We finally got a response to our public records request regarding the State Street benches? We know this is laborious, but the plot thickens as the expense of our benches grows. The four questions were: the cost to purchase, the cost to remove, who made the decision to remove, and will they return to State Street. The response was sent on Feb. 4, three weeks after the request; lawfully (legally?) the turnaround is 10 days. The only question answered was the cost to remove the benches. We were given two invoices, one from Channel Coast Company for removal and refurbish of all the benches, for a total of $4,689.95 dated December 2019; the second was to paint one bench for a total of $937.99 dated January 2020. These invoices are recent, yet the bench inquiries have been around since 2015. With the documents was included an “Asset Summary” expense to date for each bench. This was more than we asked for, but the calculations are priceless. The city’s total cost of record to date appears to be $31,686.60, and these benches are still in storage and untouched. The total for two invoices from Channel Coast Company is $5,627.94, yet city asset summary for the same five benches shows a total of $7,624.81. These figures don’t add up. These five benches are installed at 706, 708, 738 and 740 State Street. Using these calculations provided, your projected cost to redo the benches is between $92,861 to $161,413.56. For the answers to the rest of the questions from the public records request, I was told to contact Rob Dayton directly. He emailed that “the plan is to put the benches back. We believe once more people return to State Street to actively to use the benches, they can be put back and used for their intended purposes. We will be working with the businesses to gauge exactly when that is.” What if the building is vacant? How long does the city wait, and why are shopkeepers stakeholders for these benches that were paid for by the citizens of Santa Barbara? Should not all the answers to the public records request be provided by the due date, legally? Why the runaround? We only want to know.