13 candidates vying for SLO mayor, council seats

September 28, 2021

Erica Stewart


Five candidates are seeking to be appointed mayor of San Luis Obispo for the remainder of the term vacated last week by Heidi Harmon.

Vice-Mayor Erica Stewart is among the five candidates. Stewart is the only member of the city council who is vying to replace Harmon.

Because of Harmon’s resignation and the possibility of Stewart being appointed mayor, the city recently accepted applications for both the mayor’s seat and a council seat. A total of 13 individuals applied for the mayor’s and/or council seat. Three candidates applied only for mayor; eight applied only for council member; and two applied for both positions.

In addition to Stewart, Jeffery Specht and Matt Ritter applied specifically for the mayor’s seat. Specht has run previously for both mayor and council and has been a frequent critic of city policy. Ritter is a Cal Poly biology professor, who chaired SLO’s Tree Committee for eight years. Ritter stated in his application that he see the appointment as a one-time event and will not run for mayor in the next election.

Joshua Cohen and Mark Buchman are the two candidates who applied for both the mayoral and council seats. Cohen owns the San Luis Obispo bike shop Foothill Cyclery. Buchman is the founder of Schoolyard Communications, a firm that provides communication services to school districts.

The remaining eight candidates vying to replace Stewart on the city council, if she is appointed mayor, are:

Emily Francis – educator

Joe Benson – attorney

Michael Draze – former city planner and planning commissioner

Michelle Shoresman – SLO County Health Agency division manager

Mike Multari – local government consultant

Mila Vujovich-La Barre – educator

Robin Wolf – bar and restaurant specialist

Sharon Whitney – retired professor

At the Oct. 5 council meeting, each candidate will receive five minutes to tell the council why they should be appointed mayor and/or council member.

Following the candidates’ presentations, the council will attempt to reach a consensus on whom to appoint, which could be followed by the swearing in of the new mayor.

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Who is the least corrupt?

They are wasting 12 citizen’s time and 65 minutes on a pointless exercise. I would rather watch a monkey masturbate in a cage. I will give one-thousand to one odds that it will be Erica Stewart. You can just give me the dollar now and i will keep the $1,000 in the bank. SLO Progressives make this life-long resident sick.

I love the super vague job titles that attempt to inflate what the person actually does.

“former” anything = unemployed and can’t find a job

“bar and restaurant specialist” = server/waitress or someone who likes drinking and eating

“local government consultant” = probably also unemployed or does some menial city job like custodian, maintenance, or mission plaza santa.

So, working class individuals are not welcome to run for government office? Servers, maintenance, custodial need not apply?

Unfortunately, then we get individuals like Stu Jenkins, Keith Gurnee or some burned out Cal Poly professor who’s bored and wants to be relevant again.

SLO needs new blood. I welcome any candidates who don’t come from the status quo.

Um, where did I say that they weren’t welcome to run? I think it’s great that they are running. I just think if you are a waitress, custodian, unemployed or whatever, you should say so with straight forward language and own it, rather than play these word games with your job title that everyone can see through. Be yourself and that will get you the most votes.

Let them eat cake.

The cake is always a lie.