Is our democracy failing? Just months ago, extremists attempted to overthrow the U.S. government in an insurrection. State legislatures across the country are passing voting rights restrictions, and the current Congress is too dysfunctional to agree on legislation that would protect the integrity of our elections. What can we do?

Join host Fred Munroe in a celebration of Independence Day. He will speak with guests from California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) Political Science Department, Nancy Arrington, Assistant Professor and Michael Latner, Professor and Kendall Voting Rights Fellow at the Union of Concerned Scientists as they discuss the American experiment in democracy, the challenges we face in the near future, and the promise and peril of reform movements aimed at improving the way we govern.

In November, Americans overwhelmingly elected Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States. The new administration inherits multiple crisis. A crumbling democracy, a devastating health crises, which has fueled an economic crisis, and a country with deep cultural and bipartisan divides.

The 2017 Women’s March prompted 5-million-plus people around the world to hit the streets, in response to the then newly-elected President Trump and his administration. The moment quickly turned into an important worldwide effort, focusing on human rights and social and environmental justice issues. Four years later, what has this movement accomplished? And what more does it have planned? Join Fred Munroe as he speaks with Dawn Addis, Rita Casaverde and Andrea Chmelik, organizers of Women’s March San Luis Obispo (SLO), as they talk about their work over the past four years, their future objectives and their upcoming annual (virtual) rally—Power Up Democracy.

Courtest of SLO Co

Many in San Luis Obispo County are more than ready to forget about elections for now and focus on other matters. But there is sizable public opposition to an election-related matter now before the county board of supervisors. District 1 supervisor John Peschong is spearheading a move to allow people to donate up to $25,000 to candidates for county offices like sheriff, district attorney and the five supervisorial seats.

As coronavirus cases in the world and the U.S continue to soar, we will talk with local experts about what you need to know to stop the spread, stay safe, get tested and how prepared we are to fight this outbreak, as well as what are the political implications of this pandemic for the U.S.

Despite research that shows a majority of Americans say they would like to see more women in top leadership positions – not only in politics, but also in the corporate world, we know women rarely self-nominate themselves, even though when they do run for political office, statistics show that they win at an equal or better rate than men.

Broadcast date: 1/10/2019

The 2018 midterm elections resulted in a new Democratic Party majority in the House of Representatives, while Republicans maintain control of the Senate and the Presidency. It was a historic election across many fronts, with the largest number of women ever elected to Congress, and reform movements across the country changing the way that we elect our leaders. Inside Congress, Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have a number of opportunities to cooperate on policies with bipartisan support, but will they? What happens to President Trump’s agenda?  And what does it all mean for residents on the Central Coast?

Broadcast date: 8/16/2018

The 2016 election was marred by an unprecedented disinformation campaign from sources at home and abroad. A recent survey showed that 66 percent of people asked believed that outside groups were actively trying to plant fake news stories in the mainstream media and that it was a serious problem. Since then a central strategy of the current administration is a sustained assault on journalists and news media. In an unprecedented response today close to 350 editorial boards join the Boston Globe in affirming their commitment to a free press and the truth.

Broadcast date: 6/28/2018

A number of recent polls have shown that Americans believe tone and civility in politics are getting worse. The Institute for Civility in Government defines Civility as “claiming and caring for one’s identity, needs and beliefs without degrading someone else’s in the process.”  They argue that civility is more than just politeness, but it is the hard work of staying present even with those with whom we have deep-rooted and fierce disagreements. Civility is an important prerequisite for civic action.

Broadcast date: 4/5/2018

This week on Central Coast Voices we will be joined by U.S. Congressman Salud Carbajal who represents the 24th Congressional District of California. The District includes the entirety of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties, and a portion of Ventura County. Since assuming office in January of 2017, the Congressman has actively served the Central Coast. He is a member of both the  House Committee on Armed Services and House Committee on the Budget, as well as participates in over twenty caucuses.

Becerra and Carbajal host Santa Barbara town hall

Aug 25, 2017
Courtesy of https://carbajal.house.gov/photos/

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Central Coast congressman Rep. Salud Carbajal are hosting a town hall Saturday in Santa Barbara. Joining them will be California Assemblymember Monique Limon and California Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson. 

Broadcast date: 10/13/2016

This week Central Coast Voices will wrap up our joint project with NPR called A Nation Engaged. The final question we will be asking is: ‘What does it mean to be an American?’ Host Fred Munroe is joined by community members, Dr. Steve Lloyd-Moffett, Professor of Religious Studies at Cal Poly, Paul Georghiou, resident of San Luis Obispo County for 35 years and retired Emergency Physician, and Sam Holzer, a fourth year History major at Cal Poly, with minors in Art History and Women's & Gender Studies. They will be touching on issues of religion, ethnicity, gender and other identities that distinguish Americans as a political community.

Broadcast date: 9/1/2016

Central Coast Voices has joined NPR this week in a special reporting project, called A Nation Engaged.

With the twists and turns in the national political campaigns, and the turbulent and often traumatic news we receive from throughout the world, and too often here at home, we want to continue to help you stay and feel engaged, while providing the conversation vital to be an effective citizen.  

This week we will be exploring topics such as diplomacy, immigration, and military and asking this question: “What is America’s role in the world?" Join host Kris Kington Barker as she speaks with experts in international affairs, Alfred J. Fonzi II, Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army (Retired), Shelley Hurt, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science at Cal Poly, and Robert Schaeffer, Professor, Department of Sociology at Cal Poly. We hope you will listen and be part of the conversation.

Central Coast Voices is sponsored by ACTION for Healthy Communities in collaboration with KCBX and made possible through underwriting by Joan Gellert-Sargen.

Broadcast date: 9/3/2015

Confidence in government’s ability to solve basic problems is at or near an all-time low, and voting across the Central Coast resulted in a near record low turnout in the 2014 elections. 

Happy New Year, or Not?

Dec 24, 2014

Broadcast date: 1/1/2015

Broadcast date: 12/15/2014

Environmental Lawyer, presidential advisor and author Gus Speth talks about his latest book, Angels by the River. He reflects on race, environment, politics and living on the front lines of change.

Money and Politics

Jun 30, 2014

In a country with more than 300 million people, approximately 1% of “the 1%” contributed over a quarter of all disclosed political campaign contributions in the 2012 election cycle, according to the Sunlight Foundation. How is public policy impacted when such a small percentage of donors dominate our campaign finance system? As concerns about inequalities in political influence and government corruption grow, there are increasing calls to reform our system of campaign finance across the political spectrum.

Cal Poly, SLO

Cal Poly’s College of Liberal Arts will host a free, public even on campaign finance reform Monday night called “Money in Politics: What Could Go Wrong?”

Political Science Professor Michael Latner will lead the panel featuring Trevor Potter, former commissioner and chairman of the Federal Election Commission (FEC); Lawrence Lessig, Harvard Law School professor and renowned author; Hedrick Smith, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and Emmy award-winning producer and correspondent; and William Ostrander, Citizens Congress 2014 director.


LISTEN: San Luis Obispo DA Candidate debate

May 16, 2014

Issues and Ideas, May 21, 2014:

Who are you voting for in the race for San Luis Obispo District Attorney? Those running include:

  • Tim Covello (on ballot)
  • Dan Dow (on ballot)
  • Paul Phillips (write in)

If you haven’t made up your mind, listen to all three candidates—two on the ballot and a third official write-in—discuss their platforms. Debate moderated by Larry Rutter. 

Citizens Congress

May 2, 2014

The first national meeting of Citizens Congress 2014 is set for early June in San Luis Obispo County.  Director William Ostrander details the groups effort to remove the influence of money in politics.

Flickr member DieselDemon

An effort to ban new forms of petroleum production in the unincorporated areas of Santa Barbara County is gaining momentum and getting support from at least one other organization.

Santa Barbara County Water Guardians is working to collect 13,200 signatures by May 7 to qualify The Healthy Air and Water Initiative to Ban Fracking for the November 4, 2014 ballot.

If passed by voters, the initiative would target newer forms of oil and gas extraction, including fracking. 

This week Fred Munroe talks with Senator Bill Monning and Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian about their perspectives on our communities, their work in Sacramento, as well as their interest in working together to achieve their goals. We’ll also hear about what changes they anticipate happening as they look to improve conditions as we come out of a recession