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Laurel Barton

Laurel Barton
Laurel Barton - Morro Bay City Council candidate

Morro Bay City Council

Why are you running for office?: I'm running because I feel Morro Bay is at a crossroads, and I want be part of finding ways to move the city forward on several major issues:

Morro Bay is in the midst of building a new Water Reclamation Facility, but a small group of citizens continues to insist it should be put on "pause." The Coastal Commission has already told the City there is no going back to the old plant, and State and Federal funds committed to the project would be put at risk.

COVID-19 and the resulting drop in tourism has greatly affected the City's budget, work force, and commercial sector. Without the passage of Measure E, an additional 1% sales tax, Morro Bay will have to make further budget cuts, including to police and fire.

The State has set ambitious goals for Morro Bay to provide more affordable housing, a controversial issue, but needed to promote a jobs-housing balance.
What makes you qualified for the job?: I bring extensive experience to the position after a long career working for cities and school districts as an administrator and grant writer. I have also served 4 years as a City Councilmember in Visalia, as well as 2 years on the Visalia School Board, and 1 year as a Senate Fellow in the CA State Senate. 
What are your two main priorities if you win?: 1. Complete the City's new Water Reclamation Facility on time and on budget. With $24 million already invested in its construction, and State and Federal loans and grants on the line, there is nowhere to go but forward.

2. Passage of Measure E, the 1%--one cent on a dollar-- additional sales tax measure that is on the Nov. ballot. Measure E's passage will help rebuild the City's budget, restore the City's reduced work force and basic services, plus ensure that critical services--police , fire, and streets--can be maintained.
How will you interact with other governments?: It is common for City Councilmembers to serve on Countywide boards such as ones working on housing, homelessness, and transportation issues.

Councilmembers are also called upon to make visits with State Assemblymembers and Senators, as well as occasionally to lobby Federal officials in Washington. I look forward to helping Morro Bay move forward through cultivating connections at the local, State,and Federal levels.
What are your plans to help overcome COVID-19?: Morro Bay citizens have done very well in overcoming COVID, maintaining one of the lowest infection rates in San Luis Obispo County.
Which two issues are most important to you?: After completion of the Water Reclamation Facility, my two top issues are:

1. Working to effect a better jobs-housing balance in Morro Bay. Currently, nearly equal numbers of Morro Bay residents leave the City each day to work in San Luis Obispo or other cities, while similar numbers of people commute to work in the city, sometimes long distances from lower-cost areas of the County.

2. Economic development--making sure that Morro Bay leverages substantial assets available to it--clean energy sources, advances in telecommunication network speeds to serve the growth of work-from-home employees and entrepreneurs, and the city's location to build more connections with our world-class neighbors, Cal Poly and Cuesta College.
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