Here are 19 ways to make SLO County better in 2019

Alex Bar-B-Q building reduced to rubble in Shell Beach

The historic Alex Bar-B-Q building in Shell Beach was suddenly demolished Tuesday, September 18, 2018, without the proper city permits.
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The historic Alex Bar-B-Q building in Shell Beach was suddenly demolished Tuesday, September 18, 2018, without the proper city permits.

Sadly, 2019 is off to a rocky start. The federal government has shut down. The volatility of the stock market has many investors afraid to look at their quarterly statements. And when last we checked, the Academy Awards didn’t even have a host.

Closer to home, monarch butterflies are disappearing; PG&E’s in big trouble over wildfires; and housing prices are still out of control.

On the bright side, things can only get better, right?

With that in mind, here in no particular order are 19 ways to make 2019 a year to (fondly) remember:

1. Take down those Christmas lights. Now. Or at least shut them off.

Not only is it a waste of energy, it’s disconcertingly unseasonal, like wearing knee-high Uggs with cut-offs and a crop top when it’s 102 degrees outside. If you’re leaving them up until Epiphany, time’s up; that religious feast falls on Jan. 6.

2. End the government shutdown.

Sorry, Mr. President, but this one’s on you. You’re being ridiculous.

3. Settle with SLO County employees.

Come on, SLO County, even the federal government recently offered its San Luis Obispo County employees a locality pay increase, to help them cope with the high cost of living here. Federal workers living in SLO County now earn as much as their counterparts in Los Angeles County ... unless they’re furloughed, of course.

4. Close the U.S. 101/El Campo Road intersection to left-turners.

Those dangerous left turns aren’t just putting the driver’s life at stake, they’re endangering everyone else who happens to be passing by at speeds of 65-plus mph. An overpass may be possible someday, but there are too many other projects ahead of that. So shut it down before there are more deaths.

5. Open a network of warming shelters throughout the county.

Homeless people who don’t qualify for — or aren’t interested in — checking into a permanent shelter should still have warm places to sleep when its raining or freezing outside.

6. Develop a better early-warning system for wildfires.

This should be a top priority for all of California; no one should die because evacuation warnings were delivered too late — or not at all.

7. Finish at least one of the studies on the economic effects of Diablo Canyon’s closure.

The Monning study — so named because Sen. Bill Monning sponsored legislation to fund the study — was supposed to be completed by July 1, 2018. We’re still waiting.

8. Pismo Beach, do something about Alex’s Bar-B-Q.

The landmark restaurant that was razed without a permit left a gaping hole on Shell Beach Road. Something needs to happen soon.

9. SLO County Board of Supervisors, make good on your plan to increase the supply of affordable housing.

Passage of the plan by an often hyper-partisan Board of Supervisors was hailed as a major achievement, but unless the board figures out how to fund the program, it will accomplish about as much all the other housing plans that have been adopted: not much.

10. A truce between Team Heidi and Team Keith.

The election’s over, but we’re still picking up on some bad vibes between the old and new guards. This is asking a lot, but isn’t there a way to accommodate SLO growth without compromising the historical and architectural integrity of the neighborhoods?

11. No more Milos.

Cal Poly Republicans, stop trying to “trigger” liberals by hosting obnoxious speakers who spout racist, misogynistic, homophobic garbage. On that same subject, can we all agree to ban terms like “libtard” and “snowflake” from our collective vocab?

12. Break ground on that new animal shelter.

Now that Paso Robles and Atascadero are back on board, the county should go full tilt on the project. County staff is preparing a request for proposals and — fingers crossed — there could be a groundbreaking at the end of this year and completion in 2021.

13. More flights, please.

San Diego, Dallas and Portland would be great. So would Vegas and Salt Lake. And maybe Cabo?

14. A buyer for the old California Youth Authority property in Paso Robles.

Here’s an idea: Stewart and Lynda Resnick (of Pom Wonderful, Fiji Water and Justin Winery, among other concerns) could buy the property and partner with the city and nonprofits in building a homeless services center.

15. The Paso Robles Unified School District hires a super-competent new superintendent.

The new hire’s first order of business: getting the district’s financial house in order.

16. Cal Poly administrators lighten up on student protests at career fairs.

Come on, Cal Poly. Raytheon can handle a few protesters.

17. Cal Poly frats clean up their act — or else.

No blackface; no racist party themes; no hazing; no sexual assaults .... or they’re out.

18. Nipomo gets its skate park.

Supervisor Lynn Compton lobbied hard for this. Let’s see it pay off.

19. More under-40s run for office.

Yes, it’s an off-election year, but it’s never too late to start laying the groundwork for a campaign.

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