What the SLO Tribune would not print

Ken Schwartz

OPINION by KEN SCHWARTZ

Make no mistake Tom Fulks, I wholeheartedly support Keith Gurnee for San Luis Obispo mayor!

Despite your random flauntings of Keith’s standings on various frivolous issues, you conveniently overlook Keith’s creative talent. Keith is a talented professional city planner and urban designer. A talent sorely missing in our current council.

I first knew Keith as a student in Cal Poly’s newly created city and regional planning program. Then, suddenly, there was Keith sitting on our City Council – the first Cal Poly student so elected.

Fulks forgets to mention that Gurnee was a flaming liberal at the time and drove conservative council members nuts. But, make no mistake, Gurnee was a participator: his vote helped complete Mission Plaza from the Warden Bridge to the Art Center – just one of many positive actions he took as a councilman.

I have been greatly surprised by Fulks as well as former Mayor Jan Marx and former Chamber of Commerce Executive Dave Garth – all “professionals”- who have stooped to snide remarks rather than concentrating on Keith’s five productive years on our council and providing their analysis of accomplishments and failures so as to give voters their analysis of Keith’s actual council record. All three chose to take the low road and snipe. Shame!

Part of being a good community planner requires having a “design sense.” A sense not found in science or engineer or accountant types of people who always expect 2+2 to equal 4. Not so with “designers,” 2+2 will often equal 17, or 3 or 214. This is what makes symphonies different, Rembrandts different, a Piscaso different. It’s what makes a city different.

And, yes, cities are designed by humans. If those humans are 2+2 = 4 types, their city is likely to be ho-hum. If “designer types” are involved, the resultant city will likely sing.

Keith Gurnee is a designer type! When Gurnee is Mayor, expect or city to sing again!

Sure, like most, I would have made different decisions on the issues Fulks raises, but those issues are so trivial to the dire issues SLO faces. Without action a 35-year storm will flood neighborhoods and downtown again.

Vital are a new police station and a fifth fire station; widening of key arterial streets; dredging of Laguna Lake; and more parking to service downtown commerce. Critical are development of our fledgling Cultural Center; systemizing downtown vehicular traffic; working with the School Board to improve home/school physical relationships, and updating of water treatment and waste water treatment facilities.

A competent mayor must insure that tax funds are adequate to meet personnel and new facility needs; resist state legislative dictates that diminish local control of land use; and work with Cal Poly on mutual issues.

These are the problems Keith Gurnee has the ability to solve. This is where his professional skills shine. These are the decisions he will be confident in taking that will help return San Luis Obispo to its premier position in this, our wonderous Middle Kingdom.

I want to see and hear San Luis Obispo sing again. That’s why I am voting Keith Gurnee, for our mayor. I urge you to vote for Keith Gurnee.

Ken Schwartz is a former San Luis Obispo mayor and a fellow of the American Institute of Architects.

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