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SLO City Council swears in two familiar members and a new face

San Luis Obispo swears in mayor and city councilwomen

San Luis Obispo Mayor Heidi Harmon and Councilwomen Carlyn Christianson and Erica Stewart were sworn in Monday. The council is now four-fifths women, for maybe the first time in its history.
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San Luis Obispo Mayor Heidi Harmon and Councilwomen Carlyn Christianson and Erica Stewart were sworn in Monday. The council is now four-fifths women, for maybe the first time in its history.

The San Luis Obispo City Council celebrated the installation of three newly elected members Monday — and four of the five seated now are female.

Incumbent mayor Heidi Harmon and City Council member Carlyn Christianson were sworn in, along with newcomer Erica Stewart, the first African-American council member to serve on the council.

City officials said they believe this may be the first 80 percent female council in the city’s history, with Aaron Gomez the only male representative now on the council.

Newly departed Councilman Dan Rivoire, who served a four-year term after being elected at age 29 in 2014, was credited by Gomez, who himself was elected at age 37 in 2014, for helping inspire and represent the under-40 demographic and working-class population in the city.

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Newly elected San Luis Obispo Councilwoman Erica Stewart gets a hug from fellow Councilwoman Andy Pease. David Middlecamp dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

Rivoire stepped down Monday afternoon after receiving recognition for his service.

Rivoire held his young daughter on his lap, noting he decided to leave office to better manage his responsibilities as a father and full-time employee at iFixit, where he serves as vice president of wholesale and organizational development.

“The city is run from a value-drive perspective, which I’m really proud of,” Rivoire said. “... I was really torn about stepping down, but I would have felt a lot more nervous about it if Erica Stewart hadn’t gotten involved early in the race.”

Rivoire, who served on the board member on the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments, was part of a council that sought to help relieve a tight housing market by approving new developments such as Avila Ranch and San Luis Ranch, totaling 1,300 homes combined, along with other new housing citywide.

Christianson said that she was pleased when Rivoire came on as a new council member that he was willing to join with her on housing initiatives, while she learned from and collaborated with Rivoire on his efforts to advance multi-modal transportation, such as new bikeways.

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Dan Rivoire stands to applause as he steps down. SLO installed newly elected council member Erica Stewart, Heidi Harmon and Carlyn Christianson sworn in by Teresa Purrington City Clerk. 12-03-2018 David Middlecamp David Middlecamp dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

Christianson added that the campaigns leading up to the November election were collegial and fact-based, and she was grateful it didn’t devolve into an uglier type of politics.

“There are some bad examples of that in other places,” Christianson said. “This was the most sane and sensible campaign I’ve seen, and that made it easy to think about serving for another four years.”

Harmon said that she would work for a “better San Luis Obispo” and a “better world.”

“This is an incredibly important time to be in elected office,” Harmon said.

Council member Andy Pease was appointed to the vice mayor seat.

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