Two able and qualified people – incumbent Jim Patterson and candidate Debbie Arnold – are vying for the 5th District seat on the County Board of Supervisors.
Patterson and Arnold both have specific areas of concern they would like to pursue to better the community.
Patterson said the most important aspect of being a supervisor is “directing the county’s growth patterns, directing growth where there are services (police and fire) and infrastructure (roads and water) available,” he said.
“Doing that preserves our agricultural lands and open space and provides more affordable housing, which is our single most important need in our county,” he added.
Arnold stressed land use as one of her main issues. “It’s my goal to preserve our beautiful scenery and open space, our recreation areas, and also to address the opportunity for affordable housing and jobs for young people.”
Due to Patterson’s vast amount of experience, he said he feels he is a good fit for the district.
“I’ve been a business owner for many years in North County as well as I’ve been involved in agriculture and in the community at large as Water Conservation Manager for the Atascadero water company,” he said.
Patterson is a Cal Poly alumnus with a bachelor’s degree in natural resource management who has experience in business, ranching and water conservation. He is also a certified arborist and member of the International Society of Arboriculture.
He has a multitude of leadership experience, including positions as president of SLO Council of Governments, past chair for Air Pollution Control District, and was on the executive committee for the Economic Opportunity Commission. Patterson has also been a board member for 10 different organizations including the YMCA, Fire Safety Council and Workforce Housing Coalition.
In regards to Cal Poly, Patterson said that he really likes the “interest in sustainability and the various student organizations to work together to provide a sustainable future, not only for Cal Poly but also for the community at large.”
He said his goals for Cal Poly if re-elected are “to continue to work with students and faculty to provide a sustainable educational institution and a sustainable community surrounding.”
Arnold comes from a ranching family in North County that has been here for nearly 100 years. For this reason, she said “keeping agriculture alive and protecting open space is hugely important.”
She was originally an animal science major at Cal Poly but switched to early childhood education and received her degree from Cuesta College. She then went on to own and operate Small Wonders Preschool in Atascadero for 17 years until 2000, and was also an aid to County Supervisor Mike Ryan and Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee.
Arnold said that because she worked for Ryan and Blakeslee she knows exactly what this job entails.
“I understand how the county agencies interact and how you can work together to benefit the county in the area.”
After attending Cal Poly, the alma mater of her two children, Arnold said she understands student issues.
“I have always been an advocate for students,” she said. “The students make up nearly half of the population of the city, and their lifestyles and specific needs should be addressed and given as much weight as the other half of the population.”
This district that Patterson and Arnold are running for includes Atascadero, Santa Margarita and parts of San Luis Obispo.
The primary election will take place June 3, and if no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote, the race will be decided during the November general election.