Issues

Building Department

When I took office the building department was totally out of control.  It could take as long as six or seven months to get a building permit.  The department would charge for permits that were not needed.

“There was a saying that the plans were going to be perfect no matter how long it took the bureaucrats to achieve it.”

A part of the problem is the perfection on the paper doesn’t translate to perfection on the job site.  The inspection process is still in need of improvement.

Contractors and the council had workshops to come up with a way to improve the process.  Council directed the building department staff to all get the certifications required for their jobs.  I inquired about this several times over the years but the staff has ignored the council’s direction.

My opponent was an impediment to these changes.  It has taken a lot longer to achieve the results we have.

We were able to create a building liaison committee comprised of local builders, architects, and engineers, that meet on a monthly basis to discuss better ways to help improve the building process.

The results are that the building permit process is usually less than 30 days.  The number of contractors complaining to me has dramatically improved.

There is still more that can be done.

Animal Shelter

I have been against the animal shelter proposal from the beginning. We almost stayed out of the county’s ridiculously expensive new $14 million animal shelter. After a lengthy negotiation, we are back to participating in the county’s incredibly expensive plan. The city made an agreement some years back for about $35,000 per year to handle the city’s animal services, but it didn’t take long for the costs to escalate to about $250,000 per year.  The new plan starts at nearly $500,000 per year for our share, and there is no reason to doubt that we will be paying much more...

Read more

State Imposed 55 Gallons Per Day Water Usage

The state has recently imposed a 55 gallon per day water allocation on every citizen, only to be reduced to 50 gallons per day in a couple of years.  City staff wanted the council to authorize them to start figuring out to impose this new law on our citizens.  Council seemed ready go along with this until I made them aware of the millions of dollars the City’s citizens are spending for the Naciemento pipeline and the millions we spent on our state-of-the-art water treatment plant.  We are being responsible for our water needs and have the payment book to...

Read more

1/2 % Sales Tax Increase

I was opposed to the sales tax increase.  Our city is experiencing an incredible amount of economic vitality and prosperity, allowing our city to adequately fund the budget and while other cities struggle, we have been reducing our unfunded pension obligations.   The city’s budget is like controlled chaos. There is so much money going out and so much coming in at any moment, I wasn’t convinced that we needed to use the nuclear option and raise taxes. I asked for a snapshot of the city finances at some particular moment instead of the way the budget was presented.  Of course,...

Read more

Paso Robles Airport

The city has been running the airport for about 30 years.  Some citizens leased airport property and built their own airplane hangars.  Nobody paid any attention to the boiler-plate lease agreement of 30 years ago. It didn’t include any provisions for extending their leases. As all boiler-plate lease agreements provide, if the lease expires, the leasee can tear down their hangar or the city would take ownership.  When the city staff refused to extend the leases prior to the expiration date, staff told the citizens the only option was to lease the building back from the city at a much...

Read more

Creston Road

The council recently accepted a grant for about 4 million dollars to make repairs to Creston Road. They decided to keep the road to 2 lanes and add a roundabout. Because of the 16 feet of bicycle lane influence, there isn’t enough room for a 12-foot-wide lane adequate for trucks. There is planning for another 13,000 new residents on the east side of Paso.  This is an incredibly short-sided decision made for a main arterial road through town.  The mayor made the comment to me that when the road becomes a problem, let the council at that time fix it. So...

Read more

SB 54

Recently our state government imposed a new law on all of us. It pretty much says that all local law enforcement agencies are to ignore Federal law and not cooperate with the federal government immigration agency when dealing with criminals.  There are a lot of problems with this law.  The council wanted to take a neutral position on this issue, but I managed to convince them that we should be part of the conversation about the issue.  The council decided to direct staff to draft a letter to our state representatives letting them know what we thought of this new...

Read more