Jim Patterson said Wednesday he would seek a third term next year as the Atascadero-area representative on the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors.
Patterson, in a news release and an interview with The Tribune, stressed both his record and the challenges the county still faces.“I want to continue the job we’ve done,” he said. He noted that he and his colleagues have kept the county stable through difficult financial times.
The terms of Supervisors Adam Hill and Frank Mecham also expire next year. Hill has announced that he will run again. Mecham has not yet declared his intentions.
Patterson, who took office in 2005 when the economy was strong, said the board began planning for the downturn in the fall of 2007, before it took a strong hold. The county has been handling the recession by taking a long view, he said. It is now in the fourth year of what it calls a “seven-year pain plan.”
“Our county budgets have taken hits just like everywhere else,” he said. “The difference is that we’ve dealt with them better than just about everybody else.
“We have downsized county government during the past three years ... (and) continually balanced the county budget ... without layoffs or significant reductions in services.”
Patterson added the board had “worked closely with our county employees to achieve these milestones, which includes pension reform and wage agreements.”
Despite the hard times, Patterson said, the county has some impressive achievements. He cited solar plants approved for the Carrizo Plain, the Willow Road interchange with Highway 101 in Nipomo, the Los Osos sewer, a new fire station in Creston and progress on building a new library in Atascadero.
The solar plants tie in to two of his priorities: seeking alternative energy sources and providing jobs. He said the plants would create between 600 and 800 jobs during the three-year construction phase.
Patterson said the county faces continued challenges, especially in housing, infrastructure, water and jobs. The county board, he said, is “forward-thinking,” and he wants to continue to build on “the momentum we have now.”
“We need to keep the board’s focus in the coming years on job creation and environmental protection,” Patterson said.
In his news release, Patterson alluded to dissatisfaction among some of his former environmentalist supporters, who worked hard to get him elected in 2004 and 2008.
That discontent manifested itself especially in his backing of the solar plants on the relatively undisturbed environment of the Carrizo Plain.
“I’ve been criticized by some friends in the environmental community,” he wrote. Nevertheless, “I believe the projects incorporate appropriate local environmental protections and will be a long-term benefit to both the environment and the economy.”
Patterson will be running in a slightly changed district as the county redraws lines as it must every 10 years. Supervisors have scheduled a public hearing for Tuesday on proposed new district lines.
Patterson will kick off his re-election campaign with a fundraiser from 4 to 7 p.m. Aug. 21 at The Carlton Hotel in Atascadero.