Our intrepid city leaders are considering another power grab.
The latest idea working its way through the Ordinance Committee is to limit rent increases to an annual 2% maximum. That would be regardless of inflation, regardless of the age of a building and how much maintenance it needs, regardless of comparable rents. The Santa Barbara City Council knows what the rent for every building, every home and every apartment in Santa Barbara should be.
I have a better idea. Let’s limit City Council members’ annual salary increase to no more than 2%. Let them lead by example.
Another perk to be changed is the over $400 per month vehicle expense allowance City Council members receive. Instead, let’s give them an annual bus pass, the same as they have decreed all downtown employers must give their employees. The clarion call from our electeds and city staff is to save the planet and get on the bike or bus. Another opportunity to lead by example!
There shouldn’t be reimbursement for junkets, such as the annual League of Cities classes in Sacramento. Zoom is the way to learn. If other meetings are now limited to online, our mayor and council should be trained that way forevermore.
City Council members should be in the same Social Security system as most of their constituents, not in the absurdly generous CalPERS (California Public Employee Retirement System). Ordinary employees and employers pay the same 6.2% of earned income into Social Security and 1.45% into Medicare.
But if you are in CalPERS as an elected official you pay 7% and the city — that is, the taxpayers — pays 21% into your CalPERS retirement account. It is unfair for elected officials to receive a better pension than most of their constituents, at the constituents’ expense.
We pay and we obey. That has become the California way. It’s time THEY considered ways to take the burden off the citizenry instead of constantly imposing more rules, regulations, and fees.