Did You Know? Bonnie Donovan
“Just because you do not take an interest in politics, does not mean politics won’t take an interest in you.”
— Pericles 429 B.C.
Did you know that the policies being proposed by the state and right down to the local level are changing the face of our cities, our traditional downtowns and our very own neighborhoods?
Last year, Sacramento thought they could hoodwink us by putting some of their schemes up for popular vote.
Remember their attempt to undermine the protections of Proposition 13, claiming they wanted only to remove Proposition 13 tax protections from the rich property owners. Who, by the way, rent their properties to many medium and small businesses that could not survive the increased tax if added to their rent. So that would mean more businesses closing and more moving out of state.
Fortunately, most of us saw through that subterfuge. We knew that not only businesses would suffer, but also housing tenants in large complexes. Furthermore, we knew that this was only the first step in moving toward abolishing Proposition 13 protections on our homes, forever.
Even more recently, a new abomination has emerged from the brains in Sacramento.
They propose to use a legislative blunt instrument on your elected county and city officials in defiance of your interests in protecting your property values, your home and your way of life.
Two bills are being introduced to override all local laws and ordinances and local zoning restrictions that govern single-family housing.
The intent is to permit single-family homes to be torn down to build fourplexes, sixplexes or eightplexes, depending on the size of the lot. The resulting density of housing, people and cars will overwhelm formerly quiet, peaceful neighborhoods.
Think about the house next door to you in a suburban neighborhood. This year there are two adults and two children living in it. They have two cars. They have a dog.
In a year’s time, your neighbors’ house has been torn down. Because it was on a large lot, a sixplex has been built and occupied. Of the six units, four are occupied by two adults and a child and two are occupied by single people. Three of the units have a dog.
Now your neighbors are 10 adults, four children and three dogs. Because it is a suburban area, cars are a necessity. Whereas, before, your neighbor had two cars, now each adult neighbor has a car for a total of 10 cars, parked either on the property, or out on the street, outside your home.
Imagine six months later, on the other side of your home, a fourplex is built with six adult occupants and two children with an additional six cars. How much is your home worth now? Where could you go within California to find a safe, single-family neighborhood?
This legislative move is intended to solve the housing crisis in California through the deliberate urbanization of medium-size and small towns that we live in and enjoy in Santa Barbara County and to force down the existing values of homes. Walk your neighborhood and picture this happening there.
These proposals are embodied in Senate Bills 9 and 10, which are being presented by state Sens. Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, and Scott Weiner, D-San Francisco. Both have connections to real estate development.
Call Sen. Monique Limón, D-Santa Barbara, if you oppose these bills. She has a close working relationship with Sen. Weiner. Beware.
This is the moment for all of us friends, neighbors, moderate Democrats, Republicans and independents, to rise up in organized opposition to the growing socialist domination of California.
Unfortunately, we cannot rely upon our local officials to fight for us. For example, members of the Santa Barbara City Council are paid-up members and signatories to the socialist, woke agenda.
We invite all Santa Barbara residents to walk up and down State Street, from one side to the other. As you walk, imagine that all the historic and classic structures of the downtown corridor to be five stories high, (or 4.0 FAR – Floor to Area Ratio), “or however high it needs, to develop more affordable housing.”
That is a green light for developers.
Headed by Mayor Cathy Murillo, the Santa Barbara City Council voted March 30 for exactly this scenario. Think of the change this would bring to the very fiber and character of our city. Try to imagine the congestion, the loss of site-lines of our beautiful unique and rare mountain backdrop which makes Santa Barbara geographically what it is.
And who would benefit? Mainly building contractors and real-estate developers.
They would build, build, build, and then move on to another gullible town which believes that bigger is better. Look to Los Angeles and to Orange County and judge for yourselves for the truth of that idea.
Former Santa Barbara Mayor Sheila Lodge said, “The FAR should be dropped, and we stick with the AUD program that provides the kind of development on State Street that is wanted. The FAR formula will completely change the face of State Street.”
While the city council debated building height limits for the downtown area to bring affordable housing, incentives for greater inclusionary numbers, and find additional incentives for developers, the mayor asked the consultant, “to bring us a ‘bunch’ of options for how we can increase housing production in the workforce category, but especially in low-income and very low.”
Councilmembers Kristen Sneddon, Eric Friedman and Oscar Gutierrez all agreed the FAR must be kept low enough to keep the balance that preserves the mountain skies and views.
Ms. Sneddon said she “doesn’t think numbers higher than four stories (3.0 FAR) will preserve the character of SB.”
Mr. Friedman said, “… we don’t want to lose the character of our city.”
And Mr. Gutierrez said he is reminded when his friends come to visit, “… how special this place is. How beautiful our skyline is and how it varies from other cities … If we build too high, we are going to lose that element …” Councilmember Meagan Harmon said, “… I want housing in our downtown core, we have to set a policy that will get us housing downtown.”
Ms. Harmon is a 30-something from Lompoc who arrived two minutes ago. Are we to follow her lead after all the travails and agreements of Santa Barbara’s past? Mayor Murillo hails from East L.A. (Boyle Heights).
Although three of the four railed against “the sky is the limit heights,” still the city council voted unanimously. What is the reward for this repeated consensus? Do they have to agree unanimously to keep the support of the Democratic Central Committee? Let us be real about what they propose. If we do not offer resistance this will happen right under our noses.
Wake up and stand up!
And if the thought of the November 2021 city council and mayoral election isn’t enough to make you sick, hear what happened during the beauty contest hosted by the Democratic Central Committee on April 1. Ms. Murillo, Ms. Harmon and Ms. Sneddon were endorsed.
However, Ms. Sneddon was “reprimanded for independent thinking.” She simply voiced concerns of her constituents. Mr. Friedman was told to return for a subsequent interview after he was questioned for his endorsement of his mother, Celeste Barber. This was when she ran for Santa Barbara City College trustee, after 20 years of employment there.
Why does the DCC endorse a candidate before the filing date? Perhaps to scare off other contenders. That is a money-saving tactic. Who do they support anyway, their puppets?
Last year, we celebrated the 100-year anniversary of the women’s right to vote, yet the DCC have made it clear to their candidates: We will endorse you if you vote the way we tell you. We are puzzled why the DCC endorses Mayor Cathy Murillo.
Members of the city council are shoving a one-size-serves-all into Cinderella’s delicate glass slipper. Santa Barbara should not be treated like a utilitarian work boot, but like a Sleeping Beauty. Think of those that came before, who have treated the fair maiden, Santa Barbara as such. Their bottom line was not figured in dollar amounts, but in what they could do to retain the charm and protect the delicate visual balance of the place they chose to call home.
The late Michael Towbes provided housing for all income levels and still treated her kindly. Santa Barbara, along with other beautiful towns and cities, have always required a sacrifice and a committed effort to maintaining their unique qualities. Just as those who sacrificed the fortunes they could have made, but instead donated beach fronts, parks and more for the good of the whole.
Contrary to the contemporary credo — a whole lotta money to be made here. Former Mayor Sheila Lodge said, “…The direction the city council is going will harm Santa Barbara’s economy.”
“It was not curiosity that killed the goose who laid the golden egg, but an insatiable greed that devoured common sense.”
— E.A. Bucchianeri