Bouquets and Brickbats

More housing, less parking for Cal Poly

letters@thetribunenews.comMay 17, 2013 

Cal Poly officials hope to start building new student housing on a large parking lot located across from existing dorms on Grand Avenue in 2015.

DAVID MIDDLECAMP — dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com Buy Photo

We’re logging a “satisfactory progress” bouquet in the grade book for Cal Poly officials who followed through on an “assignment” to provide more on-campus housing for first-year students.

If all goes according to plan, the 1,400-bed dorm will be completed in five years, in time for the 2018-19 academic year.

That will greatly benefit students, since there currently aren’t enough dorm rooms to meet demand. It also should be good for town-gown relations — it will mean fewer students in residential neighborhoods — and it will free up off-campus rentals in a city that’s notorious for its lack of workforce housing.

There is one area where we see room for improvement, though: parking. The dorm will be built atop a large surface parking lot on Grand Avenue, and while a small parking structure will be part of the project, it will only partially offset the loss of surface parking.

Poly officials don’t expect that to be a problem, since the lot on Grand is seldom full. They also point out that ever since dorms were added at Poly Canyon, fewer students have been commuting to campus.

That may be, but finding a parking space at Poly is still a hassle, and could become an even bigger headache after a series of enrollment increases take effect over the next few years.

We weren’t math majors, but it seems to us that Poly should be adding parking — not taking it away.

No reason not to vote in SLO

Will anybody be left to run for the vacancy on the SLO City Council? John Spatafore withdrew last week, and Kevin Rice announced his departure this week during a candidates forum hosted by the SLO Chamber.

The leaves the two main contenders, Paul Brown and Carlyn Christianson, along with perennial candidate Donald Hedrick, whose buck-the-establishment campaigns make a statement but don’t garner many votes.

Luckily for the electorate, there’s not much time left in the campaign — balloting in the vote-by-mail election starts May 20 and ends June 18 — so we suspect the field is finally set.

By the way, we hope to see a terrific turnout, especially since the city is spending nearly $90,000 to put on this election.

There really are no excuses to sit this one out, because voting could not be easier: Just fill out the ballot, walk it to a mailbox — and you can collect your “I voted” bouquet. Failure to do so, on the other hand, automatically qualifies you for an “I wasted my ballot” brickbat.

Lots to like about Vallejo election

Here’s an election that’s really special: The city of Vallejo is allowing all residents 16 and older to vote on how to spend $3.2 million generated by a sales tax increase.

Voters get to pick six items on a list of 33 proposed projects, ranging from repairing potholes to reviving a blues festival.

Mobile voting units have been set up at several locations around the city, and balloting is taking place over a period of eight days.

The election is advisory, which means that the council could disregard the results — but as Sacramento Bee columnist Ginger Rutland reported, that’s expected to be highly unlikely since council members have a vested interest in keeping their seats.

There’s a lot to like about this election: It gives citizens a chance to decide how their money is spent; it sheds light on the budgeting process in general and the needs of the city in particular; and it involves citizens who might not otherwise be inclined to vote, or in the case of 16-and 17-year-olds, allowed to vote.

We offer a ballot box of bouquets to the Vallejo City Council — and to any local government bodies that consider following suit.

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