“Susan Funk supports the economic and social health of our community. She makes good decisions by doing her homework, researching, gathering opinions from her constituents, and being open to new ideas. She is a positive person, committed to working in a bipartisan manner.” – Grenda Ernst
Championing Public Safety
- Actively advocated for Atascadero’s Measure D20, which provides additional funds to recruit, train and equip police, firefighters and public safety personnel
- Advocates for the creation of multi-disciplinary outreach teams in SLO police and sheriff departments that include physical and mental healthcare professionals. With her support, Atascadero has budgeted to add full-time mental health expertise to the police department along with two new officer positions dedicated to Outreach to Underrepresented Residents (OUR Team)
- Advocates for bold and strategic County action on mental health and addictions
- Supported creation of a peer support programs to enhance the mental health of police and fire personnel in their stressful work
- Was instrumental in the development of Atascadero’s ZoneHaven plan which, in case of wildfires, makes it possible to manage traffic flow and quickly evacuate at-risk residents. The ZoneHaven program pioneered by Atascadero is so useful that it is now being adopted countywide
- Advocates for State legislation to make it harder for people to fund active addictions by a repeated pattern of shoplifting and petty theft
- Supported the funding and recent launch of SLO County’s first medical detox facility to help addicts kick habits and rebuild their lives
- Advocated to keep SLO County residents safe from highly explosive oil trains
Tackling Housing Affordability and Homelessness
Susan leads in the fight on homelessness and affordable housing countywide.
- Built a broad coalition to support systematic action on homelessness
- Is collaborating with City Councils, City Managers and civic and business leaders throughout the county to get everyone working together in a coordinated, community-wide effort to address and prevent homelessness
- Chairs SLO County’s Homeless Services Oversight Council (HSOC) which developed the Countywide Plan to Address Homelessness. She now oversees implementation of the plan, which was approved unanimously by the Board of Supervisors in 2022
- Also collaborated with Former State Senator Sam Blakeslee and Greg Gillett to create a framework to strengthen accountability on homelessness while preserving local control
- Actively supported the Atascadero City Council decisions to approve and help fund the expansion of the El Camino Real Homeless Organization (ECHO) by 10 beds and approve ECHO’s conversion to a 24/7 operation to facilitate job training, families, and shelter residents who gain night shift work
- Supports innovation to expand availability of low-cost housing and create more pathways out of homelessness
- Advocated for pre-approved Additional Dwelling Unit (ADU) plans to reduce building costs for small property owners thus increasing the housing supply
Advocating for Transparent and Accountable Government
- Convinced her Atascadero City Council colleagues and staff to greatly expand opportunities for public input on what’s now called the Downtown Infrastructure Enhancement Project. As a result, the City held four well-publicized public meetings, not just in the afternoon, but on one evening, a Saturday, and at the Farmer’s Market. Because of residents’ concerns about traffic and safety, the Council revised the project, and is now implementing a plan, supported by parents and business-owners alike, which will create a safer and more attractive business environment.
- Encouraged the City to hold 10 public study sessions to solicit input on spending priorities for the Measure D-20 sales tax money. Susan personally emailed hundreds of people, encouraging them to participate.
- Successfully proposed a stronger role for Atascadero’s Citizens Sales Tax Oversight Committee in making sure that the proceeds from Measure D-20 are spent wisely and with the priorities promised to voters
- Advocated at the SLO County Board of Supervisors for fair redistricting
Promoting Increased Opportunities for the Next Generation of SLO County Residents and Families
- Facilitated Atascadero’s downtown revitalization, including support for the beautiful, recently-opened La Plaza development. The restaurants and retail establishments it now houses draw residents and visitors to the city center, while the adjoining plaza provides welcoming space for food trucks and community events.
- Actively supports the introduction and promotion of community events to the local calendar — the Central Coast Craft Beer Fest, the Tamale Festival, the Bluegrass Freedom Festival, and monthly First Fridays to name a few. These events provide wholesome fun for local residents and their families while also attracting out-of-area visitors.
- Joined City Council colleagues to approve Barrel Creek development plans that will bring new jobs and housing to the northern part of Atascadero
Prudent Financial Manager
- Teamed with State Senator John Laird to secure a $3 million dollar appropriation for Atascadero infrastructure to resolve a long-standing financial issue with the state and ensure Atascadero was treated equitably.
- Worked with her colleagues to get unanimous Council approval to place a 1-cent sales tax measure on the ballot in November 2020 (Measure D-20) that was approved by nearly 60% of voters. These funds addressed a long-standing deficit in local funding for fire trucks, police officers, safety facilities and equipment and other function essential to serving the public.
- Advocated tirelessly for Atascadero to join Central Coast Community Energy (3CE), a non-profit alternative for electrical power services. In 2022, the Council unanimously voted to join 3CE. Starting in 2024, Atascadero families and businesses will be able to choose their electricity provider and potentially save money on power bills.
Improving Quality of Life in SLO County
- Broadened Atascadero City Council deliberations by raising issues such as mental health, child care, and racial equity in Council discussions. In response, the Council added Quality of Life elements to the city’s formal Action Plan, including 1) expanding and improving the activities offered to residents and visitors (e.g. the Atascadero Zoo, Galaxy Theater, a Performing Arts Center, enhancements to Colony Park), and 2) being welcoming and inclusive, and 3) supporting families.
- Convinced her Council colleagues that “constructive engagement with the unhoused community” was essential to achieving other Council priorities, and this objective was added to the official City Action Plan.
- Pursued strategic development to create a community where people of all ages can work, play and live.