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Looking Back to March 1932: City council passes oleomargarine tax 

Looking Back Paso Robles

This look back at Paso Robles history comes from local newspapers in the Paso Robles Area Historical Society collection. News for this column is selected with the assistance of Research Director Jan Cannon. Newspaper photography by GiGi Green.

Excerpts from the Wednesday, March 09, 1932, Paso Robles Advertiser

City council passes oleomargarine ordinance with 3-2 vote

The city council followed the action of the board of supervisors in session Monday night when they passed an ordinance levying a yearly tax of $200 upon the sale of butter substitute.

Before the question was brought to a vote, Councilman Liddle and C.E. Andrews, representing the dairy interests, argued back and forth for almost half an hour, Liddle denouncing the ordinance as discriminatory, and Andrews defending it at every turn. Noyes brought out the fact that Canadian markets do not sell butter substitutes and brought up the tariff question.

The following petition was read:

“We the undersigned merchants are in sympathy with the movement initiated by the Dairy Department of the San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau to license dealers in oleomargarine in the county of San Luis Obispo and by incorporated cities in the county.

Paso Robles Mercantile, by William Claassen.
Bay’s United Market, by A.A. Bay.
Earl I Colt.
R.B. Fanning.
George F. Bell.

Paso Robles taxes oleo 1932

A.A. Bay appeared before the board and stated, “While I signed the petition I am not 100% for it.” He declared he had signed as much out of policy as anything else. It was further brought to the attention of the board by Liddle, that Colt’s signature could not be accepted as representing the Safeway Stores, but only as an individual.

Nelson announced himself in favor of the ordinance on the strength of the support of the farm bureaus.

Have given the move. Orcutt and Smith were non-committal concerning their stand.

Nelson took the initiative in moving that the ordinance be accepted by the councilmen. The motion received no second for some moments, and upon being called again by Mayor Smith, Noyes gave it a second. The councilmen voted individually as follows:

Liddle – No.
Nelson – Yes.
Noyes – Yes.
Orcutt – No.
Smith – Yes.

City Attorney Webster gave his legal opinion on the ordinance saying: “It is invalid because it is prohibitive.” He expressed the opinion that a referendum would be called to place the measure to the vote of the people for ratification or rejection. He instructed the clerk to wait the full 30 days allowed before giving the ordinance out for printing.

The board of supervisors passed an ordinance placing a $200 yearly tax on the selling of the oleomargarine during their meeting Monday afternoon. San Luis Obispo has already legislated against the oleo, but placed the tax at $30 per quarter instead of $50. Arroyo Grande is considering the question.

The Associated Oil Company was granted its petition to erect a 450-barrel storage tank at the company’s plant near 24th Street.

City Attorney Webster was authorized to institute a civil suit against Frank Cummings, a local druggist for any monies due the city. Cummings owes the city $80 in past due liquor selling license. He protested the license on the grounds that he pays a license to sell prescription drugs, and that the liquor would come under that category, and also he does not sell enough to make up the $80 license. He bargained with the council, saying that he would pay the $25 due for t his year’s license, providing the city would drop the $80 claim.

A.J. Beaty, who at the last meeting accepted the city assessorship for the current year for a consideration of $150 for the whole time, declined to accept the post for that sum, and asked for a larger amount. As $250 was paid for the work to him last year, it was finally agreed that he would be offered $200.

A representative of the Santa Maria Pipe Co., was present to quote approximate cost figures for the laying of 294 feet of concrete across the slough from test well No. 3, work on which is now in progress. He was asking to communicate with the board later and submit a bid for the work, in case it should be found necessary to have such a line constructed.

Read previous Looking Back articles

Thank you to the sponsors of Looking Back

Paso Robles Pioneer Museum – Come take a real look back into local Paso Robles history. Open Thursday through Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. 2010 Riverside Ave., Paso Robles, CA 93446, (805) 239-4556.

Estrella Warbird Museum is an aviation museum dedicated to the restoration and preservation of military aircraft, vehicles, and memorabilia. Woodland Auto Display is also open. Hours: Thursday through Sunday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.. 4251 Dry Creek Road, Paso Robles, CA 93446,, (805) 227-0440.

Creative Concrete & Design delivers the highest level of professional concrete work. Operating in San Luis Obispo County since 2002, Karl Rush brings 35 years of concrete experience to every job and will ensure that you receive the very best quality work. Over the years they have completed a great many works on residential homes. They are very creative and willing to explore options for your next project. Concrete projects have many factors to consider to bring your vision to life., (805) 896-1384.

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1800 El Pomar is the site of a historic Templeton ranch located just three miles east of town. The property features an iconic, aged redwood barn, 3-story tank house, original farmhouse with an outdoor garden, original water tank structures, and many other original ranch buildings. Set on 20+ acres of vineyards, the 360-degree views of rolling oak-studded hills and surrounding vines are a photographer’s dream. A prime ceremony location exists in the vineyards behind the barn between two beautiful oaks. The northwest-facing location creates plenty of shade for your guests in an early to late afternoon setting. A perfect venue with plenty of open space to customize your wedding or event.

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About the author: Reporter Jackie Iddings

Jackie Iddings is a contributing reporter and photographer for the Paso Robles Daily News.