Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Cottage Workforce Housing EIR Fiesta Surprise

The more I think about it, the more I think that Day Hiker John McKinney ( and his partner Cheri Rae, along with the Bungalow Neighborhood Association (BNA), have a very strong argument for the need to extend the EIR review process for Cottage Hospital's Workforce Housing Project plans at the former St. Francis Hospital site.

Publishing an EIR on August 3rd in Santa Barbara during Fiesta is kind of like announcing new taxes on Labor Day Weekend when everyone is out of town and away from their TVs. You minimize the impact of the news.

Scheduling a hearing just two weeks later leaves a very small window for the public to review the 4-inch stack of documents. It's also interesting that, according to an email I received from an interested party, the hearing was scheduled when the planner for the project knew that Cheri was going to be out of town.

If Travis Armstrong is going to get back in the thick of things and maybe gain back a centimeter of street cred for the editorial page -- perhaps he could start with this.

The BNA doesn't have high-priced consultants or even intimidating guys in dark suits and sunglasses behind them -- people need to speak up about this and urge the Planning Commission to reschedule the hearing for at least another month. 81 workforce units and 34 market rate luxury condos for the general public are a lot of units for that neighborhood -- it deserves more review.


Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...

Someone explain again how a public hearing would extend a couple of weeks after the city Planning Commission makes its decision on the final environmental impact report.

The way the City Council caved in on the condo coversion at 85 N. La Cumbre Rd. gives me no reason to believe the City will not cave in again on this former hostpital demolition.

8/08/2006 10:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The implications/accusations within your post are pretty ridiculous...

Hasn't the Cottage Workforce project been beaten and bandied about for long enough? In any other reasonable community the project would have already been well into construction by now.

Let's be real. We need the workforce housing. It's a great project and I hope to see many more like it in the community.

We need to remember that a few NIMBYs or BANANAs (Build Anything Near Anything Never Again) are the constant vocal minority that are getting far too much attention, and are what ultimately contributed to the meltdown at the NP.

As for all your conspiational theorizing about the City doing all this secret, nasty stuff - come on - do you really think the folks at City Planning are Machiavellian enough to go through the motions that way?

City staff (and most of the rest of the community) actually have jobs that thankfully don't shut down for Fiesta week.

In terms of the citizen review of the EIR - the site is an old, fully developed hospital. Does anybody think that there will be some missing link of information about some endangered warbler or lizard or toad that has developed under the west wing of the infirmary or something? Sorry, not going to happen. Let the wrecking ball begin! ;-D

As for your point about Travesty recovering a shred of credibility, that went out the window with his cluster bomb attack the other day.

8/08/2006 11:36 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

I'm actually not necessarily against the project as I agree that we need workforce housing -- what I am against is a process that doesn't take into account what is going on in the community and respect major stakeholders ability to review documents.

I actually never said it was a conspiracy -- I'm just not so sure that the Planning Department thinks about these things and would submit that they should. It is likely that they would rather get the project off their desks than see the process all the way through -- it has been a long one, but the public needs more than two weeks to review these socuments.

As for Travis -- I did say "centimeter" ;)

8/09/2006 2:06 AM  
Anonymous cheri rae said...

If the number of doctors, lawyers, nurses, architects, financial experts and City officials, past and present, who have spoken to me off the record about their disgust with this project would speak on the record,the applicant would be shamed into withdrawing its application--and put its project on a more suitable site--like the 5 acres it recently purchased adjacent to its Goleta Valley location--and the St. Francis building would be properly re-used for a another purpose--boutique medical services, for instance--and there would never be another hearing for the public to have to beg to attend. Instead, because of the power of Cottage's monopoly and the understandable need these people have to keep their jobs, their positions and their silence, they watch a few individuals burn themeselves out fighting both the project and the process. My consistent position abou this project is to ask questions that need to be asked and to treat Cottage like any other applicant. So far I keep asking and get very few public answers to the tough ones--except for the volumnous research I've done, going back the the bitter fight over the demand for a new medical building at the site, the sale of St. Francis, and how the neighborhood has been treated since day one of the announcement of this project...All is not as straightforward and altruistic as the Cottage Development Team tries to convey with their pretty pictures of nurses standing in front of pretty houses. Just how happy those nurses will be when they depend on Cottage for both their employment and their housing remains to be seen...And, in fact to give credit where it's due, in the old days, before the NP meltdown, when I was communicating with Travis about this project, he did write several editorials questioning the project, and had me on his show to discuss it--once even head-to-head with Ron Biscaro. But that was oh, so long ago...

8/09/2006 6:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sara de la guerra: "what I am against is a process that doesn't take into account what is going on in the community and respect major stakeholders ability to review documents."

Exactly! That's what so disturbing about this. Two weeks to review a very long document that actually was not readily available on the city web site until Monday, so 10 days, is not enough time. And what about those for whom web reading is difficult, are there copies in the public libraries, at least in the downtown library?

If the hearing was scheduled to coincide with the known absence of Cheri Rae, then the planner should be reprimanded. What these planners seem to forget is that city does not belong to them but to all of us. This is such a major project that it will have impacts outside of that neighborhood.

Yes, workforce housing is good, the 70% of the condos to be built - but no one but realtors and architects says we need to rush for more market rate housing. And why wouldn't that Cottage workforce housing be better sited by the Goleta Valley-Cottage hospital?

And as for 11:26 PM, the "environmental" in EIR looks at the impacts of noise, traffic, particulates from construction - or, in this case, destruction of an existing building, among many other issues -- true, that warblers and lizards are unlikely to be impacted, but who knows.

Anyone know who one can contact to request that the Planning Commission hearing be postponed until the close of public comment?

8/09/2006 6:53 AM  
Anonymous cheri rae said...

Unbeknownst to the public, the Draft EIR sat in the Planning Department from June until the end of July "for the convenience of the applicant." But for the public to get a few extra weeks to review the Final EIR, it required Cottage's (Ron Werft's)permission. It was only after I spent the entire morning pleading the case to members of the Planning Commission and City Council (and thanks to the intervention of the Mayor, and Council Members Schneider and Williams) that we were allowed this extra time. Without this full-court press (that actually started some two weeks ago with e-mails and phone calls), the public would have been virtually shut out. This process discourages full citizen participation, and I wonder how many neighborhoods are getting completely overrun because they don't have the resources, the will or such determined watchdog activity.
Anonymous, contact Project Planner Irma Unzueta, Paul Casey, Jim Armstrong, the Council, the Mayor and the Planning Commission with your comments.

8/09/2006 8:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The St. Francis building would make a nice Wallmart... It's got the perfect location.

8/09/2006 8:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

email:Mayor Blum

8/09/2006 8:41 AM  
Blogger Bill Carson said...

Most of what Cheri says is good, common sense (except for using the property at Patterson as a dumping ground for unwanted development). The Council, however, will not base their decision on common sense. They will roll out the red carpet and give Cottage what they want. Das may posture, and Helene may try to placate. At the end of the day Cottage will get their new project, and Bugalow Haven will become just one more neighborhood casualty.

Remember the hospital project? One of the biggest projects in the history of SB, right in the middle of the Oak Park neighborhood, yet pushed through the review process in record time. Public input was a mere formality. Those who watched will remember the dismissive treatment key opponent (and expert planner), Joddi Leipner, got from the mayor and other council members.

8/09/2006 9:41 AM  
Anonymous cheri rae said...

I just recived notice from Paul Casey that the August 17 Planning Commission meeting has been cancelled, and the entire EIR hearing rescheduled for September 14. Score another one for neighborhood advocates this week!

8/09/2006 11:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bill Carson-- Once you write stuff like "dumping ground" everything else becomes suspect as spin and hyperbole. Sort of like how the credibility of the newspress articles all now is suspect with no distinction between opinion and news.

8/09/2006 11:09 AM  
Blogger Bill Carson said...

Anon win the award for the most off-base (and arrogant) comment on this post. If you've been following current events, you'd know that Unincorp Goleta is sick and tired of being the dumping ground for bad development projects that the Santa Barbara City residents don't want. Don't try to solve your problem by creating one for someone else!

8/09/2006 2:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bill Carson-- Once you write stuff like "dumping ground" everything else becomes suspect as spin and hyperbole. Sort of like how the credibility of the newspress articles all now is suspect with no distinction between opinion and news.

Once you write something like "everything else becomes suspect as spin and hyberole", everything you write becomes a thinly veiled excuse that you don't like the fact that Bill Carson is right about not wanting the problem to be dumped onto Patterson. Nice try.

8/09/2006 3:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mike Pinto says...

The approach of having two families live together should be explored. The collective sharing of resources should be encouraged when new housing is permitted. Without collective thought all new housing should be denied.

8/09/2006 4:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah! I saw that TV show Big Love on HBO. Mike Pinto is right about how to solve the housing crisis with 3 wives and 8 kids per family.

Is this the discourse next on the subject of Secord really being a protector like The Guzz now said he is.

8/09/2006 6:23 PM  
Anonymous Philosophe said...

First, let's all review the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). It's all about disclosure of impacts (effects in real English) of projects that are approved by government entities. So, since the whole thing is about disclosure, don't you think we should error on the side of the greatest amount of public input? Secondly, regarding conspiracy theories, I am forced to quote Napoleon on this subject twice in just a few days: "Never attribute to malice what can adequately be explained by incompetence." The City is does not have some evil plot to approve this project without adequate public process, they just seem to be ham-handed about process. Granted, they are no doubt feeling pressure from all sides, and such pressure makes bureaucrats act oddly; but be assured that true conspiracies are rare in local government. Too many people know what's going on. Finally, what Cottage is missing here is the opportunity to work with the community to come up with a truly beautiful "Santa Barbara Style" development that meets all our aesthetic and social justice goals. By trying to micro-manage the EIR to make it say that the whole project is as safe as mother's milk (minus the DDT), they are failing to engage the community in a true collaboration.

8/09/2006 6:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do you think these 900 sf mansions are being added on to? People are already doubling up... in some cases two generations to a house, or two and three families. How else can the middle class continue to stay here? You inherit, or you leave.

SB's dirty little secret.

This is the part the doesn't come up at these meetings.

8/09/2006 6:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ummm, I think that's happening already. Ever been on the westside?

8/09/2006 6:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

shheesh, you blogging from the Public Library Mr. Pinto? Force people to share housing? This isn't Cuba or China.

8/09/2006 7:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know about you, but I rent out half my house to just barely be able to make the payments.

8/09/2006 7:27 PM  
Anonymous city watcher said...

Re Cheri Rae at 11:07 and the message from Paul Casey: Thank you, sara de la guerra for posting and providing an outlet.

No way would this have happened without an aroused public - and no way to have an aroused public when there is no news.....

8/09/2006 8:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

a few thoughts on why the 5 acres on Patterson is a better site for the project than the 5.9 acre site at St. Francis:
1) It wouldn't involve the demolition of a building that has a good 50 years worth of embedded enrgy it it
2) It wouldn't subject a large population to the worrisome health effects of demolition
3) It's a location with larger streets more suited to a higher volune of traffic--the streest areound St. Francis were built in the 1910-1920s and are already narrow and congested, despite the controversial "traffic calming" roundabouts
The main point is Cottage has options other than demolishing St. Francis, and if it's such a model project why wouldn't another neighborhood welcome it when clearly it's too impactful on the St. Francis site. If Cottage wasn't the developer, they would have been sent packing a long time ago...

8/09/2006 8:40 PM  
Anonymous reality checker said...

NEWS ALERT -- as of 10:47pm PST, south coast Santa Barbara County just reached it's population capacity. The land jolted and shifted a bit, and the count has been confirmed. So you can all stop arguing about housing and how many generations of exponential population growth need to live in a single household. We just maxxed out. No more housing.

"I'm sorry sir, the restaurant is full. We can get you a table as soon as some other party leaves. Thanks for waiting!"

8/09/2006 11:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A question asked by one of the previous posters wonders why it wouldn't be better to put the Cottage workforce housing in Noleta next to GV Hospital. I think there are a couple simple answers to that question"

1. Because the proposed housing would go into an existing neighborhood where there's already....uh, housing.
2. I hope and think it's likely the new GV Hospital project being developed ALSO has a workforce housing component included. That would make some sense.

Once again, we need to think realistically. Trying to re-use the existing, worn out facility is silly. I GUARANTEE anybody proposing this would NEVER consider living in a St. Francis hospital converted to housing project. The people that are trumpeting this idea are mostly the NIMBYs from the BUNG-holio neighborhood. They are a self-serving, whiny minority that unfortuantely typifies the "bigger picture" of what our nation has become. They/we all need to ask ourselves to sacrifice a bit personally for the good of our community, our nation and our planet.

This is why we need a legitimate, un-biased, credible newspaper to engage the community in active debate. I commend the person behind this blog, as at least we get to consider the perspective of others.

8/10/2006 12:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sara: I'm sure you're aware, but how about a post on the Guzzardi endorses Secord news conference?

8/10/2006 9:27 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Didn't know about that -- I'll find out about it though....

8/10/2006 9:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The days of legitimate, un-biased, credible newspapers are over.

Welcome the blog.

8/10/2006 9:41 AM  
Anonymous cheri rae said...

Converting hospitals into housing has been done in countless examples all over this country. It's called "adaptive reuse." Even the old Scripps Hospital in La Jolla was converted into luxury condominiums in high demand. Several architects, including the leading expert on the subject, Donovan Rypkema of Washington, D.C., have personally examined the site and offered their professional opinon that the St. Francis site is the perfect spot for such re-use. Not to do so, he said, was "silly, short-term thinking."

8/10/2006 10:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What an incredible group of selfish people. You know as a Cottage nurse, I hear you and maybe we should leave as the restruant is full as stated above. Maybe all the nurses at Cottage who do not have a home here should leave.

Cheri Rae you are a very self centered - self important person - yet when you are sick - we will be there for you - the nurses at Cottage work tirelessly for Santa Barbara residents - the hospital is a non-profit and provides a service we are all proud of and you treat us like some big developer from Orange County trying to make money.

We just want a home. Many are tired of driving for 40 or 50 minutes after a stressful 12 hour shift.

And this issue has been on the city docket for more than four years. I have been at many of the hearings or watched them - Cheri, you have nothing new to say - another week to review the same document that came out years ago and was revised is not a lot of work.

But yes you win - hearing put off again. Nurses put aside again - again and again for four years to bow to the selfish NIMBYs.

Cheri when you are sick and need us and no nurse can work that shift because Cottage finally has to give up hiring and send people away - maybe fighting a very nice neighborhood with homes to replace a huge old eyesore building the towers over the neighoborhood will look like a good idea.

8/10/2006 10:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Want a home - rent, like a lot of us do.

8/10/2006 11:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Cheri Rae,
Hang in there girl. You are doing the right thing. As a resident and property owner, you have every right to stand up for yourself and your neighbors.

Dear Cranky Nurse,
How DARE you threaten someone like that? If a person doesn't help you get a home CLOSER to your job, then you conjure up a scare tactic stating that maybe they won't have health care. Yes, you know all about being selfish, don't you? Go see a therapist. Best of luck.


By the way, I don't live anywhere NEAR this project.

8/10/2006 12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Nurse:

Lets be honest, at some point we may be willing to bus you in, but we really don't want you as a neighbor.

8/10/2006 12:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live right up the street from Cheri Rae and I can say, unequivically, that she DOES NOT represent our neighborhood. Most of us are embarrassed by her antics, and by the fact that she is getting in the way of a private venture by a non-profit to help a small number of nurses and other providers live in Santa Barbara. Her opposition is more about a self-serving need for importance than it is about concern for the neighborhood -- we both live several blocks away and would hardly be impacted!

And by the way, anonymous 12:00, sometimes scary statements happen to be true. What happens when the freeway shuts down in an emergency? There won't be anyone to care for us because of a few narcissistic NIMBYs like Cheri Rae who think they know what's good for everyone else.

When will we stop this madness of assuming the one loudest voice is somehow more than just that: one loud voice??

8/10/2006 2:41 PM  
Anonymous salsipuedes said...

Ouch. But who can blame the poor nurses who are dependent on the legendary unfair labor practices of a monopoly that brags that there's no union. What makes them think Cottage will treat them any better when they "own" their condos in an ultra-dense project filled with likewise stressed-out co-workers is beyond me. These latter-day Florence Nightingales have exhibited no concern about the potentially serious health effects posed by this project--yet are only too willing to attack the whistle-blower instead. Do they sign onto the code, "First do no harm?"

8/10/2006 2:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Fedup Nurse ,

Thank you. You said it right. As 11:52 said "want a home - rent, like a lot of us do." or leave and buy a home and work somewhere else as and we continue to lose nurses. Maybe only when these people get it that you have a choice and working in Santa Barbara and living somewhere else is not all that much fun - why work in Santa Barbara? Nothing special to work here. Nice to live here. So I agree - go else where and leave the selfish NIMBYs with no care.

Dear Cheri .

You really would rather have a big ugly hospital up on that hill that could be converted to some big specialized facility - maybe an international NIMBY' therapy center with people coming and going much more than the homes. I must tell you I hope you win and defeat Cottage and they sell it and you are respondsible for some big ugly faclility there forever. We could name it after you.

Selfishness is shameful. As a nation we used to help one another. Now we will not even allow others to help one another. Not even a nurse.

8/10/2006 5:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

salsipuedes :

Cheri Rea is a whistle blower - you are not at all serious. I live above St. Francis and have for 24 years. I want that place to go away so I get a view and feel like I am in Santa Barbara, not LA.

The potentially serious health effects are a joke. No matter what the hospital needs to be torn down - if it remained as a hospital or any other use it has to be cleaned out.

You attack nurses over the demand by state law that these building need to be brought up to code or torn down - "First do no harm?" - you would run down a nurse if they wanted to build a home there.

If you folks represent Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara is sick and no nurse can cure it. You are sick and you, not just Wendy and Travis have made our city an ugly place to live.

8/10/2006 6:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Want a home - rent, like a lot of us do.

8/10/2006 11:52 AM

Not just a lot of us, but 58% of Santa Barbarans are renters. In other cities, there is probably an even higher percentage. Home ownership is a privilege, not a right --- one that probably all of us covet and few of us can afford.

Are those 86 proposed condos all going to nurses -- or will it also be for the support staff, the clerical workers and the janitorial people? Those guys, too, are all essential. ...Not to mention the doctors.

Seems to me from how Cottage has treated the neighborhood, how its dealt with the issues of environmental pollution, not just at the St Francis demolition, but the wastes into the Santa Barbara sewage system, the nurses should not get their hopes too high that many of them will be privileged condo owners....

8/10/2006 6:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'm sorry, 6:19, but THERE'S NO WAY that the demolition will pollute the environment (check your facts), and THERE'S NO EVIDENCE that hospital sewage is any different than any other sewage (one wonders what that has to do with a non-profit providing housing assistance for its workers, anyway).

These are NIMBY, red-herring issues that you raise because you can't stand the fact that a middle class worker in Santa Barbara might catch a small break -- at no expense to taxpayers (in fact, it will SAVE money by decreasing the cost of health care).

Cottage is treating "the neighborhood" perfectly fine -- I know, I live there -- and if they are treating Shari Rae with disrespect, reap what you sew.

8/10/2006 9:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

6:19 - I agree - hospitals are horrible - lets close them and then there is no need for nurses.

And you are right - nurses are third or fourth class citizens and should never have a chance to own a home - and if they do they should leave - "get out you greedy nurses - out you demanding care givers."

Cottage is horrible as it is trying to do what no other employer in town has done - to take care of its own in a very sensitive manner.

8/10/2006 10:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good God people!

Look at all the nasty finger-pointing going on here. Newsflash: when a person buys a home, they will naturally care about what gets built in their neighborhood. Is that really so shocking or offensive?

Also, do you all see the irony here? Who's selfish: the homeowner who has a preference about what is built next door, or the wanna-be homeowner who wants their new home built there. Come on!!! This is hilarious when you think about it!!!!!!!! People are calling each other "selfish" when they are all coveting the same thing! By your own definition, you yourself are selfish. See how much you have in common???

8/11/2006 1:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tear it down, build a park, but don't crowd the neighborhoods with more rif-raf.

8/11/2006 7:38 AM  
Anonymous Victoria said...

Cottage Hospital closes down the competition, St. Francis, with the net loss of hundreds of good-paying job in the medical field, many of them held by Santa Barbarans who bought homes the old-fashioned way without subsidies.

The Bungalow Haven Neighborhood Association has long been on record in keeping the St. Francis site for medical uses along with the high-paying jobs this would provide.

At every public meeting the Neighborhood Association has mentioned specifically and often how it supports the goal of affordable housing. But not at the expense of the health of the citizenry, the environment, econmic good sense and democratic due process.

Cheri Rae has often been the spokesperson for the Bungalow Neighborhood Association which, along with the Riviera neighbors, Citizens Planning Association and citizens across Santa Barbara are united in wanting a lot better designed, less impactful project, which in its current scheme is monumentally unpopular.

I suggest the Nurses cease the personal attacks, their sudden insistence after three years of debate that this is about "Nurses vs. Neighbors" and make their case (that subsidized housing is more important than any other consideration) at the next hearing on the Environmental Report before the Planning Commission.

8/11/2006 8:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I doubt the nurses would end up with any of this housing anyway. I like the bus idea.

8/11/2006 8:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

8:28, you are sorely misinformed. Saint Francis was no longer viable as a hospital, and the decision to shut-down was made before the property was sold to Cottage for the sole purpose of creating workforce homes for hospital workers.

Also, the neighborhood went on record in 1998 when Saint Francis proposed a new medical office building that a hospital was NOT an appropriate use in the neighborhood, and it should be housing instead.

Last, I AM a Riviera neighbor, and I -- along with the vast majority of people on my block -- support what Cottage is trying to do, and I resent the efforts of a few irresponsible NIMBYs to deny health care workers a chance to live here.

You people do not represent anyone but yourselves -- stop pretending otherwise.

8/11/2006 9:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This BS that the proposed homes would all be affordable for Cottage workers is ludicrous. Cottage wants to make money. At any cost. THey have bought and paid for people in leadership positions througout this city. Look how they're tearing up the Oak Park neighborhood--again---let that be a lesson--Cottage Hospitals GRIP on a neighborhood never ends---they want to grow, grow, build capital---oh all the while claiming its all about providing health care and housing workers. They better be prepared for a much closer examination of those claims.

8/11/2006 9:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So let me get this straight, this one loudmouthed woman who the neighbors hate is single-handedly responsible for:
1) the State of California requiring an EIR for this project
2) the fact that no nurses in Santa Barbara can ever afford to buy housing unless it's built at St. Francis
3) unfairly thwarting the pure and altruistic intentions of every powerful person in town, the largest money interests and the "dream team" the noble hospital has hired to make the American Dream possible for every nurse that works there (but not other workers), therefore giving Cottage no choice but to treat her with disrespect
5)unfairly manipulating the City process to her every advantage

Wow! If only she would stop, all the nurses' problems would end. Cottage should hire her and use all that concentrated, selfish power to work for instead of against them them. Surely she can eliminate the approval process and help them break ground tomorrow.

8/11/2006 10:36 AM  
Anonymous Julie Wood said...

To: Anonymous 8/10/2006 2:41 PM

I am also a neighbor - your neighbor, in fact - and am surprised at your vicious posting. ("Her opposition is more about a self-serving need for importance than it is about concern for the neighborhood... a few narcissistic NIMBYs like Cheri Rae").

My husband and I are grateful for Cheri's hard work which has already downsized the project and allowed us to ask questions about its impact on our son's health. As our neighbor, you probably know my three year old, Noah, who has asthma. The doctors, including the doctor Cottage Hospital brought up from L.A. to address the neighborhood, think there may be problems. The EIR says the nearly 18,000 diesel truckloads of debris will travel down Salsipuedes by our house. We may have to move for Noah.

We all want workforce housing, but we want a project of this magnitude done responsibly.

8/11/2006 10:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mike Pinto says...

Nurses who want to live here should be required to donate 15 hours per week serving the needs of non-native born working americans and the homeless. This alone with sharing housing with another family for the collective good.

8/11/2006 10:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The old California Hotel is empty... stick the nurses there.

8/11/2006 10:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous 8/10/2006 2:41 PM said...

Julie, my heart goes out to you and your son (no, I don't know you) and I can't tell you how sad it makes me that those fighting against homes for nurses in our neighborhood are preying on your fears. If air quality experts determined based on facts and legitimate standards that there were a real health concern, the project wouldn't be going forward as proposed. Please don't let anyone scare you into fearing otherwise. One other point of fact: the project has not been downsized as a result of Cheri's efforts, only delayed, which we will all pay for in increased health care costs.

8/11/2006 1:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

workforce housing = Ventura

8/11/2006 2:36 PM  
Anonymous cheri rae said...

For the record,
Size Reduction: the original plan for the hospital was for 181 units, which was modified to 115 after review by the City Council, the ABR and the Planning COmmission determined that the original design was simply too much for the site. The original plan also called for an all-Spanish style, which has been modified to include a more arts- and crafts- style along Micheltorena Stree--an aesthetic architectural change for neighborhood compatibility applauded by all parties, including the applicant, City officials, the neighbors, and of course, the architect.
Air Quality: it was the APCD last year that wrote its objections to the way the Draft EIR studied the health effects, and requested a new approach to the computer models that were run with an innacurate time component (1.4 years rather than 9 years) as required by state law. The Final EIR addresses this issue. Also, the Draft examined only cancer probabilities, and did not examine respiratory illness affects of the project in any way. That omission has also been corrected now in the Final document. Sorry to get personal, but my 9-year-old son suffers from an asthma-like condition called "reactive airway disease." The facts are that concerns about chronic exposure to diesel emissions to his--to anyone with a compromised respiratory system--are well-documented in scientific literature. Anyone who lives very close, or on the haul-out route, rightly should be concerned--not afraid, but responsibly concerned--about the potential health and safety issues that related to little Noah, all the other little kids--and elderly and chronically ill people--who also live in the neighborhood. And it was actually Cottage Hospital's own expert, Dr. Philip Harber, an environmental physician at UCLA, who first raised this issue in public, not the neighbors. The concerns he raised about the safety of the heavily loaded trucks on these narrow streets is based also on scientific fact, not fear-mongering.
Re-using the building: Again, it wsa the Draft EIR that concluded the "Environmtentally superior project would re-use some of the existing buildings." The Planning COmmission ordered that option to be fully studied, first during the EIR scoping meeting, then again at the hearing for the Draft EIR. Individuals from all over this neighborhood and the city at large have long advocated simply that the option be fully and completely studied before the building is demolished. At this time of diminished resources, it just seems the responsible thing to do.
Delay: In this entire development process, every single hearing has been City or State mandated. Big projects take a long time to work through the system, and this is a very big proect for this City. The only delay I can claim any responsibility for is the request to reschedule the Final EIR hearing from August 14 to Sept, 14, in order to allow the maximum amount of citizen participation. A four-week delay in a three-year process.

8/11/2006 2:46 PM  
Anonymous Julie Wood said...

No one is "fighting against homes for nurses." Those of us who live near St. Francis would simply like a project of that magnitude to be planned very, very carefully.

No one is "preying on my fears". I read several parts of the EIR (not the whole thing, admittedly) and am concerned as are many in this neighborhood. There is reason for concern. I have asked questions directly of Mr. Biscaro and others involved and gotten answers that are inadequate.

Perhaps if the project had been planned well from the beginning, it would be already underway. The poor planning is not this neighborhood's fault.

8/11/2006 5:09 PM  
Anonymous Kelly said...

To Cheri Rae--

Very impressive account with details that hint to just how involved you are. No doubt you have spent many hours/days/weeks on understanding and contributing to this process. Most people can't find the time or the courage to hang in there. Kudos. Your neighbors should be thankful.

8/11/2006 6:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As Kelly says, Cheri Rae has no doubt spent countless hours reading documents and speaking her mind about the project.

Too bad that most of that time has been spent conjuring up fantasy tales of woe and misery that are just plain false.

What is it she's REALLY trying to accomplish? What is she trying so hard to protect herself from?

It's so embarrassing to me that many of the posts here show such disrespect and disdain for healthcare workers. It's almost like you'd think nurses were a violent criminal gang or something.

I think the workforce housing issue is the single most important one that we face in the community today. From my standpoint, population increase on the planet and economic development are out of our control and just part of healthy human society. We can't simply say the "restaurant is full" or that a basic right of shelter is a "privledge". It's not.

We need to elevate this debate to start dealing with the reality that people are here and more are coming. Our community is changing. If we're smart we'll plan to accomodate this growth and not stick our heads in the sand and try and turn back the clock to 1975.

That means we plan, design and build better transportation infrastructure (including alternatives to single-occupancy vehicles); we plan what infill projects will be built and we MAXIMIZE their density to use the land efficiently; and we serve these projects with public transit.

Not doing this will turn the south coast into the "geriatric ghetto" Dan Secord prophesizes will occur shortly with old people waving across the streets at each other, but with no emergency service workers or other critical workforce left around to provide for their needs.

One other thing - we need to be clear that neighborhood preservation folks are NOT ENVIRONMENTALISTS! True environmentalists understand that 30,000 cars traveling to the south coast every day from points north and south is far more detrimental to the environment than housing people near where they work.

Let's stop the antagonistic rhetoric and get down to working together to plan for the future. Someone from the elected community needs to emerge as a LEADER on this issue!

8/13/2006 10:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Cheri Rae "5:09PM" post above is completely contradictory when she talks about 9 year old little Noah having asthma reacting to vehicle emissions.

She'd rather he have a lifetime of breathing those from an steadily increasing number of workers commuting from out of the area, or temporary discomfort while the project is being built so those people don't have to commute in the future?

It's not logical. What's the REAL agenda?

8/13/2006 10:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agenda? Simple: Keep pricing people out of the community.

8/14/2006 8:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If we can drive business away, then folks wouldn't need to commute here for work. We don't need all these people here.

8/14/2006 1:33 PM  
Anonymous Julie Wood said...

It looks like the discussion of the St. Francis project has degenerated into conspiracy theories and anonymous barbs. Anonymous writers seem to have given up on the golden rule.

8/14/2006 2:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let them get their shelter elsewhere.

8/14/2006 2:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are on the verge of stopping St. Francis. This will be a major victory. Builder beware!

8/14/2006 5:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where are these folks living now? Why building them housing, doesn't make sense.

8/14/2006 6:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What next - a trailer park at Earl Warren? This is madness and must be stopped.

8/14/2006 6:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like the NP is trying to help stop this project. We need all the voices we can get.

8/15/2006 7:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shouldn't the fact that Travis and Wendy have aligned themselves with the "neighborhood preservationist" NIMBY BANANAS tell the more fair-minded of us in the community that the project should go forward ASAP?

I don't want to ever be on the same wacky side of any discussion as Travis and Wendy. If she had her way she would re-install the traffic signals on the freeway. No joke.

Some of the posters above ask why we need to build more housing for the workforce. Um, lemme see - oh yeah, because we are horribly out of balance and need workforce housing. What about that simple concept is so problematic?

Let's get on with it people.

8/15/2006 8:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who's payroll you on 8:40 AM?

You know anymore growth is unacceptable.

8/15/2006 10:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There isn't any more room. The whole idea is building anymore housing is just wrong. What about that simple concept is so problematic?

Let's stop growth!

8/15/2006 1:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow - what a cool site. A friend turned me on to you. Anyway, if blogs can stop Joe Lieberman the Neo-Con, I'm sure we can stop Cottage Hospital and all of these developments. We need to let Santa Barbara and Goleta City Council's know, and the County that we won't stand for any growth. We need to live within our means.

8/15/2006 6:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Who's payroll you on 8:40 AM? You know anymore growth is unacceptable."

"Let them get their shelter elsewhere."

"If we can drive business away, then folks wouldn't need to commute here for work. We don't need all these people here."

That's the type of moronic response that the NIMBYs have resorted to. They've stopped giving any attempt at legitimate assertion that they might actually have a viewpoint that's founded in reason or fact.

Might I suggest that we use this blog as an opportunity to discuss our divergent points of view with actual arguments rather than some of these "snipes"?

It makes me wonder what has become of Santa Barbara? The beauty of our community was certainly always part the geographic location, but wasn't it more about the PEOPLE of SB and the ideals that they stood for?

If the biggoted, self-centered posters like those quoted above have entered our community, our quality of life has already diminished. It's almost enough to make me pack it in and leave the place. Instead I will stand and fight, and drive THEM from the community.

It's time for all of the undervalued, disenfranchised majority (you know - the common, middle class working stiff) to rise up and let your voice be heard! Don't stand for the vocal minority NIMBYs trying to sway our elected officials or make it seem like they have a nobel cause.

Do something responsible! Join Voices for Housing ( NOW!

8/15/2006 11:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look, it's simple, if you can't afford it here, leave. All the building is what has lowered the standard of living here, and what has pitted neighbor against neighbor. Is that so hard to understand?

8/16/2006 6:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahhh, another organization demanding it's place at the government nipple. You call the responsible?

8/16/2006 8:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have to start somewhere, and stopping the St. Francis - Cottage Fiasco is the beginning. There are other battles looming.

8/16/2006 8:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more. This is a wealthy community supported by middle/low class workers that need to be shipped-in. If costs of services have to rise in order to pay to ship-in nurses, teachers, police, and fire, then so be it -- we can afford it. Let's face it -- there's no place in Santa Barbara for the middle and low classes. They should quit trying to manipulate the political process and get out of town. Cheri, you go girl -- whatever it takes -- the end justifies the means.

8/16/2006 9:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good for Cottage... hope they can squeeze in 200 units at the old St. Francis site.

No point in complaining, just need to get out and organize renters, preferably in spanish, so the NIMBYs and BANANAs won't have a clue when elections go against them. Saul Alinksy, where are you?

8/16/2006 10:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The non-native born workers are already here, no need to building them housing

8/17/2006 8:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What next - Walmart?

8/17/2006 10:26 AM  

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