Shoals drops out of Assembly race

Grover Beach Mayor John Shoals has dropped out of the race for state Assembly next year, saying he needs to tend to challenges facing his city. He did not rule out a run in 2012.

Shoals’ departure leaves Santa Maria City Councilwoman Hilda Zacarias as the only Democrat in the race to succeed Republican Sam Blakeslee.

Blakeslee, the Assembly Minority Leader, cannot run for re-election next year because of term limits. He is raising funds for a run at an as yet undesignated higher office, perhaps state Senate, in 2012.

Shoals says he is not endorsing Zacarias or anyone else at this time.

Grover Beach has serious problems that need attention, Shoals said, including street repair, a beachfront lodge and convention center, and keeping the state from raiding local funds.

Shoals told The Tribune he intends to work with the League of California Cities to spearhead that latter effort locally.

He says the state government has become so dysfunctional that change will have to come from the outside.

Shoals is the second candidate to drop out in the past week of the once-crowded but rapidly thinning contest. Former Santa Maria City Councilman Marty Mariscal also withdrew, citing the need to take care of his business and his family.

Declared candidates in the Republican primary are San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Katcho Achadjian, Santa Maria Planning Commissioner Etta Waterfield and Paso Robles City Councilman Fred Strong. San Luis Obispo financial adviser Matt Kokkonen has said he might run.