SLO County supervisor candidates voice their differences at forum

January 12, 2020

Supervisor Debbie Arnold and Ellen Beraud


Candidates for the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors District 5 seat bantered over their views on housing and the local economy at an Atascadero Chamber of Commerce forum on Thursday. Incumbent Supervisor Debbie Arnold and her challenger Ellen Beraud  debated each other for the first time.

While regularly failing to provide specific policy plans in her responses, Beraud took multiple jabs at Arnold for her votes on water sustainability and road work. Arnold fired back voicing her views on the importance of keeping up infrastructure and supporting the almost 80 percent of the public who voted against a private water district to manage the Paso Robles water basin.

Forum questions:

How do you plan to address the lack of affordable housing?

Arnold noted that she has been a strong proponent of housing, but that the increased costs of regulations and the lack of new construction have led to a housing shortage. In order to make it easier for people to own their own homes, she supports the construction of more starter and workforce housing.

Arnold also suggested streamlining the approval process for smaller homes, and careful planning.

Beraud blamed Arnold for not having more residential projects in the pipeline. She said affordability in the county is tied to having a strong workforce.

Beraud also said she was opened-minded to creative solutions from nonprofits. In lockstep with supervisors Adam Hill and Bruce Gibson, Beraud suggested working through nonprofits to generate the construction of more apartments.

How do you address the county having a median income below the state average while the county has the sixth highest cost of living in the United States?

Beraud suggested increasing goverment employee salaries in a system that considers what other cities are paying when determining raises as a way to balance the discrepancy between income and housing costs, saying, “We can pay more.” She condemned Arnold’s vote to limit staff pay increases in 2019; the employee union was seeking a 3 percent raise for the 2018/2019 fiscal year.

“Those employees put their heart and soul into serving our community, and they deserve a living wage,” Beraud said.

Arnold, an opponent of the competitive salary model, disagreed. She opposes raising wages much above the cost of living while the county struggles with pension debt.

“We do the best we can to pay fair wages,” Arnold said. “It’s easy to say raise goverment salaries, but it is all about balance.”

What would you do to help our business community thrive?

Beraud noted the importance of having a level playing field. She chastised Arnold for opposing a proposed private water district in the North County saying, “We can’t take water for granted.” Beraud supports options other than water cutbacks, which she said “is not an acceptable solution” to bring the aquifer back to sustainability.

Beraud then spoke of the importance of reliable internet to support small businesses. She suggested creating hot spots where people get free internet.

Arnold suggested supporting organizations that promote economic growth, such as the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce, as it works to create work spaces for young entrepreneurs.

In response to Beraud’s support of a private water district, Arnold reminded attendees that almost 80 percent of voters opposed that plan.

Should the board entertain a moratorium on rental increases, and should supervisors restrict vacation rentals to help battle the high cost of rental housing?

Arnold opposed rent control, saying it it does not result in lower prices. Instead, fewer people get into the rental business and rental costs go up. As a supervisor, Arnold has approved some restrictions on short-term rentals, but finds that it is a balancing act.

Beraud approved of issuing “guidelines” on rental increases. While aware of the controversy, she did not have policy suggestions regarding short-term rentals.

Jorge Estrada

A very simple question to ask yourself: Which candidate would you want to look after your children, expose them to their life style and make choices with your dollar?


And these candidates could be on the opposite sides, and people would still gripe the same. Good for debbie for looking out for “socialist water welfare”, not billionaire handouts and capitolism greed. She has my vote sincerely, I’ve been to water board meetings, spoke with her sincerely to represent my families legacy here; a Democratic voter, voting republican, it’s about ethics, not party or hate. And to state, John Peschong does not have his constituents in mind, land or well being. Neither does Bruce or Adam, but I am grateful for opening some doors, sketchy at best, to marijuana, as we will and can benefit sustainably as the alcohol industry to easily has with “taxes”.


This County had better start paying attention to what The Liberal Democrats are trying to get from the Taxpayers of this State,

What Policys they Represent,

Start with Gaven Newsome and work it back to Adam Hill and John Shoals,

How has the Water, Pot, Homeless,

Free Medical for Illegals to Immunization,Prop. 13 and the Bullet train gone?

Nancy,Adam, Salud,Heidi.

SLO County,

Get your Head out of your A$$


You know its really odd for me when I read Debbies bio….it states she moved here in 1973 to attend cal poly …she was 8 in 1973 her brother Tony I knew also growing up …my best friend dated Debbie in junior high …Its seems like the bio makes her sound older to me in how its written ..its odd or is it just me ??


Ladies & Gentlemen,

I SUPPORT Supervisor Debbie Arnold!

I attended a recent forum for this upcoming election, and I was disappointed to find out that Ellen Beraud lacks even a basic understanding of the important issues facing this district. Ellen Beraud is a whacky, socialist politician, and her values are out-of-step with working families in SLO County.

Ellen Beraud is supported by a few out-of-area billionaires who seek to control the underground water table, and average taxpayers will lose big time if she weasels her way into public office. She accepts special-interest money, lacks understanding of the issues, and supports tax increases on working families.

DO NOT trust Ellen Beraud, if she wins, you lose.


Debbie Arnold is in favor of socially accessible water usage, not private, capitalist usage and dispersion of such, that’s what the Resnicks want, capitolism, not socialism, capitolism and wealth. Get it? Why make this political and use scare words to cause divide, rather we can vote for facts, not politics and blindly vote for party vs content MJD? Who cares if Arnold is any side politically, i dont, as long as she represents our land and us sustainably as a whole.


Ellen is nothing more that a true socialist. A vote for her is a vote to ruin our county.


Privatization of water is the exact opposite of socialism. Someone recently wanted to privatize the VA, and people, a small percent, loved privatized medicine. So debbie arnold is a sociliast for wanting the social public to have access to water?!?!?! Do you see what I mean, and how people use the word Socialism as a scare tactic to cause divide? Because debbie arnold is pro social water usage and fair representation of water socially. Get it? Nothing political, it’s called ethics, not socialism. Get it?


It was a good discussion. Arnold had solutions and has listened to the voters while Beraud only attacked Arnold offering no solutions but seems to want to increase every ones taxes to pay for what the county can’t pay for. The state keeps adding more costs to the citys while forcing more demands. One thing Arnold did was earmark some funds for road repair, unlike the state who diverts money from roads to the railroad.that will never be finished.,


So Beraud supports a private water district run by Randy Record, Dana Merrill and Stewart Resnick. That would explain why I cannot surf the internet without Beraud’s ads popping up. Follow the money.


Resnick being the owner of Westlake farms has ceased all farming there and has sold that water to So Cal, I wondered a couple years ago when i drove by that farm why it was dead, now i know, this is what he wants to do with the water in the Paso area.


Resnick was the moron who illegally cut down thousands of oak trees a few years ago, he ought to be thrown in prison and forever banned from the Central Coast.


Moron? I think not. Illegal? Yes. But he got away with it and the County slapped his wrist with a little remediation that pales in comparison with the legal process. He knew exactly what he was doing and County staff did too. You can do anything, and violate any County policy, if you hire consultants with personal connections to County staff.


Supervisors could advocate to tax water sales at very high rate it if he takes it for purposes other than agricultural use.

The billionaires can try to form any district they like; but if there’s no profit in —then why bother?

An instance where; taxation could help and not hurt.


If only taxation as such was more soundly founded, like Estonia and Denmark.


So let me get this right, Debbie is for social welfare but Ellen is for Capitolism and money interest and privatization of God given rights? Hm, sounds like the Federal Governments ideology regardless of party. Obama=Trump.


Yes, create more rent control and more regulations and watch those of us with rental property dump it like a hot potato and dry up the rental home inventory. Then we take our money right out of the county and state. Boy, that makes a whole lot of sense to those unable to or not yet willing to buy. Gee, bigger government is just so swell! How’s that working for ya, Californians?


If you are really trolling from out of county, or out of state, that’s pretty sad. And Arnold seems to have our interests more than Ellen and John Peschong, whom seek money vs representation. Peschong has a lobbying firm. Enough said.