Voter’s Edge California
Get the facts before you vote.
Brought to you by
League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
KPBS Voters Guide@KPBSNews
November 8, 2016 — California General Election

City of Arroyo GrandeCandidate for City Council

Photo of Ken Sage

Ken Sage

Small Business Owner
2,452 votes (15.5%)
Use tab to activate the candidate button. Use "return" to select this candidate. You can access your list by navigating to 'My Choices'.
For more in-depth information on this candidate, follow the links for each tab in this section. For most screenreaders, you can hit Return or Enter to enter a tab and read the content within.
Candidate has provided information.

My Top 3 Priorities

  • Determing our economic engines to drive our economic development plan
  • Working with neigboring cities to establish a long term reliable water source.
  • Community growth that includes afforadable housing options.



Profession:Small Business Owner
Business Consultant, The Sage Associates (1999–current)
Arroyo Grande Traffic Commissioner, Arroyo Grande Traffic Commission — Appointed position (2016–current)
County Grand Juror, San Luis Obispo County Grand Juryt — Appointed position (2014–2015)
Business Owner, The Village Framery and Gallery (1989–1999)
Manager, AT&T (1967–1989)


Univ. of Miami MBA, Business (1967)

Community Activities

Volunteer, Habitat for Humanity (2015–current)
Member , Pismo Beach Rotary Club (2002–2010)


My Background and Experience

My wife and I fell in love with this small city and moved here more than 16 years ago. As a resident I’ve become concerned about how the current political landscape has impacted City Council decision making, and is changing our city.

I decided to run for a seat on our City Council because I believe it is critically important to improve communications between community members, the council, and city administration. I also have concerns about our council members lack of collaboration and the unwillingness to attempt to reach consensus on major issues. I believe my extensive business experience can serve as a guide to resolve these conflicts and help the council in making decisions that our entire community can support.

1. I am a military veteran, having served 6 years in the U.S. Navy where I learned the importance of critical thinking, discipline, and teamwork.
2. I can leverage my 20 Year multi-department management experience (engineering, operations, customer service and marketing) with AT&T, to foster the use of organization management techniques to help the council reach consensus on complex issues.
3. With my 10 years of small business retail ownership and 17 years business consulting services, I understand the impact decisions made by the council can have on small businesses and therefore our community.

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • Republican Party of San Luis Obispo County

Political Beliefs

Position Papers

Water Management


Most of our local water supplies are shared resources with our neighboring cities and so water conservation and water supply development is a major concern for all of us.

Arroyo Grande along with our neighbors, via joint participation in the Northern Cities Management Area, have been successful in re-distributing water supplies to provide relief to stressed resources over the past several years.  While this has enabled us to stretch limited resources, it has not developed a focused consensus for the creation of new short or long term water supplies.

As a result it will require all of to continue our conservation efforts while solutions are being addressed. A return to the cash for grass and other previous conservation efforts should assist in this effort. City Staff should also continue to work closely with residents who are still not in compliance with our usage goals.

While some individuals feel that water usage targets should be established by the City for local businesses, I disagree. According to metered data collected by the City most of our businesses have already implemented water reduction programs that provide effective savings. Many of our businesses operate on a low margin and additional costs would likely result in reduced services. We need to remember that a significant portion of our City Operating Budget is based on sales taxes that these businesses collect.

WATER SUPPLY: We are all hearing “political” responses to this issue and most are not well thought out.  It’s well past time to form a regional task force comprised of professional staff from each of our cities and an experienced water consulting firm to vet the available possibilities and provide us realistic options.

Desalination:  This has been attempted by several cities and in each circumstance has failed because of high cost and the lengthy approval process. Even when a facility successfully comes on line, subsequent rainfall that replenishes our traditional water sources, results in cheaper water than that produced by the desalination facility, resulting in the shut down of the desalination facility.

A larger scale regional facility may over time help alleviate some of these issues, but the short term cost of a new facility, distribution pipes, ocean intake limitations and on-going operations are significant. Any discussions of a regional facility must include financing sources and other uses for the generated water when our lake and underground supply sources are replenished.

Water reclamation:  Of course we have to use water before it can be re-claimed. This in itself is a limiting factor when our current supplies are so low. Hindsight tells us that if we had pursued this option when our lake was full and groundwater supplies stable, we would have several more years of available water. This may still be one of the most cost effective options available to us and  should be evaluated by the task force.

State Water:   Much has been said about this option, but most is supposition and not fact. While our citizens previous decision prohibits us from contracting directly for State Water, it does appear we can purchase water from any of the water purveyors who do purchase State Water. While this could be extremely costly it also should be looked at as negotiable. Failure to pursue negotiations eliminates this as an option.

If Measure E-16 is passed we would be able to pursue the direct purchase of State Water. While this may also be prohibitively  expensive if pursued as a city project, it may be more acceptable if pursued as a regional project with our neighboring cities.


New City Manager


The primary role of the City Council is to establish policies and to measure performance of the City Administration in carrying out those policies. The primary role of the City Manager is to implement those policies by developing, implementing, and measuring goals and objectives for the policies.

NEW CITY MANAGER: This is the key to get us out of the repetitive problem solving mode we have been in for the past few years and into a more proactive goal driven mode. We need our Council to address long term plans and goals and let our City Manager address and drive the implementation activities. The Council’s role is policy and direction. The City Manager serves as the CEO and drives how we meet policy goals.

Many of our issues are regional in nature and collaboration with neighboring cities and agencies is important to developing good solutions. Our new City Manager must be capable of effectively communicating our needs and position when working with our neighbors.

The City Manager role is also key to improving staff morale and our ability to retain high performing managers. We need an experienced City Manager who is a problem solver and will support City Staff.

We need to cease the Mayor/Council micro-management of our city and let our professionals do their job.

Economic Development


In order to create an effective Economic Development Plan we need to first decide what our economic engine(s) will be. This in turn is dependent upon our vision of what we want our city to look like.

Successful economic development requires that we control the direction of this development by marketing our city to businesses and not relying on developers to direct the selection of business types. This should be a key function of our City Manager and staff.

Certainly, sales tax based businesses offer a more consistent revenue stream and have the advantage of including contributions from our visitors and tourists. However, we need to realize our need to support these businesses during times when tourists have returned home and business revenues will decrease, remains. Our City Council and City Staff should work closely with our business community to support targeted community events that offer opportunities for our citizens to maintain support for our businesses. My extensive business background can aid this process and provide direction that helps to ensure success.

We also need to recognize that it will be difficult to draw new businesses to our city when we have a water shortage and may be considering, or have, a broad based building moratorium. The development of a realistic  Water Supply Development Plan can offer encouragement to potential businesses.

Please share this site to help others research their voting choices.