Dear Fellow San Luis Obispo Resident,

    I am Mike Clark, a candidate for your City Council, and I am taking this opportunity to introduce myself to you.

Who am I?

    I was born and raised in Oakland and first came to San Luis Obispo to attend Cal Poly as a Mechanical Engineering junior in 1965.  The day before I was scheduled to return for my senior year, I received a draft notice, and my life changed significantly.  I soon found myself as a Second Lieutenant serving with the Combat Engineers in Vietnam.

    That was the beginning of what was to become a challenging and rewarding twenty-nine year career of public service in the Army and California Army National Guard.  I served abroad and in the United States and retired as a Colonel and Director of Logistics for the California Army National Guard.  I completed my bachelor’s degree (in business) during the years I was stationed in California, and I continue to be grateful for the opportunities and experiences I had while serving our country.  I know what it is to serve in a leadership position both on a daily basis and in crisis situations; to effectively achieve goals within a large organization; and to work well with many different people with widely diverse backgrounds.  I believe that these are also the skills that are needed to be a strong and effective advocate for city residents on the City Council and at City Hall.

Why do I live in San Luis Obispo?

    When I retired in 1996, my wife, Sandy Rowley, and I chose the City we loved – San Luis Obispo – where she was working and where we had found a home where I could happily retire when I finished my temporary assignment in Sacramento (I was certainly glad to end that two-year weekly commute).  Over the years, I had been stationed in several California cities and had temporary assignments in numerous others.  Sandy and I knew from personal experience what we did not want.  We did not want to live in one of the many other once-beautiful California cities that had been good places to live at one time, but had been sadly overwhelmed by too much traffic, too many people, too much crime, and where clean air and natural open spaces were only memories captured in old photographs.  None of those cities could ever be confused with San Luis Obispo, and none of them can ever get back to being what San Luis Obispo still is.

    However, I have a rising belief that something is going wrong and that if we do not act effectively now to preserve what we all care about – our unique small town character, our many and varied residential neighborhoods, our beautiful open spaces, and our charming downtown – may be lost forever . . . for ourselves, our children, our grandchildren and future generations.

How Have I Served Our Community?

    Since returning to San Luis Obispo two decades ago, I have served our community in a number of leadership positions.  I was appointed by the Presiding Judge of the Superior Court to serve as the Foreman of the County’s 1999-2000 Grand Jury, having previously served on the 1998-1999 Grand Jury.  Then in 2005 I became San Luis Obispo’s contribution to a Federal Grand Jury in Los Angeles where I was appointed Deputy Foreman.  All of this gave me an in-depth understanding of our city and county governments and led me to become a Commissioner on the County’s Juvenile Justice Commission and the Delinquency Prevention Commission where I am serving my fourth four-year term.  In 2001 I became a member of the San Luis Obispo Police Department's Juvenile Diversion Program where I served for eight years as a Diversion Panel Volunteer until the program ended in early 2009.

    In the non-profit arena, I have served as a Director of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., High School Memorial Scholarship Fund for fourteen years and as the Treasurer for eight years; the group was formed here in 1968 to award scholarships for college/trade school (520 to date) to deserving seniors graduating from the city’s three high schools – San Luis Obispo High School, Mission College Preparatory, and Pacific Beach High School.  Additionally, I served five years as an Advisory Board member of a Cal Poly Mentoring Program that assists troubled or at-risk youth from throughout the county in becoming mature adults with the potential for good futures.  I have also volunteered my time with Residents for Quality Neighborhoods – a citywide organization that seeks to preserve, protect and improve the quality of life in San Luis Obispo’s many unique residential neighborhoods.

Why Should You Care?

    I believe that we care because you and I still choose to live here and because we greatly value what is special about our City – even as we begin to see longtime neighbors giving up and moving away in search of quieter places to live and raise their children and grandchildren; as traffic headaches multiply; as the charm of our downtown – with its canopy of stately trees, sunny sidewalks, and views of the surrounding hills – is being threatened by calls for higher and bigger hotels and condos; as our naturally beautiful hillsides, peaks, and creeks are being overused and over-advertised as tourist attractions; and as we are faced with voting for or voting against raising our taxes on the November ballot.  These remain challenging economic times for seniors, families and small businesses – just look at the turnover in our downtown business district and the vacancies in our shopping areas.  

What Can We Do?

    We can protect what is great about our city and what we care about.  That is why I am running for City Council and that is why I am being supported by current Council Members such as Dan Carpenter, former Mayor and Council Members Peg Pinard and Ken Schwartz, former Council Members Kathy Smith, Christine Mulholland, and Dodie Williams, as well as  leaders of several neighborhood organizations, and many of your friends and neighbors.

    I believe that the skills I have gained both during and after my working career uniquely qualify me to be a strong and effective advocate for city residents on the City Council.  I would truly appreciate your vote for my candidacy on November 8, 2016.

Please cast your vote for

Mike Clark for City Council


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