John Ashbaugh | Updates |

Councilman Ashbaugh thanks you for your support, invites you to election night party!

Election Day is quickly approaching, and my campaign has been running well – in spite of the attempts by some of my challengers to cast aspersions on my character.

As I continue to walk the neighborhoods and listen in and talk with San Luis Obispo residents, I’ve been gratified by the unstinting support from those of you who have known me and worked with me in the past. I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you who have empowered me to be a “leader who listens,” continually engaged in learning how I can do a better job to serve you.

It has been a rewarding experience being able to represent my friends and neighbors of San Luis Obispo. Together, we have accomplished many things that will benefit our community for years to come – new bike paths and open space, expanded homeless services, an Economic Development Strategic Plan as well as the Local Climate Action Plan. I strive at every occasion to be a good LISTENER: The best ideas are often those that we get from YOU, from the public, from our Advisory Bodies, and from my colleagues. I will continue to invite your ideas or opinions that you want your Council to hear.

Finally, let me invite you to join me and a fine crew of volunteers at the Graduate on Industrial Way in SLO on Election Night. The party starts after the polls have closed at 8 p.m.. You can expect a good time with wine, beer, and snacks supplied by the SLO County Democratic Central Committee as well as my campaign.

Councilman Ashbaugh Responds to Complaints Filed by Opponents

I am now a veteran of four campaigns for my own election, beginning twenty years ago when I ran for State Assembly (against Andrea Seastrand). People say politics has changed since then, that it has become more partisan and bitter, with a “no holds barred” approach toward attacking one’s opponents.

Maybe so. The last week has provided some evidence of that in my own campaign. I failed to return a donation of two bottles of wine from a friend and supporter, Adam Hill, who I’d invited as the guest of honor at our main campaign party on September  23. I disclosed this “non-monetary contribution” as required, and directed that we write a check back to Adam for the (assumed) value of the wine, about $30. The Tribune reports today that I’ve had to pay a $250 fine for having accepted a campaign contribution in excess of the $200 limit – basically we refunded too little, and too late, to avoid a technical violation of the law.

And as you saw in yesterday’s editorial in the Tribune, I had already received a “slap on the wrist” brickbat – though they reserved their most severe criticism for my opponent, Kevin Rice, for having generated these complaints in the first place!

I’m no stranger to getting brickbats from the Tribune, and I’m always willing to “own up” when I make a mistake. As the Tribune has stated, however, “we’re sick and tired of this self-righteous brand of ‘gotcha’ campaigning that blows the slightest misstep or misstatement out of proportion.”

I am anxious to get back to the issues as soon as possible – how to manage the growing presence of the homeless in our city; how to maintain the fiscal integrity of the City; how to continue to provide quality municipal services while maintaining reasonable utility rates.

I still have a few reusable “Re-Elect Ashbaugh” grocery bags, if you haven’t yet gotten yours – and we have a dwindling supply of yard signs too, so contact me. Naturally, we are still accepting contributions, too – as long as it is cash, and as long as your cumulative contributions won’t exceed the City’s $200 per person limit!

Councilman Ashbaugh “owns up” to errant use of City email account

Councilman John B. Ashbaugh is responding with the following statement to the allegations in the complaint filed with the City Attorney’s office by challenger Kevin Rice and his associates, as follows:

1)      Yes, I did inadvertently send some emails from my official Citiy email account; these emails are clearly a mistake that I have conceded the instant they were brought to my attention – which was well before the complaint filed by my challenger Mr. Rice.

2)      I have 5 email addresses that I use on a regular basis; I use five different devices to access a very high volume of emails; and I send 15-25 emails each day in order to meet the demands of three different jobs, my family, and my campaign. I’m willing to believe that many people in our world have made the same, very inadvertent mistake.

3)      I am fully aware that any use of the City’s email account to discuss campaign matters is not appropriate, and I support that rule. That’s why I addressed it as soon when it happened. Those of us who have multiple non-City e-addresses must be particularly vigilant, but it is altogether too easy to begin composing (or replying to) an email using an incorrect account.

To summarize, the errant use of the City’s email account was a mistake for which I have already taken responsibility – before Kevin P. Rice felt necessary to make a story about it by filing a complaint. Should the City Attorney decide to pursue the complaint submitted by my opponent, then of course, I will do what’s necessary to remedy this matter in a way that upholds the integrity of the City and of my office. I always admit when I make a mistake, and I always do what’s necessary to resolve it – I always have and I always will.

As to the remaining allegations in the complaint (items 2 and 3), these are very minor matters: Several weeks ago, I directed my campaign treasurer to refund to the donor (Supervisor Adam Hill) the value of two bottles of wine that he had brought to a campaign event, since he had already contributed a check for $200 (the maximum amount allowed under City campaign finance laws). As to the August 3 filing for my first Form 460, it was submitted only after several conversations and email exchanges with our Acting City Clerk at the time, and it was accepted late without consequence.

Finally, I fixed my mistakes before Mr. Rice decided to file what’s basically a retroactive complaint for reasons one can assume are akin to an “October surprise,” or his countless other attacks targeted on elected officials during the 2012 primary election. It’s discouraging that Kevin, whom I had once regarded as a friendly adversary, has once again decided to get down into the gutters and muddy up the waters of this election, which is so critical to the people of our community here in SLO. Quite frankly, we all need to rise above Mr. Rice’s cynical approach to local government, and his seemly negative outlook on what it means to be a public servant. SLO isn’t cynical, Mr. Rice. SLO Government isn’t about creating and proliferating “gotcha” stories; it’s about working together to find solutions to everyday, real problems.

I love where I live, and I prefer to focus on issues important to my long-time home, San Luis Obispo. I will continue to do so to the best of my ability.