Like a never-ending game of Chutes and Ladders, sometimes the effort to build a new homeless shelter in San Luis Obispo seems to go nowhere. The project moves forward a few spaces, only to fall down a chute on a bad roll of the dice.
This week, though, we saw progress equivalent to at least half-a-dozen rungs of a ladder when the San Luis Obispo Regional Transit Authority committed $1.5 million to buy a nearly 10-acre parcel on Prado Road near Sunset Drive-In. The transit authority plans to partner with Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County to buy the site for $2.2 million.
If the deal goes through, the transit agency will locate abus storage and maintenance facility there, and CAPSLO will build a homeless center with as many as 200 beds, a commercial kitchen, laundry facilities, showers and more.
It will be up to CAPSLO to raise the remaining $715,000 for the land purchase, though the city of San Luis Obispo has already committed $250,000, and CAPSLO plans to ask the county for another $250,000.
The agency also will need to raise money for the actual facility; a $1 million state grant was awarded for construction, but that was attached to the South Higuera Street site, a location that was ditched after businesses in the area said it was the wrong place for a shelter. CAPSLO leaders hope the grant can be transferred to the Prado Road location, and they plan to make a pitch for that.
So, yes, there is still a long way to go before a new shelter breaks ground.
For now, though, well celebrate the recent ascent up the ladder by tossing a leg-up bouquet to the many agencies and individuals who have not lost sight of this critical goal: anew homeless services center for San Luis Obispo.
Should PG&E leaders be charged?
Our criminal justice system sometimes works in mysterious ways.
To wit: PG&E has been criminally charged in federal court with a dozen felony violations stemming from the 2010 natural gas pipeline explosion that killed eight people, injured 58 and leveled 38 homes. Among the allegations: PG&E knowingly and willfully failed to follow minimum safety standards and failed to conduct inspections that would have identified problems and prevented the disaster.
If convicted, PG&E could face fines up to $6 million and court oversight. (By comparison, the California Public Utilities Commission is considering a $2.5 billion fine against PG&E.)
Call us old-fashioned, but we believe a criminal prosecution generally implies that someone did something wrong and should suffer the consequences. Yet there have been no individual PG&E officials or employees charged in the indictment, though according to The Associated Press, that could happen later if the investigation warrants.
A criminal fine is better than nothing, we suppose, but if there is a case to be made against individuals, we believe they should be held to answer. Otherwise, well be filling a briefcase with brickbats for a spineless legal system too willing to let corporate America off the hook for accidents that could have prevented.
Donations are music to our ears
We toss bouquets of runway-worthy roses to Phyllis Madonna and to the many volunteers who made this years Phyllis Musical Revue and Fashion Show an outstanding success. Organizers reached their goal of raising $200,000 for the Womens Shelter Program of San Luis Obispo County. Thats the second-largest amount raised since the event began in 1987.
All told, the event has raised more than $3 million over the years for those affected by domestic violence and child abuse. Thats an amazing contribution to a nonprofit organization thats been a huge resource to our county by offering not only emergency shelter, but also a 24-hour crisis line, counseling and education and training.