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Ah, progress! 

Who's ready for the clean energy revolution? Is it Citizens for Estero Bay Preservation, a Morro Bay group that opposes Texas-based energy company Vistra's plan to build a 600-megawatt Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) on possibly toxic land next to the iconic smokestacks? Probably not.

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The group collected enough signatures to demand Morro Bay residents have a right to vote on any change to land use designations that deviate from the city's current general plan, including Vistra's proposed BESS. They're hoping residents hate the idea of a potentially dangerous storage plant a quarter mile from Morro Bay High School as much as they do.

The question is whether this vaguely written word-salad initiative is the right path forward. It essentially strips the City Council of its power to amend land use for projects on certain parcels of land, instead demanding a public vote every time a land use amendment is required. That seems a tad reactionary. I get some residents don't want this BESS, but do you want to force a vote on every future project that comes before the city that proposes "any change to land use designations of visitor-serving commercial or commercial/recreational fishing or certain designated parcels within the city?" Huh? What does that even mean?

On Sept. 12, the Morro Bay City Council met to decide the next step: 1. Study the effects of this new proposed ordinance, 2. outright adopt it, or 3. order an election on the ordinance itself. Let that soak in for a second. Should we study what will happen if the ordinance is adopted, just roll the dice and adopt it, or let the public decide whether or not to adopt an ordinance they know little about?

Obviously, the smart thing would be to direct staff to study the ramifications, right? Then give the public the info it needs for an informed vote. But incredulously, the council decided to see what's behind door No. 3. Yeah, they're going to let the public decide whether the public should decide, and they're doing it without giving the public any information.

Only a truly dumb governing body would abdicate their power to govern without at least studying the potential fallout, so slow clap, Morro Bay City Council. You may have just voted yourself into obsolescence.

Speaking of progress, Cal Poly sure has expanded over the years—a bigger stadium, massive recreation center, new sports fields, new dining facilities, new dorms and apartments, new parking structures, and even some new classrooms for—you know—teaching and stuff. The next big upgrade is renovation of the Robert E. Kennedy Library, which is estimated to cost a cool $77 million with construction running through summer of 2025.

Cal Poly spent $119 million in 1993 to build the rec center, and the university dumped another $57 million to renovate and make it LEED certified in 2012. When you think about it, $77 million is peanuts!

Selling points for the upgraded library include better climate control, a reduced carbon footprint, and a second floor Starbucks to keep those kiddos caffeinated with $7 Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccinos®. It's like pouring money from a spigot, baby.

One might be forgiven to ask if the newly renovated library will have more ... what do they call those things in libraries? Oh yeah ... books? Probably not. Books are so antiquated. Do students even read books these days? Everything's online, and with ChatGPT writing students' essays, can't we just print out degrees and give them to anyone willing to pay for one?

Anywho, for the next two years, Cal Poly will be a library-less university. That seems weird, but not to Anthony Palazzo, Cal Poly's executive director of Facilities Planning and Capital Projects, who explained, "The library is not closing, it's just the building itself that won't be accessible. Instead, its resources have just been spread throughout campus and the only thing changing as far as what is available to students is that physical building."

Yeah, it's just that one building! No biggie. One solution to make up for lost study space is to pitch tents in parking lots and let students study there ... in a tent ... in a parking lot. Hm. Parking can be very hard to come by at Poly, so the plan is to eat up precious parking places with "study tents"? That'll excite the students and staff who buy parking permits. Yes, even professors and other university workers must pay for the privilege of parking where they work. Money-money-money-money!

Is it just me, or does Cal Poly seem greedy? Isn't it time to admit the university loves making money off its students more than educating them? Heck, gotta keep those upgrades coming! How else will Cal Poly stay on those "best" lists? Money magazine listed Cal Poly among the top 34 colleges in the nation. It's listed right there with Yale, Brown, Amherst, Cornell, Princeton, Columbia, Harvard, and MIT.

Hopefully, Money magazine won't hear about the parking lot study tents and kick Cal Poly off its list. In two short years, Cal Poly students will have access to a fourth Starbucks, and really, isn't overpriced coffee and a state-of-the-art rec center what college is all about? Δ

The Shredder loves a kegger. Let's party at [email protected].

Readers Poll

Do you think the SLO County Board of Supervisors should have gone against their policy that states funding for independent special districts should not result in a net fiscal loss to the county?

  • A. Yes, the housing and job opportunity the Dana Reserve is bringing is important
  • B. No, it's giving special privileges to the Nipomo Community Services District
  • C. I trust them, they know what's best for the county
  • D. What's going on?

View Results

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