DID YOU KNOW? Bonnie Donovan
“We stand in front of the microwave and scream — HURRY!”
— Joan Rivers
For now, it appears that the historic Mission Creek Bridge is saved.
A safer pedestrian passage that will also accommodate wheelchairs and strollers is in order.
Perhaps since supporters of the ADA threatened the city for its obstacle course on State Street, which challenged pedestrians with disabilities, the city is more aware of the needs of all the community members. During Tuesday’s Santa Barbara City Council presentation by opposing sides, another contributing factor towards the preservation of the bridge is when Councilmember Kristen Sneddon questioned if the Chumash had been given enough notification to provide adequate input. (While Councilmember Meghan Harmon was visibly cognizant of the impending election in November, she demurred to a greater degree than usual. Well, actually all the councilmembers did.)
At every meeting, a needed crosswalk at Los Olivos and Alameda Padre Serra has been suggested. Where is the crosswalk and flashing lights for both crosswalks on either side of the bridge?
A bridge, especially of this historical significance, does not need to be demolished to accomplish a crosswalk on either side for pedestrians’ safety.
When Did You Know? did our field trip for our first article on the bridge, we crossed the bridge on foot, sans stroller, and felt no hazard, no fear. We looked left and right. We passed an elderly gentleman walking his dog on the Mission side.
Should a 5-year-old cross the street alone? No. However, that is why there are parking lots at the Rocky Nook Park; the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History; the Santa Barbara Woman’s Club, Rockwood; and the Santa Barbara Mission. No need to cross the street.
Where do all these accommodations end? How do we please everyone? The answer is sleek, smooth, modern – no character whatsoever. Statements made recently by our elected officials during the city council meeting include, from “near misses are intimidating for most people…” and, “not a pleasant drive from Roosevelt School through Mission Canyon…” to the most ridiculous one, “all historic buildings fall down eventually.”
And then “..The most terrifying experience was walking my daughter’s stroller in the area. I have never done it again …”
Seriously? “All historic buildings fall down eventually?” What about the Great Pyramids of Egypt, the Pyramids in Cancun and the Tower of London? Everyone is still kissing the Blarney Stone at the castle.
Don’t we all hold our breath as we drive south on Highway 101, on the Gaviota Coast and across the 1917 Arroyo Quemado Bridge where the sign reads “bridge narrows”? We feel for you. Check the stats, not the “near misses” and look to see how many injuries have occurred on this Mission Creek Bridge, because people are careful.
As the News-Press reported, “Mayor Cathy Murillo said the Mission Canyon Bridge has made it to council many times but that it’s ‘time to do something.’ ” That’s her M.O. Let’s just do something.
So much that has been rushed in this town under her tutelage when it comes to changing the familiar and beloved face of Santa Barbara. Even Councilmember Eric Friedman remarked about the significant changes that have already happened to our city.
We too observe the significant changes, with high-density buildings in our traditional downtown corridor, the gargantuan 8-combined parcels at 701 N. Milpas St that will block the view of the mountains for the junior high students; the Project Labor Agreement, which basically shuts out the non-union tradesmen for any city project over $5 million; and let’s not forget the Mandatory Lease Ordinance, effective June 7, 2019, which forces the landlord to pay three months of rent for relocation fees, if the landlord does not renew the lease. Not to mention “hero pay” for some grocery stores, and grocery cart penalties, under Mayor Murillo’s tenure.
And on that note, the deadline to file for elected office is past, and the pool of candidates is set.
We congratulate Eric Friedman in District 5 as the uncontested winner. Councilmembers Kristin Sneddon and Meghan Harmon aren’t so lucky. This “go round” they both have competition.
Because of district elections, all of us are not eligible to vote for council members in this cycle. However, each of us has an opportunity to make a positive change in our city’s leadership.
Six contenders vie for the mayor’s position. Like the last mayoral election, with so many choices, a win can be had with only 27% of the vote. It is up to us to meet and question the candidates.
This for a five-year term. Again, look how quickly the city has changed under this elected body.
How quickly the next 11 weeks will pass until the Nov 2 election.
Who will be the best candidate to guide our city through this drought with all its trials and ramifications? Of our list of candidates running for election in November, who will fight to keep our resources in balance with what we are physically, and geographically able to accommodate?
We are talking water, food, infrastructure, open space and quality of life, while we preserve the reasons that draw people to Santa Barbara. In the old days, people came to Santa Barbara to improve their health.
As a city, we have conserved, even changed our landscapes only for the state to legislate more housing. Locally, many of the candidates have ties with the development industry.
Where will the water come from and who can we trust for our well-being? California is in trouble as our natural resources for water are drying up. Our avenues for water, rain, snow, aquifers, desal and imported purchases are being depleted by many factors.
How do we build more and feed an increased population without land for food and without water?
By the way, the housing bill, Senate Bill 9 (which destroys single-family neighborhoods by allowing eights units on a parcel currently zoned for a single-family house), has passed the Senate and goes to the Appropriations Committee Thursday.
An average healthy human can live without water for three or four days and can live without food for 21 to 40 days, providing that person has water. Water is the elixir of life for all living things. Without a constant, reliable supply of water, we die.
All the leading indicators of water supply demonstrate that California is running out of water. The hydrologist experts have been warning us of this since 2015. Alarmingly in June, the hydro-electric Hyatt Powerplant in Lake Oroville had to go offline because of low lake levels.
Gov. Gavin Newsom ignores the illegal marijuana grows in the Mojave high desert, where billions of gallons of water is siphoned from agricultural wells, aqueducts and fire hydrants by cartels and illegal operations. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office spied 500 grow sites from the air.
A recent raid netted $1 billion dollars between 373,000 live marijuana plants and dried products.
To deter the water thefts, 100 water hydrants were removed from the Antelope Valley jeopardizing fire response. (See the July 11 edition of the Los Angeles Times.)
While at the moment, many decisions about water supply are being made locally, there is an urgent need for a statewide plan and investments to tackle the enormity and the urgency of the issues facing the state to address creation, collection and storing of water from rain and snow and the conservation through increased recycling on a large-scale.
Our future depends on who we vote into office to protect our resources, state and quality of life.
“The quality of a good life depends in large measure on how a man reacts to his natural environment, and we cannot destroy one without diminishing the other.”
— James Michener