Candidates emerge in SLO County 2024 supervisor races

April 24, 2023

District 5 candidates Heather Moreno, Susan Funk and Erik Gorham


With the primary election less than a year away, five candidates have emerged as contenders for seats on the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors. Most of the campaign announcements were made after the county voted to adopt a near copy of the 2011 district map.

As of Monday, three candidates have announced plans to run for the District 5 supervisor seat currently held by Supervisor Debbie Arnold. In addition, both District 1 Supervisor John Peschong and District 3 Supervisor Dawn Ortiz-Legg plan to seek reelection in 2024.

More than six months ago, rural Santa Margarita resident Erik Gorham announced plans to run in either the District 1 or the District 5 race, depending on the outcome of the redistricting lawsuit. The District 5 candidate grew up in the North County.

A small business owner, Gorham works in the landscape construction industry. If elected, he plans to focus on water, housing and homeless issues.

“It is important to shore up our water keeping natural resources for everyone, not just special interests,” Gorham said.

The remaining two District 5 candidates, Heather Moreno and Susan Funk, are both members of the Atascadero City Council.

Councilwoman Funk was elected to the council in 2018. If elected supervisor, Funk plans to focus on homelessness, housing and sustainable water issues.

“We need responsible, responsive, fact-based leadership at the county level to support our cities and rural residents,” Funk said. “I get people working together to deliver real solutions.”

Moreno was appointed to the council in 2012, and then elected mayor in 2018. If elected to the county board, she wants to focus on housing, homelessness and water sustainability.

District 5 includes Atascadero, Santa Margarita, Pozo, Creston and portions of Templeton and San Luis Obispo.

Supervisor John Peschong, a small business owner and political strategist, was first elected in 2016 to the District 1 seat. He had planned to serve for only two terms, but because of actions taken by the current board majority, he said he is likely to run for a third term.

“We worked very, very hard to make sure small family farms had 25 acre feet of water to grow fruits and vegetables on their land,” Peschong said. “The board majority has now taken that away.”

District 1 includes Paso Robles, much of Templeton, San Miguel, Shandon, the Lake Nacimiento area and Adelaide.

Governor Gavin Newsom appointed Dawn Ortiz-Legg to the board in Nov. 2020 following the death of Supervisor Adam Hill. She was then elected to finish Hill’s term in 2022. Her priorities include balanced government, housing and homelessness.

“I want to continue to have a balanced, prudent form of government responsive to constituents’ needs,” Ortiz-Legg said.

District 3 includes Grover Beach, Pismo Beach and a portion of San Luis Obispo.

The upcoming county supervisorial elections will take place earlier than usual because California has again moved up its primary from June to March.

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When campaigning for his current seat, Supervisor John Peschong said publicly many times that he would only serve two terms. He made that promise a big part of his campaign. Today there’s not much encouragement from the electorate for him to break that promise but he’s breaking it anyway. Many of us knew at the time that his promise was a bunch of BS. But he said it’s so convincingly. I guess that makes him a good Republican.

Yeah sure he’s the first pol to break a campaign promise and if not it’s only R’s that do it.

Heather Moreno is a smart woman who has consistently made great decisions for Atascadero. It is great to have a positive leader who has done such an excellent job in Atascadero. I fully endorse her as the next Supervisor for District 5.

It would be refreshing to hear a candidate remind the public that they will not be working on homeless issues, most of the homeless have already worked on their own issue and that is why they are here. Help would better be served if law enforcement did their job. Being homeless is not a crime but trespassing is, as well as the list of other issues they bring to the public table. The homeless population needs to organize and create the strength needed to lift themselves out of their personal situation. Other people’s money is limited therefore generational welfare is a bad solution for them as well as the taxpayers who fund a very limited welfare.

Peschong will probably hold on, but I think Arnold’s time is up.

Curious to see if local GOP realizes they don’t live in deep red Texas and chooses to run sane candidates who care more about bread and butter than bathroom signs and stealing elections. If not we could well see a 4-1 split.

The right-wingers can’t win a majority without moving back to some classical liberalism with some conservative temperament, but I’d hate to see them only with 20% of the board – it’s not proportional.

Definitely not Funk. She’s another Ellen Beraud

Funk is endorsed buy the 3 sups on the board,gibson, paulding,and legg, as reported in yesterdays tribune, like the tribune when it endorses someone vote the other way.

All vultures of the same feathers.

I see most of them talking about helping out with the homeless problem but if we look at their track record so far I’d say it looks like they’re welcoming the homeless here. From Paso, to Atascadero, on down to Slo. Who do they think they are kidding? Can we get Kenney Enney on the BOS?

Have you learned nothing from recent political disasters on the national level. We don’t need more divisive partisan extremists on the BOS. How about a candidate that can cross political divides and work with the majority of citizens, not one that half of the residents will hate.