Did You Know for over 60 years that we as a nation have fought against segregation?
But in the last month BLM has made demands to the city of SB that as a result they basically segregate themselves as they call for their own black community center, then they demand their own teen center. The protest organizers also want to be paid for their time-consuming efforts to rally and make peaceful protests. They want their black historical landmarks researched by the city historian, Ms Nicole Hernandez.
And from what we can tell amidst the screaming, what they most want is that the SB Police Department be defunded, dismantled and be made into a healthy restorative and transformational place. Also that we acknowledge that systemic racism, they say, is embedded in the fabric of America that none of us even know about. BLM says it is a privilege to be white; just ’cause you say it, doesn’t mean it’s so.
Aren’t blacks part of the fabric of America? Aren’t all of our histories intertwined?
America was a colony of Europe. Aren’t we all lucky that we got to be part of this country?
Why is it then that people from so many countries still clamor to come here?
Now back to the budget, which the Santa Barbara City Council will approve this Tuesday, June 23.
Here is how the City Council gave away the store in the last 45 minutes of a six-hour budget hearing:
Paul Casey promoted two managers: Wendy Levy, the human resource manager, and Rebecca Bjork of Public Works. He said the pay increase was small; however, we suspect the benefits package is ample. Ms. Levy’s new position has been vacant for a year. Why fill it now when the cupboard is bare and the whole city took a pay cut? In fact, bargaining units did not take the raises they were promised.
For example, the police employees gave back their raises, and the 5% reduction froze positions and suspended programs.
Police Chief Lori Lunow, in her response to City Council, mentioned an idea so new her staff had not been advised that she was reassigning a lieutenant to assist her. She already has three captains as part of her staff to assist her. Perhaps this lieutenant is to cover her while she lives in San Diego four days a week. After all, she was unavailable during the debris flow and the BLM protest.
Do we need a part-time chief? She is barely there. That is a salary savings.
And on that note: Send Anthony Wagner back to San Diego with her. Before Chief Lunow came to town, the PIO spokesperson was a sergeant or lieutenant, as part of their collateral duties. Another salary savings of $190,000.
Chief Lunow also said she has assigned five sworn officers to work in the 911 Dispatch Center to fill the vacant civilian positions. Isn’t the city better served with the sworn police officers in the street and off the phone?
Mr Casey, when questions were asked re: the SBPD PIO Anthony Wagner’s salary of $190,000; said he borrowed Mr. Wagner during the COVID-19 crisis. He said the city doesn’t have a Public Information Office and the city needs to hire one to the tune of $150,000! Why can’t Department heads write a progress report weekly, monthly? We have made due so far.
The city said they would investigate how to finance a Black Community Center.
Many social clubs rent city-owned spaces for their events. Doesn’t that serve the same purpose?
Also, a teen center already exists at Chapala and West Anapamu. What would keep other ethnic groups from demanding their own teen center? What does that accomplish except further divide? Doesn’t a black Community Center exist at the 100-year-old St Paul AME Church at 502 Olive St.? BLM has demanded it be deemed a historical landmark. We also think it should be so designated. We are all about preserving history.
The City Council gave $25,000 to the new joint SB-Goleta Chamber of Commerce. We applaud the City Council on this matter. They asked for $150,000!
During COVID, we all practiced due diligence and followed the guidelines, which included self-quarantine. As our country slowly reopened, the perfect storm occurred.
In the aftermath of the terrible unwarranted death of Mr. Floyd in Minneapolis, nationally organized and well-funded groups such as BLM and others joined forces, taking advantage of the atmosphere of widespread pent up emotions. Cities all across America were terrorized. Stores were looted and burned down, and our rule of law and the police have been under attack ever since. As a matter of fact, police officers were killed and several hundred were severely injured all in the line of duty.
Our city officials stood not for the silent majority but cowered and were threatened into submission. We watched our city officials get down on their knees at the demands of BLM.
Understand this: We the public recommend a Vote of No Confidence. This is for all City Council members, the mayor and the chief of police.
There is no command presence on any of these fronts. We need leaders; not carpetbaggers, not hand wringers nor finger pointers.
Bonnie Donovan writes the “Did You Know?” column in conjunction with a bipartisan group of local citizens. It appears Sundays on the Voices page.