Bouquets and Brickbats

SLO County Board of Supervisors made the right call in denying Cypress Ridge appeal

letters@thetribunenews.comApril 25, 2014 

Kevin P. Rice

JOE JOHNSTON — jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

Bouquets all around to the county Board of Supervisors for refusing to be drawn into the latest dustup over air quality on the Nipomo Mesa, where violations of air standards have been linked to off-road recreation at the Oceano Dunes.

Some background: Kevin P. Rice — a staunch supporter of off-roading — filed an appeal of the county Planning Commission’s approval of a 21-home subdivision at Cypress Ridge. Rice argues that an Environmental Impact Report should be required for the project since construction activities will increase the amount of dust in the air on the Mesa. He also claims the project will draw more people to the area who may be sensitive to air pollutants.

This is a red herring. Rice is seeking, once again, to discredit the county Air Pollution Control District’s efforts to improve air quality on the Mesa by requiring monitoring and dust control measures at the Oceano Dunes. Sanctimoniously implying that temporary construction activities are to blame for this serious, long-term public health problem is just the latest tactic in a long-running controversy. The board didn’t fall for it; it showed collective common sense by denying Rice’s appeal with a unanimous vote.

Hidden cameras giving us the creeps

We’ll start with the usual caveat: All arrestees are innocent until proven guilty. With that out of the way, can we just say how creeped out we are (and we’re sure we’re not the only ones) by the accusation that a San Miguel contractor, Eutimio Contreras Anguino, allegedly planted secret cameras in homes where he worked. The wireless cameras were discovered behind vents in the victims’ bedrooms.

If the allegations are true, the homeowners who were spied upon are the primary victims, but this guy isn’t doing his fellow contractors any favors either. This is an isolated case, to be sure, but because of the creepiness factor, it’s bound to stick in the minds of homeowners for awhile.

We’ve got a badly hammered brickbat for the suspect — but we’ll hang on to it until his criminal case is decided.

A first step toward tax measure

A penny-wise bouquet goes to the Atascadero City Council for unanimously authorizing staff to prepare a sales tax measure for the November ballot — and for encouraging public input on the proposal.

The council’s decision on the ballot measure isn’t final; that vote is scheduled for June 24. This was, however, a necessary first step in allowing the citizens of Atascadero to decide whether they want to raise the sales tax to 8 percent, from the current 7.5 percent. Atascadero is the only city in the county to have the lower rate; all the others cities are at 8 percent.

Hats off to League for moderation

We toss a big, red-white-and-blue bouquet of gratitude to the League of Women Voters of San Luis Obispo County for moderating Thursday night’s DA forum, sponsored by The Tribune. Approximately 130 people attended the event at the San Luis Obispo library’s community room to hear district attorney candidates Tim Covello and Dan Dow. As always, the amazingly unflappable volunteers of the League were prompt, professional and polite.

That’s no small feat. Political forums can, by their nature, quickly turn volatile, and the League provides an indispensable service by running public forums with consistent rules and even-handed aplomb.

By the way, here’s another chance to see the League in action: From 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. on May 9 at the SLO Library community room, the League will sponsor a forum on issues relating to homelessness, including plans for a new homeless services center in SLO. The League is partnering with the San Luis Obispo County Housing Trust Fund, United Way of San Luis Obispo County and the Community Foundation San Luis Obispo’s Action for Healthy Communities on the event. We look forward to it.

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