Candidates vying for local office in SLO County

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August 20, 2022

By KAREN VELIE

Who are the candidates for public office in San Luis Obispo County, and which races are likely to bring about a change in local government policy?

Atascadero

The Atascadero City Council is expected to remain largely unchanged, with Mayor Heather Moreno set to run unchallenged.

Three candidates are running for two vacant council seats: incumbent Susan Funk, Heather Newsom and writer Bret Heinemann. In an ongoing court case, both incumbents are accused of violating city ordinances in their fight to stop a man from developing his property.

Arroyo Grande

Mayor Caren Ray, a Santa Maria high school teacher, has two challengers: Dale Hanson, a real estate appraiser, and Gaea Powell, who runs a small nonprofit.

As the county elections take place, the city will have at least two newly elected officers after the November election. Newcomer Kathleen Secrest, a lawyer, is running unopposed for the new District 1 council seat.

In District 4, newcomer Ben Franco, a small business owner, faces off against former councilman James Guthrie.

Grover Beach

There are two candidates for mayor of Grover Beach: Councilwoman Karen Bright and business owner Stacy Korsgaden.

Current Mayor Jeff Lee is fired. During his tenure, the FBI raided Lee’s home amid an investigation into corruption involving convicted marijuana mogul Helios Dayspring and former SLO County Supervisor Adam Hill. During the investigation into bribe demands, Hill committed suicide.

Candidate Bright served on the city council from 2008 to 2016. She won another term in 2020. Hill touted Bright, a Democrat, as his top supporter.

In 2020, Korsgaden, a Republican, lost by 2 percentage points to Hill in a run for Hill’s SLO County Supervisor seat. She recently lost 28 percentage points to Supervisor Dawn Ortiz-Legg after attending Trump’s Jan. 6, 2021 speech.

Incumbent Robert Robert is running unopposed for the new district 1 council seat.

In District 2, retired dentist Ron Arnoldson challenges incumbent Daniel Rushing.

Morro Bay

Morro Bay Mayor John Heading faces a challenger, Carla Wixom, the owner of Carla’s Country Kitchen.

Six newcomers are running for two seats on the council: marketer Casey Cordes, attorney David Whileer, small business owner Cyndee Edwards, housewife Robin Landrum, waitress Sarah Smith Robinson and Deanna Sandoval.

Paso Robles

Mayor Steve Martin faces a challenger, Michael Rivera, a medical businessman.

Incumbent John Hamon is running unopposed for the District 1 council seat. In District 2, freshman Chris Bausch, a business consultant and school board trustee, is running unopposed.

Pismo Beach

Mayor Ed Waage is running unopposed for the mayoral seat.

Five people are running for two seats on the council, including incumbent councilwoman Mary Ann Reiss, who has served on the council since 1996.

Also competing for a seat on the council are retired Border Patrol Agent Kevin Carl Kreowski, attorney Stacy Inman, real estate agent and general contractor Deborah Lossing, and attorney and former councilman Erik Howell.

San Luis Obispo

Mayor Erica Stewart faces three challengers: entrepreneur Jeff Specht, retired firefighter Richard Orcutt, and recycler Don Hedrick.

There are four candidates running for two seats on the council, including incumbent elect Michelle Shoresman.

Also competing for a seat on the council are businessman James Papp, attorney Joe Benson and teacher Emily Francis.

Municipal Service District of San Simeon

Three people are running unopposed for three vacant seats: incumbent Michael Donahue, attorney Karina Tiwana, and Jacqueline Diamond, a retired school district administrator.

All three candidates have raised concerns about the current administration, Grace Environmental Services, and district legal counsel Jeff Minnery. After the three candidates have been sworn in, major changes are likely to take place in the contested district.

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