Did You Know? Bonnie Donovan
“The ability to ask questions is the greatest resource in learning the truth.”
— Carl Jung
Many questions surround the element of housing, and forces ranging from those in Sacramento to those locally are changing the look, feel and the way we live.
Questions go unanswered. Why?
A concerned citizen telephoned the state Sen. Monique Limón’s office in Sacramento and asked the status of Senate Bills 9 and 10, expressing opposition to these housing bills that destroy single family neighborhoods by changing zoning.
The senator’s aide advised that both bills received enough votes and are waiting at the Assembly. Sen. Limón, D-Santa Barbara, abstained from voting on either bill. The citizen remarked, how interesting.
We responded: Cowards abstain from voting, unless they recuse themselves for personal ties to the issue.
We pay Sen. Limón to represent her constituents. Why did she refrain from voting on an important issue, so important to the residents that she attended a town hall meeting on SB 9 and 10 via Zoom?
A contact heard that the Real Estate Association is a major donor to fight Gov. Newsom’s recall. What’s in it for them?
On June 29, Santa Barbara City Councilmember Kristen Sneddon asked City Planner Rene Brooks, since the state’sCalif Environmental Quality Act and the city’s environmental impact reports were changed to streamline the permitting process for new housing, does the previous CEQA and EIR used for the 4,000 housing units for Santa Barbara still cover the new allotted Regional Housing Needs Allocation numbers, which double the amount of housing to 8,000 units?
On double numbers: UCSB plans to build housing for more than 4,000 new students. Do the 4,000 additional housing units count toward Santa Barbara County’s RHNA numbers? Housing is housing.
We have more questions about the July 15 meeting of the Santa Barbara Planning Commission meeting, which discussed the 701 N.Milpas St. site. Commissioner Deborah Schwartz asked a very important one, “Who blocked the children’s East Ortega entrance to Santa Barbara Junior High School with orange barricades?” The developer’s planner, Jarrett Gorin responded, “no idea.”
Ms. Schwartz then asked city staff the same question, and project planner Kathleen Kennedy also answered, “no idea.”
Can anyone find out who blocked the children’s Ortega entrance to the junior high?
That entrance must be almost 90 years old. Jarrett Gorin offered that the children could go around the barricade. What happened to “Safe Routes to School”?
During the same Planning Commission Meeting, for 701 N. Milpas St., Jarrett Gorin compared a photo of the 75-foot-high Balboa Building on State Street to the proposed project and scoffed, “Santa Barbara will have multiple stories, and nobody should be surprised by tall buildings.”
He showed a photo simulation of Santa Barbara Plumbing next to the “miniaturized” development. See how the magnifying glass on your computer works? Sometimes against you. See why story poles tell the whole story? The unvarnished truth.
Mr. Gorin also showed the view of the back of the combined 8-parcel development from the Santa Barbara Junior High sports field with pretty pink flowers on the rear balconies of the new structure. However, he left out the wall of the parking garage, which will face the school’s playing field.
During a previous meeting’s public comment, a local resident said, “It looks like a prison. Is that your design for the junior high kids to see all day? Looking at the walls of a prison? After you hogged the view of the Riviera for yourself.”
ACLU speaks of a “School-to-Prison Pipeline”; should they get used to seeing such a wall? A stretch, but no further than using the Balboa Building for a comparison of height.
The travesty: Planning Commission came to the meeting with their hands tied. The result of the development agreement with the city, again averting possible litigation, at least in their opinion. The project goes back to the Architectural Board of Review for further consideration. Perhaps it’ll be another chance to mollify this monstrosity.
On top of that, when Mr Gorin presented the development’s parking on 800 E. Ortega, he said, “This really isn’t a street, it is a neighborhood parking lot.”
We suspect a public records request would discover numerous parking citations on 800 E. Ortega over the last few decades. We wonder where the neighbors will park, after the development absorbs 800 E. Ortega.
Mr. Gorin did add that apartment guests will be allowed to park in one of the six commercial spots on 800 E. Ortega after 6 p.m. and after they obtain a temporary parking pass from the 24-hour concierge.
“We’re moving on up … to the Eastside … to a deluxe apartment in the sky.”
— Theme song of “The Jeffersons” (1975-85 sitcom)
We are still bewildered by the audacity of the city to give away the public’s property of 800 E. Ortega to a private enterprise. Are they leasing the street to the developers?
The city of Carpinteria just voted to lease the public parking lot it uses for the train station and beach parking to a private enterprise for a hotel. We reiterate, it was leased, for $600,000 a year.
Many Carpinterians did not favor the trade-off for the loss of the convenience of their parking. Probably the same will be for the Westside neighbors of Santa Barbara who use the Castillo/Carrillo commuter parking lot.
Rumor has it, the city will give the public commuter parking lot to the City of Santa Barbara Housing Authority. Parking is a community benefit, and a necessity for many.
Did you hear Jeff Bezos just did a fly-by of the sound barrier? Came right back. Probably no parking.
Why can’t the Santa Barbara City Council agenda be posted before late Thursday afternoon? Earlier posting would augment public participation for upcoming issues.
The City Council Meetings must be in person. Call-in public comment, etc., is a ruse. People called in from Ventura, from Northern California, etc. and stacked the deck on numerous issues during COVID-19. A phone call can come from across the pond.
Santa Barbara residents deserve fair representation by participants who live here and not long-distance callers.
Kudos to Councilmembers Sneddon and Mike Jordan for standing up for workers and standing against the city’s Project Labor Agreement for local projects. Unfortunately, the agreement passed.
The upshot is that if non-union construction workers are hired for a city project, the workers must pay into the union, even if they already pay for their own benefits such as insurance, retirement etc. Feels like New Jersey.
Did you know Santa Barbara has a new highway? We don’t know the number yet, but it does run north and south so the number will be odd. Highways and freeways are numbered odd if they run north and south and are even-numbered if they run east and west. Ever since our new neighbors moved into Montecito, so much more helicopter traffic on the helicopter highway. How must the Nesbitts feel?
Question for those running for election: Are you willing to address the high salaries for staff? What are we getting for what we pay?
The governor of California makes $200,000 annually. City employees in management make that and more.
“Anyone who doesn’t take truth seriously in small matters, can not be trusted in large ones either.”
— Albert Einstein