Mayoral candidates Andrew Farrell, Jan Marx, Paul Brown and Donald Hedrick answered questions from Cal Poly students at the Mayoral Candidate Forum put together by Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) Tuesday morning.

The event allowed candidates to give a five-minute long opening statement, followed a session where candidates answered questions from students.

Low fiscal budget, diversity and noise ordinances were some of the main subjects covered. But the topic that seemed to surface the most was how to integrate the ideas and opinions of Cal Poly students in decisions made around the community.

Brown said making sure students are heard is something he will make his priority if elected.

“It is my goal in running for mayor to make sure the divides we have in our community — especially the one between the students and the more permanent residents — lessens,” Brown said. “Students tend to get overlooked when decisions are made.”

Farrell, a business administration senior at Cal Poly, echoed this statement. In a town where students constitute nearly half the residents, he said it was “absolutely absurd” when students’ opinions aren’t given the consideration they deserve. As a student, he said he can see those disconnects between residents and students first-hand.

“It (is) apparent to me there is a lot more elected officials can be doing to solicit and go after the input and opinions of students,” Farrell said. “As students and young people, I think we recognize first-hand what it feels like to live in a community where our opinion isn’t always given the consideration it deserves.”

Marx and Hedrick didn’t address disconnects with students in their opening statements, but Marx said she has nothing against the students in the community. She lives in a neighborhood around students and has no problem with them.

“I like being in a lively neighborhood,” she said.

In Hedrick’s opening statement, he said one of the major problems facing San Luis Obispo is the “foul winds of special big money interests that are blowing into this county,” and are ruining San Luis Obispo’s tourist-friendly image.

“We must protect that,” Hedrick said. “Tourists are a major part of our livelihood, outside of the students.”

Hedrick didn’t directly address problems with students and residents during his opening statement but said thought there were problems with the new noise ordinance — a topic concerning students.

“We need to inspire our residents to be cooperative with each other,” Hedrick said. “I think our ordinances and laws are getting a little too harsh.”

Brown agreed and said the noise ordinances are too strict. Friendly gatherings between small groups of friends shouldn’t be fined $700 or $1,000, he said.

“I think it is important to be able to barbecue in your backyard at three o’ clock in the afternoon and not have the cops called on you,” Brown said, among cheers from students. “It is really important as we develop our ordinances in this town, we invite — actually invite — all residents in the town to participate.”

Part of the problem, Farrell said, is San Luis Obispo has passed numerous ordinances in recent years. The city needs to finish piling on ordinances and fix problems in other ways, he said.

“I think these kind of ordinances need to stop,” Farrell said. “The biggest problem we face here in San Luis Obispo is the culture of mounting ordinances and legislation, where instead of reaching out to each other one-on-one and try to fix our problems, we slap another piece of policy on it.”

Marx said while she agrees the city should reach out to students on an individual level, the effort will go unnoticed if the students are uninterested.

“What do you do with people that just don’t care?” Marx said. “That is the problem.”

Students — if they choose — and residents of San Luis Obispo can vote on Tuesday, Nov. 2.

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4 Comments

  1. Red Herring: In this article, when questioned, each of the candidates addressed issues that the students of San Luis Obispo view as very important except for Jan Marx. Marx, in fact, avoided the issues of the students in SLO all together. All she said was that she “has nothing against the students” and enjoys living around them. However, later in the article she states that the city shouldn’t neglect the students, but that it proves difficult when the students don’t care. I think that while some students truly don’t care, the majority of them do to varying degrees. All in all, Marx exhibited a clear red herring logical fallacy because she completely ignored the issues at hand and brought up irrelevant topics instead of addressing the issues.

  2. It seems Paul Brown is better at working a crowd. He says to people what they want to hear. I think Marx has more personal integrity. Brown has more of a “politician” mentality and approach to the election.

  3. Jan Marx truly does care about students, and she does more than pay lip service to it. Jan lives close to campus, her husband teaches at the University giving her unique insight to the issues with students. In fact, a couple of years ago Jan came to students at the Empower Poly Coalition seeking help to fund the California Blvd’s Bike Path’s “Missing Link”. The city did their part, the campus did their part, and Jan stepped in, with no personal stake, other than a concerned community member and led the campaign to finish the bike path. Student’s should rejoice. She knew this was something important for our town and most importantly for the students. Also, did you know that Jan led the initiative up bishops peak to be a public hiking trail, talk about a benefit to the community! Bishop’s peak is the most popular hiking trail in the county, again students should rejoice. As a recent graduate of Cal Poly and now a member of the San Luis Obispo community, Jan is the clear choice. (Rejoice!)

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