Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Home is Where You Park It.

Our friends at EdHat provided a link to a story on Santa Barbara's "mobile homeless" which made ABC national news recently after a national study showed that 3/4 of a million people are homeless in our country. If you don't mind the ads, the story has a video to go with it which shows the "parking lot shuffle" at a local parking lot at 7 AM.

I've seen a few people on BlogaBarbara take on the homeless like they should just move somewhere else. The truth is that people are being priced out of homes all over the country -- it's just happening here on a bigger scale. It's a regional, state and national problem that can't just be solved by sending someone to Bakersfield.

Lately, I've been wondering whether our insistence on owning a home is misguided...what's so great about it when you have property taxes, upkeep and $4,000 mortage payments? Did real estate's success in the 80s and 90s send us down the wrong path? Perhaps debt elimination and good old fashioned investment is more appropriate today...

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is a sad statement about our city. And now the dirty little secret is out. People paying these high mortgages are doing so to fund their retirements or to give something to their kids. Renters will be able to do neither.

3/04/2007 8:54 AM  
Anonymous SA1 said...

At the risk of being pummeled by the PC ultra sensitive crowd, I think we've done more than our share to accommodate the "homeless". Wasn't the land around the Fig Tree donated to SB as long as the homeless could camp out there? Isn't Cali a generous welfare state that caused a migration of the shiftless here? Isn't a lot of low cost housing in So Cal being absorbed by the "undocumented" "workers" who also are putting a temendous burden on our health care system? My health insurance just jumped 30% last month. Why is that? I'm not sure how to fix the problem but I refuse to feel guilty or obligated about it. How about the greedy corporate types that continue to push blue collar jobs offshore?

The "I have a right to live in my motorhome/vehicle/tent while contributing nothing to your community" crowd seem just as selfish to me. Now I know that's not all of the homeless here but a bunch of them for sure.

3/04/2007 11:11 AM  
Anonymous donald de Santa Barbara said...

Yes I agree.

Not only is the disparate real estate market putting people permanently out of the housing market and home less, the market is also fueling this pro-growth pyramid scheme where there is no end in site and no chance of a "sustainable" future. Sustainable to me would have to included an end to developement of new communitiies', housing , commercial, farming, etc.

I could understand the old home as the "old age" "nest egg" as a cushion in declining years, however, real estate has evolved into something quiet different.

The benefits of hoarding real estate are of course puffy real estate portfolios with borrwoing power, a complex tax structure with exlcusive and beneficial deductions and simulateneously keeping out entry level home purchaser and those less fortuante out of the basic shelter.

To tie this in the the News Press and its editorials there is a constant negative slant toward government and governemnt programs and policies.

One noted NP editorialist authors is Kim Seifield (sp) is known to criticise the county's affordable housing program as wrought with corruption and deceipt. Altough I find Seifelds editorials accurate, Seifeld's editorials are not really balanced because they never critize the real estate market as the culprit.

The only juxtaposition we get are the righteous editorials from Ken Williams with his heart wretching exposes on the people he works with.

Wouldn't it be great for the NP to challenge the Chamber of Commerce, it's sub organization the Association of Realtors and the ordinary lazy "Investor" for their pro-growth policies rather than the government for a change? Why not go knock on the door of Kim Seifeld and ask her if she deserves the equity of her own home? I guess this proposed challenge would be akin to biting the hand that feeds you and that explains that.

3/04/2007 11:24 AM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

As anyone who's owned a home knows, there is a lot of parasitic drag in accumulating wealth that way. Equity takes a long time to build unless you're a speculator in a hot market. Speculators in SB real estate are finding that out about now.

I've posted before that a better answer to affordable housing is apartment buildings, not condos. I'd be willing to bet that the existing apt's are still owned by just a few major players that have a vested interest in keeping out competition. My one room apt at Pacific Oaks was $425/mnth in '83. Nothing has changed there (including his property tax, I suspect) but how much are they today...Mr. Towbes? I don't know so how many true apartment buildings (vice condos) are being proposed today?

3/04/2007 12:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have a chance to do something about this. We could build dozens of all affordable units at the foot of State Street, perhaps even give them to people and uplift those in most need. This would be something for the community by the commuity.

3/04/2007 12:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only way to prosperity, a secure future and upward mobility is through homeownership.

3/04/2007 12:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SA1 said"The "I have a right to live in my motorhome/vehicle/tent while contributing nothing to your community" crowd seem just as selfish to me. Now I know that's not all of the homeless here but a bunch of them for sure."

Unbelievable. In my opinion, the above attitude is more is more of a blight on our community than those who can't afford to live in a home here.

This post is neither ultra sensitive nor PC. It is made by someone who has been here long enough to realize that this town has roots that are deeply philanthropic.

Many of our community's homeless are the working poor who are grateful to have a safe place to park overnight so they can get some sleep.

I've been briefly homeless (once upon a time living in a car with a baby in order to save enough money to make a deposit on a rental), have rented most of my time in this town, & only recently have become a grateful homeowner thanks to some good luck & hard work.

As far as being homeless, there but for the grace of god go you & I.

Kudos to the nonprofit that was able to convince the powers that be of this solution. Truly the embodiment of the legendary Pearl Chase.

3/04/2007 12:36 PM  
Anonymous Want to learn more said...

I'd be interested in a comparison of Santa Barbara -- a tourist destination with numerous low-income jobs supporting the hospitality industry -- to other tourism-driven cities in the nation.

Can someone offer a source comparing demographics/jobs and wages/housing costs?

3/04/2007 12:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is our workforce and former neighbors that we've priced out of their homes and apartments. Is this the best we can do for them?

3/04/2007 12:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

14% of our total housing stock in Santa Barbara is dedicated as "low-income". What percentage would you like?

Name a number: 25%; 50%; 75%?

When is enough enough? When do property owners who do pay their full freight get to have their rights protected?

Should we all go to Montecito and squat until they give us all an "affordable" place to stay?

You will need to start thinking in terms of limits and equitable distribution of economic strata/ 14% of the city housing stock dedicated totally for "low-income" is plenty. In fact, it is more than enough.

3/04/2007 1:54 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

12:32 ANON -- this is the exact assumption I am challenging. In 1986, that statement was true and I should have bought that condo I was looking at on the, can we still say the same thing?

3/04/2007 2:01 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

1:54 pm -- of course you are right. Property owners should reap what they sow in terms of investment...but what incentives do they have to create apartments for instance for middle income housing/rentals? Not much....

3/04/2007 2:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Am missing something here? Does homeless mean jobless, even when you have a job? And homeless means you pay no taxes? In some places you can afford an apartment if you earn under $30,000-40,000 a year. I've known mobile homeless who earn $50,000 a year, I hope that's not common. There are people with medical bills and student loans. How many mobile homeless are able to have a voice here, have easy access to internet?

3/04/2007 2:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1:54 said "When is enough enough? When do property owners who do pay their full freight get to have their rights protected?"

What rights of yours are not being protected? Since when are property owners the only one paying full freight?

I spent years as a renter with no income tax advantages, no financial or emotional security.

Now that I own a home, I have a huge tax deduction not to mention the potential value increase. Anyone who owns property in this town should be grateful! Especially if you've owned it for several years.

3/04/2007 2:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A family earning $40K in this town could easily be part of the mobile homeless. They have jobs but don't make enough to be able to pay the high rents. Should we look down on them? No.

3/04/2007 2:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

correction- I meant Lillian Child not Pearl Chase - although Pearl did many great things for our community, Mrs. Child's compassion towards those who were less fortunate is more applicable to this particular situation

3/04/2007 2:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's an assumption by a few that Santa Barbara has some sort of giant WELCOME sign for the homeless, that if it weren't for the misguided liberals in charge the homeless would just pass our little town by. This, naturally, is silly.

They come here because 1) it's usually warm and there are plenty of places to camp, unseen, if you're careful; 2) the 101 acts as a natural funnel into town; 3) all the tourists make it a target-rich enviroment for panhandlers; and 4) it's a hell of a lot nicer place to be than Bakersfield.

A few homeowners want to blame their stratospheric property taxes on services for the homeless, but that's ridiculous. If they were honest they'd acknowledge the real culprit: Proposition 13.

3/04/2007 3:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd venture to say that some of the former News-Press reporters are on the verge of joining the mobile homeless. The cause being a bump in the road. It just makes you wonder about this town. We spend tens of thousands of dollars putting in new brick sidewalks on boarded up lower State Street, and yet the old California Hotel sits empty.

3/04/2007 3:11 PM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

"This is our workforce and former neighbors that we've priced out of their homes and apartments. Is this the best we can do for them? "

What mean we, Kimosabe? How much do Ty Warner and Fess Parker pay their room staff and grounds keepers et al. How much does Firestone pay his grape pickers? Why is UCSB's short term recruiting problem solved by offering perment subsidized housing crammed onto an enviromentally sensitive area of unique open space backed against a nature preserve??

For all it's warts, this country's free enterprise system wasn't built on sub-par performance. If it was, well...we'd be France. If you can figure out how to make it here, then good on ya. But I don't think it is fair to burden the hard working middle class by permenently crutching the weak or enabling the rich to take advantage.

It's in recognition of the efforts of folks like New Begginings that I said "we do our share".

I'm neither broke nor stingy. I'm willing to pay the $500 tax proposed by Arny for universal healthcare in this state. I'd also be willing to pay a $1000 property tax surcharge to develope sustainable low-tech, blue collar, living wage industry in this area so young people of families here have some options.

I think we have to put a brighter spotlight on the employers in this city/county and ask for some accountability. I think we have our own hidden Wal-Mart syndrome goin' on.

"As far as being homeless, there but for the grace of god go you & I."--Don't bring Him into this conversation cuz he'd have some 'splainin to do , Lucy

3/04/2007 3:24 PM  
Anonymous sa1 said...


The apartment owners incentive is cash flow profit, not necessarily capital gains from property appreciation. Their incentitive comes from a desire to invest idle capital at low or acceptable risk because the available open space is zoned/approved by city gov't for an apartment building not a condo development. The city can improve the risk of cash flow profit by various tax breaks and the like. Apartments don't require large down payments as condos do which is really what affordable housing is about.

Home ownership is not the only way to wealth. That's the real estate propaganda talking. A home, especially in this town can easily become a black hole that sucks money out of you. Tax breaks for mortgage only buys down a percentage (max 35% and probably less if you're earning under $100K) of what is probably mostly interest that goes into the pocket of the lender. Lets not forget property tax, insurance, maintenance, lender fees, broker fees, none of which contribute to building equity and all of which are paid for in cash. Also not to mention, there's no gaurentee of capital gain.

3/04/2007 3:52 PM  
Anonymous Enough is never enough said...

Um, excuse me but having lived here for 20+ years it is obvious that the people being squeezed out aren't the RV dwellers or "homeless' but rather the middle-income, renter types---many of our friends and neighbors. What is the City doing for them/us?
Buy up more low-rent homes and turn them into subsidized very low income units? Not so helpful...... there will be a backlash and it will be soon

3/04/2007 4:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our tradition in Santa Barbara is: once you own a home, do everything possible to stop the next guy or gal from buying one. Homeowners rant and rave to stop new infrastrucure..for example, Prop. 13... and then piss and moan that infrastructure is not sufficient to support any new housing. Homeowners barrel around in their SUVs, often going to meetings to fight growth because the growth puts traffic on the road. Oh, and at the same time, the same hownowers oppose any measures to rebuild intersections or fund mass transit.

Santa Barbarans are total hypocrites, and when the State of California crams new housing mandates down the County's throat, Santa Barbara County will more than deserve it.

3/04/2007 6:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When you have people on the City Council like Developer Das we can only expect more of the same. Let's face it - the working middle class isn't welcome here. End of story!

3/04/2007 6:30 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

sa1 -- thanks for the info. Those are some of the things I am thinking about around this issue...

4:54 pm -- good points. That's what the 14% doesn't account for.

6:30 pm -- Developer Das? That's not my experience of him -- back it vote does not a moniker make.

3/04/2007 7:59 PM  
Blogger Bill Carson said...

Anon 6:30pm is right about Das, and the rest of the CC. They've all been bitten by the development bug. Just take a look around town. Yeah, there might be an affordable unit here and there, but development is rampant in Santa Barbara. Keep sleeping the time you wake up you'll be smack dab in the middle of Orange County...with no place to park and nuthin' but gridlock.

3/04/2007 8:26 PM  
Anonymous harping said...

Anon 3:01 PM wrote: "A few homeowners want to blame their stratospheric property taxes on services for the homeless, but that's ridiculous. If they were honest they'd acknowledge the real culprit: Proposition 13."
Huh? Maybe I'm misunderstanding what you're trying to say. Prop 13 is what has kept our property taxes down.

3/04/2007 8:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fairly regularly, Blogabarbara discusses the subject of how expensive it is to live in Santa Barbara. That subject can be reached in several ways: high cost of housing, living wage, subsidized housing, salary levels for police and firemen, etc. There’s never any agreement because there is no solution. The topics listed above all are based on the law of supply and demand. Houses are very expensive here because of limited supply and high demand. Salary levels are based on the rate employers need to pay to hire help—whether it’s a policeman or a city clerk.

When someone decides it’s a good idea to ignore the law of supply and demand, the problem is that there is no longer any objective measure of value. If policemen should be paid at a level to afford a home here, should teachers be at that level also? If the city says that 15% of housing should be subsidized for low-income earners, why not make that figure 16% or 14% or 30%? If special parking or facilities are made available to people with mobile homes, does that apply to anyone with a mobile home who wants to come to Santa Barbara?

To depersonalize this subject, let’s assume that everyone in Santa Barbara is willing to help people in need. Someone then has to define what need means. Is it sufficient food? health care? a living wage? the ability to live in Santa Barbara? the ability to afford a house in Santa Barbara? It may seem that this list is carrying the idea to ridiculous extremes, but all of those possibilities have been suggested and endorsed by various people or groups. And all of them attempt to replace the law of supply and demand with someone’s idea of what’s fair or desirable.

I’d like to have someone (who favors subsidizing services or hiousing or salaries) discuss how a community determines the limits of subsidy for people who cannot afford to live at the level they’d like in Santa Barbara.

3/04/2007 8:39 PM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

Anon 6:25 - You're seriously off the mark on Prop 13. It was voted in place in the mid seventies. It's preventing exactly what the homeless discussion touched on. Low and fixed income folks losing their homes to rising property tax readjusted to market value every year. Also there was unfair burden placed on the property tax to provide infrastructure like schools and roads. Renters with large families, out of state baby boomers, were getting a free ride for their kids and other infrastructure needs (sound familiar?). Plus Cali needed to raise more taxes to fund the welfare state, which is why we have a high state income tax here. That tax is progressive with high income earners shouldering the burden not grandma and the deli counter worker. We are all taxed to death in this state...thus the tax revolt by the proletariate called Proposition 13. At 1.1% that rich bastard buying the $800K home is paying almost $9K each and every year plus his income tax (state and fed of course) to fund the schools you apparently didn't bother to attend...So how much did you contribute to the infrastructure by the way?

I also may point out that one can buy a beautiful 4 bd home in Dallas, Texas for about $150K. Property tax is about 4-5% and no income tax. There are a ton of jobs available in nice communities. So no, I don't feel sorry for the $50K a year homeless employed. You're not entitled to live here if you can't pay your own way. You have options.

3/04/2007 8:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SA, you are right and you are politically correct. Never apologize for speaking the truth.

New Beginnings is a self-promoting joke. They are in fact the primary reason Santa Barbara is inundated with swarms of "mobile homeless".

They do not help the problem; they made it worse.

3/04/2007 8:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sara---quite touchy about the Das-man eh? Shades of last year's primary;
His comments in this week's Indy touting the joys of the dense monstrosity aka "transit village" (but of course not wanting the renderings to leave the room) are typical Das-speak. Density, density, more density......

3/04/2007 8:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The moderate priced rentals in this town have been turned into short-term furnished vacation rentals.

Why should one class of people be given free rides and windfalls while another class is stuck with the bill when it comes to private property rights?

Millions of tax dollars already are going to take care of the underserved in this town. Does it do more than pay the salaries of professional do-gooders or does it actually do some good?

The money is being spent. The low-income housing is already in place. Why the disconnect? How many of the hand wringers here are on the city housing vacancy list?

How many of the complainers here really want to live in subsidized housing? And why aren't you on the waiting lists right now?

Or, do you like all the "mobile homeless" want a free place at the beach with an ocean view ---for free?

Tell me what number you are on the city subsidized housing list, before you offer anything more to this discussion. Thx.

3/04/2007 9:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your thread title begs the question no one is answering just where should you park it?

In front of your house? On Wendy's nice long driveway? In front of my house? In the industrial zone out of sight? In school parking lots not used at night?

If home is where you park it, where do you park it?

3/04/2007 9:40 PM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

6:25 said "Our tradition in Santa Barbara is: once you own a home, do everything possible to stop the next guy or gal from buying one."

Not true mon ami. There are plenty of homes for sale and no one is stopping you from buying one. In fact you can finance your purchase at half the interest cost as I was faced with. I feel your frustration, I really do. What makes you think for one minute that if they suddenly open the flood gates and built 2000 homes that they would sell for less the market rate? If they did, who do you propose make up the difference? The landowner forced by emminent domain to sell cheap? The city or county that buys the land at market rate, then gives it to a builder cheap so he can pass on the savings? Should the current residents be taxed to afford this approach? Should the builder buy the land at market rates and then take a loss on the building so you can have what you want at whatever you feel you can pay? How exactly do the economics work in your mind to make it all possible?

And exactly which piece of ground is it you have in mind that is large enough to flood the market with enough homes to deflate the value of every rich hypocritical undeserving bastard's home so you can have it cheap and easy.

Actually you don't have to do all that and spoil the land for generations to come. Just convince the collective city gov'ts to impose some onerous taxes and irrational cost prohibitive ordinances, wait for the feds to screw up the economy and you'll have plenty of affordable homes offered up by all the unemployed families that have to get out of town to find work. That's what happened right here just a mere 15 years ago buddy...Feel me?? Don't remember the bleeding hearts offering my friends a hand when they lost their life savings when forced to sell. Still feeling me?? Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

3/04/2007 10:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sa1... sorry, you're wrong about Prop. 13. Darned few folks are or were or will be taxed out of their homes by property taxes... reverse mortgages prevent that.

And how do you explain the fact that the Prop. 13 assessment is inheritable? Why should the descendants of a property owner get to keep the very low assessment of Prop. 13? I know why: Prop. 13 is a total scam, with a facade of keeping people in there homes, while in fact it is set up to keep the wealthy wealthy and to let old businesses with low assessments have an unfair advantage.

The playbook of the SB nimby is still simple: oppose everything in every way possible. I'll cheer when the State crams housing down this County's throat.

3/04/2007 10:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sa1 is telescoping history. Prop. 13 was indeed a kind of tax revolt, but in a twisted, I-got-mine-screw-you sort of way. It capped property taxes for current homeowners, but let future buyers get stuck with the bills.

Yes, yes, there are plenty of old, fixed-income people who'd be screwed if they suddently had to current property taxes, but there's no way to say that without this unfair tax burden on new buyers that the beneficiaries of Prop. 13 would be harmed. What is clear is that if I buy a house today next to some Prop. 13 guy, I'm paying a grossly disproportionate share of taxes.

And as far as blaming "renters with large families" -- that's a mighty lame and gutless euphemism for Latino immigrants. If you're going to play the race card, just do it.

Finally, I don't want to live in Dallas or Houston or North Dakota or some other "affordable" place. I'm a local and my life is here. This is my home, and I have just as much right to be here as you do. I don't expect you support to me financially, and I find your broad-brush dismissal of the landless underclass smug and dishonest.

3/04/2007 11:46 PM  
Anonymous harping said...

Sa1, thanks for your posts especially the 8:40pm--I'm in agreement. Overall I think there's plenty of food for thought on this thread.

3/04/2007 11:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After living in this town for 30 plus years, I moved away because the town is just not what it used to be. The name may be the same but the town has changed beyond all recognition. I do enjoy the occasional visit but each time I am struck by the anxiety & stress & anger that permates the emotional air here. It is evident here on this blog. Just dropping in to say that life can be very good elsewhere. Peace ya'll

3/04/2007 11:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am appalled by the crude callousness of these smug, self-absorbed commenters. I spend my time around good, caring people, and forget how cruel some people can be.

I doubt it would do any good to tell them to spend some time around the homeless. To get to know the working poor. They have a whole set of sneering labels to dismiss any attempts to open up their awareness and empathy.

Chances are that at some point in their lives they will be old, or in need, or ill. Too bad that it is unlikely that their inability to see anything beyond their cramped self interests will be will be altered
until tragedy strikes them.

3/05/2007 2:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sa1, you're a smart guy but you ultimate ruin your posts by sliding into silly name calling. From a reasonable discussion of our housing dilemma you end up railing about "bleeding hearts," and dimissing everybody with a "don't let the door hit you on the way out." Very original. I could get a better line at my kids' elementary school.

3/05/2007 7:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't ever confuse the "mobile homeless" with the those fall reasonably into society's well-funded and well-served safety net.

The "mobile homelss" are squatters by choice. This is their chosen lifestyle and they feel entitled to exercise it at everyone else's expense.

They are primarily white and they are not "poor" by any circumstance other than their own choice.

Don't try and make anyone feel guilty because we don't want to keep the door open for more of them to come and get a free ride on our city streets.

YOU are the one who shows by your ignorance you do not have a clue who this "mobile homeless" sub-group is. Take a walk in East and West Beach and get back to me.

This is a hardcore group and we have to stop advertising to the world we think it is great for more and more of them to come and park it here.

3/05/2007 7:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can we get back to the question, if home is where you park it, WHERE do you get to park it?

How about in front of Sara McCune's house because she bankrolled "Homes on Wheels" which broadcast the invitation for every one to come to Santa Barbara and live on the streets for free.

How many "mobile homeless" does she fund to live at her house now? Can I guess

Or did she just dump the problem on others, just like she stupidly made her comments about buying the NewsPress at the Lifetime Achievement dinner in Wendy's face causing Wendy to pull her support for Sara's Granada Theater project. (See Craig Smith's Blog)

Thanks a lot, Sara. You are a one woman disaster in this town. Button it up.

3/05/2007 7:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't worry about Developer Das. He is a one term councilman. He is a "dead man walking".

He betrayed his base running for county supe after only two year on city council. How did that make everyone feel who worked hard to get him on city council?

3/05/2007 7:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

2:48: How compassionate are you really when all you do is hurl curses on anyone who fails to see your distorted view of the poor. You are an enabler with your one-dimensional view of the poor.

You are part of the problem, not part of the solution. The solution is to stop making excuses for them and stop trying to harm everyone who doesn't agree with you.

3/05/2007 7:39 AM  
Anonymous dd said...

The homeless are here and they won't go away. They will stay because of many reasons: the mild weather, the tolerant atmosphere and good medical care.

Societies have an obligation to help those in great need - whether you think the homeless deserve the help or not, is purely an individual decision.

Building low income residences isn't the answer to homelessness, giving them "permits" to park in certain places won't make them go away either. You have to look at the well meaning, unintended consequences that will arise by trying to accomodate those in need - enormous strain on social services and the police. There's no room in the jail to put the petty homeless lawbreakers in, nor mental health facilities to deal with their demons.

So asking the question about debt and home ownership really does little more than stir the pot about the homeless - there's too many layers that are insulating us from being able to "fix" it.

And for another perspective on uncontrolled building without proper government infrastructure, look at the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Blog post today. dd

3/05/2007 7:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Affordable housing" is putting lipstick on a pig. It gives developers a free pass to demand more density and more modifications on any project they attach a few units of "affordable housing on to.

And Developer Das bends over backwards patting himself on the back ignoring he just over-burdened this city one more time with his feel-good short-sightedness.

You can't feel-good adding a few units of "affordable housing" when the prices has been the massive build-out of every poor scratch of empty land left in this town.

Voters remember this short-sightedness. They didn't vote to get either part of this lip-sticked pig.

3/05/2007 8:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, sa1, you pick and choose the elements of `free markets' to suit yourself.

If housing really was a free market in Santa Barbara, there would be a whole lot more housing built. But in actual fact, every homeowner does everything in their power to suppress the supply side of the free market. Homeowners are actually deathly afraid of the supply-side of the free market.

Every homeowner's view is that they should be subsidized by others paying for their streets, public safety, and schools. Look at your property tax bill sometime and compare it to per-household spending on the South Coast... the taxes paid by homeowing residents don't come close to covering the bill. It is businesses throughout the County and State that in general support homeowners, and a good fraction of those businesses make their profit by hiring illegals at $6/hour; that drives down wages for everyone.

In a sense, the homeless who park in RVs are taking their revenge for the distortion of the system by homeowners. Good on them.

3/05/2007 8:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Density Das has helped turn downtown into something akin to an I.V. Slum. And to compensate we give people a parking lot to live it?

3/05/2007 8:39 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Ummm, let's quit the trolling and stay on topic please!

3/05/2007 9:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If it is illegal to live in your "mobile home" on the streets of Santa Barbara. Can we invite them to park in your driveway or on your front yard?

Back to the question: if home is where you park it, where and HOW MANY get to park it anywhere they want in Santa Barbara?

3/05/2007 9:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ABC newstory starting this thread states Santa Barbara has 2,000 homeless. In a city of 90,000.

Nice job New Beginnings. That insures your paycheck, doesn't it?

3/05/2007 9:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just did the math - 2000 homeless in a city population of 90,000 (ABC News) - that makes two percent of our city population entitled to free places to live and free social services.

Yet, 14 percent of our housing is already dedicated "low income".

Santa Barbara, way to go. Let's not stop until 80% of our housing is dedicated for "low-income" and 25% of our population is homeless. We have to get working on this.

Maybe more national wide TV programs telling more people to come for the free rent and the free food and health care.

Yep, that is MY Santa Barbara - Land for the free and the brave.

Or, maybe it is time for a major change at city hall. In Key West, Florida another "mobile homeless" mecca, you can't stop an RV in the entire town except at a red light. They had to do this to survive.

Take note, Santa Barbara. You are giving away the very lifestyle you profess to protect.

Learn what other communities are doing with this same problem. And it sure and heck is not going on national TV bragging about giving away freebies to any and all comers.

3/05/2007 9:54 AM  
Anonymous Pretty polly said...

This reminds me of the debate between the haves and have nots that has been going on here for the 20 years I have lived here. While I am fairly liberal, I did postpone my immediate gratification and got an education, postponed marriage and children until I was ready and could afford it, got a profession, worked 2 jobs to pay for school and was able to buy a house. Yes, it's hard but gratifying to take care of yourself instead of expecting someone else to give you what wasn't worth the effort to work for yourself.

Too many whine about not being able to buy were busy playing and goofing off. That was their choice. No pain, no gain, but it doesn't give you license to whine.

3/05/2007 10:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It never changes. Those snooty Santa Barbara Beautiful types who have plenty of money, and look at middle and lower class working people with disdain. Get a clue, the ABC story was not about squatters and vagrants. We know there are plenty of those around too. It was about the people who provide goods and services, so YOU can live in paradise. These people include servers, cashiers, and office workers. Now that is a sleazy group, right? How many of them can afford even a DECENT 1 bedroom apartment plus the rest of the expenses it takes to live. Add a spouse and a couple of kids and forget it. A motorhome starts looking pretty good at that point.

I also spent 30 years in SB County and left so I could have a BETTER quality of life in another state. There are other nice places to live, that are truly affordable. So what if the weather is great in SB if you can't afford to enjoy it because you have to work 2 and 3 jobs to make it. Santa Barbara isn't really ALL that it is cracked up to be.

3/05/2007 10:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There will always be nomads, orphans, elderly, the sick and afflicted. How we do unto others is what counts.
Many people live on boats here, are they mobile homeless? You've heard of Dr. Laura's generousity to sailing in OC?
I'm sure she pays taxes and does her public charitable show here, too. A $2,300,000.00 sailboat to a sailing school is alot of charity. What great prestige to be on the list with Roy Disney. The moral guru for conservative values behaves in away to say "charity doesn't begin at home". Would the newspress columnist have some advice for her town?

I live in a nice neighborhood. Every year for up to 3 months and other times of the year, two RV's park nearby. One is huge. They are out of town family of neighbors. Teachers and lawyers with children who own homes somewhere else. They pay taxes but take up road space on narrow streets here. I've heard others curse "the homeless", actually, they are very nice moderate republicans. When we lump a group as one monolithic type how do we have a discussion that can bring positive results?

3/05/2007 11:06 AM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

First of all I sincerly apologize for the occasional rude flame. The comment about baby boomers was the flood of "americans" to california to work in the burgeoning industries here. The flood across the border is a different subject and has little to do with this thread. In the last 15 years, I've worked for months at a time, all around the world. Most recently in Indonesia. I know what poverty and need is. I'm trying to address reality and workable solutions. Not utopian wish lists. I support helping people in need. If you think SB should do more, take a drive through south LA or the beach communities around Santa Monica. Is that your vision of our future? Be careful what you wish for.

I reject the notion by various anons that the individual home owners are somehow at fault because prop 13 somehow allows them to escape taxation. We don't build more urban sprawl due to lack of infrastructure money, it's because the wiser heads understand that what makes this area desirable to live, and worth some sacrifice, is that it is not an overcrowded, overbuilt, polluted cookie cutter of the San Fernando Valley. No matter how much we build, the demand for more will never go away till this entire coastline looks like Santa Monica.

No one has a birth right to live here on their terms. It just doesn't work. As a community though, we absolutely need to enable some form of rental housing that provides a low upfront cost to live and work here. I'm simply promoting apartment buildings over condos as a better answer for the younger set and those of modest means. Those in apt can come and go easily without incurring large costs and possibly upsetting the real estate market as has happened in the past. This type of housing is essential for small business to thrive and allow those workers to save for years and buy their way into a home if they choose.

Not everybody wants to commit to living for here 10 years just because they get a good job offer. If you can't commit to that, you stand a good chance that your home purchase will not be the wealth generating road to riches you non owners think it is. Condos are an inefficient use of space compared to apts and usually not a good finacial deal for the home owner.

3/05/2007 11:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was in Orange County visiting relatives this weekend when that homeless RV report came on the national news. My relatives came unglued--going after me about what is happening in Santa Barbara these days, anyway. They showed me a homeless shelter where they volunteer, (where folks have to do some work during the day) and made comparisons, sadly, that I could not refute. After we had strolled the charming streets of Old Town Orange, and witnessed the vibrancy of downtown Santa Ana (!)--locally owned stores and restaurants flourish in both--it was embarrassing to admit that a lot of our more crass development (now decried by the very same officials that allowed it) and SB's current policies that allow homeless sleeping in doorways and in RVs throughout the city (yes, sometimes in front of my own house) pale in comparison, yes, to the so-called Orange County developments! Oh, and they require developers to add to the amount of open space in exchange for the privilege of building. No ocean views, but it's not the epitome of awful the stereotype suggests. And the OC relatives said they really haven't felt safe the last couple times they've visited here--and don't know when, if ever, they want to return. Just another perspective worth considering.

3/05/2007 11:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

7:23 am- I was among the working poor for far too long. I am white. I was not poor by choice but by other circumstances that I have fortunately found my way out of. But it wasn't easy. I can see why some might choose to live among the mobile "homeless".

I am sorry to see such vitrole aimed towards these people. Hardcore group? Living this way at our expense? What specifically are we (who rent or own homes) suffering from by allowing these mobile dwellers a place to park?

3/05/2007 11:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If no one can offer a site for more "mobile homeless" to park it in Santa Barbara, does not the charge of callousness fail to ring true?

C'mon everyone. Donate your own driveway or your own front yard for all the "mobile homeless" you feel deserve your protection.

Tell New Beginnings (963-7777) you are donating a parking space at your own home for this cause. I am sure your neighbors will not mind.

3/05/2007 11:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are a many mobile home parks in Tehachapi, California and they are cheap. Yes, you can solve this problem.

3/05/2007 12:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

11:42- I think you are missing an important point. What I got from the news story is that SB, through through New Beginnings, has found one kind of workable solution which is to allow mobile dwllers to park overnight in unused commercial, nonprofit, & church parking lots. Sounds pretty straightforward to me.

you wrote "C'mon everyone. Donate your own driveway or your own front yard for all the "mobile homeless" you feel deserve your protection."

3/05/2007 1:13 PM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

As far as the homeless, it's difficult to discuss without using stereotypes. Both sides are guilty of this. Not all homeless are benign unfortunates who just need a little help to get back on their feet. Not all are crazed criminal drug addicted freeloaders either. But there is a certain public safety issue here. There is a public appearence issue here. Tourist businesses depend on a welcoming safe enviroment for their customers or their business fails. If we provide them a place to park (and live) at night, where do they go during the day? Are you sure they are so well meaning that you want them in your nieghborhood watching your children walk home from school? Do you trust them enough to park on your block and admire your home while you are at work? Exactly which jobs are they filling that a local resident can't? Are these jobs unique to SB or can they do them in an area where they can afford real housing. By all means, let's do the charitable thing without providing a permenent alternate lifestyle that contributes little to a safe friendly community.

3/05/2007 2:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sa1, I don't get why subsidizing homeowners (and the heirs of homeowners) with Prop. 13 is OK. I guess you just feel that some people are entitled to wring their bread from the sweat of other's faces.

I think great infrastructure can make a crowded place quite livable. In fact, I prefer high density islands embedded in belts of serious open space.

I don't see any significant difference between LA and Santa Barbara... just a little bit less dense here, but still the woeful environmental destruction of suburbia, where gas guzzlers that cause global warming are necessary just to go to the darned grocery store.

What's different is Amsterdam, where there is amazing public transportaiton, including an underground, above ground trains, buses, boats, and fantastic bike paths. If we could spring for fantastic infrastructure like that, we'd be really more interesting and different than Santa Monica. But the darned Prop. 13-subsidized homeowners are so cranky they always oppose everything around here. A pox on them!

3/05/2007 2:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I was encouraged by your first statement about sterotypes. But then the rest of your post fell into some serious stereotype assumptions!

1) You assume that people who are living in mobiles have come from elsewhere to take residents jobs! Instead of considering they may already be residents with jobs who for a variety of reasons can no longer afford the price of housing. And that it may be a temporary situation for them.

2) You assume that people who live in a mobile unit are more likely to hurt children or burglarize a home. The only child molester I ever met used to own a multi-million dollar property & drove a very expensive car. The only time my home was burglarized was by someone who had a nice home, but also a serious drug addiction.

It is a difficult and complex situation- please stop steotyping those who have problems you many never have had the bad fortune to encounter. Count your blessings and expand your awareness.

3/05/2007 2:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sa wrote "There is a public appearence issue here. Tourist businesses depend on a welcoming safe enviroment for their customers or their business fails."

There is such irony in this statement. Tourist businesses rely as much on their employees who are more likely to be considered among the working poor who cannot afford traditional housing in SB.

3/05/2007 3:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here are a few statements from the article:
"'We've lived in the homeless shelter, and it's full of people that are drunk and on drugs,' said Carlos Cortez."

"It's a phenomenon that is happening all over the country as people are priced out of local housing and have nowhere else to go where life might be better."

"California alone has about 350,000 homeless people. Santa Barbara has 2,000, some still trying to make it in the working world."

"The aim is to make this a temporary situation and try to help people get a permanent home. Helene Schnieder of the Santa Barbara City Council said"

Using stereotypes is a fact of life, like confronting any other challenge it can bring awareness and help to overcome our weaknesses. I admit, when I first noticed the RV's on my street, I thought it could be another homeless Vietnam vet fallen through the cracks. Many have never had appropriate attention and are on medications. It is disturbing. Also nearby there is a place where the unmobile homeless sleep. I have come across scary people in my drive. I've thought of the health, pollution and drug problems. That is why it's good to get over stereotypes and work toward solutions. "It's a phenomenon that is happening all over the country" It's the housing market and can we say INFLATION? I don't think you can make people move to Barstow, you could find away to put all the different mobile homeless in jail tomorrow. People will still migrate and fall on hard times. You will have a constant cycle and never solve health, pollution or drug problems. Isn't New Beginnings better than no solution? anon8:55 P, "New Beginnings is a self-promoting joke. They are in fact the primary reason Santa Barbara is inundated with swarms of 'mobile homeless'." It is easy to accuse, do you have workable ideas for solutions? No one has an answer yet, but you can give your positive ideas.

3/05/2007 3:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My idea would be to repeal prop 13 and use the tax money to build more afforadable housing in Santa Barbara.

3/05/2007 5:39 PM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

Sa1, I don't get why subsidizing homeowners (and the heirs of homeowners) with Prop. 13 is OK.

Don't know why you keep calling it a subsidy. It's merely the standing State (not just SB)tax law for the last 30 years. If you raise the prop tax, that would be across the board for every home owner including those who are scraping by trying to afford their dream. How is it you think raising prop tax will enable you to more easily afford a home? Are you suggesting that the additional money be giving to you in the form of subsidy as your down payment or something? I'm willing to listen but I haven't heard your ideas yet. It sounds like you just want to punish those that committed to living here and figured out how to pay for a home.

"I think great infrastructure can make a crowded place quite

I don't nor do the majority that live here, but what infrastructure is it you think we're missing? I lived in Amsterdam for three months each on two occasions. It's a nice place but 1000 years old. Plenty of time for social engineering. Everybody there pays like 60% of their income to the gov't. Is that what your proposing? I agree they have a great mass trans system. Gasoline is $6 a gallon there. Is that what you'd like to see? I don't drive much as I work out of town and leave on a jet plane so I don't care and maybe that's a better way to pay for mass public transportation. Works for the Dutch. They do have a great thing that I think would be cool for downtown. The city contributes tons free bikes that are painted yellow. You simply hop on one and ride to your destination and leave it for the next guy. Tourists and visitors would love it, and might be a great way to support a train program for those workers commuting in from out of town.

3/05/2007 5:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do you want to live here when your kids can't get a real education or a decent job anyway?

The school district just gave the teachers a pathetic raise and they managed to do it at the expense of the students. That's fine...I'm sure my kids will enjoy private school. Meanwhile the dropouts can get jobs working for the new minimum wage at Starbucks.

I hope you professional "educators" are real proud of yourselves for protecting your turf and raising your standard of living by reducing teacher time per student and torpedoing the value of your job in this city. And how is it that the school district can't seem to create any better value for the students to whom it is supposedly providing an education? Somebody needs to ask Jack O'Connel.

The High Schools suck. And you've just made them worse. Congratulations!

Oh sorry, I forgot. You all don't really care about affordable housing or education. This is all about money and life in a fools paradise.

3/05/2007 6:08 PM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

"It is a difficult and complex situation- please stop steotyping those who have problems you many never have had the bad fortune to encounter. Count your blessings and expand your awareness."

Again, I'm not trying to stereotype, just trying to point out that these people become sudden strangers in a neighborhood and they don't exactly introduce themselves and reassure everyone they mean no harm. Will those of you who are up to no good please raise your hand?

Your comment of course ignores that fact that they are not all benign unfortunates (a stereotype). What incentive does anyone who works a low paying job have to find housing? I probably wouldn't mind living out of a motorhome (a nice 40 footer, of course with push outs, sat TV and wi-fi)if I could hang out on the beach some days, then drive up to Monticeto, camp out on Rob Lowes or Oprah's street and enjoy the view. Ordinances are there for a reason.

3/05/2007 6:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Santa Barbara - March, 2015.

A beaming Wendy McCaw and her husband, Barry Capello, cut the ribbon today on the city's latest affordable housing development in the former News Press building.

After failing to acquire the abandoned building during years of fierce litigation which cost the taxpayers 100 million dollars, the city settled on the planned development which included approximately a billion dollars worth of tax subsidies to the developer / owners.

Mrs. Manila Envelope beamed as fellow tenant, Arthur Von Weisenheimer, held the door open to her new home, a cubicle formerly occupied by a city reporter.

"Finally I can move out my Chrysler Le Baron and into a real home! And all for less than my car payment!"

3/05/2007 6:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one has identified a place to foist RVs to park at night while winking at where they live during the day -- illegally. There are no unused parking lots in this city. Ever notice that?

All one is doing with this RV parking program is encouraging more law breaking. ( BTW News Beginnings is no program - they just hand out a list of resources)

The law right now says it is illegal to live in your RV on the streets of Santa Barbara. 24/7 Period. End of discussion. This is what the city voted for.

Enforce the law. And if a few churches want to harbor a few of the truly needy LOCAL people who actually are residents here and by some set of circumstances are forced to live in an RV temporarily, then that is fine as long as the neighbors agree with the church taking responsibility for them.

But what NewBeginnings is creating is a whole new permanent entitled underclass who feel they have the right to stake their claim to a free place to stay 24/7 in this town.

Why the heck did New Beginnings market this nice little benefit nationwide? What were they thinking? Is this really the best group to run this so-called program.

What happened to Catholic Charities - they started this program. How much do you want to bet they burned out on this pack? The program has only increased the problem. Now what do we do?

Oh, that's right. We could enforce the law. What a novel concept.

3/05/2007 6:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These kids havea bright future - call them the future mobile homeless.

3/05/2007 6:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a college town. There will never be a short suppy of low-income wage earners providing services for local residents.

We don't need to import anyone from outside and let them live in RVs. We have Isla Vista for that.

And if Montecito can't get maids or gardeners, then bring back maid quarters and gardener cottages. Worked before just fine. That is the old Santa Barbara I would like to get back to.

Where kids from Hope Ranch actually learn about life bagging groceries at Vons'.

And people who want benefits while they live here can work at McDonalds.

You are right. There are prices to pay if you want to live here. And it is not the snooty rich who are protesting the inundation of the slackers and vagrants, it is the damn middle class who still have a work ethic. That is where the current resentment runs the deepest. And we vote.

3/05/2007 6:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How is it you think raising prop tax will enable you to more easily afford a home? Are you suggesting that the additional money be giving to you in the form of subsidy as your down payment or something?

Nice bit of sophistry. Nobody is arguing that if we repealed Prop. 13 the middle class would suddenly be able to buy a house here. No, you're being called on your disingenuous assertion that Prop. 13 was the panacea for all that ailed the overtaxed -- then and now.

As I said at 7:07, you're a smart guy; you don't need to sully your arguments with nonsense.

3/05/2007 6:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

K-Mart and WalMart allow overnight RV parking. Try it out.

3/05/2007 6:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

6:08, what the hell are you talking about? Do you even know? The teachers had to bloody force the district to give them a "pathetic raise." And saying they somehow ruined their students' education in the process is just absurd. Are you sure you finished high school?

And let's get right to the heart of your foolishness: Dos Pueblos and San Marcos are very fine public schools, and if you don't know that you need to get out a little more. I don't have the statistics in front of me, but DP and SM consistently score well above average and produce students who thrive in college. Sure, there are always kids who piss away their time, but it's wrong to blame the schools in every instance. I'm very grateful my kids will get to attend DP.

3/05/2007 7:04 PM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

"My idea would be to repeal prop 13 and use the tax money to build more afforadable housing in Santa Barbara. "

I doubt you could get that passed across the state but for the sake of argument, what would this affordable housing look like? What price would make it affordable for you? A city owned apt complex that is rent controlled? Some thing like Cassini Greens in Chicago? How much room do you think you need to accomodate everyone? There is a good example of a subsidy plan on the goleta council agenda here{0ADE8201-06D3-47C4-B8B4-178988877FC7}/uploads/{11ADBF66-A407-4792-960B-C51CB25CFAC1}.PDF

See how much it would cost for just 18 employees? How many people in the SB area do you think deserve this type of subsidy along with you? Get back to me on the final cost and I'll see if I can chip in, through property tax or whatever. If I can't afford it, I guess I'll be shopping for that motorhome...

3/05/2007 7:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fools Paradise!

hat's exactly it!

Why else the mobile homeless madness and all the rest of the rot?

Density, Density, Density - and the diminishing quality of the town!

3/05/2007 7:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sa1... my neighber pays $2500/year in property tax. For an essentially identical house, I pay $11,200/year. Actually his house is nicer than mine. His taxes don't begin to cover the cost of services around here; I am subsidizing him. And I work two jobs, my wife and I are exhausted and near divorce, just so we can keep subsidizing. Affording children is out of the question, but he can bequeath his low property tax assessment and low taxes to his children. Prop. 13 must go.

What is right or fair about Prop. 13?

To fix the taxes, I would make a catch-up tax mandatory on the event of sale or transfer to a non-spouse family member. If the sales value equaled the assessed value, no tax would be due, and if the sales value was less than the assessed value, I'd require a refund.

But if the sales value exceeded the assessed value, I'd require catch up taxes, calculated on the assumption that the house smoothly appreciated from purchase to sales.
I'd keep the tax rate at 1%.

As to what infrastructure: everything Amsterdam has, except the subways and boats. Great bikepaths. A central train system down 101. Small trolleys that go from 101 along major transit corridors, then major buses along State, Foothill, Modoc, Hollister. Way better schools. Way better sewage treatment. Desal plants so we could get rid of the environmental uber-crime, Lake Cachuma.

3/05/2007 7:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My friends elderly aunt lives in a home she owns, she pays some ridiculously low property tax. Her Social Security is not much more than $1,000.00 a month. She can manage physically and mentally with a little help from family and friends. They've looked into alternatives. I don't have all the details, but $4,000.00 to $6,000.00 a month are costs I've heard for elderly living. When you just say repeal Prop13, is that it? Ok, so Auntie goes against her will to $4,000.00 a month institution. What about the Auntie with elderly roomie who has no funds? The taxpayer pays their $4,000.00. In your do unto others as you'd have done to you spirit, how about more details of your repeal Prop13 idea? People don't usually like ideas that harm their friends and relatives. I'm on the fence, but not likely to read alot of propaganda if no one convinces me it's worth it.

I now pay around $3,000.00 a year for little health care, $3,500.00 deduction. I could go on about all I pay, but the Universal Health care sounds like a bargain. "I'm willing to pay the $500 tax proposed by Arny for universal healthcare in this state" is that each year or what? If people can save $3,000.00 to $6,500.00 a year, why not be willing to pay the $500?

3/05/2007 8:04 PM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

Anon. 6:08 PM, I quite disagree. The high school that my child attends is superlative. For part of my high school experience, I attend a highly regarded private high school run by Jesuits. The educuation my child is receiving is every bit as good as the one I got. In fact the AP classes are more challenging than I ever experienced. While the current crop of biology and physics classes are not as rigorous as they could be, the mathematics, English, social science, and foreign language classes are quite rigorous, especially at the GATE level. I have found the teachers to be very consciencious and dedicated, for the most part. Condsidering that we trust the future of our children to them, teachers deserve to be well paid. With regard to private schools, be careful, as your children may not receive an education worth the price that you pay. To pay between $50,000 and $80,000 for a high school diploma is a bit steep considering that it is only the entry ticket into the next level that is bound to cost you at least another $80,000 to $100,000. Finally, while we all wish that that our children land a "decent job" at the end of their education experience, education is about the development of the mind and the civilizing of the heart of a person. It has been my experience that most job training happens on the job. I have hired very bright engineers right out of college and spent the better part of a year training them. What college did was train their minds to be trainable. But more importantly, college made them into inquisitive, intelligent, and creative people who could give more to the job than they take from it. We have a good eduction system here in Santa Barbara. Could it be made better? Of course it could. But we should not disparge it with bitter recrimination unless we are prepared to offer suggestions for it improvement.

3/05/2007 8:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back to the ABC pack of lies that started this thread about the "mobile homeless" in Santa Barbara.

I just looked at the rentals in the (gasp) NewsPress and guess what - one bedroom studios or apartments rent for under $1000, all over town.

So the ABC claim you can only get only a room with no bath for $1400 in Santa Barbara is (gasp) BIASED journalism.

But what a great way to lie your way into demanding a free place to park your RV. And that is why BIAS in journalism is so damaging.

Good for you Wendy for trying to keep this exact same fake bleeding heart nonsense off your pages of the news.

3/05/2007 10:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just talked to a friend. He does ok as a waiter, student, actor, model. Born and raised here, but family has died. He pays $750.00 for a room. It's in a great old house with killer view. He counts his blessings, we were talking about housing. He thinks his landlord/roomie pays about $100.00 a month property tax. I know people who pay like $850.00 a month. There are alot of renters who would be effected by repeal Prop13. Some idea that is, costing family's more to instituionalize elderly, costing taxpayers more for the elderly poor we can't allow to be mobile homeless, and workers who have found housing, could have rent double or live in bushes. Who benefits from this repeal?

How can you talk about homeless and not mention veterns? It's patriotic to send people to fight, not as patriotic to deal with after the fight. Head injuries are a frequent occurance. Damaged families. This week there is some attention to what they face.

repeal prop 13: "Something like Cassini Greens in Chicago?" This is your vision of Santa Barbara? You jest. People will pay to keep that away. You don't need to repeal prop 13. I like the underground city better and the yellow bikes.

3/05/2007 10:26 PM  
Blogger John Quimby said...

Eckerman 8:27 and anon. 7:04

I'm glad you think the school system works for you. Perhaps you are more enlightened in moving the drudges who sit in their offices than I have been.

My parents were both life-long SB educators and my sons are currently enrolled in local public schools. And yes I did graduate from High School. Bishop Diego is a very fine college prep. school thank you very much. My parents sent me there on school teacher money to buy me a better education.

Let me add that my wife and I volunteer in the classroom at a local public gradeschool and my brothers are both in education. One is teaching Physics in the LA Unified District and the other teaches at UCSB.

So when I say that the High Schools in this town suck I know what I'm talking about. My son is at a local High School and I am not at all impressed by what I see. Principal and teachers not returning calls or emails, poor lesson planning and class supervision. Students and teachers who suffer because the materials and facilities they require are not available. No Child Left Behind, Eh? In one of the richest school districts in the world? It's a damnable scandal!

But before you take my meaning to be an implication that only the teachers and staff are responsible,
please note that I am also indicting the adminstration of our schools for allowing their settlement with the teachers to lie on the backs of students. And frankly I don't see how this can sit well with dedicated teachers or administrators.

When there is a reduction in enrollment, is there ever a reduction in Admin.? I wonder.

I think it all comes back to the cost of living in our city and the quality we have a right to expect from our schools to give our city fundamental value. Can you deny that?

3/05/2007 10:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sa asked "Your comment of course ignores that fact that they are not all benign unfortunates (a stereotype). What incentive does anyone who works a low paying job have to find housing?"

I wasn't ignoring anything. I said it was a difficult and complex situation. You portray people living in mobiles as if they should be more suspect than people living in houses. It is absurd.

As far as incentives, the one that worked for me when I was working for low wages was the desire to live in a home (in the traditional sense). I don't see living on wheels as personally desirable and I would be willing to bet that most people living that way would prefer a traditional home if they could afford it.

3/05/2007 11:28 PM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

"Sa1... my neighber pays $2500/year in property tax. For an essentially identical house, I pay $11,200/year. Actually his house is nicer than mine. His taxes don't begin to cover the cost of services around here; I am subsidizing him."

As his tax level seemed to keep the city/area just fine and the envy of most of the nation (hence the demand to live here), I would say that your tax assesment is just gravy. On what basis do you say his taxes don't begin to cover the cost of services? He's probably lived in that home for 20 years and it sounds like you just got here and paid 1 million for a home. Either your down payment was huge, (where did that come from?) or you earn a substantial 6 figure plus income. Seems a little petty to envy him over a mear $9000 a year. You're the one who established that your homes were worth that much, not him. Are you the culprit in inflating home prices in this town or him. Have you asked him if he would pay that much for his house?

You probably don't appreciate that most this outlandishness in pricing happened in just the past 4 years. If you have it your way, are you personally willing to take the hit to your equity buy in when those who can't afford the new taxes cough up their homes by the thousands? Are you going to let them live on your street in their vehicles because they had to sell for whatever they could get as they probably haven't been in their homes long enough to build a huge stake in it.

To the smarter than me guy (i had to look up sophistry), I accuse you of whatever the word is for not reading carefully. I never said prop 13 was a panacea (that word i know). It was simply a method of spreading the tax burden more fairly. Sales tax, DMV fees, gasoline tax, alcohol, tobacco taxes are all very regressive taxes yet I haven't heard a peep about them. State income tax is very progressive (meaning our low income type pay very little of that) and I regularly pay 5 figure state tax bills as you probably do too. And now you want to jack my property taxes too? I've just been sitting here quietly in my modest little home for 17 years and the only infrastructure I use is the roads. You don't have a problem with me subsidizing your kids free education or the homeless shelter or affordable housing I'm sure...that's fair.

3/05/2007 11:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just looked at the rentals in the (gasp) NewsPress and guess what - one bedroom studios or apartments rent for under $1000, all over town.

Yeah, I dare you - DARE YOU - to take a look at all of those wonderful apartments for under $1000. I'll bet 9 out of 10 is a pit you wouldn't step foot in, much less live.

Oh, and they're listed in the News-Press? Clearly no agenda there.

But what a great way to lie your way into demanding a free place to park your RV. And that is why BIAS in journalism is so damaging.

Good for you Wendy for trying to keep this exact same fake bleeding heart nonsense off your pages of the news.

I would rather live with homeless in my town than people who express these kinds of views. The homeless are INFINITELY more pleasant.

3/05/2007 11:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who said they were "wonderful" apartments? You are changing the rules here. Now you want a free "wonderful" place to live.

Gheesh. Why am I even bothering to argue with your agenda.

Sure, go live with the homeless. Right.

3/06/2007 7:39 AM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

John Quimby, I would be the last to deny that we have a high cost of living on the South Coast of Santa Barbara County or that we deserve high quality public schools as part of the fundamental value of our community. I am just saying that I have found the quality of the schools to be high. My wife and I were very skeptical when we enrolled our child in kindergarten more than a decade ago. We seriously considered private schools. However, from our very first day, thoughout elementary school in Goleta Union School District, Goleta Valley Junior High School, and Dos Pueblos High School we have been consistently impressed with the education our child has received. I fully expect our child will be completely prepared to attend and thrive in a good university. Your experience may be different, but we are quite satisfied with the public schools. I agree that our public school districts seem top heavy with administrators and that seems to be a waste of resources that could be better applied to the learning environment. But no system is perfect and I find it hard to complain about a system that has, so far, met or exceeded all my expectations. In my view, the word "suck" seems to be a much too harsh condemnation.

3/06/2007 7:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My partner and I pay $1325 a month for renting a 2 bedroom apartment. When we first moved to the neighborhood, all was well. Now we have graffiti, increase of robberies and vandalizing of vehicles. I know there is crime every where, but this is getting ridiculous. I have always liked the diversity of our neighborhood, every type of person and family structure is here. I worry about my neighbor's kids that used to place in their front yards a whole lot more than they do now.

Someone early had stated that it is inexpensive to live in Dallas,Texas and easy to find work. I had a friend who a couple of years ago who took a chance and moved to Austin in hopes of buying a home one day. My friend is well-educated and ambitious. While the home prices were low, and her rent was only $450 per month, the only job she could find was a serving job. There is nothing wrong with that work (I did it myself for many years) but that is not what she went to school for. She gave it a year and moved back to California. She likened Austin to a "velvet coffin"-totally a wonderful, fun city to live in, which sucks you in with it's charm. But once you're there, you can't find a job to suit your needs, and you're stuck kind of meandering through jobs tryingt to find one that pays enough. I assume that Dallas probably has more job opportunities, but it just goes to show that it is not always that easy to find a job in a new city.

I moved from OC to San Diego back in the 90s'. San Diego, another tourist town like Santa Barbara. I thought for sure I could find a serving job. I wasn't asking to make a ton of money, just minimum wage and tips, enough to pay my rent, bills and school. I had been doing it for years, had even been a manager. When I got there, I could not find a job! I ended up taking a retail job, and within a few months, I was homeless because I couldn't make ends meet as much as I scrimped and watched my pennies.
Anyone who knows me now would never believe that I was homeless.

I am sickened by these "they get what they deserve" attitudes regarding the homeless and the working poor. Or that people of low incomes do not deserve to live in a healthy environment. I know that not everyone can live in Montecito or Hope Ranch, but we do deserve to live in clean, safe neighborhoods.

3/06/2007 8:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Double up. Lots of people are now sharing housing. What other choice is there?

3/06/2007 11:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear 8:16. YOu in fact did get what you deserved. You made a choice to come to an expensive area to live.

YOu failed to get a job and now cry you are "homeless". YOu are not. You are merely a victim of your own self-inflicted choices.

No one has a duty to protect you from your choices or give you a handout. You have a duty to help yourself and there is a huge safety net out there to help you. Retrain at a low-cost community college anywhere in this state.

Pick a college where the cost of living is something you can live with, which is apparently not here. Get state financial aid. YOu alone can bootstrap yourself into at least the middle class. This is the best possible investment you can make in yourself.

Please try to understand this and make better choices for yourself in the future because your demand for help because of your own choices is, and will continue to fall on deaf ears.


3/06/2007 12:56 PM  
Anonymous wineguy said...

Some commenters seem to have no compassion. The largest single reason for bankruptcy these days is out-of-control medical bills. If you were a local working person just barely hanging on in an overpriced rental, and you lost your home due to medical bills (either yourself or a spouse or child falling ill), what would you do? Many shelters will not allow fathers and children to stay together. How would you survive? A chance to park in an otherwise unused parking lot at night might seem pretty good. Who exactly does it hurt to permit this?

3/06/2007 1:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are no unused parking lots currently occupied by fathers and their children. They are populated by primarily alcholic male white trash with a sense of entitlement to park and live where ever they want.

Do not confuse the frail and vulnerable who do have a social safety net with those slackers who made a permanent life style choice to live in their RVs, on someone else's property. They are not tax payers and they are not voters. And they are dragging the entire economy of this city down.

There are already church sites for the very few vulnerable RV dwellers who are genuinely not gaming the system. Please do not overlook this.

3/06/2007 2:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are free and low cost health clinics already in this town. Stop creating red-herring arguments and blaming everyone for lack of compassion.

Cottage Hospital is going bankrupt providing by law free services for everyone who shows up. Quit lying.

You have a serious lack of facts about what this town already makes available for your romanticized version of the "poor". What is really your agenda?

3/06/2007 2:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wineguy, brace yourself because you won't like this answer but it hurts the neighboring property owners home values when their neighborhood is turned into an unregulated RV dump. And they vote.

Why do you have no compassion for property owners who now have to live next to this blight? Where exactly are your unused parking lots? Tell the city because they are looking right now and can't seem to find any.

3/06/2007 2:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are commercial RV parks and state parks that allow overnight RV parking. Oh, but they are not free. Darn, that won't work.

3/06/2007 2:37 PM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

Wineguy and others, you are perhaps not considering the fact that there are many local, state and federal programs available to the truely needy. That help may not be enough to live comfortably in Santa Barbara but c'mon does that excuse sleeping in your car at night with your children? What kind of life is that for them? Better to be in a poorer neighborhood in the SFV than in your car dodging the law in SB.

3/06/2007 2:38 PM  
Blogger John Quimby said...


Thanks for responding to my comments (Even though they did drift off topic!). I'm sure there are many stories like yours and I wish you and your family all the best. You are fortunate. I regret to say that our experience has been different.


3/06/2007 2:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Liebuster,

Cottage does not provide services free to anyone who shows up, however they will treat (in the ER) anyone who qualifies as not having the ability to pay. They are not going bankrupt. Not by a long shot. You are pulling 'facts' out of your patootie!

"Cottage Hospital is going bankrupt providing by law free services for everyone who shows up. Quit lying."

3/06/2007 7:21 PM  
Anonymous wineguy said...

Sa1: You think a person with a job here should be parking in the SFV overnight? Oh, I see, you want to see the freeway widened! We are back where we started from.

Excuse me Anon 2:36 but the original topic was not "unregulated RV dumps", but the use of commuter and commercial lots for safe and legal overnight parking.

3/06/2007 7:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sa1 -you are a voice of reason. Never let it be stilled. Agreed, what kind of father thinks he is giving his children a better life living in a car illegally on the streets here.

There are minimum wage jobs all over this state where housing is affordable. That is the role model one needs to provide for their kids.

Honestly, I think all these RV sob stories are made up. You never see Hispanics living in RV's on the streets. You never see families living in RVs on the streets.

You mainly see white male trash with entitlement issues living on the streets in their RV's. Enough of them already.

They do nothing to get the city handouts they keep demanding. They made a life style choice and refuse to accept its consequences.

3/06/2007 7:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who regulates the city lots used for overnight parking to keep them from turning into RV dumps? Please be specific and factual with your answer. Thank you.

Answer: no one, and they turn into dumps. Just ask the folks near the Young America Foundation who yelled loud and clear when they wanted to dump more RV's near them on the city lot.)

3/06/2007 9:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ummmm...Anon 12:56...perhaps you need to read Anon 8:16's posting again...
Currently, I am NOT homeless. I have learned from past errors and judgments. Not everyone begins adulthood with the best life skills, either by lack of education or good role models or both.

Where and when did I ask for help like you stated?

Thanks for you wonderul words of care and kindness. You seem to be really empathetic and concerned about the welfare of others!


3/06/2007 10:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

10:58 - when setting policy please stop turning the specific situtation into the general rule. There are plenty of social services already in this town.

We don't need to keep encouraging more drifters and slackers to come to this town and overburden what we have already generously provided. It is time to exercise limits. Do you have the backbone to do this?

Your "gag" is far better directed at misguided local social policy disguised as compassionate, when in fact its misdirected intent was to get votes.

Voters are fatigued because they see this misguided "compassion" ruining their city. All it ever did was create more sense of entitlement, by those least deserving. You don't even get thanks - all you get are more demands for more handouts. Nice piece of work.

3/07/2007 7:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is sad here is how ignorant the bleeding-heart posters are about the huge array of social services this city already provides.

Anyone you see free-loading on this street is there by choice. Stop pandering to their dysfunctional choices and stop being lazy about what this city already provides.

Just because you don't know what is already being done ($20-30 million dollars a year at last count for "homeless" social services), does not mean they do not exist.

Do some homework before you whine about anyone else's lack of compassion.

If you were truly compassionate you would be better informed about what is already being done, which slackers and drifters refuse to accept.

They want room service with a view and will get in your face it they do not get it. What is compassionate about that?

3/07/2007 7:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, I am concerned about the welfare of others - the property tax paying residents of this city who reasonably believed they were protected by zoning ordinances from turning this city over to the slackers and drifters for whom no rules apply and they get it all for free.

Ever try to see this problem from the resident voters perspective? Fewer and fewer residents here feel you can farm this problem out any more with "feel good" policies as long as it doesn't affect their back yard. Now this problem is in everyone's back and front yards.

Please stop polarizing this issue as --- if you are not for me, you are against me. Compassion has to also extend to those who live here and pay their way to live here. Where is your compassion for them?

3/07/2007 8:10 AM  
Anonymous emily said...

Here's a resident's point of view: after literally years of scrimping saving and taking lots of "extra" work, selling every asset we could, we finally were able to buy a house in SB when the market was very low, about 13 years ago. Since then, our home has increased in value, but the cost of everything else has gone up, too. (medical costs, food, gas, utilities, etc.) And at the same time, our neighborhood has declined markedly, with much more traffic, RV parkers who leave their trash. used condoms and other lovely reminders of their overnight visits; lots more petty theft, and frequent vandalism that's becoming downright scary. We can't really afford to stay here anymore, and really can't afford to move either, because we can't pay the higher taxes.

3/07/2007 2:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If it helps neutralize the issues here, Mother Teresa herself should not be allowed to live in an RV on the streets of Santa Barbara.

Emily, my heart goes out to you. What you are experiencing is happening in far too many other areas of town -- and it can all be traced back to the current city council's "unjudgmental" open-door welcoming policy.

I hope new council members at the next election will finally start saying no to any more of this nonsense. And that means no even to Mother Teresa.

And this does not mean get rid of the fine social service programs that are already in place, but it does mean saying NO to any more, and to definitely say NO to those programs that simply are not working and making the problem worse.

It is time to stop screaming that the actual enforcement of existing laws against this kind of behavior is a police "crackdown".

Or that they are criminalizing the "poor", or that it is police harassment and why don't they spend time chasing "real" criminals.

It is time to say NO to that bunk too. They are hired and paid to enforce the law. Maybe that is why some of them are leaving and it has nothing at all to do with housing prices.

They hate recycling the same problems overand over again, and get kicked in the teeth by the city council every time they try to help eradicate these well-known problems.

Anyone notice the stink of marijuana from all the slackers in front of the Library between the Art Museum lately now that the city did not challenge Measure P? Or, enforce the public marijuana laws still on the books? Who tied the police's hands on that one?

Nice downtown you have created on your watch, City Council. Thanks a lot.

And Mother T. in an RV, you just stay away.

3/07/2007 3:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the city is ready for a wholesale Throw The Incumbents Out election. Those up for re-election are ALL going to have a really hard upward climb regaining the trust of the voters.

I don't know anyone who likes the direction this city has been going in the past few years, and no one is happy with the way the country has been going either.

That infects their voting mood. It is time for major changes around here. What new voices are going to stand up for change this time?

3/07/2007 3:48 PM  
Anonymous Polly Sigh said...

Sara, since at least one incumbent is already raising money for another run, why don't you take nominations for challengers for the three City Council seats up for grabs?

3/07/2007 4:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Three seats up and a new mayor? Could that be - four out of seven seats? Things WILL change.

3/07/2007 5:48 PM  
Anonymous westy said...

More relevant to this thread, there is an interesting post titled "City betrays contract with Westside over RV Camp" here:

3/07/2007 8:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Read the link - Whoowhee, this is exactly what we here have been saying is wrong with this program. Thanks for bringing this to our attention. Glad to know there are those trying to do something about it. Keep it up and make the city honor their promises.

3/07/2007 9:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Country moved too far to the right. City Council moved too far to the left. Who today speaks and acts for the middle ground? We are in sore need of it.

3/07/2007 10:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems like the best way to provide workforce housing quickly. It is something that needed to be done.

3/09/2007 6:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Manufactured housing in properly zoned and regulated mobile home parks in this town go for around $200K. Who says this is not affordable - even at minimum wage?

Why aren't those who crying affordable housing signing up for this under-appreciated affordable housing alternative?

I haven't seen a one of them list that choice among their demands.

3/09/2007 1:23 PM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

I see FEMA is selling trailers at fire sale prices.

Maybe we can get some and park them at the Bacara. I hear they may have plenty of space they can't do anything with.

3/10/2007 1:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The trailers are a good idea, but I'd put them on lower State where it is vacant now.

3/13/2007 11:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Then after you fill up LevyTown with trailers and give them all away to the "homeless", then will you say enough is enough?

Or will you keep saying we need to "do more"?

If that is the case, then I say pull the plug on everything we have done so far because it ain't working.

And it ain't because nothing is ever enough, so might as well do nothing and turn all that city "affordable" housing into market rate condos because we would be in exactly the same place as we are right now -- accused of selfish NIMBYism.

But blissfully we would be millions of dollars richer, because we finally would have made some market value money on this misguided give-away scheme.

3/13/2007 8:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NIMBY Greed! You can't take it with you, so why not help the needy?

3/19/2007 11:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The needy are being helped. They get millions of dollars of social services in this town already, free access to education and job training, public benefits and 14% of the city housing stock.

When will the needy help themselves? If they haven't done anything with what they have been given already, why give them more. I'd like to see them give something back.

It is not greed to say enough is enough. It is common sense. I don't know why your soul has a leaky seive. Please explain why you have to keep giving and giving even when you see it is not working and in fact making the needy's reverse greed even worse.

Nope, we are done with handouts because there are plenty of them. You just seem too lazy to know what is already out there so you cop out on your own conscience and keep repeating:

..... (I don't know what is already )

Just give them more, more more

(until I can stop feeling guilty for in fact doing nothing about this myself.)

I think I finally see through your circular argument -- and the sight is not pretty.

3/19/2007 8:29 PM  

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