More than 40,000 San Luis Obispo County voters have already turned in their ballots. If you are one of them, good for you — no need to read further.
If you are looking for guidance in a race that will affect you, your family or friends, we offer the endorsements below. We’ve talked with each of these individuals and reviewed their resumes and voting records, and we believe they will make excellent elected representatives.
33rd District State Assembly
Hilda Zacarias: Zacarias brings energy and a fresh perspective to the table, along with a wealth of experience in education, politics, business and nonprofit agencies.
4th District County Supervisor
Paul Teixeira: Teixeira is politically and fiscally conservative and has an impressive record of volunteer service for a number of community organizations. While he will have some learning to do on the Board of Supervisors, we believe Teixeira’s experience on the Lucia Mar Unified School District board and the Parks and Recreation Commission has given him the background and skills to make the transition.
San Luis Obispo County Sheriff
Ian Parkinson: Parkinson’s law enforcement experience, coupled with his knowledge of issues facing the various communities, makes him well suited to lead the county’s largest law enforcement organization. The respect he’s gained during his 26-year career in local law enforcement will serve him well in rebuilding trust and restoring morale after the scandals that occurred on Sheriff Pat Hedge’s watch.
Arroyo Grande Mayor
Tony Ferrara: In his 12 years on the City Council — eight of them as mayor — Tony Ferrara has proven himself to be dedicated, articulate and committed to preserving Arroyo Grande’s agricultural, small-town character.
Arroyo Grande City Council
Joe Costello: Costello has been a strong voice on the Council for preservation of farmland, for maintaining the rural, small-city character of the community and for ensuring adequate resources — especially water — for the future.
Tim Brown: Brown’s seven years on the Planning Commission give him a thorough knowledge of issues facing the city.
Morro Bay Mayor
Bill Yates: He has a strong track record of cutting through red tape and getting things done.
Morro Bay City Council
Nancy Johnson: Her experience on the Planning Commission has given her the tools she needs to lead the city.
Jack Smith: His knowledge of promotions and marketing could help the city boost tourism.
Atascadero City Council
Brian Sturtevant: His service on the Planning Commission has given him a good grasp of issues facing the city.
Tom O’Malley: In his eight years on the Council, we’ve found O’Malley to be even-handed and professional, and we believe he’s brought positive changes that will help the city operate more smoothly in the future.
Measure E-10, Election of Atascadero Mayor
Yes: The job of mayor is too important to be left to chance or to be subject to the behind-the-scenes politicking that can occur when mayors are appointed by a city council.
Length of term for Atascadero mayor
Four years: That would give the successful candidate enough time to thoroughly learn the position and work on long-term goals, without worrying about having another campaign right around the corner.
No contested races for mayor or council
Paso Robles Mayor
Duane Picanco: He’s impressed us in his first term with the stability and the institutional knowledge he’s brought to the office, and he’s been especially effective as a fiscal watchdog.
Paso Robles City Council
John Hamon: Of all the candidates, we found him the most pragmatic in stressing the need to hold down salary and benefit costs.
Ed Steinbeck: Steinbeck’s combination of government and private sector experience, particularly in planning and development, makes him an excellent fit for City Council.
Pismo Beach Mayor
Shelly Higginbotham: In her six years on the City Council, Higginbotham has done her homework, has been a strong voice for fiscal prudence and has emphasized decorum and respect.
Pismo Beach City Council
No contested races
San Luis Obispo Mayor
Jan Howell Marx: Marx has experience in the public eye — both as an attorney and as an elected official — that would make her an effective advocate for San Luis Obispo, along with leadership and communication skills.
San Luis Obispo City Council
Andrew Carter: In his first term on the City Council, Carter has been highly responsive to residents, an excellent communicator and dedicated problem solver. He’s also been a strong voice for fiscal restraint.
Kathy Smith: We believe Smith’s commitment to economic development would be a plus for working families and young people struggling to find decent-paying jobs. At the same time, Smith is strong in supporting environmental protections.
Measure H, to stop Prado Road extension
No: The Prado Road extension will prevent gridlock in the southern end of the city; ensure timely responses to accidents, fires and other emergencies; and allow for future growth. It’s the result of years of planning — including an extensive study of alternatives — and should not be rejected based on scare tactics and misinformation.
Atascadero Unified School District
Donn Clickard: Clickard brings a wealth of institutional knowledge to the board. On top of that, he is articulate, energetic and gracious, and we’ve been impressed with his efforts to broaden the curriculum to serve all students.
George Dodge: Dodge has strong business sense, coupled with a keen awareness of what local families are facing in these tough economic times.
Tami Gunther: Gunther has served on an array of school committees and councils, and we’re also impressed with her regional involvement in education.
Kenneth Block (write-in candidate): As a recent graduate of Atascadero schools, Block would be in an excellent position to provide a firsthand perspective of the strengths and weaknesses of the school system.
Atascadero School District Measure I-10
Yes: The $117 million bond measure would fund a new or renovated junior high, as well as renovations at many other badly deteriorating campuses.
Lucia Mar Unified School District Area #2
Colleen Martin: An incumbent, Martin does her homework and is an excellent source of institutional knowledge on the board.
Cathy Springford: We found Springford to be forward-thinking and committed to delivering the best possible education for children. At the same time, she’s a realist when it comes to what can be accomplished in these fiscally challenging times.
The Tribune has serious reservations about both candidates running in Trustee Area 3 and declined to make an endorsement in that race.
Paso Robles Unified School District
Jeanne Dugger: During her 18 years on the school board, Dugger has been a passionate advocate for youth, and she brings a wealth of institutional knowledge to the board.
W. Jay Packer: Packer has been a thoughtful, hard-working board member and has been able to draw on personal experience in confronting current challenges from his 30-year teaching career at Paso Robles High School.
Field Gibson: Gibson has a strong background in business, is extremely knowledgeable on the issues and is not afraid to disagree with some of the district’s past decisions.
San Luis Coastal Unified School District
Kathryn Rogers: Rogers has experience dealing with budget and personnel issues, and we especially like her take on boosting student achievement. When test scores are already good, it’s easy to become complacent — we commend Rogers for acknowledging that there’s still room for improvement.
Marilyn Rodger: Rodger’s experience and leadership gained over the past eight years, in addition to her strong rapport with the community, make her a strong choice for school board.