On the night of July 7, 2020 the SLO City Council summarily removed Dr. James Papp from his position on the Cultural Heritage Committee. Why? Because they found him to be “angry and disagreeable” while chairing this committee.
Though I have disagree from time to time with Dr. Papp, I never found him to be angry or disagreeable. And since he began serving on the Cultural Heritage Committee, I grew to respect his vast knowledge and professional judgement.
There is something profoundly disturbing about the optics surrounding a decision to remove Dr. Papp from the CHC because this decision was mostly motivated by complaints coming from the development community and the monied interests, not the residents of San Luis Obispo. One need only look at the City’s correspondence file to see that 37 residents including the presidents of RQN and Save Our Downtown, Sandra Rawley and Russ Brown, historians Dan Krieger and Barry Price as well as two former council members John Ashbaugh and Christine Mulholland, took the trouble to write letters opposing Dr. Papp’s removal from the CHC while 6 of the 11 letters supporting his removal came from four architects, a developer and a realtor.