Public locked out
Last year the Atascadero City Council and the city staff stopped taking questions during the Community Forum portion of the City Council meetings. Now the only way to ask a question of a council member or city staff is to submit the question to the city clerk, and she will answer the question at City Hall. This is all done well out of the public purview.
The policy has now been taken to a new level in that neither the City Council nor city staff comments on any of the issues raised during the Community Forum. This stonewalling of the citizen has been going on in Atascadero for a while. Now it is overt and total.
One of the council members recently proclaimed that there are five business-friendly people on the council. One frame of the slide show that runs during the City Council meetings reads, “Atascadero — Open for Business.” Businesses are important to our community, and developing the downtown is not a bad thing, but who is representing the citizens of Atascadero?
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This is what the Occupy Movement is all about. The 99 percent are paying the bills, and the 1 percent are using the money to advance their own interests. Shouldn’t government be of the people, by the people and for the people? It doesn’t seem that the city of Atascadero thinks so.
The voters of Atascadero need to make a change in November; it’s time.
Putting lipstick on two blocks of Higuera Street, the principal shopping and entertainment street through the city, will do little to enhance our downtown. Regardless of the amount of makeup, this streetscape suffers from arterial divide.
Higuera Street is a dangerous river of vehicles for pedestrians, supported three travel lanes with parking on each side — a formidable barrier to all pedestrians and a potential car wreck for drivers.
Eliminating all traffic is the best solution, as seen by the success of Farmers Market. It would have been better to use that three-quarters of a million dollars as seed money to convert Higuera Street, between Osos and Nipomo streets, to two lanes of traffic with one-side angled parking, wider sidewalks, landscape pockets, loading zones relocated to cross streets with traffic directed to Marsh and Palm streets, where parking garages and fewer pedestrian-reliant businesses are located.
This results in a gain of parking, efficient traffic movement and a much friendlier pedestrian environment. The Court Street and Raku/Chipotle /Habitat frontages are a start, why not the entire corridor?
So, City Council, the bouquet that you deserve by throwing money at an obsolete community design improvement should consist of stinkweed for your lack of vision.
San Luis Obispo
After reading all of the outrage in these pages for the last few weeks regarding the plastic bag ban, I have one overriding thought. Things can’t be all that bad in this country if the most pressing “problem” on so many people’s minds is something as trivial as a ban on plastic bags.
San Luis Obispo
Trouble with truancy
My agency, Education Advocacy of the Central Coast, has served hundreds of Central Coast at-risk students in an effort to encourage their regular attendance at school.
I want to provide one example of a typical seventh-grade student who was questioned twice by police when he was in town during school hours. He was enrolled in a public school administered “home hospital” program due to mental health issues.
The first time he was questioned by police, his mother requested the school district issue him a photo ID. She offered to bring him to wherever was needed. The district said it would arrange for an ID and get back to her.
After six weeks, no response. The student was again approached by police. Once again, his mother called district officials, who this time instructed a school psychologist to make sure this lad was provided with an ID. Four months and 20 days later he was finally provided with a picture ID, which took about eight minutes to complete.
This is just the tip of the iceberg in my experiences dealing with school resource officers, the probation department and the county Office of Education.
We have layer upon layer of ordinances that are never enforced. Children who fail to attend school do so because they do not feel successful. Deal with that issue and you can eliminate truancy laws altogether.
Sexual Assault Victim Education Inc. is the proud recipient of a $2,000 grant from Central Coast Funds for Children. SAVE will use this grant to further our work in the prevention of child sexual abuse in our community.
SAVE provides a nonthreatening personal-safety curriculum, “Talking About Touching,” free of charge to any interested preschool in San Luis Obispo County. We serve approximately 65 preschools. SAVE works in collaboration with the SLO Child Abuse Prevention Council’s “Talking About Touching” curriculum presented in the elementary schools of the county. Together, we teach thousands of children and their families every year about how to keep themselves safe from child sexual abuse.
Central Coast Funds for Children provides invaluable financial support to the nonprofits that work to help children in our community. We couldn’t do it without them! Thank you so much, CCFC!