Tuesday, December 18, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 41
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Santa Maria Sun / Canary

The following article was posted on December 5th, 2018, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 19, Issue 40 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 19, Issue 40

Working together

I've griped before, asking local officials, representatives, and organizations to "do your damn jobs," ("Do your job," Oct. 18), so when they band together and actually do something, I can't complain.

What about an effort spearheaded by the Santa Maria Police Department on Dec. 1, which included 25 parole compliance searches targeting known gang members or affiliates. The operation saw nine arrests for parole violations. But the SMPD wasn't alone when making those arrests, they had help from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office, Santa Barbara County Probation, the Lompoc Police Department, the California Highway Patrol, State Parole, and San Luis Obispo County Probation. That's a lot of cops!

It sounds like these agencies were sending a clear message to local gang members: We're working together, and we're watching you!

This is the kind of policing that Santa Maria voters had in mind when they approved Measure U on Nov. 6, extending and increasing a citywide sales tax to help support public safety departments. It's nice to a see a more proactive approach to the gang problem rather than just responding to shootings and stabbings in town.

That can-do, work-together attitude must be in the air, because it's wafted over to the Central Coast business community as well.

At a late November event attended by business leaders and local representatives like Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-Santa Barbara) and state Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham (R-San Luis Obispo), a new organization was announced with the endorsement of chambers of commerce from up and down the Central Coast (see page 6). The Hourglass Project (might want to workshop that name a bit more, fellas) hopes to build a "resilient Central Coast economy" by having the area's disparate cities and towns band together in the name of "regionalism."

That's right, folks, we need to stop all the petty rivalry and name-calling (yes, that includes "Santa Manure" and "Lompton") and work together! Every city has its strengths, and the larger region can capitalize on all of them and attract workers, businesses, and industry.

Santa Maria, for instance, has more affordable housing than areas like San Luis Obispo (emphasis on more affordable). That's why businesses like Mindbody expanded into Santa Maria after they needed more space than their SLO office provided. They went where the labor was, CEO Rick Stollmeyer said.

Lompoc has some affordable housing too, but the town is also about to welcome the new cannabis industry. Interested cannabis purveyors, laboratories, and other businesses are looking to set up shop there. For cities like Santa Maria that don't want to touch pot, neighbors like Lompoc can still serve that role.

And areas like the Santa Ynez Valley all the way to Paso Robles are known as award-winning wine country destinations, which helps boost tourism dollars across the coast. By embracing all of those upsides, the Hourglass Project hopes to market the Central Coast as a whole.

That kind of collaboration can mean all the difference for a small-business owner, especially those suffering after a bad year (see page 8). But I'm hopeful that locals will do their part in coming together and supporting businesses they know are struggling. So much can be done if we just work together. 

The Canary will meet you in the middle. Send your thoughts to canary@santamariasun.com.




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