Mayor Martin discusses high school unrest, heavy rains
Well, it was a stressful week in Paso Robles. Unrest on the high school campus, heavy rains, people plucked from the river. Let’s talk about it.
Fights on campus and a gun threat caused quite a bit of concern recently at Paso Robles High School. When I started receiving visits, phone calls and emails from concerned residents I correctly anticipated that citizens would attend our March 20th City Council to speak about the incidents. I set aside a period of time at the beginning of the meeting for a report from our Police Department and representatives from the schools. Chief Burton explained how the City responded with officers on campus during the previous and how details were still under investigation. Schools Superintendent Chris Williams filled in with information from his office’s perspective. The San Luis Obispo County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. James Brescia, also visited to thank the City for its assistance.
But I didn’t make time at the meeting just for these reports. I knew from the frequency and tenor of the reports I received that citizens would want to voice their questions and concerns. For more than 40 minutes that’s just what they did. At the conclusion of their comments I reminded everyone that communication is key to handling difficult situations and that they should contact Paso Robles Schools and their school board members. For myself, I have reported to the School District, in writing, the concerns voiced to me and will continue to do so. I also reminded everyone that we need to teach our sons and daughters that violence is not the way to settle differences. The issue of campus security will continue to be an important priority for the schools and the city.
Heavy rains swelled the Salinas River, trapping 10 people in the swift-moving water. Emergency service personnel make periodic sweeps in the riverbed in an attempt to keep it clear of folks who choose to live there. Just last week, those encountered were warned of the impending storm and the likelihood of flooding. The rains hit, the river rose, and 10 people who had refused to vacate were pulled from the water. CalFire, California Highway Patrol, San Luis Ambulance and others assisted our police and fire. To date, no fatalities have been reported. Those rescued who required treatment were transported to Twin Cities Community Hospital. The operation temporarily constricted the Niblick and 13th Street Bridges. Rock slides on South River Road necessitated closing that street, further exacerbating the traffic situation. Thankfully, we came through it well. Our thanks go out to all emergency personnel and the citizenry who acted so responsibly to find alternate travel routes and maintain the safety on our streets.
In other matters, we have received strong response to a survey gauging the interest in a co-working facility in the community. Such a facility would provide office and conference space at affordable rates. More than 280 people responded saying they loved the idea. If we are able to capitalize on this unmet need it will be an important first step towards achieving our economic development goals.
The City of Paso Robles has completed five full years of Supplemental Sales Tax road repair projects and on February 20, 2018 the Paso Robles City Council approved new projects for the next phase of funding. Since 2012, over 100 streets have been repaired or replaced entirely, with construction and/or repairs to begin early this summer on 40 more streets. It’s a big job, but it’s getting done! For more information about what’s going on in the city check out our regular newsletter at www.prcity.com.
Paso Robles high school students made a big impression recently when the Youth Commission presented information supporting its request that the City Council re-visit the issue of Styrofoam use in the city. Previously, the Council had tabled the discussion. As the result of the Youth Commission presentation, the City Council directed staff to put the issue back on the agenda at a future meeting. You can learn more about the Youth Commission by visiting their page at www.prcity.com.
The City Council has authorized the final design for a pipeline system that will carry recycled water to intensive water users (golf courses, etc.) When the pipeline is finished, our city will have the capacity to return as much water to the ground as we take out each year. This is a significant accomplishment in water management nearly unparalleled in this area.
The City Council has also approved the second and final reading for an urgency ordinance that will insure legal operators who deliver medical marijuana products can continue to function while a permanent ordinance to insure compliance with new State rules is put in place.
Until next we blog, here’s to you Paso Robles!