Did You Know? Bonnie Donovan
After Santa Barbara Police Chief Lori Luhnow announced her plans to retire in mid-February, Mayor Cathy Murrillo said the chief “made a tremendous contribution to creating a culture of community-focused policing” through hiring and training.
However, we recall that back in June, Chief Luhnow along with Mayor Murrillo, Fire Chief Eric Nickel and Santa Barbara City Councilman Oscar Gutierrez knelt in solidarity with demands by Black Lives Matter. This behavior seriously counters any true support of law enforcement.
As a result of such a stance, the Santa Barbara Police Department recruitments are down 75% or more from what they were just a few years ago. In fact, around 20 officers are set to leave the department within the next year.
Chief Luhnow‘s much touted streamline officer application and recruitment team is a dismal failure. (It must be so bad if she is leaving.)
Our point here is basically that we urge City Hall to hire a chief of police who represents strong law enforcement. They could take a page out of Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown’s playbook.
Another give-away by the Santa Barbara Planning Commission: Fall out from “no minimum parking” required on a project allowed in the Central Business District, for another incentive to increase AUDs — Average Unity Density — housing. This is the largest present threat to destroy the very character of this town.
When was the last time you tried to find a parking place to go to your favorite restaurant (back when we could do that sort of thing)? Another threat to the demise of downtown parking: Transportation’s Rob Dayton commandeered the public parking on the first block, both east and west of the side streets of the State Street promenade from Haley to Victoria. It looks as though he and Ms. Murrillo have decided that not only is retail dead downtown but also the patronage for the restaurants and coffee shops.
But back to the issue of the AUDs: a huge consequence for those neighbors, living in proximity to 425 Santa Barbara St. This project — 19 units, two buildings — four stories and 52.4 feet high! This height combined with the density and the fact that no parking will be required — is criminal.
Oversized storage for bicycles is being provided since it was said that the apartments are so small — 489 square feet — they will need storage space. One caller stated during public comment that it sounds like student housing — and the foreign students he knows drive Maseratis, Ferraris and even Rolls Royces. These students have so much money they park anywhere and pay the ticket.
Of course, there is the Smart and Final parking lot across the street. Now who is going to use that zip car that Mr. Dayton has provided on the street in front, courtesy of the citizens of Santa Barbara?
This project was voted down by the Architectural Board of Review because of the variances requested by the applicant.
Still the problem is that the ABR is losing its ability to protect our city. This is because the city of Santa Barbara is being bombarded from all sides to build housing that will change our beautiful city into something unrecognizable. This project gathers traction from SB330 and the city’s AUD incentives.
Back in the day, we recall the teepee villages that sprang up in a couple of the vacant lots in Isla Vista. These teepee villages were inhabited by students and their families, experimenting in communal living. These students grew up and got on with it. However, they provided a colorful and harmless quality to the fabric of those times.
This contrasts sharply to these isolating single unit dwellings for the homeless that have been placed in a parking lot in the heart of Isla Vista. This kind of homelessness mixed with the student population of the university is just asking for trouble. What were they thinking?
Surely a more appropriate site could have been found for these homeless installations. More good intentions without the wisdom to see the consequences for everybody.
We are sad to see that 4th District County Supervisor Peter Adam stepped down after having served eight years. Sheriff Brown stated that Mr. Adam’s viewpoints brought an “important sense of balance” to the Board of Supervisors.
“It is important that we have a mixture of thought and a mixture of belief,” the sheriff went on to say.
Mr. Adam offered the only opposing view and was never afraid to speak his mind in support of fiscal responsibility and better county infrastructure.
Support Santa Barbara restaurants and businesses. Every time you thought you would have gone out to dinner, but now cannot, go to your favorite local restaurant and order take-out. These are our neighbors.
If we lean into our faith and our traditions, the spirit of Christmas will help us get through this dark period.
“The true light which lights every man that comes into the world.”
— John 1, 9
That is the hope of Christmas. If we must curb our travels and stay in town over the holidays, take the time to walk downtown to remind ourselves what it is about Santa Barbara, besides her rich natural beauty, that makes us admired in the world over.
“Behind the complicated details of the world, stand the simplicities.”
— Graham Greene
As Santa Barbarans have done over the last century, now is the time to work again to protect the careful plans already set-in place to preserve her rich heritage.
“God bless us, everyone!”
— Tiny Tim in Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”