City Councilman Joe Costello has been a strong voice for preservation of farmland, for maintaining the rural, small-city character of the community, and for ensuring adequate resources — including water — for the future.
As a member of the Fire Oversight Committee, Costello had a hand in successfully consolidating fire services in Arroyo Grande, Grover Beach and Oceano — a cost-saving move that we hope will someday serve as a model for other South County public services.
We also believe that Costello and other city officials have done a good job getting the city through this tough financial period.
And while he is obviously reluctant to make changes that will affect employees, we found Costello to be a realist when it comes to financial challenges facing local governments.
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For example, he is not a fan of a “two-tier” system of benefits — which provides newly hired employees with less generous pension benefits — but doesn’t rule it out.
“As distasteful as it may be, it’s better than going bankrupt,” he told The Tribune Editorial Board.
Through his long career in emergency management —he’s currently an instructor coordinator for the California Specialized Training Institute — Costello also brings expertise in the fields of emergency preparedness and recovery.
Bottom line: We were impressed with Costello’s wealth of experience — including eight years on the council and more than four years on the Planning Commission — and his commitment to preserving Arroyo Grande’s unique rural character while providing a high level of service to residents. The Tribune strongly endorses Joe Costello for re-election.
Tim Brown’s seven years on the Planning Commission have given him a keen knowledge of the issues facing the city, as well as experience in the day-to-day operations of government. We believe he will be an excellent fit for the City Council.
Brown has been a strong voice for preserving agriculture, as well as maintaining the historic flavor of the Village.
As far back as 2001, he was urging strong design standards for the Village.
“The guidelines have to be stricter or this won’t stay the quaint little portion of town it is,” he said then. “If it’s the focal point of Arroyo Grande, then developers need to know way ahead of time what the specifics are.”
Well put. We’re impressed that Brown favored strong protections but also understood that developers must be made aware of the rules.
We also like the fact that Brown is supportive of projects that bring economic growth to the city. On the Planning Commission, for example, he recommended approval of several new businesses, including Applebee’s, In-N-Out Burgers and Trader Joe’s, and he says he’s in favor of bringing more commercial development to Grand Avenue and Frontage Road.
We also believe that Brown will serve as a watchdog for residents — someone who will hold city officials accountable for following through on plans and promises.
For example, in discussing plans to relocate city offices to the Farm Credit building in the Village, he stressed the need for the city to carry out its plan to move all employees there and to remodel the building to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act.
“It’s imperative the city does what it said it’s going to do,” he said.
We believe Brown will bring experience, integrity and a strong, independent voice to the Arroyo Grande City Council. The Tribune strongly urges Arroyo Grande voters to elect Tim Brown to City Council.
The Tribune’s endorsement
Race: Arroyo Grande City Council
Number of seats: Two
Term: Four years
Salary: Monthly stipend of $405 per month; eligible for health benefits
Candidates: City Planning Commissioner Tim Brown; City Councilman Joe Costello; City Parks and Recreation Commissioner Shannon Kessler; Heidi Laurenzano, foreman’s assistant at Diablo Canyon
The Tribune endorses: Joe Costello, Tim Brown