Did You Know? Bonnie Donovan
Did you know that an atmosphere of complacency and naivete has allowed rampant overdevelopment and changes to our historical references all over California for the past 60 years? Until now, Santa Barbara has fiercely defended and pushed back against this wave of destruction that is touted as progress.
For example, to change or not to change the name of San Andres Street to Dolores Huerta Way, becomes one of the topics concerning the residents of Santa Barbara. This idea, fomented by the BLM bandwagon, demonstrates proponents have not done their homework.
It turns out after all of this “viva la Raza” movement, that ironically, Mr. Andres Pico was a highly respected man. His heritage consisted of African, Spanish, and Mexican Indian. You cannot get more diversity in one man than that. See how important facts and history are?
We agree with our local historian Neal Graffy. On the subject he said, “… changing street names dishonors our history and heritage and sets in motion a bad practice of changing names whenever a group decides to advocate for another one. Instead of eradicating our history, why not create something for future generations to embrace as part of our community’s legacy.”
If you want to bring change to the town, make sure our history is protected. Send your opinions regarding the street name change to the City Council at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Speaking of changes, many premium upgrades are being implemented to our Paseo Nuevo mall. This does not include the old Macy’s or the Nordstrom’s building, just the middle thoroughfare between the two.
The lessee of Paseo Nuevo has a 75-year lease that expires in 2065.
For a historical perspective, the Paseo Nuevo is 30 years old tomorrow. It just received a much needed $20-million facelift at the expense of the tenant, and the remodel is as classy as they are.
The management group, Pacific Retail Capital Partners, gave a presentation to the Planning Commission for a “site visit.” The leaseholders came prepared with video presentations, modern day viewfinders and detailed high-end brochures highlighting the 2016 development agreement proposal with the city.
The demonstration and the tour, however, were cut short rather abruptly at the request of the Planning Commission and the city attorney’s “time constraints.”
This $20 million facelift is part of a $38 million investment to entice the city to give Paseo Nuevo the option to extend its lease agreement 28 years beyond the current lease through the year of 2093. The option to extend is not available until 2065.
Under this new agreement, the managers, Pacific Retail Capital Partners, would pay expenses that were formerly paid by the city. For example, trash collection fees, city’s discounted tenant’ employees’ monthly parking fees, parking and business improvement area, to name a few.
This agreement was before the Planning Commission Thursday and depending on the outcome will eventually go to the City Council.
Between the dollars and the time frame, these “futures” boggle the mind. Therefore, it is imperative that people with business experience sit on these councils, boards and city entities — and that you vote for the best qualified person for the job. People who have real life experience, and those who do not live in the basement of their parent’s house.
It is not in our best interest for the local “developer-sters”— aka gangsters — to control the re-creation of our community, but the constituents.
We love the rich beauty and honor the unique blend of intelligent planning, combined with the spirit of preserving this gem which has prevailed until now. Why are we being besieged with change, which has destroyed all that is beautiful and unique in cities and towns up and down this entire state?
The Ordinance Committee will meet at 10 a.m. Tuesday to hear public comments before voting on city’s ordinances that deny residential evictions and make illegal “non-renewal” of leases with tenant relocation fees as the penalty.
The city is proposing that the private residential landlords are not allowed evictions without owner -paid relocation fees and that the owners are responsible for all maintenance, regardless of if it was the fault of the tenant or not.
But wait, the penalty for not renewing a tenant’s lease would be that the owner is responsible for the relocation fees of $8,470 per occupant (say your relative needs to move in), even if the occupant is not on the lease. This new ordinance may encourage fraud against the landlord.
We also hear that the landlord will not be allowed to charge any more than a 2% annual increase in rent. Councilmen Harmon and Sneddon are behind the 2% limit on annual rent increases. Isn’t this the rent control that the constituents voted against? The total cost to an owner may exceed the 2% due to annual hikes in property taxes, school bonds and other increases such as in services of trash and water.
This is the beginning of the end of private property, which is the end of your freedom, and the beginning of the new world order. On the horizon are numerous Senate bills that will change our residential landscape and curtail the individuality of private property. State governments are rezoning and encouraging large apartment buildings and duplexes in single family neighborhoods. (SB 902)
Our city is claiming that Sacramento will withhold funds if the city does not comply. Sacramento has said it has the goal of adding adequate housing for the future, but for whom?
The million-dollar question is, who will build these units with so many possible constraints on the landlord? We suspect it will be versions of the Santa Barbara Housing Authority. After all, they already follow the proposed constraints. Who else will have the power, leverage and money to afford to build all this housing?
The city of Santa Barbara has received its latest RNHA numbers (Regional Needs Housing Assessment/Allocation) allotted from Santa Barbara County, and per our city officials, Sacramento has decreed that SB must add 8,000 more housing units by 2031. We wonder what are the numbers allocated to Goleta, Carpinteria, Santa Maria, Lompoc, Buellton?
California’s own native son, John Steinbeck (whose son Thomas lived in Montecito and died here in 2016), wrote in 1961 the following as he observed rampant development of many California cities: “There must be a saturation point, and the progress may be a progression toward strangulation.” Los Angeles, Orange County, Bay Area —strangled.
Will they not rest until Santa Barbara is strangled too?
Bonnie Donovan writes the “Did You Know?” column in conjunction with a bipartisan group of local citizens.