Andy Pekema is a King City native who recently relocated to Paso Robles after attending college at California State University, Long Beach and working as an engineer in the Los Angeles aerospace and automotive industries. Pekema said that he’s running for City Council in order to fix the traffic problems and roads in Paso Robles.
“We don’t like driving on bumpy roads,” he said. “I think we all know the issues around town. I’m not claiming to be a miracle worker but I will work hard and listen to everyone.”
WHAT WILL YOU DO TO FACILITATE HOUSING FOR WORKERS AND FAMILIES IN PASO ROBLES?
On the subject of affordable housing, Pekema downplayed the City’s role and said that a lack of affordable housing is an issue all over the state.
“The City Council can only do so much,” he said. “So I’m not going to promise you the world here, but there’s a few things that we can easily do short-term.”
Like many of the other candidates, Pekema called for stricter regulations for short-term housing and lowering of impact fees.
“If and when those developments go in, I want to work with them to make sure that we do have a decent amount of houses that people can afford and not just a bunch of developers enriching themselves.”
IN YOUR OPINION, WHAT IS THE BIGGEST PROBLEM FACING PASO ROBLES AND WHAT IS YOUR SOLUTION?
Of the many issues he’d like to address if elected, Pekeme said that roads are the most important.
“I think that our roads have clearly been neglected for a very, very long time and I want that to end,” he said. “I think that we shouldn’t really have to keep doing special taxes to fix our roads. I think we need to make it more of a priority within our general fund and I know that’s going to be hard. There’s going to be difficult decisions to be made, but we have to do it. The conditions of our roads is rough but we also have what are called traffic bottlenecks around. I moved here to get away from traffic but I find myself sitting in traffic all the time still and I get very, very frustrated. So, I will make a lot of effort to identify these traffic bottlenecks and try to improve them.
WHAT IS YOUR POSITION ON SB 54, THE SANCTUARY CITY AND WILL YOU PROACTIVELY WORK WITH OR AGAINST ICE TO REMOVE CONVICTED CRIMINAL ILLEGAL ALIENS OUT OF PASO ROBLES?
Pekema expressed mixed feelings on SB-54, saying that he likes the state goal of making immigrant residents more comfortable, but taking issue with any law that restricts communication between government agencies.
“That’s just a recipe for disaster,” he said. “As for getting criminals out of the city, SB-54, as I understand it, does not stop criminals from being arrested, especially illegal immigrants from being arrested or deported, it just makes police not worry so much about their immigration status. Of course if they’ve committed a crime, we still arrest them, we still send them to jail, we still deport them if the are actually committing crimes. We need to be very, very cautious with this because I don’t want it to turn into a whole fracas.”
RESIDENTS KEEP BEING TOLD THERE’S A SHORTAGE OF WATER BUT WE KEEP BUILDING HOTELS. HOW ARE THE TWO COMPATIBLE? DO YOU WANT PASO TO GROW? AND WOULD YOU PROMOTE TOURISM THROUGH THE BUDGET?
On the topic of water, Pekema was also generally unconcerned with the future of the City’s water supply, but did express concern about the amount of water used by vineyards.
“I think we don’t need to be too worried about the hotels — we have wonderful low-flow toilets these days,” he said. “I think we need to be a little more concerned about the vineyards surrounding us that are dumping thousands and thousands and thousands of gallons on them.”
Pekema was also pro-tourism but urged caution about relying only on expanding tourism.
“I think we’re turning into a kind of one-trick-pony kind of town if you will,” he said. “I think we need to focus more on creating other types of jobs that might have better salaries for employees so that they can actually afford to live here. I think I’m for responsible growth. I think we need to not just let developers run wild, but we obviously have discussed housing prices and the only way to bring that down is with more houses, so I think we need to do that, but we need to do it responsibly.”

Getting through this together, Paso Robles