The sound of “2020” sounds pretty futuristic and yet here we are. 2000 seems like just a couple of years ago. Time flies!

What are your expectations for 2020? On the political front, we have an immensely important national election as most of us are aware. The national election candidates have been campaigning for months now.

But did you realize we have local elections to fill seats on our SLO County Board of Supervisors on March 3 Primary Election. For District 5 we have an incumbent, Debbie Arnold, running against our home town past Planning Commissioner, City Council person & past Mayor, Ellen Beraud, as challenger.

There has already been two candidate forums very well attended showing voters are interested in this election.

Getting through this together, Atascadero

We have more dates for District 5/Candidate Forums, Arnold vs Beraud, open to the public for the March 3 Primary Election:

• Wednesday Jan 29 – Hosted by the Templeton Chamber of Commerce at the Board Room of the Templeton CSD (420 Crocker St, Templeton) 6-8 p.m. 

• Thursday Jan 30 — Hosted by the Latino Outreach Council & League of Women Voters at the Board of Supervisors Chamber, County Government Center (1055 Monterey St, SLO) 5-8 p.m.

• Wednesday February 5 – Hosted by the SLO Chamber of Commerce at Hotel SLO (877 Palm St), 4:30-6 p.m.

• Thursday Feb. 6 – Hosted by SLO U40 at the Madonna Inn (100 Madonna Rd, SLO) 6 p.m.

• Tuesday Feb. 11 – Hosted by NAACP at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (2201 Lawton Ave, SLO) 6:30 – 8 p.m.

Some of the issues Ellen Beraud supports for our county and specifically for north county are:

Access to Childcare. The CA 2019-20 Budget included funding for universal preschool for all income-eligible four-year-old children in the state, to be phased in over a three-year period. This funding allows state preschool providers to offer full-day/full-year care to better accommodate working parents. The Budget proposes the development of a plan to achieve universal preschool for all children in California. The Budget includes a $500 million one-time General Fund to build child care infrastructure, including investing in the education of the child care workforce. To promote affordability and family bonding, the Newsom Administration is also committed to expanding the Paid Family Leave program ensuring all newborns and newly adopted babies be cared for by a parent or a close family member for the first six months. Our SLO Board of Supervisors needs to collaborate and support these efforts to make quality pre-kindergarten available, eventually, for all working parents who need it. 

Santa Margarita Gravel Mine.  Yes, they are coming back again for approval for a mine utilizing up to 273 gravel trucks daily coming through the town of Santa Margarita, over the railroad tracks and past the elementary school.

Sensible Cannabis Regulation.  The growing of cannabis in our county is a reality now with voters of SLO County entrusting our county leadership to facilitate sensible and safe policies around this budding industry.

Infrastructure. Whether it’s developing pedestrian and bike paths, or repairing our aging surface roads and bridges, it is to our benefit to keep our infrastructure in good condition enabling our economy and encouraging tourism.

Housing. Our children cannot afford to live here due to the high cost of housing, businesses across the county are finding it more and more difficult to fill jobs, and young families are being driven from our community. Rents are obscene.

Sustainable Ground Water. We desperately need a transparent groundwater management plan that fairly and sustainably protects our county’s most precious resource–water. By implementing carefully considered, reasonable, and equitable water policy, we can promote economic growth, and preserve our water supply for our children and grandchildren and generations to come.

A shout out to the film “Abominable”–finally a really good children’s film that appeals to adults.  I highly recommend it.