Editorials

Solid record for incumbents for Arroyo Grande City Council

Arroyo Grande City Council candidates Tim Brown, Joe Costello and Barbara Harmon
Arroyo Grande City Council candidates Tim Brown, Joe Costello and Barbara Harmon

The challenger in the race for Arroyo Grande City Council, Barbara Harmon, has run a well-organized campaign from the start. We found her to be thoughtful and articulate, and her résumé — which includes working for the Probation Department in Santa Barbara County and serving on Arroyo Grande’s Architectural Review Committee — is impressive.

In the final analysis, though, we believe the two incumbent council members have contributed to the many positive things that have been happening in Arroyo Grande, which unfortunately have been overshadowed by the controversy over Steve Adams, who recently resigned amid allegations of misconduct.

Those pluses include maintaining a good balance between development and preservation, especially in the historic Village; keeping roads, parks and other facilities wellmaintained even during the recession; providing a range of services — from youth recreation to senior housing — for all demographics; and managing to preserve the city’s farmland — arare feat for an incorporated area.

Tim Brown has impressed us with his ability to articulate his views — often in refreshingly candid terms — and to raise tough questions in council discussion that help ensure a better outcome.

He’s also not afraid to admit a mistake. For example, he believed the city erred when it put a measure to fund the police station remodel on the ballot asecond time, when it had already failed once. That, Brown said, was a huge waste of money. He also believes the city made a mistake in not ordering an independent investigation into the Adams incident from the start.

We also like Brown’s take on homeless services — or the lack thereof — in South County.

“I don’t think Arroyo Grande has done enough. It’s embarrassing to me,” he told The Tribune Editorial Board.

Joe Costello has been especially effective at saving money via consolidation. He helped lead efforts to form the Five Cities Fire Authority, for example, and he enthusiastically supported the decision to have the Sheriff’s Office handle emergency dispatching services — amove expected to save the city nearly $180,000 over the first year.

We also like the commonsense perspective he provides.

For example, when the City Council decided to allow shortterm rentals, he quickly dispelled suggestions that “homestays” would disrupt neighborhoods.

“I’m not at all concerned that if we approve it, we’re going to have an avalanche of people coming forward and wanting to host. It’s a lot of work,” he said then.

And when a homeowner recently sought permission to cut down an oak tree that was exacerbating his allergies, Costello was the only one inclined to grant the request.

We believe both men have shown themselves to be responsive to the community, committed to keeping the city in sound fiscal shape and to maintaining an excellent quality of life for Arroyo Grande citizens.

The Tribune strongly endorses Tim Brown and Joe Costello for re-election.

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