Voter's Edge California Voter Guide
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Tuesday November 3, 2020 — California General Election

City of San Luis ObispoCandidate for Mayor

Photo of Sandra Marshall-Eminger

Sandra Marshall-Eminger

Environmental Nonprofit Director
2,995 votes (11.73%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Save Our Downtown, preserve its character, charm, historical buildings and follow the city 50" building height. No special exceptions.
  • Protect and preserve our 7,000 acres of Open Space. Keep walking and hiking trails open until sunset.
  • Increase Affordable Housing, Promote diversity, equality and inclusion. Build trust between police & community



Profession:Nonprofit Director, Publisher
Director, Earth Day Alliance, Inc. (1999–2020)
Publisher, Information Press (1991–2017)
Member, SLO County Democratic Central Committee 3rd District — Elected position (2003–2010)
Central Committee Member, San Luis Obispo Countty Democratic Central Committee — Elected position (1994–2000)
Clerical II, California Polytechnic State University (1983–1988)
Corporate Secretary, Coastal Computers (1979–1982)
Clerical Assistant, County of San Luis Obispo (1974–1977)


Souh Gate High School I received a High School Diploma with a certification in Stenograply., Stenography (1969)

Community Activities

Director, Earth Day Alliance (1999–current)


I was born and raised in South Gate, CA as Sandra Marshall.  I graduated from High School in 1969 and was immediately hired by the Sear's Legal Dept. in Downtown Los Angeles. I married my high school sweetheart on Valentine's Day 1970 and my first child, Kristi was born nearly a year later in January 1971. We purchased our first home in Lynwood, CA in 1972 and I voted for the first time. Due to irreconcilable differences our “perfect life” ended in 1973.  

In 1974 I moved to San Luis Obispo with my daughter and remarried. Jobs were hard to find. I began babysitting for a living and soon I was hired as a clerical assistant for the County of San Luis Obispo. My husband, a military veteran attended Cal Poly and graduated with a degree in Computer Science in June of 1975. My second child, Monica was born in July. I returned to work in September.

In 1976 I learned about Prop 15, the safe nuclear power initiative. This changed my world. Out of fear for the safety of our children and their future, a small group of local residents created People Generating Energy (PGE) and began holding actions/events to bring attention to the dangers and long-life of radioactive waste produced by nuclear power plants. At our first action we launched hundreds of balloons to show where the winds from Diablo might carry nuclear particles. Cards attached to the balloons were found in Kettleman City.

This expanded my volunteerism in the community. I became deeply involved with the Democratic party and worked on several political campaigns i.e. Panetta for Congress and Phil Harry for State Senate. I helped organize a visit by Governor Brown.

A year later our small group became the core of the Abalone Alliance, the organizers of the first occupation/rally that took place on Hiroshima Day, August 6, 1977 at Port San Luis Beach.  I was there with my 13 day old son, Justin, along with thousands of other people to support 50 protestors who trespassed onto Diablo Canyon property to warn the nation of the possible dangers in the case of a nuclear accident and the long-life of plutonium.  Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, and Graham Nash performed in support of No Nukes. It made national news. 

In 1978 I was able to take part in the protest and was arrested at Diablo Canyon. I spent two days in a large aluminum shed with 250 women. I later served three days in jail. I continued to be a part of the Abalone Alliance, attended Nuclear Regulatory meetings and joined Mothers for Peace.

From 1979 to 1983 I was employed as the corporate secretary for Coastal Computers, the first computer store in San Luis Obispo. I also handled company advertising, tested software applications and provided software support.

From 1984 to 1987 I was an Admin Assistant at Cal Poly. This provided me with stability as my ten-year marriage came to an end and I raised my three children alone. For additional income I occasionally worked a night shift at the “World-Famous” Dark Room. This is where I met my husband to be, Cole Eminger.

My forth child, Nick was born in 1987. Cole and I and the whole family moved to Cerritos, CA. A 1985 graduate from Cal Poly with a degree in aeronautical engineering, Cole was working at McDonnell Douglas.

In 1990, we moved to Goleta, CA where Cole worked for Tracor Aviation. His career took off.  I managed the family and worked part time for Home Realty in Santa Barbara.

Dissatisfied with my professional life, in 1991 I created Information Press, a free monthly progressive paper with the goal of empowering the reader. Published articles were meant to inspire the reader to be their authentic self and live life to the fullest and included tools for personal empowerment, health and wellbeing, environment, politics and entertainment. Distributed throughout the Central Coast, distribution was pared back to San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties.  From 1993 to 1998 I hosted the Information Press Hour radio show.  The last issue of Information Press was published in 2017.

With a passion to protect and preserve the environment Information Press hosted an annual Spring Fest to celebrate nature from 1994 to 1998. In 1999 my work morphed into coordinating the annual SLO County Earth Day Fair. I currently serve as the Director of the Earth Day Alliance and have coordinated twenty annual Earth Day Fairs for SLO County residents and visitors. I look forward to holding Earth Day in 2021.

I have been a poll worker and a campaign coordinator.  In 2004 I supported Dennis Kucinich for President.  2006 I managed the Sharon Berry who facef off with Kevin McCarthy for Congresss. In 2007 I became part of the official Kucinch for President campaign team.

In 2007 the first gathering of the Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) took place at Embassy Suites in SLO. This led the call to create our own San Luis Obispo Progressive Club which we successfully did. Unfortunately SLO wasn’t ready for it.  

Running for President again, in the fall of 2007 I coordinated a west coast visit by for Dennis Kucinich. I traveled with the Kucinich campaign for several events and debates. In February 2008 Kucinich withdrew from the campaign.  Although considered “novel” at the time, many of the ideals at the core of the Kucinich campaign have become mainstream and were shared with Bernie Sanders.

2014 I ran for Congress with the message to bring action and change. Facing off with an incumbent, who was well liked, was difficult but for too long residents of San Luis Obispo were disappointed in the lack of real action by our representative. It was a great experience.

Following the 2016 election the support for local Democrats has weakened. Stories of fighting over power have been floated.  Power instead of true community took control. I stepped back and I’m watching for a fairer leadership to emerge.


Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • Kurt Kupper, Former SLO County Supervisor
  • Richard Kresja, Former SLO County Supervisor

Organizations (1)

  • Save Our Downtown

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 Sandra Marshall-Eminger:

Does not apply

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 Sandra Marshall-Eminger:

Does not apply

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

At age 18 I was clearly aligning with my parents beliefs. Brought up in a conservative Christian home I followed our family tradiion. Held my first full time job, bought my first car, got married, had my first kid,an became a firs time home owever by age 20/ I always asked questions.  In today's terms I would call myself a proressive 

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