The Atascadero chamber of commerce hosted the second of four “Talks on the Block” at the Community church on Rosario avenue in north Atascadero. About 40 residents attended the hour-long discussion of issues facing the cities. Many asked questions of city officials, some just listened to the answers.
The event is hosted by the Atascadero chamber of commerce. Questions at the second Talk on the Block took a more serious note from the first, ranging from emergency evacuation during wildland fires to vaping and recycling. One senior resident said he is not as mobile as he once was, and he’s concerned about the potential of a wildland fire sweeping through Atascadero. He wants to know how he’s going to save himself.
Fire chief Casey Bryson and police chief Jerel Haley addressed those and other issues. Haley said most of those killed in recent northern California fires failed to evacuate when they were ordered to do so by the fire department. He said in Santa Barbara, many saved their lives by evacuating when ordered to do so by the fire and police departments during fires and mud slides. The chiefs also talked about the effectiveness of the 911 system. One mother gave emotional testimony about finding vaping paraphernalia in her daughter’s purse. Chief Haley said the police department has been working for several months on the vaping issue. He says the state of California eliminated laws that made it illegal for young people to use tobacco products, moving that enforcement to local jurisdictions. Chief Haley says that’s what the city is working on local ordinances related to the use of tobacco products.
Dane Sensor opened the discussion by describing his frustration with people who take their dogs everywhere restaurants, on public transportation and city parks. Chief Haley described the laws governing service dogs and pets in general.
The Atascadero chamber of commerce is hosting two more “Talks on the Block” next week. The first is Tuesday, June 4th, at the pavilion on the lake. Thursday, June 6th, the final “Talk on the Block” will take place at Monterey road elementary school. Each town hall meeting runs from 6-7, although city staff is available for 20-30 minutes after the event to answer questions.