DID YOU KNOW? Bonnie Donovan
What makes Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara?
It isn’t our university (UCSB), our community college (SBCC), our beautiful beaches, our mountain and island views. It isn’t State Street, Lotusland nor the Santa Barbara Mission, the iconic Santa Barbara County Courthouse, Fiesta nor the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, the marina or Stearns Wharf. Nor is it Harry’s Cafe, Joe’s Cafe, nor the Palace. It isn’t El Encanto or the theaters such as the Lobero, the Arlington, the Granada.
Nor is it Earl Warren Showgrounds. Nor is it De la Guerra Plaza.
Santa Barbara is the sum total of each one of these venues and more!
And it’s time we all stand up and protect her, because “they” never stop trying to demolish our city …. piece by piece. Soon she will be history! The history others have worked so hard to preserve and “mindfully” create, which is why Santa Barbara is known worldwide as a beautiful and special town.
We ask who are “these” people, and how does this happen? Who is at fault in all of this really?
Many players are in the mix with more in line to take over. Emphasis on “to take over.”
Why will our elected officials not represent us, and they themselves be held accountable?
Instead, their emphasis appears to be on their next election cycle. Why are so many in the position to lord over and tell the populace that they “know better?” The audacity and the foolishness that they should decide and think for the masses. Because we have let them — out of fear, complacency, a lack of commitment and caring about our own selves and our own country. “They are the experts” … but they are not!
For instance, a teacher‘s love for their student is unmatched by the love the parent holds for their child.
Yet the Santa Barbara Unified School District board dictates that it knows what is better for children than the parents. However, the love the teachers have for their protective unions it appears is unsurpassed.
It’s obvious the emphasis on control executed by increased government to prevent social discourse, demands the eradication of freedom of speech. The best outcomes are found when people are free to speak.
If we have a crisis/emergency, eradicate what is causing the crisis until a solution is attained. Now anything the government wants to control or take more advantage of, they call the situation a crisis and even label anything a health crisis. The result is more rules, regulations and government entities to clamp down on society’s freedoms. In the words of Winston Churchill and used by Rahm Emmanuel, in more recent times, the “Never let a good crisis go to waste” credo has reached enormous proportions.
If the topic is not labeled a crisis, it is an “insecurity,” as in food insecurity, housing insecurity or job insecurity. And government officials have decided that it is their job to fix all these things for the people “they” govern. They forget the people elected them. Pushback is needed — not bowing down to these script readers we put in charge.
Speaking of the housing crisis, over a year ago UCSB was sued by the city of Goleta for not fulfilling the university’s 2010 agreement, which was to expand the student population to 25,000 from 20,000 only if UCSB built adequate housing. Why aren’t our officials demanding the enrollment be cut if not enough housing exists?
The student population for 2021-2022 is 26,314.
Local officials got in the mix after three apartment buildings in Isla Vista were sold for $91 million, and the tenants were informed their leases would not be renewed or given a 60-day notice.
The renovations by various landlords in Santa Barbara caused an uproar. Shouldn’t the situation in Isla Vista cause an uproar?
An ad seen on Next Door to sublet a bed at Beach City across from Santa Barbara City College, was lowered to $750 for an $850 per month lease. This $850 allows you to rent one bed in a room furnished with three beds each rented individually to college students. This complex has 297 units — one and two-bedrooms. So if there are three in each room, the owner makes either $757,350 or $1,136,025.00 per month.
We all have the choice not to renew our lease, and the owners/landlords have the same. Equal choice to stay or go.
Renovations cost money and time without income. When the government charges a new fee or increases utilities, landlords can’t automatically add the increase to the rent.
We question why everyone can vote on a bond and raise property taxes by those who are not paying property taxes. Otherwise, when these bonds are passed, why can’t the financial cost of the bond be automatically part of a rent increase to tenants?
Again, we suggest decreasing the enrollment allotment, and we will no longer have a housing crisis. When schools were closed during COVID, no housing crisis existed. Our elected officials in concert with the schools and the runaway out-of-state tuition have caused the residents of Santa Barbara to be pushed out of their homes while their landscape and livability is diminished.
Santa Barbara City Council is responsible for the lack of housing due to the over-enrollment at Santa Barbara City College. While every elected official should have a position on the burdens the universities put on the housing stock, we don’t see it. The exception is the Goleta City Council, who took a stand and sued UCSB.
The fall school term is around the corner. Cut the enrollment now.
Those who should be held accountable for this housing shortage are our elected officials – this includes U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal, D-Santa Barbara; state Sen. Monique Limon, D-Santa Barbara; Assemblyman Gregg Hart, D-Santa Barbara: the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors, and the city councils in both Goleta and Santa Barbara.
Elected officials will do anything for a vote, as they ponder their election cycle. They allowed both UCSB and SBCC to exceed the enrollment limits.
The 2010 agreement for UCSB is that the university must provide sufficient housing, but it has not.
When residents complained about out-of-state and out-of-country students attending our Santa Barbara City College, because of the additional demands for limited housing, SBCC decreased the enrollment and removed Kaplan International Language Studies from the SBCC campus, lowering the numbers. However, Kaplan International is back on campus. Kaplan is a springboard to attending SBCC or any university.
On that note, we propose that schools follow the military rule and that students should vote in their hometown elections.
Speaking of Congressman Carbajal’s area of concern, there’s the reported rise in overdose deaths from fentanyl in Santa Barbara County. In 2020, of 113 overdoses, 37 were related to fentanyl. In 2021, of 133 overdose deaths, 78 were from fentanyl,
In 2022, of 168 total overdose deaths,115 were from fentanyl.
Fentanyl is in many drugs. Recently, four kids died from smoking a fentanyl-laced marijuana cigarette.
This week Narcan became available from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff’s Office, followed by the Santa Barbara Police Department, has created a Fentanyl Task Force.
Yet Rep. Carbajal voted against fentanyl being reclassified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. At his handler’s direction, we suppose.
This IS a crisis — and it is at the border that we hear Rep. Carbajal has yet to visit.
Whenever the government wants more money or to distract you, they cause or claim we have a crisis. Remember this is how State Street was closed.
“We are protected by the enormity of your stupidity.”
– Claude Rains in the film “Notorious”
Bonnie Donovan writes the “Did You Know?” column in conjunction with a bipartisan group of local citizens. It appears Saturdays in the Voices section.