Is the SLO City Council ignoring public input?

February 8, 2017

Allan Cooper

Allan Cooper

OPINION by ALLAN COOPER

On Tuesday, Feb. 7, the San Luis Obispo City Council denied an appeal of the city’s Architectural Review Committee’s Dec. 5th approval of 22 Chorro Street. Before their vote, the council received 48 letters of support and one letter in opposition.

Letters of support came from all of the University Square tenants and from such pillars of our community as Ken Schwartz, Felton Ferrini, Stephan Lamb, Paul Wolf and John Ashbaugh. The council chamber was packed full of appeal supporters and nearly all of the public testimony given, including that of Richard Kresja, Dr. Jeffrey Herten and Dr. David Hafemeister, was passionate and eloquent.

In the end, City Attorney Christine Dietrick and planner Rachel Cohen misled the council by stating that the appellants could not appeal the ARC’s decision because the ARC was not allowed to address health, safety and welfare issues. This in spite of the fact that, in its motion, the ARC had to certify that there were no health, safety and welfare issues associated with this project. In the end, the council dismissed the public’s concerns by saying that “progress” requires sacrifices.

We welcome our new council but we are saddened that they, like the previous council, stand by helplessly bearing witness to our deteriorating quality of life.







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24 Comments

  1. Frederick1337 says:

    This is simple. The very idea that this is some sort of “green project” is ludicrous at best. And no, I am not talking about that horrid rapper. Simple analysis of this project would indicate improper positioning of housing first off. That particular location probably is not even zoned for housing. The fact that this was even considered shows a direct lack of interest in the community and it’s healthy development. A city council should take more seriously the impact of such badly planned ventures. I sincerely doubt that anyone is going to rent any units that small for that amount of money. The last thing we need in San Luis Obispo is more crappy schemes to create investments that tax the crap out of people, like low income housing. Building more affordable housing and spreading it out more evenly and allowing developers to undo the current gentrification would be a better solution. Housing in San Luis Obispo is such a huge issue simply because of the fascist ideology, that one should privatize public monies. If you want to build government housing, build government housing, at much less cost to taxpayers. Otherwise growth is inevitable, trust me, you old folks won’t live forever, and more conservative people are bound to take over and re-establish some sort of common sense growth ethic. Figure it out now please before we end up with a failure as big as L.A.

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

    If city employees are getting paid by a developer, even if they disclose it, it is a conflict of interest.

    Isn’t $200,000+enough salary for our city attorney, and closer to $300,000 for the city manager?

    But then, our school superintendent convinced the San Luis Coastal school board that he can’t afford to buy a house when he only makes $4000 a week (yes, a week – you read that right) so they had to loan him $950,000 of your tax dollars at 2% interest, no money down, so he can buy a suitable place. It’s illegal but so what? Guess you didn’t know our school district has morphed into a credit union with sloppy underwriting. You thought that Measure D money was all for the kids, right? Well Prater’s kids maybe.

    Please remember these free-spending, freeloading bureaucrats when their lackeys, our elected representatives, come back to us and tell us they need more money for (fill in the blank) – schools? apple pie? retirement obligations? more toys?

    (10) 18 Total Votes - 14 up - 4 down
  3. Pete says:

    New boss same as the old boss?

    I’ll never miss Marx for her ghastly leadership but I am wondering if we have gotten any decent change.

    The slavish bowing to the big out of town money is disgusting and what we have.

    (10) 20 Total Votes - 15 up - 5 down
  4. taxpayer says:

    Heidi Harmon should still be leading the sing-a-long for children at Boo Boo’s. She really has no idea at all what she’s doing as far as running the City goes. I was never a Jan Marx fan, but is this really the best that San Luis Obispo has to offer up for candidates? She doesn’t have a clue and has no management experience what so ever. We can only hope that she has the abililty to learn from her mistakes. I feel sorry for the people of San Luis Obispo.

    (33) 51 Total Votes - 42 up - 9 down
    • San Louie says:

      Oh but wait! HH’s cheery “SLOTOWN progressive parade” is going to take on global warming, plan more “women’s marches” where SLO’s city manager and police chief get improperly involved and maybe, just maybe we can ban bottles of water! Hooooray!

      (18) 22 Total Votes - 20 up - 2 down
    • easymoney says:

      Homerun, taxpayer…
      Harmon has no practical experience other than “community organizing”…

      (25) 33 Total Votes - 29 up - 4 down
      • SLOBIRD says:

        Other people have been able to learn and move up in the world to famous become leaders with only “community organizing” skills. Hell, you can even become President of the United States!

        (7) 11 Total Votes - 9 up - 2 down
    • rukidding says:

      They got what they deserved along with Adam. Still the happiest place?

      (16) 24 Total Votes - 20 up - 4 down
  5. mary margaret says:

    I watched it on TV and made a vow to get active in the city of SLO, my hometown. Discloser, you’re right, the many speakers were eloquent and their comments were heartfelt. The L.A. developer can go work his magic greed down there. The local people that spoke were there for their love of the town and the qualities and character that makes it special.

    Why on earth was Dawn Legg Ortiz speaking in favor of the horrible project and along with Carlyn Christensen, Dan Rivore scolding the citizens and accusing them of not going with “change.” Change is fine if it is good change. Heidi and Aron seemed so uninformed on the issues.
    The City Attorney, Ms. Detrick, City Manager Katie Lichtig, CDD director Michael Codron and Rachel Cohen ALL acted like and sounded like they were working for the developer instead of the residents of SLO. They need to remember who is paying their huge salaries and benefits

    (43) 59 Total Votes - 51 up - 8 down
    • Ricky2 says:

      Legg works for the developer — paid to speak for him.

      At an earlier meeting, Cohen stood up and said: “I represent the applicant.” No kidding. These people don’t work for us. They work for the Lichtig big LA development guys. There’s little honesty left at city hall. Needs a clean sweep.

      (29) 41 Total Votes - 35 up - 6 down
      • Kathie Walker says:

        Are you sure she works for the developer? He’s a young guy, Loren Riehl, from Los Angeles. I was surprised to see her there and wondered what the connection was.

        (9) 17 Total Votes - 13 up - 4 down
        • Pete says:

          I have heard from a good source she is indeed working for the carpetbaggers.

          (5) 13 Total Votes - 9 up - 4 down
          • leggsortiz says:

            Dear Fellow Community Members,

            Accurate information is critical today and I find very little of it here!

            First, I do not work for Loren. If I did professionally worked for Loren, I would have indicated it at the podium! I have nothing to hide. However, I did invite members of the community to meet and discuss with Loren their concerns, ask questions and learn he isn’t a rich brat LA developer.

            As demonstrated daily on this site, misinformation and assumptions thrive. People love to point fingers and divide our community. How hard is it to have open dialogue to build trust? … at least a respectful discussion?

            Seems almost impossible with some members,shame on you!

            My platform in the 2016 Assembly campaign included infrastructure, housing and jobs. The jobs / housing ratio is out of balance in SLO. For our city to flourish, we must build housing. And citizens, no such thing as a perfect project, just like there is no such thing as a perfect candidate!

            And I am stunned at how many people are unaware of the multiple layers of regulatory compliance that must be met to develop in our state and in our region. Many of you act like housing projects are just thrown together. Years and years of effort and costs. To me, there is nothing more insulting as this attitude, and the nasty and disrespectful treatment of city staff. The outlandish accusations tossed around are so childish.

            And the attitude – it is only for GREED. Holy shit, then why do any of us work? Most of us do it because we have to pay bills and some of us get to do what we love – he is no different.

            Folks, we need housing. We will have a massive teacher retirement in this district; the former teachers are not moving, and the new teachers need housing. The future economy is changing and we are lucky to have a growing tech sector, they need housing. The tax rolls can not survive with just retirees.

            30,000 people enter and leave this city every day, many of them young professionals who would like to live right there on Foothill, and ride their bikes to work rather than getting in their cars.

            A true environmentalist would salute the effort to reduce vehicles through limited parking. Any search into developing communities of the future rank this as the first step. Climate change policy requires more than just installing solar panels.

            Many of the opponents themselves own apartments, have rentals – and we need it all, but let’s be honest, everything has impacts. Including your little footprint.

            Honestly, I know people care about this community; if that’s your motive then work with people.

            In addition, the first five people who would like to attend the Housing Summit in SLO and respectfully discuss the issues, I will get you tickets. http://www.sloevc.org/events. March 9, 2017.

            And, stop listening to your sources, cuz they are inaccurate- if you have a question about me, please just ask.

            (-8) 20 Total Votes - 6 up - 14 down
            • Ricky2 says:

              Weird rant, Dawn. First you say you went around town meeting with groups of people to convince them the developer, an LA attorney, isn’t just a rich LA brat, which clearly he is. So tell us the rest of the story — why were you doing this if it wasn’t part of your business enterprise? Seems really odd you’d go to all that work for no reason at all.

              Then your story gets really weird. “We will have a massive teacher retirement in this district; the former teachers are not moving, and the new teachers need housing.” OK, so exactly what does that have to do with 22 Chorro? Nothing, is the answer. 22 Chorro is student housing. Its apartments are virtual copies of those at Icon on Taft Street, which rents for $1,100 per person per month, which is a huge premium price above other student housing and affordable only to rich kids, of whom there’s a huge supply at CPSU and Cuesta. Your insinuation that these will be occupied by “young professionals” is total nonsense, and you know it. Any professional would never dream of spending that kind of rent money sharing bedrooms with partitions between the beds in dorm-style living.

              So, Dawn, what is your personal interest in this project, anyway? You have denied being paid, but something’s going on.

              (6) 10 Total Votes - 8 up - 2 down
    • rukidding says:

      It’s really simple to figure out what is going on. The staff of government employees don’t really care about the quality of life that they are promoting. It’s all about growth for them. By that I mean they create fees, taxes and work loads that require higher salaries and more benefits because they have to work hard (give me a break). Then after padding all of their pockets the time comes for retirement and what do they do? They pack up with a suitcase of financial benefits and hightail it out of town and find a place that really is happy. There is nothing wrong with growth but it has to fit into the community as it exists today and in the past. I don’t think the everyday citizen on the Central Coast want their communities to turn into high density high rise buildings for the sole purpose of supporting government.

      (16) 26 Total Votes - 21 up - 5 down
      • womanwhohasbeenthere says:

        I could not agree more. Staff sees our elected leaders far more than the public, and endlessly, shamelessly schmoozes them, so of course the elected won’t go against their wishes. The public will go home after the meeting but the staff will be there in the morning and who wants to stand up to his or her friend at the office who knows more than everyone at the meeting the night before?

        ALL the senior staff, almost all of whom were hired by Katie Lichtig by the way and not vetted by the Council, should go – and new staff should have a ceiling on their salaries more in line with the salaries others in the private sector make around here. We have a lot of local talent with in-depth local knowledge and concerns for our community. Trust me, there would be a line around the block of qualified people for these jobs even at much reduced salaries. Maybe the Council should post a few ads and see what the response would be. No one is guaranteed a lifetime (to age 55 for government civilians) position anymore. Please clean house, Heidi, be bold, take charge, and the worse that can happen is the bureaucrats will curse you as they pack up their desks. But the cheering from our citizens might just drown that out@!

        (10) 14 Total Votes - 12 up - 2 down
        • rukidding says:

          You are right. Recently a secretarial position had to be filled in Atascadero. It was said that there were 61 application for the job. But don’t forget that the next time we hear that “we have to pay them this much or they will leave.”
          After going thru the entire process of testing, interviewing and whatever else they do a person within city staff was just promoted to that position. It certainly seems that was known in the beginning and a whole lot of taxpayers money could have been saved. But then how could they justify it when they tell how hard their work is.

          (5) 9 Total Votes - 7 up - 2 down
  6. scoopone says:

    Just like the last council it is “build whatever, wherever” and to hell with the citizens!!

    (27) 49 Total Votes - 38 up - 11 down
  7. Pelican1 says:

    One only has to review the pedigree of those governing the county and it’s communities to understand just how screwed up the gene pool is, and why it’s having such a negative affect on most of us. It’s time to pump the septic tank.

    (18) 32 Total Votes - 25 up - 7 down
  8. slosheepdog says:

    Dietrick being misleading……say it isn’t so. Citizens of Slo will continue to experience the same as long as the Lichtig Irons Detrick cartel continue to reign in the city

    (32) 50 Total Votes - 41 up - 9 down
    • discloser says:

      Indeed, the public comment was some of the most informed and credible ever heard in this county. I can’t imagine how the Council could in good faith move against the wise counsel of the public. I hope those who spoke last night will have the courage of their conviction and sue the city attorney and council, who badly deserve it for their cowardice in bowing to threats rather than representing their constituents.

      (30) 48 Total Votes - 39 up - 9 down
    • Pete says:

      Who is Irons? Do you mean the mayor of MB? That is not our town for this discussion but might be an issue out there, I don’t know.

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

        Irons is the Human Resources Director for the City of San Luis Obispo. Her husband is the mayor of Morro Bay.

        (11) 11 Total Votes - 11 up - 0 down

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