DID YOU KNOW? Bonnie Donovan
As Santa Barbara faces two daunting challenges to a unified approach to guarding both our traditions and our rare natural beauty, we will look at both the issues of State Street closure and the Modoc Preserve.
We continue to search for ways to effectively articulate the myriad complexities associated with the plans to permanently close off any part of State Street. We quote a longtime local business owner: “We do a favor to advocate for a closed street and street dining when we focus on rats instead of issues like history, architecture, parades, circulation, fairness, and the revival of retail.”
Results of a study/analysis of about two dozen “pedestrian malls” — since 1960 — reveal a 90% failure rate in the U.S. Of the few remaining successful pedestrian malls, how many can be found on a city’s main street? The answer is none.
For example, Santa Monica’s 3rd Street Promenade, Pearl Street in Boulder, and Church Street in Burlington, Vt. are not primary arteries. None of the successful promenades are more than three to five blocks long. In the face of such evidence, why would we think that we can successfully carve out 10 blocks — or any blocks of our rare main artery, running straight down onto Stearns Wharf — State Street? That’s a combination of ignorance, arrogance and pandering to special interests.
Onto the Modoc Preserve issues: With the two choices offered to the community of Santa Barbara, Alignments A & B, we are looking at the decimation of a long-established urban habitat for 71-plus bird species, bats, foxes, coyotes, snakes, Monarch butterflies, bees and other insects. Also at stake are 29 historic Canary Island palms planted by the brother of Pearl Chase, no less, along with several protected oaks. Why are we facing another battle, when the solution is not only simple but sensible?
Return to the original project description, which not only combines the eastern and western halves of the Modoc Road Multi-use Path entirely within the county row but which maintains the line of 29 historic Canary Island palms — thereby preserving both the Modoc Preserve and the palms for all to enjoy. This plan is the only logical and right approach to breaching the divide that rips right through the heart of our community.
Why must we fight again and again for the obvious and reasonable solution? We all know why. Those who gain from overdevelopment get the most accomplished when the constituents are asleep at the wheel. That’s precisely the common denominator between the Modoc Preserve issue and what’s at stake on State Street. These divisive dilemmas may be unique features of the Santa Barbara scene, but the causes and effects run deeper into the current climate of the policies within the state of California.
Did you know that the number of foreign-born residents of the U.S. has reached the highest number ever recorded at 47.9 million? At least 2.9 million immigrants have arrived since January 2021. It is estimated that 61% of all migrants arrived as undocumented immigrants.
Illegal immigration has been growing at 143,000 a month since President Joe Biden took office. Under President Barack Obama, the rate was 76,000 a month, and under President Donald Trump, it was 42,000 a month. The truth is that the open border policies of the Biden administration are turning, what had been a natural flow of immigrants, into a veritable invasion of people from all around the world. Almost none of them could qualify for legal status under our officially required immigration requirements and standards for legal entry.
Various estimates and research into total costs involved have concluded that the U.S. spends $250 billion a year, and growing, in support of illegal immigrants.
The state of California’s budget for support of illegal immigrants is $27.76 billion. In contrast, the state budget for support of American homeless citizens is $10.7 billion.
It is estimated that there are 2,200,000 illegal immigrants residing in California because this is a sanctuary state.
The number of homeless American citizens in California is estimated to be 161,000 and growing.
Already in 2022, government-subsidized, Medi-Cal has been expanded to cover undocumented immigrant children under 25 years of age for the full scope of Medi-Cal benefits. Medi-Cal has also been expanded to provide full-scope benefits to people 50 years and older irrespective of immigrant status. Roughly 286,000 older undocumented immigrants will be added to the Medi-Cal rolls.
In addition, undocumented workers are agitating for more government benefits, among them is eligibility for unemployment pay.
In the meantime, California is demonstrably incapable of resolving the urgent issue of the growing homeless population of American citizens. The government of the sanctuary state welcomes millions of illegal immigrants. Thus grossly destroying the availability of affordable housing. This same government body then imposes impossible targets for new affordable homebuilding in local towns , cities and counties.
If the governor and the legislature want more affordable housing, they need to do three basic things.
The first is to make enough government-owned land, available for free, to the local authorities on which to build.
The second is to make all the investments necessary to provide and guarantee the long-term supply of water to the thousands of new homes it is mandating to be built by 2030. All this at a time when severe drought is the annual norm, reservoirs are running dry, the Colorado river flows are permanently reduced and the ancient aquifers are being overpumped with deeper and deeper wells as the surface water declines.
In addition, as referred to in the next paragraph, hydroelectricity generation is being reduced at the Hoover dam because Lake Mead is below the “pool” level and The Lake Powell Hydro dam is in the same shape. All other Californian lakes are well below seasonal levels and have been so, for several years.
The third is to fully ensure that California can reliably supply electricity to all the new homes being mandated. At the same time, the state faces building the power sources and upgrading the electric grid to produce a reliable, electricity-only power service, across the state to supply the required megawatts to charge 17,765,625 automobiles and 322,639 trucks and power 14,200,000 homes with electric-only energy as well as to power 4,100,000 small businesses, 438,181 hotel rooms, 41 military bases, 6,093 hospitals, 11,815 ambulatory surgical centers and the numerous other needs for energy, including government offices in 55 counties. All this is from a starting point, where California-produced electricity is inadequate for its current load demands and the grid.
Instead of doing these things, their current policy is to destroy single-family neighborhoods and small cities with a policy of imposed high-density housing where the infrastructure necessary to support that density is not available, nor affordable to install, and where cities are already under financial stress.