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KCBX Voter Guide: SLO County Board of Supervisors Districts 2, 3 and 4

SLO County's June 7, 2022 primary election ballot materials.
Benjamin Purper
SLO County's June 7, 2022 primary election ballot materials.

The June primary election is tomorrow, and some of the most closely-watched races in San Luis Obispo County are for Board of Supervisors seats. After a contentious round of redistricting, the boundaries of districts have changed and Districts 2, 3 and 4 are up for grabs.

KCBX has compiled a guide to the candidates' positions, affiliations and endorsements for SLO County voters.

District 2: Gibson, Whitworth, Jones and Auslen

After the last round of redistricting and the adoption of a controversial new district map, District 2 covers SLO County’s North Coast as well as more inland cities like Atascadero.

The current district extends further south but less inland than the newly-drawn District 2.

There are four people running in District 2: Bruce Gibson, John Whitworth, Bruce Jones and Geoff Auslen.

Bruce Gibson is the incumbent supervisor representing District 2. He describes some of his top priorities as addressing homelessness, strengthening the county’s childcare system to make it more accessible, and improving the access and affordability of internet service.

Gibson has been on the board since 2006, and is running for a fifth term. His endorsements include Planned Parenthood Central Coast, the SLO Tribune and labor unions like the Central Coast Labor Union Council and the Gold Coast Carpenters.

John Whitworth is a small business owner and Marine Corps veteran. He says his priorities include fewer regulations, wise money management and the continued operation of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant.

On hiscampaign website, Whitworth cites his 38 years of small business experience and 30 years in the Marine Corps along with community service for organizations like the Atascadero Kiwanis Club as qualifications for the role.

Bruce Jones is a retired medical professional and chair of the Templeton Advisory Committee. He says his priorities are to support law enforcement and fire agencies, address the rise of homelessness and support small businesses.

According to hiscampaign website, Jones' endorsements include fellow SLO County political candidates Stacy Korsgaden and Vicki Nohrden, along with several of his former medical colleagues.

Geoff Auslen is a local business owner and is involved in several clubs and committees in Atascadero. His priorities include funding public safety agencies, protecting groundwater supplies, reducing taxes and opposing the Diablo Canyon closure.

His endorsements include Central Coast Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham, two current Atascadero City Councilmembers and several former Atascadero mayors.

District 3: Ortiz-Legg, Korsgaden and Ruiz

SLO County's District 3 includes much of the City of San Luis Obispo as well as coastal cities like Pismo Beach and Grover Beach. Although the district changed in the last redistricting cycle, this race is based on the old district map from 2010 because it will complete the four-year term of late supervisor Adam Hill.

There are three people running in District 3: Dawn Ortiz-Legg, Stacy Korsgaden and Arnold Ruiz.

Ortiz-Legg is the incumbent District 3 supervisor who was appointed by Governor Gavin Newsomin 2020. She worked in the renewable energy sector before getting involved in SLO County organizations and agencies like the county Planning Commission.

Ortiz-Legg's priorities include addressing climate change and the cost of housing in SLO County. Her endorsements include Planned Parenthood Central Coast, Congressman Salud Carbajal and fellow incumbent supervisor Bruce Gibson.

Stacy Korsgaden is a Cal Poly graduate and a local business owner. She says her priorities are addressing homelessness, bring more accountability to local government and growing the county's energy and agriculture industries.

Korsgaden'sendorsementsinclude Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham, Pismo Beach Mayor Ed Waage and the San Luis Obispo Cattlemen's Political Action Committee.

Arnold Ruiz is a San Luis Obispo resident whose main priorities include bringing more authority to county and local governments in an effort to address homelessness, housing costs and other issues locally.

Ruiz does not have a campaign website and gives infrequent interviews, but did participate in a debate organized by the Latino Outreach Council and the League of Women Voters of SLO County in which he summarized his main positions.

District 4: Compton, Paulding

While other races feature new candidates, SLO County’s District 4 has two familiar faces: incumbent Supervisor Lynn Compton and Arroyo Grande City Councilmember Jimmy Paulding.

Compton has a background in sales and management for large companies, has been a resident of Nipomo for over two decades and has been the District 4 Supervisor since 2014.

Compton has received support from Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham and two of her Board colleagues, John Peschong and Debbie Arnold.

Paulding is a local businessman, Arroyo Grande City Councilmember and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo graduate. Some of his major endorsements include the SLO Tribune Editorial Board and three of his Arroyo Grande City Council colleagues.

Both candidates share similar priorities including affordable housing, environmental stewardship and law enforcement issues including police funding and local rates of violent crime.

But they differ on key local concerns. Jimmy Paulding opposes the county leaving the Integrated Waste Management Authority and supports an independent redistricting commission in the county, while Compton voted for the IWMA departure and supports the current redistricting process.

All California active registered voters should have received a vote-by-mail ballot for the primary. In order for a ballot to be counted it must be postmarked before or on Election Day and be received in the Clerk-Recorder’s office no later than 7 days after Election Day. It can also be dropped off by the voter to any official ballot drop box by 8 p.m. on election day. More information on SLO County voting is available on the county clerk-recorder's website.

Benjamin Purper was News Director of KCBX from May of 2021 to September of 2023. He came from California’s Inland Empire, where he spent three years as a reporter and Morning Edition host at KVCR in San Bernardino. Dozens of his stories have aired on KQED’s California Report, and his work has broadcast on NPR's news magazines, as well. In addition to radio, Ben has worked as a newspaper reporter and freelance writer.
Gabriela Fernandez came to KCBX in May of 2022 as a general assignment reporter, and became news director in December of 2023. She graduated from Sacramento State with a BA in Political Science. During her senior year, she interned at CapRadio in their podcast department, and later worked for them as an associate producer on the TahoeLand podcast. When she's not writing or editing news stories, she loves to travel, play tennis and take her 140-lbs dog, Atlas, on long walks by the coast.
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