Incumbents Barbara Nicolls and Mariam Shah are top candidates for Grover Beach council

Grover Beach is making strides: The city is ahead of schedule on a major street repair project; the train station is getting a big upgrade; and thanks to new restaurants opening on south Grand Avenue, Grover is now a dining hub for all of Five Cities.

In other words, Grover Beach is transforming into the “young, hip city” that outgoing Mayor John Shoals had envisioned.

City officials don’t get all the credit, but they have played an important role in the city’s revitalization. That’s a good reason to elect council members Barbara Nicolls and Mariam Shah to second terms.

Both ran without opposition four years ago, and they’ve been knowledgeable, hard-working and accessible council members.

Nicolls is a dynamo; she’s been active in parks and recreation activities, she runs library programs, including a summer reading program for kids, and prior to joining the council, she was on the Police Department’s volunteer patrol. On the council, she’s served on regional and countywide boards, including the Five Cities Fire Authority.

Nicolls and Shah both are committed to helping downtown businesses.

Shah, for example, said it left a “hole in her heart” when the space now occupied by the popular Spoon Trade restaurant became empty again. So, she started calling existing restaurants in the hope of finding a new occupant for the space.

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At a recent candidates forum, she committed to keeping up the pressure to get the Grover Beach Lodge started. Glad to hear it. That project has been in works for decades, and it’s now or never.

Shah also has built a reputation for being a strong and independent decision-maker; she was the only City Council member to vote in favor of taking a stand in support of Measure G, the countywide anti-fracking initiative. The other council members votes to stay neutral.

“If something terrible does happen and I had the chance to vote to stop it and didn’t, I don’t know if I could live with myself,” Shah said at the time.

In another instance, she called out former Mayor Ronald Arnoldsen who, during a debate on marijuana businesses, rhetorically asked the council, “Are you whores?” (A majority of council members are women.)

At a subsequent meeting, she said: ““This kind of language can persist, and you know it’s been said to me, it’s been said about me. I don’t even care anymore. I’m 40 years old. But I have an 8-year-old daughter, and now I think about, if I don’t say something, they are going to be saying it to her. And that’s what made me feel like I can’t just let it go,” she said.

Bravo. Such speech is uncivil and unnecessary, and Grover Beach residents should be proud to have a council member who doesn’t let it pass unchallenged.

A word about the lone challenger in the race, Robert Robert. He did not respond to several invitations to take part in The Tribune Editorial Board endorsement process and failed to respond to repeated inquiries from South County reporter Kaytlyn Leslie. Under the circumstances, we are unable to evaluate his qualifications for office.

The Tribune strongly urges Grover Beach voters to elect Barbara Nicolls and Mariam Shah to the City Council.

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