Eight candidates are running for three seats on the Morro Bay City Council on the June 5 primary ballot.
Four candidates are vying for mayor and four candidates are running for two seats on the City Council. However, the vote may not decide any of those races.
Morro Bay is the only city in the county to hold a primary election. All of the other cities go straight to the general election.
Only a candidate who receives a majority of the vote in the primary is elected. If none gets a majority, two candidates per seat go on to the Nov. 6 general election.
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This means that the only certain outcome of the June 5 election is that at least two candidates for mayor will be eliminated. If none of the council candidates gets a majority, all four move on to the general election.
Whoever is elected will face a range of challenges confronting the city. These include a struggling fishing industry, closure of the Morro Bay power plant, balancing the needs of residents and the tourist industry, and rebuilding the city’s wastewater treatment plant. At a cost of at least $34 million, the treatment plant overhaul will be the most expensive infrastructure project in the city’s history.
Based on candidate statements and other documents filed with the city, these are the candidates running for public office.
Bill Yates, 62, is the incumbent mayor, having been narrowly elected in 2010. He has strong ties to the city’s business community and is running on a platform of financial responsibility, transparency and accountability in city government.
Carla Borchard, 53, is a city councilwoman and is owner Carla’s Country Kitchen restaurant. She is running on her willingness to work hard and create a shared vision for the community.
Jamie Irons, 52, is a former planning commissioner and a technician at the Morro Bay power plant. He is running on creating community vitality while preserving a safe, clean environment.
Joe Yukich, 53, is owner of Osaka Joe’s Sushi. He is running with a pledge of no deficits, no new taxes, better performance by city government and taking care of taxpayers before tourists.
City Council candidates
Noah Smukler, 34, is an incumbent councilman running for re-election and a self-employed landscaper. He is running on his record during his first term in office and a platform of ethical government that fairly provides affordable services and dependable infrastructure.
Jim Hayes, 64, is a retired wastewater collections supervisor at the Morro Bay treatment plant. Now that he is retired, he said, he wants to give back to the community and promises he will work for common sense and no-nonsense government.
Christine Johnson, 43, is a homemaker and community volunteer, including president of the Morro Bay Friends of the Library. She is running on a platform of building relationships and connecting people to strengthen the town.
Joan Solu, 44, is a small-business owner, hotelier and chairwoman of the Morro Bay Tourism Business Improvement District. She supports cost-effective, sustainable programs and facilities for the city’s infrastructure and sewer that will minimize economic impacts on seniors, families and businesses.
Morro Bay holds a primary election because city voters passed a ballot measure in 2007 requiring it. Holding a primary election costs the city between $6,500 and $20,000, City Attorney Rob Schultz said.
“The cost to the city to hold a primary election every two years would vary based upon the number of other jurisdictions participating in that election,” he said.