Third candidate enters November race for two seats on SLO City Council

San Luis Obispo City Council candidate Mike Clark.
San Luis Obispo City Council candidate Mike Clark. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

A third candidate has entered the race for two seats on the San Luis Obispo City Council in November.

Mike Clark, a retired Army colonel with 29 years of service, ran unsuccessfully for a seat in 2014 and said he’s running again for similar reasons: to represent and be responsive to residents’ concerns, to maintain open space, be financially responsible with taxpayer money, preserve and protect the city’s residential neighborhoods, work to add on-campus housing and to keep downtown family-friendly.

“Too often the City Council I think does not respond to what the neighbors who live in an area would like to see in their neighborhood,” Clark, 71, said Tuesday.

For example, Clark said, it’s taken a long time for the city to respond to concerns from longtime residents in neighborhoods around Cal Poly, but he noted that progress is being made with changes to the city’s unruly gathering rules and safety enhancement zone ordinance, which allows the city to double fines for common misdemeanors associated with poor behavior.

So far, two other candidates — Brett Strickland and Andrea “Andy” Peasehave announced they are running for two open City Council seats. Mayor Jan Marx, who is serving her third two-year term as mayor, also intends to run for re-election. At this time, she is unopposed.

Clark said he has mixed feelings about the rental housing inspection program, which he said he initially supported to ensure tenants are renting places that don’t pose health and safety problems. But he said he also worries about the potential for bureaucratic overreach with the program as designed, and suggested the city start with the rentals that have had complaints against them and then step back and analyze the program further.

Strickland has said he has serious concerns with the program and would seek to dismantle it if elected; Pease has not taken a position on it.

Clark is also opposed to a proposal for a 75-foot-tall development downtown, and is concerned about traffic impacts of several large proposed residential projects in other parts of the city.

The candidates have all filed forms declaring their intention to run and to raise campaign funds very early in the election season; the nomination period for the Nov. 8 general election doesn’t open until mid-July.

The two four-year council seats now held by councilmen Dan Carpenter and John Ashbaugh are up for election. Ashbaugh is termed out and said he has no plans to run for any other seat at this time.

Carpenter, who is running for 3rd District Supervisor Adam Hill’s seat on the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors, said he won’t seek re-election to the City Council regardless of the outcome of the June 7 primary. Candidates in the primary must capture more than 50 percent of the vote or the top two vote-getters face off in the November general election.

Cynthia Lambert: 805-781-7929, @ClambertSLO