On Tuesday, the Santa Barbara City Council approved spending up to $700,000 on automated license plate readers to install in the downtown, waterfront and airport parking lots.
The vote was 6 to 1, with the dissenting vote being Mayor Pro Tempore Kristen Sneddon.
She opposed the readers due to the number of kiosketeers who will lose their jobs or be transitioned to another position with the city.
“It is a gateway job for so many high school students,” she said. “It gives people a good feeling about the city.”
However, Rob Dayton, the transportation planning and parking manager for the city, expressed the importance of the readers to save the city more than $1 million annually.
“License plate recognition has evolved over the last decade to the point where it’s very effective.
“In our current rate of losing $50,000 a week… we will be out of money and we will need to find that money somewhere or the system will need to shut down so that is a really big deal.”
In other news, the council voted to offer all tenants three months worth of tenant relocation assistance, after voting last week to provide two months of relocation assistance and a third month for people with special needs.
“I’m really worried about what the Census is going to show once it’s completely processed,” said council member Oscar Gutierrez, who supported the change. “I’m afraid that it’s going to be worse than what it was and it’s really going to reflect on who we are and what we’re doing as legislators.”
Council member Meagan Harmon also supported the change, but preferred three months of relocation assistance plus one month for people with special needs.
“If you look at the cities that have a special arrangement for particularly vulnerable folks… I don’t think that those cities are saying that the discrimination that might result is OK — I think what they’re recognizing is that this relocation is a different context than just a general payment that might be paid to a tenant.”
Council members Mike Jordan and Eric Friedman voted no to the change, making the vote 5 to 2.
“The reality is you have to be able to balance what’s out there in the real world: a combination of needy tenants and housing providers and worry about those dynamics,” said council member Jordan. “I’m a little frustrated… that we’re talking about a compromise that goes up from where it was originally planned.”
Finally, the hearing that was scheduled on the appeal of the Parks and Recreation Commission’s failure to vote to approve, conditionally approve or deny the removal of a Deodar Cedar at 2934 Lomita Road was moved to Dec. 8.