Five Cities NIMBYs were out in full force on April 23, railing against the SLO County Board of Supervisors to not fund a project that the county's Homeless Services Oversight Council recommended it fund. And it was a sight to behold.
I'm sure 3rd District Supervisor Adam "I Miss My Little Minx" Hill would have loved to hear from his favorite constituent, T. Keith Gurnee, but alas, the King of the NIMBYs was nowhere to be found. He's probably too busy gearing up for his next opinion piece about how shitty New Times is and what a gasbag The Shredder is (that's me!). Send it our way, man. The editor of this liberal rag that's been hanging around for far too long, Camillia "I Ain't From Around Here" Lanham, said she would love to run it.
Hill, instead, suffered through hours of discussion about whether a good chunk of this county's allocation of state Homeless Emergency Aid Program monies should go to the contentious 5Cities Homeless Coalition project planned for a Grover Beach church in a residential area. On deck—potentially, maybe someday in the future, but who knows really—is low-income housing and homeless services (It's so weird to put housing in a residential area, I know!).
Who knew this cluster of madness would ensue? I bet Hill did. This sort of thing has happened before you know.
Oh, and I did, too—especially after hundreds of finger-waggers signed a petition against the project going in at that particular site, Hillside Church, titled "Don't allow homeless facilities in a residential neighborhood." Yeah! Don't you know they're homeless? It means they don't have residences. So, duh, they can't be in a residential neighborhood. Then, they might not be homeless anymore, so how's that going to work? What will we label them as then?
Just so everyone knows, the same arguments are posited every time there's a proposed project people don't like on the public table.
"We didn't know! We were never notified!" Joe Public Commenter bellows into the microphone.
"It will change the neighborhood!" Nancy NIMBYson stammers through spittle.
News flash! You do know. You are literally speaking at a public meeting about the project.
And everything that happens in a neighborhood changes it. That's basically the one thing a human (or a piece of office machinery) can rely on, remember? Change has been a part of existence since the beginning of time. You don't like it?! Hand over your cell phone, hitch up those saggy britches, and get your ass out into the country so you can grow or chase down your own food. And while you're at it, you should maybe read that story New Times wrote about natural building a couple of weeks ago because you're going to need it!
What the fine folks of the Five Cities didn't seem to realize was that the Board of Supervisors wasn't actually voting on the project—on April 23, its job was to allocate or not to allocate dollars. Thank goodness 1st District Supervisor John "I'm Full of Surprises" Peschong brought his A-game to the dais that day! To my shock and awe, Peschong came in clutch!
His usual gal-pals 4th District Supervisor Lynn "We Need a Mediator for this" Compton and 5th District Supervisor Debbie "This Wasn't Vetted" Arnold were definitely not about this particular project to aid the homeless. Too bad they couldn't stop the meeting for a short recess to give the 5Cities Homeless Coalition and Peoples' Self-Help Housing a good talking to for riling up the Coalition of the Anywhere But Heres (I hear they only do that when cannabis is on the line).
Peschong, though, deviated from the conservative three-pack to inform the room that land-use jurisdiction over this particular property is up to Grover Beach and that the ultimate decision is up to that particular city council. As Compton and Arnold lobbied to put strings on the money—a classic play out of the conservative hypocrite's handbook—he said he didn't want them. Wait, what? You're blowing my mind, man.
Meanwhile, several Five Cities residents raised concerns that there were going to be homeless people wandering their streets, which also blew my mind because there already are homeless people wandering the streets. That's why y'all need to offer up some more homeless services and affordable housing in South County!
And here's another news flash: Allocating money to a project doesn't mean it's going to move forward. There are so many freaking hoops involved in planning any project. As a liberal, I'll admit, it's a bit ridiculous (sorry guys!)—but you hypocrites out there only don't like the steps when they apply to your own crap. When they're foisted upon a project you can't stand, you're all about it and you say there aren't enough!
Grover Beach Mayor Jeff Lee even told supervisors "if and when" the project ever does come forward, every NIMBY out there will get an opportunity to put in their five dollars worth of comments (OK, he didn't say it quite like that, but I gotta dress things up for this column or people will think I'm going soft). Grover Beach, he said with pride, has already turned down a grant that was allocated for a conference center.
So there, you lot of NIMBYs. Storm the Grover Beach City Council. Lee is practically begging for it. Δ
The Shredder is all about castle-storming. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.