Two San Luis Obispo residents filed paperwork to run for open City Council seats in the November election: Brett Strickland and Andy Pease. Both are newcomers to city politics.
As of press time, Pease hadn’t officially announced, saying she planned to do so in the morning of March 24. Both candidates have active campaign websites.
The top two vote getters among the eventual pool of candidates will be elected to two open council seats. Councilmember John Ashbaugh will term-out after this year, and Councilmember Dan Carpenter is among two candidates challenging SLO County 3rd District Supervisor Adam Hill in the June primary. Carpenter said that regardless of the outcome of that race, he will not seek re-election to the City Council should he have the opportunity. SLO Mayor Jan Marx is also up for re-election this year, and she has filed papers to run. No mayoral challenger has announced yet.
Strickland, 30, studied political science and pre-law at Cal Poly and currently works as a project manager and a nondestructive evaluation tester for an engineering company. He said he was inspired by Carpenter—often a voice of dissent to the council’s majority—and hopes to carry on that tradition.
“With him leaving, I thought it was essential to preserve a similar voice up on the council,” Strickland said. “There are a lot of voters here in San Luis Obispo that support his view on things. I’m one of them.”
Strickland said a main platform of his campaign is advocating for the city’s rental housing inspection ordinance to be overturned.
“It’s abundantly clear that [the council members] aren’t in touch with the residents anymore,” Strickland said. “I am very much opposed to their pro-regulation of every aspect of life in San Luis Obispo.”
The ordinance, adopted in May 2015, requires that all of the approximately 5,000 rental properties in the city—excluding apartment complexes—be inspected for code compliance every three years. The issue has drawn opposition from both landlords and renters.
Strickland said that the ordinance has “huge privacy concerns” and that “it appears to be a revenue-generating law.”
Pease, an architect, said that she’s still studying the rental housing inspection ordinance and other high-profile projects set to go before the council, and hasn’t yet taken positions.
She co-founded and owns the firm In Balance Green Consulting, which has worked with local businesses such as MindBody and Rosetta to lower their office building’s footprint and become LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certified, an industry standard certification. She currently sits on the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and its Legislative Action Committee and is also on the board of directors for the Central Coast Green Building Council.
“I really love San Luis Obispo, and I believe in local governance,” Pease said. “I think we can make a difference in how our community grows and perceives challenges in the future.”
She described herself as a consensus builder and said that it’s important for the council to hear a diversity of opinions, not just the vocal special interests.
“I think the city is in great shape in so many ways. The council and staff have done a ton of great work,” she said. “At the same time, we are facing impacts of growth and environmental considerations, so as we move forward I want to make sure that we’re are not going into some narrow specials interests.”
-- Melody DeMeritt - former city council member, Morro Bay