Politics

Reports focusing on the latest political news and trends along California's Central Coast.

City of San Luis Obispo

The City of San Luis Obispo and former Police Chief Steve Gesell reached an agreement Thursday regarding his exit earlier this month from the department, according to an official city press release. 

"The agreement ensures that no legal action will result from the separation, and is compliant with the severance clause in his offer of employment," its states. 

Another candidate is adding her name to the 2016 race for San Luis Obispo County's District 3 Supervisor Seat, which includes portions of San Luis Obispo, Edna Valley, Avila Beach and the Five Cities.

Pismo Beach Mayor Shelly Higginbotham, who just won re-election back in November by a very close margin, announced Monday her decision to run. She now joins San Luis Obispo City Council Member Dan Carpenter and former Grover Beach Mayor Debbie Peterson in their efforts to unseat Adam Hill.

Hill has served the district since 2009.

Jessica Paterson

    

Central Coast Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian (R- San luis Obispo) will represent California on three committees-- one national, and two regional. 

He was appointed Friday by Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D- San Diego) to help formulate policies on economic development, transportation, energy  and the environment.

Achadjian said he believes he was selected to serve on these committees because of his commitment to the issues represented.

He said his role will be to address the needs of our state while working with those representing others.

Brittany Graham

Scientists at Cal Poly will launch a free system Wednesday that could revolutionize the way Californians keep track of politicians in Sacramento. It's called Digital Democracy and it's something lawmakers haven't had to contend with—until now.

Flickr member Sharon Hahn Darlin

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear a free speech case brought by longtime Vandenberg Air Force Base protester Dennis Apel.

The Court issued a short statement this week, simply saying:

Dear Mr. Chemerinsky:

The Court today entered the following order in the above-entitled case:

The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied.

Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of the UC Irvine School of Law and Apel's attorney for several years, says the denial to take the case now leaves legal questions regarding free speech rights.

Facebook

Laura Burton Capps, the daughter of Rep. Lois Capps (D-Santa Barbara) says she does not plan to run for her mother's seat next year.

"It would be the ultimate honor for me to represent this incredible district in Congress," said Burton Capps in a written statement. "After giving a campaign serious consideration, however, I’ve decided that now is not the right time for me, Bill and our four year-old-son, and I will not be seeking election to Congress in 2016." 

Jessica Paterson

A bill aimed at closing the wage gap between men and women in California passed out of a major committee today. If signed, SB 358 would become the strongest equal pay law in the U.S. according to Jackson.

The California Fair Pay Act would ensure women are paid the same as their male colleagues for comparable work.

State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D- Santa Barbara) authored the bill and said it would be the toughest equal pay legislation in the nation because it protects women from being retaliated against should they ask and object to what their male colleges make.

Flickr member: Charles Williams

A bill aimed at reducing the frequency at which foster children are prescribed psychotropic drugs is one step closer to becoming law. 

Nearly one in four children in foster care are prescribed psychotropic drugs. These include anti-depressants, sedatives, and anti-psychotics.

Central Coast Senator Bill Monning (D- Carmel) is the bill's author and said that too often children are prescribed these drugs without proper oversight and that psychotropic drugs can having negative lasting effects.

Katcho Achadjian Facebook Page

The office of Central Coast Assemblymember Katcho Achadjian (R-San Luis Obispo) said Thursday that the politician plans to announce his bid on Friday for the 24th Congression District seat being vacated by Rep. Lois Capps (D-Santa Barbara) next fall.

Achadjian's announcement is scheduled to take place at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse, Sunken Gardents at 11:00 a.m., with the Assemblymember flanked by numerous local Republican leaders.

Assemblymember Das Williams

State Assemblymember Das Williams (D-Carpinteria) announced Monday that he's running for Santa Barbara County's First District Supervisor seat, come 2016.

Salud Carbajal currently holds the First District seat, but Carbajal is one of several candidates now running for Rep. Lois Capps (D-Santa Barbara) congressional office.

Term limits will keep Williams from running for a fourth Assembly term. He easily won re-election back in November with more than 58 percent of the vote.

Randol White, KCBX

Revamping the state's oil and gas watchdog group will be the topic of discussion in Sacramento next week.

The push comes from a Central Coast politician who wants to see far more oversight of local drilling operations. State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson said the watchdog group has not been doing its job of protecting and informing the public.

Chris Meagher, Rep. Lois Capps

Just a day after announcing her planned retirement in 2016, Congresswoman Lois Capps (D-Santa Barbara) visited San Luis Obispo County Thursday to meet with health officials about climate change.

A local nutrition program called Women, Infants, Children (WIC) is working climate change into its model. The WIC program gives vouchers for food and educates participants on healthy options.

Roll Call video

Central Coast Congresswoman Lois Capps (D-Santa Barbara) announced Wednesday that she will not run again for her seat in Nov. 2016. She made the announcement in a video saying, "it's been a hard decision to make."

Kara Woodruff

A political race in San Luis Obispo County is heating up well ahead of the 2016 General Election.

The District 3 Supervisor Seat, currently held by Adam Hill, has at least three people running for it, including the incumbent. The area includes the beach cities of Pismo and Grover, more than half of the City of San Luis Obispo, and the communities of Edna Valley and Avila. 

Supervisor Adam Hill has held the seat since 2008 and says he plans to be on the ballot in November 2016 for a third term.

Flickr member Damian Gadal

The City of Santa Barbara is working on plans to set up new city council districts for the upcoming November 2015 election.

Until now, the city's council members were elected at-large—meaning any registered voter in the city could cast a ballot for any of the council seats.

The move to districts is the result of a court ruling and settlement under the state's 2001 voting rights act.

Kristy Schmidt is Santa Barbara's Administrative Services Director. She says the city is currently collecting information from the public on forming the geographic boundaries.

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