Saturday, April 30, 2016     Volume: 30, Issue: 40

Weekly Poll
How much do you think large monetary contributions to campaigns can sway elected officials?

Way too much; it’s seriously time to big take money out of politics.
Enough to reevaluate campaign finance laws and how they impact our political system.
Maybe a little; but in the end they still must answer to voters.
Not a concern; it’s how things work, and any serious candidate must stack some chips.

Vote! | Poll Results

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New Times / Letters to the Editor

Proposed Cayucos fire tax is absurd

Jenny L. - Cayucos -

I recently purchased a home in Cayucos and my special district fire tax is $103 a year. My parents own a home in Los Osos and their special district fire tax is $80. I asked a friend who owns a home in Cambria, and they pay $91 a year. Now, Cayucos wants to increase it to $500?

We already have the highest tax in the area, so why are we being asked to pay more? Is it truly in the community’s best interest?

My understanding is: If SLO County assumed responsibilities, we would get the proper fire protection we need without raising taxes and it would all come from the county’s general fund. 

With the recent utility rate increases, this unnecessary tax should be the responsibility of the county, not the property owners.

This will only lead to higher housing rental rates. Don’t let us get priced out of paradise.

I’m voting “no.”

Who needs to house the workforce?

Devon Morgan - San Luis Obispo -

It was heartwarming to read that at least one Nipomo resident was able to see the bright side to an otherwise vicious felony arson. Eleanor Haber need not worry that the hard-working men and women who feed her family will come anywhere near her brood. The remaining homes will now be occupied by others.

My realtor friends tell me that the escrows have already been opened for the following buyers:

  • • A consortium of suspended fraternities. Recently banished from Cal Poly for fostering sexual misconduct, robbery, and narcotics trafficking, the brothers will bring a taste of Greek life to sleepy, bucolic Nipomo.
  • • The Archdiocese of Boston. Pedophile priests requiring respite and “rehabilitation” will add a spiritual element to this eclectic mix.
  • • A methadone clinic.
  • • A cannabis collective, which will combine growing, processing, and distribution.
  • • A pit bull rescue and breeding operation.
  • • A therapeutic group home for gang-involved delinquent youth.

I guess all of the clamor for “workforce housing” was just so much bluster. Can’t have the “workforce” actually occupying the housing, now can we?

Be careful what you wish for.

A clouded view of water and housing

Susan Pyburn - San Luis Obispo -

To: Honorable Mayor Jan Marx and City Council members:

The water forum held in mid-April promulgated numerous questions and various responses, which I will not attempt to reframe or acknowledge in detail. Since I was unable to attend due to having received no written notice, my comments are based on my own sense of things as a resident of San Luis Obispo.

It is quite clear that we face a dire water shortage about which there are a range of views as to severity and likely prospects. No one has a crystal ball. That said, residents are paying more and using less while city officials push huge projects with no end in sight. All of them use water. 

We also have a well-documented housing crisis that precludes thousands of people who work here from gaining access to housing.

I understand SLO is a tourist destination and that the city benefits financially from dollars spent here as well as fees generated from development. My concern is that economic benefits (not just to city coffers) severely weight planning decisions and cloud objectivity. Also, I don’t believe there is a shortage of hotel rooms.

Furthermore, I see little reason to trust the charts, models, and consultants that seem to be orchestrated to persuade the public that all is well and to just let things be managed by city officials. 

In view of the ongoing drought and weather prognosis as well as water resources available in the near future, development planning should be limited to housing that is affordable to the workforce at every level. This overriding need is consistently overlooked and under-developed, negatively impacting the local economy and overall civic health of our city, not to mention its appeal to tourists. I work at the homeless shelter, and I know of many who are holding down jobs and sleeping at the shelter (if they are lucky enough to get a bed there) because they do not have the wherewithal to secure housing in our tight market.

The proposed project at Santa Rosa and Monterey can serve as an excellent model of sound planning by eliminating the hotel and moving forward on ground floor retail that helps support low-cost housing units to be developed by Peoples Self Help Housing. There is already a huge hotel planned for upper Monterey Street. 

Sadly, housing that is affordable to people of very modest means seems to be the last priority and planned only in miniscule allocations. Despite repeated documentation, it appears that city officials are not really concerned about the very real housing crisis. Just like the drought. 

In my view, your position, authority, and responsibility require you to address the needs of the people who already live here ... whatever their resources might be. It seems to me that this duty is obfuscated by the clouds spun by fat cats and big city dreams.