A former candidate for a seat on the San Luis Obispo City Council has thrown his hat back into the ring for the upcoming November election, just more than a month after he suddenly withdrew his name from the race, citing what he described as an “apathetic” electorate.
But on Oct. 9, a reinvigorated Matt Strzepek announced that he’s renewing his bid for one of two council seats due to “the overwhelming encouragement and support” he’s since received from the community, according to a written statement.
Strzepek, a former instructor at Binghamton University in New York and now a local property manager, also volunteers at the Homeless Animal Rescue Team as well as Food Not Bombs.
He’s also currently without a steady residence.
“Like many of our city’s residents, I have experienced the challenges of this recession. I have walked in the shoes of our homeless citizens, quietly taking shelter in my vehicle while looking for work,” Strzepek wrote. “As such, I know what it’s like to be on the margins of society.”
He recently became a familiar face at City Council meetings following the February crackdown on individuals sleeping overnight in their vehicles, speaking a number of times before the council, advocating humane treatment of the city’s homeless residents.
It’s such allegedly inhumane treatment that led Strzepek to re-enter the race, he told New Times, following two incidents on Oct. 1 and 2. According to Strzepek, on Oct. 2—just two hours after the council ratified a new overnight parking ordinance—he was approached by two officers on McMillan Avenue, where he was sitting in his vehicle.
The candidate alleges that officers told him to leave the area, called him and others nearby derogatory names, and refused to identify themselves before handing him a 72-hour impound notice, though signs warning against the parking violation have yet to be posted.
Strzepek turned in a formal complaint against the officers on Oct. 5. A spokesperson for the San Luis Obispo Police Department didn’t respond to a request for comment on Strzepek’s complaint as of press time.
Strzepek will once again face incumbent council members John Ashbaugh and Dan Carpenter, as well as fellow challengers Jeff Aranguena and Kevin Rice in the Nov. 6 general municipal election.