Grover Beach City Council may have a new member at Monday meeting

12 candidates will be interviewed to fill vacancy left after Phyllis Molnar resigned

clambert@thetribunenews.comFebruary 24, 2013 

The Grover Beach City Council could choose a new council member tonight from a pool of interested applicants that includes two former council members, several current and former planning commissioners and a former parks and recreation commissioner.

The council will interview 12 candidates to fill a vacancy created when Phyllis Molnar, who ran for mayor in November, resigned from the council at the end of January because she moved to a home outside Grover Beach.

The council decided to appoint someone to avoid the estimated $30,000 cost of a special election. The term runs through December 2014.

The appointment must be made before April 1, so if the council can’t come to a decision tonight, it will continue deliberations to the next council meeting.

If the council selects a candidate, the individual will be immediately sworn in and seated at the dais.

The city received 13 applications from interested candidates by its Tuesday deadline. One of the candidates, former mayor Jack Kean, withdrew his application, leaving 12 candidates. They are:

• Greg Alex, a fire captain with Cal Fire, who has served three years as a Grover Beach planning commissioner, where he’s actively planned the Grover Beach lodge project. Alex works as Cal Fire’s pre-fire engineer for the county, planning, mapping and funding projects to reduce the damaging effects of natural and nuclear disasters locally, according to his letter of interest. He also has served on the board for the Five Cities Youth Baseball League.

• Ron Arnoldsen, a business owner, chief dentist at Atascadero State Hospital and former Grover Beach councilman and mayor. Arnoldsen has served on numerous boards, including chairing the Parks and Recreation Committee and the local Chamber of Commerce. He said the conditions of Grover Beach’s streets are a top issue for locals and added that, if selected, he would like his council stipend to be used for street repairs.

• Gary Clatterbuck, who served more than 40 years as an associate pastor at several churches. He is now semi-retired, but drives some for Ride-On Transportation. According to his letter of interest, he wants to see Grover Beach become more business friendly, improve its roads, build the lodge and conference center, and find “healthier ways to serve our homeless population.”

• Debra Colbert, a Grover Beach native who has been involved in youth programs since the early 1980s. Colbert has served as a Girl Scout service unit leader, responsible for all leaders and programs in the Five Cities area. She also serves as a scoutmaster for a Boy Scout troop in Oceano. “I have learned through the youth how important it is to keep an open mind and to always look at the big picture when faced with a decision or situation,” Colbert wrote.

• Evan Larson, a private consulting engineer for multiple infrastructure projects throughout the county. Larson has also worked as an associate engineer on capital improvement projects for Arroyo Grande and has had a contract for the past four years as a civil design engineer at Diablo Canyon.

• Chris Long, who has served six years on the city’s Planning Commission, which has given him a “good understanding of our city’s government and major issues.” He manages the sustainable range program for the California Army National Guard at Camp San Luis Obispo. Long previously worked for the county’s Public Works Department, the Morro Bay National Estuary Program and the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board.

• Glenn Marshall, a civil engineer with county public works and a six-year member of the city’s Planning Commission. He said he has experience to partner with the council, city staff and residents to focus on issues including the budget, public infrastructure, economic development and the lodge and conference center project.

• Robert Mires, who was appointed to the council in December 2008 and served through 2010. He did not provide further background information in his statement of interest, though he noted that he was encouraged to submit one by “other concerned citizens.”

• Mariam Shah, a stay-at-home mother of two young children and formerly a corporate attorney for eight years. Shah has spent time walking in her north Grover Beach neighborhood, and noted “streets so incredibly in need of repair” and “witnessed too many businesses come and go along Grand Avenue, an area literally starving for beach-loving pedestrians.”

• Anita Shower, who ran for a Grover Beach council seat in November. She is the charter president of the Rotary Club of the Five Cities-Eco, formed last year. She also volunteers for numerous organizations including the Exploration Station. Shower wants residential street repair to be a priority, believes the lodge and conference center project will bring a financial benefit to the city, and will “work hard to ensure that we have a healthy business community.”

• Riley Royce Smith, a PG&E employee for 30 years before retiring, including 15 years at Diablo Canyon. Smith served on the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission in the mid-1990s, according to a statement of interest. Smith volunteered for State Parks and eventually managed the monarch butterfly grove on Highway 1. Smith’s vision for Grover Beach is straightforward: “I want people in San Luis Obispo or Santa Barbara to get up in the morning and be excited about spending a day in Grover Beach.”

• Kevin Woolley, whose background includes work as a computer technician, business owner, factory worker and service with the U.S. Army. Woolley has served as a director on the Arroyo Grande Chamber of Commerce and helped guide the merger between it and the Grover Beach chamber. He also volunteers as a member of the Rotary Club of Grover Beach.

Council members receive a $300 monthly stipend, normally attend two council meetings per month and also serve on monthly subcommittees.

Meeting Monday

The Grover Beach City Council meeting will start at 6:30 p.m. today at 154 S. Eighth St. For more information, call 473-4567 or go to www.grover.org.

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