Primary elections for State Governor, San Luis Obispo district attorney and the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff are scheduled for June 5.
San Luis Obispo County Sheriff
Ian Parkinson and Gregory Clayton are both running for the position of San Luis Obispo County Sheriff. Parkinson is the incumbent. During his time as sheriff, he opened a women’s jail, and received backlash after inmate Andrew Holland died while in custody at the San Luis Obispo County Jail in January 2017.
“We are determined to prevent a future tragedy. I know that my department has more work to do. We also have more work to do as a community. We are all failing if we think that our current system of jailing the mentally ill is adequate,” Parkinson wrote on his website.
Parkinson also established the San Luis Obispo County SWAT Team. In 2012, he was appointed a role on the California Oversight Board. In 2014, he was appointed to the California Seismic Safety Commission by Governor Brown. He wrote that he is currently working on a push to establish a new Behavioral Health Unit (BHU) at the San Luis Obispo County Jail. The BHU would provide housing and therapy to inmates who suffer from mental illness.
Gregory Clayton wrote that he wants to bring “transparency and full accountability” to the Sheriff’s Office. According to his website, the key issues Clayton wants to address if elected are: death of inmates in the San Luis Obispo County Jail, lack of a psychiatric care facility in the jail, introduction of a citizen’s oversight committee for the jail, introduction of a specifically trained specialist or warden and establishment of an independent medical examiner’s office.
San Luis Obispo district attorney
Both Dan Dow and Judge Mike Cummins are running for San Luis Obispo district attorney. Dow is the incumbent. His key issues are: the growing influence of gangs, hard drugs in schools and jail overcrowding and prison “realignment.”
”Gangs from Monterey and Santa Barbara counties are encroaching on our county. We must not allow gangs to gain a foothold here in [San Luis Obispo]. In 2011 the Monterey County gang population rose to over 5,500 gang members. That’s why a task force from 1990 is no longer sufficient to deal with the growing threat that we face today. Our gang task force has not been adequately bolstered to deal with the dramatic rise in gang-related crime of the last decade,” Dow wrote on his campaign website.
On his campaign website, Dow elaborated on his stance on hard drug use in local schools.
“Recently we have witnessed heroin, oxycontin, and methamphetamine destroying young lives and robbing futures. High schoolers, with their lives ahead of them, have died from overdosing on Heroin,” Dow wrote.
According to the SLO Tribune, 2017 marked the first year there was a decline in opioid deaths in San Luis Obispo since 2012. In 2016, there were 37 recorded deaths, and in 2017 there were 22. From 2014 to 2016, San Luis Obispo County’s opioid overdose death rate exceeded that of the national average.
Dow said he would also work to construct a better solution for jail overcrowding.
Judge Mike Cummins wrote that he is determined to investigate Andrew Holland’s death and provide more visibility in the local jail in regard to mental health issues. Cummins also wrote that he doesn’t agree with many of the “not guilty” verdicts made previously by Dow.
“The current District Attorney doesn’t have the skills and experience to properly evaluate cases. Accordingly, in my judgment and that of many in the legal community, he’s been a very poor District Attorney. Although it’s not to be taken as personal criticism, I plan to comment on his performance during the campaign,” Cummins wrote.
There are currently seven candidates running for governor. John Cox, a businessman and taxpayer advocate, and Travis Allen, a California assemblyman from Huntington Beach, are representing the Republican party.
There are four Democratic candidates running for governor: former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, educator and politician Delaine Eastin, current Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom and current State Treasurer John Chaing.
Zoltan Itsvan is running as a Libertarian, and is an entrepreneur and the leader of the Transhumanist Party.
Recently elected 2018-2019 Associated Students, Inc. President Jasmin Fashami recommended that students register with their local address so they can vote on issues in San Luis Obispo. The deadline to register was May 21.
“Considering that students make up over 40 percent of the San Luis Obispo population, the student voice is incredibly influential within local government in addition to student’s participation at the statewide level,” Fashami said in a press release. “The student voice is incredibly strong, and voting is the best way to stand together as a powerful and united community.”