The Board will bring back the item of the appointment of County Clerk-Recorder
SAN LUIS OBISPO — The San Luis Obispo Board of Supervisors held a regularly scheduled meeting on Sept. 28 at 9 a.m. The meeting opened with the removal of item 34, an appeal by the Port San Luis Harbor District, as it had been withdrawn. Item 23 was also pulled from the agenda. The item was to recognize Dr. James Beebe upon retirement, but due to an illness, he stayed home.
The meeting then went to public comment on the consent agenda, followed by approval of the consent agenda with a 5-0 vote.
Next, the Board submitted a resolution recognizing Ann McDowell upon her retirement from the county where she was hired in 2001 as the Epidemiologist. McDowell originally turned in her resignation in December 2019 but graciously stayed on another 19 months to aid the county and her successor in the transition during the pandemic.
The Board then recognized Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 as National Hispanic Heritage Month in San Luis Obispo, which began in 1968 as a week and has expanded into a month.
Public comment for items not on the agenda had many citizens from Los Osos speak about the overnight camping of unhoused individuals on Palisades Avenue, a continued problem over the last several months. Richard von Stein, a retired dentist, implored the Board saying, “Palisades Avenue does need to be given back to the citizens,” as well as asking that the Kansas Ave facility be opened to volunteers so he could do dental screenings as well as others who could offer their services.
Supervisor Debbie Arnold spoke regarding the prior Board decision to bring forward seven candidates for County Clerk-Recorder, while staff is only bringing forward three applicants. Arnold made a motion to bring this item back as an agonized item to discuss at the next meeting. Supervisor John Peschong asked if it was possible to bring back more applicants without having a Board discussion on it. County Council, Rita Neal, spoke to the interpretation of staff as being the option to bring up to seven candidates and that in order to bring back more, it would need to be agendized on the next meeting. Peschong then seconded the motion.
Supervisor Bruce Gibson said that “I’m astounded that this motion even got a second… to appease those who have come pushing the big lie of election fraud, and there is only one thing that those who push the big lie on election fraud want and that is to subvert future elections. To vote yes on this motion quite clearly sets us down the path to subvert future elections in this county. I have absolutely no doubt as to the integrity of the election process in this county.”
The motion went to a vote and was approved 3-2, with Supervisors Gibson and Ortiz-Legg in opposition.
Item 27 and 28 were a submittal of the year-end financial status report, where any items that did not fall within anticipated budgets were addressed, and a submittal of final budget actions. Expenses and revenues in 2020-2021 were both lower than 2019-2020, largely due to COVID. The Board heard the presentation identifying where the budget shortfalls were as well as the surpluses in the budget due to FEMA funds and higher than anticipated transient occupancy taxes. The Board voted to approve staff recommendations on both items with a 5-0 vote.
The Board then had a hearing to consider adopting an ordinance establishing local standards and procedures for emergency homeless shelters at public facilities. A shelter crisis is defined by the state as “…the duly proclaimed existence of a situation in which a significant number of persons are without the ability to obtain shelter, resulting in a threat to their health and safety.” On Oct. 2, 2018, the county previously declared a shelter crisis; however, that Resolution did not suspend state or local rules, nor did it establish alternative minimum safety standards. This new ordinance would both re-declare a shelter crisis as well as suspend the normal local and state laws and establish emergency situation standards for the shelters. The motion to approve the item was made and passed with a 5-0 vote.
Item 31 and 32 discussed the Urban Water Management Plan and the Water Shortage Contingency Plan for the Lopez Reservoir. Approval of the recommended actions will ensure that Zone 3 will maintain in compliance with State law and that the San Luis Obispo County Flood Control and Water Conservation District will remain eligible for State funds, resulting in a more livable and well-governed community. Both items were approved to proceed with staff recommendations with a 5-0 vote.
The last item of the day was an amendment to the county traffic regulations prohibiting overnight parking in Los Osos and authorizing the Sheriff Department to tow vehicles in violation. Adoption of the ordinance will improve the ability of the public to access the coast for recreational purposes, thus providing a safe and livable community. Public comment on the item focused on the need for the county to not remove overnight campers unless spots were currently available at the Kansas Ave location, highlighting Martin v Boise as the ruling. Supervisor Gibson had County Council clarify the ruling in that case, which was that it is a violation of the 8th amendment to criminalize the act of sleeping outdoors if there are no beds available for those individuals.
Chairperson Compton stated, “To me, it’s a balancing act, and I will be supporting this. No one is going to be perfectly happy with the solution, but it’s an adequate compromise for now until something else can be done.” The motion was made by Supervisor Gibson and seconded by Supervisor Ortiz-Legg and passed 5-0.
The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 5 at 9 a.m., and the agenda is available on the County website.