Residents, business owners and community leaders spoke before the city council in a packed Ludwick Community Center Jan. 10. Throughout the event, proposals were posted to the walls of Ludwick’s auditorium. At the end, attendees were given 10 dot stickers and placed them on the matters they believed should receive highest priority in this new administration.
Proposals addressed issues such as zoning laws, the city’s unpaid retirement liability through California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and increasing the amount of and access to open space. Issues most relevant to students include noise disturbances and party registration, on-campus housing and more lighting in neighborhoods around Cal Poly.
Community members, including students, were able to vote on the 116 issues raised via an online survey that closed at 11:59 p.m. yesterday. Simulating the “dotocracy,” or dot, voting that took place at the end of the community forum on Jan. 10, the survey allowed participants to choose five issues that the city should set as major city goals and five issues that should receive priority funding through Measure G. Measure G, or the Local Revenue Measure, increases San Luis Obispo’s sales tax by 0.5 percent to “protect and maintain essential services and facilities,” according to the original ballot language. The measure was approved by San Luis Obispo voters in 2014 and is valid through 2023.
During the event, the Residents for Quality Neighborhoods group mentioned late night disturbances stemming from student parties as one of their priorities. While acknowledging a record low number of disturbances, their representative proposed working with Cal Poly to build more on-campus student housing.
This issue has been a point of contention between Cal Poly and some community members, bringing about calls to cap enrollment and build more on-campus housing, in addition to the housing project currently under construction on Grand Avenue.
Associated Students, Inc. President Jana Colombini was among students who spoke at the forum, proposing the city council make an effort to increase the amount of street lighting in the darker neighborhoods surrounding Cal Poly.
“This is important to me because as the student body president I want to ensure that my constituents can get around their neighborhoods safe[ly] and with a sense of security,” agricultural sciences senior Colombini said. “The streets in the surrounding neighborhoods are dark and it’s … frightening. I hope that you understand that this also helps the city as well. We’ve had an increase in crime and theft, and it’s been proven that if an area is well lit, the crime and theft will decrease and it becomes more safe.”
The results of the forum will be presented to the city council at its goal-setting workshop Jan. 28, at which point it will make the final decision as to what its goals and budget priorities will be for the next two years.