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Jimmy spearheads a pilot program that will provide free HEPA filters to low income South County residents

A few tips on creating a cleaner air space in your home.

Hi everyone,

I am so pleased to be able to share with you a new clean air program for South County residents!

At my request, the SLO County Air Pollution Control District will be piloting a program to offer low-income South County residents HEPA air purifiers free of charge in order to provide relief from wildfire smoke and particulate matter from the Oceano Dunes.

I want to thank my fellow APCD board members for supporting this program, and APCD staff who will be implementing it over the coming weeks.

Ensuring everyone in South County has clean air to breathe is one of the reasons I was first inspired to run for office. While there is still much work to be done, I look forward to seeing this program serve the most vulnerable members of our community very soon.

Read the full release here: Clean Air Program Press Release

Jimmy Paulding
Mayor Pro Tem
City of Arroyo Grande
Candidate for County Supervisor, San Luis Obispo County, District 4

To learn more about Jimmy’s campaign and his vision for South County, visit Jimmy welcomes hearing from you. You can email Jimmy at or call Jimmy at (805) 994-0025.


Jimmy covers community involvement opportunities, a tribute to Robert “Red” Davis, redistricting, and more in his latest newsletter.

Hi everyone,

I’d like to take the opportunity to talk about some challenges and opportunities we are presented within our community, and how you can get involved. The common theme among each of these topics is how we can do better to lift people up in our community, build community, and strengthen our democracy and involvement in local government – instead of tearing things down, which seems to be an all-too-common trend right now.

County-wide Redistricting Process

If you haven’t visited the County’s website, you can find information regarding the restricting process, timeline, and how you can get involved at the public hearings here, and draw and submit your own district maps to the County here. It is important that you share your input regarding “communities of interest” in District 4. You can provide this input here. Unfortunately, the County Board of Supervisors has chosen not to hold any public workshops other than the required hearings so it is important that we all try to utilize the hearings as the vehicle for communicating our thoughts, ideas, and concerns.

Arroyo Grande District Elections

If you haven’t visited the City of Arroyo Grande’s website, you can find information related to our districting process here, and draw and submit your own district maps here. Again, it is important that you share your input regarding communities of interest. You can submit this input to Although the public hearings have started, our City Council chose to go above and beyond the required hearings and have two public workshops, which are intended to be much more hands-on and engaging for the community. The first public workshop on this item is scheduled for September 18th from 10AM to noon at the City Council Chambers and/or online. Please check the website before the meeting for details as things remain in flux due to the impacts of COVID-19. We welcome and encourage your participation at these workshops and hearings.

Arroyo Grande Citizens Academy

At our July 27th City Council meeting, the City Council voted 5-0 to direct staff to bring back an item for discussion regarding the formation of an Arroyo Grande Citizens Academy. Citizens academies traditionally provide residents with an opportunity to meet City Council members, department heads and staff; learn how decisions are made, how funds are allocated, and how departments operate; enjoy comprehensive overviews of city departments, programs and services; receive information on topics such as plans for development, traffic, growth management, recreation, the environment and more; participate in lively discussions and interactive group activities; visit or tour city facilities; and become an informed, involved citizen. I recommended that we pursue this idea because I think it is good for our community and timing couldn’t be more critical as we transition to district elections. I think everyone can agree that we all want to see qualified candidates step up and run for office in each of the four future districts that will consist of roughly 4,500 people. I commend our Council and City staff for wanting to move forward with this important way of encouraging more of our citizens to get in engaged with their local government.

Leadership South County Program

The South County Chambers of Commerce, of which I am a member, has announced that they are accepting applications for their Leadership South County program, Class III. I had the pleasure of attending and graduating from their Leadership South County, Class II. It was a great experience and learning opportunity, and I would encourage anyone with a desire to have more hands-on interaction with our business community, local government, and nonprofit sector, not to mention forge relationships with amazing community members, to participate. If you are interested, you can apply for the program here. Applications are due by September 30th.

No photo description available.

Photo of Leadership South County Class II at the Lodge at Oak Creek Ranch, January 2020

Regional Central Coast Blue Recycled Water Project

Despite misleading reporting that the City of Arroyo Grande “opted out” of the Central Coast Blue project, the three City Managers of Arroyo Grande, Grover Beach, and Pismo Beach have been working through a new agreement framework for cost-sharing, management, and control of the joint project. This framework will be presented to the Arroyo Grande City Council at our September 14th meeting. In addition to reviewing and discussing this new framework, our staff will present other water supply options for our Council’s consideration. I would encourage all to attend to learn more about the project and associated options. Stay tuned for the agenda and staff report for the meeting to be posted here the Friday before the Tuesday meeting.

Regional Integrated Waste Management Authority

In light of the Board of Supervisor’s controversial 3-2 vote to leave the Integrated Waste Management Authority, the legal counsel of the authority will be meeting with County counsel to discuss the next steps and timing. The City Managers of each City along with the Directors of each Community Services District (CSD) will do the same. Some of the immediate challenges that need to be worked through include the operational and fiscal impacts of County withdrawal on the IWMA as an organization and on the cities and CSDs, possible legal issues between the County and IWMA affecting asset ownership and costs/revenues of the IWMA, and the fiscal impacts to customers, including the process and timeline related how fees will be increased to fund these changes. The Joint Powers Agreement will also have to be renegotiated and a plan for how to comply with new state legislation (SB1383), conduct reporting, contamination monitoring, outreach, and education, and hire and staff a new IWMA short term interim director and long term need to hire Executive Director will need to be prepared.

The fact is that the majority of the County Board of Supervisors, led by the Chair of the Board, Incumbent Lynn Compton, abandoned the cities, CSDs, our business community, and our residents – forcing us to incur cost increases and operational impacts (the extent to which is not fully known) – because of their ideological opposition to banning Styrofoam, which is one of the most harmful types of waste that exists today. Styrofoam negatively impacts our planet’s ecological systems, harms animals scavenging for food from landfills, and has been linked to cancer, vision and hearing loss, impaired memory and concentration, and nervous system effects. The City of Arroyo Grande along with every other city and CSD in the county is literally having to grapple with this ill-conceived decision and scramble to pick up the pieces. This act of bad faith by the Board Majority is the antithesis of good regional leadership, which is foundational to the role that the County should be providing. The County should be bringing jurisdictions together to make things work more efficiently as a collective region and community, not tearing the fabric of our regional cooperation and partnerships apart.

Arroyo Grande American Rescue Plan Act Funds

I recently had the pleasure of being appointed to an ad hoc committee to discuss how the City of Arroyo Grande will allocate a portion of our American Rescue Plan Act Funds. The first committee meeting was last week. The timing was great, though, because I was able to sit down with Congressman Salud Carbajal to discuss a whole host of issues, including how these funds can be invested in our community in an equitable manner that will have the greatest impact. At our July 27th meeting, our City Council prudently invested millions of dollars of these funds into our aging water, sewer, and stormwater infrastructure, while investing excess general fund monies into our pavement management program to upkeep our roads, and reserving a portion of the funds for other community-based programs and projects. The objective of the ad hoc committee will be to discuss and recommend ideas for these programs and projects to the Council. It is my hope that we can allocate a portion of these funds to housing and homelessness programs, financial support for low-income essential workers who were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, childcare programs, and other programs that will drive economic recovery for our local workers and businesses.

Jimmy meeting with Congressman Salud Carbajal at Tribe Coffee House in Arroyo Grande to discuss American Rescue Plan Act funding opportunities for the City of Arroyo Grande, the Central Coast Blue Recycled Water Project, and other local issues.

Central Coast Economic Recovery Initiative

As Co-founder of the Central Coast Economic Recovery Initiative (ERI), I’m proud to announce two recent successes. The ERI, in partnership with Cal Poly, released two reports this week on potential repurposing uses of the Phillips 66 Santa Maria Oil Refinery. Read more about and access the studies here. Our SLO County Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) task force also had a great turnout for our State of ADUs in SLO County summit last week, with planners, policymakers, building industry professionals, nonprofit partners, and community members in attendance from all parts of the county. The ERI will be posting the recording of the summit on its website soon.

For those of you who don’t know, the ERI is a set of policy concepts, program ideas, and proposals to stimulate post-pandemic economic recovery and long-term vitality on the Central Coast, focusing on housing, clean energy, and infrastructure investment. The goals and objectives identified in the ERI have been developed in alignment with the REACH 2030 Plan initiatives of fostering the start-up, attraction, and expansion of high-wage industries including cleantech and renewable energy, and developing a regionally coordinated investment strategy for housing, transportation, water, and broadband infrastructure. While other regional economic development efforts are longer term in focus, the ERI is intended to drive immediate decision-making and meaningful action over the next two years.

SLO Council of Governments

Our SLOCOG Board and Staff have been busy working to reduce traffic congestion and make our communities more walkable, bikeable, and transit-oriented. I want to bring your attention to two important regional projects: the U.S. 101 Pismo Congestion Relief Project and the U.S. 101 San Luis Obispo to Santa Maria Multimodal Corridor Plan. The congestion relief project will improve operations on southbound U.S. 101 through Pismo Beach during weekday afternoon peak hour traffic and on weekends. The primary feature of the project is a left shoulder part-time travel lane, a transportation system management and operational strategy that can address congestion and reliability issues within a constrained right of way in a cost-effective manner.  The U.S. 101 MCP is a collaboration between Caltrans District 5, SLOCOG, and the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments. The plan will analyze U.S. 101, State Route 227, and the local road networks between Santa Maria and Santa Margarita to discover ways to relieve congestion and improve mobility. The plan seeks to make the existing transportation system more efficient, improve multimodal travel opportunities, and enhance safety. Corridor plans will be a key requirement to secure grant funding in the coming years. Read more about these important projects here. You can also read SLOCOG’s August newsletter here.

Remembering Robert “Red” Davis

The honorable Morro Bay City Councilmember Robert “Red” Davis passed away on July 24, 2021.

The hardest part of this month for me was mourning the loss of Morro Bay City Councilmember and SLOCOG Board Member Robert “Red” Davis. I was honored to attend his memorial service, which was very well attended by the community. Red served SLOCOG for four years—as Alternate Board Member in 2018 and Board Member from 2019-2021. Prior to that, he served on our Citizens Transportation Advisory Committee for 14 years. On August 4th, SLOCOG recognized Red and presented to his wife and daughter a Resolution of Appreciation. In the words of Morro Bay Mayor John Headding, “Red Davis was a wonderful leader and friend to so many. He was a servant leader who worked tirelessly to advance and improve the quality of life of our community as a whole.” Having the opportunity to personally get to know Red, I couldn’t speak more highly of anyone. He was a model public servant – the kind we all aspire to be. He would truly listen, engage in civil and respectful discourse, seek to build consensus and work across the aisle, and lead with vision. Before Red passed, he provided a statement of endorsement of my campaign. Red’s statement is as follows:

“I support Jimmy for District 4 Supervisor. Jimmy has shown me that he can bring people together and that he works for all the people. He will bring a fresh spirit of cooperation to the Board.” 

I am truly honored to have had Red’s endorsement, and I will miss him very much, as will our community who has lost an amazing man who left an indelible mark on all who he touched, and continues to touch as they walk and ride on the bike trails and paths he is so well known for advocating for.

SLO County Air Pollution Control District

According to a new study published on August 2ndbanning off-road riding and camping at Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area cuts dust emissions in half in the most heavily trafficked areas. The Desert Research Institute based out of Nevada studied dust emissions at the Oceano Dunes from March through October 2020, when all camping and off-highway vehicles (OHVs) were prohibited in the park due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For those of you that don’t know, the Oceano Dunes have long emitted dangerously unhealthy levels of dust into Oceano, Nipomo and other communities. In 2018, State Parks was tasked by the SLO County Air Pollution Control District to find ways to reduce emissions from 2013 baseline figures by 50% by 2023. So far, with millions of dollars spent on dust mitigation efforts including growing new foredunes, re-vegetating areas and installing wind fencing, State Parks has been able to reduce emissions by 21%.

From my first day on the campaign trail back in 2018, I have acknowledged that OHV use contributes to the air pollution problem unlike my opponent, and I have continued to advocate for these mitigation efforts to be implemented as an APCD Board Member – mitigation efforts which have proven to be successful in improving air quality. We need leaders who won’t deny the science because of their allegiances to special interests – leaders will protect public health, and do what’s right, reasonable, and rationale based on balancing the social, economic, and environmental aspects of an issue. I’m proud to have the legacy of being on the right side of this issue, unlike many who have no right to that claim.

The fact is that the California Coastal Commission has made the decision to phase out OHVs, and it is time to work together as a community to re-envision the Oceano Dunes in a way that will bring economic vitality to the region, reduce air pollution, improve coastal access for the neighboring community of Oceano, and protect the environment. There are groups working to study and implement this alternative vision, including the Oceano Advisory CouncilOceano Beach Community Association, Oceano Economic Development Council, and Visit SLOCAL and the South County Chambers of Commerce. In order to protect our local business community, I believe the County should take the lead on immediately prioritizing the re-design of Pier Ave, of which they own, considering that it will close to vehicular access July of next year. As mentioned on the Oceano Advisory Council’s website, “the resulting vehicle free beach and dunes from Oceano South will create a huge opportunity for Oceano to emerge as a coastal tourist town for the first time in recent history. The reinvention and reinvigoration of Pier Avenue as a vehicle free tourist destination will entail a new pedestrian access to the beach, the possibility of a beautiful beachfront public plaza, connections to an extended network of boardwalks into the dunes and connecting to Grand Avenue to the North, plus expanded beach and dune related local and tourist services (including parking). The State Park’s Public Works Plan proposes a new system of boardwalks as well as a redesigning the end of Pier Ave.” If I was Supervisor right now, I would be working my tail off to ensure the County was doing everything it could to re-design that street and work with the businesses there to begin re-thinking how their business models will need to adapt to non-OHV activity at the Oceano Dunes, whether it be visitors or locals who will eventually patronize those businesses.

A final thought I have based on a number of conversations I’ve had with local equestrians is why aren’t we studying what the potential might be for our local economy if the Oceano Dunes and its extensive trail network were turned into a world-class equestrian destination. Maybe the Phillips 66 site could be repurposed as a staging area? (Maybe time for another Cal Poly study ☺). Not only do we have a number of equestrians here in our community, but it’s also a great place to ride. I know this because I used to ride horses out there as a kid. I even got bucked off my horse out there one time. Ouch. It could be a great place for the film industry to shoot “Hidalgo-type” films too. Anyhow, I’ll stop dreaming there. How do you envision the Oceano Dunes of the future? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

I know I’ve provided a data dump of information here for you to ruminate on – that was my goal with this post – to keep you informed, because the more you are informed and involved in our local government, the better it will work for all of us.

Hope you are all doing well. Feel free to send me your questions, comments, thoughts, and ideas on any of these topic areas or others – just don’t be offended if I don’t respond right away. Thanks for reading.

Jimmy Paulding
Mayor Pro Tem
City of Arroyo Grande
Candidate for County Supervisor, San Luis Obispo County, District 4

To learn more about Jimmy’s campaign and his vision for South County, visit Jimmy welcomes hearing from you. You can email Jimmy at or call Jimmy at (805) 994-0025.


Hundreds of contributors reflect broad cross-section of South County voters
‘Clearly, voters want a new voice representing them,’ Jimmy says

ARROYO GRANDE, CA – JULY 28, 2021: In a little more than three months of fundraising, Arroyo Grande City Council Member Jimmy Paulding has raised $139,724 in his bid for SLO County’s 4th District supervisor’s seat, according to campaign financial disclosure reports through June 30.

“The broad cross section of South County residents supporting me with their hard-earned money shows that the community is fired up and ready for a change on the Board of Supervisors,” Jimmy said. “This outpouring of support is both humbling and motivating, especially considering that the primary isn’t until June 7 next year. I’m deeply grateful to the people of South County for their support.”

Nearly 450 people contributed to the campaign with donations averaging $260 each. Sixty-five percent of donations were $100 or less. Nearly 80% of contributions were from South County residents, and 98% were from within SLO County.

“These contributions signal that the people of District 4 want a positive, open-minded person representing them and focused on South County issues like water security, roads, homelessness and sky-high housing costs. These South County issues are my focus.”

The Paulding campaign will be hosting Jimmy’s official campaign kickoff event at Arroyo Grande Heritage Square Park on Saturday, July 31 from 2pm to 5pm. The event is free and open to the public. 

Jimmy Paulding was born and raised in South County and currently serves on the Arroyo Grande City Council. A Cal Poly graduate with a degree in City and Regional Planning and Juris Doctor of law, Jimmy and his wife Kendra manage a law practice focused on business law and estate planning.

District 4 encompasses the City of Arroyo Grande and the unincorporated communities of Oceano and Nipomo as well as portions of Edna Valley and the region to the east along Highway 166. Redistricting is scheduled to take place later this year, ahead of the next primary election. The election will be held June 7, 2022. 

To learn more about Jimmy’s campaign and his vision for South County, visit Jimmy welcomes hearing from you. You can email Jimmy at or call Jimmy at (805) 994-0025.


On May 20th, I attended the funeral service for SLO Police Detective Luca Benedetti, who was tragically shot and killed while serving a search warrant on May 10th. I am heartbroken over this loss, and along with our community, I grieve for Det. Benedetti’s wife and two young girls who will now grow up without their dad. It’s heart wrenching.
Since the funeral service, I keep thinking about how their tragic story could have been mine. My dad was an officer and detective with the SLO Police Department for over 25 years, and growing up, I lived with the reality that one day my dad might not come home from work. Like Det. Benedetti, my dad put his life on the line everyday doing a tough job that is often misunderstood and under-appreciated.
The details of what happened on May 10th and the weeks and months leading up to it are part of an ongoing investigation, but it’s been reported that the shooter, Eddie Giron, was experiencing severe mental illness, and that his friends and family had unsuccessfully been trying to help him for months. It’s unclear if Mr. Giron would ever have been receptive to mental health support, but it is clear that our community’s resources were not enough to prevent him from turning to violence.
This isn’t the first time a person suffering from mental illness attacked law enforcement in our county. Last June, four officers were shot at and wounded in Paso Robles by someone experiencing a severe mental health crisis. As in this case, the shooter’s family had also tried countless times to get him help, but were also unsuccessful. Less than a year later, we’re forced to reckon with the fact that once again our mental health resources have proven insufficient. 
The fact that Mr. Giron was experiencing a mental health crisis in no way excuses his decision to ambush the police officers serving the search warrant. But the facts of this story require us to take a long hard look in the mirror and recognize that we are failing to keep our community safe, including first responders like law enforcement, if we know our friends and neighbors need mental health support yet we can’t provide it to them. 
When tragedy strikes a community, it can serve as an opportunity to bring people together to grieve as a community and lend support to each other. It can be a chance to temporarily put aside our differences to work together to find solutions so that such tragedies do not befall our community again. Unfortunately, that isn’t happening like it should. Much of the conversation so far seems to be finger pointing.
Some in our community have used divisive rhetoric that seeks to inflame rather than heal, insinuating Det. Benedetti’s killing should be linked to past protests of police. As the proud son of a police officer, I will always stand up for good law enforcement officers. But I also believe that creating a dichotomy between “pro-police” and “pro-social services” is a false choice driven by national political antagonism. We need to move beyond the divisive politics that pit us against one another at the expense of practical solutions. Most people recognize that developing support networks that coordinate support for those experiencing acute mental health deterioration combined with better training for first responders in mental-health support and addiction-related challenges makes all of us safer, including police officers.  Now is the time to both support law enforcement and expand mental health resources so we can reduce the number of senseless deaths in our community.
I know that we are far more united on issues of public safety than what we see on TV or read on Facebook. Last summer, the Arroyo Grande City Council updated its police use of force standards with the support of both our police department and our community. And we did it with unanimous, bipartisan support from our council.
A commitment to working together, in support of both law enforcement and those experiencing mental illness, is what we need right now, not dividing into camps and exploiting tragedy for political gain.
Let’s use this moment to reckon with the urgent need to build a safer, healthier community. One where tragedies like this never happen again.   


Jimmy Paulding


ARROYO GRANDE, CA – APRIL 21, 2021: Arroyo Grande City Council Member and local attorney Jimmy Paulding is running for District 4 County Supervisor once again to restore good governance to the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors. 

“As a public servant, I deeply value the responsibility of representing everybody, whether they vote for me or not,” Jimmy said. “Valuing the perspectives of all who care to engage in a civil and respectful conversation is everything. If you don’t value that, you shouldn’t hold public office.”

Jimmy is running for County Supervisor after having narrowly lost to the current incumbent by only 60 votes out of more than 18,000 votes cast in June of 2018. Jimmy’s bid for supervisor drew countywide interest, leading the Paulding campaign to break local fundraising records for a challenger at that time, raising nearly $300,000. That November, Jimmy was elected to the Arroyo Grande City Council as the top vote recipient in a five-person race.

Jimmy is running for supervisor for the same reasons he ran before. “Our community is not well served by the incumbent, and South County is suffering from a lack of leadership and creativity. We need someone with a strong vision to guide our postpandemic recovery, to rebuild our economy with lots of good paying jobs, and make sure no one is left out along the way,” Jimmy said.

“We also need transparency, accountability, and a rational basis for good policy-making. We must allow reason and results to prevail over rhetoric. At the Arroyo Grande City Council and regional boards I serve on, I have worked hard to earn a reputation for approaching each issue with an open mind, an open heart, and a willingness to work with my colleagues – despite our political differences – to see both sides and reach a compromise. These are skills and traits that I will bring to the Board of Supervisors in addition to my technical resume as an attorney and former infrastructure project manager.”

Jimmy currently serves on a number of regional boards including the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments, the Regional Transportation Authority, and the Air Pollution Control District. Jimmy also spearheaded the recently launched Central Coast Economic Recovery Initiative (ERI) to support job creation and ongoing recovery efforts in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jimmy founded a small law practice in 2018, where he currently practices as a business and estate planning attorney. He formerly worked as a construction project manager and planner, managing multimillion dollar infrastructure projects for local and regional governments throughout the state. Jimmy is a lifelong San Luis Obispo County resident, and, along with his wife Kendra, is an active supporter of local nonprofits including Arroyo Grande in Bloom and the Diversity Coalition.

The Fourth District encompasses the City of Arroyo Grande and the unincorporated communities of Oceano and Nipomo as well as portions of Edna Valley and the region to the east along Highway 166. Redistricting is scheduled to take place later this year, ahead of the next primary election. The election is slated to be held on June 7, 2022. A campaign kick-off event will be announced in the near future.

To learn more about Jimmy’s campaign and his vision for South County, visit You can get in touch with Jimmy by emailing or calling (805) 994-0025.


© Jimmy Paulding for County Supervisor 2022
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