Takin’ Care of Business 4-20-2023

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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.

April 23, 2023

New Cayucos Architectural Office Opens

Famed architect Arthur Dyson recently opened a small office in Cayucos. Dyson, who studied under renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright and later served as Dean of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture has his main office located in Fresno.  

Dyson has won over 250 local, state, national and international design awards. Most recently Dyson’s Fresno firm Dyson Janzen Architects was voted The Business Journal’s 2022 Best Architectural Firm in the central valley. In 1999 he won the Firm of the Millennium Award from the American Institute of Architects, San Joaquin.  

He has been published in more than 400 publications and in over two-dozen books, including The Architecture of Arthur Dyson by Mark Hammons (Word Dancer Press, ISBN: 1-884995-11-X) and “Arthur Dyson: L’architettura meditative” by Giuliano Chelazzi, published in Italy.

The architect’s work includes the Woodward Park Regional Library, University High School, Fresno, Betsuin Buddhist Temple in Fresno, and the Performing Arts Center in Selma. Additionally, he is known for his many residential works throughout California, Florida, Minnesota, Montana, Utah, and Wisconsin. 

Dyson recently completed an extensive remodeling of a 4-unit vacation rental on Ocean Front Lane in Cayucos that won an Award of Honor from the AIA, San Joaquin.

Spokes Newest Board Member 

Doug Sawyer joined the board at Spokes, a nonprofit resource center. He comes to the organization as the Strategic Revenue Executive at PolyPay and an Adjunct Professor at Cal Poly.

“I’m very proud to have been selected as a new Spokes board member,”Sawyer said. “There is an unquestionable need for the services and guidance provided by Spokes within the community. It’s rewarding to be affiliated with the organization” 

For ten years, Spokes, formerly the Nonprofit Support Center, has helped nonprofits to achieve their goals through support and expert resources. Spokes supports the nonprofit community through consulting services, online resources, roundtables, workshops and other events. 

Sawyer joins current board members James Dorf, Lesley Santos, Todd Mirolla, and Gillian Cole-Andrews.

Management Position Open in City of SLO

The City of San Luis Obispo is seeking an assistant city manager for its Community Services Group, which includes four key departments: Community Development, Parks and Recreation, Public Works, and Utilities. The deadline to apply is May 5, 2023.

The assistant city manager serves as the chief operating officer of the Community Services Group; a trusted advisor, confidant of the city manager; and an assistant to support in operational matters. Assistant City Manager for Community Services Shelly Stanwyck recently announced her intention to retire effective this August. To apply for the position, go to www.slocity.org/Jobs.

“The ideal candidate has experience in and a passion for public service and the municipal government profession and is a collaborative, innovative and adaptable leader, who is people centric, values diversity, equity and inclusion and is a leader to advise and help solve complex issues,” the job description reads/ “The candidate will preferably have a master’s degree and experience as a department director in a similarly complex public agency. 

“Shelly’s consistent and innovative leadership has helped shape San Luis Obispo into the place we all know and love today,” said City Manager Derek Johnson. We’re looking for a candidate with a similar dedication to public service who will continue San Luis Obispo’s culture of excellence in management and orientation towards public service.”

Libraries Raise Awareness of Mental Wellness and Substance Use 

The County of San Luis Obispo Behavioral Health Department is partnering with county libraries during the month of April to host mental wellness and substance use “Awareness Galleries.” The free public exhibits aim to inform the community about stress management, alcohol, cannabis and opioid use, and overdose prevention. 

“We are proud to bring these important topics to visitors of our local libraries,” said County Behavioral Health Director Anne Robin. “The Behavioral Health Department is committed to partnering with unique organizations to educate and provide resources. These partnerships allow us to connect with new community members who may be needing our support and services.” 

The informative galleries, which are on display at county branches in Atascadero, Arroyo Grande, and San Luis Obispo also support topics found in the library’s 2023 Book of Year: “All My Rage.” 

“The Awareness Gallery is a wonderful complement to our Book of the Year selection, ‘All My Rage,’ by Sabaa Tahir, and highlights many of the book’s themes around alcoholism, stress, and mental health,” said Erica Thatcher from the County of San Luis Obispo Library. “We invite all readers and visitors to engage with the exhibits and hope it leads to greater conversations about supporting mental and physical wellness.” 

The free, interactive gallery runs through April 30 and is available in English and Spanish. More information about the Awareness Gallery and exhibit hours can be found online at www.slolibrary.org. 

Cal Poly Low Income Taxpayer Clinic Saved Clients $380,000

A married couple with an IRS bill that amounted to half their income was one of the 110 cases the Cal Poly Low Income Taxpayer Clinic addressed in 2022, according to the LITC’s recent annual report.

The LITC, which has been helping the community since 2010, enlists accounting students to assist people with tax conflicts, affording the students valuable learning experiences while having a positive impact on the community. Last year, according to its annual report, the clinic’s workload included 10 U.S. Tax Court cases, covering 154 separate legal issues. Overall, the clinic saved clients nearly $380,000 in decreased liabilities and obtained nearly $8,000 in refunds in the past year. 

“Many of our clients are frightened of what might happen to them and unable to afford representation,” said LITC Director Lisa Sperow. “We are able to step in and help them understand their rights and responsibilities and let them move forward with their lives in a happier state.”  

The married couple, who each worked as farm laborers while the wife was a part-time student, had a taxable income under $12,000 but received a 2021 bill from the IRS for $6,000. After investigating, the clinic learned the IRS had audited them for $30,000 of unreported income, which was based on wage and tax statement W-2 forms reported by a limited liability company the couple had never heard of. 

“We filed a petition on their behalf in tax court disputing the liability and an affidavit with the IRS claiming that the husband was the victim of identity theft,” Sperow said.

The clinic successfully argued the case during an IRS Appeals conference, and the liability was dropped. 

Additionally, the clinic also performs outreach and advocacy functions, including recent reports seeking IRS and congressional changes on issues unfairly treating low-income taxpayers. Meanwhile, a panel of pro bono workers — including several alumni and David Chamberlain, an assistant professor of accounting and tax — volunteered to assist. Last year, pro bono workers volunteered 57 hours. 

Students who work in the clinic are enrolled in BUS 463 — the clinic course — and their work helps fulfill their senior project requirements. Team leaders, who have completed the course, are paid positions. 

The LITC is now holding a boot camp for its next round of student workers.The camp, which occurs the first two weeks of each quarter, covers confidentiality issues, tax research, identity theft, earned income tax credits and more before the newest recruits begin assisting locals — many of whom have troubling tax problems. 

While the students work with numbers, they are also trained to work with people in distress. 

“Students in the LITC tackle real legal cases for real people, dealing with complex issues in tax law while also providing empathy and support to those in need,” said Hunter Smith, an LITC student team leader. “Far more than providing students with practical accounting knowledge and a mastery of the tax dispute system, the LITC under director Lisa Sperow teaches students how to be people.”

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