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This SLO City Council is working to restore Laguna Lake 

San Luis Obispo

We would both like to compliment New Times reporter Robert McDonald for his portrayal of the long record of service to the City of San Luis Obispo by one of the undersigned (“So long, Dave,” Aug. 26). The photographs were especially interesting—and quite revealing.

We suggest only one clarification to Robert’s story. In one sentence, he dismisses a recent council action regarding the restoration of Laguna Lake: “In the end, the council voted to do nothing concrete and consider the lake renewal project for the next budget cycle.” Reading this, your readers might get the mistaken impression that the council had spurned all meaningful proposals for action to protect the lake.

The actual council motion reads as follows: “Direct staff to return to Council during the next budget cycle with a Capital Improvement Project proposal to achieve an approximate 9 ft. depth, (with) expert analysis, cost alternatives, and financing options including any available grants and/or assessment district options; motion carried (4:0; Settle recused).”

This action represents significant progress: The council is moving from a mere “plan” to a Capital Improvement Project to restore Laguna Lake. In fact, the council rejected a staff recommendation that would have delayed any action indefinitely.

There were differences of opinion, to be sure, that reflected the differing professional backgrounds that each of us brings to the table (one is a professional engineer, and the other a city planner). Ultimately, we agreed on two equally important points: 1) We cannot afford to delay further; short-term action must be initiated as soon as it is practical to do so; and 2) Any short-term actions must be linked to a long-term project that is sustainable, affordable, and effective.

The restoration of Laguna Lake is far closer to reality now, as a result of the decisive action and leadership of this City Council. Those who support this action—or, for that matter, those who may question it—should make their voices heard in the city’s goal-setting process for the 2011-2013 Financial Plan, now underway before our various city advisory bodies. If approved as a Major City Goal, a financing option must also be chosen to distribute the cost of the restoration project fairly among those who enjoy the natural resources of the lake.

Again, thank you for the opportunity to clarify what happened at our recent meeting. For more information on the council’s action on Laguna Lake, your readers are welcome to contact either of us at these e-mail addresses: Mayor Dave Romero, dromero@slocity.org;  Councilmember John Ashbaugh, jashbaug@slocity.org.

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