District 3 Councilman Oscar Gutierrez and District 6 Councilwoman Meagan Harmon are the only qualified candidates that can be elected in the city’s General and Special Municipal Election Nov. 5.
City Clerk Services Manager Sarah Gorman on Tuesday certified that Mr. Gutierrez and Ms. Harmon are the only candidates who can be elected in those districts. The candidate nomination period closed at 5 p.m. Friday.
The City Council will hold a special meeting on Wednesday to decide whether to appoint the candidates or have either or both appear on the November ballot. City staff estimates a saving of $106,000 if council was to make an appointment for both districts, including $42,000 in savings for District 3 (Westside) and $68,000 in District 6 (downtown area). The costs are dependent on voter registration and there are more voters registered in District 6, Ms. Gorman said.
The District 3 seat is a five year term and the District 6 seat is a two-year term, which includes the remaining two years of former Councilman Gregg Hart, who now sits on the Board of Supervisors.
There will be an election in November for the positions of District 1 (Eastside) and District 2 (the Mesa).
Council amends park closure ordinance
Violators of the city’s recently adopted park closing time will be facing an infraction rather than a misdemeanor charge, according to a council vote Tuesday.
The Santa Barbara City Council voted 5-2 to decriminalize violations, with Councilmember Jason Dominguez and Randy Rowse voting against the amendment.
In addition, the council gave direction to incorporate language into the ordinance to require a prior warning before an infraction was issued. The motion was made by Ms.Harmon.
“When one of the possible consequences criminalizes everyday behavior like being in a park, it’s something we really, really have to be careful about doing – particularly when our citizens pay for the privilege to use those parks,” she said. “I think it would allow a lot of us to sleep more soundly at night.”
Several councilmembers cautioned the concept of altering the tools available to park enforcement officers, as well as parsing out enforcement language for city ordinances.
Mr. Dominguez made a motion to have an infraction be issued for a first violation and the possibility of a misdemeanor for future citations, but Ms. Harmon said that would just add another layer of complexity to the ordinance.
“I do not want to criminalize being in a park,” she said.
The City Attorney’s Office will prepare an amended ordinance and bring it back for reintroduction at next week’s council meeting.
As adopted during last week’s meeting, city parks will close a half hour after sunset, as defined by the National Weather Service.
Supervisors approve cannabis revenue to close library budget gaps
The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a funding option to make up deficits at three branch libraries by using cannabis tax revenue.
The supervisors voted unanimously to make up deficits for the Orcutt, Vandenberg Village and Montecito branch libraries totaling $68,500. With the increase in contribution, the previously approved budget for library services will be a little under $3.86 million.
The Orcutt branch will receive $12,261, Vandenberg Village will receive $11,229 and Montecito will get an additional $44,956. The funds will ensure the libraries won’t have to cut hours or reduce programs, according to a staff report.
In the same vote, the supervisors approved an agreement with Santa Maria, Lompoc, Goleta and Santa Barbara to provide library services at the county branch locations within the four library zones for the current fiscal year, which runs through June 2020.
The agreement will go to the respective city councils for approval, officials said.
If ratified, Santa Maria will receive almost $1.29 million to provide library services in Zone 3, which includes Cuyama, Guadalupe, Los Alamos, Orcutt and Santa Maria.
Lompoc would receive nearly $500,000 for Zone 2 residents in Vandenberg Village and Vandenberg Air Force Base and Lompoc.
Goleta would be in line to receive $961,081 for services in Zone 4, which includes Solvang, Buellton, Santa Ynez, Los Olivos, Gaviota, Isla Vista, Hope Ranch, and portions of Goleta.
Santa Barbara’s allocation is just over $1.1 million for services in Zone 1, which includes Carpinteria, Montecito and Santa Barbara.
The Library Ad Hoc Committee and county staff will continue searching for a mechanism to provide sustainable funding for the County Library System so the branch libraries won’t have to ask the board every year for money to keep the facilities operating.
The committee expects to deliver its findings to supervisors in early 2020, according to a staff report.