News Briefs 11-3-2022

Written by Theresa-Marie Wilson

Theresa-Maria Wilson has been a journalist covering the North Coast and South County area for over 20 years. She is also the founder of Cat Noir CC and is currently working on a novel.

November 4, 2022

View League of  Women Voters Forums

The League of Women Voters of San Luis Obispo County partnered with various civic organizations throughout the county to moderate candidate forums this election season. Those forums are now available for viewing on the League’s website or the their YouTube channel.

The forums include the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District (September 28), the 2nd Supervisorial District (September 29), the Morro Bay Mayor and City Council (October 5), the Pismo Beach City Council (October 6), the Templeton Unified School District (October 12), and the Cambria CSD (October 20).

“We encourage voters to view the forums to find out more about the candidates running for these important offices in our county,” League leaders said. “Candidate forums are intended to provide the public with an opportunity to learn about the candidates and their views on the issues. At the forums, the candidates answered questions submitted by community members.”

For additional information on these forums contact the League of Women Voters at (805) 242-6990 or

The League encourages everyone to register and vote. voters  can go to to check their registration status, register to vote, or change their address. When checking their registration status, voters can sign up for “Where’s My Ballot” to track their ballots.

For more information contact the League of Women Voters at (805) 242-6990 or by email at or go to the website at

Battery Plant Meeting, Nov. 16

Anyone interested in the proposed battery storage plant in Morro Bay can get more information from the applicants at an upcoming community meeting.

Vistra Energy, owners of the Morro Bay Power Plant property, will answer the public’s questions and present up-to-date information from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16 at the Community Center, 1001 Kennedy Way, Morro Bay. 

Vistra has applied to build a 600-megawatt, lithium-ion, “Battery Energy Storage System” or BESS, on a currently unused portion of the plant property.

The conceptual plans and renderings show three, 90,000 square foot buildings sited on some 22-acres of the 100-acre plant, where fuel storage tanks used to stand. 

The plant tankered in fuel oil, diesel, and kerosene for several decades mooring the ships offshore just north of Morro Rock. In the mid-1990s, the plant’s former owner Pacific Gas & Electric switched fulltime to natural gas. It was closed permanently in 2014, after former owner Dynegy was merged into Vistra.

Vistra’s BESS project is estimated to cost some $490 million and could bring an additional $490,000 annually into the City’s coffers from increased property taxes alone.

The proposal is currently undergoing environmental review, with a draft EIR expected to be released for comments sometime in early 2023.

In the community, opposition to the project has been growing especially on the Internet gossip site, Next Door, with a group of citizens attempting to band together and organize an opposition force.

The main concern at this time appears to be the potential for fire at the BESS.

Bridge Work Could Cause Delays

Folks travelling in Cayucos and Santa Margarita could face road delays. The County of San Luis Obispo Department of Public Works is conducting bridge maintenance and repairs at the following locations:

• Villa Creek Road Bridge (Cayucos)

• Encina Avenue Bridge (Santa Margarita)

• North Ocean Avenue Bridge (Cayucos)

Work on the Villa Creek Road Bridge began in late October and work on the Encina Avenue Bridge and the North Ocean Avenue Bridge is expected to occur in November and December. Weather permitting; this work should be completed by the end of this year.

This work is required to maintain safe bridge conditions and to avoid costly repairs in the future.

For the safety of the public and the workers, traffic will be subject to road closures, detours, or reduced to one-way controls with flaggers as required for each phase of the work. Residents on Villa Creek Road and Encina Avenue can expect the bridges to be closed between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday except for emergency access.

At North Ocean Avenue, the public, including pedestrians and cyclists, should expect delays of up to 10 minutes and are advised to adjust their travel plans accordingly.  

This project is funded by the Federal Highway Bridge Program and the SLO County Road Maintenance Fund. Whitaker Construction of Paso Robles has been awarded a contract of $327,755 to perform this work.

Update on Gun Buyback Program

Last month, the San Luis Obispo Police Department held “Groceries for Guns,” an inaugural gun buyback program. Community members throughout the county were invited to voluntarily turn in unwanted guns in exchange for local grocery store gift cards.

Just over 200 guns were received during the event: 101 rifles/shotguns, 6 assault style rifles, and 95 handguns. A whopping $11,900 in grocery gifts cards were distributed.

“In speaking with many of those who brought in unwanted weapons, most had mentioned they had been ‘lying around’ and wanted to responsibly dispose of them,” said Chief Rick Scott. “This was the exact purpose of the program, to give our community members a resource to dispose of unwanted firearms. We know the people that turned these guns in are not the kind of people who would use a weapon to harm another, but they are most likely to not effectively store or take care of these weapons as they need to be to keep them from falling into the hands of someone who will use it in a crime.”

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