Q&A: Four questions for Marshall Ochylski
Q. The county is facing its third consecutive year of a budget deficit — an estimated $19 million in the coming fiscal year. Where can you cut? What are your priorities? Is there a way to corral pension costs?
A. County government must proactively adapt to economic reality by developing ways to provide efficient and cost-effective services to our residents on a reduced budget.
Public safety is my highest priority, and budget cuts must not affect our ability to protect our children, families, neighborhoods and businesses.
We must negotiate with the employee unions on a two-tiered pension system with lower benefits for new hires. For immediate cost savings, we should consider innovative measures such as early retirement incentives, job-sharing arrangements and flexible work schedules.
We should also develop incentives to encourage new, especially “green,” businesses to locate here.
Q. What would you do to protect against crime? Do you consider gangs a problem? How would you improve relationships, which have seemed strained, with the sheriff?
A. Crime is an issue that needs to be addressed countywide in cooperation with our local jurisdictions to ensure the most efficient use of our limited physical and financial resources.
Gangs are a problem, although not at the level seen in other areas. Along with enforcement of existing laws, we need to act to assure that our vulnerable youths have a healthy alternative to gang membership that includes working closely with our schools.
We need to actively involve the sheriff as a full partner in the decision-making process on public safety issues as we work together to restore the public’s trust.
Q. Are you satisfied with the progress to date? Should the Board of Supervisors be doing anything differently?
A. No, I am not satisfied. Once the Coastal Commission took jurisdiction over the project, which was avoidable, the county lost local control and left the decision-making in the hands of a governmental agency with little vested interest in our local community, which will delay and add cost to the project.
The county should immediately reach out to all interested parties in an effort to reach consensus on the outstanding issues which would help eliminate much of the mistrust that has reappeared in the community due to the current lack of transparency and help move the project forward without further delays.
Q. Do you consider 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. Particulate matter on the Nipomo Mesa has been identified as a health problem in the most recent study. We cannot ignore the visitor draw of this area, but the health of our residents is paramount.
Alternate solutions such as re-vegetation, or fences to reduce particulate matter from the Dunes, should be considered before banning or placing arbitrary limits on the use of motorized vehicles.
Although some form of eco-tourism might ultimately replace the current users of the Dunes, there would be a significant short-term negative economic impact on small-business owners and the county if motorized vehicles were banned.
Information from official voter's guide
As a 32-year resident of San Luis Obispo County, I have been privileged to live and raise my family in one of the most beautiful places on earth.
As your Supervisor, I will protect the character and natural environment that make our County the special place that it is.
My background as a college professor, land planner, and land use and environmental attorney gives me the unique experience and ability to bring together the varying interests of our residents.
By working together we can identify and implement productive solutions to thechallenges we face.
Each and every resident of the County is affected by the decisions made by the Board of Supervisors. As your Supervisor, I promise that I will listen respectfully to your opinions, carefully consider all viewpoints, and make decisions that are consistently based on enhancing our economic, environmental and social quality of life.
f you honor me with your vote, I will work diligently to bring commitment, experience, and accessibility to the Board of Supervisors.
By working together, we can make San Luis Obispo County an even better place for all to live.