Pismo Beach Mayor Shelly Higginbotham says she will not run for re-election in November, after 14 years with the city. Councilman Ed Waage says he plans to run for the mayoral seat.
“It’s time for somebody else,” Higginbotham said. “It’s time for new people to have the opportunity to serve, and it’s time for me to do other things.”
Three seats on the City Council are up for re-election Nov. 2: the mayoral seat and two council seats now occupied by Waage and Erik Howell. Howell said he plans to run for re-election in November.
The other council members not up for re-election are Mary Ann Reiss and Sheila Blake.
Waage said Thursday that he was prompted to run for mayor after hearing from Higginbotham that she would be leaving the council.
“I’m proud of what we are doing in the city,” he said. “We have so much on our plate right now, and I think I can bring something to the table.”
Waage has served on the council since 2008. If elected mayor, he said his primary goals would be to continue the council’s current trajectory to improve the Shell Beach streetscape, as well as exploring options for the Pismo Beach Regional Groundwater Sustainability Program and how the city can increase its water resources.
I can tell you about 98 percent of it has just been incredible opportunity. I’ve met dedicated wonderful, smart people and had experiences I never would have had otherwise.
Mayor Shelly Higginbotham
Higginbotham joined the City Council in 2004, after serving two years on the city Parks, Recreation and Beautification Commission. She was elected mayor in 2010 after Reiss, who was the mayor at the time, decided to not seek another term and to pursue a council seat instead.
Higginbotham narrowly held on to her seat in the November 2014 election against challenger Kevin Kreowski, amid public opposition to an unsuccessful housing development in Price Canyon, plus worries that a donation of the Chapman House to the city would increase noise and traffic in the Shell Beach neighborhood. Higginbotham supported both.
She also briefly announced plans in May to run for the District 3 Board of Supervisors seat — which represents Pismo Beach as well as part of San Luis Obispo, Avila Beach, Edna Valley and Grover Beach — but dropped those plans in July, saying she had several big projects she needed to focus on in Pismo Beach.
When she departs city government in December, Higginbotham said she plans to spend more time working with local nonprofits such as Peoples’ Self-Help Housing and the 5 Cities Homeless Coalition. She currently serves on the boards of directors for both organizations.
“It’s been great,” she said of her tenure with the city. “I’ll look back on it and go, ‘Wow.’ I never in my wildest dreams thought that this would ever happen. I can tell you about 98 percent of it has just been incredible opportunity. I’ve met dedicated, wonderful, smart people and had experiences I never would have had otherwise.”