Mayor Duane Picanco won an extremely tight race two years ago, defeating Gary Nemeth by just 41 votes. This election, both men are on the ballot again, along with Chamber of Commerce official Mike Gibson.
We supported Nemeth two years ago, and we continue to believe he would do a fine job as mayor. We also found Mike Gibson to be an extremely qualified candidate. However, we are concerned about the potential for a conflict of interest, since Gibson has indicated he would not step down from his position as chamber CEO. As mayor, Gibson would be called on to vote on many issues that could directly or indirectly affect chamber members. While we believe he could judge issues objectively, there still could be the appearance of a conflict.
In the final analysis, we believe that Picanco is the best choice for mayor. We have been impressed with the stability and the institutional knowledge that he brings to the office, and he’s been especially effective as a fiscal watchdog.
For example, he recently cast the only vote against bringing the Amgen bicycle tour to town, because he was concerned the city would be on the hook if sponsors could not contribute the entire $120,000 needed. Picanco made it clear to The Tribune Editorial Board that he supports the Amgen event and believes it’s an excellent way to promote the city, but he does not believe it’s right for city money to go toward the event — especially when city employees are being asked to go without cost-of-living raises.
We also are impressed by Picanco’s wealth of experience in a variety of areas. Prior to becoming mayor, he served on the City Council and Planning Commission for more than 20 years; he operated a family shoe store in Paso Robles for 26 years; he’s been involved in many youth organizations and nonprofit agencies; and he has experience on several regional agencies, such as the Local Agency Formation Commission. Not only does he have a broad base of knowledge, he also is in tune to the needs of small business, families, schools and nonprofit agencies. The Tribune strongly urges voters to re-elect Duane Picanco mayor of Paso Robes.
The tribune’s endorsement
Race: Paso Robles mayor
Term of office: Two years
Salary: $800 per month; eligible for health benefits
Candidates: Michael Gibson, chief executive officer, Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce; Paso Robles Planning Commissioner Gary Nemeth; incumbent Duane Picanco
The Tribune endorses: Duane Picanco