Bouquets and Brickbats

Find home for People’s Kitchen

October 11, 2013 

South County People's Kitchen serves meals to the homeless in a dirt parking lot on South 16th Street in Grover Beach.


The South County People’s Kitchen is once again scrounging for a new location — and the timing could hardly be worse.

This week, the Grover Beach City Council denied the organization’s application for a permit to operate on a county lot on 16th Street, which means People’s Kitchen will have to stop serving meals there by Nov. 22 — less than a week before Thanksgiving.

The council made its decision after neighbors and businesses in the area complained that PK clients were “repeatedly creating various public nuisance situations including panhandling, vagrancy, vandalism and theft.”

To be fair, some clients helped feed the controversy by failing to follow permit conditions that forbade panhandling, eating outside the designated dining area, accessing the site through a private alleyway, etc. Still, we had hoped the Grover Beach council would broker a compromise that would give the People’s Kitchen another chance, at least through the end of the year.

Instead of treating the People’s Kitchen like a pariah, it’s time for all South County leaders — elected officials, business people, church and school representatives, law enforcement, social service professionals — to come together and find a home for this worthy organization, preferably long before Thanksgiving.

Otherwise, we’ll be marking the holiday by delivering a plate of stone cold brickbats to South County leaders.

Retrofitting has had great results

Public safety bouquets are en route to the city of San Luis Obispo, where an ambitious goal of completing earthquake retrofitting of all unreinforced buildings is close to being met.

Following the 2003 San Simeon Earthquake, the city moved up deadlines for retrofitting 126 buildings vulnerable to quake damage. So far, work on 112 buildings is complete; eight buildings are in the process of being strengthened; and plans are in place for the final six.

City leaders deserve credit for having the political will to enforce amore aggressive schedule, and building owners and their architects and contractors are to be commended for the great end results. In several cases, the retrofits transformed many buildings by unveiling original brick and other details covered over by various remodeling projects. The result is not only asafer downtown, but also a more architecturally interesting one.

Supervisor Arnold changes her play

We’ve heard of hitting for the cycle — but voting for the cycle?

We didn’t think it possible, but by casting three different votes on the same issue, Supervisor Debbie Arnold pulled off the political equivalent of hitting a single, double, triple and home run in the same baseball game.

Here’s the play-by-play: On Aug. 27, Arnold voted in favor of an emergency moratorium on new vineyards that tap into the Paso Robles groundwater basin. On Oct. 1, she voted against extending the moratorium. Finally, on Tuesday, Arnold abstained on the same issue.

In the interest of sportsmanship, we won’t tag her with a brickbat for her inconsistent performance. But we will toss all-star bouquets to the other supervisors, for making the right play in voting to extend the moratorium to avoid further depletion of the basin.

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