Local News

Oct 15, 2010 2:13 AM by Ariel Wesler

SLO County Sheriff Candidates square off in KSBY Forum

With less than three weeks until election night, we're commited to informing you about the issues and candidates.

Earlier tonight, we hosted a candidate forum between former Pismo Beach Police Chief Joe Cortez and San Luis Obispo Police Captain Ian Parkinson.

KSBY's Jeanette Trompeter hosted the forum which lasted 30 minutes and included eight questions.

Those questions covered topics ranging from the county's complex budget situation to gangs.

"I want to find out who the shot callers are in the gangs and start picking off the shot callers. I want to find out who the recruiters are of our kids in our middle schools and high schools. These are the one's who are most affected by gangs," said Candidate Joe Cortez.

"Even if it's just doing a gang sweep or two a month, I think we're making an impact and we can do it within this current economy. The second portion of that is the education portion, working with the schools," Candidate Ian Parkinson said.

Both candidates said they were against legalizing marijuana because it would make enforcement more difficult. With the sheriff department's 58 million dollar budget, they say concessions must be made between employee unions and the county. We asked them to talk about their top priority and what they would change about the current administration.


"It all boils down to communication. Are you sitting down and talking with the people? Are you communicating what your expectations are? Where is the department going? Where does the community want the department to go? It's all centered around communication and relationships," Parkinson said.

"Getting patrols out on the street. That's our bread and butter. When people call 911, they need to make sure that we can get a deputy on their doorstep in their time of need. In some areas of the county, it's gonna be 20 or 30 minutes to get a deputy out there for a 911 response, that's just not right," Cortez said.

Both say their right for the job and bring the necessary experience. The only question remaining is who you think can get the job done.

Each candidate was given 90 seconds per topic. This was a forum, not a debate. . .so they were not allowed to give rebuttals.

For more information on both candidates, click here.

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