SLO City Council plans to oust controversial committee chair

July 7, 2020

James Papp

The San Luis Obispo City Council will consider on Tuesday firing the controversial chair of the city’s Cultural Heritage Committee (CHC). [Tribune]

CHC Chair James Papp is an architectural historian who has clashed with city officials over proposed downtown SLO developments. Papp opposed the city council’s decision to proceed with a 50-foot-tall, mixed-use project located close to historic homes.

The CHC chair and other opponents of the project argue the development would alter the character of downtown.

Additionally, Papp has argued against the delisting of downtown SLO commercial buildings from a city list of historic properties. Papp said the council’s call for his firing hinges on the CHC’s review of the proposal to delist historic downtown buildings.

SLO Councilwoman Andy Pease, who serves as a council liaison to the Cultural Heritage Committee, said Papp should not serve on the CHC any longer because his manner of questioning and deliberation limits the participation of others. Pease said Papp has repeatedly used language attacking others and has described a historical evaluation submitted to the CHC as “dangerous” and “nuts.”

Pease said Papp is extremely knowledgeable and a great resource for the community, but he has crossed the line at times in how he addresses members of the public.

But, Papp said he stands by his language because it was based on clear laws about historic buildings. Papp said the council is attempting to exert political influence over the CHC and that he is being fired for doing his job.

Papp has also criticized the city council in Tribune opinion columns.

The CHC chair is serving a committee term that ends on April 2, 2023. Papp was appointed chair of the advisory body in March 2019.

On Monday evening on the Dave Congalton radio show, Papp announced plans to run for city council.

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Good for you, give ‘em hell Dr Papp!

The article is a little light on facts. How or who appointed him, how long is the term, isn’t it only advisory anyway?

Is it how he expresses himself rather than the message he’s relaying?

Like anything else, it’s easy being a one trick pony, historical significance is important, but the big picture is important too.

Many of the old vintage downtown brick buildings have been demo and replaced due to mandated earthquake safety laws, the replacement buildings had to take into consideration, land values and building costs, which in turn needed more square footage to absorb these costs, hence taller, as well as the push by the Planning Department of the panacea of mixed use development,

I’ve been here a long time, downtown is still a treasure, overall the city has done a pretty good job, I think the biggest issue that needs to be addressed is parking so it can continue to thrive:)

Of course the citizens of SLO elected Heidi Ho, when the downtown goes to bicycle only, the push for new buildings will go by the wayside:(

Dr Papp is correct. Just drive downtown SLO and look at the dark cold ugly esthetic that has taken over the charming used brick Vintage atmosphere. SLO as we knew it is gone forever and I applaud the noble efforts led by Dr Papp to try to protect what is left. If people can not see Heidi Harmon is a puppet for a certain agenda that has quickly unfolded right before our eyes they need to get new prescriptions for their foggy eyewear.

Papp for City Council…there will be h–l to pay if he wins, …the lady who hugs and loves rainbow unicorns will not be able to bring him into her universe of justice, love , harmony and a world united against plastic straws. Instead, Dr. Papp will actually focus on civic issues. How droll.

Heidi and the hipsters need to go. Remember this in the next election.

Yeah, we need to get some old conservative white men back doing the job!

I dont care race they are as long as they do the job, Jimmy, do you see humans who are born “white” as problem?

So the city council thinks that James is a little tough on the public, my guess would be he is tough on developers that want to tear down all old buildings and put up ugly crap, so they want him gone, yet the city doesn’t say a word about adam hill who insults everyone, at least they could say something even though he is a county sup.

The City has become very institutional looking and not organically developed. One would think there are a lot of Cal Poly teachers on City commissions and committees.

Mr.Papp should run for city council …sounds like he would do SLO a good job with a level head not filled with air

I’m with Mr. Papp. The new buildings in SLO really dont fit in and look just horrible!