Tribune's hopes for SLO County in 2014 run the gamut from sewers to safety

From sewers to safety, hopes for the county run the gamut

January 5, 2014 

Robert Phillips mows dead weeds at his home in Paso Robles’ Jardine Road area — a stark, dry scene that stands in contrast to the irrigated golf course and vineyard that can be seen from his front yard. Several residents in the area have had to drill deeper wells as the groundwater level has fallen.

DAVID MIDDLECAMP — dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com Buy Photo

Christmas is over, but that’s not going to stop us from compiling a wish list for 2014, addressed not to Santa, but to local leaders in government, business, education, nonprofit agencies and other fields. Without further ado, then, here’s a top 10 list of what we hope to see in SLO County over the next 12 months.

10. The Los Osos sewer project stays on track. In the summer, we reported that the collection system was supposed to be completed by this July. According to http://www.diglososos.com — a website that tracks the progress of the sewer project — this phase is still on track for “substantial completion” by July 1, 2014. We can’t wait, and we’re sure Los Osos residents are even more anxious to see their town returned to pre-construction-zone days.

9. Morro Bay and Cayucos reach an absolutely final decision on where to build a new sewer — and it’s not in a flood plain or a tsunami zone. And this may be truly wishful thinking: Both communities rally behind the choice.

8. Cuesta College trustees put a realistic bond measure on the ballot that isn’t bloated — one that will finance must-do renovations and critically needed new facilities. It passes with ease.

7. Developers of the Dalidio Ranch property announce they’ve landed Nordstrom as a tenant. Not going to happen? OK, then how about Macy’s?

6. Local officials stop paying lip service to the need for smaller, more affordable housing units, and develop programs and policies that will actually make that happen. Yes, we’ve asked for this before, with middling results, but the recent run-up in housing prices should spur government to act.

5. PG&E demonstrates its commitment to safety by reducing density in the spent fuel pools. And the federal government gets off its duff and makes real progress on a permanent waste storage site.

4. Clean and forthright campaigns for local offices — including boards of supervisors, city councils and school boards — that focus on issues, not petty sniping. That means no sign stealing, bogus endorsements, unsubstantiated claims or irrelevant attacks about such-and-such-a-candidate’s brother-in-law’s arrest back in 1989. And speaking of campaigns, we want to see the ridiculous recall effort targeting Morro Bay Mayor Jamie Irons go away.

3. The 5Cities Homeless Coalition secures a site for a community services center where it can offer counseling, health care, job leads and other help — and provide a forever home for the People’s Kitchen.

2. Ground is broken on a new homeless shelter in San Luis Obispo. Bill Thoma and Adam Hill share a brief man hug, then congenially take turns wielding a ceremonial shovel as cameras record the historic event.

1. A water management district is created in the Paso Robles groundwater basin — one that gives both small and large landowners a voice in how water supplies should be allocated — and the water rights lawsuits are dropped.

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