SLO County staffers accused of bias in rating projects

May 29, 2017

Cement slab in Nipomo where children gather to skate

By KAREN VELIE

At a contentious San Luis Obispo County Parks and Recreation Commission meeting last Thursday, several members of the public accused parks and recreation staffers of employing subjective criteria to determine which projects to move forward.

Once a year, parks and recreation department staff review the county’s priority project list. The list is then used to determine which proposed and ongoing projects county staff should focus time and money towards accomplishing.

County staffers are tasked with prioritizing projects based on nine criteria including impacts to health and safety, community recreation needs and how a project will impact current services.

In this year’s rating, eight of the top ten staff-recommended projects are located in supervisors Adam Hill and Bruce Gibson’s districts. These include extensions to the Bob Jones Trail, coastal access in Cayucos and a bike path from Morro Bay to Cayucos.

On the other end of the ratings list, nine of the ten lowest staff rated projects are in Lynn Compton, Debbie Arnold and John Peschong’s districts. These include proposals for a multi-use sports facility in Nipomo, a skate park in San Miguel and a Santa Margarita Lake trail.

During public comment, multiple speakers questioned if staff was objective in their evaluations. Several speakers asked why projects such as extending the Bob Jones Trail were rated a five in regards to public health and safety, the highest evaluation, while creating sports parks in Nipomo was rated a two.

Several speakers said that in Nipomo, children play and skate board on the pad of a burned out building. Nipomo has the fewest parks per population base of any community in the county.

“No Nipomo projects are in the top ten,” Rudy Stowell said. “It is not a balanced use of funds. There is nothing in the South County.”

Of the 30 county residents who spoke during public comment, 20 asked the commission to prioritize projects in Nipomo. Several residents said that public schools charge for the use of their sports fields, which are often not available.

Following public comment, Bruce Hilton, Hill’s commissioner, said he has driven by Nipomo High School when it was not locked and appeared open for children to gather. Hilton also chastised those promoting the Dana Adobe in Nipomo for seeking the return of public facility fees raised in Nipomo but spent elsewhere.

“It is hard to have a positive attitude with the Dana Adobe,” Hilton said. “The emails about stolen money, I don’t feel like a partner anymore.”

During a Jan. 11 SLO County Board of Supervisors meeting, Compton said that more than $10 million in public facility fees generated in Nipomo had been spent in areas Gibson and Hill represent.

Developers in San Luis Obispo County are required to pay public facility fees before they can get development permits. These fees are dedicated for public facilities and parks that support the residence in the area of the development, according to county records.

However, county staff recently determined that public facility fees can be spent anywhere in the county, a finding that is likely to be challenged in court.

During the May 25 meeting, several attendees voiced plans to sue the county on behalf of the residence of Nipomo if the county does not appropriate more money to public facilities in Nipomo.

In the end, the parks and recreation priority list remained primarily unchanged aside from the Parks and Recreation Commission voting unanimously to move three projects — one in Cayucos; one in Avila Beach and one in Nipomo — from the inactive list to the active list.

Next month, the SLO County Board of Supervisors will have the opportunity to modify the parks and recreation department’s priority project list.


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kayaknut

We have the same problem in Arroyo Grande, a staff with their own agenda, some still upset they got caught (McClish), many still trying to push the Ferrara agenda. We had a city manager either unwilling or unable to control staff, she is gone. Our hope is our new city manager, one being paid for having lots of experience but in reality has none, can get the staff in control. Perhaps a house cleaning is needed.


Jorge Estrada

This is not the first time Nipomo has been short changed on their fare share. Funding the mandates is at the top of ranking schedule. I would expect that our children would be too, as they cannot provide for themselves as we self serving adults do on a daily basis.


jimmy_me

I’m under the impression Los Osos had the same issue. The people in charge felt like we don’t need parks because Montana do Oro is close by. Could it be the BOS want Nipomo residents to go play in the sand? One man’s opinion: building the skate park in Los Osos really made a big difference for the younger set. SLO county need more parks and less “staffers”.


Jorge Estrada

Since we adults (voters) provide for our children the political process provides for bike paths, hiking trails, and many adult venues that we would not want our children to attend or go to alone. It is that simple and one may argue that their children have more today than they did but effective discipline was allow back then. Our children are our future, maybe we need to re-think how we spend money, time and mission statement.


Chinaski

Darn it “Jorge Estrada”, we are once again not quite as drunk/stoned/medicated/all of the above to understand your rant. Posting Under the Influence (PUI) is entertaining and not dangerous. Please continue.


Jorge Estrada

Rant? hum…..So there.


jimmy_me

Yet, if parks in Nipomo were actually built, there would be lawsuits filed regarding the air quality affecting children’s health. Welcome to SLO county, where the forces of stupid and corrupt are in a seemingly endless battle.


JordanJ

So extending the Bob Jone’s Trail is a top priority for health and safety, but having places for children to play other than the site of a fire is not a priority?


This idea that public facility fees can be spent anywhere in the county is ludicrous. County staffers, or should we call them Adam Hill and Bruce Gibson staffers, will lose this fight.


Thank you Lynn Compton for fighting for the children of Nipomo. We all know what dirty players Adam and Bruce can be. Watch your back!


Kaiser Bill

Bike paths for yuppie Adam Hill voters are more important than parks for kids in Nipomo.


1965buick

Duh. After all, it’s just little old Nipomo.


rukidding

This is just an example of who is wagging the tail. Now that there is what appears to be a majority of strong leaders maybe we will see them actually take control of the county instead of staff. I think we the people are getting tired of being sold on additional taxes, SLOCOG, that we are forced to pay for advertised projects just to see most of them go towards additional pay raises, benefits and the catch all “administrative costs.” Consequently the only thing that we the taxpayers end up with is a pocket book that is beginning to get cob webs after being emptied out for the benefit of government.


Julie

Let’s see the Supes get the shredded tire material out of all county playgrounds. A real health and safety issue for all our children…no matter the district.


https://www.change.org/p/san-luis-obispo-county-parks-remove-shredded-waste-tires-from-the-los-osos-community-park


Pelican1

The BOS needs to clean up themselves and remove the two on the board that are the REAL health and safety issue for all of our children


Rich in MB

Staff run the show folks….and the leftist staff support their leftist board members!!