San Luis Obispo has been covered with “Yes” and “No” posters for several months, debating whether the Dalidio Ranch project should exist. Should it be built, the former farmland will be home to a large retail center, a business park, housing units, sports fields, nature reserves and much more. It is all set to be completed by 2008.
Dalidio has been fighting for the project for more than 15 years. After taking it to the city twice and getting it approved by the city council only to be voted down by city residents, Dalidio is now taking it to a countywide vote.
His opposition argues that the project will cause a severe traffic problem should it pass. The plans describe that the center will be built before the roads can handle the traffic, causing problems for the entire city. “No on J” supporters also say it is unfair to take a San Luis Obispo issue to the county to vote on.
Of all the propositions, this one affects Cal Poly considerably. Should the measure pass, over $1.4 billion will be given to California public schools, including K-12, community colleges and the California State University and University of California systems.
Cal Poly would receive $16.7 million over a two-year period. This money would fund the redesign of the Science building, replace the Anderson Pool and provide equipment and furniture for the new Construction Management building.
Opponents of Proposition 1D argue that the state cannot afford over $10 billion of debt, and say the schoolchildren of today will be repaying that debt long after they graduate.
If adopted by voters, Measure Y will raise San Luis Obispo’s sales tax by one half-cent. This essentially means that if a consumer makes a $100 purchase, Measure Y would tack an additional 50 cents in sales tax onto his or her bill.
The current sales tax throughout the county is 7.25 percent, which is the lowest sales tax allowed by the state. The proposed increase would bring the sales tax to 7.75 percent, which is still less than what 85 percent of Californians pay.
Measure Y would provide approximately $4.5 million in revenue for the city of San Luis Obispo. That additional revenue would be tagged as general purpose, so it could be put toward programs such as neighborhood street paving, emergency services, traffic congestion relief and creek and flood protection.
If approved, Measure Y will become effective April 1 of next year. The sales tax increase will be up for review in eight years. At that time, voters can either renew or repeal Measure Y.
Lois Capps and Victor Tognazzini made themselves visible around Cal Poly throughout the last month in their quest for the House of Representatives’ 23rd district, which includes parts of San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.
Capps, a Democrat, has already been in Congress for nine years and serves on the House Budget Committee. Previous to her work in Congress, she was a nurse in Santa Barbara. She told Cal Poly students that she would restore approximately $12 million from the federal budget cuts if she is re-elected. She also believes the U.S. should leave Iraq as soon as this can be accomplished safely.
Tognazzini, a Republican, hails from Santa Maria where he has worked closely with the farming community for 34 years. He dislikes Capps’ voting record of voting against small businesses and plans to do otherwise if he is elected. Also unlike Capps, he is not as eager to leave Iraq and said that the United States cannot afford to let illegal immigrants have the same education rights as citizens.
San Luis Obispo’s mayoral candidates represent various facets of the city, from art to administrative duties.
John Ewan – a Cal Poly graduate, business owner and City Council member – hopes to strengthen the relationship between Cal Poly and the community.
Don Hedrick has perhaps the most colorful background. As an artisan welder and former parking lot regulator at The Graduate nightclub, Henrick stressed his commitment to the community.
Christine Mulholland, also a City Council member, helped in developing 400 housing units locally. When it came to Measure J, she said, “New development pays its own way.”
Incumbent Dave Romero goes way back with San Luis Obispo, since he first participated in the widening of the California Boulevard, Grand Avenue and Foothill Boulevard areas in the 1950s and ’60s. He is also a former Cal Poly lecturer.
Kelly Cope, Sara Hamilton, Kristen Marschall and Lauren Zahner contributed to this report.