State probe casts a shadow on new San Luis Obispo mayor

January 6, 2011

By  LISA RIZZO and KAREN VELIE

Jan Marx

A three-year state investigation into the funneling of cash and gifts to the campaigns to stop Ernie Dalidio’s proposal to develop his San Luis Obispo farmland has revealed that the city’s newly-elected mayor, Jan Marx, was part of the alleged illicit effort.

Last October, the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) levied $80,000 in fines against Tom and Jim Copeland, and banker David Booker for committing 16 campaign violations in their secretive battle against Dalidio’s project, proposed for south of the Madonna Plaza shopping center.

The state’s probe includes 1,414 pages of reports and documents and was recently made public through a Freedom of Information request. The documents identify Mayor Marx, an attorney, as a leader in the campaign to stop Dalidio’s development, which was slated to directly compete with commercial properties owned by the two Copeland brothers.

In 2000, while on the San Luis Obispo City Council, Marx and former councilman John Ewan served as representatives in negotiations to annex Dalidio’s proposed project into the city. Marx and Ewan bargained with former San Luis Obispo County Supervisors Katcho Achadjian and Peg Pinard until they came up with a proposal that included 46 percent open space in the project, and a contract with Dalidio to purchase additional lands to be designated as open space.

All four negotiators signed the agreement.

Much to the surprise of other council members, Marx voted against the project when it went in front of the City Council. After she was on the losing end of the vote, she helped launch a political campaign to stop the project.

“She (Marx) then did an about face and said ‘No,’ ” Ewan said. “She has said that the end justifies the means. It makes me think that she was not negotiating in good faith.”

A thorough review of the voluminous FPPC documents confirms that Marx was involved in the campaigns and that she made a $3,000 loan to help launch the effort in 2004.

The FPPC, in its decision and order  in which the Copeland’s did not contest, said the Copelands’ LLC, Responsible County Development, was the “sponsor” of the campaign against Dalidio’s project.

In an interview with CalCoastNews, Marx said, “I wasn’t against the project, I wanted them to follow the rules and have 50 percent open space.”

When asked for a reaction to the state’s repeated documentation of her involvement in the campaign against Dalidio, Marx said that even though she along with several other people founded the campaign against the project, she was not involved in the inner working of the campaign as it progressed.

But the FPPC documents reveal a different story.

A trail of receipts, credit card statements and reimbursement checks shows that Marx handled everyday campaign duties from the start of the fight in 2004 through the second election in November, 2006.

She also printed campaign flyers, purchased campaign supplies and handled some advertising with local media. As late as August, 2006, just months before the election, the campaign phone service was paid with Marx’s credit card and not yet listed in the campaign’s name, according to FPPC documentation.

The anti-Dalidio development campaign has gone by many names, including Citizens for Planning Responsibly. It was first known as “Save San Luis Obispo, A Committee against Measures A, B & C” during the April, 2005 election and was renamed “County Coalition for Local Control (CCLC), No on J-06” for the November 2006 election.

Front and center in the investigation is a series of substantial loans that were made to the Save San Luis Obispo campaign that were later forgiven. Booker contributed $750 and together with his wife, another $98,000 in loans, according to contribution forms and promissory notes obtained by CalCoastNews.

The Bookers forgave more than $89,000 of the loans.

The Copelands, along with their limited liability companies, San Luis Obispo Court Street and San Luis Obispo Downtown Centre, contributed $87,500 with $58,000 of that in loans. Only $20,000 was paid back while $38,000 was forgiven.

Developers and commercial property owners, many with financial motives to stop Dalidio, provided the bulk — more than 80 percent — of the funding for the committees opposing Dalidio. And while some developers donated funds using their name and legal addresses, others, such as the Copeland brothers and former North County developer Kelly Gearhart, who contributed $20,000, hid their identities behind company names and post offices boxes.

The Political Reform Act requires that contributors provide a street address and their full legal name.

Local clerk recorder employees are responsible for inspecting campaign filings to make sure laws are being followed. These employees said they repeatedly told Dalidio’s opponents that they were breaking campaign laws and that they needed to correct the filings and provide addresses and not post offices boxes.

“Please be aware that the State Franchise Tax Board periodically audits these files and will often fine a committee that has inaccurate or incomplete filings,” said Tami Bisantz, county clerk recorder assistant, in a letter to the CCLC, on Oct. 4, 2006. “When you amend, you will need the complete cover page along with the amended pages attached.”

The group appears to have elected to keep their donors identities hidden and never provided an amendment with the solicited corrections.

In an odd twist last week, the County Clerk-Recorder’s office told CalCoastNews that it lost part of the file for the CCLC about a year ago. Last week, Bisantz asked the committee if they could re-file the missing documents following a CalCoastNews request for the complete file.

During their fight against Dalidio’s development, the committees were regularly under fire by the media for transgressions such as not paying rent, claiming the use of a Copeland owned building as a donation and sending misleading mailers.

The FPPC investigation confirmed the allegations.

Just days before the Nov. 7 election, it was Marx who was tasked with publishing an apology on behalf of the CCLC following a deceptive mailer that resulted in criticism from the media and the San Luis Obispo County Clerk Recorder. The campaign mailed out absentee ballot applications to potential voters, which appeared to show that the County Clerk Recorder was in favor of “No on J.”

The campaign apologized for their “inadvertent error” through a correction that Marx personally published in The Tribune, records show.

The FPPC investigation report says that for four months in 2005 the Copelands donated office space to the committee without disclosures by the campaign as required by law.

When asked about the failure to report the donation of office space from the Copelands, Marx said, “I don’t think we had an office. We met in each others’ homes.

“We were a grassroots group.”

In 2006, while a Copeland-owned building on Monterey Street served as the CCLC campaign headquarters, the local media began writing about the group’s failure to properly report the office space donation.

Shortly before the election, Suzanne Fryer, the Copeland’s corporate attorney and one of the principals in the anti-Dalidio campaigns, drew up a contract between CCLC and the Copelands to pay $7,500 for four months rent. The agreement says it “was entered into and effective as of July 10, 2006.”

However, according to dates on the bottom of each page, the contract was not penned until Oct. 29, 2006, months after the campaign took occupancy of the space.

The FPPC investigation also noted that Fryer failed to claim $2,337 in copies and paper she donated to the committees battling against Dalidio.

Fryer did not return requests from CalCoastNews for comment.

Marx, asserting her limited involvement, said she was unaware who was making donations to the anti-Marketplace committees, even those donating more than $10,000.

However, others involved in the campaign claim Fryer and Marx headed up the various committees that battled Dalidio and that they must have known the names of the big donors.

“Jan (Marx) and Suzanne (Fryer) sort of ran it,” said Rosemary Wilvert, president and spokesperson for Citizens for Planning Responsibly. “We would get legal advice from Jan and Suzanne. They would tell me how to say things to the media.

“I imagine they (Marx and Fryer) knew but they did not tell us,” Wilvert responded when asked if Marx and Fryer knew the donations came from the Copelands.

Under persistent questioning about her anonymous role in the fight against Dalidio, the mayor was evasive and then chose not respond to further requests for comment.

The FPPC investigation found that the Copelands and Booker made contributions to the committee through an LLC rather than their legal names, failed to disclose the true source of contributions made to the campaign and did not file a semi-annual and late contribution report as required by campaign laws.

The Copelands and Booker, among other contributors, had worked to conceal their identities from voters for four years despite public outcry for disclosure, even though California campaign rules require the transparency of donors.

In addition, the report notes that Booker, the agent for service on the Copeland’s LLC, Responsible County Development, was also the president of First Bank of San Luis Obispo, the bank the illegal donations were funneled through.

Even though the FPPC investigation does not name others suspected of contributing to the campaign through the Copelands’ LLC, Dalidio’s attorney, James McKiernan of San Luis Obispo, said that a review of the FPPC records makes it appear other rival developers used the LLC to funnel funds to fight Dalidio’s development.

These developers are likely to be exposed if Dalidio elects to re-file a lawsuit against those who illegally donated money though the LLC, McKiernan said, adding that Dalidio is exploring the revival of a lawsuit, which would likely include a subpoena of the LLC’s bank account records.

As part of their investigation, the FPPC also looked into Booker’s 2004 unsuccessful run for mayor of San Luis Obispo, a campaign that included $30,000 in loans the banker made to his campaign and then forgave. The report notes that Dalidio’s Marketplace Association spent $2,732 opposing Booker while Copeland, through several LLCs and family members, supported Booker’s campaign.

Booker did not return requests for comment.

In July, 2004, the development plan for Dalidio’s marketplace project was approved by the San Luis Obispo City Council. However, a citizen’s referendum placed the issue of development on a 2005 special election ballot as Measures A, B, and C, which was defeated by city voters.

After this loss, the previous “Marketplace Project” proposal was revised and submitted to San Luis Obispo County as the “Dalidio Ranch” initiative and the Board of Supervisors placed it on the November, 2006 ballot as Measure J, which was approved by voters countywide.

The Dalidio Ranch project is slated to include a 13-acre organic farm, a seven-day-a-week farmers’ market, a soccer field, a Monarch butterfly preserve, a 24-hour drive-through pharmacy, retail development, 60 units of workforce housing and the construction of an overpass connecting U.S. Highway 101 and Prado Road.

The 131 acres of Dalidio land currently is in unincorporated county territory just south of the San Luis Obispo city limit. Officials from the city have repeatedly said they want the Dalidio project to be annexed into the city and wonder if the bad blood between Dalidio and Mayor Marx could thwart their plans.

“I am not going to work with the city with Marx on the council, after what she has done,” Dalidio said. “She has been in the pocket of the Copelands.”


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Henry Rearden

This all old news. If you have lived in this town for anytime, you knew this about Jan and her way of doing business. People knew this about Jan and still elected her Mayor, get over it. This issue is a non issue to the people, we elected her. If you didn’t know this and voted for her, you hold part of the blame for casting an uninformed vote. You made your bed!!!


Crusader

Naw, you’re wrong.


Had THIS story broke before the election, Paul Brown would be mayor.


SLOChildrenAtPlay

I am sorry to say “Henry,” in a really sick way – you are kinda wrong, and “Crusader” is kinda right. Soooo many people in this city go to the polls and just vote like robots. They vote party line republican, or in Jan Marx’ case – they vote party line democrat. They believe if there is no major controversy in the headlines, there must be no problem with thier party’s candidate. These people are too “busy,” or too lazy to vote the issues. Jan Marx won because she had no current controversy in the headlines before the election, and the DNC told thier people she was the one to vote for. Crusdaer wrote: “Had THIS story broke before the election, Paul Brown would be mayor.” Which means: If the democrats had been punched in the face with this reality, they might have not voted like robots. Thanks DNC, for leading your SLO sheep to vote for a crooked candidate.


Turquoise

If Jan was involved enough in the campaign to be considered a leader of an anti-Dalidio development group, perhaps she decided somewhere along the line that the project she and all the other interested parties were debating at the time did not deserve her vote.


That is what politicians do. Give and take. Compromise or don’t. We elected them to get into the details and decide, and we can only hope there’s enough there to stop or get done what we ourselves want to see.


Jan’s agenda is preservation of open space and sensible growth – protection of what makes San Luis Obispo different from every other town with blazing car lots and big box stores on the edge of town. That’s why I was and remain against these developments, and that’s why this individual grassroot donated somewhere around $100 to help stop Dalidio and Gearhart from ruining the ambiance. Before them it was Madonna with his nasty pig farm threat because the City didn’t want him to do more of what he did at the Plaza, with its acres of asphalt that require everyone shopping there to drive from store to store.


I know Jan personally and I know that she is a woman of integrity. Kelly Gearhart is basically on the lam and Jan is Mayor of San Luis Obispo, an office she won after walking all over town and discussing with hundreds and hundreds of residents their ‘ideologies’. Gearhart had his own agenda, and he did his own donating. It’s simple-minded to tar her for his actions. Same thing goes for the Copelands.


Some of the posters here have even complained because Jan looks like a grandma. She IS a grandma! One who still hikes all over the surrounding hills with her grandkids, and has done more than most to keep San Luis Obispo looking good and drawing tourists (which benefits my business).


The Dalidio project is better today for Jan’s involvement in the process. I personally could never be a politician because I don’t have the energy it takes, the focus and thick skin, the need to compromise with people I see wrecking the environment. But I’m enough of a pragmatist to understand that we need people like Jan to be that, to withstand the tides of developers who want their own profitable piece of this sweet place I’ve always been happy to call home.


I’m so glad Jan Marx has the moxy to stand up to development interests and keep the tourism and ag interests, the downtown businesses and the treehuggers fairly happy. That is her position. That is why I and the majority voted for her. Jan had the guts and tenacity to try and keep Farmer Dalidio and his out-of-state development partners from paving that beautiful stretch of Los Osos Valley from end to end. That’s why the project today includes so much open space and an ongoing farmers market that will offer fresh local foods alongside the cans and boxes in Ralph’s or whatever that grocery store is over there.


I’m really am not into politics except when I feel it’s important to get involved, but as far as these politics go, Jan got my vote and she still has my vote.


You win some and you lose some. That is the American way. We may have lost this fight, but there is more development pressure where that came from. We can only hope Dalidio’s project won’t damage San Luis Obispo and those local interests that are not well-served by his development. Remember that the measure only passed when it was wrested from local control and put on a countywide ballot. I hope the Dalidio development won’t cost taxpayers more than the staggering sum needed to pay for the freeway interchange that will help him on his way from humble farmer to real estate mogul.


You got your way, Ernie. Your lawyers and PR team and Texas backers won. Go build. Have fun and do a good job. We may not agree on the project or the methods, but I know we all want to be as proud and happy with the end result as it is possible to be.


Turquoise

You must mean Patty Andreen, whom I have met but do not know well.


I did make it clear that I don’t like politics. I’ve never run for any kind of office and never will, and I’m not a lawyer. In fact, I don’t really understand why anyone would want to put up with all the mudslinging and tramping through the mud.


But I do know Jan, and I do believe she did what she thought was right, even if she didn’t do it all perfectly right.


SLOChildrenAtPlay

If you repeat anything to yourself over and over again long enough, you’ll start to believe it as truth. And here you are.


OnTheOtherHand

It isn’t that she voted the way she did. It’s that her methods were dishonest and she lied about how involved she was afterward. I doubt that many posting on this site are surprised to discover that a long-time politician and lawyer would also be a liar, but an amazing percentage of the voting public is both ignorant an gullible. (Parkinson election as sheriff is proof of that.)


Turquoise

If Jan was involved enough in the campaign to be considered a leader of an anti-Dalidio development group, perhaps she decided the project she and the other City Councilmembers were debating and negotiating at the time (open space, highway and street enhancements, etc) did not yet deserve her vote. That is what politicians do. Give and take. Compromise or don’t. We elected them to decide, and we hope there’s enough there to stop or get done what we ourselves want to see.


Jan’s agenda is preservation of open space and sensible growth. Protection of what makes San Luis Obispo different from every other town with blazing car lots and big box stores on the edge of town. That’s why I was and remain against these developments, and that’s why this grassroot donated somewhere around $100 to stop Dalidio and Gearhart from ruining the ambiance. Before them it was Madonna with his nasty pig farm threat because the City didn’t want him to do what he did at the Plaza, with its acres of asphalt that requires everyone shopping there to drive from store to store.


I know Jan personally and I know that she is a woman of integrity. Kelly Gearhart is basically on the lam and Jan is Mayor of San Luis Obispo, an office she won after walking all over town and discussing with hundreds and hundreds of residents her ‘ideology’ on sustainable, not unbridled, growth. Gearhart had his own agenda, and he did his own donating. It’s simple-minded to tar her for his actions in Atascadero and elsewhere. Same thing goes for the Copelands.


Some of the posters here have even complained because Jan looks like a grandma. She IS a grandma! One who still hikes all over the surrounding hills with her grandkids, and has done more than most to keep San Luis Obispo looking good and drawing tourists (which my business benefits from).


The Dalidio project is better today for Jan’s involvement in the process. I personally could never be a politician because I don’t have the energy it takes, the focus and thick skin, the need to compromise with people I see wrecking the environment. But I’m enough of a pragmatist to understand that we need people like Jan to be that. To withstand the tides of developers who want a piece of this sweet place I’ve always been happy to call home.


I’m so glad Jan Marx has the moxy to stand up to development interests and keep the tourism and ag interests, the downtown businesses and the treehuggers fairly happy. She has what it took to keep Farmer Dalidio and his out-of-state development partners from paving that beautiful stretch of Los Osos Valley from end to end. That’s why the project includes open space and an ongoing farmers market that will offer fresh local foods alongside the cans and boxes in Ralph’s or whatever that grocery store is over there.


I’m not really into politics, but Jan got my vote and she still has my vote.


SLOChildrenAtPlay

Nice spin on how people really still strive to believe in how they screwed up thier vote. Maybe the Tribune will give you a job.


kellygirl

John Ewan for mayor of San Luis Obispo in 2012!


bulwark

Why would she even consider stepping down?


As John Ewan states, Jan says “The end justifies the means” End of story.


She won’t lose a wink of sleep over this.


The rule of law and equal protection mean nothing to the adult members of the question authority generation….. including those admitted to the bar.


willie

“By any means” AKA “The ends justify the means.” I understand about this or about them.

But the virtuous focus on “the journey not the destination.”


She doesn’t lose a wink of sleep but at least when she looks at her magic mirror, she will see a voice “Jan you are no longer the fairest in the land!”


So I lose a little sleep, that is the price I pay for hilarious, great entertainment (transparency).


Crusader

The Copelands also need to send SLO a check for the balance they owe us on the “chinatown” parking lots the wheedled out of the city for a dime on the dollar…


Liberandos

Off Topic, but since you brought it up…


I would very much like to go back to the days of walking downtown and seeing the giant whole in the ground that was the former home to Korbs… The new Downtown Center attracts too many people for my tastes. Plus all those people just waste their money on these downtown merchants, buying coffee, shopping and going to the movies, causing these merchants to have to pay more in local taxes. Shameful!


Even worse is all the landlords around the Downtown Center and Court Street have has their properties values, (Who needs an Apple Store anyway? Mac’s are so 1984…) but I digress, and my property is not near any of these projects…Sooooo NOT FAIR!


But if that isn’t bad enough, the Million +$ donation to the new Cardiac Unit at French Hospital is just beyond the pale… We are a small little down and don’t deserve this modern health care facility! I mean there are hundreds (even thousands) of other diseases out there, why are they being ignored! I call BS!


Finally it was brought to my attention that a local family also donated over $100k to finish the SLO Children’s museum! That is just what we need, a lot of little kids and their families running around downtown, spending money, shopping and eating and having fun, but…


Where is everyone supposed to park for crying out loud!


BeenThereDoneThat

Not sure but if you are trying to say in a tongue and check way the good that Copelands have done in getting taxes and other things to benifit S.L.O., that can be a slippery slope. That was the SAME thing said about Kelly Gearhart at the peak of his building. Got rid of eyesores in A-town. Donated over $500,000 to a new track at the High School. This is one of the many reasons why Atas. then gave him citizen of the year.


Now I get it!! For the Copeland story to come full circle we need to nominate them for citizen of the year for S.L.O.!!!


P.S. Copeland statement made with my tongue punched through my cheek.


Liberandos

What does this have to do the Kelly G who is a criminal that stole $millions?


Are there any criminals in your line of work BTDT? Do they make you a criminal or somehow turn your good work into a slippery slope?


BeenThereDoneThat

You missed the mark. My point was that Kelly was put on a pedistool as could do no wrong in general. Same here with Copelands. In Kellys case it was criminal. In the case of Copelands it is stacking the deck in favor of downtown, (which would benifit them) at the expense of Ernie.


Also Kelly is accused of Favortism by the City of Atas. Hmm Copelands have got a pretty good deal on that parking lot from the City of S.L.O. No I guess no simularities here. AGAIN TONGUE THROUGH CHEEK!!


Outtathere

The Copeland’s filled a need 20 years ago by taking over the project that the French Bro’s could not complete, no question. Then the city virtually gave them Court Street, rather than having them compete against other developers who likely would have paid considerably more, would likely have built something that was attractive and could be successful (which Court Street is neither), and likely would have allowed local businesses instead of mostly national chains. Copeland’s convinced national retailers that space in SLO was worth $5 per foot, then convinced other commercial and retail landlords that this was the going rate. The result was a lot of empty buildings downtown when it came time to renew leases or when the local businesses closed, because it is not possible for a retailer to make a profit at $5 per foot in SLO, as the chains who have been paying these rates have learned. These vacancies occurred long before the economy failed, and created serious cash-flow problems for either the businesses that tried to pay these rents and went under, or the landlords that tried to charge these rents and wound up with no tenants at all.


Meanwhile, the city continued to invest themselves in this partnership, and sold land to Copeland’s to build a new city hall and parking garage at Palm and Morro, after which the structure was sold back to the city at a huge profit to the Copeland’s. Their profit was paid by the city, which means you and me: SLO taxpayers.


Around this time, the city changed the retrofit deadline for URM buildings from 2017 to 2007. Within two months of the change in the retrofit deadline, Copeland’s owned four of the five buildings on the West side of Monterey Street between Morro and Chorro, properties that had not changed hands in 40 to 100 years and likely would not have changed hands to this day if not for the change in the retrofit deadline. For these properties, which made up less than 20 percent of the block, they paid over $12,000,000. The intention was to tear all of the buildings down, all they wanted was the land which was approximately half an acre total. Next, the city gave- literally gave- the Copeland’s the majority of the block bordered by Palm, Morro, Monterey and Chorro. This property consisted of over an acre and a half comprising more than 150 parking spaces, plus some city buildings. As Crusader states, the sale price was approximately a dime on the dollar as the value of the land, based on what they paid for other land on the same block, was over $35,000,000 and the city charged them $3,500,000 which was supposedly the cost to replace the parking but is a fraction of the cost per space that the city paid the Copeland’s for the city hall parking tower. Remember, SLO taxpayers own those parking lots.


While other URM building owners in downtown SLO scrambled to find financing, engineers and contractors able to work on their buildings against a 2007 deadline during the boom time for construction (2004 to2006), the city gave the Copeland’s a pass on retrofitting the buildings that they had the opportunity to purchase, ironically (or maybe not coincidentally) only because of the change in the retrofit deadline. The reasoning was that they were going to do a huge project that was going to provide jobs during construction and sales tax after completion.


More than six years after the change in the retrofit deadline, there are no jobs for constructing Chinatown, and the businesses that formerly occupied the buildings and provided jobs and sales tax are no longer there. No jobs of any sort or sales tax on that block for the past several years, and not likely for the next several years. And, the Copeland’s have not paid for the property from the city, they merely have the “option” to purchase the property at a time that works for them.


After all of the above, which has resulted in a loss of millions to local taxpayers, the Copeland’s, at the suggestion of their advisors who were trying to pump up their image after the Court Street debacle and due to concerns that the FPPC would expose them for their “loans” to Ms. Marx’ campaign, they promised $750,000 to French for their cardiac care center. This is a mere fraction of what the city (taxpayers) have given them over the years.


Liberandos is trying to use sarcasm to suggest that there was some level of benefit to the community from all of this, and altruism involved on the part of the Copeland family. If you know these people or have ever dealt with them, then you know that what they have “given” was not a gift from the heart. Whatever benefit the city, local property owners and taxpayers received from the Downtown Center was lost several-fold in the following decade on their next few “partnerships” with the city of SLO.


Crusader

Oh my gosh…


What an awesome and articulate posting! Superb! Thank you.


I remember attending a packed SLO City Council meeting on the “chinatown” project. Most of the people where there due to design and preservation concerns. I wanted to know why the Copelands were being sold public property at such a cheap price?


I can still remember Andrew Carter arguing against selling the property for such a low-ball amount. I can also remember the slimy facial expressions of the mayor and the others on the council at that time who supported the deal. It made my skin crawl.


I hope councilpersons like Carter and Carpenter will look into this at some point. I also hope that productive gadflies like Kevin Rice will get interested. At the very least the Copelands should offer to sell the property back to us taxpayers at the price they paid — maybe they could even float they city a no interest 10 year loan? That should be suitable penance for their shenanigans.


In the end the Copelands are all about turning a buck. If they move forward on the chinatown project with the same level of arrogance they did before, you can bet this will be their Waterloo once and for all…


Crusader

My apologies. Perhaps the Copeland Gang could do the right things and formally choose not to exercise their option to steal SLO taxpayer’s land at a dime on the dollar? A letter to the mayor from the Copeland Gang copying the city attorney should pretty much do the job.


I should have been more direct in my earlier comment. Exercising this shameless option would be the Copeland Gang’s Waterloo…


Outtathere

@Crusader- good catch on the option versus purchase. Since they don’t yet own the property, they aren’t out of pocket for the purchase price, and are not paying property taxes on it…


Since the businesses have all been closed in those buildings: No income to the former business owners or their employees, no sales tax to SLO, and minimal income from the parking meters in a lot that was packed daily for the previous two decades. Those meters just in that one lot were providing over $4,000 per week to the city on average, or over $200,000 per year. The result of the city’s actions are counter-productive to what the former mayor and council claimed was their goal for approving Chinatown and the property give-away: More jobs for locals and higher income to the city through increased sales taxes.


Thank you also for noting that Andrew Carter was the only council member willing to point out the obvious discrepancy in value between the true market value, the “appraised value” based on an extremely flawed appraisal, and the giveaway price, which was what the former mayor and the other three members of city council wanted taxpayers to believe would be the cost to replace the parking.


Crusader

Liberandos says:

01/09/2011 at 8:20 am


[[[I would very much like to go back to the days of walking downtown and seeing the giant whole in the ground that was the former home to Korbs… The new Downtown Center attracts too many people for my tastes. Plus all those people just waste their money on these downtown merchants, buying coffee, shopping and going to the movies, causing these merchants to have to pay more in local taxes. Shameful!]]]


So the Copeland Gang is owed special favors because they did a nice job of finishing up a project? Is that what you’re suggesting?


[[[Even worse is all the landlords around the Downtown Center and Court Street have has their properties values, (Who needs an Apple Store anyway? Mac’s are so 1984…) but I digress, and my property is not near any of these projects…Sooooo NOT FAIR!]]]


OOOOOOOOOOOK!


[[[But if that isn’t bad enough, the Million +$ donation to the new Cardiac Unit at French Hospital is just beyond the pale… We are a small little down and don’t deserve this modern health care facility! I mean there are hundreds (even thousands) of other diseases out there, why are they being ignored! I call BS!]]]


NOW I SEE!! A little grease here and there makes it OK for the Copeland Gang to do as they please and screw the SLO taxpayers as they wish, huh?


[[[Finally it was brought to my attention that a local family also donated over $100k to finish the SLO Children’s museum! That is just what we need, a lot of little kids and their families running around downtown, spending money, shopping and eating and having fun, but…]]]


More grease! At least they got their mom’s name on the building!


[[[Where is everyone supposed to park for crying out loud!]]]


How about if they want another parking structure downtown they create a special parking district and tax the downtown land owners who most directly benefit from the increased parking?


babymommy

Hey, by the way–anyone up for picketing next week in front of the SLO City offices for Jan Marx Resignation? She needs to be booted…or should boot herself outta office…


SLOChildrenAtPlay

Most of us who had lived here for any length of time already had our suspicions that Jan Marx was involved somehow in the whole anti-Dalidio project scandal. Jan has never really been “slow growth” or “no growth.” In the statements made during her campaign she clearly stated that she was in favour of “sustainable growth.” Which really meant she supported any growth that “sustained” her business and political croanies. None of this comes to any surprise to me and I’m not really interested in a recall. I say let her serve her term in shame and disgrace. Maybe she will mature and find some long hidden morals within herself, and she will step down. Who knows, maybe in the next election some of you might just be motivated to vote on the issues, instead of just voting for who the DNC tells you to vote for.


babymommy

It’s about time, I knew ever since the day I met Dalidio he was getting the short end of the stick. And to just see how easy it is for the Copelands to have their projects “breeze” through council and get approval without a hiccup. It’s sad really, to think we live in such a beautiful, wonderful community and only certain people think they are “entitled” to develop. The same thing happens in North County too, just look at all the crooks in the hard money/lending industry. I hope Cal Coast continues to pick through with a fine tooth comb all of these big local names, there is still a lot more left to uncover! And to the Copelands, Karma is a, well you know…Thank you to Ms. Rizzo & Ms. Veilie for taking on the big guys–the community will continue to support you. I have learned to read the Tribune, then check Cal Coast for the “other” story, but I’ll be changing the way I find my news and come to the REAL source first. Kuddos!


OnTheOtherHand

Somehow I suspect that her career choices indicate that she lacks what most of us would call morality.

Unfortunately, maturity is a separate characteristic and she is both mature and fairly smart. Without morality, those characteristics are dangerous. While the city in which I live has problems of its own, I am glad that she is not my mayor.


Turquoise

SLOchild:


Anyone who has lived here for any length of time knows Jan Marx has always supported open space and sustainable development — along with a majority of SLO residents.


Jan pays close attention to all the development proposals that have been floated in SLO over the years. Some of those developers have been sleazy, but that hasn’t scared Jan away from the fight. She studies the details and challenges when necessary. There is no question about that. You know where she stands. That’s why we vote for her.


There is no question where you stand, either. You use this issue to try and cast the majority of SLO voters as ignorant robots who don’t know our own intentions. You sling mud with your comments about maturity and morality. You try to obscure your own development-at-any-cost agenda with words like “suspicion” and “shame” and you twist the definition of sustainable growth to further confuse the debate.


Not buying it.


SLOBOY

Jan Marx:

Enough of this, you need to do what is right and in the best interest of the City of SLO, for a change.

RESIGN,,,,NOW. Dont put the citizens of our city thru anolther moment of your deception and dishonisty.

Your already out, in case you have not figured that out by now.


Crusader

Marx lacks the integrity to do the right thing. She has no shame…


zaphod

She works hard for the money not as hard a our city manager but thats a another discussion isn’t it.


Crusader

I finally went to a SLO City Council meeting. Lichtig looked like some sort of sideshow performer and she seemed determined to keep her mouth shut. Such a deal for $317K/year.


She’s “just holding on” until she can use SLO for a ladder to her next big “job.”