John Ashbaugh – the “Leader Who Listens”

John Ashbaugh SLO City Council

SLO City Councilman,
John Ashbaugh

I was elected to the San Luis Obispo City Council in November 2008.

I’ve lived in this community for over 35 years; My wife and I launched our careers in this city in 1977; she is an attorney and, together with partner Jim Maguire, holds the primary public defender con tract for SLO County. We built our home in San Luis Obispo in 1988, and we raised our family here. Our two adult daughters, Anna and Laura, currently live in New York City and Washington, D.C., respectively.

I was the founding Director of the San Luis Obispo County Land Conservancy, and for 20 years I was an environmental planner, most of that time as the owner of a small consulting firm in the downtown. For the last 15 years I’ve taught history, political science, and global studies at Cal Poly and Hancock College. Prior to my election, I served for four years on our Planning Commission.

I take great pride in representing the people of San Luis Obispo on our Council. Here’s why:

  • Homeless Issues:  As the City’s representative on the Community Action Partnership Board, I’ve worked with homeless advocates to expand and improve our services to the homeless.
    • We chose a site to build a new Homeless Services Center not far from the Prado Day Center, and plans are well underway to raise the needed funds through a broad-based fund-raising campaign.
    • We’re working to provide expanded “safe parking” areas where it is permissible to live in vehicles, while assuring that basic safety and compatibility standards are maintained.
  • Planning and the Environment:  I’ve always been proud to be called an environmentalist.
    • I prodded the City to include an update to our 1994 Land Use and Circulation Elements as a major Council goal – and now that update is well underway with a citizens’ Task Force and top-notch consultants.
    • As the City’s representative on the Integrated Waste Management Authority, I spearheaded a successful campaign to require the use of re-usable grocery bags throughout SLO County. This ordinance was the culmination of a six-year grassroots effort, and drew support from the retail grocers association as well as the Chamber of Commerce.
    • I’ve also worked to expand our greenbelt, and launch the new “urban farm” on Calle Joaquin.

    John Ashbaugh and Lois Capps, San Luis Obispo, CA 2012

    John Ashbaugh with Congresswoman Lois Capps

  • Economic Development:  I helped the City formulate a goal of sustainable economic development emphasizing head-of-household jobs and strategic growth. We’ve just opened a new “hothouse” in a surplus City office building to foster young entrepreneurs in shaping business plans for new high-tech ventures with great promise.
  • Infrastructure: I have fought to maintain a sound capital improvement program that will keep our roads, bicycle paths, storm drains, and related infrastructure in good condition for the next generation. At the same time, I’ve supported the City’s commitment to our Public Art program.
  • Cultural Resource Protection: The Council adopted new Cultural Resource Protection standards in 2010. We have also launched a new, volunteer-driven survey of historic resources in San Luis Obispo, and taken steps to preserve our City-owned adobes as well as the Sunny Acres Juvenile Home above Johnson Avenue.
  • Neighborhood Services: Even as we cut significantly in all other areas of city services, we found a way to expand our Neighborhood Services unit and place it in the Community Development Department, where it belongs.

That’s only a part of my record of leadership – but equally important to me is that I also strive at every occasion to be a good LISTENER. The best ideas are often those that we get from the public, from our Advisory Bodies, and from my colleagues. If you have ideas or opinions that you want your Council to hear, I invite you to join the dialogue.