Incumbent Steve Martin has a long history of involvement in Paso Robles politics, going back to his first stint on the City Council beginning in 1987, followed by a term as mayor beginning in 1988. He was again elected to the City Council in 2012 and was elected Mayor in 2014. He’s also served on numerous government committees and boards.
Professionally, Martin comes from a background in media and public relations, having served with organizations such as Twin Cities Community Hospital, KPRL Radio, the Paso Robles Main Street Association and the City of Atascadero.
Martin is active in many community service groups including the Paso Robles Kiwanis Club and Optimist Club. He also plays multiple musical instruments and has written eight stage plays, a book on Atascadero history and a science fiction novel set in Paso Robles.
As mayor, Martin said that his priorities would be those identified by residents in a recent citywide survey: street repairs, economic development and public safety.
Of his accomplishments during his time as an elected official, Martin said he is most proud of “stabilizing the water situation” in Paso Robles by securing multiple sources of water, the progress in economic development, changes in governance at the airport that will allow for more economic development of that property, negotiating a reduction in cost for the planned county animal shelter and also being a leader in civil discourse at City Council meetings.
“Back in 1991 when I was on the Council we put together a vision statement that defined the quality of life in Paso Robles,” Martin said. “That vision has remained in place ever since then so it will be my job and should be the job of every Council person to continue to make Paso Robles a place where people can live, work and enjoy their lives, which means recreation, it means shopping, services, things like that. So live, work and recreate, that’s what we’re trying to do in Paso Robles.”
On Thursday, Oct. 4 the two mayoral candidates, along with the four Council candidates gathered for a question-and-answer forum at the Paso Robles Elks Lodge, introducing themselves before fielding questions from the moderator, Paso Robles Joint Unified School District Chris Williams, along with questions from the public.
Martin used his introduction to tout his accomplishments during his past four years as Mayor of Paso Robles and saying that his term has been “invigorating.”
“We worked on ways to make more affordable housing, we’ve worked on financial budgets that have provided a fiscally responsible city with healthy reserves and we’re all very pleased with that.”
Turning toward the future, Martin said he would like to accelerate repairs to streets over the next year and work closely with economic development partners to accelerate plans for updates to public safety.
“Those will be my primary areas of focus next year because those are the things that you said you want us to focus on,” Martin said.
WHAT WILL YOU DO TO FACILITATE HOUSING FOR WORKERS AND FAMILIES IN PASO ROBLES?
Martin said that the housing situation in Paso Robles is strongly tied to the economy and the answer to the problem of a lack of workforce housing lies in economic development. Martin said that the city has already streamlined the developer application process and worked through its Housing Constraints and Opportunities Committee to work on a plan to lower impact fees.
“We also want to partner with business and tourism and the agricultural community so we can work to provide adequate and appropriate housing for those sectors,” Martin said. “And at the end of the day, when this is all done and we’ve provided a greater inventory for everybody in the city, we want to make sure that all new development pays its fair share.”
IN YOUR OPINION, WHAT IS THE BIGGEST PROBLEM FACING PASO ROBLES AND WHAT IS YOUR SOLUTION?
Martin said that he believes the biggest problems facing Paso Robles are those identified by the citizens in a recent survey: public safety, economic development and street repairs.
“Those are going to be the biggest problems for us over the next three years,” he said. “They are high-ticket items and we’re going to have to work really hard to make that happen.”
Martin also mentioned the unfunded liability of the CAL-PERS retirement program as another big problem but said that the city has already taken strides toward addressing the issue.
“The City of Paso Robles has made great strides over the last four years including tiered hiring practices, extraordinary contributions to pay down that debt and other strategies including teaming with our employee groups to approach Sacramento about reforming CAL-PERS rules.”
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?
While calling for local cooperation with any government agency, Martin also said that he wants to keep the enforcement of local laws the top priority of Paso Robles law enforcement officers.
“ I think that our first responsibility with our local police is to protect our local citizens,” he said. “Whether you’re an illegal immigrant or not, if you break the law you should go to jail. What the City of Paso Robles has done in trying to express that position is to ask our police chief to consult with his law enforcement peers and put together a set of concerns we have about SB-54 and how it inhibits local law enforcement and how it really damages community relations. And those concerns have been transmitted to our state legislature and to our governor. So we’re going to continue to try to balance the enforcement duties locally and the enforcement duties nationally to make sure that all of our citizens are protected in every instance.”
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?
Martin began by allaying concern over the water supply, pointing out that the city has now secured five different sources of water, which could produce up to 15,000 acre-feet of water per year and the city is only expected to use around 9,500 acre-feet per year under the full projected build-out.
“The City of Paso Robles has five different sources of water and it has sufficient water for us under build-out and that includes residential, hotels, businesses, etc.,” Martin said. “We’re very fortunate to be in that position.”
Martin called tourism “one of the greatest potentials for returning our investment in the city for the citizens,” but also said the impact of all of those visitors on local services should be a concern.
“Tourism makes up 40 percent of the revenue for my general fund, which actually writes-down the bills for the rest of us who don’t have to pay that money,” he said. “In the future, the reputation of Paso Robles will continue to grow worldwide as a place where people will come and visit and spend their money and help us economically.”

Getting through this together, Paso Robles