Feb 17, 2012 1:50 AM by Ariel Wesler

Political candidates take questions at local forum

Two Santa Maria city councilmembers campaigning to be the city's next mayor attended a candidates forum this evening at the Santa Maria Library.

Public safety will be a top priority for both candidates, but nobody at Thursday night's forum asked any questions about the recent officer involved shooting. It was something that surprised both candidates.

Alice Patino and Mike Cordero say people had questions tonight about the quarter cent sales tax that will up for a vote in June. many were also concerned how the candidates planned to create jobs and improve the economy. We asked both candidates about the state of the Santa Maria Police Department in light of the officer involved shooting.

"There are things that none of us are going to be privileged to in the way of information until those investigations are completed, so we really need to respect that investigation," said Mayoral Candidate Mike Cordero.

"As soon as we see what comes out in the investigation and then we take that into consideration, I think that's what's important and I have questions," said Mayoral Candidate Alice Patino.

Patino is a former teacher, who has served on the Santa Maria city council since 1999.

Cordero was elected to the council in 2008, but previously served with the city as a police officer for 36 years before retiring from the force.

This was the first forum for both candidates since jumping into the mayor's race last year. Santa Maria's current mayor Larry Lavagnino announced in October he wouldn't not seek another term. He has been the city's leader since 2003.

Thursday night's event also gave the public a chance to hear from candidates running for the state legislature and Congress.


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