Did You Know? By Bonnie Donovan
Why is disruption to our life, all by design, being condoned? Speaking of complaining, we have some of our own to do, though we will not burn any buildings, shout in your face or make you kneel — just simple discourse.
It is high time Mayor Cathy Murillo and the Santa Barbara City Council follow the established rules regarding the conduct during the meetings.
For starters, please stand when reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Secondly, any subject that is not on the agenda falls into the category of “open public comment.” Yet repeatedly and for hours, the mayor has allowed the meetings to be hijacked by followers of Healing Justice, aka BLM.
For instance, if your topic is on the agenda — as item No. 14 — public comment speakers must wait until item No. 14 to address that subject. However, the mayor, we suspect out of fearful pandering, allows Healing Justice callers to discuss agenda items during the open public comment. Their reasons: “too busy,” “have to go to work,” “have a toddler,” “this takes too long,” etc. They demand to go first, while others who follow the rules must wait their turn, sometimes until midnight. This is all on people’s free time.
Now the Healing Justice organizers, aka BLM, demand to get paid 5 to 10% of the police budget for participating in the Civilian Police Review Board. Councilmember Eric Friedman argued that as it stands, all board and commission members get a stipend of $50. Period.
The Healing Justice members claim they need to be paid more for their time. This equates to a minimum of $40,000 each that the Healing Justice, aka BLM, organizers state they are entitled to be paid.
Their involvement of arranging demonstrations, participating during City Council’s public comment period, and their expectation of sitting on the Civilian Police Review Board — all of this, they have said, takes time. Council member Alejandra Gutierrez told the city that BLM deserves to be paid.
Volunteers traditionally see their service as a civic duty and are committed by the love for their community.
While our city leaders are focused on renaming street signs and removing 90-year-old plaques in the county, much of the everyday maintenance of the city is still neglected.
On your next Sunday drive, cast an eye toward the railroad tracks as you enter the Highway 101 Castillo on-ramp. The right side of the 101 is littered with campsites, tents, pallets, car seats, furniture, tires and trash, etc. There was a mattress, but it was collected as evidence after a transient female was brutalized on it.
This collection is from people dumping their trash at the car wash on Montecito Street and is exacerbated by a hole in the fence to the railroad tracks.
This garbage makes a transient camp. This has not been cleaned up in over 10 years, however not without trying. The cops are there every day. Eight years ago Adrian Gutierrez, then a beat coordinator, tried to get it done, to no avail. Next City Councilmember Cathy Murrillo assessed the situation, but again no results. Then Councilmember Oscar Gutierrez walked the site, with social workers and promised an impenetrable fence along with a cleanup.
Still waiting. Three years ago, Officer Brian Kerr walked the track with city officials. Trash, graffiti and transients remain.
Not only is this a public health emergency, it is a serious blemish to the beauty of the community.
We thought we had someone on the Planning Commission (besides Sheila Lodge) to represent Santa Barbara the way it deserves. Planning Commissioner Roxana Bonderson was exposing architect Brian Cearnal’s underhandedness regarding the gargantuan AUD project at 410 State St., formerly Staples. Ms. Bonderson persisted with her questions about the project though she was repeatedly shut down. (However, after all of Ms. Bonderson’s bravado, she caved and voted for the project.)
This project is three lots combined, which allows for more units per acre and should be distributed over the combined parcels. Ms. Bonderson asked Mr. Cearnal how many units could be built on one lot. He answered 40.
Yet he is building 84 units on one lot with a height of 52 feet. This loophole, a developer’s dream, Ms. Bonderson called out as cheating. This excessive 52 feet height is another giveaway under the guise of “community benefit.” However, the community does not benefit. The developer does.
The profits go up while the quality of life is going down. The traffic increases, the views are lost and the rents climb. By the way, 30 of the apartments are interior with no bedroom windows. This all paves the way for future high-density projects. This kind of tenement building will change the face of Santa Barbara as we know it.
Has everyone lost their mind?