Did You Know? Bonnie Donovan
“If you don’t vote, you lose the right to complain.”
— George Carlin
Did you know that by Wednesday morning, we will know the future of Santa Barbara at least for the next five years?
In other words, this is not the usual four-year cycle. It is a five-year cycle. Look at only the past year and see how our world, the economy etc. has turned. Much can happen in a year.
And Tuesday’s election for Santa Barbara City Council and mayor is important to our future.
But first, let’s start with a positive note.
Who in the world hired Barney Melekian for the county? The city was lucky enough to borrow him, as the interim police chief.
This outstanding man exhibits qualities and a worth ethic that we haven’t seen in decades. He answers his emails from residents while on vacation, and on his days off, unlike other city department heads. He shows up for personal contact regarding citizen concerns. He is a shining star — only one thing wrong with this situation.
As of Jan. 14, his leadership and work for the city, unfortunately, will come to an end. This is where deal making could be a good thing. How do we retain Chief Melekian?
Look at the contrast of another interim department head.
We were forwarded a Statement of Economic Interest that a reader requested after the attacks on city council candidate Nina Johnson (and the other candidates who challenged the incumbents) for not filing their donations in a timely manner and thus suffered penalties. His SEI was filed in accordance with the California Fair Practices Act and requires incumbents and their spouses to disclose their financial holdings.
These disclosures include financial instruments, 401K’s, deferred comp, real estate holdings, partnerships, contractual interests, mortgages. No holdings were listed on their filings. Seems unlikely with some employed by Caltrans, Santa Barbara City College and as a Santa Barbara County deputy district attorney. Where is the city’s media release for these incumbents?
No response to our inquiries from the interim city administrator.
Speaking of good enough for government work, we hear from a downtown business owner, that the city is willing to spend to destroy traffic flow and then spend more money to “solve” the problem of increased congestion they caused by things like the Cota Bike path, the closing of State, the narrowing of De la Vina, the narrowing of upper Anacapa. All this has created a traffic jam for commercial properties where there weren’t problems with traffic. Not to mention the new bulb outs at Modoc and Calle de Los Amigos as part of the bike path, that had to be torn out and “reconfigured” due to the dangerous turn radius.
Our current leadership is so inept, part of their veiled attempt to thwart business downtown so they can do what they want and turn it into something unrecognizable.
Many a truth is said in jest. It is so revelatory how the Democratic Party works, or rather doesn’t play well together, not that we are surprised. Imagine Das Williams who lives in Carpinteria, dangling the promise of the city administrator’ss job to Deborah Schwartz, to back off and out of Mayor Cathy Murillo’s way. Where would that put Rebecca Bjork? Talk about go along, to get along.
There are 362,000 reasons to bow of the mayor’s race. It doesn’t get any better on Page 6 of the New York Post, does it?
Again, Deborah Schwartz laughed and said it was just a joke.
As in “hypothetically speaking”… a soft-landing spot for Ms. Schwartz if you get back in line.
How dare Das interfere in city politics. The DCC has a lot invested in keeping these big three to remain in lockstep with the party line: Murillo, Sneddon and Harmon.
Some rumors had swirled in political circles that Mr. Williams and Ms. Schwartz discussed potential alternative positions with the city that could be available to Ms. Schwartz if she stepped aside — including the city administrator role that comes with an annual financial package of $362,000. That scuttlebutt was quickly squashed by both parties.
“First, she’s staying in the race. I didn’t offer her anything except for my help in creating reconciliation (with the DCC),” Mr. Williams said
Ms. Schwartz concurred. “It was said in jest,” she said, referring to the city administrator role.
Why doesn’t Das mind his own backyard? Not the one in Carpinteria, but the county installation of 34 “new transitional housing” for homeless in the parking lot at 1100 Santa Barbara St., doors down from the County Courthouse and the Santa Barbara Police Department.
How convenient. Jurisdiction or not, the SBPD will be the responding agency.
Right, the city police our current city council moved to defund will be expected to respond when there is a disturbance. We won’t be surprised if the county’s transitional housing at 1100 Santa Barbara St. will attract the same foot traffic as the Rose Garden Inn. Steps from our “Tourist T” of the Courthouse, the Main Library, the Art Museum, The Granada and the State Street Promenade. Classically progressive.
What else could we ask for? New leadership!
But wait there’s more, the party-line Dems really know how to dither.
Per Gov. Newsom, “the economy was roaring back” with the Golden Stimulus and California Comeback plan. But the delta variant spread as the lawmakers approved the “comeback plan.” Can anyone make sense of this nonsense? The delta made me do it? The delta failed us?
What? Come again, these are government checks, not goods and services. How does that make the economy come back ?
More smoke and mirrors.
Anyone voting for the currently seated mayor and council member needs to sit up and pay attention to their agenda. How many would realize the problems in Santa Barbara that these currently elected officials have created or exacerbated by immature, idealistic leadership which follows a political agenda with consequences of which even they cannot be aware. (In a dictatorship, people who dissent from the official party line usually wind up in prison — or worse.)
The official party line to which they adhere supersedes the generations of hard work and effort to maintain the beauty and grace of this fair town.
Let’s take a look back at other California cities nearly as charming as Santa Barbara.
Up until the mid-50’s to early ’69, towns like Anaheim and Santa Ana enjoyed the rich backdrop of Saddleback mountains in one direction, a clear view of the San Gabriel mountains, in another.
The downtown areas of both cities were similar in appearance to that of our town. The streets were easily navigable.
It took about 10 years to change those communities into something indistinguishable from the most unattractive, indistinct, and congested towns in the San Fernando Valley, and other outlying towns around Los Angeles.
No one held the reins back from this indiscriminate building. If you didn’t know Anaheim before, you would only think of it as an offramp to Disneyland or Angels stadium.
It only takes one vote to tip the scale.
Remember that an election can be won by 24% or lost by as little as 8 votes. Low voter turnout is a large contributing factor to these current city predicaments.
Get out and cast your ballot. Be an influence for our election.
The stakes are high.