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Wrong Betsy Kiser?

Betsy Kiser

City Administrative Analyst

San Luis Obispo Museum of Art

HQ Phone: (805) 543-8562

San Luis Obispo Museum of Art

1010 Broad Street

San Luis Obispo, California 93401

United States

Company Description

The San Luis Obispo Museum of Art maintains a special commitment to meaningful, memorable art education. From basic techniques to hands-on activities in contemporary and multicultural art forms, the Museum strives to open students' minds, stimulate creati ... more

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Background Information

Employment History

Recreation Director
City of San Luis Obispo

Parks Director
SLO Chamber of Commerce

San Luis Obispo Parks and Recreation Department


Transient Task Force

Recreation Manager In Pismo Beach and Recreation Supervisor
Grover Beach


Membership Services Director
Rotary Club of San Luis Obispo

Web References (50 Total References)

San Luis Obispo Museum of Art - Board Member Contact Info

www.sloma.org [cached]

Betsy Kiser

SanLuisObispo.com | 03/22/2006 | Kiser replacing LeSage as SLO parks and rec director

www.sanluisobispo.com [cached]

Betsy Kiser, San Luis Obispo's city administrative analyst, will take over the Parks and Recreation Department starting April 6.

It's a familiar role for Kiser, who worked as recreation manager in Pismo Beach and recreation supervisor for both Grover Beach and San Luis Obispo.
Kiser replaces the popular Paul LeSage who retired after 11 years with the city. email this

New Times SLO :: Publishing Local News and Entertainment for over 18 years in San Luis Obispo County

www.newtimesslo.com [cached]

Betsy Kiser, facilitator for San Luis Obispo's Transient Task Force, recently walked the city's downtown streets pointing out some of her group's successes, and spelling out their strategies for battling SLO's chronic transient problem â€" namely, she says, that there are simply too many of the young transients.

Good fences make good neighbors, and also keep transients from sitting here, in front of the Broad Street bathrooms across from Big Sky CafÈ.Betsy Kiser (pictured), facilitator for the Transient Task Force, says this is one of the group's most remarkable success stories.
"It was disgusting," Kiser says, brandishing a photo of what appears to be human excrement on the ground behind the Broad Street public bathrooms, scene of the task force's most formidable skirmish to date.The transients often hung out on the brick walls that framed a couple of modest raised planters, and they loitered in the tight space between the bathrooms and Cheap Thrills (now a furniture store)."They would drink back there," she says, demurely avoiding mention of other, more "disgusting" activities.
Now, the gardens in front of the bathrooms are hemmed by stunted metal fences that make sitting impossible.The bathroom doors are locked at night.A nearby pay phone has been removed (pay phones can equate to drug deals).Police cruise by more often.Kiser notes these changes with pride, but saves the best for last: The bathroom area and adjacent parking lot were serenaded with classical music, cranked up just loud enough to be annoying â€" at least to the pierced-lip, petulant transients who wandered into Kiser's crosshairs. (Thank the owners of Cheap Thrills for the sonic onslaught.)
Not surprisingly, the transients moved on â€" maybe just across the street to the 7-Eleven, but moved on nonetheless.Which is exactly what Kiser and her crew have in mind: Keep the transients in transit."If people will move from spot to spot," she says, "no one owner or business is going to be affected."And while small metal fences keep everyone from sitting by the flowers, at least the "Rainbow Kids," as Kiser calls them, aren't congregating there.
Kiser, who also acts as a liaison to the Friends of Prado Day Center, a nonprofit fundraising arm of the homeless shelter, draws a distinction between transients, "the selectively homeless who wander around town in their black clothes," and the authentically homeless."I think everyone has empathy for people who are homeless," she says."The city helps the homeless to elevate themselves.What we're looking at is not the transients, it's the behavior.We call it aberrant behavior â€" drinking, drugs."And also panhandling, an aberrant behavior that has provoked the Transient Task Force to roll out its heavy artillery.
Walking from Broad Street to another transient hotspot, Mission Plaza, Kiser frets aloud: "We do have an issue at Mission Plaza, a huge problem."How huge?This huge: Not long ago Kiser herself was walking along the creek path near the new children's museum, on her way to a business meeting.It was there that a clueless transient hit up the wrong person: "One guy says to me: ‘Can you spare a quarter?' And I said no.And he said, ‘Fine, great.'" Here she mimics the man's voice, which apparently dripped with sarcasm."It wasn't that it was aggressive," she clarifies, "but on the way back, I went [the long way] around."
Kiser thought to herself: If she's taking the long way around to avoid surly, sarcastic transients, how many tourists are doing the same thing?How many are avoiding parks and downtown areas?And how is that affecting local businesses?
At Mission Plaza, Kiser points to the historic adobe near another set of public bathrooms, with a trellised seating area that often attracts transients.For months that space and the surrounding grass have been closed, supposedly to reseed the lawn, even though the lawn is lush with healthy green grass.Kiser notes that the director of parks and recreation has the authority to close public spaces for "unsafe conditions," which is what happened recently at Meadow Park after one area became infested with transients.According to Kiser, transients used to hang out at the flagpole near Mission Plaza, next to the Art Center, but the area was then closed off with caution tape due to unsafe conditions (roots are growing up through the bricks).
Betsy Kiser agrees."What we're trying to do," she says, "is to keep out the behavior that keeps tourists from our streets."∆

Rotary Club of San Luis Obispo > Home

www.slorotary.org [cached]

Club Service 2: Betsy Kiser

Rotary Club of San Luis Obispo > Home

www.slorotary.org [cached]

Club Service 2: Betsy Kiser

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