In the race for District 4 supervisor, we have a request of incumbent Lynn Compton and her challenger, Jimmy Paulding: Could we hear less talk about offshore oil and Proposition 13?
The county Board of Supervisors has little say over either one — offshore oil comes under federal jurisdiction, and the voters of California decide the fate of Prop. 13 — so how about focusing on issues the board actually controls? Take the county budget, for example: It isn't looking too rosy, yet that's gotten scant attention during this campaign.
For readers who haven't been following the county's financial ups and downs (and we don't blame you for that), here's a brief recap: The county is facing a "modest general fund gap" of $3.6 million and anticipates "relatively flat budgets in subsequent years." As a result, the county is implementing some "long-standing budget-balancing strategies and approaches."
In plain English, that means that among other belt-tightening measures, the county has put a hiring "chill" in effect. It's also proposing to cut $1 million in general fund support for road repairs.
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We don't mean to be alarmist, though, because a $3.6 million deficit isn't really that big of a deal; it represents just 1 percent of the general fund. Still, it did figure into a recent discussion about whether the county can afford to take over fire protection for Cayucos. The Board of Supervisors ultimately did the right thing and agreed to do so, though Cayucos residents will continue to pay fire fees on top of their property taxes.
By the way, as much as Compton and her supporters like to accuse Supervisors Bruce Gibson and Adam Hill of "pilfering" park fees from District 4, if anyone in this county has a right to claim they are being pilfered, it's the good citizens of Cayucos, who will pay the county a $100-per-year parcel tax for fire service, while residents of other unincorporated communities won't have to pay an extra cent.
But enough talk about money.
Here are some other tips for the two candidates, who will face off in Oceano on Thursday night in a forum sponsored by the Oceano Advisory Council and League of Women Voters.
Ms. Compton, please refrain from calling Jimmy a "kid." Yes, his name is Jimmy — and we have to say that Jimmy the Kid is kind of catchy — but 32-year-olds are considered fully functioning adults.
Also, maybe project just a little more compassion when you talk about Supervisor Adam Hill's battle with depression?
Oh, and we know you're a big supporter of small businesses and working families — who isn't? — but it wouldn't be a bad idea to throw a bone to single people and retirees by mentioning them once in a while.
Mr. Paulding, please consider taking a minute or two to respond to your opponent's recent accusation that you didn't bother to vote in the 2014 primary or general elections, which indicates that you obviously don't care about South County.
And, Mr. Paulding, you don't have to defend your lack of political experience by rattling off the name of each and every county where you've ever worked. It might also be a good idea to elaborate on what those positions entailed, since Compton's opponents continue to question your job qualifications.
Finally, muzzle that inner attack dog! If you want to convince voters that you'll usher in a new era of peace and harmony on the Board of Supervisors, tone down the righteous anger and concentrate on calmly conveying your vision for the future.
And please, could the two of you get on the same page when you talk about South County crime stats? According to one of you, crime is up, and according to the other, it's down. Which is it? Are some crimes up, while others are down? Are crime reports up, while convictions are down?
(For the record, the Sheriff's Office told us that major crimes — including murder, rape and assault — that have been reported in the Nipomo area are indeed down. There were 412 reported in 2015; 399 in 2016; and 305 in 2017.)
Are there other stats that give a more complete picture? Maybe the two of you could huddle before Thursday night's forum to clear up the confusion.
After all, it can't be any more complicated than offshore oil or Prop. 13.
This has been updated to correct the information about the sponsors of the May 10 forum.