By KAREN VELIE
Who are the candidates running for public office in San Luis Obispo County, and which races are highly contested?
San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors District 2
The stakes are high for SLO County’s midterm election. Republicans and Democrats are battling for control of the SLO County Board of Supervisors.
Incumbent Supervisor Bruce Gibson is battling Dr. Bruce Jones, a retired surgeon, for the District 2 seat.
During the contentious race, Gibson contends that with 16 years on the board, he is the only candidate with the knowledge to handle the county’s homeless and water issues.
On the other side, Jones argues that Gibson has done a poor job on homeless and crime issues and that the county needs a change.
Atascadero City Council
Three candidates are running for two open council seats: incumbents Susan Funk, Heather Newsom and Writer Bret Heinemann.
Mayor Caren Ray, a high school teacher in Santa Maria, has two challengers: Dale Hanson, a real estate appraiser, and Gaea Powell, who runs a small nonprofit.
Vying for the District 4 City Council seat, newcomer Ben Franco, a small business owner, is running against former councilman James Guthrie.
There are two candidates for mayor of Grover Beach: Councilwoman Karen Bright and business owner Stacy Korsgaden.
In District 2, retired dentist Ron Arnoldson is challenging incumbent Daniel Rushing.
Morro Bay Mayor John Headding is facing one challenger, Carla Wixom, the owner of Carla’s Country Kitchen. The race is expected to be close, with members of the public divided over proposed off-shore wind farms and a battery storage area.
Headding supports the construction of hundreds of wind turbines off the coast of Morro Bay while Wixom has voiced concerns over the environmental issues related to wind farms.
Six newcomers are running for two seats on the council: Marketer Casey Cordes, attorney David Duringer, small business owner Cyndee Edwards, homemaker Robin Landrum, server Sarah Smith Robinson and Deanna Sandoval.
Mayor Steve Martin is facing one challenger, Michael Rivera, a medical industry businessman.
Five people are running for two seats on the council in a race rife with mudslinging: incumbent Councilwoman Mary Ann Reiss, retired border patrol agent Kevin Carl Kreowski, attorney Stacy Inman, real estate broker and general contractor Deborah Lossing and attorney and former councilman Erik Howell.
Two anonymous attack ads targeting Reiss were mailed to voters without the required disclosures. One of the fliers displays a manipulated photo of Reiss kneeling in front of Darth Vader while the other appears to compare Reiss to a pig, ads that have put off some voters.
San Luis Obispo
Mayor Erica Stewart is facing three challengers: entrepreneur Jeff Specht, retired firefighter Richard Orcutt and recycler Don Hedrick.
There are four candidates running for two seats on the council: appointed incumbent Michelle Shoresman, businessman James Papp, attorney Joe Benson and Emily Francis, a teacher.