By Mark A. Diaz
With the reaching of his office term limit, Grover Beach Mayor John Shoals will exit the office, and a new batch of contenders will “pull papers” and pitch their bid for office to the public. One of the first applicants is Grover Beach Councilmember Jeff Lee.
Prior to being elected to the city council, Lee served on the Parks, Recreation and Beautification Commission from 2009 to 2012, when he was elected to the council.
Among one of his proudest accomplishments as a council member was his contribution to the passage of Measure k-14. In 2016, the community backed measure approved the second bond sale of $8 million to provide funding for the maintenance and repair of 54 city blocks that equates to four miles of city roadways. Lee said that as mayor one of his biggest priorities is the continuation of repairing G.B. streets.
“The first priority is to continue to fix our streets,” said Lee, “and continue economic development with several hotels and the broadband initiative.”
In 2016, the City entered into a 10-year agreement with Digital West, a Central Coast telephone and internet provider, to bring high-speed internet connectivity to the City’s businesses with fiber optic cables.
Lee said that Shoals has accomplished much in his two terms of office and plans on continuing to build the city’s infrastructure as well. He said that he believed that Shoals’ planning experience helped guide the city and thinks, in much the same way, that his own engineering background will be an attribute for the position.
“He’s done a lot of good things for the community with the street implantation,” said Lee. The Grover Beach Lodge and Convention Center is one of the things that he has really kept in the forefront, but one of the things that I really appreciate about his leadership style, is the ability to mentor other members of the council.”
Another goal Lee listed is to encourage the public to join the discussion concerning the direction and development of Grover Beach. If elected mayor he plans to start an initiative at the beginning of 2019 to draw more of the community into the city’s dialogue.
“I think there is a group of people that are engaged,” said Lee. “I’d love to increase that number. I think as the community gets more engaged, we’ll get more diversity of opinions for interesting opportunities to actually do things that will provide great results for the city.”
Among items he listed that could use more community involvement were the Parks and Rec departments and the city’s planning commission. He would also like to see people get involved with cleaning and maintaining the parks along Grand Ave.
Among some of the challenges, he would face as mayor is the development of G.B.’s cannabis industry in a safe, productive and profitable way. Additionally, questions have arisen if the Oceano Service District would be able to continue to supply its share of the funds for the Five Cities Fire Authority agreement in the coming years, as a council member Lee said the city would continue to discuss options to keep the fire service operating in Grover Beach.
Also in Grover Beach, incumbent city councilwomen Mariam Shah and Barbara Nicolls have both confirmed that they will run for re-election.