Candidate profile: Jim Guthrie

Jim Guthrie
Jim Guthrie The Tribune

Guthrie’s pitch centers on competence, experience and vision.

He has served on the Arroyo Grande Planning Commission and City Council, and in fact had to leave a candidate’s forum Wednesday night to deal with a pressing city problem — how to replace Ed Arnold, a councilman who just resigned.

Guthrie is proud of his work bringing the community together to shape the city’s General Plan — its guideline for growth. While his detailed knowledge of government has led some to label him “wonkish,” his supporters argue that his expertise makes him the stronger candidate in running a multimillion-dollar operation such as the county.

Guthrie also cites his experience in the private sector. As general manager of the Spyglass Inn, he has held the tiller as the hotel steered through the recession. His public-private experience makes a nice mix to serve the county, he says.

Unlike Zimmerman and Teixeira, Guthrie calls the Air Pollution Control District’s Dunes study “conclusive” and says he will seek to reduce pollution without ending off-roading and hurting the local economy.

Guthrie opposes water rationing, preferring market-driven tiered rates, which he sees as “more efficient.” In the long run, he, like Teixeira and Zimmerman, sees desalination as a partial solution for developing new supplies.

On growth, Guthrie says that “large residential developments should occur in areas where opportunities for employment exist and resources are available.”

Q&A: Four questions for Jim Guthrie

Q. What would you do to protect against crime, especially gang encroachment in the South County? Should Nipomo allow a medical marijuana clinic?

A. We have less gang activity than our neighboring counties due to local law enforcement’s ability to identify gang leaders and their sources of income and disrupt their activity. As supervisor, I would encourage open communication and coordination between law enforcement agencies and related organizations to ensure continued success in their efforts to limit gang activity.I would not be in favor of a medical marijuana dispensary in Nipomo. Dispensaries are in direct conflict with federal law, and state regulations regarding distribution remain ambiguous. A dispensary would divert already limited law enforcement resources in the South County from more important responsibilities.

Q. Is pollution on the Nipomo Mesa a problem? Should motorized vehicles be banned from the Oceano Dunes, or limited? If they were banned, do you believe a new, reliable source of tourist income could emerge?

A. The APCD study is conclusive in its research that the SVRA is the major contributor to the high particulate matter, which poses a health risk to Mesa residents. As supervisor, I’ll consider all contributing factors to the pollution and work hard to develop options that will significantly reduce pollution without closing this important economic resource. Adjusting SVRAs’ operation is but one option to consider.

I do not believe that reuse of the park as open space could replace the economic benefits that the county obtains through the Dunes.

Q. Water is in dwindling supply in every place in the South County. What would you do to guarantee a continuing adequate supply? Should water be rationed?

A. The quickest way to address our water shortage is through conservation and the innovative use of technology to reduce demand. On the supply side, we can import water via the Santa Maria pipeline and increase use of state water. These options can provide sufficient water to meet current needs.

In the future, recycled water will provide the county opportunities for recharging groundwater and free up potable water for residential use. In the long run, we need diversified and robust sources of water, including desalinization to meet current and future needs.

Market-driven tiered rates are more efficient than rationing.

Q. Where in the budget can you cut? What are your priorities? Is there a way to corral pension costs? Please be specific.

A. Public safety: Police, fire and emergency medical responders are the essential services provided by county government. Though budget cuts are likely to continue into the foreseeable future, I will ensure that the safety of the citizens of the county is not compromised.

My record is clear. As a City Council member I have fought for leaner budgets while supporting public safety. We have reduced staff, including expensive management positions, by consolidating departments and joining with our sister cities to consolidate our fire departments.

In the long run, government pay and benefits must be brought into line with the private sector.

Information from the official voter's guide

Our next Supervisor will face unprecedented budget shortfalls while managing resources like water, public safety, roads, and traffic.

I have the knowledge, background, and experience to be your County Supervisor.

As manager of a large local hotel for 19 years, Arroyo Grande City Councilman for five years, and Planning Commissioner for four years, I have proven I can make difficult decisions and get the job done.

My extensive private business experience is unmatched and a look at my votes on tough budget choices proves I am fiscally responsible.

As past President of the Pismo Beach Chamber of Commerce, I have a deep appreciation of the needs and concerns of small businesses. I know how to promote a healthy economy.

As your Supervisor, I will continue my record of fairness and cooperation with the entire community.

Through perseverance and hard work developing and enacting Arroyo Grande’s General Plan, I helped achieve an unprecedented level ofagreement among competing interests by protecting agriculture, preserving the environment and keeping Arroyo Grande business friendly.

As your supervisor, I will always put the interests of our community first and protect our quality of life.