SLO LIFE Jun/Jul 2015

slolife

SLO LIFE

magazine

FINDING

THE PERFECT

WAVE

5 YEARS

AND

COUNTING

ALGORITHM

OF DESIGN

HIKING

HARMONY

HEADLANDS

ARTIST

STUDIO

slolifemagazine.com

JUN/JUL 2015

UNPLUG &

RECHARGE

DEVELOPING

AN HONEST

OPINION

BUILDING

AWARENESS

THROUGH

EXPLORATION

KNOW

YOUR

MEET

ERIC SODERQUIST

CAPTURING THE MOMENT

& LIVING INTENTIONALLY

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The distant

future needs

your immediate

attention.

Successful people are often the busiest people. The

day-to-day demands of their careers usually leave them

little time to focus on their investments. And that’s

where I come in.

Anthony Brizzolara

Portfolio Manager

Vice President

Financial Advisor

755 Santa Rosa St., Suite 200

San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

805-549-2400

anthony.brizzolara@morganstanley.com

www.morganstanleyfa.com/

anthony.brizzolara

With more than 38 years of experience as a

Financial Advisor, I can work with you to look at your

goals and create a detailed strategy to help you reach

your objectives. Call me today and let’s talk. Your

financial future is worth the time.

© 2015 Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC. Member SIPC. CRC588450 (12/12) CS 7338802 FAS011 03/13

4 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Jun/Jul 2015


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SLO LIFE

magazine

CONTENTS

Volume

6

Number 3

Jun/Jul 2015

28

ERIC SODERQUIST

We gained a unique perspective after

talking with this surfer turned artist.

12

14

16

Publisher’s Message

Info

In Box

22

24

View

Minds were blown and records broken with this

incredible shot taken along a Portuguese shoreline.

Timeline

Come along with us as we look back at the most recent

newsworthy events from in and around the Central Coast.

8 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Jun/Jul 2015


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2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 9


| CONTENTS

26

36

38

40

Q&A

San Luis Obispo City Councilman Dan

Carpenter stops by to fill us in on what

it’s like to walk in his shoes.

On The Rise

San Luis Obispo High School senior and

ASB President John-o Roberts shares his

experiences with a wicked sense of humor.

Art

Shane Rabant expresses his perspective with

a unique style he dubs “New Impressionism.”

Out and About

Jeanette Trompeter reveals the Harmony

Headlands trail and discovers its beauty.

56

70

78

80

Behind The Scenes

In honor of marking five years in business, the SLO LIFE

staff decided we had a few questions that needed

answering about the way things work around here.

Special Feature

We try to gain some insight as we take a tough look at

homelessness and its impact locally.

Explore

The Charles Paddock Zoo in Atascadero offers a delightfully

educational afternoon for adults and children alike.

Health

We all know it’s important to slow down and relax. But, being

bored? We’ll tell you why you should be, and how to start.

42

Now Hear This

After trekking through a few of the western

states recording an acoustic album, The

Simple Parade, is home and ready to share

their unique sound with the Central Coast.

86

Kitchen

With summer upon us Chef Jessie Rivas shares his

favorite grilled whole chicken recipe.

44

52

Dwelling

Nestled on a quiet San Luis Obispo cul-desac,

this modern design is the perfect home

for two Cal Poly Math profs and their kids.

Real Estate

We share the year-to-date statistics of

home sales for both the city and the

county of San Luis Obispo.

88

90

Happenings

Check out the calendar to discover fun-filled events

around the Central Coast during June and July.

The Last Word

Rosemary Canfield discussed growth and development

on the Cental Coast and argues that, in this case, it’s

important to say, “Not in my backyard.”

10 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Jun/Jul 2015


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| PUBLISHER’S MESSAGE

Sometimes you are not ready for great advice when you hear it. That was the case with me when I was fresh

out of college working my first “real job.”

My cubicle was across the hallway within earshot of the company’s top executive. Because she was positively

“killing it” in business, I would often crane my neck to listen in on her conversations, hoping to glean a few

tips. As far as I could tell, Paige never said anything particularly remarkable, and never did anything out

of the ordinary. The only thing that was noticeably different than the other “old guys” was that she always

seemed to be happy, always laughing. Nothing ever bothered her; it was as if she was waltzing through life

cloaked in an invisible force field.

One day, I finally mustered the courage to ask her to lunch. I was determined to discover her secret to

success. “Uh, Paige. I’m Tom, the guy who sits over there,” I said, nervously pointing toward my cube. “I

had some questions, and I was wondering if I could maybe buy you lunch today?” She smiled broadly,

“Of course, it’s not every day that an old lady like me gets asked out on a date,” she laughed. “Only two

conditions: I drive, and I buy.”

It seemed to take a lifetime for her to unpile all of the random papers, bills, and wrappers from the

passenger seat of her brand new fire engine red Nissan 240SX. Not the least bit embarrassed, she brushed

away some hair left behind by her dog and said, “Alright, have a seat. Sushi sound good?” We darted in and

out of San Francisco traffic, becoming nearly airborne as we crested some of the steepest hills. Then her phone rang. It was an early version

brick-like cellular phone, but it did have a speaker. On the other end was the company’s CEO, “Paige, I’m calling to congratulate you.

Again, you are this quarter’s top performer. Second place wasn’t even close. That makes it seven quarters in a row.”

As we sat down together at the newest, hipster sushi joint, looking up from my California Roll, I said meekly, “I was wondering if,

maybe, you might be able to tell me how you have been able to do so well. I mean, I guess, what is your secret to success?” Setting her

chopsticks down gingerly and wiping the corners of a knowing smile she said, “It’s very simple: Be grateful.” She then launched into

a long explanation, reasoning that gratitude was the ultimate secret to success for everything in life and business. “Think about it,” she

said. “Everything in your life—successes and setbacks—is just another opportunity for you to learn and improve. You should be grateful

for both, not just success. And, if you look at it that way, you will never fail. It’s important to work very hard at something you love,

of course, but you also have to learn to want what you already have.” This was not the speech I expected to hear. I thought I was in for

an hour of insider trading that would propel me straight to the top, but I lurked back to my lowly cubicle that afternoon with advice

that sounded an awful lot like “lower the bar” to me. I was more clueless than I was before, and it would be another 15 years before her

words would make any sense.

In the summer of 2012, I was flipping through an issue of Inc. Magazine when I found a short article with an irresistible title: “True Secret

to Success (It’s Not What You Think).” The first line revealed that the secret was gratitude. “People who approach life with a sense of

gratitude are constantly aware of what’s wonderful in their life,” Geoffrey James explained. “And when things do not go as planned, people

who are grateful can put failure in perspective.” I immediately thought of Paige as I had a “Karate Kid moment.” You know, the scene

where Mr. Miyagi has Danielson work on his house? Danielson, expecting to learn karate, finally gets fed up, disillusioned, confused, and

starts yelling at Mr. Miyagi. Then, Mr. Miyagi commands his student, “Danielson, show me paint fence!” Danielson makes the motion

of “paint fence” as Mr. Miyagi throws a punch, and for the first time he realizes that he has learned an invaluable defensive karate move.

That’s how I felt when I read that article. Paige had taught me everything I needed to know. I was just too young and too inexperienced

to understand it at the time. Up until that point I had not had enough bad to go with all the good, so I was unable to really appreciate

either one. In other words, I had not yet lived enough life and experienced enough setbacks to fully grasp the beauty of it all, good and bad,

success and failure, darkness and light.

This issue marks the five year anniversary for SLO LIFE Magazine, and I do not have the words to adequately express to you how grateful

I am that we have arrived at this milestone. To our advertisers, who have made this possible, and to our subscribers, as well as everyone

who has had a hand in producing this magazine during our first five years, I offer a very humble, “Thank you.” We would not be able to do

this without your support—and for that, I am eternally grateful.

Live the SLO Life!

Gratitude

Tom Franciskovich

tom@slolifemagazine.com

12 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Jun/Jul 2015


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SLO LIFE

magazine

4251 S. HIGUERA STREET, SUITE 800, SAN LUIS OBISPO, CALIFORNIA

SLOLIFEMAGAZINE.COM

info@slolifemagazine.com

(805) 543-8600 • (805) 456-1677 fax

PUBLISHER

Tom Franciskovich

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CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Jeanette Trompeter

Paden Hughes

Dawn Janke

Jessie Rivas

Rosemary Canfield

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS

Chris Bersbach

Trevor Povah

Chris Burkard

Mike Jones

Brad Daane

CONTRIBUTIONS

Have some comments or feedback about something you’ve read here?

Or, do you have something on your mind that you think everyone should

know about? Submit your story ideas, events, recipes and announcements

by visiting us online at slolifemagazine.com and click “Share Your Story” or

email us at info@slolifemagazine.com. Be sure to include your full name and

city for verification purposes. Contributions chosen for publication may be

edited for clarity and space limitations.

ADVERTISING

If you would like to advertise, please contact Tom Franciskovich by phone

at (805) 543-8600 or by email at tom@slolifemagazine.com or visit us

online at slolifemagazine.com/advertise and we will send you a complete

media kit with loads of testimonials from happy advertisers.

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14 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Jun/Jul 2015

SUBSCRIPTIONS

Ready to live the SLO Life all year long? It’s quick and easy! Just log on to

slolifemagazine.com/subscribe. It’s just $24.95 for the year. And don’t

forget to set your friends and family up with a subscription, too. It’s the

gift that keeps on giving!

NOTE

The opinions expressed within these pages do not necessarily reflect those of

SLO LIFE Magazine. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole

or in part without the expressed written permission of the publisher.

CIRCULATION, COVERAGE AND ADVERTISING RATES

Complete details regarding circulation, coverage and advertising rates,

space, sizes and similar information are available to prospective

advertisers. Please call or email for a media kit. Closing date is 30 days

before date of issue.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

info@slolifemagazine.com

4251 S. Higuera Street, Suite 800

San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

Letters chosen for publication may be edited for clarity and space limitations.


jun/jul 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 15


| IN BOX

You said it...

SLO LIFE

DISTILLING

IT DOWN

COGNITIVE

SHIFT

TO YOUR

HEALTH

BUILDING

BETTER

NEIGHBO

VISTA LAGO

slolifemagazine.com

APR/MAY 2 015

ADVENTURE

I grew up in SLO and attended

UCSC the same time as your

publisher, during the Santa

Cruz housing crisis, and now

am a homeowner raising my

family here. As a Banana Slug,

I lived in the dorms (Cowell),

on-campus apartments

(Crown-Merrill), off-campus by

the boardwalk with 5 people in

a 2 bedroom condo, and with

a roommate in a converted

garage with a shared

bathroom (my bathroommate

lived in a space the size

of a large walk in closet).

Until reading this month’s

FAIR STUDENT HOUSING

article I hadn’t given much

thought into recreating the

UCSC model here in terms of

its diversified housing (UCSC

also has on campus studentfamily

housing and faculty

housing). Cal Poly can, and

should use its vast real estate

to create exactly what Tom

Franciskovich has envisioned.

What a great way to utilize

the great minds of Cal Poly by

having students design and

build these micro communities

m a g a z i n e

NOW

EAR

HIS

TET

MEET

AUBRIE HILSTEIN LUIZ

GETTING LOST

& STAYING FOUND

for future students (and

themselves as future adults

raising kids here) to benefit?

Campus life at UCSC has

similar opportunities including

mountain biking, hiking, access

to open space, but Cal Poly

seems to lack some of the

community that is created by

having livable spaces designed

for unique personalities. The

new upper class housing

seems to be a step in the right

direction, but this needs to

be taken exponentially to the

next level (and use unique and

local eateries instead of chains).

Thank you SLO LIFE for keeping

this conversation going.

Secondly, kudos to AUBRIE

HILSTEIN LUIZ for her

brutally honest interview.

Our community is lucky she

made it through alive and that

she has chosen to stay here

to support those struggling

with addiction. Wishing you

continued happiness and

success in your future.

— LISA BUGROVA

The article in the April/May edition FAIR

STUDENT HOUSING using the inspiration

of the UC Santa Cruz campus housing

to help with Cal Poly’s housing dilemma

was excellent, as was the previous article

on the financing programs available to

develop such a plan. What better way

to add to the uniqueness of Cal Poly?

President Armstrong, like all college

presidents, would like an administrative

feather in his cap, but following the

typical route of simply increasing

enrollment pales in comparison to the

terrific suggestions put forward in these

SLO Life articles.

If Cal Poly merely adds more students

while SLO adds more housing, what is

to prevent that new housing as well as

existing city housing from deteriorating

into crowded, unhealthy student rentals,

if the underlying cause of inadequate

housing on the Cal Poly campus is

not addressed? Keeping with the

status quo only spreads the problem

of deteriorating and dying family

neighborhoods. Providing adequate

student housing on the Cal Poly campus

opens up new housing areas and former

student rentals at affordable prices to

working SLO citizens who now must live

in the outlying areas.

Please pursue this idea on all fronts. It is

excellent for both the city, the students

and the university. Granted, people

currently renting overcrowded spaces

to students at exorbitant prices will not

be happy and some of the too numerous

bars will lose some patrons. What is most

important is the health and well-being

of the total city/campus intertwined

community. From Cal Poly’s perspective

alone, enhanced campus cohesion and

identity, improved student life, and quality

accommodations, student villages and

housing like Tom Franciskovich suggested

have enormous advantages. We could all

take pride in this arrangement.

KUDOS!

— JIM HOPP

16 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Jun/Jul 2015


In the April/May FAIR STUDENT HOUSING article SLO

Life addresses Cal Poly student numbers living on and off

campus. In comparing similar needs between university’s

located in Santa Cruz and SLO (page 66) you state:

“Both rely heavily on its host city’s resources in terms

of housing, emergency services, water, transportation,

and infrastructure.” Expounding on just these five areas

impacting SLO would be quite illuminating but a challenge.

Reading further; on page 72 you pose the question: “Where

will the water come from?” Might WATER be the subject of

the next SLO LIFE?

Thank you for the tremendous press attention you are giving

these issues.

— JANE BATTERSON

I just read the article FAIR STUDENT HOUSING

about rentals in SLO. I live in a neighborhood

that has some Cal Poly rentals and I completely

agree with Tom Franciskovich. I love the idea of

villages within the campus where the kids “Learn

by doing.” Not only is it Cal Poly’s motto, but it

follows common core as well. I’m a teacher and

mother of two young girls who may one day

attend Cal Poly, and I’d much rather them not

live in overcrowded, overpriced and inhumane

housing; but in a place where learning is

happening responsibly. I hope Cal Poly takes

note of the article!

— AMY MAXIE

Thank you for your insightful reporting on the student

housing model offered by UC Santa Cruz for Cal Poly. I

think it has merit for consideration as Cal Poly goes through

its Master Plan update. I believe that the concept of an

on-campus “Greek Village” floated recently by Cal Poly’s

President Armstrong is a step in the right direction. To be

fair, I do think one aspect of the tension faced by both Cal

Poly and SLO is that both are caught at the crossroads

between a rural tradition and urban development ambitions.

I would like to address one particular observation you

made in comparing Santa Cruz and SLO. In the article FAIR

STUDENT HOUSING you wrote: “Compared to Santa Cruz

residents, who piled lawsuits on top of UCSC during its

housing crisis, the townspeople of San Luis Obispo have

remained remarkably docile and exceptionally tolerant.”

I am confident that many of your readers are familiar with,

and even participants in, the neighborhood activism that

addresses diverse aspects of the town-gown housing and

party-culture tensions. However, I wonder how many are

aware of the Alliance for San Luis Obispo Neighborhoods

(ASLON), which filed a lawsuit against the Trustees of the

California State University system because CSU decided to

allow Cal Poly to put its new freshman dorms at the corner

of Grand and Slack, across from a vibrant elementary school

site surrounded by the well-established Alta Vista and

Monterey Heights neighborhoods.

What is wrong with this site, and what is ironic about the

new freshman dorms at that location, is that Cal Poly’s own

Environmental Impact Report (EIR) admits that this location

is environmentally inferior to an alternative site more

interior to the campus. The EIR rationalized its location

on the theory that it better promotes student success by

putting all freshman close to each other and to a dining

hall and that the selected site is more financially feasible

than the environmentally superior site. Cal Poly’s EIR totally

ignored the neighbors’ expressed fears that this site would

invite significant negative impacts like the infamous St.

Fratty’s Day will now forever symbolize. In other words,

students’ social desires and the university’s money interests

are more important to them than environmental quality and

sufficient mitigation of significant negative environmental

and social impacts on town-gown relationships.

One more point: before ASLON was organized, activists

had asked that the city’s own concerns for neighborhood

wellness and land use and circulation concerns be raised by

the city council more forcefully to defend against the Grand

and Slack location of the new freshman dorms. Our requests

were to no avail.

— SHARON G. WHITNEY

It was the artwork that drew me to your FAIR

STUDENT HOUSING article. It was the substance

that drove me to the computer.

Your article is a gem of thought and writing. Using

UCSC as a model gave us solid facts to build on:

1. UCSC put a cap on enrollment, whereas Cal Poly

wants to increase enrollment significantly.

SOLUTION: Cal Poly should work out a formula

similar to UCSC’s and put a cap on new enrollments

instead of encouraging them.

2. UCSC’s rules regarding drinking on-campus are a

legally tested model.

SOLUTION: Cal Poly should adopt UCSC’s rules

regarding on-campus drinking and go one step

further: EXPEL after the first violation any student

who is arrested for drinking in public off-campus—

and put the word out with future applications.

3. UCSC’s arrangement with the city offers a model

for water consumption.

SOLUTION: Cal Poly and our city should enter

into discussions that would lead to an equitable

agreement on water consumption.

4. The City of Santa Cruz’s rental agreement offers

a model to address the problem of neighborhoods

being destroyed by student rentals.

SOLUTION: The City of San Luis Obispo should

begin now to consider such an agreement. Some—

not all—neighborhoods are being destroyed by

student housing. As an example, we live in a nice

neighborhood on Augusta Street. But recently a For

Sale sign went up at a house in the next block. Also,

a For Rent sign went up almost across the street

from the For Sale sign. Is our neighborhood next?

Where will it end?

Your article raised two questions:

1. How would your Villages plan be financed? Bonds?

Student rentals in the new units? Money from the

state? Donations from alumnae?

2. UCSC was founded in the Sixties, Cal Poly/SLO

in 1901. Is our campus too deeply entrenched in

an outdated Master Plan to change course? (As

an example, just look at the gray, cement, prisonlike

dorms on Grand Ave. Surely a School of

Architecture could do better than that.)

Thank you for a superb analysis of the Number One

problem facing our city. I look forward to reading

the input from your readers.

— BARBARA FRANK

jun/jul 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 17


Thank you for your continued

insightful coverage of our SLO

housing crisis. I did the math from

your FAIR STUDENT HOUSING

statistics and found that UCSC

represents 24% of the Santa Cruz

population. Here in San Luis Obispo,

Cal Poly represents 43% of our

population.

Twenty years ago, Santa Cruz

administration recognized the

problem and did something about

it. Today, Cal Poly administrators

merely talk and hide behind their

“work on a Master Plan.”

Twenty years ago, “The City of

Santa Cruz passed two measures

requiring UCSC to pay for the

impacts of its growth in a frustrated

attempt to stick up for itself and

regain control of its city.” Today,

SLO ignores its citizens and preens

because city representatives have

been invited to sit at the table on

a few of Cal Poly’s committees.

Unfortunately, they have yet to

realize that although they are

sitting at the “adult” table, they

have yet to be served the mashed

potatoes and gravy.

President Armstrong brags about

the close working relationship with

the city. Of course he is happy.

Our city takes the subservient,

submissive role in this unhealthy

relationship.

We, the residents of SLO were

abandoned by our city, even

before “neighborhood wellness”

was dropped as a top priority. The

city failed to act responsibly and

decisively even after being forced

to hold a Town Hall Meeting (Spring

Break 2014) where over 200

residents attended and many more

sent letters. Anger, the second

phase of grief, was expressed over

the passive city attitude and city

refusal to seek adequate mitigation

of negative impacts and increased

burden to our city services

associated with the construction

of a 1,475-bed freshman dorm

immediately adjacent to our

established city neighborhoods.

You remark, “...the townspeople

of San Luis Obispo have remained

remarkably docile and exceptionally

tolerant.” It became apparent

that the city had abandoned its

residents and would not listen to

the pleas of its residents so the

Alliance of SLO Neighborhoods

(ASLON) came into being. ASLON

is a single-issue, non-profit, mutual

benefit organization with the sole

purpose of doing the work that the

city abdicated—stick up for itself

and regain control of the city.

ASLON had taken, with our private

funds, the CSU Trustees of Cal Poly

to court, challenging the validity of

the Environmental Impact Report.

We, private SLO residents are doing

the work of the City of San Luis

Obispo. We are doing the work

that the City of Santa Cruz did

twenty years ago. We are doing

the work that the City of San Diego

successfully did in April 2012.

For 18-months, the members of

ASLON have been simultaneously

experiencing the third and fourth

stages of grief —bargaining and

depression. The near future will tell

whether we pass over to the final

stage of acceptance and “call a

Realtor.”

— LINDA WHITE

I was told by someone that Cal Poly does not currently fill all of its

student dorm rooms. That’s awful if the college is cramming three to a

dorm room. But I am not sure if what I was told was wrong or referring to

the sophomore housing. I might have it all wrong. Would enjoy reading a

follow-up confirming the need to put three to a dorm room and what the

dorm room costs/food are?

I totally agree if we treat the students as adults they will behave in an

adult manner. Your thoughts on on-campus drinking integrated with

scholastic programs was insightful and an excellent idea. Thank you for

your article.

— LIZ GLADWILL

Please send your photos and comments to info@slolifemagazine.com

Follow SLO LIFE on Facebook: Visit facebook.com/slolifemagazine

Visit us online at slolifemagazine.com

Letters may be edited for content and clarity. To be considered for publication your letter must

include your name, city, state, phone number or email address (for authentication purposes).

18 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Jun/Jul 2015


Sierra Vista patients rated us

#1 in SLO County

Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center celebrates

its four-star rating from the Hospital Consumer

Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems

(HCAHPS) survey administered by the Center for

Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

We’re proud to be SLO County’s highest-scoring

hospital and among the top 20% in California for

patient satisfaction. Thank you to our patients and

families for your continued trust.

1010 Murray Street, San Luis Obispo

SierraVistaRegional.com

jun/jul 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 19


| IN BOX

Take us with you!

Let me match your

lifestyle with

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Hey, SLO LIFE readers: Send us your photos the next time

you’re relaxing in town or traveling far and away with your copy

of the magazine. Email us at info@slolifemagazine.com

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Eddie Stanfield

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20 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Jun/Jul 2015

SLO LIFE Sayulita style!

— ANDREA PAYNE &

MARISA FORTINI

Shout out to our son James Statton,

a local musician and Cal Poly grad

that lives and works in SLO. Enjoying

staying up with SLO news while in

Turks and Caicos!

— CHRISTINE STATTON

Send your photo to info@slolifemagazine.com


UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS

VILLA CASAFRASSI

CHIANTI, TUSCANY

Brought a little #SLOLife and

great weather to #Illini

— NATALIA DEMARTINI

MEXICO

@timmyemptypockets

The mysterious little guy is

Timmy. He is a Jet Setter.

Had a chance to sit and enjoy

my new copy of SLO Life

Magazine while on a recent

trip to Italy. Toured Tuscany

and the Italian Riviera with

Ruby Shoes Wine Club.

Beautiful sights, delicious

food, and a very well thought

out itinerary. And I got to

travel with the nicest group

of people, all from the Central

Coast, of course!

— KAREN PETERSEN

TOKYO, JAPAN

PITTSBURGH, PA

@laurisweeny

@tomdisher

jun/jul 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 21


| VIEW

WAVE

HUNTER

PHOTOGRAPHY BY MIKE JONES

When Mike Jones woke up early one morning at a friend’s house

in Nazaré, Portugal, he sensed that this day would be different. It

had been twenty years since he last visited, but it felt like yesterday.

Judging from the winds and eerie stillness about town, things were

about to get interesting.

Jones, an Atascadero resident who owns and operates Azhiaziam

surf shop in Morro Bay, serpentined his way through a frenetic

international crowd of 500 lining a Portuguese coastline bluff. With

water skyscrapers crashing below, the entire cliff bounced around as if

experiencing a minor earthquake. “Insane,” Jones remembers clearly

that day a few months back. “It was crazy. I’ve done a lot of surfing

and seen a lot of waves, but never anything like this.”

With his camera now resting securely on a tripod further up the bluff

behind the crowd, Jones began snapping away, capturing empty waves.

One after another. “It was hard to judge the scale because it was just

walls of water set against the expanse of the ocean.” Then, off in the

distance, a jet ski towing a lone surfer was pacing a massive swell

moving quickly onshore. As the surfer dropped the rope and the jet

ski peeled off hard to his right, the heaviness of what was transpiring

became very real. “He looked like a little flea on this mountain of

water,” Jones recalls of the German wave rider. “It was scary. You

realize at that point that he was in a life or death situation, for sure.”

The wave—estimated at 100 feet—was cresting just as Jones

captured this image. With the surfer flying across its face, the crowd

seen in the foreground next to the aging seaside castle was going

nuts. Hoots and hollers during the ride and an astonished round of

applause erupted when danger was escaped and the run completed.

Not sure what he had captured, Jones was hopeful that he was able

to keep the wave in frame—it was so large that he wasn’t sure. Also,

the sea spray was heavy and had fouled 90% of his shots that day.

Luckily this one worked out, as he had wiped down his 600mm lens

at the perfect moment.

Later in the day, when the swell died down, Jones was feeling the

buzz of adrenaline for what he had just witnessed. As he flipped

through the images on his camera, his breath was taken away when he

found this one. He decided to enter it into the World Surf League’s

XXL Biggest Wave Award photography competition. Recently, Jones

was notified that he had won the $4,000 prize money—which could

not have come at a better time, considering that he and his wife have

a new baby on the way. The organizers informed him that he had

photographed the surfer, Sebastian Steudtner, officially riding the

largest wave of the year. “I’ve been doing this for a long time,” Jones

explains. “I’m sort of like a storm hunter for big waves. And I have

found some good ones. But I will never forget that day in Portugal—I

feel super lucky to be there and see this in person.” SLO LIFE

22 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Jun/Jul 2015


jun/jul 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 23


| TIMELINE

Around the County

APRIL ‘15

4/1

SLO City Council adopted new rules concerning offensive

smells. By a vote of 3 to 2, with Rivoire and Carpenter [more

on Carpenter on page 26] voting against, the city cracked down

on complaints originally stemming from medicinal marijuana

cultivation. At the same time, Paso Robles struggled with an

overwhelming rotten egg odor originating from Firestone

Walker Brewing’s waste water ponds. After nearly two months,

the brewer was finally able to contain the offensive smell.

4/12

After being named Arroyo Grande’s Citizen of the Year in January, Lawrence

“Lenny” Jones, a realtor, is arrested on child molestation charges following

a birthday party he hosted at his home. His case involves four victims—

three girls aged 6, 9, and 12, and one 3-year-old boy—and the investigation

revealed that Jones was also arrested in 1995 on child molestation charges.

The 63-year-old Jones remains incarcerated at SLO County Jail, where he is

being held without bail pending criminal court proceedings.

4/14

The City of San Luis Obispo

forged ahead in its decision

to override the SLO County

airport in its ratification of

the LUCE (Land Use and

Circulation Element), paving

the way for development on

the south end of town. A few

weeks later, local policymakers

began privately wringing their

hands at the revelation that

Pismo Beach-based developer

Gary Grossman—who recently

purchased Dalidio Ranch in

December for $19.7 million to

develop “San Luis Ranch,” a

500-home housing tract—had

been the subject of a November,

2012 multi-part investigative

report published by Riverside

County’s newspaper of record,

The Press-Enterprise, concerning

his development in the Southern

California town of Wildomar.

4/17

The Central Coast was abuzz after Neil Young showed

up to play a surprise concert at SLO Brew with Willie

Nelson’s son Lukas Nelson. Lucky concertgoers paid

just $10 a piece to hear the rock and roll legend play

a three-hour show to a packed house of 457. The

experience renewed the anxiety of local music lovers

over the closing of SLO Brew’s current location—the

largest live music venue in downtown—and the plans

for its substantial downsizing when it reopens on

Higuera Street later this fall.

4/21

By a 3-2 vote, with Debbie Arnold and Lynn

Compton dissenting, the SLO County Board of

Supervisors took the next step in the process to

form a new Paso Robles groundwater management

district. After decades of heavy use by a fast-growing

wine region, groundwater had dwindled to the point

where local wells have begun to run dry. With the

drought now exacerbating the crisis, the county Local

Agency Formation Commission will get to work in

outlining the framework for a water district for which

its creation will depend upon a vote by area property

owners. Since the district would have an anticipated

$950,000 annual operating budget, it would be

supported by an estimated $2.10 per acre fee assessed

to each parcel within the 774-square mile area.

24 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Jun/Jul 2015


5/5

Two homeless men in Morro Bay

hatch a plot to steal a boat and sail

off into the sunset. They failed to

make it out of the harbor when

they beached the vessel on the sand

spit. Geoffrey Mark Ogara, 52, and

Martin Perez Jr., 19, had only been

in town for a few weeks moving to

the Central Coast from an unknown

location [for more on the homeless

issue, see “The Will Nots” on page

70]. The men, who had ransacked

the interior of the vessel named

“Good News,” were charged with

felony grand theft and booked at

the SLO County Jail. Harbor patrol

responders observe that things could

have gone from bad to worse had

the voyagers made it beyond the

break wall and into the open ocean

where their inexperience could have

cost them their lives.

5/8

San Luis Obispo Chief of Police Steve Gesell was placed

on paid administrative leave to begin the first steps of

employment termination. Sources share that Gesell had

a falling out with his boss, City Manager Katie Lichtig,

over a series of disagreements in recent months, which

have not been made public. Since there was no egregious

breach, he was terminated “without cause,” by Lichtig,

who had been the one to hire Gesell with much fanfare

in 2012—at that time she said, “I am confident that

Steve has the experience and skills to successfully lead

the department into the future,”—she was required to

negotiate a settlement, which ended up being $120,000,

per the terms of the contract she granted him.

MAY ‘15

5/14

After it is was originally reported that Michael Nowak, SLO Symphony’s music director,

had chosen to step down after 31 years in that role, it was learned the next day that, in fact,

Nowak had been forced out by the organization’s board of directors. Following the news, the

symphony’s viola section threatened to resign if Nowak was not reinstated. Additionally, the

musicians publicly revealed a voted of “no confidence” in the board of directors. Ed Feingold,

who has been the executive director of the organization for less than a year, found that

community displeasure with the firing of the popular conductor is widespread, as longtime

donors have threatened to withhold funding.

5/12

The SLO County Board of Supervisors, by a 3-2

vote, ended the effort to establish a new gravel

quarry, which would have led to somewhere

between 160 and 270 trucks rumbling

through downtown Santa Margarita each day.

Supervisors Debbie Arnold and Lynn Compton,

after each offering a long, rambling advocacy

for the gravel mine complete with slides and

visuals, both voted in favor of the project. The

final hearing, a day-long affair, was attended

by a standing-room-only crowd at the County

Government Center. During the vote, jubilant

Santa Margarita residents carrying orange signs

reading, “Please don’t override our community,”

embraced in a relieved celebration.

5/14

With signs reading “The Mustang

has lost its way,” approximately 200

members of the Cal Poly faculty

protested outside of the university’s

administration building. According

to the California Faculty Association,

the amount of spending on Cal Poly

administrators rose 43% between 2010

and 2014 while spending on faculty

salaries during that period increased

by just 3%. Protesting professors

expressed dismay that the total number

of administrators at Cal Poly had

increased from 160 in 2013 to 239

in 2014. Further, they stated that the

average annual salary for administrators

is $107,000 versus $31,000 for lecturers,

who make up about half of the faculty,

and about $80,000 for professors.

5/18

SLO Superior Court Judge Martin

Tangeman ruled against the Alliance of SLO

Neighborhoods, which sued the California

State University Board of Trustees over the

proposed construction of freshman dormitories

adjacent to a residential neighborhood. The

1,475-bed project now has the green light to

begin construction as the Alliance claims it

does not have funds to appeal the ruling. Cal

Poly estimates that the new dorms will welcome

its first tenants during the fall semester of 2018.

Following the outcome of the lawsuit, SLO

City Council heard recommendations from a

“civility working group” who had been tasked

with finding ways to improve relations between

permanent residents and students. In his address

to councilmembers, Keith Humphrey, Cal Poly’s

vice president for student affairs, said “… this

effort is really about culture change.” SLO LIFE

jun/jul 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 25


| Q&A

Public Opinion

Never hesitant to speak his mind, DAN CARPENTER is impossible to

categorize. The SLO City Councilman, who recently declared his candidacy

for the Board of Supervisors 3rd District, reflects on family history, local

political dynamics, and the benefits that come with leaving the car at home…

You have longtime roots in the area. Tell us

about the history. Well, let me go back to the

mid-1800’s. Carpenter is an English name.

My mother was a Serpa, which is Portuguese.

Full-blooded Portuguese and a full-blooded

Englishman. How they got together I will never

know. [laughter] They settled in the Avila, Port

Harford area. Squire Canyon, on the other side of

the highway from Avila, is actually named after

my great grandparents—my dad’s mother’s family

name was Squire. In the late 1930’s, early 1940’s

my grandfather went into business with a guy

who owned Hill’s Stationery in downtown San

Luis. By the mid-1940’s he bought him out. You

know where FedEx/Kinko’s is right now? That’s

where it landed around 1950. And that building

today, my brother and I own now. My dad and my

grandfather bought it in the 1960’s and kept it.

And after graduating from Cal Poly in 1976 with a

business degree, I went right to work for my dad in

the stationery business. I was groomed for that, and

worked there for almost 20 years.

You’ve been called “Dissenting Dan” for

consistently falling on the losing side of the vote

on council. What’s going on? I will sometimes

call out things that I don’t necessarily agree with.

But I sometimes call it out just to further the

discussion and say, “Come on guys, you’ve got a

staff giving you one recommendation. Why are we

not getting two or three?” We get this one fully

baked recommendation instead of two or three

half-baked where we get to tweak them and say,

“I kind of like that part of this one; I like the other

part of this. Let’s mesh them together.” That’s

good deliberation. But what our city manager has

done—and she loves full control, no surprises—

she throws up one fully cooked recommendation,

everything is on the table. There are no alternatives.

Take it or leave it. And my colleagues rubber stamp

everything. This is the stuff that drives me crazy.

Can’t you all be one big, happy, dysfunctional

family? [laughter] Sure. I think that Katie

[Lichtig] and I have a mutual respect in the sense

that she understands my role and I understand

exactly where she’s coming from. As a city manager

you want nothing more than full control. You don’t

want these five crazy people on council throwing

curveballs right and left at you because then you

look like you can’t run your business. And so she

just—I can tell she just loves it—has a majority

that just pretty much does what she says. She’s the

sixth council member, but she doesn’t need to be

because she’s got three of them, sometimes four,

who let her take control. The Ashbaugh-Marx-

Christianson trio is just boom boom boom.

So, is all that walking around your way of

blowing off steam? I live on Johnson Avenue next

to French Hospital and walk downtown every

morning. And I walk down every afternoon. I

walk probably six to eight miles a day if I have the

time. It’s about a 15-minute walk from my house

to my office. I cruise by City Hall. I do whatever

work I need to do there. Cruise back home. Head

down after lunch to kind of run the same routine.

It’s my way of doing my public service time.

If you spend any time downtown you’ve seen

me stopped on the street and talking to people

because that’s my office time. It’s when I am out

on the street. People feel comfortable stopping

and talking to me. I try to allow a lot of extra time

in between appointments because it just happens

every day. That’s where I learn about what’s going

on with people around town.

And, what would those people be surprised

to know about you? Wow, what would they

be surprised to know? I think the only part of

me I keep somewhat private is my faith. I am

a lifelong Catholic and my family has been

part of the Catholic Church for generations.

I am deeply committed to my faith. My faith

defines me. I think that’s what people would

not know; that my faith defines me. My public

service doesn’t define me, my family doesn’t

define me, my faith defines me; and it has deeply

for my entire life. But, I have friends who are

atheist and they are just as valuable in my life

as anybody else. For me, I believe my faith has

been predetermined before I got here and I have

choices that I make during my life that will

affect it, but that faith is etched in stone. I have

never discussed that with another reporter or any

media person. You’re the first to hear it. SLO LIFE

26 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Jun/Jul 2015


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| MEET YOUR NEIGHBOR

CULTURE

28 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Jun/Jul 2015


OF SURF

Although he refers to himself as a simple “beach bum,” there is more to ERIC SODERQUIST

than meets the eye. First a surfer, then a painter, the well-traveled Central Coast native shares

his unique perspective on the art of life and the beauty that can only be found in nature.

PHOTO SPREAD BY CHRIS BERSBACH &

SURF PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHRIS BURKARD

jun/jul 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 29


Let’s take it from the top, Eric.

Where are you from? Alright. Yeah. Quick little breakdown. I

was born on Crown Hill, Arroyo Grande in a little one-bedroom

farmhouse. That was really cool. I have two older brothers. We were

all born at home. My dad builds huge custom doors. People tell me,

“Dude, your dad is the gnarliest craftsman.” But he’ll never say it, and

he’ll work for free until he dies. He just doesn’t care about money. So,

it was a very simple life growing up. But, we had it all. Creeks on both

sides of our house and free reign. We had a three-pack little gang. They

let us do whatever. We knew where all the fruit trees were, so we’d hit

the apricots, plums, and also blackberries. We’d go up and build forts in

the trees, eat our fruit, then go down and fish the creek. That was like

our whole childhood, basically.

When did you discover the ocean? One day we found a boogie board

on our way back from fishing at Lopez Lake. I was around four years old.

We begged our mom to take us to the beach. We’d go to Oceano a lot. My

dad’s partner lived down there by the sand, so we’d get dropped off and

would spend the whole day down there. Then when I was ten, I started

working at the Shell Beach Cafe. My aunt and uncle owned it. They gave

us an old 6’10” single fin surfboard. My brothers and I would take turns

with it. After a while we were entering all of the little local surf contests.

We surfed every day. My brothers and I were just obsessed. We surfed

our brains out all day, every day. Then, Huey, my older brother became a

pro surfer and I kind of followed him. He rode for Billabong, I surfed for

Hurley. And we started doing these crazy travel photo adventures. Our first

trip was to Samoa. That’s when the addiction for real travel began.

You were a pro surfer? No, I wouldn’t ever say I was a pro. There was never

a time where I’m like a “pro surfer.” Basically, when you’re paying taxes

and you have to write where you make money, surfing was how I made my

money. For me, how that begins, you just land contracts with companies.

So, every time Hurley sees you wearing their logo in a magazine—this is

how it works actually—they have to pay you. The amount they pay you is

based on how many people read the magazine, how popular it is, or if it’s a

cover shot and so on. One year I really worked on it and got something like

38 shots published. I was calling the Hurley team manager and would say,

“Dude, you’ve got to pay me.” I had so many shots piling up that I finally said,

“Let’s make this easy. We can break down how much money you already owe

me and just do a contract instead. I won’t bother you and you won’t bother

me.” So they figured out what I’d be making per year, calculated a monthly

paycheck and Bob Hurley, the owner of the company, put me on salary. I was

on salary for nearly three years, getting paid to just surf and cruise around with

their gear. Every month the check would show up and I’m like, “Sweet!”

Nice gig. In 2001 I went to Indonesia. I think it was my sixth trip there.

It took two days to get there. You land in Padang, get on a boat and take

a 12-hour ride out to some remote islands off of West Sumatra. Day one

or maybe day two, it was my third wave and this guy jinxed me. He’s said,

“Hey, you never want to hurt your knee.” He was sitting on the boat icing

his knee, and I said, “Yeah, nice jinx, dude.” It was really low tide and I just

did a big roundhouse cutback and when I hit the lip the white water ball

hung me up a little, and I just jumped from the top of the wave—and my

left leg went into a perfect hole in the reef. The full force of the wave hit me

and snapped my leg all the way forward. I broke the knob off the top of my

tibia, and a spider web fraction of the femur, and I tore the ACL. I swam

30 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Jun/Jul 2015

>>


jun/jul 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 31


ack to the boat and drank a bottle of Jack Daniel’s. I started going crazy

thinking that my life’s over. The pain was excruciating. But I didn’t want to

make everyone go home, so I started trying to calm down by drinking tea

and meditating, just trying to work through the pain. I was out there,

I would say, about 20 days.

Wow. I think it was about a week later, the day before my birthday,

which is September 12th. Someone said, “I don’t know what’s going on, I

think we’re going into World War III. We all need to listen to the radio

together.” We’re huddled around a satellite radio trying to listen to what

was going on. It was crazy information, way over-exaggerated. Everything’s

blown up. It was really gnarly though because we’re out there and thinking,

“Well, what do we do? We’re in the middle of the Indian Ocean. So, we’re

all okay for now. When we get back to port, we’ll figure it out.” I was

bummed because I’m like, “Dude, I’ve got a broken leg. If I have to run or

something, I’m screwed.” We didn’t know what was going on, and when

we finally made it back to port, I started developing a really high fever. I

said, “Hey, I probably need to get a helicopter to Singapore or something

because the pain is just getting gnarly.” And my friend said it was just from

the heat, so he drove me inland three hours to Lake Maninjau, which is a

huge volcanic crater. When we arrived I kind of hobbled across these rice

fields and there were all these beautiful Dutch girls reading by candlelight;

they were like models, the hottest girls you’ve ever seen in your life. I was

like, “Where am I right now?”

So, you had died and gone to heaven? It was the most beautiful place

I’ve ever been to; the best peaceful vibes I’d ever felt. Palm trees with

huge trumpet vines going up, and just the smell, and the freshness. By the

second day I was just dying. I woke up in the middle of the night with

an extremely high fever in a complete panic. I wanted to fly to Australia

to take on some medical attention. So, I hobble outside of my room and

there’s a medicine man sitting there meditating on my front patio. He

walks straight up to me and puts his hand on my knee. He didn’t speak

English. He just started massaging my knee. This went on for hours. Then

he went out to the jungle and chewed up some sort of nut, which he then

wrapped in a banana leaf. Then he massaged it into my knee. He repeated

this process every day for about a week. Then, on the last day he did this

crazy thing with his hands where he was doing a sort of pulling motion.

I don’t know how to explain what happened, but he literally pulled the

pain out of my leg, out through my foot and threw it outside. Then he

just started laughing at the top of his lungs. He said, “Good, good,” and

motioned for me to get out of bed. I stood up and could freaking walk

again; the pain was gone. The next day my fever died down and I was able

to continue the trip for a couple of months, long enough to figure out how

to make it home.

Were you 100%? For a while it was much better, but when I came

home I realized that I couldn’t put pressure on anything. Just walking

down the driveway was terrifying. So I went to the hospital and they

wrote up a bunch of paperwork, tried to put me on painkillers and

then walked off and gave me a humongous bill. I was like, “Western

medicine, great. Right on.” I couldn’t surf or do anything. I’m a freaking

surf addict. I was bored and going crazy. My mom had left all of her

painting supplies lying around, so I started messing with them. I

started painting waves, and then after a while I realized I could actually

do this. Then I sold a painting for like $1,500 or something and I was

like, “Whoa, that’s more than I can make digging a ditch.” So, I started

to really dive deep into what art I liked, and would actually sit there

and look at a magazine for four hours and think about how to make a

particular shade of green or something. Then I started working with the

amazing Peter Antonio, one of the best abstract landscape painters I’ve

ever seen. I trained with him for three years in the Creamery. Painting

was not my passion initially. I just trained myself because I was stuck

sitting around recovering for a year.

But, you’ve got some artists in the family. Yeah. My mom loosely just

does water colors. She sews a lot. She’s definitely always wanted me to

paint. I wouldn’t say she was a painter. She played flute. I remember her

playing flute a lot. It was when I started hanging out with Peter that I

realized, “Whoa, this is something that’s not boring.” This is something

that can be totally fun and you could let your controlled, obsessive mind

go, because I’m a real perfectionist. I’m not saying I want to do it for

my finances. But it’s something that is now a part of my life. I think

most surfers are so full-throttle, like borderline obsession. If you’re

lucky enough to have something mellow like painting, you’re really

stoked or you get to spin your wheels. Because you can’t be full-throttle

throughout your whole life, that’s why people burn out; and when

they’re not surfing, they are freaked out.

How does surfing translate to art? Visually you have an advantage

because around here to get to the beach, you’re generally winding

through some crazy canyon; going through some landscape that’s

beautiful. And, so you begin that early obsession of getting near

the beach as a young kid and then, you don’t know it, but as you

develop into your adulthood, your brain has been filled with visuals;

just overloaded with these visuals your whole life. That creates this

giant bank of information that you can’t get from just glancing at

something; you’re actually, you’re feeling it, it’s tangible and you’re

trying to, like, eat from it. From the ocean, obviously, you’re seeing

32 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Jun/Jul 2015


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a different perspective back on land. The canyons and mountains

look amazing. Even Pismo Heights looks like a little speck. You’re

in the water, and you look back and see that little speck of a home

on the hillside for two million dollars. No, thanks. Who cares? And

that’s why I’m also obsessed with open expanse. You know, when

you look back at the mountains and you see it open, it really does

look old and free. There is that sense of freedom that you get from

surfing that also melts into painting. I mean, if you’re painting

waves, you’re obviously like, “Oh, I want to see the sickest barrel,

the raddest barrel, in the most clear water and the most majestic

landscapes.” I was obsessed with only wave painting and then I

became obsessed with dry hill oak tree landscape painting. I fell in

love with both of them.

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What is it about open space? I want us to keep seeing open space—

the guy that put greenbelts around San Luis is a legend. Bob Jones

Trail—epic. Johnson Ranch Trail—epic. People have busy, stressedout,

crazy lives. But they can walk out there and find what this land

means. That’s just what it is; what it should be. I’m not anti-growth.

I’m into conscious development. There are three projects going on

in Avila right now, which is concerning. Can you fix the problem

with bigger roads? No. We don’t want bigger roads. That’s why

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guys driving through town. I don’t even touch politics. I don’t even

go there, but I know there are a lot of people that don’t love the land

that would love to develop it, get rich, buy a martini, and hit on some

old chick. There are natural elements of energy on this earth that

are available to people that make you feel good in a sense of a higher

greatness, and surfing would be that for me; maybe trail hiking, maybe

apart and put them back together. I’ll be back there with my brother and

some other surfers from around here. Work like that supplements our

income throughout the year. Seasonal work is what beach bums want. I

don’t mind working, I just don’t do it all year. And I’m staying busy with

commercial shoots where I’m often the subject for [local photographer]

Chris Burkard. We’ve done some gnarly work together. We just got

...high-vibrating, happy people are going to create

a better community, a more conscious community.

bird watching for some other person and another that does plein air.

You know, there are natural experiences that make people feel high

in life. And high-vibrating, happy people are going to create a better

community, a more conscious community.

Well said. So, what’s next for you? I’m heading off to Florida for three

weeks to work on a steam generator. I know how to take those machines

back from Canada where we shot a commercial for ESPN. They had a

helicopter, which was fun. You’re pretty styled out when you’re doing

those trips. We were in Iceland twice, once for a Land Rover commercial

the other one for a Nikon commercial. After Florida, I’m going to bring

a surfboard along and head to either Puerto Rico, or probably Nicaragua

afterward. The art, the surf, and the commercials, it all offsets itself. You

have one shot at this life, might as well do something big. SLO LIFE

34 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Jun/Jul 2015


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| ON THE RISE

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT

John-o Roberts

Seventeen-year-old San Luis Obispo High School senior and

ASB President, JOHN-O ROBERTS, shares his future plans.

What sort of extra-curricular activities are you involved in? Associated Student Body Leadership,

Youth and Leadership, San Luis Unified School District School Board, I intern at Relativity

Media Production, and up until this year, I was in the San Luis Obispo Youth Rugby Club.

What is your favorite memory of all time? In the summer of 2010 I was invited to the

nation’s capital to attend a press conference with both Michelle Obama and Jill Biden on

the topic of nationalized health care, specifically well baby checks. On my first birthday I

had a checkup and it was there it was discovered that I had the cancer neuroblastoma.

In order to spread awareness, my mother shared our story at the press conference;

which came with the experience of getting to meet both the first and the second

ladies. The best part of that though was when I was called “handsome” by Mrs.

Obama herself; and being one of the few people officially acknowledged by the

White House to be handsome has become my go-to comeback.

What do people say when they talk about you? My Kindergarten teacher Mrs.

Banfield once described me by saying I’ve “never met a conversation I didn’t like.”

Thirteen years later I’m still the same kid, still starting discussions, making a name

for myself.

What is important to you outside of high school? Changing the apathetic culture we as a society

have created. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a part of it, but the increasing amount of technology

and increasing speed at which our lives run at, we focus only on what we believe to be important,

leaving out life’s true treasures. Find poetry and art that makes you feel! Take a walk downtown or

go on a hike and look up! Stress has replaced happiness, and like some sort of fairy tale, I seek to

reverse the curse!

Who or what has influenced you the most? In all honesty my grandfather has been my inspiration

for wit, photography, and just as an all-around person. How he was able to enlist for military

service, be a talented veterinarian, score a lady like my grandmother, and raise a family all within

the span of several decades will forever amaze me. If I grow up to be a quarter of the man he is

today, I would be honored.

If you could go back in history and meet anyone, who would it be? Napoleon Bonaparte, because

I’d like to think he and I would be friends. He sculpted the revolutionary mess that was France

into a force to be reckoned with. The Napoleonic Code also paved the way for modern laws in all

developed countries, and his conquering of the Holy Roman Empire and his actions in rebuilding

it laid the foundation for the formation of Germany. Also, we’re both short people with big dreams.

What career do you see yourself in someday? I would love to be using my interests and talents in

writing and photography in the film/television/entertainment business. Although every now and

then I dream of being the governor of a colony on the moon; but considering the rate of space

exploration and the government funding allocated towards it, that dream might have to be pushed

on to my child.

What is something that not many know about you? In my spare time I like to rewrite hip-hop

songs for piano arrangement, as well as mash-up old 1960’s superhero comics with my photography.

What is going on with you now? I am currently ending my term as SLO High’s ASB President,

getting ready to attend Portland State University in the fall, and just coming to terms with my final

days living in San Luis Obispo. It’s a turbulent time and nothing short of a wild ride!

What is it that you look forward to most? A future outside San Luis Obispo. Not as a knock on

the best town in the world, but I’m excited to learn the ins and outs of the big world and what I

can bring back to SLO to make it even better than when I left. SLO LIFE

Know a student On the Rise?

Introduce us at slolifemagazine.com/share

36 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Jun/Jul 2015


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jun/jul 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 37


| ART

BALANCE

332 WORDS

with

Shane Rabant

>>

I usually work on three pieces

at a time. Most artists don’t

do that. I also stand on my

skateboard deck while balancing

on a small section of PVC pipe

or a basketball, and just roll back

and forth keeping my balance. It

helps me get into the flow of the

painting. I can stand on it all day.

When I was in high school back in Ohio I

would doodle in class. When you first start

doodling, you just write your name over and

over again. Then you finally think, “I need to

start a new word.” And you start learning new

letters. I did that initially in a graffiti style. I still

do it, but a lot of people automatically mistake

graffiti for vandalism. Unfortunately, there are a

lot of negative connotations that go with it.

My artwork is an illustration

of ideas—the attempt to

capture the emotion, energy,

and abstract composition

of a pure idea without the

limitations of the known

world. I call it “New

Impressionism.” I’d like

to, eventually, start an art

movement. We haven’t had

an art movement in a while.

I know it sounds bold, but I’ve learned that

anybody can be whoever they want to be.

You’ve just got to start being that person.

For example, if you wanted to become a

firefighter, let’s say, you’ve just got to start

living like a firefighter. Start telling people

that you are becoming a firefighter, and that’s

how connections start. They’ll say, “Oh, I have

a friend who’s a firefighter. You guys should

meet.” Then you get to know that person and

get the information you need. Now you are on

your way to becoming who you want to be.


What I do is very different than what most

people have seen. A lot of it is pretty abstract and

people tend to say, “I don’t know what to think of

that.” And that’s good because it gives them the

opportunity to experience something new.

SLO LIFE

38 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Jun/Jul 2015


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| OUT AND ABOUT

DAY HIKE

Discovering

From its rugged terraces to its plunging headlands,

from its rocky shores to its coastal prairies, you would

be hard-pressed to find a more pristine hiking trail.

Harmony Headlands Trail

BY JEANETTE TROMPETER

If you are looking to get Out and About and heading north on Highway 1, be

sure to stop at the pull-out approximately five minutes north of the coastal community of

Cayucos just before Harmony, where you will find a trailhead that opens up to a beautiful

state park.

Uncharted territory for many because it is a bit tucked away, the 784-acre coastal park

known as Harmony Headlands has only had state park designation since 2003 when the

American Land Conservancy bought the acreage and deeded it to California State Parks.

And, part of what makes it special is the trail that runs through

it is the only thing that is well-traveled. You are surrounded by

terrain that is unspoiled by people, and left instead to Mother

Nature. It is consequently spectacular to wander through.

JEANETTE TROMPETER,

KSBY News anchor and

reporter, hosts the “Out and

About with JT” series every

Tuesday evening at 6pm.

“He loves it. He likes being outside,” says Kelly Waage of Paso

Robles, referring to the baby she is carrying on her back as she

hikes along the trail.

It is a relatively easy journey through coastal rangelands to

the water. “It’s nice because it’s pretty flat most of the way,”

explains Waage. The trail is approximately three to four-anda-half

miles round trip, depending on how far you wander once

you see the Pacific.

There are a lot of hikes on the Central Coast where you have to

hoof it up a mountain to get the spectacular views. On this one,

that view is simply at the end of the trail.

And you do not have be a serious hiker to get

there. The trail has a low difficulty factor. “No,

no. It’s a great hike. It’s beautiful. It’s easy,” says

George Kallie of Manhattan Beach.

George’s friend, Jim Van Osdell of Ennis,

Montana, agrees about its ease of access, “Out

of five, I’d say it’s a two.” And when I asked him

about the scenery, “I give it a ten. This one is great

because it’s only about a mile-and-a-half or two

miles to the water, and when you get to the water

it is friggin’ spectacular,” Van Osdell gushes.

The only thing you’ll likely wish you had better

prepared yourself for is your schedule. When you

take in the scenery, you will want more time in

your day to just sit and enjoy it.

Be sure to tread lightly on this journey and

help preserve the gift of this gateway. It’s hard

to believe that it is right in our own backyard

and available any time you want to get Out and

About and away from the daily grind. SLO LIFE

40 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Jun/Jul 2015


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jun/jul 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 41


| NOW HEAR THIS

MUSIC SCENE

KEEPING IT SIMPLE

A moment is a moment so you better not postpone it. That’s the message THE SIMPLE PARADE

wants to deliver through their music—a reminder to live in the present. Justin and Kayla Hooper

derived the band’s name from the lyrics of one of their singles, “Confetti,” in which they sing:

“Enjoy the simple thrills of your parade….”

BY DAWN JANKE

42 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Jun/Jul 2015


T

he Simple Parade story began in 2005 at San Luis

Obispo High School, where singer/songwriter

Justin joined choir his senior year. The concert

choir, under the direction of Gary Lamprecht, was

selected to perform at Carnegie Hall—a once-ina-lifetime

experience that guided Justin to where

he is today. “Choir changed my life,” he says.

Post high school, Justin had every intention of

becoming a teacher and enrolled as a Liberal

Studies major at Cal Poly. For all intents and

purposes, he did become a teacher: a self-taught

piano and guitar player, Justin offers piano and

guitar lessons full-time, designing curriculum for

his students depending on their desires as budding

musicians. For example, Justin says, “I recently

helped a ten-year-old figure out how to play

Queen’s ‘Somebody to Love’ on piano by ear, and it

was the best.”

“Songwriting helps me communicate,” explains

Justin, and teaching music to young people is

how he passes on that gift: “I want to develop

songwriting curriculum for middle school and

high school students who struggle to put into

words what they’re feeling. If songwriting can help

them get their feelings out, then I want to help

them do that.”

According to Justin, in addition to being moved

to sing through his high school choir experience,

it has been Kayla that has helped him express

himself. Kayla, originally from Minnesota, came to

San Luis Obispo to major in Child Development

at Cal Poly. The duo met on campus and was

married in 2010. Justin describes his wife as the

literal and figurative harmony to his melody: “She

helps me sing these songs about love.”

Kayla adds, “I also play a lot of the hodgepodge

instruments. I made the mistake of getting

Justin a ‘goofy’ instrument each Christmas.

What I didn’t realize would happen is that I’d

have to play these instruments.” Kayla has a

glockenspiel, the harmonium, melodica, synth,

piano, and toy piano in her repertoire. “I fill out

the sound,” she explains.

As we chat about their pop folk sound at

Kreuzberg, in the background we hear The Isley

Brothers singing their Motown Classic, “Shout,”

and Kayla explains that she really likes classic

crooners such as Dean Martin, Ella Fitzgerald,

and Aretha Franklin. She adds, “I’m a white girl

with blue eyes, but deep down I’ve got lots of

soul.” Justin, too, is influenced by soul, but he grew

up listening to alternative rock band Switchfoot,

Join the Simple Parade at these upcoming shows:

June 7 at Morovino Winery in Avila Beach

July 19 Morovino Winery, New Location Grand Opening

Go to thesimpleparade.com for details on their forthcoming

EP Release Show and other events.

particularly because of their songwriting. “I also love

Simon and Garfunkel because of the way they poetically

tell a story,” he adds.

The Simple Parade, who in 2014 was nominated for

the New Times Music Awards Best Songwriter for

their song “Confetti,” indeed poetically tell a story.

They recorded their first concept album acoustically

last summer as they trekked from California, through

Nevada, Utah, and Colorado, creating an 11-part series

of single-shot live audio music videos that examines the

discovery of love from The Simple Parade perspective.

Justin, recently diagnosed with Type I diabetes, draws

from his experiences with the disease to bring raw

emotion to his songwriting, and, together, the duo

carry on the journey. For the Hoopers, the biggest joy is

playing songs and hearing people resonate with them.

Justin says, “I think music is the closest we get to heaven

down here on earth, and I love that this is what I get to

do with my life.”

Because music is so important to Justin and Kayla, The

Simple Parade gives 10% of the proceeds from their

music to VH-1’s Save the Music Foundation, which

builds and restores music programs in America’s public

schools. The Hoopers also recently have been invited by

Morro Bay High choir teacher Colleen Wall to serve

on the board of directors for an upcoming Morro Bay

community arts project.

The couple, who leads worship together about once

a month at Grace Church, are all about love, music,

and community. “The community is such a part of The

Simple Parade,” Kayla says. In fact, they filmed the

uplifting video for the first single off their upcoming

EP right here on the Central Coast, homage to the

SLO Life, if you will. Kayla says, “The music video for

‘Confetti’ was filmed in different locations around San

Luis Obispo to ensure the

community was showcased

because it’s their support

that keeps us going.”

“It’s easy to write songs

about hope when you live

in a hopeful community,”

says Justin. Kayla adds, “We

are constantly inspired by

just how beautiful creation

is around here—SLO is an

amazing place to live.” All

The Simple Parade videos

and web materials end with

a question: Have you joined?

The Simple Parade hopes

you do, and I do too. SLO LIFE

DAWN JANKE, Director,

University Writing & Rhetoric

Center Cal Poly, keeps her

pulse on the Central Coast

music scene.

jun/jul 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 43


| DWELLING

THE ALGORITHM

Mathematicians by profession, the Brussel-Hamilton Family

cracks the code for good living on the Central Coast.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY TREVOR POVAH

44 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Jun/Jul 2015


OF HOME DESIGN

jun/jul 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 45


There is no proven formula for a career in mathematics.

The pathway appears completely randomized with no

identifiable sequences and very few known quantities.

However, it seems that husband and wife team Eric

Brussel and Emily Hamilton, both math professors

at Cal Poly, may have finally solved the problem. And

the answer, at its lowest common denominator, is a

3-bedroom, 2-bath home resting in a quiet cul-de-sac

on the north end of San Luis Obispo.

Brussel, who grew up in the Midwest, and Hamilton, a

Washington, D.C. product, first laid eyes on each other

in a UCLA graduate school classroom. It did not take

them long to partner up in tackling theoretical math

problems together. Things started to feel right: the

friendship, the California weather, and the math were

all prime. One thing led to another and by graduation

the two hypothesized that one plus one could actually

equal three, and were married.

Next came the post-doctoral work. Pairs of applications

were sent all over the country in hopes that one college

would accept them both. One by one, a series of

acceptance and rejection letters began arriving. When

Hamilton received a thick envelope from one school,

Brussel would receive a thin piece of mail containing

a single tri-folded sheet offering regret. Then it would

happen in reverse, Brussel was accepted but Hamilton

was not. Finally, the couple resolved to accept post-doc

assignments as close to one another as possible—so long

as they had access to good airports they would be fine.

So, the husband moved to Boston where he would be

walking the hallowed halls of Harvard, and the wife,

would be at Rice University in Houston. Despite the

Spartan lifestyle typically followed by post-docs, the

newlyweds would also be budgeting for plane tickets—

lots of them.

The long distance relationship carried on for four years, >>

46 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Jun/Jul 2015


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far left ART

Treasures that have been picked up

during the couple’s travels serve as

accents throughout. Of particular

interest are the Dia de Los Muertos

figurines keeping a careful watch over

the home.

near left KITCHEN

The pass-through serves as a central

hub, a family gathering place

where many meals are served and

homework assignments completed.

below OPEN CONCEPT

Ample natural light designed to

enter the home at different angles

throughout the day combine with

structural beams and rounded

elements to make the home appear

much larger than it actually is.

and when it came time for their professorial

assignments the couple had two requirements:

first, they must be employed by the same

university; and, second, the California coast

would be the destination. Letters went out, calls

were made, networking was done, and the stars,

yet again, were not aligning. The theoretical

problem became a practical one as the pair

calculated the odds for landing in their desired

destination together. After casting a wider net,

they found a new home in Georgia. It turned

out that Emory University in Atlanta had

two openings in its math department, and the

Brussel-Hamilton tandem was the answer.

48 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Jun/Jul 2015

Life in Atlanta was good, if for no other reason

than the fact that they were together at last, but,

as Brussel points out, “It just never really felt

like home to us.” Still, the new professors made

the most of it. After settling into a 1920’s-era

Craftsman near a forested area of the city, the

couple welcomed their two children, Quinn,

now 12, and Gwendolyn, now 10, to their sultry

southern existence. The family settled into a

nice rhythm of school and music—both of the

children play a mean violin—and quickly 15

years passed. “But, every summer we would

come back to visit,” explains Hamilton. “We

never gave up the idea of California.”

As the expression goes —luck is when

preparation and opportunity meet—and

the Brussel-Hamilton family was about to

experience some good fortune. Through the

grapevine, they had heard that Cal Poly was

looking for a couple of good math professors.

Without hesitation the couple submitted

applications, nailed their respective interviews,

and moved to San Luis Obispo in 2012 where a

rental on Lincoln Street became home. Brussel,

who explains the strategy behind solving

seemingly intractable math problems, could very

well be describing moving to a new community.

“It’s like learning a new landscape—you first >>


Buying or selling a

home can be this

AWESOME!

Traci Ferguson, Realtor #01875751/ Eco Broker Certified/ LEED AP/ BA Architecture

444 Higuera Street, 3rd Floor, San Luis Obispo, Ca 93401

(805) 235-6396 www.TraciFerguson.com

jun/jul 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 49


MASTER SUITE

Exquisite attention to detail is found in the

craftsmanship of the exposed beams and many

rounded corners. Everything fits logically into its

natural surroundings, which makes the quarters feel

as if it were a sort of luxury tree house taking in

sweeping views of Cerro San Luis.

have to know that landscape well enough to be

able to ask the right questions.”

It took a year for the family to come up

with the right questions, which led them to

their extensively

remodeled quasimodern

windowfilled

home within

biking distance to

the lecture halls

where they spend

their workdays.

The home has an

intriguing Cal Poly

connection in that

TREVOR POVAH is an the now retired

architectural photographer

here on the Central Coast. Dean of Architecture

had been the owner-

50 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Jun/Jul 2015

architect during the massive transformation.

Originally built as a post-World War II

tract home, the new structure was to become

highly energy efficient and take in the views

of nearby Cerro San Luis while continuing

to pay homage to its 1950’s roots. The plans

were exquisite, and city planners embraced the

unique architecture. Demolition was completed,

and construction started, when the general

contractor disappeared. It was November and

rain was forecasted in a week. Through a frantic

series of phone calls and hasty interviews, Chris

Russell of Estero Builders was asked to do the

impossible. Since there was a delay on another

build his crew had been working on, the timing

worked perfectly. Although they had to “boogie

quick,” the new contractor was able to frame

and weatherproof through sporadic rains to get

the project back on course.

Sealing the home was one thing, but installing

the 64 windows in the 1,800 square-foot

structure that the plan called for was quite

another. And since this was all happening in

2008, the remodel took place just before the

state legislature mandated a cap on the amount

of allowable window space in its Title 24

requirements. As a result, in many parts of the

home it is difficult to tell where the outdoors

end and the inside begins. The bamboo floors

found throughout the home have a way of

accentuating the natural light, giving the space

an open, airy feel. And the extensive use of

exposed reclaimed wood beams create interest

and contrast to the coast live oaks carpeting the

hillside in the distance. But, the specifications

of the house play a second fiddle to the fact that

the Brussel-Hamilton Family has found their

forever home. SLO LIFE


jun/jul 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 51


| SLO CITY REAL ESTATE

by the numbers

laguna

lake

tank

farm

cal poly

area

country

club

down

town

foothill

blvd

johnson

ave

Total Homes Sold

Average Asking Price

Average Selling Price

Sales Price as a % of Asking Price

Average # of Days on the Market

Total Homes Sold

Average Asking Price

Average Selling Price

Sales Price as a % of Asking Price

Average # of Days on the Market

Total Homes Sold

Average Asking Price

Average Selling Price

Sales Price as a % of Asking Price

Average # of Days on the Market

Total Homes Sold

Average Asking Price

Average Selling Price

Sales Price as a % of Asking Price

Average # of Days on the Market

Total Homes Sold

Average Asking Price

Average Selling Price

Sales Price as a % of Asking Price

Average # of Days on the Market

Total Homes Sold

Average Asking Price

Average Selling Price

Sales Price as a % of Asking Price

Average # of Days on the Market

Total Homes Sold

Average Asking Price

Average Selling Price

Sales Price as a % of Asking Price

Average # of Days on the Market

*Comparing 1/1/14 - 05/20/14 to 1/1/15 - 5/20/15

2014

23

623,730

610,091

97.92

58

2014

9

760,644

744,888

98.05

50

2014

16

605,797

595,364

98.54

35

2014

6

964,500

929,000

96.72

90

2014

13

722,615

713,615

99.14

37

2014

24

687,442

675,264

98.09

36

2014

9

679,989

651,538

96.04

89

2015

22

637,036

622,329

98.13

49

2015

5

698,380

697,400

99.86

6

2015

19

523,226

502,215

97.52

34

2015

2

1,000,000

870,000

88.13

16

2015

12

793,075

807,533

102.35

18

2015

21

700,314

685,517

98.02

30

2015

21

622,638

605,219

97.09

41

+/-

-4.35%

2.13%

2.01%

0.21%

-15.52%

+/-

-44.44%

-8.19%

-6.38%

1.81%

-88.00%

+/-

18.75%

-13.63%

-15.65%

-1.02%

-2.86%

+/-

-66.67%

3.68%

-6.35%

-8.59%

-82.22%

+/-

-7.69%

9.75%

13.16%

3.21%

-51.35%

+/-

-12.50%

1.87%

1.52%

-0.07%

-16.67%

+/-

133.33%

-8.43%

-7.11%

1.05%

-53.93%

SOURCE: San Luis Obispo Association of REALTORS

®

SLO LIFE

52 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Jun/Jul 2015


“Bruce Freeberg was a difference maker in many ways in the sale of our home. His professionalism and

incredible people skills made an emotional time a positive experience. He managed the presentation

of our home in a beautiful way and walked us through the entire process with great skill. We felt lucky

to have him represent us.”

- Jennifer and Mike Krukow

For the best Real Estate

Search Site look here.




jun/jul 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 53


ZOEY’S

HOME CONSIGNMENTS

LIGHTING | FURNITURE | ART | JEWELRY

PATIO & GARDEN | EBAY SERVICES

We’re Moving!

( Just across the street.)

Bigger, Better Location

Same Great Crew

Same Great Merchandise

| SLO COUNTY REAL ESTATE

by the numbers

REGION

NUMBER OF

HOMES SOLD

2014

2015

AVERAGE DAYS ON

MARKET

2014

2015

MEDIAN SELLING

PRICE

2014

2015

Arroyo Grande

93

103

78

84

569,000

639,000

Atascadero

127

130

67

57

417,500

457,484

Avila Beach

7

7

41

62

795,000

865,000

Cambria/San Simeon

45

52

98

100

567,500

608,500

3583 S. HIGUERA ST | SAN LUIS OBISPO

596.0288 | zoeyshomeconsignments.com

Open Tues-Sat 10-6 | Closed Sun & Mon

Cayucos

Creston

21

2

15

6

68

27

90

43

820,000

506,500

870,000

504,000

Voted New Times “Best of SLO2015

Grover Beach

32

34

72

46

382,500

429,500

Los Osos

51

60

48

36

410,000

438,500

Morro Bay

58

55

85

61

485,000

570,000

Nipomo

75

88

67

67

491,600

537,500

Oceano

22

22

66

66

400,450

369,000

Pismo Beach

36

47

79

51

662,500

705,000

Paso (Inside City Limits)

141

158

61

84

375,000

407,500

Paso (North 46 - East 101)

29

32

56

86

318,000

320,000

Paso (North 46 - West 101)

25

36

155

117

300,000

393,750

Paso (South 46 - East 101)

23

17

88

102

399,000

360,000

San Luis Obispo

130

117

51

41

651,576

620,000

Santa Margarita

6

6

64

61

441,250

384,500

Templeton

38

30

76

63

465,868

489,500

805 - 440 - 2050

ConcreteEnvironments.com

54 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Jun/Jul 2015

Countywide

961 1,015

*Comparing 1/1/14 - 5/20/14 to 1/1/15 - 5/20/15

70 68 475,000 500,000

SOURCE: San Luis Obispo Association of REALTORS ®

SLO LIFE


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jun/jul 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 55


| BEHIND THE SCENES

5 YEARS

To celebrate the five year anniversary of SLO LIFE Magazine we

decided to “turn the camera around” for an interview with our publisher,

TOM FRANCISKOVICH, who had to answer our questions for a change.

PHOTO BY BRAD DAANE

W

When

hat were your expectations

for the first issue of SLO LIFE? That’s the thing

with starting a new business. It’s impossible to

know. I guess that’s why they call it a “leap of faith.”

You can draw up all the plans you want, but they

are useless once you go into battle. I think I may

have just quoted somebody, Patton or Eisenhower,

or somebody like that. First off, it took six months

just to be able to publish that first issue, then it

took another two weeks to distribute it. We literally

walked door-to-door to every home in San Luis

Obispo to drop them off. All of us in the office

participated in the canvass, and we also recruited

a dozen Cal Poly students. Honestly, delivering to

those first few homes was absolutely terrifying. It

was probably the fifth or sixth home that I finally

started to relax because the homeowner came out to

talk to me; and she was very complimentary of the

magazine, and also quite encouraging when I told

her what we were up to.

did you realize it was going to stick? We received a lot of really great feedback

on that first issue. But it was the second issue when I felt that it had some legs to it.

Since it took so long to get to everyone by hand-delivering, we started getting calls

from people that would say, “Hey, my friend across town received the magazine, but

I didn’t get mine. What’s going on?” The phone kept ringing and the emails were

pouring in to the point that we just couldn’t keep [delivering that way] anymore. Plus,

I was exhausted from all that walking. I think I wore out a few pairs of shoes in the

process. After the third issue, we started putting them in the mail and have never

looked back. We just continue to expand our coverage area throughout the Central

Coast. I think about those early days, walking up and down each and every street, as

an important time. The feedback we received with those face-to-face encounters was

incredibly valuable and has helped shaped the magazine into what it is today.

What was the most difficult challenge getting started? Very early on in that first year

we received a bill from the printer that I had no idea how we were going to pay. As

is common with start-ups, we were burning through our cash very quickly. In Silicon

Valley they call that your “burn rate,” and talk about it in terms of “having enough

runway to launch.” Anyway, we were quickly running out of runway, but I also felt that

we were pretty close to self-sustainability. Ironically, a few days after receiving that bill

and spending a couple of sleepless nights tossing and turning over how to pay it, I got

another bit of mail. This one was from Toyota Motor Credit. It was the pink slip for my

Tundra that I had just paid off. I went to Kelly Blue Book online to look up its value, and

the number it calculated was almost exactly what we owed the printer —it was within

$20. It was the hardest thing because I truly loved that truck, we had been through a lot

together, but I put it up for sale, handed the proceeds to the printer and we lived to fight

another day. It gave us that little bit of extra runway we needed for liftoff.

Wow, I didn’t realize that’s why you sold your truck. Bummer! No, seriously, it wasn’t

a big deal, especially looking back on it now. If you are going to be an entrepreneur, a

small business owner, you have to pass that test. You have to be willing to do whatever

it takes to make it work. I’ve got this note to remind myself on my bulletin board

that reads, “If you want to take the island, you have to burn the boats.” That’s true

56 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Jun/Jul 2015


for everything. If you want it bad enough, and you

have no other options, you’ll make it happen. I

think there is a danger in being just comfortable

enough. Burning the boats is the way to make it

happen because there is no turning back; you’re all

in. Besides, selling my truck was hardly a sacrifice.

I talk with small business owners every day, our

advertisers, who have made much bigger sacrifices

than I have, taken bigger risks.

So, what’s the deal with the Meet Your Neighbor

piece? I get a lot of questions about Meet Your

Neighbor. It was designed exactly as you would

expect. It’s that 20 or 30-minute conversation you

have with your neighbor when they first move in;

the first time you both walk to the end of your

driveways and say, “Hello, nice to meet you. Where

are you from?” That just never gets old. The firstperson

Q&A format is something that I’ve always

loved. Although simple, it is very difficult to execute

well as an editor. It’s a ton of work, but it’s great

to hear someone tell their own story in their own

voice without any editorialization going on. I used

to love that segment on CBS News called “On the

Road” where they would randomly throw a dart at a

map, and then a phone book, and then go interview

that person. The founder of that segment, Charles

Kuralt, used to say, “everybody has a story.” He was

right, and I believe that now more than ever.

Are there any particular interviews that stand out

for you? Oh, wow, tough question. There are so >>

jun/jul 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 57


O LIFE

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m a g a z i n e

many great ones. After five years now it has to be

hundreds if not a thousand local interviews. And

some of them never make it into the magazine,

or they are serving as background for some other

story. One that I will never forget was with Botso

Korisheli, the Morro Bay music teacher. He’s

fascinating, and he had this incredible presence

about him. But the thing I remember most about

our visit, was when he told me the story about

how he had met Stalin when he was a little boy

growing up in the Georgia Republic. He was at

the theatre where his father, a famous actor, was

performing. He talked about how Stalin came

up to him and said, “Hello, little boy. Your father

is a great actor.” Botso then placed his hand on

my shoulder and said, “Stalin put his hand on

my shoulder, like this. Big hand, strong hand.” I

just remember thinking, “Wow.” But then, Botso,

in the next breath, revealed that Stalin shortly

thereafter had executed his dad. I was floored.

There are just so many incredible people with

incredible stories living here on the Central

Coast. We’ve barely scratched the surface.

And who is it that lives here? For the most part,

it’s people that really want to be here. Jobs are

not plentiful, and there aren’t too many large

employers. This is mostly an entrepreneurial,

small business-based economy. Most people that

live here are hustling; working hard. They either

grew up here and are scrambling to stay, or they

came to visit the Central Coast on a vacation,

fell in love with it and vowed to find a way to

live here, often while leaving the big paying job

in a city somewhere. I really do see that as the

common bond, this desire to live the “SLO Life,”

to be a part of the community, to have more

control over your time. And, what happens when

you have so many people here that really, really

want to be here? It means that they are highly

invested in making it, and keeping it, great for

everyone. I’ve yet to come across someone who

just ended up here by accident; I’m sure they

are out there and I’ll probably get some letters

now, but I haven’t met them. It seems to me that

people are very intentional about living here and

are willing to make the trade-off, often in the

form of lower wages, to be here. In other words,

they’re paying a price because they feel it’s worth

it. That to me is a very powerful force at play

here on the Central Coast.

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Getting back to the magazine, you are always


harping on us about being good storytellers. What’s behind

that? I knew I shouldn’t have agreed to this interview. [laughter]

Come on, look, it’s simple. People get so caught up in our

business talking about various media. They’ll say, the internet

is hot, radio is down, print is flat, or whatever. It really doesn’t

matter; the medium doesn’t matter. We’ve been able to grow like

we have because we are following an age-old formula: tell stories

that our readers are highly engaged with so that our advertisers

get results and stick with us. It’s that simple. All the handwringing

going on with media companies these days makes me

crazy. Create a better product and do a better job and you will be

fine. Instead, it’s been death by a thousand cuts where some of

these outlets are really just shadows of their former selves. I’ve

always had it in my mind that I’m like that guy with a holein-the-wall

restaurant that has a super loyal following; people

that are willing to stand in line to get in. When I lived in San

Francisco there were a lot of great little ethnic food places where

that was the case. The guy would be working the kitchen and

his wife would be working the floor, or vice versa. Anyway, they

knew your name, and provided you with an outstanding meal at

an incredible value. Everything was cooked with love. I know it

may sound corny, but I think about that a lot—and I’d like to

think that we publish with a lot of love, too.

So, what sort of media do you consume? Again, it’s not the

medium, it’s the message. Like most people, I consume media in

many different forms. I don’t care what it is. I just want it to be

good. No, it has to great. Nobody has time to be messing around

with just good anymore. Think about it, we have storytelling

hard-wired into our DNA. Since the days we were cooking

sabre-toothed tigers in our caves we were telling stories about

the hunt. Going back hundreds and thousands of years, that’s

how we related to one another. It’s powerful stuff. Nowadays,

there’s a renaissance in niche magazines like ours, and also in

radio. And by radio, I mean podcasting. There are so many great

magazines I subscribe to, but I especially love the ones that

will take on tough issues in a long-essay format. I thought that

Rolling Stone was doing an exceptional job on that front until

they lost Matt Taibbi. Then they did a horrible, sloppy, dishonest

job of reporting the UVA sexual assault story. That was a shame

because they botched a hugely important issue. It was a major

setback for both journalism and sexual assault victims. And,

that’s something I just learned a whole lot more about a couple

of weeks ago when I read Jon Krakauer’s book, “Missoula.”

He’s another superb storyteller that I really admire. I’ve read

everything he’s written. His book about Pat Tillman and the war

in Afghanistan, “Where Men Win Glory,” was phenomenal.

You touched on podcasts, which ones do you like? After dinner,

I’ll usually take a walk around my neighborhood. During that

time I’ll listen to a podcast. My favorites are the ones that tell

a good story. “This American Life,” which is produced by the

NPR affiliate in Chicago, was the catalyst for this new genre. >>

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jun/jul 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 59


SLO LIFE

magazine

ZONGO

ALL STARS

+

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SEISMIC

TESTING

Hip

Habitat

Meet Adam Stowe

baseball, family, and coming home

Their stuff is great. I’ll listen to it anytime. One

of their spinoffs called “Serial” was incredible.

My wife and I listened to it during a long road

trip. It turned an eight-hour drive into two hours.

If you haven’t heard that one, be sure to check it

out. “Start Up” is another good one, especially if

you are into small business. Alex Blumberg, who

is a former NPR guy, takes listeners through his

story in real-time while starting his own podcast

company. Again, it’s that first-person storytelling

that is so powerful, but also incredibly difficult to

execute well. And he nails it.

SLO LIFE

magazine

BLAZING

TRAILS

&

coconut oil

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ON THE

RISE

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local

artist

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So, how do you come up with stories? There

are so many ideas. I would estimate that 9 out

of 10 of our story ideas will never be published.

We are constantly talking about ideas. I think

it’s the editing though, the willingness to say,

“No,” that makes for a much better result. Where

people fall into trouble in our business is they

start scrambling to fill space or fill airtime just to

support the advertising. That is a huge mistake

and the beginning of a long, slow death spiral

for a media company. I’m out in the community

a lot and being engaged helps me identify what

we should be doing, what we should be writing.

When I have a story idea, I’ll chew on it for

bit. Once I’ve got it worked out in my mind, I’ll

usually talk about it to my wife. She’s a tough

critic and most leads don’t make it any further

than that. If they do, I’ll start researching it,

interviewing, thinking, and then finally I’ll

crank out a rough draft. From there it’s all about

editing it down for content and clarity. Contrary

to what a lot of people might think, it’s a lot

easier to write a 5,000-word essay than it is a

2,000-word essay. It’s all about paring it down,

getting to the point, telling a story, but doing it

in accessible easy-to-grasp way. I know I’m on

the right path if it just flows, and I lose all track

of time when I’m writing. If it’s not happening

and doesn’t feel right, I just won’t do it. There are

too many other important things to talk about.

What is the hardest thing you do? Probably

proofing. It’s just pure drudgery. But so

important because that is where a lot of the

fine-tuning comes in. But, no matter how many

sets of eyeballs we put on a set of printer proofs,

we invariably miss something. Some bit of bad

grammar slips by, or a typo. The toughest ones

are the words that slip by that aren’t necessarily

spelled wrong, so the spell check doesn’t pick it

>>

60 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Jun/Jul 2015


jun/jul 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 61


NG WITH

LE

E

T

VAL

SING

YWOOD

LOm a g a z i n e

O ART

t for kids

OTES

SPIRE

IN TO

.T.

x

you

E

EN UP

NSHINER

LECTIVE

AR 2014

D

XPLORING

EW HEIGHTS

OCALS ONLY

USIC

CENE

O

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HT

R

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ND

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LIFE

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SCENE

CREATIVE

SPACE

MEET

62 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Jun/Jul 2015

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up, like “gorilla” versus “guerilla.” We can read

it a hundred times, but it just doesn’t register.

We even go so far as to read it side-by-side, one

person out loud while the other person reads

along in their head. After going through the

whole magazine, we’ll take turns, switch off and

do it again. We’ve had some knock-down-dragout

brawls at two o’clock in the morning over

where to place a comma. The thing that I find

so amazing is invariably, the second morning

after the proofs are signed off and the magazine

is being printed, I will wake up at my usual

time, six or six-thirty and will have zeroed in

LIFE

SLOmagazineon one thing. It’s incredible. It’s like my brain

IN GOODhas finally been able to process it. I’ll wake up

WHEN TASTEand think, “Dammit, I meant to spell ‘gorilla’

CAL POLY

like the animal, not ‘guerilla’ like Che Guevara!”

ART

HOUSINGFrom that point, I know it will be just a matter

INTERSECTS

WHAT’Sof days before I start receiving emails from all of

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the English teachers all over the Central Coast

LIFE

reminding me of what an idiot I am! [laughter]

SURFING

UP AND

THE WIND

m a g a z i n e

SNEAK

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BEHIND

APR/MAY 2014

LIFE

SLOmagazine

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SCENES

DING

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slolifemagazine.com

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& LIVING INTENTIONALLY

So, what does the future hold for the magazine?

More of the same, really. We are going to keep

putting one foot in front of the other and

continue to improve a little bit each issue. I

think back to one of my economics classes in

college where we learned about the Japanese

manufacturing concept they called “Kaizen.”

This was back in the days when they were

absolutely kicking our butts in building cars

and electronics. Kaizen is defined as “constant,

gradual improvement.” My focus is for each issue

to be a little better than the last one. Beyond

that, we have some new, very exciting editorial

features we would like to launch. It’s just going

to take some more advertising to support the

additional pages. The fact is that people have

to advertise their businesses and organizations,

so hopefully they’ll recognize the quality of our

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| SPECIAL FEATURE

THE

Will Nots

Exploring Homelessness in San Luis Obispo

BY TOM FRANCISKOVICH

It

was a few months back that I received

one of those phone calls that provokes an

instant, primal reaction. For a moment, I

was hijacked by the least evolved part of my

brain—some call it the “reptilian brain”—

which was preparing me for a brawl, or

perhaps I needed to run. It didn’t matter; my

biochemistry was now primed for both. While

I was initially unable to decipher what my

wife was saying on the other end of the line

that day, I could tell that it was not good. She was at the dance studio, when a rather large and

intimidating adult male, who by his appearance was clearly homeless, walked into the middle

of a ballet class. The dozen or so ten and eleven-year-old girls, who had just interrupted their

pliés, and their peanut-sized teacher, along with my wife and two other moms, went straight

into panic mode. But, the situation was so bizarre, so unusual that no one knew what to do. My

wife fought a powerful urge to sneak up behind the guy and clock him in the back of his head

with a mop handle she was eyeing in the corner as she clicked my number on speed dial. I was

too far away to get there quickly, so we talked about what to do. Finally I said, “Call the cops.” In

the aftermath, the experience left my family with a strange mix of competing emotions, and the

whole thing got me thinking…

70 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Jun/Jul 2015


During some of the darkest days of the Great

Recession, somewhere around 2008 when the

Dow Jones was shedding nearly 1,000 points

a day, I let my mind start to wander. What

if there was a run on the banks? Could this

whole thing, the entire world economy, go

straight off a cliff? Was this what the end of

the world felt like? Oddly, I thought back to

the Sound of Music, a movie that my mother

and sisters would watch over and over during

my childhood. It must be somehow seared

into my psyche because Julie Andrews’ tune

“My Favorite Things” was calming my nerves,

and I remember the Von Trapp Family quietly

disappearing by foot into the Austrian Alps. For

a fleeting moment, I considered that my family,

friends, and neighbors may one day soon have

to exit stage left and head over the oak-studded

Cuesta Ridge in search of a new beginning. It

was an irrational thought, and I knew it at the

time, but human history is replete with stories

of mass exodus. And my generation, Generation

X, the “slacker-loser” generation, had never

really been tested. Maybe this was it. Maybe this

was our Great Depression, our World War II all

wrapped up in one.

The thought of losing our home terrified

me, but I knew that it would not be long

before we got ourselves back on our feet. The

entire country was built on hard work and

industriousness, and it would only be a matter

of time before we pulled through whatever sort

of worldwide collapse we were now entering, I

told myself. Still, the concept of homelessness

was not one that I had ever seriously considered,

outside of a few idealistic weeks in my late teens

when I surfed by day and slept mostly in the

bed of a Chevy El Camino by night. Whatever

happened, I felt it would be for the best. We

would rebuild, and our country and the entire

world, although it would certainly be a massively

difficult and trying process, would be better for

going through it. Besides, in my mind, the odds

were at best 1,000 to 1 that anything at all was

possible. Still the idea of not having a home,

essentially being out on the street, was a horrible

thought. And it bothered me that I was allowing

my mind to drift to this dark place. “Rain drops

on roses and whispers on kittens,” I hummed

under my breath, as I returned my attention to

an article I was writing at the time.

Often considered a downtown issue, judging

from admittedly unscientific anecdotal evidence,

it does become apparent that no part of the city

has been completely untouched by the issue of

homelessness. And, some of the most difficult

questions my kids ask my wife and me concern

our transient population. “Why do they live

like that?” often leads to answers that I do not

understand myself, and invariably leads to more

questions. “How come they don’t have a place to

live?” When I finally give up on my rambling,

nonsensical explanation concerning the lack

of societal resources, the follow-up question is

usually more pointed, in a 6-year-old-sort-ofway:

“Then why don’t they get a job?”

As much as many of us would like to group

everyone without their own place to sleep at

night into the same category, to do so would

be a mistake that would lead us down the

wrong path. After all, we have to learn the right

questions to ask before we can even have a shot

at finding answers. To begin to get your arms

around the issue, it is helpful to understand

the three most commonly described subsets:

the Have Nots; the Can Nots; and the Will

Nots. Locally, many of those who work with

homeless individuals on the Central Coast use

these categories to better understand the various

circumstances that have led to the point of

homelessness; and which services, incentives,

and motivations will, hopefully, lead them out.

First, the Have Nots. This subset meets with

our classic world view of homelessness. It’s

the single mom who loses her job and has

no family support. She falls behind on the

rent and is forced to move herself and her

kids into the minivan. Times are tough, but a

massive and relatively efficient framework of

government resources exist to get her back on

her feet quickly. Generally, this person is highly

motivated but does not have the resources—

hence “Have Not”—to do it on their own.

They need help and a lucky break or two to

bounce back, but they mostly do. There is an

entire segment of the bottom portion of our

country’s working class that often, sometimes

seasonally, bounces back and forth into and out

of homelessness. Interestingly, it could be argued

that the United States was built on the backs

of the Have Nots. When the Statue of Liberty

beckoned the world, “Give me your tired, your

poor, your huddled masses,” she was advertising

that Have Nots are welcomed here. And, it was

a smart strategy because who could possibly be

more motivated to work and create economic

value than a flat-broke and homeless Irish

potato farmer?

The Can Nots, no matter how much support

they receive, are not able to turn their situation

around. This segment finds its genesis in the

1980’s with President Ronald Reagan’s closing

of federal mental health institutions, which

sent thousands of ill-equipped individuals to

the streets to fend for themselves. Tragically,

a significant percentage of this population

were, and still are, combat veterans who have

not received adequate care upon returning

stateside. Still more are afflicted with

schizophrenia, manic depression, and various

other personality disorders. Nearly all of the

Can Nots require some level of supervision and

medical care, and many of them self-medicate

with drugs and alcohol, often exacerbating the

underlying illness. There is a philosophy gaining

momentum among those who care for the

homeless that the proper strategy for Can Nots

is for each community to permanently house

them in supervised facilities to ensure they are

taking their medication and participating in

therapies that will lead to the best life possible.

Counterintuitively, this method has been proven

to be less costly, and much more effective, than

the way we are serving this population now.

This new approach is the impetus behind San

Luis Obispo-based Transitions Mental Health

Associations’ efforts to purchase and rebuild the

old Sunny Acres facility above Johnson Avenue.

Its planned 35 studio apartments will house the

county’s most vulnerable Can Nots.

Which brings us to the most perplexing of

all: the Will Nots. This group is able-bodied,

but would rather not work. Would rather

remain transient with no permanent residence.

Two-thirds of the homeless population is

solvable. The Have Nots will bounce back; they

almost always do, even if it is somewhat of a

revolving door. And it appears that, through

permanent housing, we may finally be able to

properly care for our Can Nots. However, the

Will Nots present an entirely more difficult

challenge, especially in terms of public safety.

Compounding this vexing problem is the fact

that sometimes there are not clear lines of

delineation between the three subsets. It is not

uncommon, for instance, for a Will Not to veer

into Can Not territory—typically when alcohol

and drugs are introduced.

Throughout his three year tenure as San Luis

Obispo Chief of Police, Steve Gesell was

fixated on homelessness. During every public

speaking opportunity Chief Gesell brought

up the issue and discussed it through the lens

of his youth growing up in San Luis Obispo,

when there were virtually no homeless troubles.

Shortly after City Manager Katie Lichtig

had hired Gesell in 2012, she spoke of him

in glowing terms, often lauding his “creative

approach” to difficult issues. And the new chief

hit the ground running, first sending a group

from SLOPD to study how their comrades

in Santa Barbara were tackling their transient

problems. After completing an internal study,

including a department-wide review of the calls

it had been responding to during the previous

five years—approximately one-third of which

were homeless related—Gesell formed the

Community Action Team (CAT). Comprised

>>

jun/jul 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 71


of two full-time officers, Jeremy Behrens and Jim

Fellows, job one was to identify and document

the homeless population in the City of San Luis

Obispo. That is when SLOPD’s new leader first

realized the enormity of the problem.

There is a loose migratory pattern that Coastal

California transients follow which passes

through San Diego, Santa Barbara, San Luis

Obispo, and Santa Cruz. Each city offers a mild

climate, a mostly lenient citizenry, and a “soft

police department.” If there were one area where

Steve Gesell was laser-focused, this was it. In

discussing the homeless issue, as it pertained to

the Will Nots, he always came back to this point.

“We have to change the perception out there

that SLOPD is soft, and that this is a great place

to come and hang out for a few months every

year,” he emphasized. This familiar statement

invariably followed an explanation of the broken

One Thursday last November it was a perfect fall day. A few off-season tourists poked around

downtown, but just before lunchtime things were mostly quiet. Justin Edmond Pard, a

20-year-old Will Not, who had arrived in town from Arizona the day before, stepped into the

FlipFlop Shop on Higuera Street. A surveillance video, which has since been posted to YouTube

shows Pard engaging the lone 23-year-old female employee in conversation as he fidgets with

something in his sweatshirt—later identified as a 10-inch kitchen knife—as she repeatedly turns

her back to point out various brands of footwear on display. Then he walks around the empty

store and asks, “Do you have any cameras in here?” She answers in the affirmative, and he begins

slowly walking out of view toward the exit. Then he approaches her again with his back toward

the camera and begins asking about her car; what kind it is and where it is parked? As the

conversation concludes, the clerk smiles and offers a cheerful, “Have a good day.” Pard starts to

walk out, then suddenly wheels around and throws a right cross, screams some obscenities, and

runs out to the street. The employee—dazed, shocked, and still dangerously alone—hunches over

slightly behind the counter with knees buckling and blood dripping from her face as she begins

to search for a phone.

Pard was arrested a few hours later at the Barnes & Noble a couple of blocks away. The Arizonan

was then driven out to the County Jail where he was booked on two charges: assault and

window theory in policing. Studies have shown

that broken windows beget broken windows.

A broken window creates the belief that

broken windows are okay and accepted by the

community, so go ahead and pick up a rock and

break another window. Following the same line

of logic, Gesell reasoned that Will Nots, who are

frequently connected by cell phones and public

library computers, will invariably bring still more

Will Nots.

concealing a deadly weapon. Although originally held on a $9,800 bail, because of the nature

of his charges—they were both classified as misdemeanors—he was allowed to walk free. At

6:38pm Pard was handed a notice to appear in court at a future date and was escorted by a

guard to an exterior door. The lock clicked open, and the young Will Not breathed in the fastdarkening

autumn sky as he began walking down Kansas Avenue toward Highway 1, which

led him to the first major corridor: Foothill Boulevard. Less than three hours later an employee

at the Blackhorse Espresso there reported a man who she suspected was the same guy from

the FlipFlop Shop incident earlier in the day. He was lingering around, making customers feel

uneasy. By the time SLOPD arrived a few minutes later, Pard had slipped out the side door.

After taking a statement from the employee, officers reassured her that they would be paying

>>

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extra attention to the neighborhood for the

rest of the night. By 11:50pm the officers had

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money on ice cream at Rite-Aid.

For the second time that day, Pard, scarcely

24 hours since first setting foot on Central

Coast soil, was cuffed and taken to the County

Jail where he was booked on two additional

misdemeanors: trespassing and dodging.

Behind the scenes SLOPD worked furiously

with the District Attorney to increase the

charges as well as the holding period in light

of his violent assault earlier that day. This time,

they were able to keep him behind bars until

such time that a mental health evaluation

to the situation. “At least [the video] will help

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Officers Behrens and Fellows have been on

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efforts, and it has been a tough slog. If this

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cloud of dust. It is tactical, hands-on police

work. It means getting into the faces of the

local transient population, standing toe-totoe,

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could be performed. SLOPD then took the you choosing to live this way?” Notes are made

additional step of requesting a restraining about each contact, and a log has been created

order, which would have prohibited Pard to identify every known homeless person in

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employee. A judge denied the request, citing difficult and most often includes bringing in

the fact that the two had no prior relationship. a team of local service providers to look after

Upon hearing the news, Gesell was livid and this population, which ebbs and flows in size

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email where he tried to find some bright side Success is sometimes found when a Will Not >>

74 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Jun/Jul 2015


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jun/jul 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 75


ecomes a Have Not and finally agrees to allow a caseworker to help.

But, the first step in the case management process for rehabilitation,

including assistance in securing housing, requires relinquishing assets,

a monthly social security check, for example. This is a major hurdle

because the Will Not no longer has the resources to purchase drugs

and cheap malt liquor. Another option for removing transients from

the street has been found by funding a one-way plane ticket back to

wherever they came from, so long as their family on the other end

agrees to take care of them when they arrive.

As Steve Gesell continued to seek out creative solutions to the

homeless problem—specifically those presenting a hazard to

public safety—he thought about the choke points. Where do these

individuals congregate? What do they have in common? It did not take

him long to find the lowest common denominator: Hurricane, a cheap

40-ounce bottle of beer sold by San Luis Obispo liquor stores. Gesell

immediately went on a crusade, asking retailers to refrain from selling

this and other liquors to known Will Nots in the community. “If they

are not going to follow the rules,” he reasoned, “then we’re not going

to allow them to sit around in plain site and get blasted all day.” The

effort was met with mixed reviews. Hurricane is an important profit

center for some of the establishments, as the Will Nots’ loose change,

commonly acquired while panhandling, goes toward purchasing

as many as 14 bottles a day—each. Yet, Gesell was determined to

continue to disrupt the culture, and making it much less convenient to

get a nice buzz going may be incentive enough to continue on to Santa

Cruz or Santa Barbara. Better yet, word may finally start to get out

that SLOPD was no longer soft and that San Luis Obispo was not a

pleasant place to “hang out” anymore.

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The innovative carrot and stick approach employed by the top law

enforcer seemed to be working, although slowly. Despite periods of

time when the seasonal influx of Will Nots swelled, the efforts were

starting to pay dividends. The CAT team was getting wins and was

finding success through its constant face time with this segment of

the population. It was no longer possible to spend the day in Mission

Plaza, for example, without Officers Behrens and Fellows asking

you the 5-W’s. With green shoots finally beginning to appear after a

massive effort to sow an entirely new crop by taking this new approach,

it came as a jolting shock when news surfaced last month that Chief

Gesell had been fired. His boss, City Manager Lichtig, had decided

that, “To reach peak performance, the City Manager and Police Chief

need to be in complete alignment.” This misalignment, as it turns out,

would set local taxpayers back $120,000. As Gesell, who had been

hired by Lichtig after an “exhaustive national search” just three years

ago, would no longer be allowed to implement his “creative approach”

that she had once touted.

Beyond the obvious question of “Why?,” which no one at City Hall

will answer—citing the ubiquitous “it’s a personnel matter” rationale—

we only know that the termination was done “without cause,” which

is what triggered the six-figure payout that also came with a gag order

preventing Gesell and Lichtig from discussing it after the fact. Some

speculate that the controversial op-ed piece concerning the events of

Ferguson, Missouri Gesell penned last December was the beginning

of the end. And, others point to the many conferences he attended last

year—three times more than any other county police chief—as the

wedge that formed between the two. The only thing we know for sure

is that those items were never adversely cited in his personnel file and

nothing egregious happened, otherwise he would have been fired “with

cause” and no settlement would have been offered. Instead sources

contend that it came down to a differing set of opinions concerning

the objectives of SLOPD. Aside from the outrage over vaporizing a

cool $120,000 to settle what many characterize as simply a personality

clash, it leaves us with a larger question concerning the Will Nots,

which is: Where do we go from here? SLO LIFE

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| EXPLORE

LOCATION: Charles Paddock Zoos is

located at 9100 Morro Road in Atascadero.

Family

COST: $7 for adults, children $5, seniors $6,

and children under 2 are free.

Fun

Zoos have stood the test of time, and this

beloved Atascadero institution is proof.

BY PADEN HUGHES

The Central Coast is

full of people who

pursue their passions,

not the least of which

was Charles Paddock.

A park ranger who

nursed wild animals

back to life, Paddock

cared for hundreds of

wild birds and mammals. In 1963 he moved his

growing zoo to its present site and it became

known as the Atascadero Zoo. After his passing,

the city took ownership of the zoo and named

it after the beloved man who cared so deeply for

the wellbeing of local and rare animals.

The zoo now boasts over 60 different species

of birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.

My friend and I

enjoyed the Caribbean

Flamingos, the Red

Pandas, and the

Bennett’s Wallaby.

PADEN HUGHES is

co-owner of Gymnazo

and enjoys exploring

the Central Coast.

We went on a Friday

morning during a local

field trip for a group

of first graders. The

energy and excitement

was contagious.

Running from exhibit

to exhibit the children

called each others’

attention to the funny

frowning faces the

small burrowing owls made, to the monkeys tail that adeptly

clung to branches helping it climb the enclosure, and to the

sighting of the Malaysian Tiger they fondly referred to as

Shere Khan.

My favorite moment of the day was watching a small boy run

up enthusiastically to one of the world’s largest rodents and

declare, “Look, Dad, it’s a mouse!” Standing at about three feet

tall, the exotic Patagonian Mara was a far cry from a mouse,

but the boy was beyond convincing.

The magic of a zoo isn’t in the marketing, the layout, or the

quantity of species it holds, it’s in the laughter and excitement

of the children who are experiencing something new as they

marvel at the miracle of creation. The power of a zoo is in

its ability to bring awareness and education to how modern

humanity affects and even threatens the existence of some

incredible creatures.

As of this February, the zoo approved the building of a larger

more interactive Red Panda exhibit to better reflect its natural

habitat and to be able to highlight this rare and adored

species. Since 2009 the zoo has had two adult Red Pandas

and they now have two cubs. This new exhibit will feature an

environmentaly-friendly design and provide a more interactive

experience for its visitors. It will also mark the launch of

the zoo’s biodiversity hotspot theme. As the zoo grows, it

will continue to educate visitors about the culture, plant life,

extinction, and threats to the animals.

Taking about 45 minutes to walk through and admire the

beautiful diversity of the species, the zoo is the perfect length

of activity for a family with smaller children. Located by the

Atascadero Pavilion and park, it is a great segue after exploring

the zoo. Families can easily head to the park right outside the

zoo’s entrance and enjoy a picnic next to the lake. SLO LIFE

78 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Jun/Jul 2015


Graham’s Community Outreach

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jun/jul www.slohomehelp.com

2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 79


Boredom

THE CASE FOR

When was the last time you were bored—truly bored—and didn’t instantly spring to fill

your psychic emptiness by checking Facebook or Twitter or Instagram? The last time

you stood in line at the store or the boarding gate or the theater and didn’t reach for

your smartphone seeking deliverance from the dreary prospect of forced idleness?

| HEALTH

really great stuff when you don’t

have that easy, lazy, junk food diet

of the phone to scroll all the time,”

she explained.

So now that we know why we

should get bored, we wanted to

know how. For the answer we

turned to Manoush Zomorodi, the

host of the podcast New Tech City,

who asked her listeners to slow

down and unplug as part of the

“Bored and Brilliant: Reclaiming

the Lost Art of Spacing Out”

challenge.

The week-long campaign consisted

of daily tasks that essentially

nudge you toward more tech-free

moments of deliberate boredom,

like keeping your phone in your

pocket while walking down the

street or watching a pot of water

come to a boil. Close to 20,000

people participated, and the New

Tech City team was able to collect

data and personal anecdotes from

about half of them.

So, what happened?

Agrowing

body of research

suggests that there are benefits to boredom.

Neuroscientists have seen MRI evidence of

organized, spontaneous thinking when the brain

is supposedly idle. “When you’re given nothing

to do, it certainly seems like your thoughts

don’t stop,” says Jonny Smallwood, professor of

neuroscience at the University of York in England.

“[You] continue to generate thought even when

there’s nothing for you to do with the thought.”

80 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Jun/Jul 2015

Work by Sandi Mann of the University of

Lancashire suggests that time for aimless

thought could be important for creativity. In a

study called “Does Being Bored Make Us More

Creative?” she gave research subjects tasks of

varying degrees of boringness, and then used a

standard measure of divergent thinking involving

plastic cups. Those given the most boring task—

reading the phone book—came up with more

interesting uses for the cups. “You come up with

“One of my favorite comments was

that someone said they, ‘awoke from

mental hibernation,’” Zomorodi

says, which makes sense, since many

people reported they were able to

solve problems more efficiently.

“That’s what happens when you let

the default mode in your brain activate. People

feel like they can finally come up with ideas, or

get inspired to finish something. When students

stopped multitasking, for example, they found

their studies easier. ”

Read on for more interesting insights that

Zomorodi derived from the project, which may

inspire you to try the challenge for yourself

sometime soon. We dare you.

>>


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jun/jul 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 81


CHALLENGE 1: IN YOUR POCKET

On your first day, as you move from place to place, keep your phone in your

pocket, out of your direct line of sight. Better yet, keep it in your bag. While

you’re boarding the SLO Transit bus, walking down the sidewalk, or sitting in

the passenger seat of a car, we’re asking you to look at your phone only after

you have reached your destination. You can do it.

>>

CHALLENGE 3:

DELETE THAT APP

Flurry Analytics defines a “mobile addict”

as someone who launches apps more than

60 times a day. The average consumer

launches apps 10 times a day, so to qualify

as having an app dependency, you have to

be pretty app crazy.

>>

CHALLENGE 2: PHOTO FREE

See the world through your eyes, not your screen. Take absolutely no pictures

today. Not of your lunch, not of your children, not of your cubicle mate, not

of the beautiful sunset. No picture messages. No cat pics. Start actually seeing

the phone-free world around you.

A 2014 study found Americans take more than 10 billion photos every

month, and mostly on our phones. The thing is, each time we snap a quick

pic of something, it could be harming our memory of it because we are not

contemplating the moment we’re in, we’re just trying to capture it. You might

even realize that when life is really good—the kind of good people try to

fake when they broadcast a better, more exciting version of their life on the

internet—you don’t need to document it, because you’re too busy enjoying it.

And the people most likely to be addicted?

According to Flurry, teens, college students

(skewing female) and middle-aged parents.

Even if you aren’t at 60 times a day, just

about everyone has that one app that steals

away too much time.

Your instructions for today: delete it.

Delete that app. Think about which app

you use too much, one that is the bad kind

of phone time. You pick what that means.

Delete said time-wasting, bad habit app.

Uninstall it.

This will be difficult, because app designers

are pretty smart. And they are also adept

at building things we want to just keep on

using, over and over and over.

If you need a little push to take the plunge,

Dr. Zach Hambrick, professor of cognitive

psychology at Michigan State University,

says cell phone games do just about

nothing for your brain. You don’t get better

at anything but playing the game, he says.

And only that game.

“If you play Ms. PacMan a lot, you’ll get

better at Mr. PacMan, and video games

where you have to move through a maze.

But you won’t get better at Space Invaders

or some real task like filling out your tax

forms,” Hambrick says.

>>

82 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Jun/Jul 2015


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jun/jul 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 83


CHALLENGE 4: TAKE A FAUXCATION

Today, you’re getting a break from email, texting, social media, or whatever means of digital

communication interrupts you all day long. It’s a fauxcation (or “fake-cation,” if you prefer).

Your instructions: Set an email auto-reply just as you would if you were out for a real

vacation, send an “I’ll be back later” text out on group chat, or put up an away message status

on social media. Whatever it’ll take to give you peace of mind while you focus.

And if you’re worried about being away from work, Matthew Krentz, a senior partner at the

Boston Consulting Group, says you shouldn’t be. Krentz and his company let the Harvard

Business School take a small team of consultants to use as time management guinea pigs.

They discovered that perpetual connectivity was good in the short term—not so much in the

long term. Studies say we actually perform better when we have a chance to think.

>>

CHALLENGE 5:

ONE SMALL

OBSERVATION

Social networks help us stay connected.

We love social media. But how often

do we swipe past strangers’ selfies, baby

pictures, and career updates in lieu of the

actual humans around us?

For our second-to-last challenge we

want you to flex the creative muscles

we’ve been freeing up all week. The first

step is noticing.

>>

CHALLENGE 6:

DREAM HOUSE

To take our project to its logical—and

admittedly weird—conclusion, boredom

artist Nina Katchadourian has assigned

a project. We want you to get really

bored, and then make something creative,

introspective, and personal.

Your instructions: Today, go somewhere

public. It could be a park, farmers’

market, the gas station, the hallway at

work or school. You pick.

Once you get there, hang out. Watch

people, or objects, or anything that

strikes you. Imagine what a single

person is thinking, or zoom in on a

detail. Just make one small observation

you might have missed if your nose

were glued to a screen.

Your instructions today are multi-part:

• Put away your phone.

• Put a generous pot of water on the

stove and watch it come to a boil. You

should get bored. Keep it up as long as it

takes to daydream.

• Next, take out your wallet and

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84 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Jun/Jul 2015

>> FINAL THOUGHTS

If you take this challenge on, Zomorodi cautions that we shouldn’t be too quick to blame

our tools for our incessant lack of focus. She relates a story told to her by Alex Pang, author

of The Distraction Addiction. In his research, Pang talked with a group of Buddhist monks

who were heavily connected—active web and social media users. “Why is it that you think

tech is any more distracting than your own mind, or anything else in the world?” the monks

asked him. “Distraction comes from within.” SLO LIFE


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jun/jul 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 85


| KITCHEN

BACKYARD BARBEQUE

GRILLED BRICK WHOLE CHICKEN

WITH LEMON AND CENTRAL COAST BREWING PALE ALE

Celebrate summer with this delicious, easy-to-prepare whole chicken. Grill up your

favorite veggies—we chose asparagus drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt

and pepper—along with a few roasted potatoes to make it a complete meal.

BY CHEF JESSIE RIVAS

86 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Jun/Jul 2015


JESSIE’S TIP:

This menu can be easily

adapted to the oven, just

substitute a 12-inch cast

!iron skillet for the grill.

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GRILLED BRICK WHOLE CHICKEN

3½ lb chicken split with backbone removed

½ cup Central Coast Brewing Pale Ale

zest and juice of one lemon

zest and juice of one orange

2 shallots minced

2 garlic cloves minced

pinch of cumin

1½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

¼ cup olive oil

2 cement or clay bricks

1. Remove the backbone of the chicken by cutting down both sides of the

spine with shears or a sharp knife. Press down on breast to flatten the chicken.

2. Use a large bowl or roasting pan and cover the chicken with beer, zests,

juices, shallots, garlic and spices. Let the chicken marinate for 2 – 4 hours.

Drizzle olive oil over the chicken before cooking.

3. Wrap the two bricks with

aluminum foil and place on grill.

Preheat grill and bricks for at least

20 minutes on medium - high heat

to 400°.

JESSIE RIVAS is the owner

and chef of The Pairing Knife

food truck which serves the

Central Coast.

4. Remove chicken from marinade.

Drizzle oil over chicken and spray

grill and bricks with oil. Place

chicken on hot part of grill and place

hot bricks on top of chicken and

cover grill. Check for flare-ups while

grilling. Cook for 45 minutes. Check

and cook for another 20 – 30 minutes

longer depending on color of skin

and internal temperature of 160°.

Allow chicken to cool for 20 minutes

before serving. SLO LIFE

SERVING

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jun/jul 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 87


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| HAPPENINGS

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15

16

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23

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25

26

27

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PINOT & PAELLA FESTIVAL

Join the Pinot Noir Producers of

Paso Robles, now formally The

Beaune Rangers of Paso Robles, and

talented local chefs for an afternoon

of great wine, creative paella dishes,

and live dance-inducing Latin guitar

fusion beats of Incendio.

June 7 // pinotandpaella.com

JUNE

TWILIGHT ON THE TERRACE

Come and enjoy food, wine and

specialty beers from vendors all over

the Central Coast. All of which you

can enjoy while listening to music from

Cafe Musique and experiencing the

beautiful sunset at the hilltop.

June 6 // friendsofhearstcastle.org

CONCERTS IN THE PLAZA

Thousands of people flock to downtown

San Luis Obispo every Friday throughout

the summer for a free family-friendly

concert in beautiful Mission Plaza.

June 12 – September 11 // downtownslo.com

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88 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Jun/Jul 2015

BETWEEN IRAQ AND A HARD PLACE

Entertaining the troops during the Persian

Gulf War of 1991 was an experience of a

lifetime and Jill Turnbow shows us what goes

on when the media stops watching. The bar is

open and you can bring your drinks into the

theatre to enjoy right along with the show.

June 12 - 14 // slolittletheatre.org

KIDS’ CITY FARM DAY

Help plant the Three Sisters Garden

for summertime crops of corn-beansquash.

We will also be planting

other summertime favorites like

sunflowers, tomatoes, peppers and

pumpkins in Our Global Family

children’s garden.

June 27 // slobg.org


MUSIC DIRECTOR

JULY

BLUES BASEBALL FIREWORKS

Since 1946, Blue’s Baseball has been

a tradition of San Luis Obispo. This

family-friendly setting offers plenty

of games and activities for the kids,

as well as a concession stand and beer

truck. The fireworks show will begin

immediately following the game.

July 3 // bluesbaseball.com

FESTIVAL MOZAIC

Celebrating its 45th Anniversary, the 2015

Summer Festival features orchestra, chamber

music, fringe concerts, notable encounters,

family events and other musical and social

events for you to enjoy.

July 16 – 26 // festivalmozaic.com

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LAVENDER FESTIVAL

Enjoy tastes of lavender cuisine, sampling

of lavender oils, dipping sauces, lavender

ice cream, and lavender education,

lavender growing, and sustainable farming

practices throughout the county.

July 11 // cclavenderfestival.com

SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL

The Filipponi Ranch is once again

hosting the Central Coast Shakespeare

Festival. Pack a picnic and bring

low-back chairs. Filipponi Ranch and

Cronologie wines will be available for

sale by the glass and bottle.

July 16 – August 8

centralcoastshakespeare.org

ROCK TO PIER FUN RUN

2015 marks the 46th year of the Brian

Waterbury Memorial Rock to Pier

Fun Run. This six-mile event is held

entirely on the beach from Morro

Rock to the Cayucos Pier and is open

to participants of all ages and abilities.

July 18 // leaguelineup.com/rock2pier

SUMMER

MUSIC

FESTIVAL

JULY 16-26,

2015

Celebrating 45 Years of

Bringing Great

Music to Life.

Scott Yoo, Music Director

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jun/jul 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 89


| THE LAST WORD

OPINION

Mindful Development

BY ROSEMARY CANFIELD

NIMBY. Not in my backyard. It’s a term you hear a lot around San Luis

Obispo County these days. Between dormitories and big box stores, it

seems there is always a project creating discussion around town. Various

neighborhoods and communities appear to be in a constant struggle with

developers—often from out of town—who want to capitalize on the land

and beauty of our area. We frequently see the headline, realize the project

is miles away, and turn the page.

What if the proposed development wasn’t some remote possibility in

someone else’s neighborhood, but something that would impact residents

and visitors to the entire Central Coast? What if said development opened

a ‘Pandora’s Box’ of projects that have been queued-up waiting for the lid

to be lifted on a wave of construction, traffic, and use of limited resources.

The Pandora’s Box is about to be cracked with the potential of five

mega-projects proposed in and around Avila Beach. These projects have

the real potential of impacting our entire community, by limiting access

to the beach, developing currently zoned open space, and overloading

infrastructure that is already challenged by the growth we have seen in

recent years. If you hike, mountain bike, surf, kayak, camp or just go to the

beach in SLO County, these projects are in your backyard.

Wild Cherry Canyon is a swath of land that would be the cornerstone

in a preserve reaching from Morro Bay and Montaña de Oro to Avila

Beach. Part of the Irish Hills area, the Nature Conservancy and other

organizations have been working to conserve this area since 2000.

Kara Woodruff has been a leader in this effort and along with many

local residents is not opposed to development in Avila completely,

however, she is opposed to the type of rapid growth these projects entail.

Woodruff says, “Avila Beach and its environs are at a crossroads. Unless

the community stands up to protect the quality of life for residents and

visitors, the development of Wild Cherry Canyon and other projects will

forever and irrevocably alter the life and feel of this area. If you don’t like

this outcome, tell your supervisor and urge his/her support of a better

way: conservation.”

There is a common element to each of the proposed developments

going on in Avila and other beach communities along the Central

Coast. Property owners have purchased land zoned as Agricultural or

Designated Open Space. Since these lands are not to be developed for

commercial use when sold, they are appraised and purchased for a much

lower amount than if they were zoned otherwise. Property owners then

begin to make development plans based on convincing the County

Supervisors to re-zone the land to meet their needs and allow use of the

land that was not originally intended.

In Wild Cherry Canyon, the 2,400 acre parcel is zoned Agricultural and

with that designation supports the development of about 50 homes—the

proposed project could increase this to 1,500. The Chevron Tank Farm

property has industrial waste to clear before it could be used and such

limited access that the proposed development would require parking

along Avila Beach Drive. The Avila Beach Golf Course currently pushes

the envelope of its zoning by holding major events without a special use

permit through an agreement the owner made with the County Board

of Supervisors long ago, wherein promoters donate a small percentage

of sales to a non-profit. This has allowed many large-scale events that

challenge the safety and infrastructure of Avila Beach and surrounding

communities. What started out as an agreement to provide a venue for

a local non-profit has been applied to many for-profit entities bringing

tremendous traffic and crowds to Avila on the weekends throughout the

year. During these events, traffic backs up on Avila Beach Drive to the

101, and concertgoers often leave a path of trash behind. Smaller scale

projects on properties along Ontario Road and Shell Beach Road share

this pattern of builders moving forward without proper re-zoning. The

owner of an Ontario Road parcel has continued pre-development work

while facing only small fees added on to this future project.

So why should residents who live in San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles, or

Oceano, be concerned about these proposed developments in Avila? There

are several outcomes of this pattern of developers asking for forgiveness

rather than permission as they move forward with plans based on the

hopes of re-zoning the land purchased as Agricultural or Open Space. If

these developers are successful in their efforts to re-zone the land, other

neighborhoods and open space throughout the county could experience

the same rapid growth proposed in Avila.

The mega-development of these parcels also threatens the very qualities

of life on the Central Coast that create its unique character. The Wild

Cherry Canyon project as proposed would literally triple the population of

Avila Beach and destroy the character of the community while removing

a critical piece of open space from public use and access. Developers have

not proposed meaningful mitigation for the seemingly obvious issues of

scarce water, emergency access and traffic safety confronting these projects.

If the Board of Supervisors authorizes

re-zoning in these Avila projects, they set

a precedent for this type of development to

occur throughout the county. Residents who

purchased homes backing up to open space or

agricultural land throughout the county could

find themselves facing developers in their own

backyards.

The Central Coast is a unique gem in a state

filled with urban sprawl and parking lots.

Mindful development is crucial to retaining

the character and nature of this area and all

residents are stakeholders in zoning changes

proposed by outside and local developers.

The continued development of our coastal

access areas will create a zone of exclusivity

and destroy the nature of what it is to live

on and explore the Central Coast. These

proposed developments could begin a wave

of development without regard to the natural

resources we so value here in our community.

ROSEMARY CANFIELD has

lived on the Central Coast

for 22 years. An elementary

school teacher by profession,

she has taught at Bellevue-

Santa Fe Charter School

and St. Patrick’s Catholic

School. Along with her

husband, Craig, she has

raised three children locally.

When not writing, she can be

found volunteering, running,

swimming, and teaching yoga.

If you would like to have The Last Word email us your 1,000 word opinion to info@slolifemagazine.com

90 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Jun/Jul 2015


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| 91


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