San Luis Obispo City Councilwoman Kathy Smith announced that she won’t seek re-election and will retire from her seat effective Dec. 1.
Smith first served on the City Council as an appointee in 1994, and she was elected to a full term in 1996. She ran and won again in 2010, but this term will be her last, she said in a letter to local media.
“My vacated seat paves the way for younger minds and new approaches to grapple with an increasingly intense and heavy workload,” she wrote.
Smith went on to discuss her achievements, as well as some gripes with SLO city politics. In addition to backing pension reform and opposing binding arbitration, Smith said she also opposed projects—such as Garden Street Terraces, Marsh Commons, and a skate park—that she feels “are detrimental to the spirit of what remains a small community.”
She further pointed to “increasing legal considerations” of fire and police staff “indiscretions,” and turnover of city department heads.
“New department directors need to get in synch with our SLO way of life,” Smith wrote.
Councilman Dan Carpenter, who has often been most closely aligned with Smith on council decisions, told New Times he was sad to see her go and “will lose a friend and an advocate on the council for sure.”
“What I really appreciate about Kathy is her independent thinking; she typically challenges staff with her questions,” Carpenter said. “Some of the other councilmembers seem to be lockstep with staff’s recommendations. … The people of this community expect us to be individuals; they don’t want us to be five ‘yes’ people or five ‘no’ people.”