SLO County District 5 supervisor candidates debate water, wind energy

February 10, 2024


The two candidates battling over the San Luis Obispo County District 5 supervisor seat, Atascadero Mayor Heather Moreno and Atascadero Councilwoman Susan Funk, displayed their differing views on water,  wind energy, homelessness and taxes during a Feb. 7 debate hosted by the Atascadero Association of University Women and the League of Women Voters.

When asked about their views on wind energy off the coast of Morro Bay and the proposed industrialization of several local ports, the candidates agreed on some issues and disagreed on others.   Even though Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant was not mentioned in the question, both candidates said they want it to remain open.

Moreno said the biggest technology we currently have is Diablo Canyon and that it needs to remain part of our clean energy portfolio. She voiced concerns regarding the long-term impacts of wind energy on our community, fishing industry and marine life.

On the other side, Funk said we need to look at climate change and protecting our world. She voiced her support for wind energy and having maintenance facilities located at our local ports.

When asked about management of the Paso Robles Water Basin, the candidates were again on opposite sides. A decade ago, during the drought, the county asked farmers to cut back their water usage. Multiple small farmers stopped growing crops while several larger farmers expanded their planted acreage.

The county enacted what was supposed to be a short term planting moratorium, which blocked the small farmers from replanting unless they purchased water rights from the larger farmers.

Current District 5 Supervisor Debbie Arnold has fought to give the small farmers back their water rights.

Funk said we need to get the basin back into balance through conservation. She argued that her opponent wants to give the small farmers five times what they are currently alloted, a plan she opposes.

On the other side, Moreno said the county needs to support the “small farmers who were messed over by the offset. They deserve to get their rights back. We need to work together to make them whole again.”

In response to a question about what they would have done differently regarding the county’s safe parking site near the sheriff’s department, Moreno said she would not have supported it. She mentioned issues with crime and poor planning.

While Funk agreed it was a challenging project, she asked what else could have been done? Funk voiced support for rotating safe parking sites closer to services in the future.

When asked if they support a measure seeking to end the two-thirds voter protection portion of Proposition 13, the candidates were sharply divided.

Funk said she supports Proposition 13, and noted if the two-thirds vote requirement was terminated, it would “not change the price of a person’s home.”

Moreno informed Funk that the two-thirds requirement was part of Proposition 13, and that she was in favor of keeping the two-thirds vote requirement.

With only two candidates, the winner of the District 5 race will be determined during the primary election in March.

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Hands down I will be voting for Heather Moreno. Not only does she have a proven track record of being a competent public servant, she is also a person of integrity and good moral character. I very decent human being.

If a candidate asks for my vote, I am going to look at the facts.

I went to the 2 debates in Atascadero, looking for leader for District 5.

It should not be a partisan election, but it is. Ms. Moreno’s words don’t fool me.

Ms. Funk is a moderate Democrat and Ms. Moreno a MAGA Republican.

3 issues came up at both debates; homeless, wind energy, and public safety.

The homeless issue has been around for decades; ECHO, our local nonprofit organization, is not governed by Atascadero and receives very little financial help from the City. So no candidate should take credit for its successes.

Ms. Funk, has a more effective approach working with all facets of the issue with multiple jurisdictions. She also understands that longterm success is linked to housing and mental health care.

Ms. Moreno’s solution centers on incarceration of homeless individual, missing the key point that “criminal homelessness” is very often dues to poor mental health. Moreno is very critical of the existing plan without providing any real solution.

Land-based wind farms are a proven way to create “green” electricity. Off shore could even be better (no visual issues, noise, and we can use existing transmission lines).

Ms. Funk understands that it is a necessary future to meet CA goals. Ms. Moreno chooses to not understand or learn about it. During the debate Moreno was repeating the naysayer rhetoric, not her own analysis.

Public Safety is the central function of government, supported by all elected officials.

Ms. Funk got it right, police and firefighters are our neighbors! Government can support them with competive salaries and compassionate training opportunities to keep them healthy and engaged.

Ms Moreno’s heavy reliance on one facet of governance is an indication of her limited ability to provide leadership needed at the County level. There is so much more to running a County that has multiple critical departments providing service it’s citizens.

Ms. Moreno filled the Mayor’s role fairly in Atascadero, but County Supervisor is a much higher level in terms of vision, knowledge of the issues, commitment, and honesty. Ms. Funk, in my eyes, has all of these qualities and more.

I will vote for Susan Funk.

Interesting that the Tribune says it’s a close call in its endorsement of Funk, yet it appears from this story that it’s not close at all.

Funk is a typical tax and spend politician. Her plan for economic development? Add government employees, according to a Tribune story. She also believes that gutting Proposition 13 would not change the price of a person’s home. Who does she think will pay for the bonds and taxes that will be passed due a lower voter threshold?

She probably thinks the 26% salary raises Bruce, Jimmy, and Dawn voted for themselves comes from the same fairy dust? Don’t forget Bruce not only voted for his personal pay raise but also for a very nice corresponding pension spike that you and I will be paying for as long as he and then his mistress-turned-wife live.

Funk’s response to the fiasco of the Oklahoma Safe Parking site as “what else could have been done?” To me that is a bright line in the sand of governmental incompetence. That may be the most irresponsible position I’ve ever heard. People lost their lives…and Funk’s nonchalant response is “Oh well!”

Funk then voiced support for “rotating safe parking sites closer to services in the future.” Now that the county has dramatically demonstrated it can’t run one site, Funk says that the county should run more of them located closer to our neighborhoods. This is an alarming but standard practice among the tax and spend, “if at first it’s an abysmal failure, throw more tax dollars at it.”

Perhaps this failed thinking was hidden in a $70 million dollar city, but with a billion dollar county budget and three other like minded buffoons, it will be on full display. The county is currently facing a multi-million dollar deficit with most of the union contracts set to expire soon. If Funk is your Supervisor, be afraid be very afraid.

It can’t be clearer, vote for Moreno.

well said

Susan Funk is being supported by the Progressive leftists that have taken over the government of the city of San Luis Obispo. Susan Devine, a progressive operator who once served as the Administrative Assistant representing Supervisor Adam Hill, is working on Funk’s campaign. Do we really want the type of leadership that packed the most corrupt local government official of our time who committed suicide when he found out that the FBI was coming after him for taking bribes. Bruce Gibson was Hill’s greatest apologist.

Now that the Tribune has endorsed Funk over Heather Moreno, it’s clear that the left wants to take full control of the Board of Supervisors with a 4 to 1 progressive majority which would make Gibson absolutely giddy. We need balance on the Board of Supervisors, not a leftist grand slam.Heather Moreno’s positions to retain the two thirds vote requirement of Prop 13, to conduct a performance audit of the county’s efforts to address homelessness, and her support of Debbie Arnold’s position on rural groundwater are spot on. Vote for Heather Moreno for County Supervisor.

District 5 doesn’t need a Bruce Gibson clone. Vote Moreno

Apparently, Moreno is the sane one.

It looks like Susan Funk is likely to be seeing things like Bruce Gibson, and Heather appears to understand exactly why she needs to be elected.

Heather sees that Sacramento has not been using Taxpayers monies in a mature way and Supports Prop. 13, and the other one is part of the Problem with the status quo of shaking people down for more Cash.

I support Heather Moreno.