SLO LIFE Magazine Jun/Jul 2015

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Anthony Brizzolara

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jun/jul 2015 | S l O l IFE Magaz I n E | 5 1790 Verde Canyon Rd., Arroyo Grande $1,500,000 1749 San Luis Dr., San Luis Obispo $989,000 844 Bougainvillea, San Luis Obispo $559,000 1471 Gulf Street, San Luis Obispo $525,000 4850 Davis Canyon, San Luis Obispo $759,000 9080 San Gabriel, Atascadero $599,000
8 | S l O l IFE Magaz I n E | j un/ j ul 2015 SLOLIFE magazine 28 CONTENTS Volume 6 Number 3 Jun/Jul 2015 ERIC SODERQUIST We gained a unique perspective after talking with this surfer turned artist. Publisher’s Message Info In Box 12 14 16 View Minds were blown and records broken with this incredible shot taken along a Portuguese shoreline. Timeline Come along with us as we look back at the most recent newsworthy events from in and around the Central Coast. 22 24


San Luis Obispo City Councilman Dan Carpenter stops by to fill us in on what it’s like to walk in his shoes.

On The Rise

San Luis Obispo High School senior and ASB President John-o Roberts shares his experiences with a wicked sense of humor.


Shane Rabant expresses his perspective with a unique style he dubs “New Impressionism.”

Out and About

Jeanette Trompeter reveals the Harmony Headlands trail and discovers its beauty.

Now Hear This

After trekking through a few of the western states recording an acoustic album, The Simple Parade, is home and ready to share their unique sound with the Central Coast.

Behind The Scenes

In honor of marking five years in business, the SLO LIFE staff decided we had a few questions that needed answering about the way things work around here.

Special Feature

We try to gain some insight as we take a tough look at homelessness and its impact locally.


The Charles Paddock Zoo in Atascadero offers a delightfully educational afternoon for adults and children alike.


We all know it’s important to slow down and relax. But, being bored? We’ll tell you why you should be, and how to start.


Nestled on a quiet San Luis Obispo cul-desac, this modern design is the perfect home for two Cal Poly Math profs and their kids.

Real Estate

We share the year-to-date statistics of home sales for both the city and the county of San Luis Obispo.


With summer upon us Chef Jessie Rivas shares his favorite grilled whole chicken recipe.


Check out the calendar to discover fun-filled events around the Central Coast during June and July.

The Last Word

Rosemary Canfield discussed growth and development on the Cental Coast and argues that, in this case, it’s important to say, “Not in my backyard.”

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86 88 90
78 80


Sometimes you are not ready for great advice when you hear it. That was the case with me when I was fresh out of college working my first “real job.”

My cubicle was across the hallway within earshot of the company’s top executive. Because she was positively “killing it” in business, I would often crane my neck to listen in on her conversations, hoping to glean a few tips. As far as I could tell, Paige never said anything particularly remarkable, and never did anything out of the ordinary. The only thing that was noticeably different than the other “old guys” was that she always seemed to be happy, always laughing. Nothing ever bothered her; it was as if she was waltzing through life cloaked in an invisible force field.

One day, I finally mustered the courage to ask her to lunch. I was determined to discover her secret to success. “Uh, Paige. I’m Tom, the guy who sits over there,” I said, nervously pointing toward my cube. “I had some questions, and I was wondering if I could maybe buy you lunch today?” She smiled broadly, “Of course, it’s not every day that an old lady like me gets asked out on a date,” she laughed. “Only two conditions: I drive, and I buy.”

It seemed to take a lifetime for her to unpile all of the random papers, bills, and wrappers from the passenger seat of her brand new fire engine red Nissan 240SX. Not the least bit embarrassed, she brushed away some hair left behind by her dog and said, “Alright, have a seat. Sushi sound good?” We darted in and out of San Francisco traffic, becoming nearly airborne as we crested some of the steepest hills. Then her phone rang. It was an early version brick-like cellular phone, but it did have a speaker. On the other end was the company’s CEO, “Paige, I’m calling to congratulate you. Again, you are this quarter’s top performer. Second place wasn’t even close. That makes it seven quarters in a row.”

As we sat down together at the newest, hipster sushi joint, looking up from my California Roll, I said meekly, “I was wondering if, maybe, you might be able to tell me how you have been able to do so well. I mean, I guess, what is your secret to success?” Setting her chopsticks down gingerly and wiping the corners of a knowing smile she said, “It’s very simple: Be grateful.” She then launched into a long explanation, reasoning that gratitude was the ultimate secret to success for everything in life and business. “Think about it,” she said. “Everything in your life—successes and setbacks—is just another opportunity for you to learn and improve. You should be grateful for both, not just success. And, if you look at it that way, you will never fail. It’s important to work very hard at something you love, of course, but you also have to learn to want what you already have.” This was not the speech I expected to hear. I thought I was in for an hour of insider trading that would propel me straight to the top, but I lurked back to my lowly cubicle that afternoon with advice that sounded an awful lot like “lower the bar” to me. I was more clueless than I was before, and it would be another 15 years before her words would make any sense.

In the summer of 2012, I was flipping through an issue of Inc. Magazine when I found a short article with an irresistible title: “True Secret to Success (It’s Not What You Think).” The first line revealed that the secret was gratitude. “People who approach life with a sense of gratitude are constantly aware of what’s wonderful in their life,” Geoffrey James explained. “And when things do not go as planned, people who are grateful can put failure in perspective.” I immediately thought of Paige as I had a “Karate Kid moment.” You know, the scene where Mr. Miyagi has Danielson work on his house? Danielson, expecting to learn karate, finally gets fed up, disillusioned, confused, and starts yelling at Mr. Miyagi. Then, Mr. Miyagi commands his student, “Danielson, show me paint fence!” Danielson makes the motion of “paint fence” as Mr. Miyagi throws a punch, and for the first time he realizes that he has learned an invaluable defensive karate move. That’s how I felt when I read that article. Paige had taught me everything I needed to know. I was just too young and too inexperienced to understand it at the time. Up until that point I had not had enough bad to go with all the good, so I was unable to really appreciate either one. In other words, I had not yet lived enough life and experienced enough setbacks to fully grasp the beauty of it all, good and bad, success and failure, darkness and light.

This issue marks the five year anniversary for SLO LIFE Magazine, and I do not have the words to adequately express to you how grateful I am that we have arrived at this milestone. To our advertisers, who have made this possible, and to our subscribers, as well as everyone who has had a hand in producing this magazine during our first five years, I offer a very humble, “Thank you.” We would not be able to do this without your support—and for that, I am eternally grateful.

Live the SLO Life!

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SLOLIFE magazine



Tom Franciskovich


Sheryl Disher


Jeanette Trompeter

Paden Hughes

Dawn Janke

Jessie Rivas

Rosemary Canfield


Chris Bersbach

Trevor Povah

Chris Burkard

Mike Jones

Brad Daane


Have some comments or feedback about something you’ve read here? Or, do you have something on your mind that you think everyone should know about? Submit your story ideas, events, recipes and announcements by visiting us online at and click “Share Your Story” or email us at Be sure to include your full name and city for verification purposes. Contributions chosen for publication may be edited for clarity and space limitations.


If you would like to advertise, please contact Tom Franciskovich by phone at (805) 543-8600 or by email at or visit us online at and we will send you a complete media kit with loads of testimonials from happy advertisers.


Ready to live the SLO Life all year long? It’s quick and easy! Just log on to It’s just $24.95 for the year. And don’t forget to set your friends and family up with a subscription, too. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!

Nicole Pazdan, CSA,


The opinions expressed within these pages do not necessarily reflect those of SLO LIFE Magazine. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part without the expressed written permission of the publisher.


Complete details regarding circulation, coverage and advertising rates, space, sizes and similar information are available to prospective advertisers. Please call or email for a media kit. Closing date is 30 days before date of issue.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR 4251 S. Higuera Street, Suite 800 San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

Letters chosen for publication may be edited for clarity and space limitations.

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jun/jul 2015 | S

You said it...

The article in the April/May edition FAIR STUDENT HOUSING using the inspiration of the UC Santa Cruz campus housing to help with Cal Poly’s housing dilemma was excellent, as was the previous article on the financing programs available to develop such a plan. What better way to add to the uniqueness of Cal Poly? President Armstrong, like all college presidents, would like an administrative feather in his cap, but following the typical route of simply increasing enrollment pales in comparison to the terrific suggestions put forward in these SLO Life articles.

I grew up in SLO and attended UCSC the same time as your publisher, during the Santa Cruz housing crisis, and now am a homeowner raising my family here. As a Banana Slug, I lived in the dorms (Cowell), on-campus apartments (Crown-Merrill), off-campus by the boardwalk with 5 people in a 2 bedroom condo, and with a roommate in a converted garage with a shared bathroom (my bathroommate lived in a space the size of a large walk in closet). Until reading this month’s FAIR STUDENT HOUSING article I hadn’t given much thought into recreating the UCSC model here in terms of its diversified housing (UCSC also has on campus studentfamily housing and faculty housing). Cal Poly can, and should use its vast real estate to create exactly what Tom Franciskovich has envisioned. What a great way to utilize the great minds of Cal Poly by having students design and build these micro communities

for future students (and themselves as future adults raising kids here) to benefit?

Campus life at UCSC has similar opportunities including mountain biking, hiking, access to open space, but Cal Poly seems to lack some of the community that is created by having livable spaces designed for unique personalities. The new upper class housing seems to be a step in the right direction, but this needs to be taken exponentially to the next level (and use unique and local eateries instead of chains). Thank you SLO LIFE for keeping this conversation going.

Secondly, kudos to AUBRIE HILSTEIN LUIZ for her brutally honest interview. Our community is lucky she made it through alive and that she has chosen to stay here to support those struggling with addiction. Wishing you continued happiness and success in your future.

If Cal Poly merely adds more students while SLO adds more housing, what is to prevent that new housing as well as existing city housing from deteriorating into crowded, unhealthy student rentals, if the underlying cause of inadequate housing on the Cal Poly campus is not addressed? Keeping with the status quo only spreads the problem of deteriorating and dying family neighborhoods. Providing adequate student housing on the Cal Poly campus opens up new housing areas and former student rentals at affordable prices to working SLO citizens who now must live in the outlying areas.

Please pursue this idea on all fronts. It is excellent for both the city, the students and the university. Granted, people currently renting overcrowded spaces to students at exorbitant prices will not be happy and some of the too numerous bars will lose some patrons. What is most important is the health and well-being of the total city/campus intertwined community. From Cal Poly’s perspective alone, enhanced campus cohesion and identity, improved student life, and quality accommodations, student villages and housing like Tom Franciskovich suggested have enormous advantages. We could all take pride in this arrangement.

16 | S l O l IFE Magaz I n E | j un/ j ul 2015 | IN BOX

In the April/May FAIR STUDENT HOUSING article SLO

Life addresses Cal Poly student numbers living on and off campus. In comparing similar needs between university’s located in Santa Cruz and SLO (page 66) you state: “Both rely heavily on its host city’s resources in terms of housing, emergency services, water, transportation, and infrastructure.” Expounding on just these five areas impacting SLO would be quite illuminating but a challenge. Reading further; on page 72 you pose the question: “Where will the water come from?” Might WATER be the subject of the next SLO LIFE?

Thank you for the tremendous press attention you are giving these issues.

Thank you for your insightful reporting on the student housing model offered by UC Santa Cruz for Cal Poly. I think it has merit for consideration as Cal Poly goes through its Master Plan update. I believe that the concept of an on-campus “Greek Village” floated recently by Cal Poly’s President Armstrong is a step in the right direction. To be fair, I do think one aspect of the tension faced by both Cal Poly and SLO is that both are caught at the crossroads between a rural tradition and urban development ambitions. I would like to address one particular observation you made in comparing Santa Cruz and SLO. In the article FAIR STUDENT HOUSING you wrote: “Compared to Santa Cruz residents, who piled lawsuits on top of UCSC during its housing crisis, the townspeople of San Luis Obispo have remained remarkably docile and exceptionally tolerant.” I am confident that many of your readers are familiar with, and even participants in, the neighborhood activism that addresses diverse aspects of the town-gown housing and party-culture tensions. However, I wonder how many are aware of the Alliance for San Luis Obispo Neighborhoods (ASLON), which filed a lawsuit against the Trustees of the California State University system because CSU decided to allow Cal Poly to put its new freshman dorms at the corner of Grand and Slack, across from a vibrant elementary school site surrounded by the well-established Alta Vista and Monterey Heights neighborhoods. What is wrong with this site, and what is ironic about the new freshman dorms at that location, is that Cal Poly’s own Environmental Impact Report (EIR) admits that this location is environmentally inferior to an alternative site more interior to the campus. The EIR rationalized its location on the theory that it better promotes student success by putting all freshman close to each other and to a dining hall and that the selected site is more financially feasible than the environmentally superior site. Cal Poly’s EIR totally ignored the neighbors’ expressed fears that this site would invite significant negative impacts like the infamous St. Fratty’s Day will now forever symbolize. In other words, students’ social desires and the university’s money interests are more important to them than environmental quality and sufficient mitigation of significant negative environmental and social impacts on town-gown relationships. One more point: before ASLON was organized, activists had asked that the city’s own concerns for neighborhood wellness and land use and circulation concerns be raised by the city council more forcefully to defend against the Grand and Slack location of the new freshman dorms. Our requests were to no avail.

I just read the article FAIR STUDENT

about rentals in SLO. I live in a neighborhood that has some Cal Poly rentals and I completely agree with Tom Franciskovich. I love the idea of villages within the campus where the kids “Learn by doing.” Not only is it Cal Poly’s motto, but it follows common core as well. I’m a teacher and mother of two young girls who may one day attend Cal Poly, and I’d much rather them not live in overcrowded, overpriced and inhumane housing; but in a place where learning is happening responsibly. I hope Cal Poly takes note of the article!

It was the artwork that drew me to your FAIR STUDENT HOUSING article. It was the substance that drove me to the computer.

Your article is a gem of thought and writing. Using UCSC as a model gave us solid facts to build on:

1. UCSC put a cap on enrollment, whereas Cal Poly wants to increase enrollment significantly.

SOLUTION: Cal Poly should work out a formula similar to UCSC’s and put a cap on new enrollments instead of encouraging them.

2. UCSC’s rules regarding drinking on-campus are a legally tested model.

SOLUTION: Cal Poly should adopt UCSC’s rules regarding on-campus drinking and go one step further: EXPEL after the first violation any student who is arrested for drinking in public off-campus— and put the word out with future applications.

3. UCSC’s arrangement with the city offers a model for water consumption.

SOLUTION: Cal Poly and our city should enter into discussions that would lead to an equitable agreement on water consumption.

4. The City of Santa Cruz’s rental agreement offers a model to address the problem of neighborhoods being destroyed by student rentals.

SOLUTION: The City of San Luis Obispo should begin now to consider such an agreement. Some— not all—neighborhoods are being destroyed by student housing. As an example, we live in a nice neighborhood on Augusta Street. But recently a For Sale sign went up at a house in the next block. Also, a For Rent sign went up almost across the street from the For Sale sign. Is our neighborhood next? Where will it end?

Your article raised two questions:

1. How would your Villages plan be financed? Bonds? Student rentals in the new units? Money from the state? Donations from alumnae?

2. UCSC was founded in the Sixties, Cal Poly/SLO in 1901. Is our campus too deeply entrenched in an outdated Master Plan to change course? (As an example, just look at the gray, cement, prisonlike dorms on Grand Ave. Surely a School of Architecture could do better than that.)

Thank you for a superb analysis of the Number One problem facing our city. I look forward to reading the input from your readers.

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Thank you for your continued insightful coverage of our SLO housing crisis. I did the math from your FAIR STUDENT HOUSING statistics and found that UCSC represents 24% of the Santa Cruz population. Here in San Luis Obispo, Cal Poly represents 43% of our population.

Twenty years ago, Santa Cruz administration recognized the problem and did something about it. Today, Cal Poly administrators merely talk and hide behind their “work on a Master Plan.”

Twenty years ago, “The City of Santa Cruz passed two measures requiring UCSC to pay for the impacts of its growth in a frustrated attempt to stick up for itself and regain control of its city.” Today, SLO ignores its citizens and preens because city representatives have been invited to sit at the table on a few of Cal Poly’s committees. Unfortunately, they have yet to realize that although they are sitting at the “adult” table, they have yet to be served the mashed potatoes and gravy.

President Armstrong brags about the close working relationship with the city. Of course he is happy. Our city takes the subservient, submissive role in this unhealthy relationship.

We, the residents of SLO were abandoned by our city, even before “neighborhood wellness” was dropped as a top priority. The city failed to act responsibly and decisively even after being forced to hold a Town Hall Meeting (Spring Break 2014) where over 200 residents attended and many more

sent letters. Anger, the second phase of grief, was expressed over the passive city attitude and city refusal to seek adequate mitigation of negative impacts and increased burden to our city services associated with the construction of a 1,475-bed freshman dorm immediately adjacent to our established city neighborhoods. You remark, “...the townspeople of San Luis Obispo have remained remarkably docile and exceptionally tolerant.” It became apparent that the city had abandoned its residents and would not listen to the pleas of its residents so the Alliance of SLO Neighborhoods (ASLON) came into being. ASLON is a single-issue, non-profit, mutual benefit organization with the sole purpose of doing the work that the city abdicated—stick up for itself and regain control of the city.

ASLON had taken, with our private funds, the CSU Trustees of Cal Poly to court, challenging the validity of the Environmental Impact Report. We, private SLO residents are doing the work of the City of San Luis Obispo. We are doing the work that the City of Santa Cruz did twenty years ago. We are doing the work that the City of San Diego successfully did in April 2012.

For 18-months, the members of ASLON have been simultaneously experiencing the third and fourth stages of grief —bargaining and depression. The near future will tell whether we pass over to the final stage of acceptance and “call a Realtor.”

I was told by someone that Cal Poly does not currently fill all of its student dorm rooms. That’s awful if the college is cramming three to a dorm room. But I am not sure if what I was told was wrong or referring to the sophomore housing. I might have it all wrong. Would enjoy reading a follow-up confirming the need to put three to a dorm room and what the dorm room costs/food are?

I totally agree if we treat the students as adults they will behave in an adult manner. Your thoughts on on-campus drinking integrated with scholastic programs was insightful and an excellent idea. Thank you for your article.

Please send your photos and comments to Follow SLO LIFE on Facebook: Visit
Visit us online at Letters may be edited for content and clarity. To be considered for publication your letter must include your name, city, state, phone number or email address (for authentication purposes).


jun/jul 2015 | S l O l IFE Magaz I n E | 19 Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center celebrates its four-star rating from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey administered by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). We’re proud to be SLO County’s highest-scoring hospital and among the top 20% in California for patient satisfaction. Thank you to our patients and families for your continued trust.
Vista 1010 Murray Street, San Luis Obispo
patients rated us #1 in SLO County
20 | S l O l IFE Magaz I n E | j un/ j ul 2015 Take us with you! MO’OREA IN BOX Hey, SLO LIFE readers: Send us your photos the next time you’re relaxing in town or traveling far and away with your copy of the magazine. Email us at Send your photo to This was taken on the island of Mo’orea in French Polynesia, a small island 17 km northwest of Tahiti! — KENDRA ARONSON HONG KONG, CHINA @marvelous TURKS AND CAICOS Shout out to our son James Statton, a local musician and Cal Poly grad that lives and works in SLO. Enjoying staying up with SLO news while in Turks and Caicos! — CHRISTINE STATTON SAYULITA SLO LIFE Sayulita style! — ANDREA PAYNE & MARISA FORTINI Ask for Eddie’s list of luxury homes 805-714-7558 or visit Eddie Stanfield Member of Institute of Marketing Luxury Home Specialist Member of Century 21 International Hall of Fame BRE #00992808 Let me match your lifestyle with your dream home! Century 21 Hometown Luxury Home Specialist for The Central Coast June/July Inventory of Central Coast Homes Currently 50 Homes Available starting at $1,500,000/2,700 sq ft + SERVING: ARROYO GRANDE . ATASCADERO CAMBRIA . SAN SIMEON AVILA BEACH . CAYUCOS CRESTON . LOS ALAMOS LOS OSOS . MORRO BAY NIPOMO . PISMO BEACH PASO ROBLES . SANTA MARIA SAN LUIS OBISPO. TEMPLETON


Had a chance to sit and enjoy my new copy of SLO Life Magazine while on a recent trip to Italy. Toured Tuscany and the Italian Riviera with Ruby Shoes Wine Club. Beautiful sights, delicious food, and a very well thought out itinerary. And I got to travel with the nicest group of people, all from the Central Coast, of course!


@timmyemptypockets The mysterious little guy is Timmy. He is a Jet Setter. UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS @tomdisher Brought a little #SLOLife and great weather to #Illini — NATALIA DEMARTINI VILLA CASAFRASSI CHIANTI, TUSCANY


When Mike Jones woke up early one morning at a friend’s house in Nazaré, Portugal, he sensed that this day would be different. It had been twenty years since he last visited, but it felt like yesterday. Judging from the winds and eerie stillness about town, things were about to get interesting.

Jones, an Atascadero resident who owns and operates Azhiaziam surf shop in Morro Bay, serpentined his way through a frenetic international crowd of 500 lining a Portuguese coastline bluff. With water skyscrapers crashing below, the entire cliff bounced around as if experiencing a minor earthquake. “Insane,” Jones remembers clearly that day a few months back. “It was crazy. I’ve done a lot of surfing and seen a lot of waves, but never anything like this.”

With his camera now resting securely on a tripod further up the bluff behind the crowd, Jones began snapping away, capturing empty waves. One after another. “It was hard to judge the scale because it was just walls of water set against the expanse of the ocean.” Then, off in the distance, a jet ski towing a lone surfer was pacing a massive swell moving quickly onshore. As the surfer dropped the rope and the jet ski peeled off hard to his right, the heaviness of what was transpiring became very real. “He looked like a little flea on this mountain of water,” Jones recalls of the German wave rider. “It was scary. You realize at that point that he was in a life or death situation, for sure.”

The wave—estimated at 100 feet—was cresting just as Jones captured this image. With the surfer flying across its face, the crowd seen in the foreground next to the aging seaside castle was going nuts. Hoots and hollers during the ride and an astonished round of applause erupted when danger was escaped and the run completed. Not sure what he had captured, Jones was hopeful that he was able to keep the wave in frame—it was so large that he wasn’t sure. Also, the sea spray was heavy and had fouled 90% of his shots that day. Luckily this one worked out, as he had wiped down his 600mm lens at the perfect moment.

Later in the day, when the swell died down, Jones was feeling the buzz of adrenaline for what he had just witnessed. As he flipped through the images on his camera, his breath was taken away when he found this one. He decided to enter it into the World Surf League’s XXL Biggest Wave Award photography competition. Recently, Jones was notified that he had won the $4,000 prize money—which could not have come at a better time, considering that he and his wife have a new baby on the way. The organizers informed him that he had photographed the surfer, Sebastian Steudtner, officially riding the largest wave of the year. “I’ve been doing this for a long time,” Jones explains. “I’m sort of like a storm hunter for big waves. And I have found some good ones. But I will never forget that day in Portugal—I feel super lucky to be there and see this in person.”

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jun/jul 2015 | S l O l IFE Magaz I n E | 23

Around the County APRIL



SLO City Council adopted new rules concerning offensive smells. By a vote of 3 to 2, with Rivoire and Carpenter [more on Carpenter on page 26] voting against, the city cracked down on complaints originally stemming from medicinal marijuana cultivation. At the same time, Paso Robles struggled with an overwhelming rotten egg odor originating from Firestone Walker Brewing’s waste water ponds. After nearly two months, the brewer was finally able to contain the offensive smell.


The City of San Luis Obispo forged ahead in its decision to override the SLO County airport in its ratification of the LUCE (Land Use and Circulation Element), paving the way for development on the south end of town. A few weeks later, local policymakers began privately wringing their hands at the revelation that Pismo Beach-based developer Gary Grossman—who recently purchased Dalidio Ranch in December for $19.7 million to develop “San Luis Ranch,” a 500-home housing tract—had been the subject of a November, 2012 multi-part investigative report published by Riverside County’s newspaper of record, The Press-Enterprise, concerning his development in the Southern California town of Wildomar.


After being named Arroyo Grande’s Citizen of the Year in January, Lawrence “Lenny” Jones, a realtor, is arrested on child molestation charges following a birthday party he hosted at his home. His case involves four victims— three girls aged 6, 9, and 12, and one 3-year-old boy—and the investigation revealed that Jones was also arrested in 1995 on child molestation charges. The 63-year-old Jones remains incarcerated at SLO County Jail, where he is being held without bail pending criminal court proceedings.


The Central Coast was abuzz after Neil Young showed up to play a surprise concert at SLO Brew with Willie Nelson’s son Lukas Nelson. Lucky concertgoers paid just $10 a piece to hear the rock and roll legend play a three-hour show to a packed house of 457. The experience renewed the anxiety of local music lovers over the closing of SLO Brew’s current location—the largest live music venue in downtown—and the plans for its substantial downsizing when it reopens on Higuera Street later this fall.


By a 3-2 vote, with Debbie Arnold and Lynn Compton dissenting, the SLO County Board of Supervisors took the next step in the process to form a new Paso Robles groundwater management district. After decades of heavy use by a fast-growing wine region, groundwater had dwindled to the point where local wells have begun to run dry. With the drought now exacerbating the crisis, the county Local Agency Formation Commission will get to work in outlining the framework for a water district for which its creation will depend upon a vote by area property owners. Since the district would have an anticipated $950,000 annual operating budget, it would be supported by an estimated $2.10 per acre fee assessed to each parcel within the 774-square mile area.

24 | S l O l IFE Magaz I n E | j un/ j ul 2015 | TIMELINE


The SLO County Board of Supervisors, by a 3-2 vote, ended the effort to establish a new gravel quarry, which would have led to somewhere between 160 and 270 trucks rumbling through downtown Santa Margarita each day. Supervisors Debbie Arnold and Lynn Compton, after each offering a long, rambling advocacy for the gravel mine complete with slides and visuals, both voted in favor of the project. The final hearing, a day-long affair, was attended by a standing-room-only crowd at the County Government Center. During the vote, jubilant Santa Margarita residents carrying orange signs reading, “Please don’t override our community,” embraced in a relieved celebration.


Two homeless men in Morro Bay hatch a plot to steal a boat and sail off into the sunset. They failed to make it out of the harbor when they beached the vessel on the sand spit. Geoffrey Mark Ogara, 52, and Martin Perez Jr., 19, had only been in town for a few weeks moving to the Central Coast from an unknown location [for more on the homeless issue, see “The Will Nots” on page 70]. The men, who had ransacked the interior of the vessel named “Good News,” were charged with felony grand theft and booked at the SLO County Jail. Harbor patrol responders observe that things could have gone from bad to worse had the voyagers made it beyond the break wall and into the open ocean where their inexperience could have cost them their lives.

MAY ‘15


San Luis Obispo Chief of Police Steve Gesell was placed on paid administrative leave to begin the first steps of employment termination. Sources share that Gesell had a falling out with his boss, City Manager Katie Lichtig, over a series of disagreements in recent months, which have not been made public. Since there was no egregious breach, he was terminated “without cause,” by Lichtig, who had been the one to hire Gesell with much fanfare in 2012—at that time she said, “I am confident that Steve has the experience and skills to successfully lead the department into the future,”—she was required to negotiate a settlement, which ended up being $120,000, per the terms of the contract she granted him.


After it is was originally reported that Michael Nowak, SLO Symphony’s music director, had chosen to step down after 31 years in that role, it was learned the next day that, in fact, Nowak had been forced out by the organization’s board of directors. Following the news, the symphony’s viola section threatened to resign if Nowak was not reinstated. Additionally, the musicians publicly revealed a voted of “no confidence” in the board of directors. Ed Feingold, who has been the executive director of the organization for less than a year, found that community displeasure with the firing of the popular conductor is widespread, as longtime donors have threatened to withhold funding.


With signs reading “The Mustang has lost its way,” approximately 200 members of the Cal Poly faculty protested outside of the university’s administration building. According to the California Faculty Association, the amount of spending on Cal Poly administrators rose 43% between 2010 and 2014 while spending on faculty salaries during that period increased by just 3%. Protesting professors expressed dismay that the total number of administrators at Cal Poly had increased from 160 in 2013 to 239 in 2014. Further, they stated that the average annual salary for administrators is $107,000 versus $31,000 for lecturers, who make up about half of the faculty, and about $80,000 for professors.


SLO Superior Court Judge Martin Tangeman ruled against the Alliance of SLO Neighborhoods, which sued the California State University Board of Trustees over the proposed construction of freshman dormitories adjacent to a residential neighborhood. The 1,475-bed project now has the green light to begin construction as the Alliance claims it does not have funds to appeal the ruling. Cal Poly estimates that the new dorms will welcome its first tenants during the fall semester of 2018. Following the outcome of the lawsuit, SLO City Council heard recommendations from a “civility working group” who had been tasked with finding ways to improve relations between permanent residents and students. In his address to councilmembers, Keith Humphrey, Cal Poly’s vice president for student affairs, said “… this effort is really about culture change.”

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Public Opinion

Never hesitant to speak his mind, DAN CARPENTER is impossible to categorize. The SLO City Councilman, who recently declared his candidacy for the Board of Supervisors 3rd District, reflects on family history, local political dynamics, and the benefits that come with leaving the car at home…

You have longtime roots in the area. Tell us about the history. Well, let me go back to the mid-1800’s. Carpenter is an English name. My mother was a Serpa, which is Portuguese. Full-blooded Portuguese and a full-blooded Englishman. How they got together I will never know. [laughter] They settled in the Avila, Port Harford area. Squire Canyon, on the other side of the highway from Avila, is actually named after my great grandparents—my dad’s mother’s family name was Squire. In the late 1930’s, early 1940’s my grandfather went into business with a guy who owned Hill’s Stationery in downtown San Luis. By the mid-1940’s he bought him out. You know where FedEx/Kinko’s is right now? That’s where it landed around 1950. And that building today, my brother and I own now. My dad and my grandfather bought it in the 1960’s and kept it. And after graduating from Cal Poly in 1976 with a business degree, I went right to work for my dad in the stationery business. I was groomed for that, and worked there for almost 20 years.

You’ve been called “Dissenting Dan” for consistently falling on the losing side of the vote on council. What’s going on? I will sometimes call out things that I don’t necessarily agree with. But I sometimes call it out just to further the discussion and say, “Come on guys, you’ve got a staff giving you one recommendation. Why are we not getting two or three?” We get this one fully baked recommendation instead of two or three half-baked where we get to tweak them and say, “I kind of like that part of this one; I like the other part of this. Let’s mesh them together.” That’s good deliberation. But what our city manager has done—and she loves full control, no surprises— she throws up one fully cooked recommendation, everything is on the table. There are no alternatives. Take it or leave it. And my colleagues rubber stamp everything. This is the stuff that drives me crazy.

Can’t you all be one big, happy, dysfunctional family? [laughter] Sure. I think that Katie [Lichtig] and I have a mutual respect in the sense that she understands my role and I understand exactly where she’s coming from. As a city manager you want nothing more than full control. You don’t

want these five crazy people on council throwing curveballs right and left at you because then you look like you can’t run your business. And so she just—I can tell she just loves it—has a majority that just pretty much does what she says. She’s the sixth council member, but she doesn’t need to be because she’s got three of them, sometimes four, who let her take control. The Ashbaugh-MarxChristianson trio is just boom boom boom.

So, is all that walking around your way of blowing off steam? I live on Johnson Avenue next to French Hospital and walk downtown every morning. And I walk down every afternoon. I walk probably six to eight miles a day if I have the time. It’s about a 15-minute walk from my house to my office. I cruise by City Hall. I do whatever work I need to do there. Cruise back home. Head down after lunch to kind of run the same routine. It’s my way of doing my public service time. If you spend any time downtown you’ve seen me stopped on the street and talking to people because that’s my office time. It’s when I am out on the street. People feel comfortable stopping and talking to me. I try to allow a lot of extra time in between appointments because it just happens every day. That’s where I learn about what’s going on with people around town.

And, what would those people be surprised to know about you? Wow, what would they be surprised to know? I think the only part of me I keep somewhat private is my faith. I am a lifelong Catholic and my family has been part of the Catholic Church for generations. I am deeply committed to my faith. My faith defines me. I think that’s what people would not know; that my faith defines me. My public service doesn’t define me, my family doesn’t define me, my faith defines me; and it has deeply for my entire life. But, I have friends who are atheist and they are just as valuable in my life as anybody else. For me, I believe my faith has been predetermined before I got here and I have choices that I make during my life that will affect it, but that faith is etched in stone. I have never discussed that with another reporter or any media person. You’re the first to hear it.

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| Q&A
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Although he refers to himself as a simple “beach bum,” there is more to ERIC SODERQUIST than meets the eye. First a surfer, then a painter, the well-traveled Central Coast native shares his unique perspective on the art of life and the beauty that can only be found in nature.

et’s take it from the top, Eric. Where are you from? Alright. Yeah. Quick little breakdown. I was born on Crown Hill, Arroyo Grande in a little one-bedroom farmhouse. That was really cool. I have two older brothers. We were all born at home. My dad builds huge custom doors. People tell me, “Dude, your dad is the gnarliest craftsman.” But he’ll never say it, and he’ll work for free until he dies. He just doesn’t care about money. So, it was a very simple life growing up. But, we had it all. Creeks on both sides of our house and free reign. We had a three-pack little gang. They let us do whatever. We knew where all the fruit trees were, so we’d hit the apricots, plums, and also blackberries. We’d go up and build forts in the trees, eat our fruit, then go down and fish the creek. That was like our whole childhood, basically.

When did you discover the ocean? One day we found a boogie board on our way back from fishing at Lopez Lake. I was around four years old. We begged our mom to take us to the beach. We’d go to Oceano a lot. My dad’s partner lived down there by the sand, so we’d get dropped off and would spend the whole day down there. Then when I was ten, I started working at the Shell Beach Cafe. My aunt and uncle owned it. They gave us an old 6’10” single fin surfboard. My brothers and I would take turns with it. After a while we were entering all of the little local surf contests. We surfed every day. My brothers and I were just obsessed. We surfed our brains out all day, every day. Then, Huey, my older brother became a pro surfer and I kind of followed him. He rode for Billabong, I surfed for Hurley. And we started doing these crazy travel photo adventures. Our first trip was to Samoa. That’s when the addiction for real travel began.

You were a pro surfer? No, I wouldn’t ever say I was a pro. There was never a time where I’m like a “pro surfer.” Basically, when you’re paying taxes and you have to write where you make money, surfing was how I made my money. For me, how that begins, you just land contracts with companies. So, every time Hurley sees you wearing their logo in a magazine—this is how it works actually—they have to pay you. The amount they pay you is based on how many people read the magazine, how popular it is, or if it’s a cover shot and so on. One year I really worked on it and got something like 38 shots published. I was calling the Hurley team manager and would say, “Dude, you’ve got to pay me.” I had so many shots piling up that I finally said, “Let’s make this easy. We can break down how much money you already owe me and just do a contract instead. I won’t bother you and you won’t bother me.” So they figured out what I’d be making per year, calculated a monthly paycheck and Bob Hurley, the owner of the company, put me on salary. I was on salary for nearly three years, getting paid to just surf and cruise around with their gear. Every month the check would show up and I’m like, “Sweet!”

Nice gig. In 2001 I went to Indonesia. I think it was my sixth trip there. It took two days to get there. You land in Padang, get on a boat and take a 12-hour ride out to some remote islands off of West Sumatra. Day one or maybe day two, it was my third wave and this guy jinxed me. He’s said, “Hey, you never want to hurt your knee.” He was sitting on the boat icing his knee, and I said, “Yeah, nice jinx, dude.” It was really low tide and I just did a big roundhouse cutback and when I hit the lip the white water ball hung me up a little, and I just jumped from the top of the wave—and my left leg went into a perfect hole in the reef. The full force of the wave hit me and snapped my leg all the way forward. I broke the knob off the top of my tibia, and a spider web fraction of the femur, and I tore the ACL. I swam


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back to the boat and drank a bottle of Jack Daniel’s. I started going crazy thinking that my life’s over. The pain was excruciating. But I didn’t want to make everyone go home, so I started trying to calm down by drinking tea and meditating, just trying to work through the pain. I was out there, I would say, about 20 days.

Wow. I think it was about a week later, the day before my birthday, which is September 12th. Someone said, “I don’t know what’s going on, I think we’re going into World War III. We all need to listen to the radio together.” We’re huddled around a satellite radio trying to listen to what was going on. It was crazy information, way over-exaggerated. Everything’s blown up. It was really gnarly though because we’re out there and thinking, “Well, what do we do? We’re in the middle of the Indian Ocean. So, we’re all okay for now. When we get back to port, we’ll figure it out.” I was bummed because I’m like, “Dude, I’ve got a broken leg. If I have to run or something, I’m screwed.” We didn’t know what was going on, and when we finally made it back to port, I started developing a really high fever. I said, “Hey, I probably need to get a helicopter to Singapore or something because the pain is just getting gnarly.” And my friend said it was just from the heat, so he drove me inland three hours to Lake Maninjau, which is a huge volcanic crater. When we arrived I kind of hobbled across these rice fields and there were all these beautiful Dutch girls reading by candlelight; they were like models, the hottest girls you’ve ever seen in your life. I was like, “Where am I right now?”

So, you had died and gone to heaven? It was the most beautiful place I’ve ever been to; the best peaceful vibes I’d ever felt. Palm trees with huge trumpet vines going up, and just the smell, and the freshness. By the second day I was just dying. I woke up in the middle of the night with an extremely high fever in a complete panic. I wanted to fly to Australia to take on some medical attention. So, I hobble outside of my room and there’s a medicine man sitting there meditating on my front patio. He walks straight up to me and puts his hand on my knee. He didn’t speak English. He just started massaging my knee. This went on for hours. Then he went out to the jungle and chewed up some sort of nut, which he then wrapped in a banana leaf. Then he massaged it into my knee. He repeated this process every day for about a week. Then, on the last day he did this crazy thing with his hands where he was doing a sort of pulling motion. I don’t know how to explain what happened, but he literally pulled the pain out of my leg, out through my foot and threw it outside. Then he just started laughing at the top of his lungs. He said, “Good, good,” and motioned for me to get out of bed. I stood up and could freaking walk again; the pain was gone. The next day my fever died down and I was able to continue the trip for a couple of months, long enough to figure out how to make it home.

Were you 100%? For a while it was much better, but when I came home I realized that I couldn’t put pressure on anything. Just walking down the driveway was terrifying. So I went to the hospital and they wrote up a bunch of paperwork, tried to put me on painkillers and then walked off and gave me a humongous bill. I was like, “Western medicine, great. Right on.” I couldn’t surf or do anything. I’m a freaking surf addict. I was bored and going crazy. My mom had left all of her painting supplies lying around, so I started messing with them. I started painting waves, and then after a while I realized I could actually do this. Then I sold a painting for like $1,500 or something and I was like, “Whoa, that’s more than I can make digging a ditch.” So, I started to really dive deep into what art I liked, and would actually sit there and look at a magazine for four hours and think about how to make a particular shade of green or something. Then I started working with the amazing Peter Antonio, one of the best abstract landscape painters I’ve ever seen. I trained with him for three years in the Creamery. Painting was not my passion initially. I just trained myself because I was stuck sitting around recovering for a year.

But, you’ve got some artists in the family. Yeah. My mom loosely just does water colors. She sews a lot. She’s definitely always wanted me to paint. I wouldn’t say she was a painter. She played flute. I remember her playing flute a lot. It was when I started hanging out with Peter that I realized, “Whoa, this is something that’s not boring.” This is something that can be totally fun and you could let your controlled, obsessive mind go, because I’m a real perfectionist. I’m not saying I want to do it for my finances. But it’s something that is now a part of my life. I think most surfers are so full-throttle, like borderline obsession. If you’re lucky enough to have something mellow like painting, you’re really stoked or you get to spin your wheels. Because you can’t be full-throttle throughout your whole life, that’s why people burn out; and when they’re not surfing, they are freaked out.

How does surfing translate to art? Visually you have an advantage because around here to get to the beach, you’re generally winding through some crazy canyon; going through some landscape that’s beautiful. And, so you begin that early obsession of getting near the beach as a young kid and then, you don’t know it, but as you develop into your adulthood, your brain has been filled with visuals; just overloaded with these visuals your whole life. That creates this giant bank of information that you can’t get from just glancing at something; you’re actually, you’re feeling it, it’s tangible and you’re trying to, like, eat from it. From the ocean, obviously, you’re seeing

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a different perspective back on land. The canyons and mountains look amazing. Even Pismo Heights looks like a little speck. You’re in the water, and you look back and see that little speck of a home on the hillside for two million dollars. No, thanks. Who cares? And that’s why I’m also obsessed with open expanse. You know, when you look back at the mountains and you see it open, it really does look old and free. There is that sense of freedom that you get from surfing that also melts into painting. I mean, if you’re painting waves, you’re obviously like, “Oh, I want to see the sickest barrel, the raddest barrel, in the most clear water and the most majestic landscapes.” I was obsessed with only wave painting and then I became obsessed with dry hill oak tree landscape painting. I fell in love with both of them.

What is it about open space? I want us to keep seeing open space— the guy that put greenbelts around San Luis is a legend. Bob Jones Trail—epic. Johnson Ranch Trail—epic. People have busy, stressedout, crazy lives. But they can walk out there and find what this land means. That’s just what it is; what it should be. I’m not anti-growth. I’m into conscious development. There are three projects going on in Avila right now, which is concerning. Can you fix the problem with bigger roads? No. We don’t want bigger roads. That’s why Avila is unique. It’s old; so let it be old. You put 1,500 homes up and that’s 1,500 gardeners, that’s 1,500 house cleaners, that’s 1,500 pool >>

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guys driving through town. I don’t even touch politics. I don’t even go there, but I know there are a lot of people that don’t love the land that would love to develop it, get rich, buy a martini, and hit on some old chick. There are natural elements of energy on this earth that are available to people that make you feel good in a sense of a higher greatness, and surfing would be that for me; maybe trail hiking, maybe

apart and put them back together. I’ll be back there with my brother and some other surfers from around here. Work like that supplements our income throughout the year. Seasonal work is what beach bums want. I don’t mind working, I just don’t do it all year. And I’m staying busy with commercial shoots where I’m often the subject for [local photographer] Chris Burkard. We’ve done some gnarly work together. We just got

bird watching for some other person and another that does plein air. You know, there are natural experiences that make people feel high in life. And high-vibrating, happy people are going to create a better community, a more conscious community.

Well said. So, what’s next for you? I’m heading off to Florida for three weeks to work on a steam generator. I know how to take those machines

back from Canada where we shot a commercial for ESPN. They had a helicopter, which was fun. You’re pretty styled out when you’re doing those trips. We were in Iceland twice, once for a Land Rover commercial the other one for a Nikon commercial. After Florida, I’m going to bring a surfboard along and head to either Puerto Rico, or probably Nicaragua afterward. The art, the surf, and the commercials, it all offsets itself. You have one shot at this life, might as well do something big.

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...high-vibrating, happy people are going to create a better community, a more conscious community.
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John-o Roberts

Seventeen-year-old San Luis Obispo High School senior and ASB President, JOHN-O ROBERTS, shares his future plans.

What sort of extra-curricular activities are you involved in? Associated Student Body Leadership, Youth and Leadership, San Luis Unified School District School Board, I intern at Relativity Media Production, and up until this year, I was in the San Luis Obispo Youth Rugby Club. What is your favorite memory of all time? In the summer of 2010 I was invited to the nation’s capital to attend a press conference with both Michelle Obama and Jill Biden on the topic of nationalized health care, specifically well baby checks. On my first birthday I had a checkup and it was there it was discovered that I had the cancer neuroblastoma. In order to spread awareness, my mother shared our story at the press conference; which came with the experience of getting to meet both the first and the second ladies. The best part of that though was when I was called “handsome” by Mrs. Obama herself; and being one of the few people officially acknowledged by the White House to be handsome has become my go-to comeback.

What do people say when they talk about you? My Kindergarten teacher Mrs. Banfield once described me by saying I’ve “never met a conversation I didn’t like.” Thirteen years later I’m still the same kid, still starting discussions, making a name for myself.

What is important to you outside of high school? Changing the apathetic culture we as a society have created. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a part of it, but the increasing amount of technology and increasing speed at which our lives run at, we focus only on what we believe to be important, leaving out life’s true treasures. Find poetry and art that makes you feel! Take a walk downtown or go on a hike and look up! Stress has replaced happiness, and like some sort of fairy tale, I seek to reverse the curse!

Who or what has influenced you the most? In all honesty my grandfather has been my inspiration for wit, photography, and just as an all-around person. How he was able to enlist for military service, be a talented veterinarian, score a lady like my grandmother, and raise a family all within the span of several decades will forever amaze me. If I grow up to be a quarter of the man he is today, I would be honored.

If you could go back in history and meet anyone, who would it be? Napoleon Bonaparte, because I’d like to think he and I would be friends. He sculpted the revolutionary mess that was France into a force to be reckoned with. The Napoleonic Code also paved the way for modern laws in all developed countries, and his conquering of the Holy Roman Empire and his actions in rebuilding it laid the foundation for the formation of Germany. Also, we’re both short people with big dreams.

What career do you see yourself in someday? I would love to be using my interests and talents in writing and photography in the film/television/entertainment business. Although every now and then I dream of being the governor of a colony on the moon; but considering the rate of space exploration and the government funding allocated towards it, that dream might have to be pushed on to my child.

What is something that not many know about you? In my spare time I like to rewrite hip-hop songs for piano arrangement, as well as mash-up old 1960’s superhero comics with my photography.

What is going on with you now? I am currently ending my term as SLO High’s ASB President, getting ready to attend Portland State University in the fall, and just coming to terms with my final days living in San Luis Obispo. It’s a turbulent time and nothing short of a wild ride! What is it that you look forward to most? A future outside San Luis Obispo. Not as a knock on the best town in the world, but I’m excited to learn the ins and outs of the big world and what I can bring back to SLO to make it even better than when I left.

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332 WORDS Shane Rabant

>>I usually work on three pieces at a time. Most artists don’t do that. I also stand on my skateboard deck while balancing on a small section of PVC pipe or a basketball, and just roll back and forth keeping my balance. It helps me get into the flow of the painting. I can stand on it all day.

When I was in high school back in Ohio I would doodle in class. When you first start doodling, you just write your name over and over again. Then you finally think, “I need to start a new word.” And you start learning new letters. I did that initially in a graffiti style. I still do it, but a lot of people automatically mistake graffiti for vandalism. Unfortunately, there are a lot of negative connotations that go with it.

I know it sounds bold, but I’ve learned that anybody can be whoever they want to be. You’ve just got to start being that person. For example, if you wanted to become a firefighter, let’s say, you’ve just got to start living like a firefighter. Start telling people that you are becoming a firefighter, and that’s how connections start. They’ll say, “Oh, I have a friend who’s a firefighter. You guys should meet.” Then you get to know that person and get the information you need. Now you are on your way to becoming who you want to be.

What I do is very different than what most people have seen. A lot of it is pretty abstract and people tend to say, “I don’t know what to think of that.” And that’s good because it gives them the opportunity to experience something new.

My artwork is an illustration of ideas—the attempt to capture the emotion, energy, and abstract composition of a pure idea without the limitations of the known world. I call it “New Impressionism.” I’d like to, eventually, start an art movement. We haven’t had an art movement in a while.

38 | S l O l IFE Magaz I n E | j un/ j ul 2015 SLO LIFE | ART
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Discovering Harmony Headlands Trail

From its rugged terraces to its plunging headlands, from its rocky shores to its coastal prairies, you would be hard-pressed to find a more pristine hiking trail.

f you are looking to get Out and About and heading north on Highway 1, be sure to stop at the pull-out approximately five minutes north of the coastal community of Cayucos just before Harmony, where you will find a trailhead that opens up to a beautiful state park.

Uncharted territory for many because it is a bit tucked away, the 784-acre coastal park known as Harmony Headlands has only had state park designation since 2003 when the American Land Conservancy bought the acreage and deeded it to California State Parks.

And, part of what makes it special is the trail that runs through it is the only thing that is well-traveled. You are surrounded by terrain that is unspoiled by people, and left instead to Mother Nature. It is consequently spectacular to wander through.

“He loves it. He likes being outside,” says Kelly Waage of Paso Robles, referring to the baby she is carrying on her back as she hikes along the trail.

It is a relatively easy journey through coastal rangelands to the water. “It’s nice because it’s pretty flat most of the way,” explains Waage. The trail is approximately three to four-anda-half miles round trip, depending on how far you wander once you see the Pacific.

There are a lot of hikes on the Central Coast where you have to hoof it up a mountain to get the spectacular views. On this one,

that view is simply at the end of the trail.

And you do not have be a serious hiker to get there. The trail has a low difficulty factor. “No, no. It’s a great hike. It’s beautiful. It’s easy,” says George Kallie of Manhattan Beach.

George’s friend, Jim Van Osdell of Ennis, Montana, agrees about its ease of access, “Out of five, I’d say it’s a two.” And when I asked him about the scenery, “I give it a ten. This one is great because it’s only about a mile-and-a-half or two miles to the water, and when you get to the water it is friggin’ spectacular,” Van Osdell gushes.

The only thing you’ll likely wish you had better prepared yourself for is your schedule. When you take in the scenery, you will want more time in your day to just sit and enjoy it.

Be sure to tread lightly on this journey and help preserve the gift of this gateway. It’s hard to believe that it is right in our own backyard and available any time you want to get Out and About and away from the daily grind.

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JEANETTE TROMPETER, KSBY News anchor and reporter, hosts the “Out and About with JT” series every Tuesday evening at 6pm.
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A moment is a moment so you better not postpone it. That’s the message THE SIMPLE PARADE wants to deliver through their music—a reminder to live in the present. Justin and Kayla Hooper derived the band’s name from the lyrics of one of their singles, “Confetti,” in which they sing: “Enjoy the simple thrills of your parade….”

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Go to for details on their forthcoming EP Release Show and other events.

The Simple Parade story began in 2005 at San Luis Obispo High School, where singer/songwriter Justin joined choir his senior year. The concert choir, under the direction of Gary Lamprecht, was selected to perform at Carnegie Hall—a once-ina-lifetime experience that guided Justin to where he is today. “Choir changed my life,” he says.

Post high school, Justin had every intention of becoming a teacher and enrolled as a Liberal Studies major at Cal Poly. For all intents and purposes, he did become a teacher: a self-taught piano and guitar player, Justin offers piano and guitar lessons full-time, designing curriculum for his students depending on their desires as budding musicians. For example, Justin says, “I recently helped a ten-year-old figure out how to play Queen’s ‘Somebody to Love’ on piano by ear, and it was the best.”

“Songwriting helps me communicate,” explains Justin, and teaching music to young people is how he passes on that gift: “I want to develop songwriting curriculum for middle school and high school students who struggle to put into words what they’re feeling. If songwriting can help them get their feelings out, then I want to help them do that.”

According to Justin, in addition to being moved to sing through his high school choir experience, it has been Kayla that has helped him express himself. Kayla, originally from Minnesota, came to San Luis Obispo to major in Child Development at Cal Poly. The duo met on campus and was married in 2010. Justin describes his wife as the literal and figurative harmony to his melody: “She helps me sing these songs about love.”

Kayla adds, “I also play a lot of the hodgepodge instruments. I made the mistake of getting Justin a ‘goofy’ instrument each Christmas. What I didn’t realize would happen is that I’d have to play these instruments.” Kayla has a glockenspiel, the harmonium, melodica, synth, piano, and toy piano in her repertoire. “I fill out the sound,” she explains.

As we chat about their pop folk sound at Kreuzberg, in the background we hear The Isley Brothers singing their Motown Classic, “Shout,” and Kayla explains that she really likes classic crooners such as Dean Martin, Ella Fitzgerald, and Aretha Franklin. She adds, “I’m a white girl with blue eyes, but deep down I’ve got lots of soul.” Justin, too, is influenced by soul, but he grew up listening to alternative rock band Switchfoot,

particularly because of their songwriting. “I also love Simon and Garfunkel because of the way they poetically tell a story,” he adds.

The Simple Parade, who in 2014 was nominated for the New Times Music Awards Best Songwriter for their song “Confetti,” indeed poetically tell a story. They recorded their first concept album acoustically last summer as they trekked from California, through Nevada, Utah, and Colorado, creating an 11-part series of single-shot live audio music videos that examines the discovery of love from The Simple Parade perspective.

Justin, recently diagnosed with Type I diabetes, draws from his experiences with the disease to bring raw emotion to his songwriting, and, together, the duo carry on the journey. For the Hoopers, the biggest joy is playing songs and hearing people resonate with them. Justin says, “I think music is the closest we get to heaven down here on earth, and I love that this is what I get to do with my life.”

Because music is so important to Justin and Kayla, The Simple Parade gives 10% of the proceeds from their music to VH-1’s Save the Music Foundation, which builds and restores music programs in America’s public schools. The Hoopers also recently have been invited by Morro Bay High choir teacher Colleen Wall to serve on the board of directors for an upcoming Morro Bay community arts project.

The couple, who leads worship together about once a month at Grace Church, are all about love, music, and community. “The community is such a part of The Simple Parade,” Kayla says. In fact, they filmed the uplifting video for the first single off their upcoming EP right here on the Central Coast, homage to the SLO Life, if you will. Kayla says, “The music video for ‘Confetti’ was filmed in different locations around San

Luis Obispo to ensure the community was showcased because it’s their support that keeps us going.”

“It’s easy to write songs about hope when you live in a hopeful community,” says Justin. Kayla adds, “We are constantly inspired by just how beautiful creation is around here—SLO is an amazing place to live.” All The Simple Parade videos and web materials end with a question: Have you joined? The Simple Parade hopes you do, and I do too.

jun/jul 2015 | S l O l IFE Magaz I n E | 43
DAWN JANKE, Director, University Writing & Rhetoric Center Cal Poly, keeps her pulse on the Central Coast music scene. Join the Simple Parade at these upcoming shows: June 7 at Morovino Winery in Avila Beach 19 Morovino Winery, New Location Grand Opening


Mathematicians by profession, the Brussel-Hamilton Family cracks the code for good living on the Central Coast. PHOTOGRAPHY BY TREVOR POVAH


There is no proven formula for a career in mathematics. The pathway appears completely randomized with no identifiable sequences and very few known quantities. However, it seems that husband and wife team Eric Brussel and Emily Hamilton, both math professors at Cal Poly, may have finally solved the problem. And the answer, at its lowest common denominator, is a 3-bedroom, 2-bath home resting in a quiet cul-de-sac on the north end of San Luis Obispo.

Brussel, who grew up in the Midwest, and Hamilton, a Washington, D.C. product, first laid eyes on each other in a UCLA graduate school classroom. It did not take them long to partner up in tackling theoretical math problems together. Things started to feel right: the friendship, the California weather, and the math were all prime. One thing led to another and by graduation the two hypothesized that one plus one could actually equal three, and were married.

Next came the post-doctoral work. Pairs of applications were sent all over the country in hopes that one college would accept them both. One by one, a series of acceptance and rejection letters began arriving. When Hamilton received a thick envelope from one school, Brussel would receive a thin piece of mail containing a single tri-folded sheet offering regret. Then it would happen in reverse, Brussel was accepted but Hamilton was not. Finally, the couple resolved to accept post-doc assignments as close to one another as possible—so long as they had access to good airports they would be fine. So, the husband moved to Boston where he would be walking the hallowed halls of Harvard, and the wife, would be at Rice University in Houston. Despite the Spartan lifestyle typically followed by post-docs, the newlyweds would also be budgeting for plane tickets— lots of them.

The long distance relationship carried on for four years,

46 | S l O l IFE Magaz I n E | j un/ j ul 2015
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and when it came time for their professorial assignments the couple had two requirements: first, they must be employed by the same university; and, second, the California coast would be the destination. Letters went out, calls were made, networking was done, and the stars, yet again, were not aligning. The theoretical problem became a practical one as the pair calculated the odds for landing in their desired destination together. After casting a wider net, they found a new home in Georgia. It turned out that Emory University in Atlanta had two openings in its math department, and the Brussel-Hamilton tandem was the answer.

Life in Atlanta was good, if for no other reason than the fact that they were together at last, but, as Brussel points out, “It just never really felt like home to us.” Still, the new professors made the most of it. After settling into a 1920’s-era Craftsman near a forested area of the city, the couple welcomed their two children, Quinn, now 12, and Gwendolyn, now 10, to their sultry southern existence. The family settled into a nice rhythm of school and music—both of the children play a mean violin—and quickly 15 years passed. “But, every summer we would come back to visit,” explains Hamilton. “We never gave up the idea of California.”

far left ART

Treasures that have been picked up during the couple’s travels serve as accents throughout. Of particular interest are the Dia de Los Muertos figurines keeping a careful watch over the home.

near left KITCHEN

The pass-through serves as a central hub, a family gathering place where many meals are served and homework assignments completed.


Ample natural light designed to enter the home at different angles throughout the day combine with structural beams and rounded elements to make the home appear much larger than it actually is.

As the expression goes—luck is when preparation and opportunity meet—and the Brussel-Hamilton family was about to experience some good fortune. Through the grapevine, they had heard that Cal Poly was looking for a couple of good math professors. Without hesitation the couple submitted applications, nailed their respective interviews, and moved to San Luis Obispo in 2012 where a rental on Lincoln Street became home. Brussel, who explains the strategy behind solving seemingly intractable math problems, could very well be describing moving to a new community. “It’s like learning a new landscape—you first >>

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jun/jul 2015 | S l O l IFE Magaz I n E | 49


have to know that landscape well enough to be able to ask the right questions.”

It took a year for the family to come up with the right questions, which led them to

their extensively remodeled quasimodern windowfilled home within biking distance to the lecture halls where they spend their workdays. The home has an intriguing Cal Poly connection in that the now retired Dean of Architecture had been the owner-

architect during the massive transformation. Originally built as a post-World War II tract home, the new structure was to become highly energy efficient and take in the views of nearby Cerro San Luis while continuing to pay homage to its 1950’s roots. The plans were exquisite, and city planners embraced the unique architecture. Demolition was completed, and construction started, when the general contractor disappeared. It was November and rain was forecasted in a week. Through a frantic series of phone calls and hasty interviews, Chris Russell of Estero Builders was asked to do the impossible. Since there was a delay on another build his crew had been working on, the timing worked perfectly. Although they had to “boogie quick,” the new contractor was able to frame and weatherproof through sporadic rains to get the project back on course.

Sealing the home was one thing, but installing the 64 windows in the 1,800 square-foot structure that the plan called for was quite another. And since this was all happening in 2008, the remodel took place just before the state legislature mandated a cap on the amount of allowable window space in its Title 24 requirements. As a result, in many parts of the home it is difficult to tell where the outdoors end and the inside begins. The bamboo floors found throughout the home have a way of accentuating the natural light, giving the space an open, airy feel. And the extensive use of exposed reclaimed wood beams create interest and contrast to the coast live oaks carpeting the hillside in the distance. But, the specifications of the house play a second fiddle to the fact that the Brussel-Hamilton Family has found their forever home. SLO LIFE

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TREVOR POVAH is an architectural photographer here on the Central Coast. Exquisite attention to detail is found in the craftsmanship of the exposed beams and many rounded corners. Everything fits logically into its natural surroundings, which makes the quarters feel as if it were a sort of luxury tree house taking in sweeping views of Cerro San Luis.

the numbers

laguna lake

tank farm

cal poly area

Total Homes Sold Average Asking Price Average Selling Price Sales Price as a % of Asking Price Average # of Days on the Market

2014 23 623,730 610,091 97.92 58

+/-4.35% 2.13% 2.01% 0.21% -15.52%

2014 9 760,644 744,888 98.05 50

Total Homes Sold Average Asking Price Average Selling Price Sales Price as a % of Asking Price Average # of Days on the Market

country club

Total Homes Sold Average Asking Price Average Selling Price Sales Price as a % of Asking Price Average # of Days on the Market

down town

foothill blvd

2014 16 605,797 595,364 98.54 35

2015 5 698,380 697,400 99.86 6

+/-44.44% -8.19% -6.38% 1.81% -88.00%

2015 19 523,226 502,215 97.52 34

+/18.75% -13.63% -15.65% -1.02% -2.86%

2014 6 964,500 929,000 96.72 90

2015 2 1,000,000 870,000 88.13 16

+/-66.67% 3.68% -6.35% -8.59% -82.22%

2014 13 722,615 713,615 99.14 37

2015 12 793,075 807,533 102.35 18

+/-7.69% 9.75% 13.16% 3.21% -51.35%

2014 24 687,442 675,264 98.09 36

2015 21 700,314 685,517 98.02 30

2015 22 637,036 622,329 98.13 49 by

2015 21 622,638 605,219 97.09 41 johnson ave *Comparing 1/1/14 - 05/20/14 to 1/1/15 - 5/20/15

+/-12.50% 1.87% 1.52% -0.07% -16.67%

+/133.33% -8.43% -7.11% 1.05% -53.93%

SOURCE: San Luis Obispo Association of REALTORS®

52 | S l O l IFE Magaz I n E | j un/ j ul 2015
Total Homes Sold Average Asking Price Average Selling Price Sales Price as a % of Asking Price Average # of Days on the Market
Total Homes Sold Average Asking Price Average Selling Price Sales Price as a % of Asking Price Average # of Days on the Market
Total Homes Sold Average Asking Price Average Selling Price Sales Price as a % of Asking Price Average # of Days on the Market
Total Homes Sold Average Asking Price Average Selling Price Sales Price as a % of Asking Price Average # of Days on the Market
2014 9 679,989 651,538 96.04 89
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54 | S l O l IFE Magaz I n E | j un/ j ul 2015 | SLO COUNTY REAL ESTATE SLO LIFE
by the numbers 2014 93 127 7 45 21
29 25 23 130 6 38 961 2015 103 130 7 52 15
36 17 117 6 30 1,015 REGION NUMBER OF HOMES SOLD 2014 78 67 41
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MEDIAN SELLING PRICE SOURCE: San Luis Obispo Association of REALTORS ® *Comparing 1/1/14 - 5/20/14 to 1/1/15 - 5/20/15 LIGHTING | FURNITURE | ART | JEWELRY PATIO & GARDEN | EBAY SERVICES Z OEY’S HOME CONSIGNMENTS 3583 S. HIGUERA ST | SAN LUIS OBISPO 596.0288 | Open Tues-Sat 10-6 | Closed Sun & Mon We’re Moving! (Just across the street.) Bigger, Better Location Same Great Crew Same Great Merchandise Voted New Times “Best of SLO” 2015
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To celebrate the five year anniversary of SLO LIFE Magazine we decided to “turn the camera around” for an interview with our publisher, TOM FRANCISKOVICH, who had to answer our questions for a change.

hat were your expectations for the first issue of SLO LIFE ? That’s the thing with starting a new business. It’s impossible to know. I guess that’s why they call it a “leap of faith.” You can draw up all the plans you want, but they are useless once you go into battle. I think I may have just quoted somebody, Patton or Eisenhower, or somebody like that. First off, it took six months just to be able to publish that first issue, then it took another two weeks to distribute it. We literally walked door-to-door to every home in San Luis Obispo to drop them off. All of us in the office participated in the canvass, and we also recruited a dozen Cal Poly students. Honestly, delivering to those first few homes was absolutely terrifying. It was probably the fifth or sixth home that I finally started to relax because the homeowner came out to talk to me; and she was very complimentary of the magazine, and also quite encouraging when I told her what we were up to.

When did you realize it was going to stick? We received a lot of really great feedback on that first issue. But it was the second issue when I felt that it had some legs to it. Since it took so long to get to everyone by hand-delivering, we started getting calls from people that would say, “Hey, my friend across town received the magazine, but I didn’t get mine. What’s going on?” The phone kept ringing and the emails were pouring in to the point that we just couldn’t keep [delivering that way] anymore. Plus, I was exhausted from all that walking. I think I wore out a few pairs of shoes in the process. After the third issue, we started putting them in the mail and have never looked back. We just continue to expand our coverage area throughout the Central Coast. I think about those early days, walking up and down each and every street, as an important time. The feedback we received with those face-to-face encounters was incredibly valuable and has helped shaped the magazine into what it is today.

What was the most difficult challenge getting started? Very early on in that first year we received a bill from the printer that I had no idea how we were going to pay. As is common with start-ups, we were burning through our cash very quickly. In Silicon Valley they call that your “burn rate,” and talk about it in terms of “having enough runway to launch.” Anyway, we were quickly running out of runway, but I also felt that we were pretty close to self-sustainability. Ironically, a few days after receiving that bill and spending a couple of sleepless nights tossing and turning over how to pay it, I got another bit of mail. This one was from Toyota Motor Credit. It was the pink slip for my Tundra that I had just paid off. I went to Kelly Blue Book online to look up its value, and the number it calculated was almost exactly what we owed the printer—it was within $20. It was the hardest thing because I truly loved that truck, we had been through a lot together, but I put it up for sale, handed the proceeds to the printer and we lived to fight another day. It gave us that little bit of extra runway we needed for liftoff.

Wow, I didn’t realize that’s why you sold your truck. Bummer! No, seriously, it wasn’t a big deal, especially looking back on it now. If you are going to be an entrepreneur, a small business owner, you have to pass that test. You have to be willing to do whatever it takes to make it work. I’ve got this note to remind myself on my bulletin board that reads, “If you want to take the island, you have to burn the boats.” That’s true

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for everything. If you want it bad enough, and you have no other options, you’ll make it happen. I think there is a danger in being just comfortable enough. Burning the boats is the way to make it happen because there is no turning back; you’re all in. Besides, selling my truck was hardly a sacrifice. I talk with small business owners every day, our advertisers, who have made much bigger sacrifices than I have, taken bigger risks.

So, what’s the deal with the Meet Your Neighbor piece? I get a lot of questions about Meet Your Neighbor. It was designed exactly as you would expect. It’s that 20 or 30-minute conversation you have with your neighbor when they first move in; the first time you both walk to the end of your driveways and say, “Hello, nice to meet you. Where are you from?” That just never gets old. The firstperson Q&A format is something that I’ve always loved. Although simple, it is very difficult to execute well as an editor. It’s a ton of work, but it’s great to hear someone tell their own story in their own voice without any editorialization going on. I used to love that segment on CBS News called “On the Road” where they would randomly throw a dart at a map, and then a phone book, and then go interview that person. The founder of that segment, Charles Kuralt, used to say, “everybody has a story.” He was right, and I believe that now more than ever.

Are there any particular interviews that stand out for you? Oh, wow, tough question. There are so >>

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many great ones. After five years now it has to be hundreds if not a thousand local interviews. And some of them never make it into the magazine, or they are serving as background for some other story. One that I will never forget was with Botso Korisheli, the Morro Bay music teacher. He’s fascinating, and he had this incredible presence about him. But the thing I remember most about our visit, was when he told me the story about how he had met Stalin when he was a little boy growing up in the Georgia Republic. He was at the theatre where his father, a famous actor, was performing. He talked about how Stalin came up to him and said, “Hello, little boy. Your father is a great actor.” Botso then placed his hand on my shoulder and said, “Stalin put his hand on my shoulder, like this. Big hand, strong hand.” I just remember thinking, “Wow.” But then, Botso, in the next breath, revealed that Stalin shortly thereafter had executed his dad. I was floored. There are just so many incredible people with incredible stories living here on the Central Coast. We’ve barely scratched the surface.
And who is it that lives here? For the most part, it’s people that really want to be here. Jobs are not plentiful, and there aren’t too many large employers. This is mostly an entrepreneurial, small business-based economy. Most people that live here are hustling; working hard. They either grew up here and are scrambling to stay, or they came to visit the Central Coast on a vacation, fell in love with it and vowed to find a way to live here, often while leaving the big paying job in a city somewhere. I really do see that as the common bond, this desire to live the “SLO Life,” to be a part of the community, to have more control over your time. And, what happens when you have so many people here that really, really want to be here? It means that they are highly invested in making it, and keeping it, great for everyone. I’ve yet to come across someone who just ended up here by accident; I’m sure they are out there and I’ll probably get some letters now, but I haven’t met them. It seems to me that people are very intentional about living here and are willing to make the trade-off, often in the form of lower wages, to be here. In other words, they’re paying a price because they feel it’s worth it. That to me is a very powerful force at play here on the Central Coast.

harping on us about being good storytellers. What’s behind that? I knew I shouldn’t have agreed to this interview. [laughter] Come on, look, it’s simple. People get so caught up in our business talking about various media. They’ll say, the internet is hot, radio is down, print is flat, or whatever. It really doesn’t matter; the medium doesn’t matter. We’ve been able to grow like we have because we are following an age-old formula: tell stories that our readers are highly engaged with so that our advertisers get results and stick with us. It’s that simple. All the handwringing going on with media companies these days makes me crazy. Create a better product and do a better job and you will be fine. Instead, it’s been death by a thousand cuts where some of these outlets are really just shadows of their former selves. I’ve always had it in my mind that I’m like that guy with a holein-the-wall restaurant that has a super loyal following; people that are willing to stand in line to get in. When I lived in San Francisco there were a lot of great little ethnic food places where that was the case. The guy would be working the kitchen and his wife would be working the floor, or vice versa. Anyway, they knew your name, and provided you with an outstanding meal at an incredible value. Everything was cooked with love. I know it may sound corny, but I think about that a lot—and I’d like to think that we publish with a lot of love, too.

So, what sort of media do you consume? Again, it’s not the medium, it’s the message. Like most people, I consume media in many different forms. I don’t care what it is. I just want it to be good. No, it has to great. Nobody has time to be messing around with just good anymore. Think about it, we have storytelling hard-wired into our DNA. Since the days we were cooking sabre-toothed tigers in our caves we were telling stories about the hunt. Going back hundreds and thousands of years, that’s how we related to one another. It’s powerful stuff. Nowadays, there’s a renaissance in niche magazines like ours, and also in radio. And by radio, I mean podcasting. There are so many great magazines I subscribe to, but I especially love the ones that will take on tough issues in a long-essay format. I thought that Rolling Stone was doing an exceptional job on that front until they lost Matt Taibbi. Then they did a horrible, sloppy, dishonest job of reporting the UVA sexual assault story. That was a shame because they botched a hugely important issue. It was a major setback for both journalism and sexual assault victims. And, that’s something I just learned a whole lot more about a couple of weeks ago when I read Jon Krakauer’s book, “Missoula.” He’s another superb storyteller that I really admire. I’ve read everything he’s written. His book about Pat Tillman and the war in Afghanistan, “Where Men Win Glory,” was phenomenal.

You touched on podcasts, which ones do you like? After dinner, I’ll usually take a walk around my neighborhood. During that time I’ll listen to a podcast. My favorites are the ones that tell a good story. “This American Life,” which is produced by the NPR affiliate in Chicago, was the catalyst for this new genre. >>

jun/jul 2015 | S l O l IFE Magaz I n E | 59
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Their stuff is great. I’ll listen to it anytime. One of their spinoffs called “Serial” was incredible. My wife and I listened to it during a long road trip. It turned an eight-hour drive into two hours. If you haven’t heard that one, be sure to check it out. “Start Up” is another good one, especially if you are into small business. Alex Blumberg, who is a former NPR guy, takes listeners through his story in real-time while starting his own podcast company. Again, it’s that first-person storytelling that is so powerful, but also incredibly difficult to execute well. And he nails it.

So, how do you come up with stories? There are so many ideas. I would estimate that 9 out of 10 of our story ideas will never be published. We are constantly talking about ideas. I think it’s the editing though, the willingness to say, “No,” that makes for a much better result. Where people fall into trouble in our business is they start scrambling to fill space or fill airtime just to support the advertising. That is a huge mistake and the beginning of a long, slow death spiral for a media company. I’m out in the community a lot and being engaged helps me identify what we should be doing, what we should be writing. When I have a story idea, I’ll chew on it for bit. Once I’ve got it worked out in my mind, I’ll usually talk about it to my wife. She’s a tough critic and most leads don’t make it any further than that. If they do, I’ll start researching it, interviewing, thinking, and then finally I’ll crank out a rough draft. From there it’s all about editing it down for content and clarity. Contrary to what a lot of people might think, it’s a lot easier to write a 5,000-word essay than it is a 2,000-word essay. It’s all about paring it down, getting to the point, telling a story, but doing it in accessible easy-to-grasp way. I know I’m on the right path if it just flows, and I lose all track of time when I’m writing. If it’s not happening and doesn’t feel right, I just won’t do it. There are too many other important things to talk about.

What is the hardest thing you do? Probably proofing. It’s just pure drudgery. But so important because that is where a lot of the fine-tuning comes in. But, no matter how many sets of eyeballs we put on a set of printer proofs, we invariably miss something. Some bit of bad grammar slips by, or a typo. The toughest ones are the words that slip by that aren’t necessarily spelled wrong, so the spell check doesn’t pick it

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IFE Magaz I n E | 61

up, like “gorilla” versus “guerilla.” We can read it a hundred times, but it just doesn’t register. We even go so far as to read it side-by-side, one person out loud while the other person reads along in their head. After going through the whole magazine, we’ll take turns, switch off and do it again. We’ve had some knock-down-dragout brawls at two o’clock in the morning over where to place a comma. The thing that I find so amazing is invariably, the second morning after the proofs are signed off and the magazine is being printed, I will wake up at my usual time, six or six-thirty and will have zeroed in on one thing. It’s incredible. It’s like my brain has finally been able to process it. I’ll wake up and think, “Dammit, I meant to spell ‘gorilla’ like the animal, not ‘guerilla’ like Che Guevara!”

From that point, I know it will be just a matter of days before I start receiving emails from all of the English teachers all over the Central Coast reminding me of what an idiot I am! [laughter]


So, what does the future hold for the magazine? More of the same, really. We are going to keep putting one foot in front of the other and continue to improve a little bit each issue. I think back to one of my economics classes in college where we learned about the Japanese manufacturing concept they called “Kaizen.”

This was back in the days when they were absolutely kicking our butts in building cars and electronics. Kaizen is defined as “constant, gradual improvement.” My focus is for each issue to be a little better than the last one. Beyond that, we have some new, very exciting editorial features we would like to launch. It’s just going to take some more advertising to support the additional pages. The fact is that people have to advertise their businesses and organizations, so hopefully they’ll recognize the quality of our product and the bond we have with our readers

remain focused on continuing to grow our paid circulation around the Central Coast. There is nothing quite like seeing those email receipts coming through when a new subscriber signs up with us online. It’s not because of the money—a subscription is just $25 per year—but it’s the fact that someone took the time to go to our website, enter their information, and make the purchase.


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68 | S l O l IFE Magaz I n E | j un/ j ul 2015

THE Will Nots

Exploring Homelessness in San Luis Obispo

It was a few months back that I received one of those phone calls that provokes an instant, primal reaction. For a moment, I was hijacked by the least evolved part of my brain—some call it the “reptilian brain”— which was preparing me for a brawl, or perhaps I needed to run. It didn’t matter; my biochemistry was now primed for both. While I was initially unable to decipher what my wife was saying on the other end of the line

that day, I could tell that it was not good. She was at the dance studio, when a rather large and intimidating adult male, who by his appearance was clearly homeless, walked into the middle of a ballet class. The dozen or so ten and eleven-year-old girls, who had just interrupted their pliés, and their peanut-sized teacher, along with my wife and two other moms, went straight into panic mode. But, the situation was so bizarre, so unusual that no one knew what to do. My wife fought a powerful urge to sneak up behind the guy and clock him in the back of his head with a mop handle she was eyeing in the corner as she clicked my number on speed dial. I was too far away to get there quickly, so we talked about what to do. Finally I said, “Call the cops.” In the aftermath, the experience left my family with a strange mix of competing emotions, and the whole thing got me thinking…

70 | S l O l IFE Magaz I n E | j un/ j ul 2015 | SPECIAL FEATURE

During some of the darkest days of the Great Recession, somewhere around 2008 when the Dow Jones was shedding nearly 1,000 points a day, I let my mind start to wander. What if there was a run on the banks? Could this whole thing, the entire world economy, go straight off a cliff? Was this what the end of the world felt like? Oddly, I thought back to the Sound of Music, a movie that my mother and sisters would watch over and over during my childhood. It must be somehow seared into my psyche because Julie Andrews’ tune “My Favorite Things” was calming my nerves, and I remember the Von Trapp Family quietly disappearing by foot into the Austrian Alps. For a fleeting moment, I considered that my family, friends, and neighbors may one day soon have to exit stage left and head over the oak-studded Cuesta Ridge in search of a new beginning. It was an irrational thought, and I knew it at the time, but human history is replete with stories of mass exodus. And my generation, Generation X, the “slacker-loser” generation, had never really been tested. Maybe this was it. Maybe this was our Great Depression, our World War II all wrapped up in one.

The thought of losing our home terrified me, but I knew that it would not be long before we got ourselves back on our feet. The entire country was built on hard work and industriousness, and it would only be a matter of time before we pulled through whatever sort of worldwide collapse we were now entering, I told myself. Still, the concept of homelessness was not one that I had ever seriously considered, outside of a few idealistic weeks in my late teens when I surfed by day and slept mostly in the bed of a Chevy El Camino by night. Whatever happened, I felt it would be for the best. We would rebuild, and our country and the entire world, although it would certainly be a massively difficult and trying process, would be better for going through it. Besides, in my mind, the odds were at best 1,000 to 1 that anything at all was possible. Still the idea of not having a home, essentially being out on the street, was a horrible thought. And it bothered me that I was allowing my mind to drift to this dark place. “Rain drops on roses and whispers on kittens,” I hummed under my breath, as I returned my attention to an article I was writing at the time.

understand myself, and invariably leads to more questions. “How come they don’t have a place to live?” When I finally give up on my rambling, nonsensical explanation concerning the lack of societal resources, the follow-up question is usually more pointed, in a 6-year-old-sort-ofway: “Then why don’t they get a job?”

As much as many of us would like to group everyone without their own place to sleep at night into the same category, to do so would be a mistake that would lead us down the wrong path. After all, we have to learn the right questions to ask before we can even have a shot at finding answers. To begin to get your arms around the issue, it is helpful to understand the three most commonly described subsets: the Have Nots; the Can Nots; and the Will Nots. Locally, many of those who work with homeless individuals on the Central Coast use these categories to better understand the various circumstances that have led to the point of homelessness; and which services, incentives, and motivations will, hopefully, lead them out.

First, the Have Nots. This subset meets with our classic world view of homelessness. It’s the single mom who loses her job and has no family support. She falls behind on the rent and is forced to move herself and her kids into the minivan. Times are tough, but a massive and relatively efficient framework of government resources exist to get her back on her feet quickly. Generally, this person is highly motivated but does not have the resources— hence “Have Not”—to do it on their own. They need help and a lucky break or two to bounce back, but they mostly do. There is an entire segment of the bottom portion of our country’s working class that often, sometimes seasonally, bounces back and forth into and out of homelessness. Interestingly, it could be argued that the United States was built on the backs of the Have Nots. When the Statue of Liberty beckoned the world, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses,” she was advertising that Have Nots are welcomed here. And, it was a smart strategy because who could possibly be more motivated to work and create economic value than a flat-broke and homeless Irish potato farmer?

schizophrenia, manic depression, and various other personality disorders. Nearly all of the Can Nots require some level of supervision and medical care, and many of them self-medicate with drugs and alcohol, often exacerbating the underlying illness. There is a philosophy gaining momentum among those who care for the homeless that the proper strategy for Can Nots is for each community to permanently house them in supervised facilities to ensure they are taking their medication and participating in therapies that will lead to the best life possible. Counterintuitively, this method has been proven to be less costly, and much more effective, than the way we are serving this population now. This new approach is the impetus behind San Luis Obispo-based Transitions Mental Health Associations’ efforts to purchase and rebuild the old Sunny Acres facility above Johnson Avenue. Its planned 35 studio apartments will house the county’s most vulnerable Can Nots.

Which brings us to the most perplexing of all: the Will Nots. This group is able-bodied, but would rather not work. Would rather remain transient with no permanent residence. Two-thirds of the homeless population is solvable. The Have Nots will bounce back; they almost always do, even if it is somewhat of a revolving door. And it appears that, through permanent housing, we may finally be able to properly care for our Can Nots. However, the Will Nots present an entirely more difficult challenge, especially in terms of public safety. Compounding this vexing problem is the fact that sometimes there are not clear lines of delineation between the three subsets. It is not uncommon, for instance, for a Will Not to veer into Can Not territory—typically when alcohol and drugs are introduced.

Often considered a downtown issue, judging from admittedly unscientific anecdotal evidence, it does become apparent that no part of the city has been completely untouched by the issue of homelessness. And, some of the most difficult questions my kids ask my wife and me concern our transient population. “Why do they live like that?” often leads to answers that I do not

The Can Nots, no matter how much support they receive, are not able to turn their situation around. This segment finds its genesis in the 1980’s with President Ronald Reagan’s closing of federal mental health institutions, which sent thousands of ill-equipped individuals to the streets to fend for themselves. Tragically, a significant percentage of this population were, and still are, combat veterans who have not received adequate care upon returning stateside. Still more are afflicted with

Throughout his three year tenure as San Luis Obispo Chief of Police, Steve Gesell was fixated on homelessness. During every public speaking opportunity Chief Gesell brought up the issue and discussed it through the lens of his youth growing up in San Luis Obispo, when there were virtually no homeless troubles. Shortly after City Manager Katie Lichtig had hired Gesell in 2012, she spoke of him in glowing terms, often lauding his “creative approach” to difficult issues. And the new chief hit the ground running, first sending a group from SLOPD to study how their comrades in Santa Barbara were tackling their transient problems. After completing an internal study, including a department-wide review of the calls it had been responding to during the previous five years—approximately one-third of which were homeless related—Gesell formed the Community Action Team (CAT). Comprised

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of two full-time officers, Jeremy Behrens and Jim Fellows, job one was to identify and document the homeless population in the City of San Luis Obispo. That is when SLOPD’s new leader first realized the enormity of the problem.

There is a loose migratory pattern that Coastal California transients follow which passes through San Diego, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Cruz. Each city offers a mild climate, a mostly lenient citizenry, and a “soft police department.” If there were one area where Steve Gesell was laser-focused, this was it. In discussing the homeless issue, as it pertained to the Will Nots, he always came back to this point. “We have to change the perception out there that SLOPD is soft, and that this is a great place to come and hang out for a few months every year,” he emphasized. This familiar statement invariably followed an explanation of the broken

One Thursday last November it was a perfect fall day. A few off-season tourists poked around downtown, but just before lunchtime things were mostly quiet. Justin Edmond Pard, a 20-year-old Will Not, who had arrived in town from Arizona the day before, stepped into the FlipFlop Shop on Higuera Street. A surveillance video, which has since been posted to YouTube shows Pard engaging the lone 23-year-old female employee in conversation as he fidgets with something in his sweatshirt—later identified as a 10-inch kitchen knife—as she repeatedly turns her back to point out various brands of footwear on display. Then he walks around the empty store and asks, “Do you have any cameras in here?” She answers in the affirmative, and he begins slowly walking out of view toward the exit. Then he approaches her again with his back toward the camera and begins asking about her car; what kind it is and where it is parked? As the conversation concludes, the clerk smiles and offers a cheerful, “Have a good day.” Pard starts to walk out, then suddenly wheels around and throws a right cross, screams some obscenities, and runs out to the street. The employee—dazed, shocked, and still dangerously alone—hunches over slightly behind the counter with knees buckling and blood dripping from her face as she begins to search for a phone.

Pard was arrested a few hours later at the Barnes & Noble a couple of blocks away. The Arizonan was then driven out to the County Jail where he was booked on two charges: assault and

window theory in policing. Studies have shown that broken windows beget broken windows. A broken window creates the belief that broken windows are okay and accepted by the community, so go ahead and pick up a rock and break another window. Following the same line of logic, Gesell reasoned that Will Nots, who are frequently connected by cell phones and public library computers, will invariably bring still more Will Nots.

concealing a deadly weapon. Although originally held on a $9,800 bail, because of the nature of his charges—they were both classified as misdemeanors—he was allowed to walk free. At 6:38pm Pard was handed a notice to appear in court at a future date and was escorted by a guard to an exterior door. The lock clicked open, and the young Will Not breathed in the fastdarkening autumn sky as he began walking down Kansas Avenue toward Highway 1, which led him to the first major corridor: Foothill Boulevard. Less than three hours later an employee at the Blackhorse Espresso there reported a man who she suspected was the same guy from the FlipFlop Shop incident earlier in the day. He was lingering around, making customers feel uneasy. By the time SLOPD arrived a few minutes later, Pard had slipped out the side door. After taking a statement from the employee, officers reassured her that they would be paying

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extra attention to the neighborhood for the rest of the night. By 11:50pm the officers had found Pard sound asleep behind a church near Ramona Avenue—along the same route that my kids and their neighborhood friends often walk on their way to spend their allowance money on ice cream at Rite-Aid.

For the second time that day, Pard, scarcely 24 hours since first setting foot on Central Coast soil, was cuffed and taken to the County Jail where he was booked on two additional misdemeanors: trespassing and dodging. Behind the scenes SLOPD worked furiously with the District Attorney to increase the charges as well as the holding period in light of his violent assault earlier that day. This time, they were able to keep him behind bars until such time that a mental health evaluation

to the situation. “At least [the video] will help residents grasp the gravity of the culture that continues to draw people with this level of dysfunction to San Luis Obispo, mental health issues, justice system limitations/shortcomings and the real public safety system concerns that escapes the grasp of many.”

Officers Behrens and Fellows have been on the front lines of Chief Gesell’s culture change efforts, and it has been a tough slog. If this were football, we are talking five yards and a cloud of dust. It is tactical, hands-on police work. It means getting into the faces of the local transient population, standing toe-totoe, eyeball-to-eyeball and asking them the “5 W’s”—Who, What, Where, When, and Why. “What are you doing here? When are you supposed to take your medicine? Why are

could be performed. SLOPD then took the additional step of requesting a restraining order, which would have prohibited Pard from further contacting the FlipFlop Shop employee. A judge denied the request, citing the fact that the two had no prior relationship. Upon hearing the news, Gesell was livid and voiced his frustration to local media in an email where he tried to find some bright side

you choosing to live this way?” Notes are made about each contact, and a log has been created to identify every known homeless person in San Luis Obispo. The effort is tedious and difficult and most often includes bringing in a team of local service providers to look after this population, which ebbs and flows in size for no particular reason throughout the year. Success is sometimes found when a Will Not

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becomes a Have Not and finally agrees to allow a caseworker to help. But, the first step in the case management process for rehabilitation, including assistance in securing housing, requires relinquishing assets, a monthly social security check, for example. This is a major hurdle because the Will Not no longer has the resources to purchase drugs and cheap malt liquor. Another option for removing transients from the street has been found by funding a one-way plane ticket back to wherever they came from, so long as their family on the other end agrees to take care of them when they arrive.

As Steve Gesell continued to seek out creative solutions to the homeless problem—specifically those presenting a hazard to public safety—he thought about the choke points. Where do these individuals congregate? What do they have in common? It did not take him long to find the lowest common denominator: Hurricane, a cheap 40-ounce bottle of beer sold by San Luis Obispo liquor stores. Gesell immediately went on a crusade, asking retailers to refrain from selling this and other liquors to known Will Nots in the community. “If they are not going to follow the rules,” he reasoned, “then we’re not going to allow them to sit around in plain site and get blasted all day.” The effort was met with mixed reviews. Hurricane is an important profit center for some of the establishments, as the Will Nots’ loose change, commonly acquired while panhandling, goes toward purchasing as many as 14 bottles a day—each. Yet, Gesell was determined to continue to disrupt the culture, and making it much less convenient to get a nice buzz going may be incentive enough to continue on to Santa Cruz or Santa Barbara. Better yet, word may finally start to get out that SLOPD was no longer soft and that San Luis Obispo was not a pleasant place to “hang out” anymore.

The innovative carrot and stick approach employed by the top law enforcer seemed to be working, although slowly. Despite periods of time when the seasonal influx of Will Nots swelled, the efforts were starting to pay dividends. The CAT team was getting wins and was finding success through its constant face time with this segment of the population. It was no longer possible to spend the day in Mission Plaza, for example, without Officers Behrens and Fellows asking you the 5-W’s. With green shoots finally beginning to appear after a massive effort to sow an entirely new crop by taking this new approach, it came as a jolting shock when news surfaced last month that Chief Gesell had been fired. His boss, City Manager Lichtig, had decided that, “To reach peak performance, the City Manager and Police Chief need to be in complete alignment.” This misalignment, as it turns out, would set local taxpayers back $120,000. As Gesell, who had been hired by Lichtig after an “exhaustive national search” just three years ago, would no longer be allowed to implement his “creative approach” that she had once touted.

Beyond the obvious question of “Why?,” which no one at City Hall will answer—citing the ubiquitous “it’s a personnel matter” rationale— we only know that the termination was done “without cause,” which is what triggered the six-figure payout that also came with a gag order preventing Gesell and Lichtig from discussing it after the fact. Some speculate that the controversial op-ed piece concerning the events of Ferguson, Missouri Gesell penned last December was the beginning of the end. And, others point to the many conferences he attended last year—three times more than any other county police chief—as the wedge that formed between the two. The only thing we know for sure is that those items were never adversely cited in his personnel file and nothing egregious happened, otherwise he would have been fired “with cause” and no settlement would have been offered. Instead sources contend that it came down to a differing set of opinions concerning the objectives of SLOPD. Aside from the outrage over vaporizing a cool $120,000 to settle what many characterize as simply a personality clash, it leaves us with a larger question concerning the Will Nots, which is: Where do we go from here? SLO LIFE

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Family Fun

The Central Coast is full of people who pursue their passions, not the least of which was Charles Paddock. A park ranger who nursed wild animals back to life, Paddock cared for hundreds of

wild birds and mammals. In 1963 he moved his growing zoo to its present site and it became known as the Atascadero Zoo. After his passing, the city took ownership of the zoo and named it after the beloved man who cared so deeply for the wellbeing of local and rare animals.

The zoo now boasts over 60 different species of birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.

My friend and I enjoyed the Caribbean Flamingos, the Red Pandas, and the Bennett’s Wallaby.

We went on a Friday morning during a local field trip for a group of first graders. The energy and excitement was contagious.

Running from exhibit to exhibit the children called each others’ attention to the funny frowning faces the

small burrowing owls made, to the monkeys tail that adeptly clung to branches helping it climb the enclosure, and to the sighting of the Malaysian Tiger they fondly referred to as Shere Khan.

My favorite moment of the day was watching a small boy run up enthusiastically to one of the world’s largest rodents and declare, “Look, Dad, it’s a mouse!” Standing at about three feet tall, the exotic Patagonian Mara was a far cry from a mouse, but the boy was beyond convincing.

The magic of a zoo isn’t in the marketing, the layout, or the quantity of species it holds, it’s in the laughter and excitement of the children who are experiencing something new as they marvel at the miracle of creation. The power of a zoo is in its ability to bring awareness and education to how modern humanity affects and even threatens the existence of some incredible creatures.

As of this February, the zoo approved the building of a larger more interactive Red Panda exhibit to better reflect its natural habitat and to be able to highlight this rare and adored species. Since 2009 the zoo has had two adult Red Pandas and they now have two cubs. This new exhibit will feature an environmentaly-friendly design and provide a more interactive experience for its visitors. It will also mark the launch of the zoo’s biodiversity hotspot theme. As the zoo grows, it will continue to educate visitors about the culture, plant life, extinction, and threats to the animals.

Taking about 45 minutes to walk through and admire the beautiful diversity of the species, the zoo is the perfect length of activity for a family with smaller children. Located by the Atascadero Pavilion and park, it is a great segue after exploring the zoo. Families can easily head to the park right outside the zoo’s entrance and enjoy a picnic next to the lake.

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Zoos have stood the test of time, and this beloved Atascadero institution is proof.

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When was the last time you were

bored—truly bored—and didn’t in stantly spring to fill your psychic emptiness by checking Facebook or Twitter or Instagram? The last time you stood in line at the store or the boarding gate or the theater and didn’t reach for your smartphone seeking deliverance from the dreary prospect of forced idleness?

really great stuff when you don’t have that easy, lazy, junk food diet of the phone to scroll all the time,” she explained.

So now that we know why we should get bored, we wanted to know how. For the answer we turned to Manoush Zomorodi, the host of the podcast New Tech City, who asked her listeners to slow down and unplug as part of the “Bored and Brilliant: Reclaiming the Lost Art of Spacing Out” challenge.

The week-long campaign consisted of daily tasks that essentially nudge you toward more tech-free moments of deliberate boredom, like keeping your phone in your pocket while walking down the street or watching a pot of water come to a boil. Close to 20,000 people participated, and the New Tech City team was able to collect data and personal anecdotes from about half of them.

So, what happened?

“One of my favorite comments was that someone said they, ‘awoke from mental hibernation,’” Zomorodi says, which makes sense, since many people reported they were able to solve problems more efficiently.

“That’s what happens when you let

Agrowing body of research suggests that there are benefits to boredom. Neuroscientists have seen MRI evidence of organized, spontaneous thinking when the brain is supposedly idle. “When you’re given nothing to do, it certainly seems like your thoughts don’t stop,” says Jonny Smallwood, professor of neuroscience at the University of York in England. “[You] continue to generate thought even when there’s nothing for you to do with the thought.”

Work by Sandi Mann of the University of Lancashire suggests that time for aimless thought could be important for creativity. In a study called “Does Being Bored Make Us More Creative?” she gave research subjects tasks of varying degrees of boringness, and then used a standard measure of divergent thinking involving plastic cups. Those given the most boring task— reading the phone book—came up with more interesting uses for the cups. “You come up with

the default mode in your brain activate. People feel like they can finally come up with ideas, or get inspired to finish something. When students stopped multitasking, for example, they found their studies easier. ”

Read on for more interesting insights that Zomorodi derived from the project, which may inspire you to try the challenge for yourself sometime soon. We dare you.

80 | S l O l IFE Magaz I n E | j un/ j ul 2015 | HEALTH
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On your first day, as you move from place to place, keep your phone in your pocket, out of your direct line of sight. Better yet, keep it in your bag. While you’re boarding the SLO Transit bus, walking down the sidewalk, or sitting in the passenger seat of a car, we’re asking you to look at your phone only after you have reached your destination. You can do it.


See the world through your eyes, not your screen. Take absolutely no pictures today. Not of your lunch, not of your children, not of your cubicle mate, not of the beautiful sunset. No picture messages. No cat pics. Start actually seeing the phone-free world around you.

A 2014 study found Americans take more than 10 billion photos every month, and mostly on our phones. The thing is, each time we snap a quick pic of something, it could be harming our memory of it because we are not contemplating the moment we’re in, we’re just trying to capture it. You might even realize that when life is really good—the kind of good people try to fake when they broadcast a better, more exciting version of their life on the internet—you don’t need to document it, because you’re too busy enjoying it.



Flurry Analytics defines a “mobile addict” as someone who launches apps more than 60 times a day. The average consumer launches apps 10 times a day, so to qualify as having an app dependency, you have to be pretty app crazy.

And the people most likely to be addicted? According to Flurry, teens, college students (skewing female) and middle-aged parents. Even if you aren’t at 60 times a day, just about everyone has that one app that steals away too much time.

Your instructions for today: delete it. Delete that app. Think about which app you use too much, one that is the bad kind of phone time. You pick what that means. Delete said time-wasting, bad habit app. Uninstall it.

This will be difficult, because app designers are pretty smart. And they are also adept at building things we want to just keep on using, over and over and over.

If you need a little push to take the plunge, Dr. Zach Hambrick, professor of cognitive psychology at Michigan State University, says cell phone games do just about nothing for your brain. You don’t get better at anything but playing the game, he says. And only that game.

“If you play Ms. PacMan a lot, you’ll get better at Mr. PacMan, and video games where you have to move through a maze. But you won’t get better at Space Invaders or some real task like filling out your tax forms,” Hambrick says.

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jun/jul 2015 | S l O l IFE Magaz I n E | 83 Wallace Home Medical Supplies At Wallace Home Medical Supplies we have the most comprehensive selection of Durable Medical Equipment products in SLO county. Getting older doesn’t mean slowing down! 543-5966 . 12310 Los Osos Valley Road, SLO • 238-3935 . 549 10th Street, Paso Robles Visit Our NEW San Luis Obispo Location!


Today, you’re getting a break from email, texting, social media, or whatever means of digital communication interrupts you all day long. It’s a fauxcation (or “fake-cation,” if you prefer).

Your instructions: Set an email auto-reply just as you would if you were out for a real vacation, send an “I’ll be back later” text out on group chat, or put up an away message status on social media. Whatever it’ll take to give you peace of mind while you focus.

And if you’re worried about being away from work, Matthew Krentz, a senior partner at the Boston Consulting Group, says you shouldn’t be. Krentz and his company let the Harvard Business School take a small team of consultants to use as time management guinea pigs. They discovered that perpetual connectivity was good in the short term—not so much in the long term. Studies say we actually perform better when we have a chance to think.


Social networks help us stay connected. We love social media. But how often do we swipe past strangers’ selfies, baby pictures, and career updates in lieu of the actual humans around us?

For our second-to-last challenge we want you to flex the creative muscles we’ve been freeing up all week. The first step is noticing.

Your instructions: Today, go somewhere public. It could be a park, farmers’ market, the gas station, the hallway at work or school. You pick.

Once you get there, hang out. Watch people, or objects, or anything that strikes you. Imagine what a single person is thinking, or zoom in on a detail. Just make one small observation you might have missed if your nose were glued to a screen.


To take our project to its logical—and admittedly weird—conclusion, boredom artist Nina Katchadourian has assigned a project. We want you to get really bored, and then make something creative, introspective, and personal.

Your instructions today are multi-part:

• Put away your phone.

• Put a generous pot of water on the stove and watch it come to a boil. You should get bored. Keep it up as long as it takes to daydream.

• Next, take out your wallet and empty it of all its contents. Use them to construct your dream house. It could be the place you wish you lived in all the time or a getaway. Take as long as you need to build.

If you take this challenge on, Zomorodi cautions that we shouldn’t be too quick to blame our tools for our incessant lack of focus. She relates a story told to her by Alex Pang, author of The Distraction Addiction. In his research, Pang talked with a group of Buddhist monks who were heavily connected—active web and social media users. “Why is it that you think tech is any more distracting than your own mind, or anything else in the world?” the monks asked him. “Distraction comes from within.” SLO LIFE

84 | S l O l IFE Magaz I n E | j un/ j ul 2015
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jun/jul 2015 | S l O l IFE Magaz I n E | 85 Dr. Arnie Horwitz HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS Are you feeling overwhelmed and confused? I can help. Specializing in - Relationship Conflicts - Parenting & Self-Esteem - Separation and Divorce - Personal Life Planning - Grief and Loss - Career Uncertainty Therapy/Counseling/Coaching Dr. Arnie Horwitz • 30 yrs. Experience 805-541-2752 Since 1995 secured over 1.6 billion dollars on behalf of claimants. Contact Art Fries, RHU today! 1-800-567-1911 DISABILITY CLAIM ADVICE Specialized Fitness Movement Analysis 2 James Way . Suite 214 . Pismo Beach 574-1777 . Find the source and treat the cause! — SERVICES INCLUDE — Walking Gait Analysis Running Analysis Jumping Analysis Sport Injury Risk Assessment 30 Years Experience Home Birth • Water Birth • Well Woman Care • Pre & Post Natal Care Call for Free Consultation Join our mailing list, email “sign me up” to Download our app: Did you know? Homebirth VBACs have an 87% success rate! EDANA HALL, LICENSED MIDWIFE (805)801-3806 • (805)462-1100 • For more information on midwifery: Y O G A C E N T R E S L O Over 60 classes per week  Childcare Monthly Workshops  Teacher Training Programs  Retail 672 Higuera St, #200  San Luis Obispo, CA 93401   (805) 598 7100 INTRO SPECIAL! 30 days UNLIMITED YOGA for $39 STAND UP PADDLEBOARD YOGA CLASSES! St ar ting t h is sum m er in M o rro Bay !




Celebrate summer with this delicious, easy-to-prepare whole chicken. Grill up your favorite veggies—we chose asparagus drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper—along with a few roasted potatoes to make it a complete meal.

86 | S l O l IFE Magaz I n E | j un/ j ul 2015 | KITCHEN


This menu can be easily adapted to the oven, just substitute a 12-inch cast iron skillet for the grill.


3½ lb chicken split with backbone removed

½ cup Central Coast Brewing Pale Ale zest and juice of one lemon zest and juice of one orange

2 shallots minced

2 garlic cloves minced pinch of cumin

1½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

¼ cup olive oil

2 cement or clay bricks

1. Remove the backbone of the chicken by cutting down both sides of the spine with shears or a sharp knife. Press down on breast to flatten the chicken.

2. Use a large bowl or roasting pan and cover the chicken with beer, zests, juices, shallots, garlic and spices. Let the chicken marinate for 2 – 4 hours. Drizzle olive oil over the chicken before cooking.

3. Wrap the two bricks with aluminum foil and place on grill. Preheat grill and bricks for at least 20 minutes on medium - high heat to 400°.

4. Remove chicken from marinade. Drizzle oil over chicken and spray grill and bricks with oil. Place chicken on hot part of grill and place hot bricks on top of chicken and cover grill. Check for flare-ups while grilling. Cook for 45 minutes. Check and cook for another 20 – 30 minutes longer depending on color of skin and internal temperature of 160°. Allow chicken to cool for 20 minutes before serving.

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Join the Pinot Noir Producers of Paso Robles, now formally The Beaune Rangers of Paso Robles, and talented local chefs for an afternoon of great wine, creative paella dishes, and live dance-inducing Latin guitar fusion beats of Incendio. June 7 //


Come and enjoy food, wine and specialty beers from vendors all over the Central Coast. All of which you can enjoy while listening to music from Cafe Musique and experiencing the beautiful sunset at the hilltop.

June 6 //


Thousands of people flock to downtown San Luis Obispo every Friday throughout the summer for a free family-friendly concert in beautiful Mission Plaza. June 12 – September 11 //



Help plant the Three Sisters Garden for summertime crops of corn-beansquash. We will also be planting other summertime favorites like sunflowers,

88 | S l O l IFE Magaz I n E | j un/ j ul 2015
BETWEEN IRAQ AND A HARD PLACE Entertaining the troops during the Persian Gulf War of 1991 was an experience of a lifetime and Jill Turnbow shows us what goes on when the media
open and you can bring your drinks
the theatre to enjoy right along with the
June 12
stops watching. The bar is
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tomatoes, peppers and pumpkins in Our Global Family children’s garden. June 27 //


Since 1946, Blue’s Baseball has been a tradition of San Luis Obispo. This family-friendly setting offers plenty of games and activities for the kids, as well as a concession stand and beer truck. The fireworks show will begin immediately following the game.

July 3 //


Celebrating its 45th Anniversary, the 2015 Summer Festival features orchestra, chamber music, fringe concerts, notable encounters, family events and other musical and social events for you to enjoy.

July 16 – 26 //


Enjoy tastes of lavender cuisine, sampling of lavender oils, dipping sauces, lavender ice cream, and lavender education, lavender growing, and sustainable farming practices throughout the county.

July 11 //


The Filipponi Ranch is once again hosting the Central Coast Shakespeare Festival. Pack a picnic and bring low-back chairs. Filipponi Ranch and Cronologie wines will be available for sale by the glass and bottle. July 16 – August 8


2015 marks the 46th year of the Brian Waterbury Memorial Rock to Pier Fun Run. This six-mile event is held entirely on the beach from Morro Rock to the Cayucos Pier and is open to participants of all ages and abilities.

July 18 //

jun/jul 2015 | S l O l IFE Magaz
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Mindful Development

NIMBY. Not in my backyard. It’s a term you hear a lot around San Luis Obispo County these days. Between dormitories and big box stores, it seems there is always a project creating discussion around town. Various neighborhoods and communities appear to be in a constant struggle with developers—often from out of town—who want to capitalize on the land and beauty of our area. We frequently see the headline, realize the project is miles away, and turn the page.

What if the proposed development wasn’t some remote possibility in someone else’s neighborhood, but something that would impact residents and visitors to the entire Central Coast? What if said development opened a ‘Pandora’s Box’ of projects that have been queued-up waiting for the lid to be lifted on a wave of construction, traffic, and use of limited resources.

The Pandora’s Box is about to be cracked with the potential of five mega-projects proposed in and around Avila Beach. These projects have the real potential of impacting our entire community, by limiting access to the beach, developing currently zoned open space, and overloading infrastructure that is already challenged by the growth we have seen in recent years. If you hike, mountain bike, surf, kayak, camp or just go to the beach in SLO County, these projects are in your backyard.

Wild Cherry Canyon is a swath of land that would be the cornerstone in a preserve reaching from Morro Bay and Montaña de Oro to Avila Beach. Part of the Irish Hills area, the Nature Conservancy and other organizations have been working to conserve this area since 2000. Kara Woodruff has been a leader in this effort and along with many local residents is not opposed to development in Avila completely, however, she is opposed to the type of rapid growth these projects entail. Woodruff says, “Avila Beach and its environs are at a crossroads. Unless the community stands up to protect the quality of life for residents and visitors, the development of Wild Cherry Canyon and other projects will forever and irrevocably alter the life and feel of this area. If you don’t like this outcome, tell your supervisor and urge his/her support of a better way: conservation.”

There is a common element to each of the proposed developments going on in Avila and other beach communities along the Central Coast. Property owners have purchased land zoned as Agricultural or Designated Open Space. Since these lands are not to be developed for commercial use when sold, they are appraised and purchased for a much lower amount than if they were zoned otherwise. Property owners then begin to make development plans based on convincing the County Supervisors to re-zone the land to meet their needs and allow use of the land that was not originally intended.

In Wild Cherry Canyon, the 2,400 acre parcel is zoned Agricultural and with that designation supports the development of about 50 homes—the proposed project could increase this to 1,500. The Chevron Tank Farm property has industrial waste to clear before it could be used and such limited access that the proposed development would require parking along Avila Beach Drive. The Avila Beach Golf Course currently pushes the envelope of its zoning by holding major events without a special use

permit through an agreement the owner made with the County Board of Supervisors long ago, wherein promoters donate a small percentage of sales to a non-profit. This has allowed many large-scale events that challenge the safety and infrastructure of Avila Beach and surrounding communities. What started out as an agreement to provide a venue for a local non-profit has been applied to many for-profit entities bringing tremendous traffic and crowds to Avila on the weekends throughout the year. During these events, traffic backs up on Avila Beach Drive to the 101, and concertgoers often leave a path of trash behind. Smaller scale projects on properties along Ontario Road and Shell Beach Road share this pattern of builders moving forward without proper re-zoning. The owner of an Ontario Road parcel has continued pre-development work while facing only small fees added on to this future project.

So why should residents who live in San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles, or Oceano, be concerned about these proposed developments in Avila? There are several outcomes of this pattern of developers asking for forgiveness rather than permission as they move forward with plans based on the hopes of re-zoning the land purchased as Agricultural or Open Space. If these developers are successful in their efforts to re-zone the land, other neighborhoods and open space throughout the county could experience the same rapid growth proposed in Avila.

The mega-development of these parcels also threatens the very qualities of life on the Central Coast that create its unique character. The Wild Cherry Canyon project as proposed would literally triple the population of Avila Beach and destroy the character of the community while removing a critical piece of open space from public use and access. Developers have not proposed meaningful mitigation for the seemingly obvious issues of scarce water, emergency access and traffic safety confronting these projects.

If the Board of Supervisors authorizes re-zoning in these Avila projects, they set a precedent for this type of development to occur throughout the county. Residents who purchased homes backing up to open space or agricultural land throughout the county could find themselves facing developers in their own backyards.

The Central Coast is a unique gem in a state filled with urban sprawl and parking lots. Mindful development is crucial to retaining the character and nature of this area and all residents are stakeholders in zoning changes proposed by outside and local developers. The continued development of our coastal access areas will create a zone of exclusivity and destroy the nature of what it is to live on and explore the Central Coast. These proposed developments could begin a wave of development without regard to the natural resources we so value here in our community.

If you would like to have The Last Word email us your 1,000 word opinion to

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ROSEMARY CANFIELD has lived on the Central Coast for 22 years. An elementary school teacher by profession, she has taught at BellevueSanta Fe Charter School and St. Patrick’s Catholic School. Along with her husband, Craig, she has raised three children locally. When not writing, she can be found volunteering, running, swimming, and teaching yoga.
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