San Luis Obispo hopefuls file for election

City council and mayoral races across San Luis Obispo County are starting to take shape.

Friday marked the filing deadline for incumbents and candidates interested in running for office Nov. 2. If incumbents did not file Friday, then the filing deadline is extended to 5 p.m. Wednesday.

In addition, voters in San Luis Obispo will decide if a long-planned Prado Road extension should be realigned from its now-designated route alongside the Damon-Garcia Sports Fields.

Here is a look at who is running in communities across the county:

Arroyo Grande

Voters will elect a mayor and two council members. Mayor Tony Ferrara will run for re-election; Arroyo Grande resident Tim Moore has also filed to run for mayor.

Councilman Chuck Fellows will not run for re-election, but Councilman Jose Costello will seek re-election. Planning Commissioner Tim Brown and Parks and Recreation Commissioners Shannon Kessler have also qualified to run for council. Resident Heidi Laurenzano has filed papers to run, but as of Friday had not yet been qualified, according to Arroyo Grande City Clerk Kelly Wetmore.


Two of the five council seats on the Atascadero City Council are up for re-election.

Incumbent Councilwoman Ellen Beraud will not run for re-election, but Councilman Tom O’Malley is seeking his post again.

Other potential candidates include businessman/writer Bret Heinemann and Planning Commissioners Chuck Ward, Sandy Jack and Brian Sturtevant.

Heinemann is also running for a spot on the Atascadero Unified School District board, according to the city. Although this is allowed, he won’t be able to serve on both boards if elected because they have conflicting meeting times.

Grover Beach

The mayor’s seat and two council seats are up. Mayor John Shoals will run for re-election. Councilman Bill Nicolls will also run for another term on the council.

Phyllis A. Molnar, of Past Present Future Bookkeeping in Grover Beach, will run for a council seat.

Councilman Robert Mires’ term is up; he did not file for re-election.

Morro Bay

Morro Bay’s election was set in June with the primary election. The mayor’s seat and two council seats are up for election.

Councilwoman Betty Winholtz will face former Mayor William Yates in the mayor’s race. Four candidates are vying for the two city council seats: Nancy Johnson, D’Onna Kennedy, George Leage and Jack Smith.

Paso Robles

All the incumbents on the Paso Robles City Council are seeking re-election in November.The mayor’s spot and two council seats are open on the five-member panel.

The incumbents include Councilmen Ed Steinbeck and John Hamon as well as Mayor Duane Picanco.

Another potential council candidate is mortgage broker Greg Rachunok.

Other candidates for mayor are Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Officer Mike Gibson and Planning Commissioner Gary Nemeth.

Nemeth lost the mayor race to Picanco by 41 votes in 2008.

Pismo Beach

The mayoral seat and two council seats are up for election. Four candidates have been confirmed to run: Councilwoman Shelly Higginbotham will seek the mayor’s seat, challenged by Rodger Gillespie, who moved to Pismo Beach in 2001 from Woodland Hills and now works as a substitute teacher in the Lucia Mar school district.

Current Mayor Mary Ann Reiss and Councilman Kris Vardas will run for council seats. However, the deadline for both council member and the mayoral seats has been extended until Wednesday.

San Luis Obispo

The mayor’s seat and two council seats are up for election. Four candidates have been confirmed to run for mayor: Councilwoman Jan Marx, former Councilman Paul Brown, nonprofit volunteer Andrew Farrell and artisan Donald Hedrick. Mayor Dave Romero announced that he will not seek another term on the council after having served for 16 years.

Councilman Andrew Carter will seek a new term. Also confirmed to run for one of the two open council seats are Dan Carpenter, chairman of the Cultural Heritage Committee, former Councilwoman Kathy Smith, former Planning Commissioner Andrea Miller, retired barber Arnold Ruiz and community member Terry Mohan.

Also, the City Council has certified a citizens initiative for the November ballot that seeks to eliminate a part of the long-planned Prado Road extension.

At issue is the alignment of the extension, which would end at Broad Street between Industrial and Capitolio ways, just north of the Damon-Garcia Sports Fields.

Council members spoke against the initiative Tuesday, saying it would undo decades of planning.

Tribune staff writers AnnMarie Cornejo, David Sneed, Tonya Strickland and Nick Wilson contributed to this report.

Reach Cynthia Lambert at 781-7929. Stay updated by following @SouthCountyBeat on Twitter.