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Supervisor Bruce Gibson

Bruce Gibson, the longest-serving member of the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors, is a fifth-generation Californian who has lived in Cayucos and Cambria since 1989. He has been active in San Luis Obispo County’s public issues for more than three decades.

Bruce, first elected 2nd District Supervisor in 2006 and re-elected with overwhelming public support since, has a long history of community service, starting on the Cayucos Citizens Advisory Council and the Cayucos Land Conservancy Board of Directors. In addition, Bruce was a trustee and former President of the Board of the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County.

He served as the 2nd District representative to the San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission in 2005-2006, prior to which he had served on a variety of committees for the county and local school districts (see complete list below).

After graduating from Pomona College, Gibson completed his master’s degree in geophysics at the University of Hawaii. In 1976, he took a job in Houston, Texas, doing research in exploration seismology. After eight years there, Bruce helped establish a seismic exploration program at Rice University, where he also earned his doctorate. With his move to Cambria, Bruce switched fields from geophysics to agriculture. He now lives in Cayucos with his wife, Cherie, and two energetic Australian shepherds.

My Priorities as 2nd District Supervisor
I’m seeking re-election because I want to:

  • Continue the stable and effective delivery of government services to the people of San Luis Obispo County in the era of COVID-19, which has challenged and changed the way we all live and work.
  • Continue to find workable solutions to SLO County’s housing affordability crisis, its homelessness epidemic and the often-interrelated challenges of mental health and addiction.
  • Continue to protect our coastal lands, our agricultural resources, scenic open spaces and other natural resources.
  • Continue to fight for clean air, clean water, clean marine resources and unfettered public access to our county’s coastline and other precious public spaces.
  • Continue to practice sound financial management, while maintaining essential county services.
  • Continue to build our economy and creat jobs, and prepar for any economic downturn we might face. It happens so we must be ready.
  • Continue to serve county residents in an open and responsive manner.
  • Continue to push the current board to engage in thoughtful, careful, deliberate progress toward practical solutions to the county’s challenges.
  • Continue to push the current board to conduct rational decision making, sound financial management and steady delivery of public safety and health care services.
  • Continue to defend our local voting systems from ongoing attacks by hyper-partisans determined to undermine faith in the integrity of and fidelity to our democracy.

History of Public Service           
Bruce has been part of some remarkable public-benefit successes:

  • Public ownership and permanent access to Dog Beach, bridging North Morro Bay and Cayucos.
  • The preservation of 3.5 miles of coastal terrace north of Cayucos – now Estero Bluffs State Park.
  • The historic effort to permanently conserve 82,000 acres of the incomparable Hearst Ranch.
  • The dramatic growth of the County Land Conservancy’s programs in land protection and habitat restoration.

These achievements were recognized when Bruce was honored to accept the San Luis Obispo County Environmental Achievement Award on behalf of organizations he has worked with: In 2003, he was Board President when the Land Conservancy was recognized for its conservation and restoration efforts. In 2005, Hearst Ranch Conservation NOW was honored for its contributions to the Hearst Ranch conservation project.

The common thread in all these activities and his service as County Supervisor has been the drive to bring diverse groups of people together to solve sometimes contentious problems. Bruce’s ability to lead discussions and balance competing interests has produced an impressive record of accomplishment with public boards, community advisory councils, land trusts, school committees, and advocacy groups.

Accomplishments

With “vision, leadership and service” as my guiding principles, I’m proud to have focused on environmental protection, job creation and financial stability during my time on the Board of Supervisors. During my recent term, we’ve celebrated many successes:

  • The much beloved Dog Beach – which fronts the old Chevron tanker loading property between North Morro Bay and Cayucos – is now publicly owned. Dogs and their owners will forever enjoy this beach and the property provides space for a pedestrian and bicycle connection between Morro Bay and Cayucos – sure to be one of the most gorgeous segments of the California Coastal Trail. 
  • Inland of Dog Beach along Highway 1, we are working with Chevron on the next phase of conservation – some 1500 acres that will provide trail access to the interior riparian areas, shady oak woodlands and striking views of Estero Bay from high atop coastal hilltops.
  • We rebuilt the 1st Street beach access in Cayucos.
  • Planning and financing for the Cayucos Veterans Hall restoration is almost complete. We’re raising the hall over two feet to protect it from sea level rise due to climate change.
  • The Los Osos community is connected to the sewer plant, at long last.
  • The Cayucos Pier is restored and will stand strong for generations.
  • Cambria has a new bridge securing a main route into town from the south.
  • The county budget is stable.
  • The pension outlook is solid.
  • Our bond rating is the best ever.

In the future:
I look forward to tackling important issues of next-generation housing, water management and human services in coming years. Among many challenges are:

  • Promoting equitable and effective ground water management
  • Creating much-needed housing inside urban reserve lines and community boundaries – thus containing urban sprawl.
  • Improving our mental health and criminal justice systems
  • Addressing important issues of public safety – forging new approaches to racial equity, mental health and homelessness. 
  • Protecting the public purse

Today, more than ever, what’s at stake in this election are our shared values and convictions – how we choose to live.

My entire public life has been dedicated to serving the needs of our county’s residents – providing strong social services, preserving our unsurpassed coastal environment, protecting our quality of life in SLO County. Our values are under constant pressure, especially in these politically dysfunctional times, but I’ve seen how – working together – we can accomplish remarkable things.

Defending our homes and neighborhoods – our bonds of community – is up to all of us. But we can’t do it alone, individually.

It’s why we vote!

On Vision, Leadership & Service

I love this county. 

We all know we live in a beautiful environment. That’s a given.

Mostly, though, I love my community and the people who live here, the folks who make San Luis Obispo County the truly special place it is. You are the reason I enjoy so much serving as your county supervisor.

I believe we can only forge a successful future by working together – that’s why our sense of community is important to me. I believe everyone needs to contribute and no one should be left out.

I’ve found my way to contribute through public service – I’ve developed a deep commitment to this from my start serving on the Cayucos Citizens Advisory Council, through the county Planning Commission, and on the Board of Supervisors.

Simply put, this is my vision:

  • San Luis Obispo County can be prosperous and preserve its environment.
  • If we try hard enough, together we can make our community better and stronger for future generations.
  • We deserve to live well, and we are responsible for making that possible for ourselves and others.
  • The effort to protect and improve our community is ongoing; it’s not always easy.
  • If, together, we remain strong and committed, we can achieve anything.

I’m proud and honored to have contributed some leadership to our efforts. I’m deeply committed to the service that makes it happen.

Experience & Work in the Community

  • County Supervisor, District 2, San Luis Obispo County (Chair 2009, 2013, 2014)
  • Chair, SLO County Children and Families Commission (First 5), 2018 – present
  • SLO County Air Pollution Control District, Chair 2011
  • San Luis Obispo Council of Governments, Chair 2011
  • Integrated Waste Management Authority, Chair 2009
  • SLO County Representative, Diablo Canyon Independent Peer Review Panel
  • 2007 – 2016: San Luis Obispo Local Agency Formation Commission, Chair 2012
  • California State Association of Counties (2009 – present)– Board of Directors, Executive Committee and Chair of three different policy committees at various times. Currently Co-chair of the Coastal Counties Regional Association.
  • 2005 – 2006: Planning Commissioner, District 2, San Luis Obispo County
  • 2005 – 2006: Environmental Awards Selection Committee, San Luis Obispo Community Foundation
  • 2004: Cayucos Education Support Committee, promoting the successful passage of a bond measure for the Cayucos Elementary School District
  • 2004: Co-chair, Hearst Ranch Conservation NOW, an independent advocacy group in support of the Hearst Ranch conservation project
  • 2001 – 2006: Board of Directors, Cayucos Land Conservancy, a private non-profit land trust
  • 2000 – 2003: Ag Preserve Review Committee, San Luis Obispo County, advisory committee for Williamson Act contract applications
  • 1998 – 2006: Board of Trustees, The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County, a private, non-profit land trust. President, 1999-2001 and 2002-2004
  • 1998 – 1999: Facilities Advisory/Oversight Committee, Coast Union School District, Cambria, CA
  • 1995 – 2003: Board of Directors, Santa Paula Orange Association, a grower-owned cooperative packing house within the Sunkist Growers system
  • 1994 – 2003: Cayucos Citizens Advisory Council, a community organization advising the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors. President 1994-1996 and 2001-2003
  • 1992 – 1993: School Site Council, Cambria Grammar School

On The Issues

Sound Fiscal Management

My focus on long-term financial planning and economic policy issues are a regular part of the board’s policy agenda.

The county budget is stable. The pension outlook is good. Our bond rating is the best ever. This didn’t happen by accident. Even during the COVID era and with a board majority that doesn’t always pay attention to the county’s check book, I’ve remained steadfast in keeping our county on solid financial footing. 

During the Great Recession of 2009-2014, I led the board in approving a financial management plan to navigate our county through the historic economic contractions.

We instituted a hiring freeze and negotiated with our employees, which allowed us to reduce the size of county government without requiring any direct layoffs. We also reduced the long-term cost of government through shared contributions to employee pensions and a 2nd-tier pension plan for new hires – before the state instituted similar changes.

Our county employees are committed to the public services they provide. Our challenge going forward in the post-COVID economy is to recruit and retain the best people so that our services remain strong and are provided efficiently. That’s going to require creative thinking and direct engagement with our workforce – efforts that I look forward to pursuing.


Public Safety

The most important part of government, especially local government, is the protection of our families, neighborhoods, and communities. Public safety – law enforcement, fire protection and public health – are my highest priorities. We absolutely must honor that obligation.

I will continue to fight for adequate and efficient funding for law enforcement and fire protection, as they take on increasingly complicated issues in our communities. At the same time, I’ll work to ensure our law enforcement efforts commit to racial equity and approach the difficult issues of mental health, addiction and social equity with fairness and compassion.

Importantly, I’m acutely aware of the connections between mental health and law enforcement. In this era in which our County Jail has become a de facto state prison, due to changes in the state’s criminal justice system, our jail houses many who suffer from mental health problems. We’ve made considerable progress since the dark days of Andrew Holland’s death in 2017, but there’s much work ahead. 

I take the recent U.S. Department of Justice report regarding conditions at County Jail very seriously. While many of the shortcomings asserted in the report have already been addressed, the investigation highlights the serious ongoing challenges we face as our communities and law enforcement grapple with mental health, addiction and the cascading effect these intertwined issues have on all of us.

As a member of the Board of Supervisors, I take my role seriously in overseeing the effectiveness of jail operations and county mental health services. This will continue to be a high priority for me moving forward.


Public Health

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the fundamental importance of public health as a government responsibility. Our frontline health workers have rendered invaluable service – while many times receiving appalling abuse from some uncaring and mis-informed public members – and to me, they are truly heroes.

I will always stand up for our public health workers – and strive to strengthen the partnerships and find the money necessary to support appropriate levels of service at our health clinics, and for other health services that care for the most vulnerable members of our community.

These health services are fundamental to our community. We cannot and will not balance the books of county government on the backs of the weakest among us. We truly are better than that. We can find a way forward.


Water Resource Management

One of the county’s most critical concerns has been understanding – and finding ways to address – our many complex water resource issues. Water is what allows us to grow our food, work our farms and build our communities and local economy.

In the North County, an entire wine industry and rural way of life depends on finding rational solutions to seemingly intractable water problems. On the Nipomo Mesa, wells are running dry. As our lingering drought once again builds, water takes up more of our daily thoughts.

We are developing Groundwater Sustainability Plans for each of the six water basins identified as high or medium priority under the state’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. Implementing these plans will require close coordination with our cities and special districts – with the important result of sustainable groundwater supplies for our communities and our economic future.

Much remains to be done.


Closure of Diablo Canyon

The pending closure of the Diablo Canyon poses significant challenges to our county, as more than 1,200 high-paying jobs will be lost as the plant is shuttered in 2024-2025. The loss to our local economy and the loss of tax revenue to our schools and county will be significant.

In 2018, a bi-partisan effort led to the passage of SB 1090, which brought SLO County governments and school districts $75 million to keep our essential services running. In addition, the county and its seven cities received $10 million for economic development activities. These funds will allow us to craft a constructive transition – in addition to our strong agricultural and tourist sectors, we see new businesses emerging in a resilient private sector – specialized manufacturing, clean energy and advanced ag technology hold great promise for innovation and job creation.

We approach this challenge in a strong position to keep our economy thriving, leveraging the resources of Cal Poly, a world class university, new opportunities in space science, offshore wind power and energy storage projects — and the entrepreneurial skill of current and future residents who see a bright future ahead.


The View Forward

Even with these many accomplishments, as I look ahead, there’s much still to be done:

  • We must keep the board’s focus on rational, fact- and science-based decision making, especially as it relates to water policy, spending priorities and what’s supposed to be the politically impartial administration of our local elections.
  • The Board of Supervisors must continue to:
    • Nurture a local economy where more jobs are created, our environment is protected and public services are maintained. We have a good start with our county’s Economic Strategy, developed by our private sector with our collaboration.
    • Move forward to implement smart growth strategies that support next-generation housing. At the same time, we can protect precious natural resources that support our treasured coastal areas, agricultural lands, scenic open spaces and our quality of life.
    • Move quickly to increase renewable energy sources and improve energy efficiency through green building and public transit.
    • Ensure that San Luis Obispo County can and will lead the region, the state, and the country in the area of green energy and technology job creation. Unfortunately, the majority of our Board of Supervisors rejected a proposal for a county-run community choice energy program, which I believe was a good idea. I’ll work to bring that back to the board and do my best to persuade the board majority to do the right thing and approve this innovative project.
  • Adapt county government to new and difficult budget realities. We must carefully and efficiently apply scarce funds to critical infrastructure projects, as well as continue to provide crucial county services. I will continue to work with county supervisors from around the state to advocate the reform of state government and to bring resources and authority home to the local level.
  • In doing all this, I will continue the fight to protect our incomparable natural areas and critical coastal resources.

On Running for Office

I’m running for re-election because our coast, our communities, our values and our progress are worth defending.

I’ve been 2nd District Supervisor since 2007, previously serving as county planning commissioner, on the Cayucos Citizens Advisory Council, and on the boards of the Land Conservancy of SLO County and Cayucos Land Conservancy.

I’ve been proud to work with community members to see remarkable projects accomplished:

  • completion of the 1st Street beach access in Cayucos, 
  • acquisition of Dog Beach, 
  • planning for public open space on the Chevron property across Highway 1 from Dog Beach, 
  • fund-raising to restore the Cayucos Veterans Hall, 
  • the Los Osos sewer completed, 
  • the Cayucos Pier restored, 
  • and new bridges and trails developed in Cambria, to name a few.

The future is bright: The county budget is stable, our pension outlook is solid, and our bond rating is the best ever. I look forward to tackling important issues of next-generation housing, water management, and human services in coming years.

Holding an undergraduate degree in physics and doctorate in geophysics, my public life has been dedicated to fact-based policy, protecting our unsurpassed coastal environment, and defending our quality of life in SLO County communities.

I’m proud to have led in efforts that have protected over 20 miles of our incomparable shoreline. Together, we can continue those efforts and build strong, resilient communities in this remarkably special place.

Our accomplishments are many. Let’s not let up now. Let’s keep progressing while defending our way of life.

My Record
In any election campaign, incumbents like me are required to explain and defend our decisions, to make the case for our view of governance, and to answer to voters. I look forward to doing just that.

The residents of District 2 expect much from their elected officials, and I’m proud to say I’ve delivered and will continue to deliver as long as I’m county supervisor and after.

On this web site you’ll find a list of my accomplishments over the last 15 years. I’m proud of this record. I’ve taken on many complex – and sometimes controversial – projects, and worked hard to bring forward the best result possible. My leadership on these projects is always driven by my desire to do what’s best for our communities.

My Vision
I’m not content, however, to simply rest on this list. The job of an elected official is to look out over the horizon at the challenges and opportunities ahead.

My Leadership
There’s always work to be done – more effort on clean air, constant effort to guide development to the right places and nurture our economy, constant adaptation to changes in health and mental health care, dealing with with the ongoing impacts of COVID, and criminal justice reform. With your backing, I will continue to lead our county in the direction we want it to go.

Our Service
If you care about continuing the fight for good government, coastal protection, clean air, clean water and maintaining our treasured way of life, please vote for me. With your support, I would be honored to continue my public service. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

I ask for your vote and support. You – the voters of the 2nd District and all residents of San Luis Obispo County – are the only people I represent:

  • I will continue to work on my and the Board of Supervisors’ priorities as they were developed through the public process.
  • I will continue to listen respectfully and act accordingly.
  • I will practice holistic decision making where social, economic and environmental issues are considered and balanced.

I will make every attempt to balance the needs of today while maintaining options for future generations.

About

Supervisor Bruce Gibson

Bruce Gibson, the longest-serving member of the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors, is a fifth-generation Californian who has lived in Cayucos and Cambria since 1989. He has been active in San Luis Obispo County’s public issues for more than three decades.

Bruce, first elected 2nd District Supervisor in 2006 and re-elected with overwhelming public support since, has a long history of community service, starting on the Cayucos Citizens Advisory Council and the Cayucos Land Conservancy Board of Directors. In addition, Bruce was a trustee and former President of the Board of the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County.

He served as the 2nd District representative to the San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission in 2005-2006, prior to which he had served on a variety of committees for the county and local school districts (see complete list below).

After graduating from Pomona College, Gibson completed his master’s degree in geophysics at the University of Hawaii. In 1976, he took a job in Houston, Texas, doing research in exploration seismology. After eight years there, Bruce helped establish a seismic exploration program at Rice University, where he also earned his doctorate. With his move to Cambria, Bruce switched fields from geophysics to agriculture. He now lives in Cayucos with his wife, Cherie, and two energetic Australian shepherds.

My Priorities as 2nd District Supervisor
I’m seeking re-election because I want to:

  • Continue the stable and effective delivery of government services to the people of San Luis Obispo County in the era of COVID-19, which has challenged and changed the way we all live and work.
  • Continue to find workable solutions to SLO County’s housing affordability crisis, its homelessness epidemic and the often-interrelated challenges of mental health and addiction.
  • Continue to protect our coastal lands, our agricultural resources, scenic open spaces and other natural resources.
  • Continue to fight for clean air, clean water, clean marine resources and unfettered public access to our county’s coastline and other precious public spaces.
  • Continue to practice sound financial management, while maintaining essential county services.
  • Continue to build our economy and creat jobs, and prepar for any economic downturn we might face. It happens so we must be ready.
  • Continue to serve county residents in an open and responsive manner.
  • Continue to push the current board to engage in thoughtful, careful, deliberate progress toward practical solutions to the county’s challenges.
  • Continue to push the current board to conduct rational decision making, sound financial management and steady delivery of public safety and health care services.
  • Continue to defend our local voting systems from ongoing attacks by hyper-partisans determined to undermine faith in the integrity of and fidelity to our democracy.

History of Public Service           
Bruce has been part of some remarkable public-benefit successes:

  • Public ownership and permanent access to Dog Beach, bridging North Morro Bay and Cayucos.
  • The preservation of 3.5 miles of coastal terrace north of Cayucos – now Estero Bluffs State Park.
  • The historic effort to permanently conserve 82,000 acres of the incomparable Hearst Ranch.
  • The dramatic growth of the County Land Conservancy’s programs in land protection and habitat restoration.

These achievements were recognized when Bruce was honored to accept the San Luis Obispo County Environmental Achievement Award on behalf of organizations he has worked with: In 2003, he was Board President when the Land Conservancy was recognized for its conservation and restoration efforts. In 2005, Hearst Ranch Conservation NOW was honored for its contributions to the Hearst Ranch conservation project.

The common thread in all these activities and his service as County Supervisor has been the drive to bring diverse groups of people together to solve sometimes contentious problems. Bruce’s ability to lead discussions and balance competing interests has produced an impressive record of accomplishment with public boards, community advisory councils, land trusts, school committees, and advocacy groups.

Accomplishments

Accomplishments

With “vision, leadership and service” as my guiding principles, I’m proud to have focused on environmental protection, job creation and financial stability during my time on the Board of Supervisors. During my recent term, we’ve celebrated many successes:

  • The much beloved Dog Beach – which fronts the old Chevron tanker loading property between North Morro Bay and Cayucos – is now publicly owned. Dogs and their owners will forever enjoy this beach and the property provides space for a pedestrian and bicycle connection between Morro Bay and Cayucos – sure to be one of the most gorgeous segments of the California Coastal Trail. 
  • Inland of Dog Beach along Highway 1, we are working with Chevron on the next phase of conservation – some 1500 acres that will provide trail access to the interior riparian areas, shady oak woodlands and striking views of Estero Bay from high atop coastal hilltops.
  • We rebuilt the 1st Street beach access in Cayucos.
  • Planning and financing for the Cayucos Veterans Hall restoration is almost complete. We’re raising the hall over two feet to protect it from sea level rise due to climate change.
  • The Los Osos community is connected to the sewer plant, at long last.
  • The Cayucos Pier is restored and will stand strong for generations.
  • Cambria has a new bridge securing a main route into town from the south.
  • The county budget is stable.
  • The pension outlook is solid.
  • Our bond rating is the best ever.

In the future:
I look forward to tackling important issues of next-generation housing, water management and human services in coming years. Among many challenges are:

  • Promoting equitable and effective ground water management
  • Creating much-needed housing inside urban reserve lines and community boundaries – thus containing urban sprawl.
  • Improving our mental health and criminal justice systems
  • Addressing important issues of public safety – forging new approaches to racial equity, mental health and homelessness. 
  • Protecting the public purse

Today, more than ever, what’s at stake in this election are our shared values and convictions – how we choose to live.

My entire public life has been dedicated to serving the needs of our county’s residents – providing strong social services, preserving our unsurpassed coastal environment, protecting our quality of life in SLO County. Our values are under constant pressure, especially in these politically dysfunctional times, but I’ve seen how – working together – we can accomplish remarkable things.

Defending our homes and neighborhoods – our bonds of community – is up to all of us. But we can’t do it alone, individually.

It’s why we vote!

Vision

On Vision, Leadership & Service

I love this county. 

We all know we live in a beautiful environment. That’s a given.

Mostly, though, I love my community and the people who live here, the folks who make San Luis Obispo County the truly special place it is. You are the reason I enjoy so much serving as your county supervisor.

I believe we can only forge a successful future by working together – that’s why our sense of community is important to me. I believe everyone needs to contribute and no one should be left out.

I’ve found my way to contribute through public service – I’ve developed a deep commitment to this from my start serving on the Cayucos Citizens Advisory Council, through the county Planning Commission, and on the Board of Supervisors.

Simply put, this is my vision:

  • San Luis Obispo County can be prosperous and preserve its environment.
  • If we try hard enough, together we can make our community better and stronger for future generations.
  • We deserve to live well, and we are responsible for making that possible for ourselves and others.
  • The effort to protect and improve our community is ongoing; it’s not always easy.
  • If, together, we remain strong and committed, we can achieve anything.

I’m proud and honored to have contributed some leadership to our efforts. I’m deeply committed to the service that makes it happen.

Experience

Experience & Work in the Community

  • County Supervisor, District 2, San Luis Obispo County (Chair 2009, 2013, 2014)
  • Chair, SLO County Children and Families Commission (First 5), 2018 – present
  • SLO County Air Pollution Control District, Chair 2011
  • San Luis Obispo Council of Governments, Chair 2011
  • Integrated Waste Management Authority, Chair 2009
  • SLO County Representative, Diablo Canyon Independent Peer Review Panel
  • 2007 – 2016: San Luis Obispo Local Agency Formation Commission, Chair 2012
  • California State Association of Counties (2009 – present)– Board of Directors, Executive Committee and Chair of three different policy committees at various times. Currently Co-chair of the Coastal Counties Regional Association.
  • 2005 – 2006: Planning Commissioner, District 2, San Luis Obispo County
  • 2005 – 2006: Environmental Awards Selection Committee, San Luis Obispo Community Foundation
  • 2004: Cayucos Education Support Committee, promoting the successful passage of a bond measure for the Cayucos Elementary School District
  • 2004: Co-chair, Hearst Ranch Conservation NOW, an independent advocacy group in support of the Hearst Ranch conservation project
  • 2001 – 2006: Board of Directors, Cayucos Land Conservancy, a private non-profit land trust
  • 2000 – 2003: Ag Preserve Review Committee, San Luis Obispo County, advisory committee for Williamson Act contract applications
  • 1998 – 2006: Board of Trustees, The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County, a private, non-profit land trust. President, 1999-2001 and 2002-2004
  • 1998 – 1999: Facilities Advisory/Oversight Committee, Coast Union School District, Cambria, CA
  • 1995 – 2003: Board of Directors, Santa Paula Orange Association, a grower-owned cooperative packing house within the Sunkist Growers system
  • 1994 – 2003: Cayucos Citizens Advisory Council, a community organization advising the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors. President 1994-1996 and 2001-2003
  • 1992 – 1993: School Site Council, Cambria Grammar School
Issues

On The Issues

Sound Fiscal Management

My focus on long-term financial planning and economic policy issues are a regular part of the board’s policy agenda.

The county budget is stable. The pension outlook is good. Our bond rating is the best ever. This didn’t happen by accident. Even during the COVID era and with a board majority that doesn’t always pay attention to the county’s check book, I’ve remained steadfast in keeping our county on solid financial footing. 

During the Great Recession of 2009-2014, I led the board in approving a financial management plan to navigate our county through the historic economic contractions.

We instituted a hiring freeze and negotiated with our employees, which allowed us to reduce the size of county government without requiring any direct layoffs. We also reduced the long-term cost of government through shared contributions to employee pensions and a 2nd-tier pension plan for new hires – before the state instituted similar changes.

Our county employees are committed to the public services they provide. Our challenge going forward in the post-COVID economy is to recruit and retain the best people so that our services remain strong and are provided efficiently. That’s going to require creative thinking and direct engagement with our workforce – efforts that I look forward to pursuing.


Public Safety

The most important part of government, especially local government, is the protection of our families, neighborhoods, and communities. Public safety – law enforcement, fire protection and public health – are my highest priorities. We absolutely must honor that obligation.

I will continue to fight for adequate and efficient funding for law enforcement and fire protection, as they take on increasingly complicated issues in our communities. At the same time, I’ll work to ensure our law enforcement efforts commit to racial equity and approach the difficult issues of mental health, addiction and social equity with fairness and compassion.

Importantly, I’m acutely aware of the connections between mental health and law enforcement. In this era in which our County Jail has become a de facto state prison, due to changes in the state’s criminal justice system, our jail houses many who suffer from mental health problems. We’ve made considerable progress since the dark days of Andrew Holland’s death in 2017, but there’s much work ahead. 

I take the recent U.S. Department of Justice report regarding conditions at County Jail very seriously. While many of the shortcomings asserted in the report have already been addressed, the investigation highlights the serious ongoing challenges we face as our communities and law enforcement grapple with mental health, addiction and the cascading effect these intertwined issues have on all of us.

As a member of the Board of Supervisors, I take my role seriously in overseeing the effectiveness of jail operations and county mental health services. This will continue to be a high priority for me moving forward.


Public Health

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the fundamental importance of public health as a government responsibility. Our frontline health workers have rendered invaluable service – while many times receiving appalling abuse from some uncaring and mis-informed public members – and to me, they are truly heroes.

I will always stand up for our public health workers – and strive to strengthen the partnerships and find the money necessary to support appropriate levels of service at our health clinics, and for other health services that care for the most vulnerable members of our community.

These health services are fundamental to our community. We cannot and will not balance the books of county government on the backs of the weakest among us. We truly are better than that. We can find a way forward.


Water Resource Management

One of the county’s most critical concerns has been understanding – and finding ways to address – our many complex water resource issues. Water is what allows us to grow our food, work our farms and build our communities and local economy.

In the North County, an entire wine industry and rural way of life depends on finding rational solutions to seemingly intractable water problems. On the Nipomo Mesa, wells are running dry. As our lingering drought once again builds, water takes up more of our daily thoughts.

We are developing Groundwater Sustainability Plans for each of the six water basins identified as high or medium priority under the state’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. Implementing these plans will require close coordination with our cities and special districts – with the important result of sustainable groundwater supplies for our communities and our economic future.

Much remains to be done.


Closure of Diablo Canyon

The pending closure of the Diablo Canyon poses significant challenges to our county, as more than 1,200 high-paying jobs will be lost as the plant is shuttered in 2024-2025. The loss to our local economy and the loss of tax revenue to our schools and county will be significant.

In 2018, a bi-partisan effort led to the passage of SB 1090, which brought SLO County governments and school districts $75 million to keep our essential services running. In addition, the county and its seven cities received $10 million for economic development activities. These funds will allow us to craft a constructive transition – in addition to our strong agricultural and tourist sectors, we see new businesses emerging in a resilient private sector – specialized manufacturing, clean energy and advanced ag technology hold great promise for innovation and job creation.

We approach this challenge in a strong position to keep our economy thriving, leveraging the resources of Cal Poly, a world class university, new opportunities in space science, offshore wind power and energy storage projects — and the entrepreneurial skill of current and future residents who see a bright future ahead.


The View Forward

Even with these many accomplishments, as I look ahead, there’s much still to be done:

  • We must keep the board’s focus on rational, fact- and science-based decision making, especially as it relates to water policy, spending priorities and what’s supposed to be the politically impartial administration of our local elections.
  • The Board of Supervisors must continue to:
    • Nurture a local economy where more jobs are created, our environment is protected and public services are maintained. We have a good start with our county’s Economic Strategy, developed by our private sector with our collaboration.
    • Move forward to implement smart growth strategies that support next-generation housing. At the same time, we can protect precious natural resources that support our treasured coastal areas, agricultural lands, scenic open spaces and our quality of life.
    • Move quickly to increase renewable energy sources and improve energy efficiency through green building and public transit.
    • Ensure that San Luis Obispo County can and will lead the region, the state, and the country in the area of green energy and technology job creation. Unfortunately, the majority of our Board of Supervisors rejected a proposal for a county-run community choice energy program, which I believe was a good idea. I’ll work to bring that back to the board and do my best to persuade the board majority to do the right thing and approve this innovative project.
  • Adapt county government to new and difficult budget realities. We must carefully and efficiently apply scarce funds to critical infrastructure projects, as well as continue to provide crucial county services. I will continue to work with county supervisors from around the state to advocate the reform of state government and to bring resources and authority home to the local level.
  • In doing all this, I will continue the fight to protect our incomparable natural areas and critical coastal resources.
Why He's Running

On Running for Office

I’m running for re-election because our coast, our communities, our values and our progress are worth defending.

I’ve been 2nd District Supervisor since 2007, previously serving as county planning commissioner, on the Cayucos Citizens Advisory Council, and on the boards of the Land Conservancy of SLO County and Cayucos Land Conservancy.

I’ve been proud to work with community members to see remarkable projects accomplished:

  • completion of the 1st Street beach access in Cayucos, 
  • acquisition of Dog Beach, 
  • planning for public open space on the Chevron property across Highway 1 from Dog Beach, 
  • fund-raising to restore the Cayucos Veterans Hall, 
  • the Los Osos sewer completed, 
  • the Cayucos Pier restored, 
  • and new bridges and trails developed in Cambria, to name a few.

The future is bright: The county budget is stable, our pension outlook is solid, and our bond rating is the best ever. I look forward to tackling important issues of next-generation housing, water management, and human services in coming years.

Holding an undergraduate degree in physics and doctorate in geophysics, my public life has been dedicated to fact-based policy, protecting our unsurpassed coastal environment, and defending our quality of life in SLO County communities.

I’m proud to have led in efforts that have protected over 20 miles of our incomparable shoreline. Together, we can continue those efforts and build strong, resilient communities in this remarkably special place.

Our accomplishments are many. Let’s not let up now. Let’s keep progressing while defending our way of life.

My Record
In any election campaign, incumbents like me are required to explain and defend our decisions, to make the case for our view of governance, and to answer to voters. I look forward to doing just that.

The residents of District 2 expect much from their elected officials, and I’m proud to say I’ve delivered and will continue to deliver as long as I’m county supervisor and after.

On this web site you’ll find a list of my accomplishments over the last 15 years. I’m proud of this record. I’ve taken on many complex – and sometimes controversial – projects, and worked hard to bring forward the best result possible. My leadership on these projects is always driven by my desire to do what’s best for our communities.

My Vision
I’m not content, however, to simply rest on this list. The job of an elected official is to look out over the horizon at the challenges and opportunities ahead.

My Leadership
There’s always work to be done – more effort on clean air, constant effort to guide development to the right places and nurture our economy, constant adaptation to changes in health and mental health care, dealing with with the ongoing impacts of COVID, and criminal justice reform. With your backing, I will continue to lead our county in the direction we want it to go.

Our Service
If you care about continuing the fight for good government, coastal protection, clean air, clean water and maintaining our treasured way of life, please vote for me. With your support, I would be honored to continue my public service. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

I ask for your vote and support. You – the voters of the 2nd District and all residents of San Luis Obispo County – are the only people I represent:

  • I will continue to work on my and the Board of Supervisors’ priorities as they were developed through the public process.
  • I will continue to listen respectfully and act accordingly.
  • I will practice holistic decision making where social, economic and environmental issues are considered and balanced.

I will make every attempt to balance the needs of today while maintaining options for future generations.

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