Delivering Results

Championing Public Safety

Susan staunchly believes that assurance of public safety against diverse threats is at the heart of local governance. Here is where she stands on key elements of the issue:

On Mental Health and Addiction:

Susan champions proactive measures in these areas for both those experiencing homelessness and the wider community. In- and out-patient services must be more widely available in order to realize her vision of a County where everyone can get their needs met.

On Law Enforcement and First Responders:

An effective, unbiased, and resource-rich law enforcement structure is crucial, whether in the Sheriff’s and DA’s offices, jails, or courts. Further, our first responders, who are so critical in emergencies, deserve competitive compensation and state-of-the art equipment. They must also have access to rigorous training and the support of mental health professionals in order to face the many challenges they will encounter.

On Disaster Preparedness:

Natural calamities such as earthquakes, floods and wildfires are an ever-present and increasing threat to county residents and businesses. Susan underscores the need for rigorous preparedness and promotes measures such as pre-established evacuation zones and shelters to ensure swift and systematic responses during crises.

Susan’s Proven Track Record:

Public Safety Personnel:

Actively and publicly championed Atascadero’s Measure D20, channeling additional funds for recruiting, training and equipping our police and firefighters.

Mental Health and Community Outreach:

Backed Atascadero’s innovative budget that introduces full-time mental health expertise to the police department and two specialized officer roles for the Outreach to Underrepresented Residents (OUR Team).

Wellness of First Responders:

Supported the inception of a peer support system, catering to the mental well-being of our police and fire personnel given their challenging roles.

Disaster Management:

Played a pivotal role in shaping Atascadero’s ZoneHaven blueprint which, in case of wildfires, makes it possible to manage traffic flow and quickly evacuate at-risk residents.


Lobbied for legislation to deter addictive behaviors funded by repeated thefts and backed the funding and launch of SLO County’s first medical detox facility.

Environmental Safety:

Advocated for measures to shield residents from potential hazards posed by explosive oil trains.

Initiating Action on Housing Affordability & Homelessness:

Understanding the Crisis: Susan leads in the fight on homelessness and affordable housing countywide. She recognizes that systemic factors such as the lack of good-paying jobs, the low-inventory of affordable housing, the shortage of stabilizing environments (e.g. shelters and safe-parking lots), and the scarcity of mental health and addiction services all contribute to the county’s ongoing crisis. She is also well aware of the fragmented aid landscape, and acknowledges the challenges that it  presents for coordination and information sharing. She also understands that robust data collection and analysis is required to drive decisions and reduce the number of unhoused on our streets. Susan supports Prop 13. The protection it offers to keep seniors from being taxed out of their homes is invaluable.

Susan’s Background and Achievements:


As Chair of SLO County’s Homeless Services Oversight Council (HSOC), Susan was instrumental in devising the Countywide Plan to Address Homelessness, which was approved unanimously by the Board of Supervisors in 2022. As she recommended, SLO County Administrative offices were reorganized to better coordinate homelessness services.


Teaming with City Councils, City Managers and county leaders, Susan has built a broad coalition to counter and prevent homelessness. Her collaboration with Former State Senator Sam Blakeslee and Greg Gillett yielded a framework emphasizing accountability in tackling homelessness while maintaining local control.

Innovation and Strategy:

Susan advocated for pre-approved Additional Dwelling Unit (ADU) plans, thereby reducing construction costs and indirectly increasing the affordable housing supply. Also, on Susan’s recommendation, SLO County recently approved the procurement of a new computer system dedicated to collecting and analyzing homelessness data.

Advancing Representative, Transparent & Accountable Governance

Susan is a leader and a collaborator. She believes that being as inclusive as possible is the way to make the decisions that are most likely to improve our common welfare and gain acceptance by the community. Susan’s door will be open. And, when considering matters before the SLO County Board of Supervisors, she will solicit ideas and concerns from a broad cross-section of the community.

She commits to publicizing upcoming agenda items and issues and to explaining her understanding of them. She promises to push for data collection so the Board can evaluate whether measures they implement are having the desired effect, and to share those evaluations with the public. Susan also believes that gerrymandering district boundaries to advantage one group or political party denies voters fair representation in their government.

Background and Experience


Susan organized the Homeless Services Oversight Committee to include representatives of all stakeholder groups – government agencies, law enforcement personnel, non-profit service providers and the homeless themselves. The input was critical in identifying measures that would be accepted and actively supported.


With a commitment to transparent governance, she has enhanced public participation in projects like the Downtown Infrastructure Enhancement Project. The public input resulted in changes reflecting concerns of parents and businesses, and achieved a safer and thriving commercial hub for Atascadero.


Susan has been a staunch advocate for ensuring financial transparency and proper utilization of public funds. She 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 advance voters’ priorities.

Voting Rights:

Susan firmly endorses the Board of Supervisors’ recent initiative to establish a non-partisan redistricting commission to take responsibility for the required review and revision of SLO County district boundaries triggered each decade by the US census.

Empowering SLO County’s Future: Opportunities for Residents & Families

Susan recognizes the pivotal role housing, employment, and vibrant community spaces play in fostering a community where people want to live. Passionately endorsing economic ventures that uplift families while maintaining environmental standards, she is an advocate for local labor unions, understanding their value for working families. As part of her vision for a sustainable and flourishing future, Susan extends her support to SLO County's innovative energy programs, contributing to California's green transition and generating rewarding employment prospects.

Accomplishments and Endeavors:

Revitalizing Atascadero:

Played a crucial role in rejuvenating Atascadero’s downtown, prominently endorsing the recently inaugurated La Plaza development. She is also an advocate for broadening housing and employment opportunities in Atascadero.

Promoting Development and Employment:

Partnered with the City Council in greenlighting the Barrel Creek development, aiming to infuse northern Atascadero with fresh job opportunities and housing solutions.

Enriching Community Involvement:

Has been an active voice introducing and promoting community events like the Central Coast Craft Beer Fest, the Tamale Festival, the Bluegrass Freedom Festival, and monthly First Fridays. These events not only serve as recreational outlets for local residents and their families but also draw visitors from outside regions.

Supporting Local Employment:

Coordinates closely with local unions to prioritize local hiring for new development projects.

Investing in Youth and Training:

Endorses enhanced job training and plans that incorporate apprenticeship opportunities for the county’s youth via high schools, Cuesta Community College, and trade unions.

Advocating for Affordable Housing:

Actively backs housing initiatives, highlighting the value of pre-approved plans for Additional Development Units (ADUs). Such plans streamline the planning process, cut down expenses, and reduce construction times.

Advancing Quality of Life in SLO County

Susan is steadfast in her pursuit to elevate the living standards and opportunities for every SLO County resident, irrespective of their background, gender, or ethnicity. A vocal advocate for inclusive policies, she resolutely opposes discrimination and hate speech. Committed to both environmental conservation and infrastructural enhancement, Susan envisions a prosperous and harmonious future for all in SLO County.

Accomplishments and Initiatives:

Expanding Council’s Horizons:

Introduced pressing topics such as mental health, child care, and racial equity into Atascadero City Council discussions. As a result, the Council incorporated Quality of Life parameters into the city’s strategic Action Plan. This encompasses:
  • Enriching and expanding activities for both locals and tourists, like upgrades to the Atascadero Zoo, Galaxy Theater, the introduction of a Performing Arts Center, and enhancements to Colony Park.
  • Upholding a spirit of inclusivity and welcoming.
  • Fortifying support systems for families.
  • Advocacy for the Unhoused: Championed the importance of "constructive engagement with the unhoused community," leading to its inclusion in the official City Action Plan.

Holistic Development:

Spearheaded initiatives to sculpt a community where residents across all age groups can seamlessly integrate their work, leisure, and living experiences.

Guaranteeing Water Security for SLO County’s Future

Susan sees clear water resources as the backbone to a thriving future in SLO County for upcoming generations. She grasps the critical role water plays in both sustaining our local economy—via agriculture and tourism—and ensuring the wellbeing of every resident.  Susan is determined to address the challenges head-on. Her commitment extends beyond mere talk: she seeks to actively remedy the overdraft pumping of crucial aquifers, urging data-driven strategies, resource conservation, and effective recycling.

Strategic Approaches:

Collaborative Solutions:

Drawing parallels from her successful consensus-building approach towards homelessness, Susan plans to engage all stakeholders in dialogue, emphasizing coordinated strategies and inclusion in decision-making.

Efficiency and Conservation:

Advocates for the elimination of wasteful water incentives, emphasizing a cost-efficient balance between conserving and expanding water resources.

Data-Driven Decisions:

Champions investments in comprehensive well-monitoring systems and robust data analytics to ensure that decisions about water use are based on accurate, real-time information.

Background and Initiatives:

Early Exposure:

Growing up as the daughter of a Kansas hydrologist, Susan gained firsthand experience touring farmlands, understanding irrigation methodologies, and assessing crop health.

Proactive Involvement:

As a dedicated member of the Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) for the Atascadero Basin, Susan takes charge of water resource management in the Atascadero region.


Actively nurtures relationships with other GSAs, particularly focusing on high-priority groups in Paso, Edna Valley, and Cuyama Basins, ensuring alignment in priorities and addressing current water-related challenges.

Committing to Fiscal Responsibility for the County and its Residents

Susan is unwavering in her promise to ensure the judicious use of taxpayer dollars from SLO County families. Backed by her academic credentials, an MBA and a Certificate in Public Management, coupled with an extensive career in healthcare financial management, she recognizes that robust financial governance – in both public and private sectors – is indispensable. Furthermore, her personal experiences as a mother, homemaker, and small business entrepreneur have imparted in her the value of prudent spending and wise investments for building prosperous futures.

Strategic Achievements:

Equitable Financial Deals:

Successfully collaborated with State Senator John Laird, securing a $3 million allocation for Atascadero's infrastructure. This not only resolved a longstanding fiscal issue with the state but also ensured fair treatment for Atascadero.

Local Funding Advocacy:

Achieved unanimous Council consent to propose a 1-cent sales tax initiative (Measure D-20) in the November 2020 ballot. Endorsed by almost 60% of the electorate, this funding filled a persistent deficit, which had impacted vital public needs like fire trucks, police officers, safety amenities, and crucial equipment.

Innovative Power Solutions:

Championed Atascadero's affiliation with Central Coast Community Energy (3CE), an alternative nonprofit electrical power provider. Following a unanimous Council vote in 2022 favoring this membership, from 2024 onwards, Atascadero's households and businesses will have the liberty to select their electricity suppliers, possibly leading to substantial reductions in energy bills.

Protecting People and the Environment

Susan has taken strong positions on issues that impact the health and safety of SLO County residents today and in the future. Her priorities include reducing the use of fossil fuels, protecting local air quality, limiting the impacts of human developments on important habitats, preserving natural attractions that enhance tourism, and maintaining our essential water supply. As a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, she is keenly aware of how environmental conditions impact residents’ health. 

Susan’s Advocacy:

Offshore Wind Farms:

Susan supports the development of renewable energy projects such as offshore wind farms because they offer important opportunities for good paying jobs and economic growth in our County while helping reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. At the same time, the development projects she would support must be designed to minimize negative impacts on our communities – particularly on fire safety – and on marine life off our coast.

Oceano Dunes:

Susan believes that decisions about off-roading on the dunes must be considered in light of the impact to persons who live in the area. She compares the situation to the implementation of policies which restrict people’s liberty to smoke in public places because of the harm caused by second hand smoke. She believes that the County should advocate that the State develop off-roading opportunities in areas with less sensitive habitat and fewer negative impacts on downwind populations.

Oil Exploration and Drilling:

Susan believes that most fossil fuel expansion proposals would add local risks while offering minimal local benefits. Extracting more oil in this area will not reduce local gas prices at the pump. She also opposes drilling offshore due to risks to marine life, sensitive habitat and tourism.

Water Resources:

Susan recognizes that a sustainable water supply is essential for maintaining the quality of life in our region. She opposes any expansion of fracking in SLO County due to the impact on water usage and groundwater resources. She also supports specific measures in Groundwater Sustainability Plans which would increase well monitoring capabilities and improve data collection and analysis.

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