This letter was sent to Mustang News from San Luis Obispo mayoral candidate T. Keith Gurnee. Letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the viewpoints or editorial coverage of Mustang News. The letter has been edited for clarity.
Trigger warning: sexual assault.
Welcome to San Luis Obispo…
To all students returning to Cal Poly SLO this year, and to those of you who’ve only just arrived, I’m pleased to welcome each of you as residents of San Luis Obispo!
My name is Keith Gurnee, and as a candidate for Mayor of our shared city, I’d love the chance to get to know you all. First, here’s a little about me:
Back in 1971, while I was a student at Cal Poly as you are, I was elected to the San Luis Obispo City Council with the hopes of giving voice to those who lacked one. Fastforward through a decades-long career protecting open space and helping to develop SLO responsibly, I am asking for your vote to serve our special town as Mayor, and work on the behalf of our shared home. The election held November 6, 2018 will be among the most important that we’ve had in our small city, and all of you hold power, through your votes, to choose its outcome.
You were accepted to Cal Poly because you’re smart, and political smarts are part of that equation. As someone who has championed student rights, and as an alumnus of Cal Poly, I’m prepared to fight for you again.
As your Mayor, this is what I’ll do:
- Build a stronger working relationship between the city, Cal Poly, and student government to identify and meaningfully address local issues of mutual concern.
- Improve bicycle infrastructure by prioritizing the completion of the Class I Rail Trail to Cal Poly along the railroad right-of way and focusing upon installing safe dedicated bike lanes on the arterial streets that have been the primary cause of accidents and even deaths on our streets.
- Fight against student housing projects that were supported by our current Mayor that are exploiting students and the greater community with excessive rents that can cause other landlords to raise their rents.
- Advocate for more parking and housing on campus that students would actually want to live in without impacting the agricultural lands and facilities of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences.
- Tap into the intellectual capital of students and faculty at Cal Poly to promote their greater involvement in our local government. After all, too few remember that it was three architecture students who gave form to the idea of creating Mission Plaza that went on to ignite the revitalization of downtown San Luis Obispo.
- Bolster law enforcement to combat the increase in crime in this community, including a 180 percent in rapes in the first quarter of 2018, and a 116 percent increase in residential burglaries in the second quarter of this year.
- Continuing to expand and protect the open spaces that define this great community.
San Luis Obispo needs a fresh start. It’s time to use those sharp young minds of yours, and make that fresh start happen!
Vote for a Mayor who will represent and work for you! Join me as the first and last Cal Poly student ever elected to the SLO City Council to bring about the changes we need. As the next Mayor of SLO, I’ll be honored to fight hard on your behalf.