South County supervisor candidates Paul Teixeira and Mike Zimmerman agreed on offshore oil drilling, a San Luis Obispo homeless shelter, and numerous other issues as they made their respective cases for succeeding Katcho Achadjian on the Board of Supervisors.
Achadjian, finishing up his third term and 12th year on the board, is running for state Assembly.
Like the man they are seeking to succeed, Zimmerman and Teixeira are business-oriented conservatives.
Both have deep community roots and both have government experience, although Teixeira’s résumé is longer there: He serves on the Lucia Mar school board and the county Parks Commission.
They outlined their backgrounds and positions Monday night to 50 people gathered at a forum at the Nipomo Community Services District headquarters. The League of Women Voters moderated.
Both men positioned themselves as “common sense” candidates who would lead the government back to making what they call sensible decisions.
They singled out the Regional Water Quality Control Board and the Air Pollution Control District, whose decisions, both said, are hurting farmers.
Zimmerman said the water board has “run amok,” making “extreme decisions” and imposing requirements “that can’t be met” on such matters as allowable runoff.
On other issues:
Both said they support offshore oil drilling. Teixeira called the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico a tragedy, but said it was just the law of averages catching up with the industry. He said more people die driving and flying.
Zimmerman said even if the Prius and other fuel-efficient transportation catches on, 80 percent of vehicles will need oil products. He added that “I don’t believe we’d have environmental problems in getting out oil” from the ocean.
Both oppose a homeless shelter being proposed for South Higuera Street in San Luis Obispo because of its cost and size. They favor a decentralized approach, and agreed that each community should take care of its homeless population.
Both would like to see improved Sheriff’s Department response times in the South County, and Teixeira suggested a substation in Nipomo. Zimmerman concurred but added that he considers it unlikely that the money would be there for a substation.
Both men agreed that the county must institute a two-tier pension system, with new hires getting a less remunerative deal than current employees have already negotiated. “The unions have negotiated lucrative retirement plans” that need to be more compatible with the private sector, Zimmerman said.
In one issue that separates them, Zimmerman, an attorney, said he will take an active role in trying to “keep the county from getting into lawsuits,” especially over its land-use decisions. “The county is getting sued all the time,” he said. In the past, Zimmerman has said he will challenge the county counsel’s advice. Zimmerman describes himself as “a strong property- rights candidate.”