Blindly support Paso Robles or else

February 24, 2012

Mike Gibson


The indicant in the news between the  Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce and Gary Nemeth caught my attention. I don’t know what really happened, but can tell my experience.

First of all, I’m not inclined to defend Gary in that he was one of the council members that voted to close down the Pumpkin Farm, and for all I know Mike Gibson’s explanation is really what happened.

My family was active with the Chamber of Commerce for 50 years, my father actually started the Annual Agriculture Tour. I was on the Agri-Business Committee for 36 years, a quarter of that time I served as chairman. I was looking forward to the 50th anniversary, hoping to acknowledge those early members that put so much effort in making it a success.

What I found out is that anyone who is publicly critical of the city government, as Gary and I have been, are no longer welcome in the chamber. In the past the chambers guideline was “making Paso Robles a better place to live” and a lot of the membership was private citizens.

Now the Chamber seems to be dominated by people whose business depends of foot traffic. There are a couple of reasons that puts them in bed with the city government. Now, the chamber is dependent on the city budget for so much of their revenue that when the city manager says jump, they say how high. But more worrisome is they want tax rates, and fees paid by citizens used to increase their business.

Home building generates more customers, and that is good for business. However, is it good for residents of Paso if they have to pay for it? Development is good when it pays for itself, when the residents are forced to subsidize it then it is profitable for one group at the expense of another.

When you look at your property tax bill, do you get a new benefit out of state water, or the D-98 bond, or was that just because of housing development? When you look at the huge water and sewer bills you will be facing, you have to ask yourself, if the city wasn’t growing so much, would you be paying this? Again, I believe that growth is good if it pays for itself.

I don’t believe that the residents should be forced by the city to subsidize it. The people should have some say in what they are willing to pay for.

The Nacimiento water issue was handled very badly by the city. If there was any question if the city residents wanted it, it should have been put to a vote. The city council knew they needed water for development, but the were worried that the people wouldn’t want to pay or vote for it, so they went ahead and did it anyway. Was this serving the citizens or was this was this forcing people to pay for something that benefits developers and merchants? We have had a city government that for the last decade  has been hell bent on housing development, no matter how much it increases the cost of living of the residents.



  1. notbuyingit says:

    Another great opinion piece from another insightful resident of Paso Robles. I agree with this 100%, particularily the point made regarding “development needs to pay for itself”. For many years the housing boom has created massive income for cities such as Paso Robles so the cost to the city was never questioned and now the cities reduced revenue cannot support the current residents.
    I urge the residents of Paso Robles to get involved in your city government, it is the only way these “elected officials” will listen to you. Start paying attention to the Fiscal Analysis submitted for each development, make sure that the numbers add up or you will be paying for it in the end.

    Pismo Beach is currently following along the same path as Paso Robles with their latest development of 312 homes (close to 20% of their current housing units) with a Fiscal Analysis that uses 2002 budget numbers. Using the current numbers of cost to serve per person, this development is going to costs the residents of Pismo Beach a tremendous amount of money,
    The water available is over estimated and the water needed for this development has been revised by the city from 160 AFY to 100 AFY “if everyone conserves”. The traffic study baseline was done in 2000, since that time there have been several large commercial developments in the area and Caltrans has made it clear that Hwy 101 will not be widened by 2025 which is a mitigation for the development.

    The people of Pismo Beach have not gotten involved like other local Five City towns such as Arroyo Grande or Grover Beach, both towns have strong resident participation in their city government.

    My only hope is that the residents of Pismo Beach will wake up before it’s city government’s poor decisions come back to haunt the city or it will be known as Pismo Robles.

    (12) 12 Total Votes - 12 up - 0 down
    • MaryMalone says:

      Those opposing the Price Canyon development were handed a great weapon by mother nature.

      California is about a month away from the April 1 drop-dead snowpack predictions mark (on which all water deliveries and negotiations for water contracts are based), and the snowpack-water content is only 30% of normal.

      The state is predicting it will only be able to deliver 50% of the contracted water (and, according to an article from Visalia, even less for the Ag users).

      This is a big exclamation point emphasizing the undependability of state water delivery, putting into question the viability of water delivery to our president residents–certainly, there is a problem with delivering water to new development.

      You will notice this has not been mentioned in the local news or by any of the local water agencies, cities, and county. This is the 1000-pound gorilla in the room that they are desperately hoping the local residents won’t find out about.

      (3) 3 Total Votes - 3 up - 0 down
  2. Ugluk says:

    “First of all, I’m not inclined to defend Gary in that he was one of the council members that voted to close down the Pumpkin Farm, and for all I know Mike Gibson’s explanation is really what happened.”

    Wha…? Rather cryptic, no? What is this late lamented Pumpkin Farm, and who in the cornbread is this Mike Gibson person? Speaking as one not steeped in the minutia of North County politics, I say again, WHA…?
    I have no clue who Walter Heer is; I am however convinced of the fact that he is in desperate need of an editor.

    (-9) 15 Total Votes - 3 up - 12 down
    • pasoparent5 says:

      rockhound’s post gives a clear explanation

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

    We need a clean sweep. Jim App and Lisa Solomon need to resign. Then we need new councilmen and a new mayor. We need an outside audit to find out where we really stand with city expenses. If there are people willing to run for council, now is the time. Run on the platform of no new projects until we figure out the city debt and how to get the city back in shape financially. Then new projects should deal with city infrastructure and city services. We do not need an increase in city taxes just to give the present city officials money to throw away.

    (27) 27 Total Votes - 27 up - 0 down
    • viamagnolia1 says:

      Yep, long overdue for a clean sweep. Paso Robles and the way the city is operating is not OK.
      It’s a dictator in charge.

      (3) 3 Total Votes - 3 up - 0 down
  4. rockhound1965 says:

    I am very impressed by the restraint shown by Mr. Heer in this spot-on article. It just shows how much class he has, and how committed he, and his family, is to the community of Paso Robles.

    I drive by the old Heer location today, and just shake my head. It is property at the intersection where Creston Rd. & Union Rd. meet 13th Ave. The traffic is just a bit better than it was before. What I have found driving up Union Rd. from the intersection is people race you, cut you off, and haul a$$ up the hill. Sometimes there is a motorcycle officer that patrols the area and slows things down a bit with a few tickets.

    What really leaves that bitter taste in my mouth, is what that site looks like today. A parking lot. Once upon a time, there was a cute house, with a Pumpkin patch that local families enjoyed. Then, the city of Paso Robles made a decision, and demonized Mr. Heer by the insinuation that he was an ugly American & greedy because he felt the city of Paso Robles was wrong. Guess what….I agreed with him then, and I agree with him now. I hate that intersection. It was a bad solution. People just drive like idiots and tearing down the Heer house did not, and will not, change that fact. That there have not been more accidents there is sheer luck, and that will change as Paso grows in population.

    The engineering of that intersection was a joke. All that traffic congestion is still there. There problem was NOT the intersection…the problem was, and remains, traffic jams over the current bridges. The 24th Street bridge is bad, the 13th St. bridge is always a mess……and don’t get me started on the substandard design of the Niblick bridge.

    (34) 36 Total Votes - 35 up - 1 down
  5. Bluebird says:

    Paso prided itself on its go -go growth, retail as well as housing and very little attenton was paid to improving infrastructure (traffice, sewer, water). If you weren’t on the team you would not get elected. I’ve heard that Nemeth did start questioning and of course he is no longer on the council. So I ask myself just what did the council do other then approve everything that came before them and asked no probing questions. But the buck doesn’t stop with the council. Where is the voice of protest and challenge from the citizens. There doesn’t appear to be any. Paso even flunks when it comes to its schools because the district is in serious financial shape.
    Atascadero has a vocal group of citizens who probe into what is going on. Concil meetings are televized, we fought for that
    The water company is independent from the council and it is not intimidated by pressure from the council. Even Gearhart could not muscle the board.
    There is so much inbreeding in Paso that I don’t think it has the ability to deal with its problems.

    (32) 38 Total Votes - 35 up - 3 down
    • Citizen says:

      Inbreeding in our city government is the problem, and we need “Deliverance”.

      (6) 10 Total Votes - 8 up - 2 down
  6. standup says:

    It seems like the writer ran out of breath so I will continue for him……….One of the reasons the city has been hell bent on development is the fact that if there are more people, the government can grow and first and foremost salaries and benefits can grow. We now have the top 20 employees in the city making more in salary and benefits that the #2-#21 in the federal government. That’s minus Obama for those that care. All those hotels that spring up pay that wonderful bed tax that goes straight into the general fund. Let’s start with buying Jim App and Lisa Solomon new gold matching pens for their unmistakable and truly remarkable embarrassment they have caused us residents. Oh, and we need to pay the overtime for all the officers sent to protect her like the president on that wonderful night at the council meeting. I’m tired now but there is still more money to burn by someone else.

    (51) 57 Total Votes - 54 up - 3 down

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