During the election season in San Luis Obispo, residents often expressed their choices for City Council in pairs.
“Andy Pease for City Council” signs were often accompanied with “Aaron Gomez for City Council” signs; “Mike Clark for City Council” signs were usually paired with “Mila Vujovich-La Barre for City Council” signs.
The divide represented two competing visions for SLO city, mainly in terms of growth and housing. Pease and Gomez campaigned on “smart growth” and finding affordable housing solutions, while Clark and Vujovich-La Barre stood for preserving water and protecting neighborhood character.
SLO voters spoke on Nov. 8, and they chose Gomez, a 37-year-old business owner, and Pease, an architect, to fill the two City Council seats left open by Dan Carpenter and John Ashbaugh.
“That’s kind of what set us apart from our competitors,” Gomez told New Times on Nov. 9. “I think it’s important in the next four years to create some real solutions in terms of housing affordability. I don’t want to see us continue down the path of only allowing access for the extremely wealthy and investors.”
“I think we do have a shared vision,” Pease said. “[The council] is shifting towards representing a more inclusive and sustainable direction for the community.”
In the mayoral race, preliminary voting totals indicated that Jan Marx fended off her challenger, activist Heidi Harmon, to win a fourth and final term. Marx led Harmon by a 52.5 to 47 percent margin at press time.
Harmon won over more Election Day voters, but Marx soundly defeated Harmon in mail-in ballots, which was the difference.
Marx didn’t return a request for comment from New Times.
“I’m really proud of our campaign,” Harmon said on Nov. 9. “We brought up some really important issues and enabled the city to have a conversation.”
Pease took 27.2 percent of the City Council vote, followed by Gomez with 24.2 percent, middle school teacher Vujovich-La Barre at 17.34 percent, and retired Army Col. Clark at 14.8 percent. Project supervisor Brett Strickland garnered 9 percent and Cal Poly senior Christopher Lopez received 7.2 percent.