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SLO County traffic and advisory councils should get the chop 

Nothing gets SLO County more riled up than traffic. Traffic!

Think about any sort of housing development project proposed for anywhere in the county—a county that's so far behind in creating enough units to shelter its population that it might not ever catch up. We always hear this: "This place is beginning to look like Los Angeles. Too much development, too many people, too much traffic! I moved up here to get away from LA—not to live in another LA."

click to enlarge shredder.jpg

Cue eye roll.

However, if you're headed south from San Luis Obispo after work, you have a legitimate gripe (not about this 280,000-people strong county being even remotely similar to LA, but about traffic). It's a bottleneck. And if you're thinking about using the truck travel lane—that magical third lane on the right side of the freeway that starts around Avila Beach Drive—to illegally pass all the idiots waiting in stop-and-go traffic, keep an eye out for Pismo Beach City Councilmember Sheila Blake.

She may be out there with a nail strip trying to stop all the assholes like you "speeding down" and thinking "ah ha ha, I'm going to beat out all these other people." She jokingly asked Caltrans if that was a possibility during the Nov. 15 council meeting when the city was updated about the big project to alleviate rush hour traffic.

"Couldn't we do something to these people?" she asked with a laugh.

Caltrans is doing something to those people. Say goodbye to that lane and hello to something called a part-time travel lane. It's not going to happen anytime soon, but it's going to happen eventually. And while most of the thousands of commuters who head south on a daily basis will be ecstatic, City Councilmember Mary Ann Reiss isn't all that happy about a federal safety requirement the Five Cities Multimodal Transportation Network Enhancement Project (What? Why? The acronym doesn't even roll off the tongue—FCMTNEP).

Turns out that those concrete barriers that are supposed to protect drivers from oncoming traffic gone wrong aren't high enough along the Shell Beach straightaway. But Reiss thinks they're "too high now." An additional 10 inches would apparently be "unacceptable."

What about all those drivers who want to stare at the Pacific Ocean instead of the road? How will they live?! They're going to have to shift their gaze 10 inches, I guess.

Speaking of unacceptable. Oceano is unacceptable. Not the place or its residents, though, only the squeaky wheels clamoring for the most attention.

Those people happen to belong to warring factions—currently on the Oceano Advisory Council (OAC) and the Vitality Advisory Council of Oceano (VACO). And those people love to share the overly-long, bitter, accusatory email threads and social media posts between each other with New Times. Can you believe so-and-so? What a jerk?

Actually, we can't believe any of you. And your grammar is terrible. Grow up!

What sort of messed up game of Family Feud are they playing? How much drama should one town of 7,600 people generate? Should they be fighting over whether a pumpkin carving contest is under the purview of an advisory council? Should an advisory council really be writing an ordinance to regulate vacation rentals? No.

Now the OAC is on the chopping block with 4th District Supervisor Lynn Compton wielding the butcher knife. And she just might bring the blade down before she hightails it off the dais. I say, do it! Actually, get rid of them both.

What are they doing for the community by conducting a mudslinging contest complete with ideological tirades and personal vendettas?

Looking back through the county's good ol' community advisory council handbook, it seems like the county created these councils as a way to give unincorporated communities a more direct way to let the county and their respective representatives know what they need and want from proposed developments and ordinances impacting their regions.

"Community advisory council membership should reflect a broad cross-section of the community," it states—something that neither does, obviously.

VACO caters to the business community and pro-off-road interests, while the OAC caters to the opposite. Oceano needs one council that represents everyone, that represents the needs and wants of all the area's residents and is welcoming to everyone who wants to give their input, that's interested in compromise.

I'm not sure whether Compton contributed to or just witnessed the decompensation of civil civic engagement in Oceano—she's had it out for the OAC for quite some time now. But her successor, Jimmy Paulding, is going to have to fix it.

Speaking of successors, when will we know if 2nd District Supervisor Bruce Gibson reigned supreme over challenger Bruce Jones? Don't hold your breath. Everyone in the county is full of angst waiting for the results on the Nov. 8 election—and all the Clerk-Recorder's Office can say is there are almost 28,000 ballots left to count, it doesn't know how many it will count this week, and everyone gets Thanksgiving off.

So, election day is turning into election month.

Only 781 votes separate the Bruces. And that race will determine whether our county board leans conservative or liberal. I guess we can all be thankful this year that we don't know the outcome of a vote that could ruin enjoying our annual 4,500-calorie consumption day where we celebrate colonialism.

Go America. Δ

The Shredder is trotting for turkeys. Send a chopping block to [email protected].

Readers Poll

Should Arroyo Grande use eminent domain to repair the Traffic Way bridge? 

  • Yes! The bridge serves the public, and repairs are essential.
  • No—that's private property, and seizing it is government overreach.
  • Maybe, but there's much more the city should do first.
  • What's eminent domain?

View Results


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