Keith Gurnee announces his run for mayor

May 14, 2018
T. Keith Gurnee

T. Keith Gurnee

Announcement by T. Keith Gurnee

On May 11, I filed a notice of intent to run for Mayor of the City of San Luis Obispo. Why in the world would I consider running against an incumbent mayor?

Just a few short years ago, we were considered “The happiest place in north America.” Not anymore. In recent years, we have lost that title and that loss has cost us: economically, spiritually, and politically. Just talk with the residents of our neighborhoods. They’re definitely not happy today. We must find a way to return to the things that made us happy and work together to regain that happiness. The first step to once again achieving that standing is electing a new Mayor.

Having lived most of my adult life and raised our children in San Luis Obispo, I am no stranger our city government. In 1971, I ran for and was elected to the San Luis Obispo City Council as a 23-year-old student of Architecture at Cal Poly and served as the youngest elected official in the State of California at the time. Reelected in 1975, I was on the council with Mayor Ken Schwartz when we opened Mission Plaza, when we started our public transportation system, when we enacted the first public smoking ban in the nation, and when we started protecting our creeks and open spaces.

Meri Kay and Keith Gurnee celebrating in 1975 reelection to the SLO City Council.

After leaving public office, I enjoyed an award-winning career as a planner and urban designer specializing in downtown and waterfront revitalization, land conservation, parks and recreation projects, and public consensus building working with local governments throughout the State of California and beyond. That experience will be invaluable in leading this city into the challenging years ahead. After semi-retiring from that profession in 2014, I have continued to be active in community affairs.

In short, my depth of experience in visioning and planning, coupled with my wealth of knowledge of the workings of state and local government, uniquely qualifies me for this position. As your Mayor, I pledge to give thoughtful and priority consideration to the following topics that are of major concern to our citizenry:

  • Bringing wise fiscal responsibility to our community.
  • Respecting and protecting the character and quality of life of our community and especially our neighborhoods.
  • Holding Cal Poly accountable for its impacts on our community.
  • Expanding our open space greenbelt with strong stewardship protections.
  • Refurbishing and expanding Mission Plaza and our cultural center to serve our citizens for generations to come.
  • Making the wise management of our infrastructure and water resources as a prime tool to control city expansion and local housing costs.
  • Working to strengthen our local economy while supporting our culture and the arts.
  • Focusing on providing safe bike lanes along the railroad tracks and key arterial streets where the
  • accidents are rather than forcing them down the residential streets of our neighborhoods.

In just the two short days since announcing my candidacy, the response has been both remarkable and humbling. It’s clear that the residents of this community are looking for a change.

I am interested in promoting and refining those elements of San Luis Obispo that have generated the spirit, the community pride, and the pleasure we have enjoyed in being so fortunate to live in “The happiest place in North America.”

It’s indeed time for a change. It’s also time to take our city back and return to mature and thoughtful management that once was our hallmark. That will take a strong and visionary leader with compassion for our community and a proven track record of success. I would be honored should the voters allow me to be that leader.

For more information, phone (707)696-2937 or email me at:


Addressing mental health issues didn’t make your list? Not a mention.

With all your public opining over this issue as it relates to the Holland‘s I was positive it must be listed as one of your top concerns. Nope.

But there are so many things to take a stand for, it is hard to choose.

Bike lanes by the railroad is an obvious call. A real game changer for the community.

I am sure as mayoral candidate you would have an opinion on how to handle the mentally ill and homeless in the community. Care to share?

George Bailey

Ladies & Gentlemen,

I support Mr. T. Keith Gurney!

Our city government has been hijacked by the far-left, whacky Progressives, and it is now necessary to put municipal government back in the hands of the taxpaying citizenry. Under Mayor Heidi Harmon, we have more government than we want, more government than we need, and certainly more government than we can afford. While Heidi Harmon has busied herself with giving herself a pay raise, making SLO a sanctuary city for illegal aliens, and creating ‘bike highways’ on our city streets, the unfunded city worker pension that taxpayers will pay for has now become a crisis.

Get it? Heidi Harmon has FAILED the leadership test, and she should be removed from the body politic. Her policies have only exacerbated the decline in the livability of our beloved San Luis Obispo, and Harmon ought to be booted from office.

Thank you Mr. T. Keith Gurney, you have my vote.

Please join me in supporting the next mayor of san Luis Obispo,

Mr. T. Keith Gurney, on Election Day, Tuesday, June 5th, 2018.

Reject the Heidi Harmon Tax Hikes.


George, thanks for your thoughts! But I’m on the ballot in November, not June. Relief is on the way, just not as soon as so many people have hoped.


Just a simple YAY!!!


Thank you Keith for stepping up. It is time for the City Council to respect all of the citizens and not just a select few. You have my support!


Go TKG! no longer a resident of SLO, but would like to see more middle-ground, common sense policy.


Thank you Keith. First order of business: No red flowers.


Good luck T,

That city is such a mess.

My wife and I don’t even come into town and spend Money unless we absolutely have to.

I have watched your columns for years,

SLO needs your wise Council.

Ben Daho

“Take Our City Back” PLEASE stop the rhetoric.


Thank you, Keith, for stepping up to the plate! I remember when you run and the fear at City Hall as the good ole’ regrime couldn’t believe a young student could win. I remember Richard Miller and Jean Fitzpatrick, etc. controlling the Council Agenda, the Budget and the “appointments” of positions (police, fire, the new Finance Director, Rudy Muravez – that really lite their house on fire, etc.) . Go clean the mess again, I know you can! You will receive my donation! Good luck as I know you can do this with your prior experience!




I remember Miller and Fitzpatrick differently. They were dedicated professionals, listened to public and council and did their honest best, unlike the control-freak arrogant amateurs at the helm today who are hell-bent on destroying the city, its environment, and its residents. Go Keith!


You’re absolutely right about jean Fitzpatrick. A great guy, fantastic sense of humor, and a dedicated public servant. Remember him fondly…