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Tuesday November 3, 2020 — California General Election

City of Morro BayCandidate for City Council

Photo of Betty Winholtz

Betty Winholtz

Academic Tutor
2,700 votes (23.29%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Keeping police, fire and paramedic services under local control.
  • Consider if it would be less expensive to keep the sewer plant at its current site.
  • The Vacation Rental ordinance should protect and preserve neighborhoods.



Profession:academic support tutor
Academic support tutor, self (1992–current)
City Council Member, City of Morro Bay — Elected position (2002–2010)
Tutor, Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes (1987–1992)


BA from Graceland College, Lamoni, IA. MA from University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa B.A. and M.A., BA in Special studies, concentration in Sociology, MA in Counselor Education, Student Personnel in Higher Education (1979)

Community Activities

member and highway clean up, Morro Bay Beautiful (2014–current)
president and board member, Save the Park a nonprofit that fought for Cerrito Peak/Eagle Rock (2003–current)
volunteer and board member, El Chorro Regional Dog Park (2017–current)
Member, MB Historical Society (1995–2012)
Clarinet player, MB White Caps Band, German Band, SLO County Band (1986–2000)


For 34 years I have lived and worked and played in Morro Bay.

From 2002-2010 I served as a Morro Bay City Council Member. I won that seat by 12 votes. Four years later, I was re-elected and the top vote getter, having applied the principles of hard work, service, and fiscal responsibility. During my term, the wastewater treatment project was initiated, and financial constraints were enacted to address the Great Recession's effect on the City.

I have an MA in Counselor Education from The University of Iowa. For close to 30 years, I have been a successful, self-employed businesswoman as an academic tutor for elementary students through adults.

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • Great American Fish Company and Tognazzini's Dockside Restaurant

Organizations (1)

  • Citizens for Affordable Living

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters of California and Elect Justice CA (2)

Does your office have any plans to include currently or formerly incarcerated people in your decision-making process as it relates to criminal justice issues? What would that look like?
Answer from Betty Winholtz:

As a City Council Member, we have little to no decision-making power related to criminal justice issues. The City Council did have the City's Police Chief explain to the public how it handles incidents such as what happened to George Floyd shortly after his death. 

With 8,000 people eligible for release from CA prisons to help stem the transmission of COVID-19, how, if at all, would your office aid these Californians and their families in navigating reentry?
Answer from Betty Winholtz:

If there was a way for the City Council to aid CA prison releases for a smooth transition, it would be to the community's benefit to do so to put both the releasees family at ease as well as the community's.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

I grew up in Independence, Missouri, when it had a population of 10,000 people, the same as present day Morro Bay. Civic involvement and responsibility were role modeled by my parents. I strongly believe civic engagement is necessary in order to promote and maintain good government that serves the needs of all residents.

Elected officials serve at the pleasure of the public. The city council is to listen to the public. The council is to make decisions which represent the public's wishes.

The mayor is one of five elected representatives. All five are equal in leadership and responsibility. I do not see the mayor to be the chief with 4 assistants. The mayor moderates the meetings and is the city's figure head at official gatherings.

City staff's purpose is to fulfill the direction of the city council. Staff has a duty to provide complete information to the city council and the public, so council can make an informed decision.

Position Papers

Keeping police, fire and paramedic services under local control.


The City Council has proposed the best way to address City budget shortfalls is to ask voters to pass a new 1% user tax on the ballot this Fall called Measure E-20.

There is no requirement in the initiative to guarantee the new tax is reserved for First Responders.

The new tax will not be placed into a special account for public safety. The City Attorney's Impartial Analysis states the new tax goes into the General Fund, meaning the tax can be spent for most any purpose except sewer and water.

There is no Sunset Clause or ending date specified. The Measure's title “Local Recovery” implies that at some point this tax should end.

Don't be fooled: This tax increase was initiated in 2019 before the COVID-19 crisis.

If there was “tough fiscal accountability,” as is suggested, then there is no need to ask for higher taxes.

We need:

  • CONCRETE CHANGES that make our city financially strong, NOT just TEMPORARY salary reductions, and elimination of PART TIME (umpires, coaches, etc) and PREVIOUSLY unfilled positions.

  • STRICT SPENDING RULES that don't bend but keep the City within budget, not expensive consultants for lofty projects.

  • A BETTER ALTERNATIVE to a sales tax increase is requiring our city manager to cut the overall General Fund budget by 10%, in addition to cuts already made. A better, long term plan will provide a long term fix to the City's economic woes and preserve our First Responders.

Consider if it would be less expensive to keep the sewer plant at its current site.


Continually raising the “guaranteed maximum price” to cover 40+ change orders for the sewer plant is a RED FLAG. This does not include the piplines, injection wells, or demolition of the current plant including negotiating with Cayucos, our partner.

  1. In September, 2018, the City advertised the price as $126M.

  2. In June, 2020, the cost of the new facility was raised to $130.6M.

  3. At the August 11, 2020, City Council meeting, the project manager said he would be asking to raise the "guaranteed maximum price" again. There have been 40+ change orders to date.

The minimum bid for the 4-pipeline conveyance system to get the sewage to the new plant site and the water away from the new site was $7M over over what's been budgeted.

The City has yet to state what the additional annual operation and maintenance costs will be for pumping sewage 3.5 miles uphill. There is a yet-to-be-negotiated cost for tearing down the current plant and splitting the property with Cayucos that is not included in the "maximum price."

The CA COASTAL COMMISSION HAS NO JURISDICTION over a plant if it is not new.  THE WATER BOARD CANNOT FINE us because we will meet secondary treatment standard when Cayucos disconnects from us. Cayucos will begin to operate their new sewer plant built within budget for under $30M.

Our RATES WILL HAVE TO BE LOWERED because the State does not allow overcharging.

The Vacation Rental ordinance should protect and preserve neighborhoods.


The Vacation Rental ordinance has been heard before the City Council. The City needs strong regulations and strict enforcement to keep our neighborhoods from being commercial playgrounds.

The City Council agreed to limit 175 maximum unhosted vacation rentals in residental zones. However, the apporved unlimited unhosted in mixed use zones and commercial zones, which contain many residents. The ceiling of 175 units is to be met by attrition, so it may 3 years before the maximum of 175 units is reached. Hosted vacation rentals are unlimited regardless of zone. Effective enforcement in the next 3 years? 

For me, 3 years into the future is too far down the road for the changes to take effect. They need to happen in 1-1.5 years. In addition, the number of vacation 
rentals allowed is too high considering there are 175 allowable unhosted houses in residential zones plus unlimited unhosted houses in mixed use areas plus unlimited
unhosted houses in commercial zones plus unlimited hosted houses everywhere. What has really changed in our neighborhoods? Enforcement will be paid for through fees by the owners,
but will enforcement start sooner than fee are instituted? Is a 175-foot radius between vacation rentals sufficient?

Videos (1)

Candidates Forum: Mayor and City Council — October 21, 2020 Morro Bay Chamber of Commerce

Policy questions rotated between 6 candidates for city office.

Candidate Contact Info

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