Did you know? Bonnie Donovan
“It’s not the voting that’s democracy: it’s the counting.”
— Tom Stoppard.”
Only a few weeks left before the mayor and Santa Barbara City Council election! A reminder to everyone: The stakes couldn’t be higher for the city of Santa Barbara.
The very face of the Santa Barbara that we know and love hangs in the balance.
The next five years will be the determining factor in whether Santa Barbara will retain its classic beauty and charm.
Look around at the construction of tall buildings all over town, with plenty more planned by the present mayor and council. Remember, Mayor Cathy Murillo is in agreement with the governor’s signing of Senate Bills 9 and 10. The direction the city will go depends on who is elected.
This town needs a different mayor and council.
Case in point, Mayor Murillo walked with both Gutierrezes (Alejandra and Oscar) to assist them during their Santa Barbara City Council campaigns, yet both council members have found their own way since. She no longer wields the same power over them as formerly witnessed during the council meetings.
Remember she did not even attend the South Coast Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce’s State of the City breakfast, which is a time-honored tradition for all mayors no matter their political affiliation. This is partisan politics.
The reason she gave for refusing to attend was because some of the donors for the breakfast represent the oil industry, and she is anti-oil. (Yet, she accepts the car allowance from the city.)
This mayor only supports those businesses that she considers politically like-minded: labor unions, PLA agreement, tenants’ union, city employee unions, etc.
During city council meetings, we have seen her on numerous occasions announce prematurely which way she was voting as if she were guiding the vote.
This is not leadership.
When an agenda item is presented, after staff presents their report, the sequence is city council members comment, followed by public comment. Council members then ask their follow-up questions before voting.
Recall when Ms. Murillo called for a break at a council meeting, when it was apparent Councilmember Oscar Gutierrez was voting contrary to her wishes. When the meeting reconvened, their votes were aligned.
Another episode, during the votes for inclusionary housing in the CBD district, Oscar Gutierrez clearly stated he wanted 15% for inclusionary housing, and she repeated, “OK, 10%.”
No one corrected her, not Oscar nor anyone else from the City Council. And the number they all agreed to was the 10%!
Another memorable occasion happened when Mayor Murillo refused to let Councilmember Jason Dominguez ask budget questions in relation to the homeless. He responded, “I have a right to speak!,” and she reacted by shutting down the meeting.
This is leadership?
Mayor Murillo also voted for allowing a marijuana dispensary within blocks of Franklin Elementary School and the Santa Barbara Junior High School, promoted big developments with her rubber-stamped justification: “We need housing.”
Don’t forget: She went out of town the day after the Montecito debris flow, when the community was still in the state of crisis.
Is it not now more obvious why we need a different mayor?
June 2, 2020: Mayor Murillo took a knee during the City Council’s pledge of allegiance, and this is after she refused to take a knee during the Blakc LIves Matter march to the Santa Barbara Police Department. The BLM/Healing Justice said it was for the cameras and too little, too late.
Yet on June 5, Mayor Murillo with the entire city council including the incumbents Megan Harmon and Kristin Sneddon voted in favor of creating a citizens oversight committee of our police as they also voted to investigate ways to defund our department. Again, may we remind you this isn’t Minneapolis or Seattle or Portland.
Time after time, this city council and mayor fail to support the SBPD, choosing to focus on issues our city does not face. Again, this is Santa Barbara.
Our city council and our city needs true leaders. Not a bully, not a tyrant, not a person reading a narrative, but a leader who considers the needs and hopes of all the constituents.
During this current city council, the increase is noticeable of the homeless on our streets who are mentally ill, of criminal nature and who suffer from drug addiction.
That exacerbated by the jail’s early inmate release program combined with the other counties and states directing their homeless population to Santa Barbara has caused an explosion that is changing the face and innocence and beauty of our town.
Last week, we encountered a new female transient from Ventura, directed by train to Santa Barbara three weeks ago.
Citi Net had not contacted her yet, though she had already spoken with the Housing Authority in Ventura.
It seems like Councilmember Meagan Harmon and others on the city council like her, are using the city of Santa Barbara as their stepping stone in their political careers. We need representation that cares about this city and will not use the position as a catapult to bigger positions.
All the incumbents are running on the “exciting” programs they have supported throughout their tenure, the latest being a regional county fire communications center.
Or were they just so excited to repay the endorsement they had recently received from the fire department union by voting unanimously for the city fire department to join in this venture.
This takes the city fire dispatching out of the city’s combined police and fire communications dispatch center and to a regional joint facility with the theory that the dispatch of the closest fire equipment to respond will save time and add equipment. Let’s hope our city gets more than alleviating a dispatcher of one less phone call to an adjoining fire department during a mutual aid response. (Isn’t that what mutual does now?)
What are the additional expenses that could be added if a redundant dispatch center is built in Santa Maria, as they suggested? Not a bad idea, but once in 30 years the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office dispatch center was evacuated, and the adjoining agency switched the 9-1-1 calls and took over the duties.
An amount of $800,000 (and maybe more) added annually to the Santa Barbara City Fire Department budget is a lot of money for a few phone calls and some engines that could respond anyway.
Everyone, look for your ballot. They should have arrived in the mail.
“The ignorance of one voter in a democracy, impairs the security of all.”
— John F. Kennedy