Morro Bay is a beautiful place. We’ve seen incredible transformation since our seaside community was first incorporated as a city in 1964. Clearly, more work needs to be done to not only preserve our slice of paradise, but also prepare for future generations to enjoy Morro Bay as much as we have, if not more.
A little over two years ago, I was having lunch at the Great American Fish Company when a fisherman I didn’t know sat at my table, uninvited. He overheard me talking to someone about the state of our city. He told me he didn’t recognize the city he spent nearly five decades of his life growing up in. “The seas didn’t change much, but our government has,” he said with resigned sadness. The commercial fishing industry, the largest and longest-standing economic pillar in our community, was being ignored and even shunned by City leadership. Sadly, the fishing industry is not alone as large segments of our population have been ignored and tossed aside in favor of policies that threaten their quality of life. These policies promise to deliver a utopia to Morro Bay, like water independence and fiscal sustainability, but our leadership remains at a loss on how to realistically achieve these things without bankrupting the community in the process.
The City of Morro Bay has brought forward many grand ideas that sound great of paper, but are costly and are not fully conceived. It’s easy to support these ideas and support the motions to bring them to fruition, but the easiest path forward is not always the most effective. Great leadership is exhibited by those who recognize the environmental and economic impacts while having a finite understanding of who is impacted the most, including senior citizens on fixed incomes, middle-class families living paycheck to paycheck, and young families wanting to start a life in our community. At some point, we have to come to grips with our city’s future and future generations of residents who would be directly impacted by decisions we made today.
While it’s true that a majority of residents want to see progress, it’s also true a majority of residents don’t want that progress come with infrastructure that’s paid with a blank check. They don’t want projects that are exorbitant in costs. They want projects that adheres to a budget that they’ve approved. While we should be grateful for state and federal financial assistance that we’ve received, we should have leadership that focuses on a stronger financing to spending offset. In other words, we need to support leadership that will fight to reduce spending while increasing our chances to lower the overall costs. We can praise the financing we receive, but the benefits of that will certainly be neutralized if we continue to spend the way we’ve been spending on community projects. The City of Morro Bay remains on track for imposing another devastating set of rate hikes, despite their glossy postcards promising the opposite.
Like everyone else in our state and country, we continue to deal with COVID-19, which ravaged our community. Though we’re starting to see a noticeable decline in prices at the gas pump, we’re continue to wrestle with record-setting inflation, staff and supply shortages, unemployment, and increased utility bill rates. With those economic conditions in place, residents will no longer be supporting a City Council that supports millions of increased costs — that will eventually be passed down to cash-strapped ratepayers — with a rubber stamp.
That is one reason why Morro Bay leadership needs to fundamentally change. In the coming weeks and months, I will be laying out the case for why we need a change in leadership. Though I won’t be running for office, I will take the opportunity to lay out all the facts and allow voters to make informed decisions without the distraction of campaigning.