Home > Uncategorized > Save San Luis Obispo goes countywide

Save San Luis Obispo goes countywide

Interesting segment today at 4:05 with David Broadwater and Mila LaBarre announcing the formation of a new countywide committee to defeat the Dalidio Ranch shopping center measure expected to be on the November ballot.

I’ve made no secret of my position of this. I will vote “Yes” on the measure and I expect it to pass easily. I do believe people want SLO to be the retail hub of the county and I know many people remain upset over the way Mr. Dalidio was treated by that sham SSLO committee, which was little more than a front for the likes of Rob Rossi, John King, Kelly Gearhart and the Copeland Brothers. Nobody complained when a Pottery Barn opened up in the downtown, despite five home furnishing stores in the immediate vicinity. But now opponents are questioning how many big box stores we need.

Here’s a typical email I’ve been getting in the last 24 hours:

“It’s as though you don’t want to hear anything that may be contrary to your
unwavering position on the Dalidio Project. Where did that comment about
County residents desiring San Luis Obispo to be the retail hub of the County
anyway?. Is that your personal opinion, or did you come to that conclusion
by other means?(was that polling answer from RRM?- just wondering). Here’s
a little question– what if the property were owned by David Weyrich, would
your position be different?. How would you describe your relationship with
Ernie Dalidio?. Do you think that Ernie has be wronged by the community when
his project was turned down?.

I’ll put the issue of using a referendum to develop a project in simpler
terms. Let’s say your new neighbor in Nipomo decides he’d like to change the
zoning on his property from residential to commercial to allow a nightclub.
Nipomo could certainly use a nightclub, in fact I’d suggest Nipomo is
lacking in nightclub choices. So your neighbor collects enough signature to
get the referendum on the ballot. I’m pretty much convinced you could get
almost anything on the ballot so this wouldn’t be that far fetched. So
despite all the impacts from the nightclub that you’ll have to endure why
should I in snooty San Luis Obispo give a damn. In fact why would anybody
outside your neighborhood give a damn?.

There a lot of issues regarding the actual project itself but the use of a
referendum that will allow the developer to ignore the wishes of the
community that will endure the impacts, CEQA, and any mitigation measures is
truly appalling. I’m hoping that you will realize that this method of
project approval is wrong and that you’ll change your position.”

Ho hum. The author is strictly San Luis Obispo and he has no perception of how this issue is perceived in the rest of the county.

We’ll certtainly cover the issue between now and November. Should be an interesting debate, but I predict Ernie Dalidio will prevail . . . finally.

  1. Terry in Los Osos
    April 5, 2006 at 6:23 am

    Dave, your Pottery Barn example is right on! I heard you today making that argument and I was yelling in agreement at the radio. Nobody asked what impact Pottery Barn would have on other stores downtown before approving their new store. It’s a straw man argument.

    I live in Los Osos and I’m so tired of driving to Santa Maria and Santa Barbara. I hit Costco at least once a week. I will be Target’s #1 customer WHEN they come. Remember, build it and they will come.

  2. Bill/SLO (35 years!)
    April 5, 2006 at 6:58 am

    I was in and out of the car today and only heard bits of the discussion, but WHO IS THAT WOMAN? She was going on and on about being a teacher and caring about the community, but I found her to be rather evasive on specific questions.

    I agree with the guy who called in and said “follow the money.” Save San Luis Obispo was about people who used money from downtown developers to stop a project at the edge of town.

    I will also vote for the project if it’s on the November ballot.

  3. Bob from San Luis
    April 5, 2006 at 7:06 am

    Dave: I noticed that neither you or Terry in Los Osos addressed the issue of whether or not the referendum approach is an equitable way to resolve this, seeing that using this type of solution bypasses any planning considerations. I fully understand that many residents of SLO county want this project; I for one don’t think that most fully understand the precident this type of approach sets up. The second paragraph of the email you posted raised the question of how dangerous a method this could be, not just for the possibility of ramming a project that directly affects those living nearest to the project, but more about how there is no review, no regulatory agency requirements being met and possibly no EIR being required or adhered to. Regardless of anyone’s position on the Dalido project there should be grave concerns about how this will affect viturally every corner of the county, and not in a positive manner. Let’s wait and see how the initiative is written, and how the final proposal will affect us all in San Luis County.

  4. Anonymous
    April 5, 2006 at 8:47 am

    My concern about this project is simple — I live on Oceanaire — right in the friggin’ neighborhood and when I see this Dalidio thing, all I can think about is all the TRAFFIC it will bring.

    Have you been on Madonna Road or LOVR lately? It’s a MESS. Dalidio will only make it worse.

    Vote NO! I will.

  5. Brett
    April 5, 2006 at 11:51 pm

    You know what Dave?, you are so wrong that it makes me wonder if you even care about the project, Ernie Dalidio or the community’s wishes and are more interested in creating a giant shit fight so you can sit back and watch from the sidelines- err I mean Nipomo.

    To call Save San Luis Obispo a sham is blatanly without merit. There were a lot of folks that put in a tremendous amount of volunteer effort to put the issue on the ballot and defeat an ill conceived project that obviously was not in keeping with the desires of the community.

    Yeah, Rob Rossi, Tom Copeland, John King and Kelly Gearhart contributed to the campaign and so did a lot of other individuals. I don’t think there is anyone who doesn’t understand that politics sometimes makes strange bedfellows. Oops, except for you Dave.

    If the community believed the project was appropriate no amount of money would have convinced them otherwise, especially given the fact that the developers said they would take the project to the County supervisors.

  6. David Broadwater
    April 6, 2006 at 1:04 am

    Dalidio’s Obscene Affront to SLO County Democracy

    I just received an unsolicited and unwanted letter in the mail and I’m livid, not because it’s pornographic, but because what it proposes for the November ballot is obscene. I live in Atascadero and would prefer to let the folks in San Luis Obispo and their representatives make decisions about land use in their neck of the woods. But Mr. Dalidio wants me to sign a petition so that every voter in the County can have a say about his development next to SLO City. By placing his initiative on the ballot, he also wants to have his project exempted from County and State laws requiring assessment of traffic, school, water, sewer, growth, fire, police and other needs and effects.
    Consider the consequences of this precedent for your own neighborhood. Your ability to affect decisions that impact your community can be nearly obliterated by any deep-pocketed developer willing to buy petition-circulators, polling and PR firms and media commercials. The input of your advisory committee, services district, city council or planning department could be over-ridden in a perverse reversal of eminent-domain. Masses of people largely ignorant &/or negligent of your town’s needs and desires could force you to surrender your autonomy.
    Although I’ve read a little about the Dalidio project, I’ve remained a comfortably ignorant spectator, certain that those most affected would make the best decision. It’s their business, not mine. As a registered voter (designated as “high propensity” by Dalidio’s paid propagandists), I don’t want to be required to study his project in enough detail to vote intelligently. Neither do I want voters from Nipomo, San Miguel, San Luis Obispo or any other town voting on land use decisions in my neighborhood (unless it’s to open a nuclear waste repository in town or something similar). That’s our business, not theirs.
    The precedent that would be set by the success of Mr. Dalidio’s initiative could result in the unraveling of local representative democracy. The outlaw exemptions it would ratify would render land use decisions blind to their infrastructure, economic and ecological consequences. The ability of communities to plan for their futures would be plagued by unremitting uncertainty and instability.
    For years, the initiative process in California has been criticized as divorced from its original purpose (providing the citizenry with a means to solve problems entrenched politicians won’t address). The primary cause identified for the degeneration of this exercise in direct, bottom-up, democracy is the corrupting and abusive intrusion of moneyed interests (and their hired campaign workers, pollsters and PR consultants) for the narrow purpose of increasing their private profits at the public’s expense. Mr. Dalidio’s proposed initiative is another manifestation of this invasion of our grassroots political territory.
    In the interests of representative government, informed decision-making and the integrity of our initiative process, I urge all citizens to contact their local representatives right now to inform them of this threat to their roles in land use planning. Ask them to oppose this initiative and recommend that citizens don’t sign Mr. Dalidio’s petition. Regardless of the SLO-specific impacts of his project, his initiative is an affront to our community values and is, therefore, obscene as the law defines it.
    David Broadwater

  7. Al from SLO
    April 6, 2006 at 5:42 am

    Dave, rather than become a cheerleader for Dalidio(wait, I just had an image of you in a short plaid skirt – ouch!)maybe you should try some real journalism and investigate a few very fishy aspects of the Dalidio design. For example, a waste water plant in a flood pain? Hmmmm. Can you spell “hoping for the city to still annex this thing?” We aren’t getting the truth about this whole busines, Dave, and I think you know that.

  8. The New Tone of San Luis Obispo
    April 8, 2006 at 6:46 am

    I am surprised at all you little Wal Mart haters going to bat against the little guy, Mr. Dalidio. Here are my precious thoughts:

    Al—–Look across Hwy 101—a Sewage plant next to the creek…oh my, a flood plane!

    Atascadero Broadwater- Oh my, you have a petition! How dare those waskully Dalidios do it…it should be against the law to send those out! In China, we were never bothered with that crap in the mail, and you know, I LIKED IT THAT WAY!

    Why should you very distant Atascadero people be allowed to make any decision that is not within….say……500 feet of their house. Yeah, 500 feet sounds good to me. You live in Atascadero, 16 miles from this place! Oh no! That is just TOO FAR! My electric car can’t even go that far with the upgraded battery!

    Bill (35 years) That woman is not Monica Lewinski in this case, but a probably that woman of the clothing optional beaches of Greece or Europe (woops!, forgot to take out the nude sunbathing slide here class, Ha Ha Ha….sorry) named Ms. Vujivich Labarr. She is a very nice and POPULAR former teacher from SLO turned apparent Save the SLO lady. She’s the bomb!

  9. Bob from San Luis
    April 10, 2006 at 5:40 am

    New Tone: Ah yes, precious thoughts indeed:). I noticed that you, just like Dave, did not address the issue of how having a planning issue decided by voters is a good thing for our county. You have not addressed the premise that having someone bankroll a ballot initiative because they don’t want to “bother” with pesky details like meeting water needs, traffic abatement, potential noise concerns, you know, all the stuff that a planning department studies and formulates a “plan” of how best serve the public interest a potential development could impact. You thoughts, if you can generate anything besides a snarky remark, should be revealing.

  10. The New Tone of San Luis Obispo
    April 12, 2006 at 5:03 am

    Hey SLO Bob,

    Thanks for the nice reply! Let me try and put on my thinking cap (It is all dusty from lack of use).

    The issue of how having a planning issue decided by voters is a good thing for our county?

    We have the option of this method when the county supervisors either don’t have the guts to give an up or down vote, or maybe even if they did it would end up in a vote anyways. In a way, I hate the fact that anyone should have to get the majority of the people to allow him to use his land that he owns and pays taxes on as he wishes in accordance with other properties SURROUNDING his.
    SLO BOB:
    You have not addressed the premise that having someone bankroll a ballot initiative because they don’t want to “bother” with pesky details like meeting water needs, traffic abatement, potential noise concerns, you know, all the stuff that a planning department studies and formulates a “plan” of how best serve the public interest a potential development could impact.

    A feel just the same as I felt when the Copelands and the Kelly Gearhart’s of the world (Copelands- Good businessmen…Gearhart….snake and very stingy and slow paying developer that builds cheesy buildings) financed the SAVE SLO ballot.

    Take into the considerations that the Save SLO supporters didn’t do much for water, traffic, and what we needed as a community here in SLO with their own little projects. The owner of the Apple Farm….exactly what have they done for SLO parking or water? Oh, in the old days, SLO used to welcom business and not have their hand out at every turn to collect more and more money

    Copeland’s Building- Ambercrombie and Fitch, Pottery Barn, and other stuff fit in SLO? I will never go in there and buy any of that overpriced JUNK. Banana Republic….overpriced cheap clothes. How are these different from Target, in any way except the ‘prestigious’ newcomers and college kids can go stare at each other wasting their money and Target is a place where families can buy a pair of jeans or a shirt or a waffle iron that is not the best ever designed. I like Takkens, but people that are buying shoes in Takkens are not the same ones that will buy shoes in Target. The people buying $180 jeans in a store downtown are not visiting target to pick up shirts for the girls.

    Gearhard not wanting a totally needed Prado Road Overpass that is common sense and no longer on the table so we have to sit in crappy traffic on the way to costco and his car lot.

    The bottom line for me is this Bob….Ernie’s property is in the MIDDLE of commercial property and even though I like it the way it is, I don’t own it and therefore it is not right for me to arrogantly control it.

    It is Not similar to you opening a Taco Hell in your neigborhood, to me it is like not letting a store be built in an area surrounded by stores.

  11. Bob from San Luis
    April 16, 2006 at 6:13 pm

    New Tone: You are correct that the Dalido property is surrounded by commercial zoned property; that in and by itself is not sufficient reason to allow the property to be rezoned. The city planning department addressed the concerns of rezoning citing among other things traffic, water, sewer, noise, pollution, etc. etc.- when the planning department turned down the project it was to sent to the city council for a vote, but then it was turned into the referendum that the citizens of SLO voted on and against. In your whole reply you failed once again, to address the crux of my question; how is having the voters decide a planning issue a good thing for our county? My main point here is that when Mr. Dalido does come up with a plan for development that fully addresses all issues concerning the rezoning of his property, the planning department of either the county or the city should be able to give it a green light at that time. If both planning departments are steadfastly opposed to the rezoning at any time for any reason, then there should be a course of action for the property owner to take. My objection is that by bankrolling the initiative, a person who has that capability is buying more democracy then someone who doesn’t have that ability can.
    As for Mr. Gearhardt, I didn’t know anything about his development, but then I am just a concerned voter. Was it right for him to donate to the save San Luis initiative? I don’t think so, but once again I am not in any position of power. The Prado Road overpass is not necessarily needed; if State Highway 227 could be realigned to start at the LOVR overpass, the state would be liable for most of the costs involved in widening that overpass and relieving the traffic congestion. HIghway 227 could go from LOVR to South Higuera then turn onto Tank Farm road going to Broad St.. That would solve most of the congestion problems by having Tank Farm widened at some time as well as realigning LOVR around the 101 overpass.
    As to the chain stores downtown, well, I’m not much of a shopper. I too will not be supporting Banana Republic, Abercrombie and Fitch and the other trendy stores; would I shop at a Target? Most likely, but I would prefer for some-other area to be developed if possible. Do I have a right to tell Mr. Dalido that he can’t build on his property? If it is brought to a vote, yes, I have that as a right. If, as I said before, a project that meets all criteria is brought before the planning department and is approved, well, so be it.

  12. SLOraisedtildeath
    April 22, 2006 at 9:36 pm

    I never wanted the downtown centre The Gap, Victoria’s Secret, Express – the movie theatre – any of it – I know people will remind me of how the downtown was dying, but I never wanted any of the national chains ANYWHERE in SLO! I miss the little stores like Etcetra and when SL Luggage was on Higuera and you could scoop a bag of popcorn – even the old barn like building that housed Cheap Thrills.

    Furthermore, to say that the SSLO campaign is a FRONT for the interests of King, Copeland’s, etc. is laughable and paraniod. Certainly they backed it with their money – why wouldn’t they – but Mrs. LaBarre has always been concerned and INVOLVED in this community – I had her as a student at SLO Senior High.

    In the early 1990’s I began to refer to SLO as mini-Santa Barbara…Santa Barbara doesn’t have box stores like Costco though, so I guess I was a bit off. Mini-Ventura/Oxnard now?

    The national chains that are already in SLO (downtown and on the city limits are obviously here to stay), but we don’t need any more! Keep them in Santa Maria – the same Santa Maria that Sunset Magazine once referred to as a bleeding eyesore of the central coast.


  13. Aveger
    June 4, 2006 at 6:55 pm

    To SLORaisedTillDeath: As a resident of Santa Maria and doing business in SLO, I don’t resent the remark about Santa Maria. Santa Maria’s “problem” regarding its asetic look and development really have nothing to do with chain stores and big box retailers like Target and Walmart, but poor planning by Santa Maria’s Government regarding its downtown center (now changing according to the new downtown development plan on its website and to be unveiled for public comment this Wed @630PM at town hall). Santa Maria has a population of 60% Mexican immigrants and natives, many whom comprise of the work force for Agriculture in SB County AND SLO County. They can not afford to live in SLO, and for many in SLO county, that is fine. The needs for increased housing and shopping for this huge work force created unbridled growth and lack of smart growth, including lax code enforcement. Santa Maria is increasingly housing more people that work in Santa Barbara city proper – but is also slowly atracting firms who realize all their labor force is here in N. County and its workers commute one hour south. But getting back to SLO County, according to the UCSB Ecomonic outlook, SLO County’s population is getting older and younger with decreased tax base in the middle, and rising housing cost. Keepin a small downtown is fine for strolling around, but restraining smarth growth in the county for those who already own homes will merely place larger tax burden on them as more people flee the county for lower cost areas. I don’t think a Target is going to really affect much when there are other underlining issues regarding your tax base on the table now.

  14. Anonymous
    August 25, 2006 at 4:24 am

    If you live outside of SLO in north or south county and think this won’t affect you, think again. This will set a precedent to ballot-box development approval. Let’s see what kind of large scale developments we can put up in Templeton or the outer areas of Arroyo Grande and let voters countywide vote on them. We may not be Orange County now, but we can be soon.

    Also consider the impacts to roads in North County and South County when the funds that were earmarked for their repair are instead being diverted to the Dalidio offramp. Those of you in the Nipomo area better get used to the Tefft traffic, because Willow Road will lose its funding.

    This development can and would likely receive county approval even if the measure fails (three pro-development County supervisors). The environmental process will identify all impacts and require mitigation to ensure that the burden will not be on us taxpayers. This ballot measure by-passes all of this which would ensure no oversight on a project that would negatively effect everyone except Ernie Dalidio and his banker. The only fair way is to vote no and let Ernie get his approval the same way as everyone else.

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