SLO’s unholy alliance of so-called “progressives”

July 14, 2018

Opinion by concerned citizens

An unholy alliance of so-called “progressives” running our city and out-of-town developers is threatening to destroy San Luis Obispo’s small town charm by promoting excessive building heights and densities. Now City planners are proposing to extend these increased building heights and densities into the Upper Monterey Street neighborhood.

After a SLO Chamber subcommittee provided input to the council urging for a “moderate” height limit increase to 60 feet in the downtown core, the council in 2007 on a narrow 3-2 vote approved a maximum building height increase from 50 feet to 75 feet.

Eight years later, a citizen’s task force recommended modifying zoning regulations to allow efficiency units and “variable” (meaning increased) densities downtown.

To add insult to injury, the SLO Planning Commission this year received an MIG Consultant Team “white paper” advocating doubling downtown densities, promoting density transfers and increasing maximum building heights above 75 feet.

What can you do? Write letters opposing these building heights and increased densities to the planning commission and/or city council. You only have between now and Sept. 4, when the city council reviews the zoning regulations update to submit your letters and/or provide oral testimony.

Authors listed in alphabetical order: David Brodie, Allan Cooper, Diane Duenow, James Duenow, Keith Gurnee, David Hafemeister, Gina Hafemeister, Caryl Koberg, Sandra Lakeman, Cheryl McLean, Lydia Mourenza and Rick Racouillat.

George Bailey


We must vote current SLO Mayor ‘Hanoi Heidi’ Harmon out of office, and she and her progressive city council have overseen the decline of our beloved San Luis Obispo. Harmon & Co. take campaign cash from out-of-town developers, and, in return, approve their oversized, inappropriate development.

Voters should reject Heidi Harmon, Carlyn Christianson, Aaron Gomez and Andy Pease. These people are inexperienced, lack clear vision and have a bias towards higher taxes and new fees, so we need to restore moderate leadership to San Luis Obispo.

I say let’s start by supporting Mr. T. Keith Gurney to replace Harmon, and encourage people who are moderate and conservative to jump into the race for the open city council seats.

SLO deserves better than LA developers buying our politicians.



Couldn’t agree more with “Hotdog”


As a practical matter – doesn’t this translate to more police, city worker and big ticket expenditures like a fire truck that can reach 75 feet?


You got it! It’s all about big government and since we are trying to drain their swamp they are trying to drain our pocket books.


Drain “their” swamp? Who’s swamp is that? And what have they replaced it with? A cesspool? You betcha….


Coming off of a string of defeats, going 0-3 in terms of trying to derail County politics, these folks are continuing to impose bizarre ideologies under the guise of environmental concerns. They attempt to shelter their extremism under “community” umbrellas with sanguine “cute” bicycle pictures, hair flowers, toothy smiles, but underneath lurks a dangerous totalitarian world view that DEMANDS that all comply to their beliefs. This is how it all starts folks, then it goes downhill. Vote them out and direct them back to the fringe.


Mr. Gurnee,

As one of the authors of this opinion piece and a candidate for mayor I think you owe the people of San Luis Obispo more than an outcry against this type of development, you also owe them a better alternative and how you plan to implement it.

You would be overseeing the 6th most unaffordable place to live in the country, America’s most expensive rental market, an exodus of the working middle class, where $65,000 a year is considered “low income” when the median income is $83,000 a year and where there is a “water crisis” brewing almost every year.

These are but just a few of your challenges, but in the context of your opinion piece those are the ones most effecting the need, or the lack there of, of this type of development.



Housing everywhere in California (most coastal states) is “unaffordable” for most wage earners. SLO’s rapid push for tacky, quick-build, multilevel, high density living spaces is disappointing, to put it mildly.

Rich in MB

The leftist “Smart Growth” is a failure, yet like all good leftist dreams, even when they turn into a nightmare the left won’t let go of them.


Completely disagee with your statements. I think you believe the propaganda telling you high density living and everyone riding a bike is good. It’s not. I avoid downtown now due to no parking, too many people, too crowded. This idea will simply drive people who can afford the expensive restaurants and shopping elsewhere, helping to economically starve downtown. It’s a stupid idea.

Vote the bums out before it’s too late.


Downtown SLO: nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded.


Housing in SLO is unaffordable. We need more housing.

Dense housing close to downtown is ideal because it lessens commute time and automobile use for people who live there.

This will also invigorate our downtown and help it resist sprawl pressure.

Thank goodness the city council seems to have learned that easing building and zoning restrictions is necessary. Let’s hope there’s more to come.


You are drinking the same kool aide that has permeated city planning for decades. We are building like mad, tearing down old homes and building soul-less condos and junk like that. For what? The new crap costs a fortune, has no personality, increases traffic, congestion, pollution and degrades our quality of life. Who benefits, and only who? The developers and all the secondary growth businesses. But the residents suffer the consequences.

This rogue city council, and some before it, are hell bent on destroying the town by remaking it into whatever distorted self centered vision they have in their pea brains. They disregard professional opinions on all projects, always opting to support the fat cats.

We don’t have too little housing, we have too many people seeking it. Over population is the fundamental problem on the planet, catering to that problem is not a solution to it.

Building up and out will not reduce housing prices, they are outrageous and probably will continue to be no matter what.

What we need, but will never do, is institute some controls on housing prices and rents. We are spiraling out of control again, like we did over 15 years ago until about 10 years ago when it all crashed.

Hurray for the writers of this opinion piece. We can change this lousy council in a few months, there are three great candidates that are running (for mayor and two seats on the council) against the entrenched power. Support anyone who isn’t an incumbent to save our town.

You folks that want this town to look like Bakersfield or Chicago, why don’t you just move there and leave us alone?


There is no place where density has made a positive impact on anything but the pocket books of politicians and developers.