Editorials

Paso Robles Mayor Steve Martin is the best choice for District 1 supervisor

Steve Martin
Steve Martin jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

Paso Robles Mayor Steve Martin stands out in a field of well-qualified candidates seeking to succeed Frank Mecham on the county Board of Supervisors.

Martin is smart, articulate and hardworking. One example: To learn more about how county government operates, he met with the head of every county department.

What impresses us even more, though, is his thoughtful, nonpartisan approach to local governance. Martin would be a true moderate in the tradition of Mecham or, going back a bit earlier, Katcho Achadjian from his “man in the middle” years.

With the loss of Mecham, it’s going to be critical to have a moderate voice on the board, especially given the serious issues the county is confronting — water basins in serious decline, roads crumbling, a housing affordability crisis, homelessness, a shortage of well-paying jobs.

We need someone who can bridge the gap between liberals (Supervisors Adam Hill and Bruce Gibson) and conservatives (Supervisors Debbie Arnold and Lynn Compton), someone who can broker a compromise and, when that’s not possible, be the deciding swing vote.

In many ways, this is the most critical role on the Board of Supervisors, and we believe it’s one Martin is well-suited to fill.

He has a wealth of experience in local government and community organizations: He has served multiple terms on the Paso Robles City Council, ran unopposed for mayor in 2014 and has been active in several nonprofit organizations and service clubs.

Rather than providing a laundry list of his involvements, we’ll single out one area where Martin is working to make a difference: Improving homeless services.

Martin is among those petitioning the state of California to allow the mothballed California Youth Authority facility in Paso Robles to be transformed into a campus that would provide housing, counseling, job training and other support services for North County’s homeless population. (John Hamon, another candidate for Mecham’s seat, is involved as well.)

We also like what Martin had to say about the need to improve the level of discourse on the board, which he believes has been too focused on partisan battles.

“We have given up fighting for what’s right in favor of just fighting,” he told us.

To be clear, however, The Tribune Editorial Board parts ways with Martin on some issues.

For example, he told us he supports Phillip 66 Co.’s proposal to add a rail spur to its Nipomo Mesa refinery — a project we oppose. (For the record, all of the other candidates for District 1 also support the rail spur.)

But we aren’t looking for a candidate who agrees with every one of our positions. We are looking for a candidate who has the integrity, the intelligence, the courage and compassion to carefully consider every issue and to render an independent judgment. Bonus points if that candidate has a sense of humor and an ability to get along well with others.

We believe Martin fills the bill. The Tribune enthusiastically endorses Steve Martin to represent District 1 on the county Board of Supervisors.

Who’s running

The candidates

for Distict 1 Supervisor:

Dale Gustin, former attorney

John Hamon, Paso Robles city councilman

Steve Martin, Paso Robles mayor

John Peschong, businessman; former Mid-State Fair Board director

The Tribune endorses: Steve Martin

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