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Debbie Arnold
DISTRICT 5 SUPERVISOR CANDIDATE
(INCUMBENT)

“I am involved in a generational family business. My husband and I farm and ranch in the North County. Along with our grown children we not only farm wine grapes, but process them at our small family winery and operate a retail tasting room. My background also includes operating a preschool here in the commercial district of Atascadero for nearly two decades, where I employed other teachers and served many local families. I have lived in this community for a long time and feel like I have a great relationship with our business community. My entire family knows the value of supporting local businesses, and is committed to doing what we can to help our local businesses thrive. I believe the challenges to local businesses are similar throughout the County, and by working together we can continue to grow our business communities.”

   

1. The next County Board of Supervisors will decide how the Supervisorial Districts will be apportioned. This is likely to have political ramifications as to who is elected in each district in the future. What issues and options will you consider and how will you work towards the fairest process and outcome possible?

“In 2021 the County Board of Supervisors will decide the boundaries of the Supervisorial districts based on the population results of the 2020 census. The state guidelines for drawing district lines require the population numbers in each district be comparable. These guidelines also discourage having cities, communities, or neighborhoods split into separate supervisorial districts if avoidable. I would consider these guidelines when apportioning districts.”

2. What will you do to improve housing options for everyone including the homeless, young working families, workforce housing and seniors in our community? How will you build community consensus to see solutions through to implementation?

“Our County is doing a lot to improve housing opportunities. I chaired the Homeless Services Oversight Council when we began the Fifty Now Program, (now the Seventy Now Program), a program that identifies our most chronically homeless and provides housing and services to them. The Supervisors continue to oversee the distribution of millions of state and federal dollars for projects like the new 40 Prado Homeless Services Center in SLO, the expansion of the ECHO Facility, and proposed facilities for Paso Robles and the South County. To help prevent homelessness, we aggressively support economic development that provides opportunities for job training and brings jobs to the area. We also provide behavioral health services and drug and alcohol services in our effort to help people avoid homelessness. We know that working families and seniors need affordable housing options. The County is working to change zoning laws to allow accessory dwellings and secondary units on existing lots to bring more options into the housing inventory. We are also exploring how to further streamline the permitting process to help with the cost of new building. We have already seen community consensus for these ideas.”

3. Do you support overturning Proposition 13 and/or increasing property taxes to support the growing unmet needs in our region? Other than raising property taxes, what other options do you propose to address the unfunded needs in our area?

“I do not support overturning Prop 13, or raising property taxes on the people who live and work in this County. We need to work together to ensure the State Government puts our tax dollars to work to maintain their share of the infrastructure needs. Our County has already identified Road maintenance and Public Safety as budget priorities. The County’s budget assumption is (presented at the November 5, 2019 Board of Supervisors meeting) per a five year average the general fund will grow 4.6% and property tax revenues will grow at 4.5%, providing increased funding to the County without raising taxes.“

4. One of the most important facets of a healthy community is the existence of a strong and vibrant business sector. As County Supervisor, what would you do to ensure that the business community of the North County not only remains strong, but grows and develops? How would you leverage that plan with the state to attract and bolster local business in the North County, as well?

“I believe that a strong business community is very important to the well being of the County. We need to do what we can to encourage business success by creating affordable workforce housing opportunities, and keeping taxes low. The County supports many organizations in their efforts to boost economic vitality and support local businesses, including local Chambers, the Economic Vitality Corporation, The Hourglass Project, Visit SLO, and the SLO Hothouse to name a few. The County continues to seek grant funding from the State whenever possible to bring funding to our area to support our economic goals.”


Ellen Beraud

DISTRICT 5 SUPERVISOR CANDIDATE

“As a small business owner, an active member of our community, and a former mayor and city council member, I believe I have the experience and vision we need at this pivotal moment in our county’s history. Together with my husband, I own and manage an electrical contracting business in Atascadero. I understand the rewards - and the challenges - of running a business in our county. I know firsthand just how important it is for everyone, especially our elected leaders, to support our local business community. “Atascadero’s challenges center around the perception of being a bedroom community serviced by neighboring cities. It takes close collaboration between government and motivated local business owners to coordinate efforts and see real results. Downtown has come a long way with many new businesses in the past five years, and we are reaching the critical mass that creates the synergy we need to be successful. I would support efforts to welcome diverse new business experiences, adding character and appeal to potential customers.

 

“Since moving to Atascadero 20 years ago, I have been deeply invested in this community in various ways, including serving on nonprofit boards and volunteering at my kids’ schools. I’ve served Atascadero as Mayor, city council member, and planning commissioner. I believe strongly in public service and giving back to my community, and I’m running for County Supervisor to bring smart, honest leadership back to our county government.”

1. The next County Board of Supervisors will decide how the Supervisorial Districts will be apportioned. This is likely to have political ramifications as to who is elected in each district in the future. What issues and options will you consider and how will you work towards the fairest process and outcome possible?

“I believe that fair elections are the bedrock of our democracy, and we must do everything to ensure that partisan gerrymandering doesn’t plague our county’s districts like it has in other parts of the country. As supervisor, I would advocate for the formation of an independent redistricting commission to remove partisanship from the process. Absent that, I believe our board should allow staff to develop district maps that account for our changing population and demographics, then vote to adopt those maps without unnecessary interference. I would hope all supervisors will pledge to a fair and independent process as well.”

2. What will you do to improve housing options for everyone including the homeless, young working families, workforce housing and seniors in our community? How will you build community consensus to see solutions through to implementation?

“Like much of the state, our county is facing a housing affordability crisis, and nearly everyone - young families, seniors, the business community - has been negatively impacted. We must build more housing to get out of this crisis, but we have to build housing that will address the affordability problem. In addition to supporting and funding the great work of homeless services organizations like ECHO and TMHA, we need to develop housing units that are affordable by design, including smaller homes, mixed use buildings, and apartment complexes. Our government leaders must educate the community on the negative impacts we will continue to experience if we don’t address this crisis.”

3. Do you support overturning Proposition 13 and/or increasing property taxes to support the growing unmet needs in our region? Other than raising property taxes, what other options do you propose to address the unfunded needs in our area?

“I strongly support the residential property tax protections provided by Proposition 13. Nevertheless, our county has recently been facing budget shortfalls, and we are in a period of economic expansion that will inevitably come to an end. If we wish to maintain the high quality of life we enjoy on the Central Coast, we must take advantage of new economic opportunities that can generate more tax revenue. From supporting the burgeoning cannabis and hemp industries, to maintaining our vital agro-tourism sector by sustainably managing our groundwater supply, there is much our county leadership should be doing to ensure our fiscal and economic success.”

4. One of the most important facets of a healthy community is the existence of a strong and vibrant business sector. As County Supervisor, what would you do to ensure that the business community of the North County not only remains strong, but grows and develops? How would you leverage that plan with the state to attract and bolster local business in the North County, as well?

“In SLO County, our highly successful agriculture, hospitality and tourism industries are not incidentally related to our breathtaking natural environment and high quality of life. We must protect our environment to ensure the success of local businesses. For example, we must smartly manage our groundwater basin so that our multibillion-dollar agro-tourism industry can continue to thrive. For North County business owners and those who work from home, we need to support faster and more reliable internet service so they can remain competitive. Coordinating with state and federal government to accomplish these goals may provide us with potential grant funding and assistance along the way.”