Get to know your candidates campaigning for your vote this November 

By The Paso Robles Press Board 

PASO ROBLES — Campaigning continues for the candidates vying for the three open seats on Paso Robles’ City Council. The 2022 Candidates include: 

City Mayor At-Large

  • Steve Martin
  • Michael Rivera 

District 1

  • John Hamon

District 2

  • Chris Bausch

As a follow-up to last week’s City Council Candidates 2022 Q&A Part I, each candidate had the opportunity to answer the same list of questions from The Atascadero News Editorial Board in 150 words or less in addition to their introduction and statement at 200 words.

The candidate’s answers are presented by district and in alphabetical order by last name. Please refer to last week’s paper for Part I. 

Please describe your business experience.

Martin (Mayor): I have operated several businesses over the years including Paso Robles Public Relations, AdPro, and S.W. Martin & Associates. I specialize in advertising/marketing/public relations. I have published a magazine for Amtrak and currently host/produce, a multi-media services featuring multiple music formats, video news reports and local features. For Several seasons the VOP broadcasted Paso Robles High School sports. I have worked as a news editor in radio and print and received recognition for national stories. I have been recognized for excellence in radio advertising by the Radio Advertising Bureau.

Rivera (Mayor): I have worked in both technology and the Medical Industry over my career. Currently I work with Orthopedic Surgeons and Podiatrists providing Durable Medical Equipment and caring for joint replacement patients Post Operative in the home environment.

Bausch (City Council District 2): I have owned and managed multiple small businesses, some with over fifty employees. Today, I work with business owners to improve their bottom line, reduce expenses, and increase productivity. I help expand businesses, position them for sale, and in succession planning. I know from first-hand experience what it takes to meet payroll. I believe in developing and then sticking to a budget. The old adage goes “Remember, the customer signs your paycheck.” As the new member of your City Council, I’ll remember that you, the taxpayer, sign my paycheck.

What will you do to make the City Council better if you are elected?

Martin (Mayor): I will continue to push for improved fire and police services, protect our water rights, support accelerated repairs for our streets and work for a diversified economy to complement our tourism industry by developing ag-tech, broadband access and the opportunity to license our airport as a spaceport. I will work closely with regional and state organizations to Address the needs and impacts of our homeless population. I will collaborate with our citizens and businesses to improve downtown parking. Above all, I will continue to respond to ALL communications from my constituents and treat everyone with kindness and respect.

Rivera (Mayor): I will work to create a co-operative environment to create policies focused on the needs of Roblans first. Working to help staff to work together to deliver the services that Roblans have worked for and expect from their City Government.

Bausch (City Council District 2): Listen more. Communication between Roblans and City Council needs to improve to re-establish trust. There is a growing sense among many Roblans that decisions are being made for the future of Paso Robles without their voices being adequately listened to and given as much weight as those from outside the City. While I believe the current City Council is, for the most part, making sound decisions, how their decisions are made may not be fully communicated to Roblans.

What is the most important city issue you would like the next city council to tackle? (Examples: vacant housing, crime, transportation, business development, etc.)

Martin (Mayor): Assuring the continued availability of water, providing the opportunity for more affordable housing and diversifying our job base are critical issues. As we grow, we must also make sure adequate traffic circulation exists along with quality of life amenities such as parks and ball fields. Our General Plan defines “quality of life” as being a place where people can live, work and shop. If we stay focused on that our city will continue to thrive as a successful and vibrant community. We all have a part in making this happen. Stay informed, stay involved, stay strong, Paso Robles.

Rivera (Mayor): That’s a question that is “Loaded” because we have to have a multi prong approach. First rods are obviously a high priority, however the homeless issue continues to be a big problem as crime comes with this issue. Then of course we have the issue of housing affordability. There are many who work in our City who cannot afford to live here. There are many issues we must begin to honestly deal with however the current administration has ignored them and now we are in a very difficult circumstances, however we can overcome the problems if we work together. 

Bausch (City Council District 2):  Communication between Roblans and City Council needs to be improved to re-establish trust. There is a growing sense among many Roblans that decisions are being made for the future of Paso Robles without their voices being adequately and actively listened to. While I believe the current City Council is, for the most part, making sound decisions, how their decisions are made may not be fully communicated to Roblans.

What do you think is going well right now in the city?

Martin (Mayor): Strong local traditions enshrine our history and inspire our future. Our people pitch in to make things happen. Our advisory commissions, Main Street, the Chamber of Commerce, the Hispanic Business Association, the Wine Country Alliance, TravelPaso, and many others support our city and propel it forward. Conservative planning makes our city financially secure, despite a national recession and a global pandemic. We are looking to the future to secure water, housing, public safety, street repairs and economic development. There are always challenges, but we are prepared to meet them together for the benefit of all.

Rivera (Mayor): To be direct we are not hitting any of the key issues that Roblans are faced with. Road reconstruction has been bungled there has been no plan for upwardly mobile employment opportunities other than a Spaceport. Because I was very involved in commercial space launches at Vandenberg I know a spaceport is not attainable in any real way in the near or long term future. Infrastructure, planning and implantation will cost many 10’s of millions of dollars and Roblans are not being told this. This type of distraction will prevent the City from serving the needs of average Roblans. It’s the “shiny thing” that the current Mayor is pushing because he is not succeeding in providing for the needs of average Roblans. 

Bausch (City Council District 2): Fully funding our Police and Fire Departments and hiring additional safety personnel. The City is actively improving response times by building a third fire station on Union Road and adding another police station near the airport. Maintaining existing infrastructure such as roads, buildings, and water delivery. That being said, if at all possible, Roblans would appreciate improving roads as soon as possible.

If elected, what three steps would you take to put our city on a firmer financial footing?

Martin (Mayor): 1) Continue balanced budgets and conservative financial planning. We have a healthy General Fund reserve which provides relief in times of economic stress. 2) Preserve and enhance our successful financial base. Support our Main Street organization and Chamber of Commerce and fund needed improvements in our downtown and elsewhere to keep our businesses flourishing. Work closely with tourism partners to attract the visitors that pay as much as 40 percent of our General Fund expenses. 3) Look to the future with a tech-corridor and spaceport that will create new, high-paying jobs in the fields of agriculture, education, and commercial space exploration.

Rivera (Mayor): Getting a full picture of current spending and looking at any place in the budget to be more efficient. Making sure that special interests are not being served before the needs of Roblans. There is always room for improvement in any budget and I will work with the community to find those savings. Roblans are the only special interests I will focus on. We must keep in mind that there is very significant increases in costs of our own people. Until we understand there is not a “magic money tree” and a continued push to increase taxes is a solution we will continue to put more and more pressure on our local Citizens. The current Mayor has supported many tax increases during his tenure without ever looking at savings within the current budget.

Bausch (City Council District 2): The City has been on a sound budget for many years. Let’s stick with what works.

What things could be improved to make Paso Robles a better place to live, work and play?

Martin (Mayor): 1) More affordable housing to serve people of all income levels. This includes single-family residences and multi-family apartment/condominium complexes. 2) More and different jobs to retain local talent and attract new businesses. Each year thousands of graduates in the area relocate because they can’t find employment. Making/keeping jobs here means we all have a place to work. 3) An adequate number of recreational areas, play fields, walking/bicycle trails. We need to broaden and deepen the selection of recreational opportunities for our citizens and our visitors.

Rivera (Mayor): Focus on Roblans. We lack Parks in other areas of our City and improving existing ones. Working with our Local Schools both public and private to allow Parents to have more choices in their Children’s Education and getting serious about the Drug problem which leads to so many other issues like homelessness. We also need to search out real world answers to creating an environment where business can create upwardly mobile employment opportunities and Head of household jobs.

Bausch (City Council District 2): Focus first and foremost on Roblans. Review and, if necessary, replace the downtown parking program with a parking structure.

Repave Creston Road sooner than later. Put forth a single comprehensive plan for or against marijuana/cannabis instead of the current piecemeal approach.

Why should the residents vote for you?

Martin (Mayor): I have served as a Council member for 20 years, 10 of those as Mayor. I was president of Main Street and the Paso Robles Library Foundation. I have served in several service clubs. We have adequate water, healthy reserves, growing fire and police departments, and an ongoing street maintenance program. Now we are “pioneering the future” with a tech corridor/spaceport. I’m supported by Police and Firefighters, all elected Council members, several Planning and Airport Commissioners, plus educators and businesspeople. I am the experienced, effective, and endorsed candidate, and I respectfully ask for your vote.

Rivera (Mayor): I’ve outlined them in my answers. In business and in my service in Government serving the people I have been successful. I can do it as Paso Robles Mayor as well.

Bausch (City Council District 2): I am a fiscal conservative who understands that expenses should not exceed revenue. I believe in limited government that provides exemplary public service within well-defined parameters. Public Safety, especially fully funded Police and Fire Departments, should be our top priority. Economic development, public works, housing, especially employee housing, solving the homeless situation, roads, traffic circulation, “purple pipe” reclaimed water, and the shared use of public spaces such as athletic fields with our schools are vital to the success of Paso Robles.