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Santa Maria residents pack City Hall for a City Council candidate forum

Santa Maria City Council District 3 and four candidates presented their views and answered questions from the community at a city council forum on Thursday.

Community members packed the room overflowing the venue without a seat to spear. Some came to hear what all the candidates had to say.

“I wanted to hear both sides, I wanted to hear all the candidates today, I think this is a wonderful forum for really listening,” said Yael Gott.

While others came already having decided whom they support.

“I’m here to support Gloria Soto,” said Daisey Basulto.

Since the elections are now district elections some came due to this change.

“I think it’s a good opening for the city to start thinking about the district elections because the city didn’t have this before,” said Brian Teltey.

Affordable housing, economic stability, crime, and city taxes were some of the issues that were discussed. If elected, District 3 candidate Gloria Soto, at 29 years old, will be the youngest woman that ever served on the city council. She represents a demographic many present felt is underserved.

“I don’t think that young people are represented at all in the city council,” said Daisey Basulto.

Others felt Soto and District 4 candidate Rafael Gutierrez represent another underserved segment of the population.

“Our community as we all know is primarily Latino, and I would tell you that a large segment of our population feels it has not been heard or represented,” said Pete Flores.

Hunter Jameson was in favor of the existing city council members district three Michael Moats who was elected in 2016, and Districts 4’s Etta Waterfield appointed in 2014.

“I think we should keep on with what we’ve got. I believe they have done a good job and deserve to be retained, ” said Jameson.

District 3’s Raymond Acosta was not present at the forum.

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