Did You Know? Bonnie Donovan
This Christmas, it’s especially important to support the people who are still in business in town, in spite of the trials and tribulations of the lockdowns.
Instead of buying gifts on-line from Amazon, how about patronizing Santa Barbara’s brick-and-mortar stores before we lose any more of them?
We lost one Macy’s downtown, the other Macy’s is on the chopping block. The city of Santa Barbara is waiting for the store’s lease at La Cumbre Plaza to expire in the next four to five years, to build 550 new homes. But where will people shop?
Our mayor and the City Council are doing their best to annihilate retail, with their incessant declaration that “retail is dead.” That really demonstrates their blatant lack of support for small business owners, the spirit of entrepreneurship — all that makes any city vital and unique.
Don’t we deserve more?
Let’s support not only our only Macy’s, but also Old Navy, Chaucer’s, our local restaurants, etc. Buy gift cards at Vons or Trader Joe’s, a local hair or nail salon, gym memberships and any local personal grooming service. Other ideas are family memberships at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, the Santa Barbara Zoo and Lotusland in Montecito or anything else that springs from our locale.
Skip the Starbucks, they have not missed a beat, but visit The Good Cup, Jeannine’s, The Daily Grind and local coffee shops that could use the business boost. Buy something in person, something that supports the local economy.
Besides, all the internet shopping means packages on your porch that you have to worry about getting stolen.
By the way, Amazon suffered nothing during COVID-19. In fact, the company continues to make billions — remember Jeff Bezos made $13 billion in one day.
Amazon is at the forefront of new commerce, but let us not sacrifice our local businesses to these huge international corporations.
The new politicians, with which our own City Council and mayor are in step, go along with the media conglomerates and ignore public outcry with a “no comment,” as they brush off any expressed concern as if it never happened. They think if they ignore it, the rest of us will too.
This approach is changing the face of our downtown. It is happening with this hideous, oppressive, looming design for the police station. It represents nothing of the spirit and history of our town. Nor do these 60-feet high buildings planned for our downtown. The people in charge are running amok over any public outcry.
“It can be difficult to speak truth to power. Circumstances, however, have made doing so increasingly necessary.:
— Aberjhani, “To Foster a Culture”
At a meeting of local hotel owners, the topic of which was the increased homeless crime in the West Beach area, one of the hoteliers said, “Santa Barbara has a reputation to protect.”
We agree and implore City Council to act in the same vein, that the reasons for SB’s reputation are worth preserving. As it stands, Santa Barbara appears to be going down the drain in a tailspin.
In last week’s News-Press “Ask the Gold Digger” column, Dr. Elizabeth Stewart wrote how developers at the turn of the century “turned a blind eye to Californeo culture and rebranded it, many old adobes were lost.” However, she goes on to say a campaign was mounted at the time which managed to save three of the adobes downtown – the Lugo Adobe, the Miranda adobe and the De La Guerra adobe. Imagine downtown without the anchor of these valuable historical treasures. She further remarks, “respect for traditions can be exercised in tangible ways if someone has the courage to buck the trend.”
It is a good sign that City Council member Alejandra Gutierrez is taking a stand to preserve the historical 30-year-old Aztecan Murals in Ortega Park. If it is not saved after 30 years, it certainly will not be there 50 years from now.
However, the makeover for Ortega Park is invoiced at $14 million. Seems like a lot of money for a neighborhood park. Let us hope it comes with a strong practical plan.
“People become politicians for a number of reasons,” one of our contributors quipped recently. “Some because they could not hold down a job in the rigors of private industry. Others because they believe they know better, what is good for us.
“But the common denominator is the desire for power. (1) The power to regulate our lives through writing laws and enacting ordinances. (2) The power to take our money and to spend our money.”
That is a lot of power wielded by the city government. Are we paying the proper attention to those people we have elected to wield that kind of power in this town?
“Democracy gives citizens a measure of political power. That power comes with the responsibility to foster a culture that it makes it possible to live and work together for the wellbeing of all.”
— Diane Kalen-Sukra, “Save Your City”
Bonnie Donovan writes the “Did You Know?” column in conjunction with a bipartisan group of local citizens. It appears Sunday in the News-Press.