Before I began Nipomo News, the Nipomo Community Advisory Council had discussed and voted to change their name from its current one to The South County Advisory Council. The Times Press Recorder reported on 3/3/06:
The Nipomo Community Advisory Council voted this week to change its name to the South County Advisory Council, but the change won’t take effect until after the group’s March 20 election of officers, according to Chairwoman Susie Hermreck.
“We just didn’t want to confuse anyone, and if we can avoid that by waiting for 20 days, then we thought that was a good thing,” she said.
The name change grew from a need to have regional issues identified and voted on by one recognizable council, she said.
“We went to have a town hall meeting with the people of Cypress Ridge when it was time for their General Plan amendment,” Hermreck said. “They wondered why people from Nipomo were concerned with their issues, and we needed to make it clear this council is not just about Nipomo but the entire region.
“We just kind of cleaned up the name so it is more clear now what we do and who we represent,” she added.
Now, I realize that there are more pressing issues facing Nipomo and the surrounding south county than the name of the NCAC. After all, as Will so wisely pointed out years ago, that which we call a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet; but, I have to admit I was just a bit tweaked by the reasoning, at least as reported by the TPR in this article.
I’m not the only one. The TPR ran an editorial in its 3/10/06 edition opining:
And the winners of this week’s Thumbs Awards are (the envelopes, please):
In the category of Stupidest Name Change, the thumbs-down winner is Nipomo Community Advisory Council, which last week voted to become the South County Advisory Council.
The logic was that when NCAC reviewed the proposed Cypress Ridge Golf Resort expansion, the folks promoting the plan wondered why a Nipomo group was reviewing their project, since the U.S. Postal Service says it’s in rural Arroyo Grande, even though it sits on the Nipomo Mesa.
So, to avoid confusing any others who should know the geography of their homeland, NCAC opted for a more “regional” image by calling itself SCAC.
But the change won’t take effect before new members are elected to office because, hey, that might confuse them. They might not have a clue which advisory body they were running for and decide to withdraw, show up at the wrong meeting or something like that. Not to mention confusing the folks who have to vote for them and might end up casting their ballots in someplace like, say, Halcyon.
Funny thing is, last time we looked, everything from Avila Valley south to the Santa Maria River was considered the South County. So, does the name change mean SCAC will review every project in Avila Beach? Oceano? Corbett Canyon? Lopez Lake? Huasna Valley? Oh, we’re so confused.
But on the bright side, we like the new acronym. “Skak” is much easier to pronounce than “Enkak.”
The salient point of the TPR editorial is “those who should know the geography of their homeland.” Personally, I believe the folks up in Cypress Ridge, and a few other of the outlying Nipomo regions aren’t so much confused about geography as they are disdainful of Nipomo.
Some years ago in the early stages of the Nipomo incorporation movement, several residents of Cypress Ridge, and the other outlying areas on the mesa got all up in arms about the possibility of being included within the Nipomo city boundaries. In March 2002, Emily Slater wrote an article in the Adobe Press about the resentment of the Cypress Ridge folks toward Nipomo. It may still be in the archives; however, I also copied and pasted it to the Old NIC website, and you can read it here.
Another old Adobe Press article from January 2002, also by Emily Slater discussed different boundaries of Nipomo, including the historic boundaries, which just happened to include the Cypress Ridge, and other outlying areas:
Both groups could vie for property once considered part of Rancho Nipomo, George Dana said.
He added historic Rancho Nipomo may have stretched as far as Valley Road. Old maps may not dictate current boundaries, but George Dana said history must be consulted to prevent future mistakes.
“In any decision (about boundaries), the historical aspect ought to be looked at,” George Dana said.
He cited boundaries on a map drawn up after William G. Dana received acreage for “service to the crown” as follows:
Starting roughly at the Santa Maria River, the line goes down the valley to the intersection of Division and Oso Flaco. The boundary then turns right until it hits the bluff, follows the bluff and runs straight to Black Lake Canyon. The line wiggles up the canyon and heads straight to Los Berros Store, then follows the creek up Los Berros Canyon.
William G. Dana initially obtained the land for livestock. Some land may have been shaved off with passage of the Land Act of 1851, however, which limited the amount of acreage one person could claim. The owner also had to prove boundaries.
George Dana speculates his ancestor may have lost roughly 10,000 acres. Further, he questioned the validity of the land act because the prior treaty with the Republic of Mexico protected previously granted land.
A little history goes a long way in helping bring a little dose of reality to bear. But, the story doesn’t really end there. Ed Eby, local Nipomo activist, and current NCSD board member wrote a fascinating letter to the editor decrying their supposed slam of the NCAC name change:
To the Editor:
Yes, the Nipomo Community Advisory Council is changing its name to the South County Advisory Council. When you dishonored NCAC with your “Stupidest Name Change” award last week (Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down, TPR, March 10), you created your own eligibility for another award. Read on:
You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.
Fact: Of the 16 voting offices on NCAC, only eight are reserved for residents of urban Nipomo. We also have representatives from Summit Station, Cypress Ridge, Callender-Garrett, Suey Creek, Blacklake and Los Berros. South County, yes; exclusively Nipomo, no.
Fact: We considered changing our name to the Nipomo Mesa Advisory Council, but that would have ignored the importance of Los Berros Village and the heavily populated Nipomo area east of Highway 101.
Fact: County Supervisor Shirley Bianchi frequently notes there is often confusion with us and another NCAC, the North County Advisory Council.
Fact: Contrary to your observation, the South County is everything from Avila Valley south to the Santa Maria River. The San Luis Obispo County General Plan plainly defines the South County Area, Inland.
That planning area is clearly identified as the 128 square miles south of the Five Cities, west of the coastal range and north of the Santa Maria River. There is another planning area, the less populated South County Area, Coastal, west of Highway 1. The NCAC — soon to be SCAC — represents both the Inland and Coastal areas, not Avila, not Pismo, not Arroyo Grande.
Fact: NCAC decided to postpone the official name change until after its election to prevent confusion for residents trying to find election information, available at ncac.org/election. After the election, addressing either ncac.org or scac.ca.gov will take you to our Web site.
Opinion (mine): If you attended our NCAC monthly meetings (details on the Web site) you would know these facts and not be eligible for the “Ready, Fire, Aim … Oops!” award.
My only observation to Ed, is the fact George Dana pointed out: historic Nipomo, the real Nipomo, encompassed all those areas that now seek to distance themselves from Nipomo. Again, I think there are much more pressing issues facing Nipomo than the name of its advisory council. I also think those who volunteer their time and talents on the NCAC are to be commended. They give a great deal of time to our community. Now that we have cleared up the confusion about the name, hopefully we can all get on the same page and face the issues head on.