Opinion by A.Z. Duesenberg
Open letter to SLO County supervisors Debbie Arnold and Lynn Compton:
I am writing due to the deplorable state of the History Center of San Luis Obispo County which is largely funded by SLO County taxpayers. The History Center has experienced some difficult times in the past, but nothing as severe as today given their current personnel crisis.
Things are now so bad at the History Center today that I’m beginning to question two things.
First, are the historical materials entrusted to the History Center being archived in a professionally suitable manner? One that will guarantee the resources for future generations?
Second, what are taxpayers really getting for their money? Where does it actually go?
The problems in my opinion are manifold, beginning with a politically partisan and activist board of directors who are working to steer the History Center away from its stated mission and into a political action committee to suit their personal political choices. A highly divisive executive director (who was fired last week) that simply lacked the ability and background to do the job. Outside pressures from at least one wealthy benefactor driving the SLO “Wine History Project” which impacts all of the History Center. The inability to retain capable staff (two valued members quit last week), plus a number of other factors.
Please consider initiating a financial and operational audit of the History Center. Based on the findings, I would then ask for the county’s assistance in removing the partisan political influence from the History Center’s current board of directors, and for help recruiting a solid, new executive director.
If the County doesn’t step in and help, things will never really improve.
Thank you for your time. You were both chosen to receive this email based on your reputations for fairness and your ability to get things done.