What a surprising start to the new year. 2023 brought record-setting rains and, sadly, death and destruction to the Central Coast. The severe rain amounts were not forecast early, leaving many unprepared for the sheer volume of water running in our streets and rivers. In some parts of North County, the runoff exceeded the flood waters of 1969. The County Office of Emergency Services (OES), Cal Fire, Sheriff’s Department, and local law enforcement have been working hard to respond to the many problems caused by the storm. With the rain break, OES will assess damage in city and county jurisdictions. And will be working with the California Office of Emergency Services and FEMA officials to determine eligibility and qualify for public assistance funding including public infrastructure repairs and individual assistance and private property damage. The process begins with Preliminary Damage Assessments in the public and private sectors.
The County OES will be making a request to state and federal agencies for private sector assistance as well as repairs for public infrastructure. Many miles of roads and bridges suffered damage from mudslides and roaring waterways. The County submitted the necessary paperwork to state and federal agencies, including an estimated initial damage report of approximately $46 million. Residents may report property by going to recoverslo.org and documenting their damage on a Private Property Damage Report-San Luis Obispo. Homeowners and businesses are eligible to report damages. For more information, please visit readyslo.org, and click the green Recover tab, or call (805) 781-5678. The County is working hard to mitigate the damages, and I am grateful to the hardworking team at Public Works for all the time they spent working to keep as many roads open as possible.
I am also pleased to share the news that the traveling version of the “Vietnam Wall,” commonly known by veterans as “the wall that heals,” will be paying a visit to San Luis County this March. The wall will be set up in the Madonna Inn field on March 15th and ready for viewing March 16-19. The event was organized by the County Office of Veteran Services and is designed for citizens of all ages. Volunteers are needed, so if you are interested in getting involved in this historic tribute, please go to vetmuseum.org and click on the events tab, then “the wall that heals.” Viewing the wall will be free, with free onsite parking. It will be open for viewing for 24 hours, starting Thursday, March 16th and ending Sunday, March 19th, at 2:00 pm. There will also be a mobile education center onsite. Be sure to check it out online and please consider volunteering.
Lastly, I have received questions about the political representation after redistricting. Supervisorial districts must be redrawn every ten years (after the U.S. Census) so that each district is substantially equal in population. This process, called redistricting, is important in ensuring that each Board of Supervisors member represents approximately the same number of constituents.
We have seen some of our county grow in population in the last ten years, while other parts saw little growth. The even-numbered districts, districts 2 and 4, experienced boundary changes in the recent election. The odd numbered districts, 1, 3, and 5, will not change until the next election. However, I will continue to represent the old district 5 for the entire term ending January 2025. For more information, please visit San Luis Obispo County Supervisorial Districts to learn how the districts will be phased in, and visit SLO County Adopted BOS Supervisorial Districts for an interactive map that includes a place to find your district by address (top left).
It is an honor to represent my fellow citizens on the County Board of Supervisors. Please call my office if you have any questions about redistricting or any other issue.
It is an honor to serve as your County Supervisor.
5th District Supervisor, Debbie Arnold
Debbie Arnold moved to San Luis Obispo County in 1973 to attend Cal Poly, she fell in love with both her husband, Steve, and the farming and ranching values that had been a part of the Arnold family way of life for more than 5 generations. While raising two children, she owned and operated a small business in Atascadero for more than 17 years. She then had the privilege of advocating for local families as a Legislative Aide at the County Supervisor’s office and as a San Luis Obispo District Representative for the State Senate. During these years, she worked with a broad range of community groups and interests, bringing people together to solve problems. Debbie Arnold now serves as the 5th District Supervisor for San Luis Obispo County.