Letter to the editor: SLO’s lack of leadership

May 30, 2013

Allan Cooper and his grandson

Allan Cooper and his grandson


Previous San Luis Obispo City Councils instituted a policy requiring a modicum of housing (ideally “workforce” housing) in all new major downtown developments.

Of course this runs counter to the so-called (totally fictitious) “free-market economics” which some within this community hold dear, including several Council Members.

All I and Save Our Downtown are arguing for is that a so-called “progressive” SLO…a city that initiated a no-smoking ordinance and a no drive-through fast food restaurant ordinance do something that the most politically conservative city in the country, Houston, is doing and that is to form a task force directed by the city to funnel more retail into their downtown.

This recommendation has fallen on deaf ears when brought before SLO Economic Development Manager Claire Clark (Claire cited “free market economics” to me…It appears to be the “mantra” of city hall), the council and the Downtown Association.

We don’t think there is a communist plot behind nudging developers to provide downtown housing nor do we believe it is impossible — once housing is located downtown — to provide these residents with the same amenities that suburban residents enjoy; relatively easy access to necessity goods stores.

We also don’t think it is a communist plot to place a future moratorium on more alcohol outlets downtown (as most cities will not permit porn shops and marijuana dispensaries to be located in their downtowns) nor do we think it is a communist plot to create an ordinances which Omaha, Nebraska is currently formulating to set a cap on the number of alcohol outlets located within a specific area.

Save Our Downtown is not comprised of unreasonable people. We are just becoming increasingly intolerant of the lack of leadership on our council, Paul Brown included, and the apathetic attitude that is exhibited by the Downtown Association.

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Chinatown will probably get national retailers. Don’t expect anything in Garden Street Terraces or Marsh Street Commons.

Actually, this is not a free market attitude on the part of the council nor the city administration. They really don’t know what that means.

The proper economic term for their behavior might be “Laissez-faire”… which is best described as ‘hands off.’ It rarely works when the business community doesn’t work together or are dominated by a few interests.