Does every voice in Grover Beach matter?

March 18, 2024


I have been thinking a lot about Grover Beach lately. A small little beach town, home to many people, roughly thirteen thousand. All kinds of people. Every race, color, creed, gender, single, married, families, old, young, you name em, we got em. It is all of “em” that make up this town.

I have been thinking also about all the people who have lived here their whole life, and the people who have lived here for more than 20 years.

I have formally resided here for just over three years. Those who have lived here for 20 years or more are the ones who have made this place what it is: quirky, interesting, unusual and yet desirable to many who visit here.

I have also been thinking, a lot, about the people who were chosen, elected, to govern and guide this city into the next generation. The people who the rest of us have entrusted to have our best interests at heart.

It seems to me that the time has come to re-evaluate this little beach town. That some changes need to happen and that Grover can become something even more wonderful. It can become a place that draws others and brings delight. It can become a hidden gem as they say. It has all the right elements and possibilities.

I also think that those “changes” need to come slowly. They need to be considerate of all those who have been here for those 20 plus years. Those who have stood by Grover, done the work and endured. I also think that those people who have been here 20 plus years can maybe let go of the past some and look to the future with vision and anticipation.

At this point in time, it also seems to me that we are on the crest of a wave. There is a wonderful quote from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar:

“There is a tide in the affairs of men. Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; omitted, all the voyage of their life Is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat, And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures.”

I think this is quite befitting for this community and the current situation in which we find ourselves. The tide is high and we need to recognize the opportunities.

I cannot help but wonder why the city officials, the ones I mentioned who should have our best interests at heart, seem to be unwilling to listen, or communicate? I cannot help but also wonder why they seem to be more about posturing and political, rather than co-operative and creative?

I also have thought very much about the comments from a city employee who thinks that those who speak up or have a different idea are only making noise and not really worth listening to?

I think that every voice has something of value to offer, especially in such a small-town environment. It is most likely that every person will not get exactly what they desire but it is quite imperative that people be listened to. People need to be heard and considered or else what is the point?

If the point is to get what one wants politically and mow over everyone else and play tired old games of politics then I guess we can just try to make changes by the 1 step forward 2 steps back method.

Or, there can be creative ways, thinking outside of the box ways to have all voices heard and then everyone, and I mean everyone, can come to the table, bring their creative ideas, try to listen and work together to make something special.

It sounds good, in theory, but it requires work, sometimes hard work, to negotiate, give and take, let go of hard lines.

In this world that is seemingly harsh around us- we have this small town, where people know each other and want to see small businesses thrive and help each other and care about what the worries and concerns, hopes and dreams of all of our community and not just a few. The leaders need to be just that, leaders.

A good leader is actually a servant. The servant leadership style is based on the idea that leaders prioritize serving the greater good. Leaders with this style serve their team and people. They don’t prioritize their own objectives. Constituencies in a servant leadership environment are more likely to feel that their voices are heard. The leaders serve us, not the other way around.

The person charged with managing the city could use time and resources to work to solve the issues and concerns at hand but appears to work so hard at trying to undermine the wishes of the people. Add to that, there are hardworking volunteers doing the homework that should be done by paid city staff. Those volunteers are doing the work to better the city.

The city manager and staff could be doing what is good for Grover and the citizens that they work for, instead it seems they are working to tear down and continue to try to sabotage the very people they work for.

This is really old ways of thinking, childish games that have no use in moving forward. The truth here is that all it would have taken was to listen. They could have listened to the people that told them something was coming, they could have listened to the people that were asking for information and accountability, they could have listened to all the people who signed petitions and are voters. Instead, it seems, the same old games are being played and the dismissive attitude and behavior continues. This not only applies to the city manager and staff, but some of our elected officials as well.

Why is it that we have only seen Clint out working to meet the people and listen to what they are concerned about or need as a community? Why is it that we don’t see the others out rolling up their sleeves and really engaging with the entire community in which they serve, not just the ones that voted for them. And they do in fact serve and work for us. If they do not realize this then that is a fundamental problem.

What does all of this mean for us, the average Grover Beach resident? Get involved, stay engaged, ask questions, demand answers and accountability, have your voice heard, and vote like the future of Grover depends on it. Because it does.


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It has been about a week since I posted my letter about the city and the way Grover beach is being run. 

Mr. Matt Bronson read my letter and reached out to me.

He wanted to meet me and have a conversation, dialog, about some of the points I made and questions I asked. I I respect him for contacting me.

We did meet. It was a very enlightening meeting.

 I found him quite interesting in that he was forthcoming and open to my point of view.  He asked me questions and was genuinely interested in my answers. 

We did not agree on everything and some things he was not at liberty to answer, I understand this. But he was open to recommendations and ideas. And we agreed that Integrity is key.

The best take away for me was that I realized that I made an error in not going to him first. I should have given him the opportunity to address these issues before I went public.

I also have a respect for the job he has. He not only manages the city and staff and budgets and is a liaison for the council.

 But has to deal with a lot of negativity directed at him that maybe sometimes has nothing to do with him.

 Yes, he gets paid well for his job but at some point the bad mouthing and negative banter can get to anyone. I know I would really not like having my every move scrutinized and never being able to please people. Walking a few steps in his shoes was valuable.

Has he made mistakes ? Sure. Does he try to correct them ? Seems to me he has.

The most important thing is this , He listened. He treated me as if my voice matters.

This was the title of my letter, Does every voice matter ? 

I recommend that if anyone has something to say and wants to be heard that you connect with him because after this exchange I can say with honesty that I believe Mr. Bronson is trying to hear us all.

I hope you like Matt because he’ll be the next county CAO. He often struggles in a tiny, tiny city. It will be a huge step for him and his inexperience and small city thinking will be exposed and magnified on the big stage.

He had no choice but to meet and sweeten you up. It was damage limitation. Glad that you have at least resolved your issues with the man. However, his track record is dismal and his relationship with truth-telling scant.

That was a plentiful platter of platitudes, but certainly sound advice. I was hoping to hear of the particular issues Ms. Swift is peeved about or the specific new projects she favors, but I guess some other Grover City residents may elucidate on them. I recall hearing something about a water issue in that vicinity, or perhaps Ms. Swift is concerned about crime or the far too common annihilation of pedestrians on the RR tracks by Amtrack. Oops! I said “Grover City” not “Grover Beach”, perhaps my advanced age and longevity of residence in the county caused that faux pau. My apologies! Those of us who’ve lived here “more than twenty years” and far, far longer are sometimes slow to embrace change and modernization, I guess.

Maybe one should know what they’re talking about before inserting one’s foot in their mouth.

The ‘water’ project is all but dead.

The latest statistics show crime is way down in Grover Beach.

The Union Pacific Railroad is the only entity responsible for pedestrian safety in the near vicinity of its property.

But i am sure you will find something else to complain about because that’s what complainers do.

I live far from Grover Beach and readily admit being just minimally aware of the issues that are on the front burner for the “twenty-plus year residents” of that community. After reading a plethora of platitudes from Ms. Swift, I honestly did not understand what she was asking for other than for people to “come together”, “have their voices heard” and for “leaders to be leaders”. She offered nothing specific regarding the “future opportunities” awaiting on “the flood tide of fortune”. Seriously, what is her vision for G.B. that would turn it into her “even more wonderful” future “hidden gem”? The 50+ year residents of SLO County are naturally curious when newcomers advocate for change to what attracted us and we have grown to love about the once small towns and pastoral character of San Luis Obispo County.