Letters to the Editor 10-19-18

Too costly to live here


As a small business owner, I have experienced firsthand how difficult it is to run a business on the Central Coast. But the cost of running a business here is only part of the problem. The other problem is how incredibly expensive it is to live in the Central Coast where few good-paying jobs exist.

Middle class families are leaving San Luis Obispo County at one of the highest rates in the country. The high cost of living, lack of affordable housing, and few good-paying jobs make it hard for families to stay.

Major employers like Weatherby, Really Right Stuff, and Lockheed Martin are moving out of the County because it is too expensive to operate here. We cannot afford to force more companies out of business - and lose more good paying jobs.

As a parent, I want my kids to want to come home after college. As a business owner, I need my customers to stay here. The County needs to retain and increase good-paying jobs so that the beautiful place we live, once again, becomes a place of opportunities and hope.    

Jason Anderson


Endorsing Dariz and Funk for City Council


A candidate for Atascadero City Council should be rooted in our community. He or she should understand what we — the voters — are looking for from our elected public servants.

This November we have three first-timers running for City Council. Our main priority is to know “why” they are running. We want candidates who are able to explain why they got into the race and their positive vision for our community.

We look for individuals who know what matters to them and are willing to stand up for those values even when it is difficult. This is not the same thing as being unwilling to change a position with new information.

Mark Dariz has lived in Atascadero for 10 years and serves on the City Planning Commission. Serving with Mark on the Commission has taught me that he is a serious, thoughtful and open minded public servant.

Having known Susan for five years we are impressed with her willingness to listen to our views and opinions. With 10 years of public service in our community Susan has actively interacted with many of us and knows what we are looking for and how to be a public servant.

We are not trying to tell any citizen who they should pick to represent them; instead our endorsement should be seen as a signal that the candidate is worth investing time to get to know them, because they are running a good campaign. They know “why” they are running and what matters to the community.

Tom and Linda Zirk


Susan Funk offers new solutions


I attended the recent Atascadero City Council Candidate Forum, and was really impressed by one of the candidates, Susan Funk. She was the only one offering concrete solutions to the problems Atascadero faces.

Susan suggested that local service groups might be willing to host forums to generate more public input into the General Plan. The other candidates limited suggestions to social media and generalizations.

To revitalize downtown, the others wanted to let the current zoning changes “play out” and ask businesses what they need — not formulas for change, in my opinion. Susan spoke about creating pathways so both businesses and the city can flourish, providing incentives, fostering upstairs development, etc.

Also unlike the other candidates, Susan has contacted officials in other cities to learn what they have done about problems like Atascadero’s “black hole” properties, owned by absentee landlords who refuse to either develop or sell (think the Walmart property at ECR and Del Rio).  One city planner suggested a “vacancy tax” to give the city more leverage. The others rejected this suggestion without offering any ideas to address our obvious problem.

Susan struck me as a problem-solver who will generate fresh solutions to the problems that have plagued Atascadero. If we want different outcomes for our city, we have to do something different.

Liz Helgerson


Cunningham does not pay


A recent records request disclosed how much our Assembly member, Jordan Cunningham, spent on mailers to constituents over the past legislative session. Mailers can be and are used as campaign materials as long as the communication doesn’t use the word “elect.”

Most legislators exploit this loophole but Mr. Cunningham spent over $308,000 on mailings compared to the average members’ expense of $77,000.

As tax payers, we are paying for the mailers expense regardless of being a Republican, Independent or Democrat, etc. Out of 80 members, he ranked 5th in communications spending and (as of Aug. 31, 2018) spending associated with his duties. This is the same Cunningham who is the former president of the Taxpayers Watch.

Considering 91.5 percent of Cunningham’s campaign money comes from corporations and PAC’s, and he uses four times the average Assembly member’s budget for communications, one sees why incumbency and his enormous campaign financing advantages insulates him in his Assembly seat regardless of his popularity or policies.

Campaigns waged in the media and junk mail push the public further and further away from the democratic process our elections were meant to be.

Tom Comar


Vote for Funk


I moved to Atascadero because I think this is the best part of the country to live in.  Early in my career I served as an advisor to the City Council of Los Angeles. I saw firsthand how critical it is to have creative, constructive and open minded representatives if we are to preserve where we have chosen to live, while still managing the changes that we must confront.  And I witnessed what can go wrong when that constructive leadership is missing. That is why I support Susan Funk for Atascadero City Council.

Susan understands what is needed to preserve what is best about our neighborhood, and what we need to do to keep our future strong. And her experience in business has made her recognize that we must  work together to build that future.

We need consensus building leaders with a positive and unifying vision as we confront these challenges. A vote for Susan Funk is a vote to forge that stronger community.

George Williams



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