 people employed at the plant. He says an open dialogue with PG&E is essential the ensure that the transition moves as smoothly as possible.

Martin acknowledged that the effects of the closure will be painful for the county.

“I think that the presence of PG&E over the decades has been so significant that we’re definitely going to feel the impact. There’s no way we’re going to completely mitigate it,” Martin said.

Martin says he will look at other counties that have already made the transition and, if elected, implement measures that have proven effective in the past.

“What worked for them and what didn’t work for them? There’s no need to be reinventing the wheel. If we can avoid some pitfalls and learn some lessons from what’s happened before,” said Martin.

So far, he has not made contact with any of those communities, he said.

“I don’t have specifics that I can give you right now but there have been several communities that have gone through this process around the country,” he said.

To address crime in the county, Martin said he will take a cue from what worked in Paso Robles during his time as mayor. Violent crime in the county has increased over the past 15 years, according to the Department of Justice’s Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics. Martin says hiring seven additional police for the Paso Robles Police Department shrank the gang presence. In 2011, the police force had 26 sworn officers. Today it has 33.

“If you speak to our chief of police you’ll find that in the city of Paso Robles, the gang activity in the city, the arrests and the activity related, has declined over the last two or three years,” Martin said.

In Paso Robles, robberies and rapes are on a decline. However, aggravated assaults increased from 2010 to 2014, the San Luis Obispo Tribune reported.

Martin also suggested expanding the sheriff’s department, which has jurisdiction of the areas outside of cities. Unincorporated areas don’t have their own police organizations. He says those areas have outgrown the police structure to protect them, which is no longer large enough for the county population.

“We have in the hills out here east of Paso Robles, an entire hidden city – 25,000 people who have moved in there over the last 25 years, into the unincorporated areas. That’s like having a whole city out there with no police department,” he said.

Martin acknowledges that expanding the sheriff’s department would cost money that citizens might be wary to pay. Money may be reallocated from other programs in the county budget, he said.

Martin says that preventative measures are an important element of crime prevention.

“When we reach out to young people, particularly people who are at risk of being involved in gangs and give them opportunity to be involved in the community, then we build a stronger community because people invest themselves and they’re less likely to be harmful,” he said.

Earlier this year, Martin spoke out in support of the establishment of special districts to delegate water usage in the county. The vote, last March, did not garner enough votes to create the special districts. The districts would work to create compliance with California’s 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. The law requires the development of a strategic plan for counties to utilize their water more sustainably.

Martin called that a missed opportunity, and said water deserves San Luis Obispo County tax dollars to ensure local control. He expressed concern that locals wouldn’t have the opportunity to have their voice heard when conversations between state organizations determine who will get less water to curb the losses.

“Its much preferable to set up special districts and pay a little bit of money to control your own water,” he said.

Martin said that if the Phillips 66 plan reached the County Board of Supervisors, he would vote in favor. The plan would add a railroad spur to Nipomo Mesa refinery, allowing for more oil trains to arrive on the site. If the spur can meet environmental standards and leave the quality of life of the surrounding population unchanged, Martin says the addition should be allowed.

“I’m in favor, but if the facts show that this will in fact not reach environmental restrictions and negatively affect the quality of life for people in the area, I will vote against it,” Martin said.

On Oct. 19, Phillips 66 filed an appeal against a vote by the San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission, that rejected the Phillips 66 plan. That means the plan’s fate may lie before the County Board of Supervisors while Martin is in office.







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13 Comments

  1. slojustice says:

    Steve Martin is an expert like most democratic politicians at spending other peoples money! We are Taxed enough already. Vote NO on all tax increases.

    (10) 16 Total Votes - 13 up - 3 down
  2. rukidding says:

    Anyone who supports Measure J should not be considered for election or re-election. The FPPC has accepted the complaint that was filed against the supporters of Measure J for their indiscretion in using taxpayers funds to promote the tax. SLOCOG is made up of all the Mayors’s in the county and the 5 Supervisors. Many of those elected officials are up for re-election and this is just an example of how some of them just want to get into our pocket book for their benefits. Sometimes you have to judge people by the company that they keep. In Mr. Martin’s case it’s the Mayor of Atascadero, Tom O’Malley-mr. self promoter, who is one of the main supporters of Measure J and every other tax or fee that comes before him.
    Remember that on election day you have a choice whether you want to support these people that take your funds or elect people who want to represent your best interests.

    (14) 24 Total Votes - 19 up - 5 down
    • PeskyFacts says:

      If Measure J fails, where do we get funding for our larger transportation projects? The State is very clear that funding from them is no longer guaranteed. In fact, they reneged on a huge chunk of money this past Spring. Any funding that they offer will go to those cities that have adopted self-help measures. Cities that do nothing will get nothing.

      We can whine about this all we want but the facts are clear. Our local cities don’t have this kind of discretionary funds to cover this.

      (-9) 25 Total Votes - 8 up - 17 down
      • rukidding says:

        With my $4 a month COLA from Social Security and my increase in medical care I and many more do not have discretionary funds to support the the pitfalls of bad politicians and local governments.

        (10) 20 Total Votes - 15 up - 5 down
      • SLOBIRD says:

        If you have read this Measure, not the ads or other propaganda, but the exact measure, you will learn this is not the answer, not even close. First, 1% off the top will go to SLOCOG. Next approximately 10% will go for bike lanes and maintenance, next is 25% will go to Public Transportation for buses, ride-on, Runabout, shelters, a planner for design of routes, printing, contract for bus drivers and benefits, etc. Then your have 25% to be used at the discretion of the Supervisors. What is left will be used for roads, bridges, etc. Notice how the corrupt Wallace Group (they have destroyed South County Sanitation District) are one of the biggest local supporters because as an Engineer Group will gain big contracts for design and how much will actually be left over for ROADS, they real issue for this Measure!

        Three things to remember on this Measure J: 1) The State of California Board of Equalization that collects sales tax will collect and disperse these funds, 2) this is not a 1/2 cent tax but 1/2 PERCENT – big difference, 3) this money will go to the County General Fund and therefore at any time can be used at the discretion of the Board of Supervisors. Those are the true facts!

        VOTE NO NO NO on MEASURE J – NO NO NO

        (5) 13 Total Votes - 9 up - 4 down
        • rukidding says:

          If you look at the pie where the funds are to be distributed you will see that 55% will go to cities for roads and other needs. Other needs are usually pay raises and increased benefits. The remaining 45% are all projects that are managed by SLOCOG. This is just an attempt by SLOCOG to get funding that has been taken away from them. The voters should not buy into this. Not too long ago SLOCOG gave themselves a 8% pay raise and just recently gave their CEO an additional 5% pay raise. So if you have any doubt where most of the money will go it’s pretty clear to see a vast majority will go to the government leaches and parasites.

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

    I had some contact with the fella earlier this year and he struck me as a naive glad-hander. Admittedly our contact was brief but I detected no substance.

    (11) 19 Total Votes - 15 up - 4 down
  4. Black_Copter_Pilot says:

    NO

    (11) 21 Total Votes - 16 up - 5 down
  5. avidreader says:

    I’m not voting for someone so out of touch with what’s going on in this county. He was on the wrong side of the water issue, he (like many other local politicians) did not support Diablo Canyon and now are trying to cover their butts because of the billions of dollars that will be lost to our county. Steve Martin is also on the wrong side of Measure J. I vote NO on J and other new tax and bond issues, and no on Steve Martin.

    (11) 21 Total Votes - 16 up - 5 down
    • SLOBIRD says:

      Just look at the road designs in Paso Robles that he voted for, plus the River walkway which is really the homeless campgrounds, in addition to voting for the big hotels while asking the residents to conservation more water so more of the new business can get their fair share and screw the local residences, sort of changed his mind on the Rail Oil Train, voted to waiver fees for the Housing Authority Project, on let us not even discuss again the Groundwater failed plan. You need only look at the entire water issue for the City to know what a mess he has helped to create. $Thousands$ a month for the Nacimento Program for zero water because there is no water treatment plant which will cost $millions$ of dollars, etc.

      Bus remember, Mr. Martin makes his living giving big business benefits that are not available to the citizens. To quote Mr. Martin from his.Linkedin site about his clients ambitions for Paso Robles as a Marketing and Advertising Consultant: “I have advised clients on a wide range of communication and economic development activities and have developed and implemented numerous communications plans that achieved the clients’ strategic goals.” He forgot to add, at a cost to the local citizens.

      Both Mayor Steven Martin and Mayor Tom O’Malley need to be replaced as they have the same visions and it is not for the community. O’Malley is known as Mr. Dufus and rightfully so!

      (5) 11 Total Votes - 8 up - 3 down
  6. truth set me free says:

    Agree with you CARNAC! Steve Martin strongly supports Yes on Measure J, The Forgotten Taxpayers already paid the State for the roads via multiple taxes. Yet Martin wants them to pay again.

    The Yes on J Committee has raised some $293,000 so far and 78% of those dollars are coming from out of the county. Call all it ‘pay to play’. Those contributors are looking to compete for the lucrative contracts if Measure J passes.

    Just vote No on J! And while you are at it, vote No on Steve Martin!

    (12) 22 Total Votes - 17 up - 5 down
    • beacon of light says:

      Just heard that the Central Coast Taxpayers Association and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association filed a FPPC complaint recently about county government using our tax dollars for electioneering in support of Measure J. Not surprised! We the taxpayers, are being taken to the cleaners. And the local electeds quietly go along with it all forgetting their constituents, many who are on fixed incomes!

      I encourage all to vote NO on Measure J and also NO on Steve Martin for Supervisor. Sorry, Martin just does not get it!

      (11) 21 Total Votes - 16 up - 5 down
  7. CARNAC says:

    Martin is wrong on water. The water district proposal voted down in March by an overwhelming vote was a fools errand favoring special interests who used Katcho to carry a special bill on district formation. All Katcho got out of his effort was financial support for his losing Congressional run.

    Where is the outrage in Paso Robles where citizens are on water restrictions while the city continues building high consumption hotels, etc.?

    The SLO BoS is the proper entity to comply with SGMA by becoming the GSA.

    Lastly, Martin has never seen a new or higher tax he does not support. A glib nice guy but not what is needed for the BOS.

    (12) 22 Total Votes - 17 up - 5 down

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