What is going on with the City Council? The council’s 3 to 2 vote on May 6 in favor of building a parking lot in Mitchell Park for the seniors who frequent the senior center was shocking. The council voted as it did despite the recommendations of three advisory commissions and a 5-to-1 ratio of citizen speakers who opposed the building of the lot. Andrew Carter, who voted to construct the parking lot, said he was raised to respect his elders. And Paul Brown stated in his summary how irritating he finds it that the issue has been “spun” to seem like a greater problem than it is. The mayor appeared to have already made up his mind on the issue.
Those of us who want to “Save Mitchell Park” do not at the same time oppose services for seniors. In fact, we support the development of a senior center somewhere in San Luis Obispo that will not require the use of designated parkland for parking cars. We are not “spinning” the issue when we say we want to see responsible land use in our city or when we want to see encouragement of alternatives to transportation, such as carpooling, use of public transport, and walking. The advent of a parking lot at the senior center may actually promote more driving by seniors who choose to come to the center in their cars, only to drive through the lot and discover that all the spaces are taken.
Was it wise for the Tribune to trivialize the opposition to the building of the lot? We think not.
-- Nancy Dwyer - Ruth Goodnow