District redraw sparks Templeton discord

September 17, 2011

By DANIEL BLACKBURN

Templeton has become the epicenter of a protracted effort to initiate so-called “smart growth” policies in the rural community, and current plans for redrawing supervisors’ district lines “push that agenda” and are blatantly political, one outspoken resident maintains.

Bill Pelfrey, an elected member of the Templeton Area Advisory Group (TAAG), told CalCoastNews this week that he believes long-term social planning, and political expediency, are influencing the board of supervisors’ majority.

Last week, the board voted unanimously to approve a set of boundaries including a controversial division of Templeton.

This Tuesday, however, supervisors Frank Mecham and Paul Tiexeira reversed their votes, both suggesting that more Templeton voices needed to be heard.

“This community considers its boundaries to be those of the school district,” Pelfrey said.

Supervisors Adam Hill, Bruce Gibson, and Jim Patterson stayed with their earlier decisions.

“I don’t agree that Templeton has been split,” Gibson said.

Pelfrey along with an outspoken group of Templeton residents contend Hill, Gibson and Patterson are redrawing supervisors districts with a focus on ensuring their political futures.

Pelfry said he thinks that “the majority of three have a more liberal outlook, particularly as it relates to housing and the slow smart growth initiative. They need to maintain that majority in order to maintain their smart growth agenda. It’s straight-out protectionism.”

Templeton presently has a 7,500-square-foot lot size minimum. The smart growth concept would drop the minimum down to 1,000 square feet per lot.

Pelfrey, who holds degrees in psychology and anthropology, pointed to the proposed Davis Project, a high-density residential plan now encountering Templeton community resistance: “I think that’s what they want to do to our entire community,” he said. (Pelfrey and three others on the TAAG board voted down the project, but county planners continue to push it.)

Density breeds criminal behavior, Pelfrey said, and gangs tend to proliferate when there is nothing for people to do.

Pelfrey was allowed by supervisors to propose a third alternative for district lines, one which was not endorsed.
The community already has a population with 32 percent lower income residents, Pelfrey said.

“We don’t have any walking community, no real business centers. But since Highway 101 runs right through here, it’s an attractive place for growth plans. I think all of the supervisors have an interest in it (developing Templeton). It’s social engineering, and it’s never worked before.

“They want to nullify Templeton’s voice, to spread it between two districts so we (residents) will have no say in what goes on here. They are dividing us, and then they’ll move in and put the screws to us. They want to take our voice, our vote away. And with elections coming up, I do not understand why they would do something like this. Others have asked this of the supervisors before — why are you not listening to the people?”

Mecham, Hill and Patterson face reelection in 2012.


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26 Comments

  1. R.Hodin says:

    “. . . Pelfrey, who holds degrees in psychology and anthropology . . .”

    Then I’m sure he knows what constitutes the definition of “Paranoid”

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

    The Board has screwed up district lines beyond belief in this county. As pointed out in a prior opinion published by CCN, it is entirely possible to not have the county seat split four ways–a shameful atrocity designed to allow the Supes representing the outlying areas to live in SLO. And it is entirely fair to strive to not split any other community as well.

    Think about it: Why is the Board pushing so hard to draw lines against community wishes? If they don’t have a political stake in the outcome, what is the reason?

    Time for voters to step in.

    (7) 13 Total Votes - 10 up - 3 down
    • R.Hodin says:

      It’s absolutely SHOCKING that politicians would make decisions based on self-interest! ABSOLUTELY SHOCKING, I TELL YOU!!!

      And it’s probably the FIRST TIME that it’s happened in this county — right???

      (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
  3. FineWine says:

    Pelfrey is right. The board of sups wants someone to push around and it looks like Templeton and really the north county is it.. Reminds me of what happened in Santa Barbara County between Santa Barbara and Santa Maria. Santa Barbara was able to push all of the state mandated low income housing to Santa Maria and the rest is history. However the greater problem is this idea of “smart growth” or sustainable growth in which they want everyone living on top of each other in order to maintain open space. Doesn’t matter that it creates slums. Everyone blames developers for sprawl but now when a developer submits a project with 15,000 sf lots the city and county are sending it back telling them to make it more dense and add homes. Traditionally developers have obliged because more lots means more money. Now developers have learned that you have to have a product someone wants to buy. So they are backing off and just not building. No building = not jobs or county revenue

    (4) 6 Total Votes - 5 up - 1 down
    • R.Hodin says:

      Pelfry is right in the sense that it is acceptable in America to exist primarily in a somnambulant state until representative democracy slaps you in the side of the head. Where was Pelfry’s voice over the last decade, when the 4th District was turned into the receptor site for workforce housing?

      In my book, if you want to be respected in our system of democracy, you pay attention even if it isn’t your pet issue and doesn’t affect you directly, because all issues affect you indirectly. Democracy is not a spectator sport.

      (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
      • korie says:

        Actually, Mr Hodin, a group of us did try to join forces with Save the Mesa and present a united front in protecting ourselves from the disproportionate share of workforce housing. We weren’t able to dig up enough interest despite offering to hit the pavement in helping to bring in a new crew on the board of dupes. (love iPhone autocorrect in this instance) Not sure why all the hate from you but I think it’s misguided here.

        (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  4. tj says:

    Interesting… an acquaintance just referred me to this:

    http://patriotupdate.com/articles/totalitarian-program-agenda-21-now-in-effect

    This SLO county action describe in the CCN article corresponds to this statement from the above article:

    “It’s not coming from Washington D.C. or state legislatures for the most part. It is seeping in through local city and county governments. Agenda 21 brings with it stealthy code words, comforting words such as “smart growth,” “social justice,” “bio-diversity,” and “sustained development.”

    (1) 13 Total Votes - 7 up - 6 down
    • Josixpack says:

      apples and oranges-That’s a bunch of Bush propaganda conspiracy theories just in time to scare people for the election- Do something producting other than inciting fear, division and conspiracy!

      (-4) 12 Total Votes - 4 up - 8 down
    • zaphod says:

      85 % of Americans believe it is important for america to participate in the UN

      (0) 14 Total Votes - 7 up - 7 down
    • tj says:

      More likely is that self-serving politicians in the SLO County Board of Supervisors have co-opted a vocabulary that sounds like unicorns and rainbows to stack the deck for their own political benefit.

      (-1) 1 Total Votes - 0 up - 1 down
  5. Bob says:

    The same argument can be said with the division of San Luis Obispo and the Five Cities. San Luis Coastal school district lays in 4 districts and Lucia Mar school district lays in 2 districts.

    The town of Templeton and its community services district is in one district. The argument is moot.

    It all comes down to a few people with political ideologies that do not agree with their elected representatives. Solution. Take a chance & make a stand, put your opinions into action and become a candidate for office.

    (-4) 16 Total Votes - 6 up - 10 down
    • racket says:

      Very little direct comparison, Bob.

      The cities of SLO, AG and Grover are governed by their own City Councils. They cannot have Smart Growth rammed down their throats by the County Board of Supes because the County Board of Supes does not govern them.

      The County Board of Supes can only foist their Smart Growth manifesto communities like Nipomo, Templeton and Los Osos, because those are towns under their control.

      (12) 18 Total Votes - 15 up - 3 down
      • Bob says:

        Incorporate, become a city. Smaller towns with less commerce have done so. The big question is are the Templeton residents willing to pay taxes to govern themselves?

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

          Actually, Bob, the big question is whether or not you have any idea what you’re talking about. Rest assured Templeton has looked into the possibility of incorporating. The problem is that the laws of California are set up in such a way that it is virtually impossible for any unincorporated community to become self-governing. It’s been awhile since I did my research but, off the top of my head, I think there have been two new incorporated cities in the last 25 + years. At some point the state made a deal with the counties, who were crying about tax revenue lost when a community incorporates, so that a newly incorporated city must prove that it can not only support itself fully but can pay back the county for all lost revenue for a period of time — I think it’s along the lines of ten years! Imagine how this could be possible! Really there is so much history in Templeton where the county has blown it’s responsibility to the community – starting with failing to apply for any rights to Salinas River water. They now see us as a convenient place to cram a lot of work force housing for the rest of the county (while they’ve got zero plans for bringing new jobs to us) and allow Adam Hill and Chuck Stevenson to play out their ideology in someone elses house and on someone elses dime.

          (3) 11 Total Votes - 7 up - 4 down
          • korie says:

            http://nipomonews.org/2006/12/30/what-is-revenue-neutrality/

            My numbers were off. Still, Templeton doesn’t have a chance against these guys under the current rules.

            (-1) 7 Total Votes - 3 up - 4 down
            • Bob says:

              That article is full of half truths and misleading information.

              Example: San Fernando Valley is already part of the City of Los Angeles and has been since the 1920’s. A vote was held about 10 years ago in favor of not spiting form the city of LA. Most LA communities voted in the 20’s to become part of the city to take advantage of cheap water provided by the LA Aqueduct. Some communities like Hollywood were already a independent city but voted to dis-incorporate and become part of LA to have access to it’s water.

              The law was changed because too many small towns were incorporating without a sufficient tax base to support being a city. Almost every city that has incorporated since the 60’s has had to rely on contracting vital services to the county because the new city could not afford it’s own services. Until recently, many of these counties did not charge the contract cities the full 100% of costs. As an example, the counties are dealing with pension & benefit liabilities from county employees such as county firefighter and deputies providing services to cities that were never fully funded and charged to the cities in order to avoid layoffs and appease union concerns.

              The bottom line is. If a town wants to become a city there should be a sufficient tax base to fully provide all city services and not rely on contracting or outsourcing as a means to justify financial ability to satisfy the liabilities of incorporation.

              (8) 10 Total Votes - 9 up - 1 down
              • Typoqueen says:

                Good post Bob.

                (1) 3 Total Votes - 2 up - 1 down
              • korie says:

                It would be a good post if it included anything to back it up. I believe in the San Fernando Valley example to which you are referring, the decision to not split from LA was based on LAFCOs determination that the new city would have to pay 100 million dollars per year in “alimony” to maintain revenue neutrality to the county of LA. Goleta is paying millions to Santa Barbara in perpetuity, Santa Barbara, in fact, is making more money in taxes from Goleta now that it is a separate entity than they were when it was part of SB. Goleta can’t fund a number of programs for it’s own residents due to this endless debt to Santa Barbara. Can you give some examples of new incorps that have cost the counties money?

                The law was changed because the state was raiding county coffers (surprise – a recurring theme) so they made this deal in order to throw a bone to the crying counties. New incorporations have absolutely stalled to a trickle and are feasible only for very fast growing communities that are able to quickly swim out of the debt through new revenue of their own. So, in the case of a community that does not want to be saddled with massive growth, the only cure seems to be the disease itself.

                I am more than open to being educated on this by someone who knows what they are talking about and doesn’t just blow off a bunch of gobbledygook that sounds like knowledge and gets a lot of praise by equally uninformed readers.

                For example, I’d like to know how much each incorporated city contributes to maintaining our county roads, jails, parks etc. While each resident of the incorps gets an equal vote for the supes in addition to their local government, I don’t think they have much liability to the county in the way of funds. Anyone have any real information on this one?

                (0) 2 Total Votes - 1 up - 1 down
          • easymoney says:

            Actually korie bob is correct.
            The only way to control yor destiny completely is become incorporated or have a CSD.
            Atown is a great example of incorporation and control at the local level during the last 30 years, although they are not doing a very good job of it.
            Templetons problem like Atascadero is that it is huge and spread out over tens of thousands of acres with many raods, many disconnected business districts, many homes not on the major roads and a potential for huge fires. Try and manage that for little money…
            The water wars are just starting to warm up and IMHO Templeton like many small communities like Shandon, San Miguel and Santa Margarita are going to be forced to take “drought reliablity water” in the form of a build out mandate. The Paso Robles Ground Water Study just completed and like it’s former studies mentions Santa Margarita as a part of, yet does not include it in the formal study.

            (5) 5 Total Votes - 5 up - 0 down
            • korie says:

              Templeton has a CSD. They have no authority over land use decisions.

              (2) 10 Total Votes - 6 up - 4 down
              • korie says:

                And, yes, my comment to Bob was a bit snarky, but so many have flippantly made the “well then, just incorporate” remark. If only it were that easy.

                (-2) 8 Total Votes - 3 up - 5 down
              • easymoney says:

                They do, through the advisory council, yet not much in the form of advisory is done. All it takes to hold up a project is to question it in the council meeting, the countypalnning and public works is bound by law and the edict of the Board of Sups to look at any and all issues effecting the area covered by the CSD or CSA. The, Board of Sups was mandated to form these advisory districts about 15 years ago.

                (1) 5 Total Votes - 3 up - 2 down
                • Josixpack says:

                  or promote it for the opposite-a few residents placed on councils by certain interests from of out lying areas hijack the whole community to benefit the few of them and their ilk sitting on the Council…sound familiar?

                  (3) 3 Total Votes - 3 up - 0 down
      • easymoney says:

        Excellent post racket, the unincorporated areas of which Templeton is one, are the fodder for the sups and county staff to manipulate and use for their own purposes. Need some money or votes, then just foist a mandate or edict on the unincorporated areas. They have no defense…
        The only way to control ones own destiny is to pony up and become incorporated or have a CSD. Then there are no strings attached to the county or board of sups…

        (0) 6 Total Votes - 3 up - 3 down

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