In a curious coincidence, the Arroyo Grande and Grover Beach city councils were each left with an open council seat following the November election.
In both cities, a council member partway through his or her term was elected mayor — Caren Ray in Arroyo Grande and Jeff Lee in Grover Beach — leaving a council vacancy, and the bodies with an important decision of how to fill it.
Both councils chose to forgo the more expensive option — holding another special election for the people to decide upon their new council member — and instead have chosen to fill the seat via appointment.
The application window closed Dec. 21.
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Here’s who applied in Arroyo Grande:
- Bruce Berlin, native plant ecologist and consultant with CaliFlora Resources LLC. In his application, Berlin said he “would want to be a member of a City Council that gathers and processes intelligence and builds a trust, rapport, respect and participation form all its citizens, not just the vocal, but also for the benefit of those who traditionally have not participated or had a ‘voice’ at the table.” Berlin has a bachelor’s degree in environmental horticulture from Cal Poly. He has served on the city’s Architectural Review Committee since 2014.
- Lan George, digital advertising consultant, podcaster and business coach. George currently serves on the city’s Planning Commission, and has previously served on the Architectural Review Committee. In her application, George said “there is a lot of work to be done,” adding “our residents need a representative who is willing to do the work, and do it fairly and in the interest of Arroyo Grande and all who live here.” George has a bachelor’s degree in graphic communication and print management from Cal Poly.
- Coleen Kubel, owner of Kubel Construction. Kubel was the third-highest vote getter in the November City Council election, with 15.61 percent of the vote. In her application, she said she wants “to be one of five decision makers, who develop the future of our community, ensure its alignment with our citizen values, and support a vision that our citizens have for the future of their family, their business and themselves.” Kubel has served as a member of the Architecture Review Committee since 2017.
- Andrea Montes, utilities division program manager for the County of San Luis Obispo Public Works Department. In her application, Montes said she “would like to explore options to ensure a sufficient supply of drinking water for future generations and activities and facilities for our youth.” Montes has a bachelor’s degree in English from Cal Poly and a master of public administration degree from the University of San Francisco. She served on the city’s Charter Advisory Committee in 2013 and currently is a member of the Lucia Mar Unified School District Independent Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee.
- Jason Telander, CEO of VTC Enterprises. In his application, Telander said he wanted to join the council to “ensure efforts are maintained to allow for residents of the city to contribute to various city committees and sub-committees. We build a stronger community when we allow everyone to be heard.” Telander has a bachelors degree in history from Grinnell College in Iowa. He has previously served on the California Disability Services Association as board vice president.
In Grover Beach, here’s who qualified for a council seat (redacted applications and bios were not available Wednesday morning, so only names have been included):
- Karen Bright
- Fred Buenrostro Jr.
- Joseph Holmes
- Desire (Desi) Lance
- Ken Lehmann
- Chris Long
- Todd Mitchell
- Jerry Pastor
- Michael Pogvara
- Kara Ramirez
- Robert Robert
- Terry Wingate
Interviews will take place at both councils’ first meetings in January: Jan. 7 for Grover Beach and Jan. 8 for Arroyo Grande. The winning council members will be sworn in at the same meeting.