“We could say the government spends like a drunken sailor, but that would be unfair to drunken sailors because the sailor is spending his own money.”
— Ronald Reagan
The Santa Barbara City Council hasn’t just adopted a credo of “build, baby, build,” they operate with a budget attitude of “spend, sista, spend …” It’s obvious they don’t worry about who is bringing home the bacon.
It’s unbelievable, but we hear that former Transportation Manager, Rob Dayton really did get the $500,000 “or else I’ll see you in court” ransom that he demanded because he didn’t get a promotion that he wanted. Did they pad his CALPERS years of service, like the way it “appeared” was done for former Police Chief Lori Luhnow? She was not here for five years, and although sick time can be converted into years of service in lieu of payment, again she was gone a lot.
In fact, Did You Know? was forwarded a public records request of the former chief’s time cards. And again, she was gone a lot.
Who agreed to Rob Dayton’s deal anyway? The City Council doesn’t do anything without city staff’s recommendations. Was this former City Administrator Paul Casey’s doing or interim City Administrator Rebecca Bjork’s idea? Mr. Casey, who announced he was leaving in July, stepped down Sept. 10.
Remember the soap opera, “Santa Barbara?” The rewrite is “Let’s Make A Deal.”
Another city deal in the news are the two different green energy companies that will operate next month in Santa Barbara.
The green energy company the county will use is an already established conglomerate that serves North County, Goleta and Carpinteria. This energy group claims no additional costs for the service.
The city of Santa Barbara has chosen a different facilitator of clean energy — so to speak, with an additional charge. Again, both Santa Barbara City and County residents are enrolled unless they opt out. The program begins in October.
Some residents received a confusing letter regarding enrollment. We were told the city staff is correcting any misunderstanding with SB Clean Energy regarding the letters you may have received in the mail. To opt out, go to sbcleanenergy.com or call 805-897-1979. Get your confirmation number!
Clean, clean, clean.
An update on the City’s cost for cleaning up the fire-prone areas looks like a “tab” with endless zeroes.
The city’s $1.6 million expended for housing 40-55 people, from these campsites for four months is already over the top. And now the nonprofit partners, City Net have come for another handout.
The city admits it still has found no housing solution after the current “lease agreement” expires in November. Reading between the lines, we wager that the nonprofits and city staff will request $4.8 million to hold them over for another year.
That is until they can get a portion of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed $2.75 billion to expand Project Homekey, a homeless housing initiative.
Recall the up to 25 homeless placements at a cost of $480,00 for 15 hotel rooms for 6 months? Same players, same scenario. What happened to the housing for those 15-25 people?
What gain can be shown for the money we spent? Where is the progress report?
Where is the accountability?
When Councilmember Eric Friedman brought up family reunification, Brad Fieldhouse of Citi Net proudly responded, “… one person is now back home in Alaska…”!
Who is controlling the city of Santa Barbara? Is it city staff, the city manager, city council or the Democratic Party? The taxpayer’s opinions are discounted and irrelevant, except for when it is time to pay the tab. Then we are asked to step up to the plate, again.
Speaking of the Democratic Party, we can’t remember when the Democrats have shown such a house divided. Locally the Democratic Women of Santa Barbara County has endorsed Deborah Schwarz for mayor, Kristin Sneddon for re-election to the District 4 council seat, and Nina Johnson for the District 6 seat for City Council. But the Democratic Central Committee has endorsed Cathy Murrillo for mayor, and Meagan Harmon and Kristin Sneddon for City Council.
There are many forums for the upcoming city council race all by Zoom, which creates numerous opportunities to make an informed decision. Some of them include: The Riviera Association – City Council District 4, today – 2:45-4:40 p.m.; League of Women Voters – City Council District 6, Wednesday, 6 p.m.; the mayoral candidates’ forum Sept 30’ the Downtown Rotary Mayoral Oct 1; and the South Coast Chamber of Commerce and Association of Realtors’ mayoral forum on Oct. 18, 5 to 6:30 p.m.
We must comment on the unfair treatment of Matt “Rat” Kilrain during the mayor’s forum conducted by Noozhawk and Santa Barbara Talks. Mr. Kilrain was never given a chance to answer the questions posed to the other candidates and instead was asked about his campaign website. Even if you don’t think he is qualified, he has the right to be treated fairly and equally. We were shocked that the moderators were so dismissive of him. Not one candidate spoke up on Mr. Kilrain’s behalf.
Mayor Murrillo could have curtailed the behavior, especially after two years of her preaching the need for equity and equality in government, coupled with how she promotes her abilities as the perfect leader. On the other hand, her treatment toward speakers during public comment, and her body language toward her colleagues during the Zoom City Council meetings speaks volumes.
Did You Know? politely requests that all the moderators of the upcoming forums to please show respect equally to the candidates even if you don’t agree with their positions. After al, they did the paperwork and garnered the required signatures to be on the ballot.
Zoom meetings are convenient, but the human element and the importance of the speaker’s concern is lost, as well as for some of the zoom member’s attention.
During the Single Family Design Review Board meeting, the vice chair followed up on another board member’s previous inquiries regarding when they will reconvene in public.
The County Bowl is open, we can go to the movie. When will we meet in person?
The staff said, “No plans are considered to reconvene with the public at this time.”
The chair of the Single Family board remarked his dinner plans were canceled because one of his vaccinated guests has COVID-19 and reminded everyone that we must be careful.
Let’s do remind everyone to be careful.
Careful with our city, careful with who we chose as leaders for our future. Careful with how we build and plan our surroundings, and careful with our past. It costs a lot to care. It takes time, energy and diligent information gathering to arrive at the best solution, especially with egos involved. It’s thankless and frustrating, but it’s worthwhile and there is no other choice.
“When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will be the end of the Republic.”
— Benjamin Franklin