Did You Know? Bonnie Donovan
California ranks No. 1 — in having the highest gasoline taxes.
New Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg proposes to raise the gasoline tax, which will increase costs across the board, leaving California to continue to have the highest priced gasoline tax in the United States.
Remember you are taxed to maintain the roads and bridges. We understand the constant maintenance to keep the roads and bridges safe. However, does our tax money get spent on what we are told — or for what?
On Monday, as costs and schedules continue to grow, Gov. Gavin Newsom asked for an additional $4.1 billion to complete construction of the high-speed rail in the Central Valley. This high-speed rail only goes from Merced to Bakersfield, 164 miles.
The dream is to finish the 171-mile link to Los Angelea. But that time frame is projected to be another decade and after tens of billions of tax dollars have been procured for tunneling through mountains.
As of late, Gov. Newsom has been the subject of many conversations, one being the recall to remove him from office.
He is well-known for his arrogance and incompetence. Due to COVID-19, he ruled that Californians must stay at home and could not gather during any of the holidays, yet his own winery was open for business during the July Fourth weekend.
Besides his government overreach, he has cost the state $2 billion by sending unemployment checks to prisoners. $2 billion!
The (laundry) list goes on; and with that, 15,000 businesses have moved out of state and 3.8 million jobs have been lost. California has 34% of the nation’s welfare recipients. It is no wonder that we have a burgeoning homeless population.
The recall currently has all of the 1.5 million signatures needed to put the recall on the November ballot. However, the goal is two million to make allowances for the signatures that are not “counted” as valid.
Numerous attempts have been made to recall Gov. Newsom.
The signatures needed for this present recall must be collected between July 2020 and March 10. If you have not signed during this time frame, and/or you signed online, your signature is still needed on paper!
Download Petitions/ Instructions at recallgavin2020.com.
Today, signatures are being collected from noon to 3 p.m. at the city parking lot at State and West Gutierrez streets. Petitions will be at tables at the Santa Barbara site, and volunteers will assist you from your car.
For the love of freedom, sign the recall petition.
In November, Kathy Janega-Dykes of Visit Santa Barbara acknowledged in a letter to the hospitality industry how critical it is that Santa Barbara “… presents a welcoming, clean and safe environment for visitors.”
She said the visible homeless camps have been counterproductive to efforts to make the tourists feel safe and comfortable.
We are told that due to COVID-19 the homeless cannot be moved. However if it works for the city to relocate the homeless camps, the city does move them.
Here are just two recent examples. A woman was removed from the Moreton Bay Fig Tree for vandalizing the park and for her ever-increasing campsite that daily covered one third of the lawn. In fact, the city fenced the entire property to keep her out. (She is now across the street).
The city also received numerous complaints made by the tourists to the hotel industry regarding their safety due to the transients camping in tents on the waterfront. The city’s position is it cannot relocate the transients unless there is a bed to offer them at a shelter.
How will we ever conquer this transient situation if the city does not stop the other counties from exporting their homeless here? It is apparent to anyone that we have mastered the art of welcoming transients to our town. Assuming branding is the modern marketing tool, Santa Barbara appears to have strayed from the American Riviera to the land of graffiti, trash and homeless camps.
In response to the tourists’ complaints, the city embarked in a 90-day pilot program that is a combined effort of City Net, the park rangers, code enforcement and the police.
City Net was offering services and housing to campers. We wonder where the housing is that City Net offered to the campers? We are aware that City Net received from the city in 2019, $62,476. In 2020 combined with SBAct, City Net received $624,270. And in 2021 with SBAct, City Net received $836,235!
For this money, we hope to see visible results of homeless people off the street and on the road to recovery. Otherwise, another avenue or agency should be explored.
On that note, the Army Reserve Building at State and Las Positas is being purchased by the American Indian Health & Services. We suggest that the organization operates its medical clinic in the historic Army Reserve building that was an Army Hospital and that the large “outback” building be converted to a shelter for housing the homeless. Why not have personnel from the Father Virgil Cordano Center operate the shelter? They are already in the business of charity.
Imagine what this group could do for this population, with the medical facility on the premises. Since the homeless cannot be taken off the street unless a bed is provided, this is a win-win situation with something for everyone.
If the city can afford to give City Net more than $1.5 million since 2019 to alleviate transient issues, doesn’t it behoove the city to partner with American Indian Health & Services and find them $1 million, which is half of the cost of their $2 million property? This seems a better venture than the $2 million Heap Grant for 20 temporary tiny homes that was planned for the Carrillo lot.
And to decrease blight, the Santa Barbara City Council has announced it is addressing the shopping carts that are abandoned after the pedestrian trip from the grocery store. The city proposes an ordinance to make the store owners at fault for people stealing their property. The store owners and the shoppers will suffer the cost. Is the city heading off an unfortunate fallout of housing without parking and people without cars?
Our hats are off to Architecture Board of Review’s David Watkins, who after five years, resigned in disagreement for the direction/preferential treatment that is given to special projects and darlings of the city in the realm of signatures, and timing of building permits, etc. Some get special meetings, but most wait their turn at the back of the line, spending dollars endlessly for an empty building.
Mr. Watkins has been invaluable with his insights, fairness and his gentlemanly steadfast approach when he disagreed. He did not back down. He said he loved being part of the ABR.
Perhaps his attributes would be better served as a member of City Council. With hat in hand, we ask him to please stay involved in some manner for the Citizens of Santa Barbara.
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
— Mother Teresa