Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Thursday, April 13, 2006

It's Law Enforcement Week!

Sheriff's Debate: Sheriff Anderson pulled a Ronald Reagan last night in Solvang for the candidate debate in suggesting that we feel safer than we did four years ago. "Arrests are up and crime is down!", he says. Did anyone go? Let us know what you thought....

SB Police Contract: Meanwhile, Sgt. McGrew kicked it up another notch by beginning a campaign to get a 10% increase in police wages for their upcoming negotiations. Apparently, he hasn't spoken with the Mayor or the City Administrator's office about it yet. This old-school Chicago style politics will backfire on the POA President someday -- but probably not soon, as he probably has the votes for at least another 3-5%. Question is -- what are we willing to live without so that our police officers make more than $80,000 per year? How often does this happen in the business world? Getting 3% one year and at least that much the next? I'm all for parity but let's make this raise on a longer contract....

Deputy Sheriffs Association Endorsement: It was reported this morning that 60 deputy sheriff's have protested the recent endorsement of Sheriff Anderson and that a meeting on the matter will be held tonight -- boy, would I like to be a fly on that wall.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one in the "business world" has had the increases in salary and benefits that Santa Barbara city and county workers have enjoyed at taxpayer expense over the past 20 years.

4/13/2006 6:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe. But the fact is the future is now. The thing that everyone talked about and never did anything about, housing for critical workforce, has come and gone. The first signs have been here awhile but what you are seeing is cops tired of driving from their homes in other counties through 4 or 5 jursidictions that are hiring cops and paying them more deciding that this red tile paradise can be somebody else's problem. Do you really know how few cops there are out there right now? And how burned out they are? This thing passed a critical point a few years ago and 10% isn't going to do anything. It will take a decade to repair the damage. But hey, nice garage Jim. It's cops now, nurses, teachers and firefighters coming up. Maybe we could develop a new critical workforce based on au pairs?

4/13/2006 7:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the Mayor didn't know about it she's been living in a cave and the Administrators office certainly knew about it. Time to put down the ribbon cutting shears and come to work Marty.

4/13/2006 7:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sara, where does the bitterness come from? "old-school Chicago style politics"?? sadly, that's true of many in this town lately, the least of which is the POA. [Try SEIU and no endorsement process, for instance other than rubber stamping their man.]

This is reality. We're losing cops and other critical workforce; the same people complaining about housing shortage are now fighting the housing it will be a while before the County can do its fair share.

In the meantime, yea, employers--including the City--will have to start raising salaries to keep their first responders;

4/13/2006 9:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What you are willing to live without is apparently cops. And forget the business world, unless you want to start hiring private police forces, public finanacing of public safety is one of the reasons local governments exist. A lot of the other stuff is fine with the public as long as they know they will get help when they dial 911.

4/13/2006 10:14 AM  
Blogger Joe Guzzardi said...

Mike McGrew is right. Little by little, we are losing our critical workforce. It is clear that our police, fire fighters, nurses and teachers are finding it more and more difficult to live in this community. This also creates a problem for emergency response personnel when our region becomes inaccessible due to natural disasters.

The State Housing Mandate laws do NOTHING to solve the workforce housing problem. The mandates ONLY allow for the creation of high-density housing. Little or no affordable housing opportunities come from this. Rather, the workforce housing issue is exacerbated by the State Mandate policies. Over-development of the South Coast increases the competition for space, and only makes the creation of affordable housing that much more difficult.

If we, as a community, are going to solve the workforce housing issue, we first need to eliminate development mandates from Sacramento. With local control we can then start to develop strategies to create affordable, workforce housing that will accommodate our police, fire fighters, nurses and teachers.

Along the campaign trail I have been recommending a strategy to do this. I propose that we explore the creation of “mixed use” housing for our critical workforce at various workplace locations throughout the community. Let’s develop a plan to build housing units on the second floor, above school rooms. Or the second floor, above fire stations. These types of housing opportunities would (1) allow for increased, workforce housing opportunities, (2) locate them in an area where they are most needed, (3) reduce traffic impacts, (4) avoid expensive land purchase costs, (4) remove the pressure to develop our remaining open space, and (5) put an end to the adverse impacts on our community’s neighborhoods.

Yes, I am the only candidate that has consistently fought the State Housing Mandate. I am also the only candidate that is willing to propose this win/win approach to solving our workforce housing problem. When elected, I intend to continue to pursue constructive ideas that will focus on improving the quality of life for our entire community.


4/13/2006 10:19 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Bitterness? No -- law enforcement officers should be paid well and commensurate with cities of like size and crime rates. My concern is what cost?

I agree with you as well that Chicago-style is all too common among others of late.

4/13/2006 10:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Actually the words "workforce housing" appear nowhere in any of your literature. You have said we can, and should plan for "No Growth" and have used air quotes when talking about housing "needs" as if there aren't any.

You and Das are busy fighting the State Mandates though, and are against certification of the Housing Element.

4/13/2006 10:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gee Joe, I am not so sure that most Cops and Firefighters would want to move their families, Dogs and Cats to the second floor of a fire station. They probably want what you want, a home in a neighborhood, with a yard and a community to be involved with. And they are finding that further and further away. It's over, the ship sailed and this community missed it. Work in a classroom or Fire station and at night go up and hang with the kids, maybe BBQ. That's really rich.

4/13/2006 10:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My hips dont lie...

4/13/2006 10:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joe, take a course in supply and demand. By limiting the housing options you drive up prices across the board.Prety soon entry level Police Officers will need to be paid $150,000 a year to buy a home here. The only good news about this is maybe you and Das will be priced out of the county. I hear Modoc County is looking for some old time left wing politicos.

4/13/2006 11:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what "process" did the POA have when they endorsed IYA in her first bid for city council or her re-election. As I recall they rubberstamped their girl.

4/13/2006 11:54 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

10:54 et al -- your comments don't need to be so biting....they were in the gray area in terms of being published. At least give Joe (and Das) kudos for commenting here....they deserve respect for that.

4/13/2006 12:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sorry, maybe I'm missing something Sara but has Das commented as himself in the present blog? I know he did many weeks ago [months?] in blogabarbara but again if I'm imssing something please point me in the direction.

And do my eyes deceive me,or is the blog above calling IYA FALCONE "their girl" really written in the 21st century...girl? we know the local SEIU has been sinking to new lows but bringing in sexist terms? wow.

4/13/2006 1:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joe, your remarks would be interesting but the fact of the matter is that you lose in June. Yet, I think your comments are very refelective of the short sighted thinking that goes on with the 2nd. dist. supervisor candidates.

4/13/2006 1:36 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

No, Das hasn't commented on this exact post (it has been a month or more) but I have a lot of respect for him and Joe -- whether or not I support either of them, for putting themselves out there....also, I'm not sanctioning the use of "girl" but I also wouldn't assume it was an SEIU member either.

4/13/2006 1:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon 11:05 i suggest you take a coarse in modern economics, the supply/demand talking parrot act doesn't apply to housing - as it doesn't apply to much of anything anymore including labor costs, case in point look at communities such as pheonix where growth is completely unrestricted housing prices rise in those communities often faster than they rise in santa barbara, last year median home prices in phoenix rose 46% - the highest in the nation and there are no pesky environmentalist saying slow down. Quite being a stooge for developers with your b.s. wanna be economics.

4/13/2006 2:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

2:43: Attended econ and missed spelling.

4/13/2006 4:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So far the law of supply and demand hasn't been repealed...

4/13/2006 6:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

2:43, ariz. housing costs are fueled by refugees from california who are priced out because these type of policies. why don't you feel people have a right to own their own home? the poor and disadvantage that das so bravely voted a living wage for will never know home ownership. das's vote just gave them the ability to pay the utilities on their dingy soviet era style apartments. joe and das may want to limit them to this. keep people under control. why are you so afraid to let people utilize their property the way they see fit? unless you live in a tent on the beach stop complaining about people wanting to own a home.

4/13/2006 7:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

actually, 6:39 it has been. when government limits supply it has been altered.

4/13/2006 7:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Das feels the collective good must be represented when looking at land use. There is no guarantee that farmland can be turned in yuppie shack tracts.Supply and demand went out a long time ago. May IT REST IN PEACE.

4/13/2006 8:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


4/13/2006 8:29 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

No need to yell! All caps is pretty serious...let's take it easy guys.

Let's get back to law enforcement -- KEYT announced tonight that the Sheriff's Council audit will be made public in a matter of days....this is law enforcement week.

4/13/2006 9:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

8:29 Police and Fire do not get priority. They never have. They just get mentioned during election cycles because the numbers show the public responds favorably to them. But they are just paid a higher level of lip service by the electeds. But thanks for all the caps, I'm getting blind as well as deaf.

4/13/2006 9:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon 7:58 which building interest do you represent?

4/13/2006 10:10 PM  
Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...

Par article below, the Police and Fire unions now have mobilized their crews and volunteers to organize the egg hunt, rescuing it from cancellation by the Evil City so concerned about budget and staff resources balanced with the number of people to benefit.

How nice for these altruistic police union leaders. Obviously, they all now deserve an annual 10% salary increase.

Chicago politics indeed have arrived.



April 14, 2006 12:00 AM
You can't keep a good Easter Bunny down.

After Santa Barbara officials quietly decided to end the city's traditional Easter egg hunt, fire Capt. Pat McElroy and police Sgt. Mike McGrew seized the moment Thursday and saved the event.

"Eggstravaganza" is again set for 10 a.m. Saturday at Chase Palm Park. The Franklin School egg hunt remains canceled.

Capt. McElroy and Sgt. McGrew, who this week announced he would be seeking a 10 percent raise for the city's police force, are going to rally volunteers, use money from their respective political action committees and then hit the stores for the most important task of all -- buying candy.

The two were disappointed to hear the event had been canceled, first reported Thursday in the News-Press. Every year, the police and fire departments play a big role in the festivities.

"We were surprised that it wasn't happening," said Sgt. McGrew.

Capt. McElroy added, "All my kids went when they were young. It's an important part of the community calendar."
Click here!

The "Eggstravaganza" attracted thousands of children over more than four decades. The free event was held at both Chase Palm Park and Franklin School on the Eastside.

But the city's Park and Recreation director, Nancy Rapp, decided to drop the event this year in favor of winter and spring break camps for kids.

She said that attendance had steadily declined at the egg hunt and the $3,000 it cost to put it on every year, in addition to the hundreds of hours of staff time, could be better utilized on other, weeklong programs.

"The egg hunt is a 15-minute experience for each child," Ms. Rapp said.

Still, she was thrilled that Sgt. McGrew and Capt. McElroy came forward.

"It is always a wonderful thing when people in the community say 'How can we make this happen?' and then they do it. It is a very rewarding thing. That is one of the terrific things about living in the community."
Click here!

The Police Athletic League will also volunteer for the event, Sgt. McGrew said.

Now the race is on to organize Saturday's egg hunt. Since the hunt at Franklin has been canceled, organizers hope Eastside residents will go to Chase Palm Park.

Sgt. McGrew and Capt. McElroy, both union members, are highly active politically in city affairs.

Sgt. McGrew recently let some of his friends on the council know that when the union enters contract negotiations with the city next month, it will seek a 10 percent raise to improve recruitment and retention -- a boost that stunned some city officials.

He said that saving the egg hunt was not politically motivated.

"This is about doing the right thing for the kids," he said.
Click here!

Capt. McElroy agreed.

"We have been doing this as long as I can remember," he said. "This is just one of those small things that make up a community and I don't want to see it die."

Ms. Rapp said she welcomed their generosity. Earlier in the day, she spent time on local radio fielding questions from disappointed listeners.

Some families were crushed to learn about the cancellation, but were thrilled when they found out that the event was back on.

"That's awesome," said Rob Locke, who takes his 6-year-old son, Taylor, to the event.

Kim Bruzzese, who takes her 5- and 7-year-old kids to the hunt every year, was happy too. "I am very excited to hear that that will continue and look forward to being down there enjoying the day with my family," Ms. Bruzzese said.

Still up in the air is what will happen next year. Ms. Rapp said she didn't expect any major fallout from canceling the event because she figured families would find other community egg hunts. "We didn't anticipate that this would be as big of an issue," she said.

Mayor Marty Blum thanked the public safety crews.

"It's very kind of them to put in both money and time," she said. "I know my own children enjoyed it, and I would hope we could find a way for it to continue."

4/14/2006 12:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yea, but 2,000 kids will have some eggs they wouldn't have had. Sourpuss.

4/14/2006 7:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gee FDS, you're being a bit cynical here. So what if Police & Fire rescue the Easter Egg Hunt. It was politically stupid for the City to cut it in the first place. The cost is negligible in dollars but significant in community good will, especially for low income families who can't provide their own 'egg hunts'......

4/14/2006 8:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon 10:54 -- Do you really beleive that everbody is entitled to own a home with a yard? Everybody? That's brilliant! Let's impose that mandate upon Manhattan.

4/14/2006 11:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

everyone is entitled to own a home if they wish. government shouldnt mandate growth limits that prevent this.again, why the elitist attitude on home ownership. do you feel certain people should not aspire to own a home. only the political correct, ucsb educated and rich should own a home? maybe ucsb and rich is an oxymoron but you get the point. landowners should be allowed to do what they want with their land. you know, the free market works.

4/14/2006 1:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

no I have a better idea---- anyone who is "transplanted" from Manhattan or other major Eastern/midwest cities shall return there if they arrogantly try to impose the enlightened planning practices of such cities onto the very different geography, terrain, weather systems and culture of Southern California.

4/14/2006 1:34 PM  
Blogger john san roque said...

I don't know what the salary should be for a policeman in Santa Barbara, but this issue is a lot like the living wage discussion earlier this year. Only it sounds like the stakes are being raised from the get-past-poverty level to the afford-a-SB-house level.

I don't think it works when people tinker with laws of supply and demand. The salaries that policemen get should be the salaries that are needed to fill the jobs. That has nothing to do with the cost of a home in Santa Barbara. If you think it should be tied to housing costs, please list for the blog those employee groups that deserve a salary that allows them to buy an SB home.

Maybe it sounds like a stretch to tie the living wage decision to the current campaign for substantially higher police wages, but I think the connection is a direct one. The living wage decision, enacted by people who probably had good motives, started a new path for municipal employees. It based wages not on market forces, but on the idea that certain workers have an entitlement to a certain wage level.

We're now seeing that same argument played with much higher stakes.

4/14/2006 2:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

as for the DSA meeting last night - a rabid supporter of the former sheriff, outed himself as the source of leaks to the Newspress - plus stated it was politically motivated to advance the election of one candidate. (Truth notwithstanding here)

This person, who also outed himself as doing copious amounts of attorney shopping, has stated his intent is to sue the DSA and ruin it - all for personal gain.

Sounds like a wonderful employee we'd all like to have, hmmmmmm?

4/14/2006 2:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

JSR: good analysis; this is only the first of many examples of how the recent passage of the Living Wage ordinance, and the arguments used to justify it, will come back to haunt many who were its biggest proponents. Especially when they campaign on platforms like emergency readiness, quality of life, etc things that demand a well paid accessible police and fire department(s), public works department, EMS, etc etc.......

4/14/2006 2:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon 1:24 -- Everyone has the right to "aspire" to own a home with a yard, but is everyone "entitled" to a home with a yard? And should that entitlement be used as a weapon/excuse to build high density homes on the last remaining open space?

4/14/2006 3:33 PM  
Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...

Plenty of egg hunts will be held around Santa Barbara this weekend, and sponsored by the Private Sector as well! Three events in Santa Barbara and Goleta were listed in the Public Square section of Newspress just on April 13th.

If everyone in Santa Barbara and south coast were paid more so they could afford residential real estate here, the demand for housing would rise by all those newly-rich people, and the housing costs would rise to keep up with the demand, all in an upward spiral. Funny how those economic rules of supply and demand work.

But what about such workers who are happy to rent a room in a garage and just want to spend the higher salary on something else?

And who is "critical" and who is not?
This gets very messy and arbitrary very fast with regulation and special exceptions of government employee salaries.

Besides the cynicism of the Police union "saving" the egg hunt the day after the news broke they want another huge salary increase, the photos in Newspress today show the Police union guys (one even in uniform) buying junk candy at Smart And Final. And then a few pages later (in the same Newspress section on the Opinion page) is an essay by a health expert noting the evils of high-fructose corn syrup (the major ingredient of such junk candy) as a major reason why American children are so fat.

4/14/2006 3:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh FDS you really ARE the paraphrase Emma Goldman, I don't want to be part of a revolution that wont let me .....hide easter candy......for God's sake, just take a breath and smile

4/14/2006 7:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

John, wonderful analysis. Really.

Your connection to the living wage is not a stretch. We've moved at the city, not to what wages are necessary to fill jobs, but what good people deserve for being good and living in an expensive place.

The laws of supply and demand have been repealed in the city, but it as a consequence is running out of dough -- to the extent that its reserves are so under water it can't even afford Easter Eggs for kids.

Me, I'm heading to Chase Palm Park at 10:00 Saturday morning, to catch that last strand of what it's like to be a community, and to thanks the cops and firemen, once again, for keeping it together for us when the politicians won't.

4/14/2006 9:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, Mc Grew isn't talking about housing, critical workforce, etc. What he is saying is you cannot get cops to work here, they are leaving in droves and a retirement bubble is ongoing. If you don't trust him look at the numbers. They are way understaffed, have nobody available to hire, no one wants to leave a higher paying department to commute here as a lateral transfer. No one, least of all Mc Grew, is expecting the City to come up with any real housing plan. Everybody gave up on that a long time ago. They are really worried about how they will attract Cops here in the future. Unfortunately, the future started while we weren't looking. If you think this a joke or a tactic for a 1 or 2 year contract, you better wake up. The Cops generally go through dozens of applicants to get 1 officer. Nobody is looking here. Do the math. You can agree or disagree with the salary figures, Easter, Mayor Blum, etc, etc, etc, but if you think this isn't the first real middle class hiring crisis in this community...........

4/14/2006 9:24 PM  
Anonymous Saul C. Puedes said...

Sara De la Guerra:

Thanks for your hard work.

Re: your comment to 10:54:

Don't be such a wuss.

Something to reconsider:

No need for your review of posts.

Just let it flow.

-Saul C. Puedes

4/15/2006 5:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amazing. The City is in the black! Anyone have any ideas about the timing of this stunning announcement? Probably just waiting until after that financially draining Easter Egg hunt had passed.........

4/20/2006 10:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't Chicago known as " the City that works" ?

4/20/2006 3:02 PM  
Anonymous California native tired of big city comparisons said...

No, its not other than by people who fled it and moved to California decades ago.......distance DOES make the heart grow fonder, alas!

4/23/2006 9:55 AM  

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