Letter to the San Luis Obispo City Council

May 18, 2010

Opinion By PETE EVANS

I remember before we had Farmer’s Market. The stores were open late and local young people hung out and cruised in cars down Higuera and up Marsh. The establishment just couldn’t stand this outlet for our youth so they killed it by closing the street and created Farmer’s Market. I missed ‘cruise night’ but liked the new event. It was open to all: we had fresh food for sale, car shows, volleyball games (I played on Higuera at Garden). Then it got corrupted into the human zoo it now is, with all the freak shows and years ago imposing the dog ban (for many, their dogs are an integral part of the family).

It is still a cool event but has become a commercial extravaganza instead of the hometown get together we once had. The only indispensable part of it now is the market. The farmers.

For some time the Farmers managed their end of things without a glitch. Then the business community decided to push them off to the side, marginalizing their presence. After a big flap you were called into the negotiations to force resolution-that has met with failure.

Jeez. How long are you going to sit on your hands? It looks like the Downtown Association (DTA) via Deb Cash has not been cooperative in resolving the issues as you directed months ago. This is ridiculous. I will bet you any amount with any odds over 90 percent of your constituents support the farmers and not that evil group you have given carte blanche to run things.

It’s way past time to stand up for the citizens in how our public property and facilities are used. Its time to tell the DTA to stand off, back down, knock off the power grabs.

And we don’t want to hear about commitments, contracts and obligations. Your only obligation is to us. If you feel tied up by prior agreements with the DTA you can certainly threaten them with future sanctions if they don’t cooperate now. If they have the legal power now you can easily withdraw that when it expires, you can do what you want.

You should have assigned someone to monitor the deliberations, and report back to you long before now as to how things are going. We expect much more than it appears we are getting.

Pete Evans is a recent immigrant to San Luis Obispo (’69) and long time activist.

We welcome guest opinion essays of 400 to 600 words. Send your opinion to tips@calcoastnews.com.


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13 Comments

  1. rferris says:

    Pete makes many good points, however associating the DTA with the actual merchants in downtown is a big mistake. We are required to join, money is taken from us by the city and we have no choice. The DTA seems to only be concerned with the goals of the council and the few participants that make up their “click” ( think Copeland enterprises….). They refused putting their going semi-independent up to a vote of their membership because they feared it would not be approved. They refuse to ever have a referendum on whether or not the DTA should even continue for the same reason. The DTA refuses to even break its membership down into the various types of business’s that are in downtown, preferring to pretend that retail,restaurants,service operations and offices have the same needs.
    Farmers market is no boon to MOST retailers downtown. MOST do NOT stay open, almost NONE participate in farmers market, and dealing with the DTA is not in any way like dealing with an organization that supports downtown small business. ( Unless you are an ad agency or someone who sells to business.) DTA is all about government telling you what to do ,not about supporting our local firms. Power and Control, what could be more progressive.

    (5) 5 Total Votes - 5 up - 0 down
  2. hotdog says:

    Judging by the report in the Trib today this letter was right on.

    (10) 10 Total Votes - 10 up - 0 down
  3. slojo says:

    Have you ever really looked at the sidewalks when you walk downtown? They are a wreck! Remember when they used to have lights in the trees?….so pretty.
    Regarding the transients and young people who hang out downtown asking for money……it’s terrible. At least in Los Angeles they leave you alone, they just hold up thier sign and sit there. The guys/girls downtown are loud and rude. Rediculous.

    (5) 9 Total Votes - 7 up - 2 down
    • mkaney says:

      I think you’re touching on different issues, and are actually representing the viewpoint that has pushed the city council to make the unfortunate choices they have.

      Furthermore, some of what you’re saying is absolutely untrue. Back in the day, the sidewalks in San Luis were a hodgepodge of different types of concrete, half of it pushed up by tree roots. We survived just fine. The sidewalks you see now are probably three times as wide and in much better shape. I think you’re simply remembering to the time when these particular sidewalks were new.

      Secondly, though we did not have the homeless traveler-kids in quite the quantity, I was a proud memeber of the Garden Street crew. And the exact same things were said about us. The kids on Garden Street were considered a menace by many people and it got to the point where the police would come harass us and arrest people who were standing off of the sidewalk after 9pm. Your complaints about these kids is just the newest version of the same mantra.

      In those days not everything had to be sterile though, and people who share your opinions are the reason that things have become so sterilized.

      (3) 5 Total Votes - 4 up - 1 down
  4. MAD HATTER says:

    Historically our CC has killed cruise night, Mardi Gras, Poly Royal, La Fiesta, and numerous other affairs of interest to the citizens here. I’m surprised it is OK to walk downtown anymore. Really? Only if you are a bum or a drunk, or have mental problems. “Its time to take back our city. ” I have said that for years but it’s funny, the people here on this website that gripe about every little thing are the same ones who keep voting in Dave Romero, Allen Settle, Jan Marks and the other lulu’s who have made San Luis Obispo into a joke. If you want to really understand what this city was really like, go to facebook and look under “I was born in San Luis Obispo.” You will get a good look at what San Luis Obispo used to be like, not what it is today. San Luis Obispo will never be what it used to be, ever. It’s too late to look back now.

    (4) 8 Total Votes - 6 up - 2 down
    • mkaney says:

      Although I agree with many of the gripers on this website, I also agree that many of them have brought this on themselves, ironically, by keeping Settle, Romero, et al in office. These people are pseudo liberals who gain support by their support of thing that many liberals value, but simply represent a new group of authoritarians, just without the traditional conservative slant. To draw an analogy, it’s as if someone sold themselves as being liberal because they support vegetarianism, but when elected they try to mandate that everyone must be a vegetarian. They are just paradoxes who do not understand principles behind the ideas they cling to.

      That being said, I fondly remember the days of Dunin. I was part of several groups who worked hard to keep these people at bay, ESPECIALLY SETTLE. He was our antichrist. Unfortunately he was able to sell his B.S. to newer residents and the true good ol’ boys faded into the background. We considered him a joke then, so it’s somewhat of a slap in the face to see how far he’s come.

      (1) 3 Total Votes - 2 up - 1 down
  5. R.Hodin says:

    @hotdog, Ironic that you mentioned cafe tables outside of Linnaea’s. This whole thing with the Farmers’ Market came to a head because the city approved the curb bulbout in front of the Anderson Hotel without taking into account how it would affect the Farmers’ Market stalls. This precipitated disagreements between the DTA & the SLOFMA concerning how booths would be set up there. Further, some kind of deal (between whom, I don’t know) was made that booths would not be able to set up adjacent to the bulbout, the result being that booths are always set up in front of the small businesses across the street from the bulbout.

    So there are more issues than just the communication issues & temporary contract impasse between the DTA & the SLOFMA.

    (-1) 3 Total Votes - 1 up - 2 down
  6. hotdog says:

    Historically our CC has killed cruise night, Mardi Gras, Poly Royal and numerous other affairs of interest to the citizens here. I’m surprised it is OK to walk downtown anymore. The original Farmers Market with all the available activities has been turned into a commercial mob. Linnaea’s cafe used to have a couple tables and chairs on the sidewalk (charming old world feel)-that was nixed right away.
    Much of our historical downtown has been razed for new development with no charm, and usually inhabited by national chain stores-without the slightest regard for our local Mom and Pop shops that were wiped out.
    The new Chinatown project depends on selling OUR land (much os which is the large parking lot, just where will we park now?) to the developer at discounted rates, even though a local resident offered full price-and was denied. That project will wipe most ofl the historical building around the Palm Theater down to Monterey St-so we can have high end shops for tourists but will make us look like Chicago and any other city. The Garden Street Terraces project will destroy all the buildings and little shops along the westside of Garden, down the alley to Broad, and up Marsh to Garden St. Tall buildings with damaged viewscape, excessive shading, wind tunnels and more catering to the ‘high end-leaving most of us out. We will have a hotel, high end apartments and shops. We will lose the diversity of all the little stores there, AND the parking lot.
    We get all this so the developer will get even richer (who is fabulously wealthy already-these people are addicted to power and money), the council will smugly feel like they contributed to our developing ‘big city’ feel and we will be left out. Strolling along those streets one may see no sun or mountains and be buffeted by the generated winds. Sweet. Good work CC.
    The Oh so convenient tall building ordinance the CC has been fiddling with for years has enabled all this junk. Even Santa Barbara, who had a tall building ordinance, reversed that stance in a wise decision. We have waved the mantra-“grow or die” which is such a crock of shit I can’t believe the so called adults on the CC cling to it for their very lives. It has always plagued us and I am sure is a darling motto of developers who will stop at nothing to destroy our town.

    (16) 28 Total Votes - 22 up - 6 down
  7. monkscrew says:

    Well said. Its time to take back our city. It exists for our benefit and at our behest. Enough of the crazy city council decisions and mandates, and to hell with big-money corporate interests… Let’s take back our city and ensure that it works for what we want and desire. I want to raise children here but with all of the corruption and back room deals and politicians bending over forward to help out I am afraid they will get a skewed view of the world. Maybe I’ll move back to Compton so my kids can have legit role models.

    (12) 22 Total Votes - 17 up - 5 down
    • Cindy says:

      Comptom! Aw come on, it’s bad but it ain’t that bad ;(

      AS for the remainder of your content, thumbs up.

      (3) 9 Total Votes - 6 up - 3 down
    • cheseburger says:

      I’m with you monkscrew, just look what happened to Avila beach, they took it from the poor and tried to sell it to the rich, I had four or five life times, worth of fun there now, I go to Monta De Oro, until they start charging ten bucks a car! Marty Graw was a set up by LEO, one out house and know where to pee,,,, cops on the roof, video taping the had to be criminals for $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.
      Man, I miss those BBQ pork sandwiches and beef ribs, never had a better one, now all those who tried to make a dime, are living on food stamps, on your dime. Do they have BBQ Pork Sandwiches in Compton, we can car pool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      (0) 2 Total Votes - 1 up - 1 down
  8. PaulJones says:

    Great Letter Pete, May I add my endorsement to it?

    (13) 21 Total Votes - 17 up - 4 down
    • Cindy says:

      Yes add my name to your letter to, and underline the words, “evil DTA”

      (8) 16 Total Votes - 12 up - 4 down

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