Paso Robles City Council candidates answer questions at forum

The city budget took the forefront of a forum Monday where Paso Robles’ three City Council candidates faced questions on how they’d serve if elected to two open seats in November.

Addressing an audience of about 50 people, the panel answered three questions from the Republican Women Federated at the Paso Robles Golf Club.

The candidates were incumbents Ed Steinbeck and John Hamon, as well as mortgage broker Greg Rachunok.

The candidates spoke about their backgrounds and tackling the city budget.

All said they strive to be approachable.

“I really want to be a representative,” Rachunok said.

Steinbeck cited his experiences as a former city planner in Sonoma and his current career in real estate. He said he’d also look for ways for people not to feel intimidated about speaking at council meetings.

Hamon plans to keep his focus on commerce.

“The only way we can build out of this economy is (through) business,” he said.

He’ll strive to be thoughtful in city decisions, he said, noting, “I know how my decisions affect others.”Rachunok said his five brothers and one sister have taught him to work well in a group.

“Teamwork is very important in my life, and I’ll take that teamwork into the City Council,” he said.

The public should be proud of the decisions the council makes, he said, because they were part of the process.

The budget and local economy were also discussed at the forum.

Hamon, a self-described fiscal conservative, said he takes budget matters head-on and prefers not to wait when making money decisions.

“I’m not in favor of dipping into our reserves,” he said.

If re-elected, he plans to look at all sides of spending, he noted, including city expenses outside of staffing.

Steinbeck said that while he is also conservative, he prefers to wait until city revenue reports are complete before making cuts.

Rachunok would look at new ways the city can make money, he said, such as through the Paso Robles Municipal Airport, which currently deals with private planes and contract services.