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SLO County Roundup

SLO County

A San Luis Obispo petition to amend the city charter to require majority voter approval of all regulatory or user fees imposed or increased by the City Council failed to qualify for the ballot in the 2012 general election.

Supporters of the ballot measure submitted 5,537 signatures to City Clerk Elaina Cano on Sept. 14.

However, after using a random sampling method authorized under California elections code to verify the signatures, Cano found that there were not enough valid signatures to qualify for the 2012 ballot.

That process involved verifying 500 signatures randomly identified through a computer program maintained by the County Clerk Recorders’ Office. Those signatures were then checked against the office’s voter registration database.

Common reasons for signatures not being verified include addresses that do not match voter registration cards, people who are not registered to vote and signatures from people outside of the city boundaries.

Cano said Tuesday that the petition’s supporters must gather all new signatures if they want to resubmit the initiative at a future date.

Stephen Barasch, a local architect, wrote in a statement of intent that the petition was meant to “add a layer of protection to local property owners and free payers from excessive rate increases.”

— AnnMarie Cornejo

SLO County

The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County has announced an ambitious program to rid a mile and a half of lower San Luis Obispo Creek of an invasive plant called cape ivy.

The group recently received a grant of $42,895 for the project from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Fish America Foundation. Removal of cape ivy will benefit threatened steelhead trout living in the creek.

The work will take place mostly north of San Luis Bay Drive, said Kaila Dettman, the Land Conservancy’s deputy director. The ivy will be eradicated by a combination of hand-removal, goat foraging and a small use of herbicides.

The work will take place next year after stream flows in the creek recede. It is expected that it will take volunteers 3,000 hours to complete the job.

Once the ivy is removed, the creek channel will be replanted with native vegetation. The ivy hurts steelhead by crowding out native plants that are habitat for the insects the trout eat.

— David Sneed

Atascadero

Atascadero Police Department employees and volunteers are now sporting a new shoulder patch, paid for by the Atascadero Police Officers Association.

Employees supported the decision to develop the new patch, police said, which the department debuted on Oct. 16.

The new logo boasts a darker blue background with a white trim.

It replaces the brighter blue patch with yellow trim that officers wore for approximately 24 years.

The association paid $1,000 for the 700 new patches ordered, police said.

— Tonya Strickland

Paso Robles

Construction is now complete on new restrooms and platform tiles at the North County Transportation Center in downtown Paso Robles.

The train station improvements allow for the restroom building to open after-hours, which wasn’t possible at the former facility. The restroom building was designed with architectural features similar to the main train station, according to city officials.

Construction was completed with two grants that the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments helped secure. Those funds were $158,000 from Proposition 1B -- a $20 billion voter-approved transportation bond measure from 2006 – and $65,000 from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The renovation project also featured repairs on portions of the tiles that line the station’s train platform, serving as a warning device for the disabled.

SLOCOG and Amtrak provided the funds to repair the tiles for $96,000.

— Tonya Strickland

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