Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Back Story on Onnen's Absence

To truly understand my approach to Eric Onnen's absence from the last Goleta City Council meeting, one has to review what happened the week before when a vote for employee raises for City of Goleta workers took council to the midnight hour. While watching the meeting, it was clear that Onnen was keeping the meeting going unnecessarily with questions that did not pertain to government but were more suited to his extensive experience in the private sector. He brought up bonuses, for instance, which can't be given to public employees as it would be a gift of public funds. The meeting, it seemed, continued because he did not do his homework.

He and Bennett voted against two different proposals for 3% and then 2% the second year; and, also a 3% and 3% with a review of the retirement system at a later date....City of Goleta employees haven't seen a raise in two years while the cost of living has gone up 5.3%. Bennett, who got a great deal of support from one of the largest unions in the firefighters, couldn't see fit to support a raise either.

Let's do the math. $89,000 would have allowed city workers to get a fair and reasonable raise. Onnen motioned to support $100,000 a year for two years for Girsch Park. A very worthy cause but they had only asked for $75,000 each for two years. There's $50,000. Onnen also pushed for support of funds for the Chamber of Commerce -- whose all too cozy PAC shares many of the same officers as the Chamber itself. That's $40,000. I'm not saying the Chamber wouldn't use those fund well...but a back of the napkin calculation shows that where there is a will, there is a way.

The fastest route to an SEIU stronghold in the City of Goleta (with double the rabid editorials from her man at De la Guerra) is to deny them the basics of what they are due. Unions, as we know from the News-Press debacle, aren't formed unless they have to. Onnen needs to discern the difference between private enterprise and government and realize you can't get the best and the brightest in the same way. I guess I'll give him the benefit of the doubt -- but I have to wonder why he'd miss a major vote that will matter greatly in the next election, especially if city workers will now want to become a union shop.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Typically, Sara, civil servants can't get bonuses.....however, County CEO Mike Brown has found a way around COLAs, and the ability to pay off [aka bonuses] those subservient to him who do his bidding....maybe Onnen could huddle with him....

6/28/2007 10:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guess next time EO will have to throw up on this blog to convince Sara that he was sick.

Although it reads like Sara is having a bit of trouble with her own digestion.

6/28/2007 10:33 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

If EO was really that sick anyone could understand but circumstances look to possibly be otherwise to me.

6/29/2007 6:03 AM  
Anonymous Nicholas Den said...

Well, frankly, I don't think the City of Goleta staff have done a good enough job to warrant a raise.

The staff responses to my written comments made about the General Plan EIR were ignorant and flip. Both the SB Airport and UCSB have much higher quality EIR staff than the City of Goleta.

Ditto on comments made for the Costco Gas Station EIR.

The Goleta street that I drive on nearly every day is a shambles.

Gang related activity in Old Town has risen since the formation of the City. There was a sweep a few days ago, but why did it take so long?

If the City of Goleta staff were doing a terrific job, I'd be all for a raise. But I don't think they are doing a terrific job.

6/29/2007 6:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is ridiculous. Next time Sara is out for a day or two we all need to jump on "her" back about why "she" was shirking her responsibility to the community. Give me a break.

Why are we talking about this when we should be discussing how the Santa Barbara Council is going to waste $12K of public funds by allowing some freaks to paint blue lines all over our City street right of ways. Check the agenda for next week's meeting. Totally ridiculous!

6/29/2007 8:04 AM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

I'm speculating that EO's motivation was a protest non-vote. When the stuff hits the fan when COG runs out of money, he'll have some deniability.

Maybe in that smoke choaked, cigar chompin' backroom budget battle, Onan actually had the temerity to ask,"Yeah what about sa1's point that maybe we have too many expensive county employees on the payroll?"

Ex-county employee cabal says: "Shut up EO, we can't have too many of them...We'll call Lt. P to the next meeting to 'splain it all. Tell him to use lots of superlatives and point up the fact the really low crime rate in Goleta deserves a Community PIO at the bargin rate of $128K. We got nothing to better to do with that money anyway. Besides, if we cut the headcount, Lineham will cut the free office at the Marketplace and we won't be able to collect the pay from the three security guards he gets to fire."

JB chimes in: "I agree! In my 'hood, we need a PIO to coordinate trash cans in the street on curb cleaning day. And think of all the tickets he could hand out to the gang bongers and parking scofflaws. There's some all american revenue generating!"

EO replys: "You want revenue? We need to build some more hotels in Old Town, then I can drive them customers to the real airport in LA, besides don't we owe the CC more potential members and customers? It's win-win! If I don't get more development now, I'm holding my breath till I get sick!"

Mystery solved.

6/29/2007 9:23 AM  
Anonymous boB said...

Why not ask Mr. Onnen to state, for the record, how he would have voted on the budget if he had been at the meeting?

OK! I will!

How would you have voted, Mr. Onnen?

I'm boB

6/29/2007 10:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Onnen's agenda is housing. He's not up to speed on the requirements for this job. Recall.

6/29/2007 10:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nope, Sara you got it backwards. Government workers need to start thinking like private enterprise workers.

Don't ask Onen to understand the difference between government workers and private industry workers. Government workers are the ones who need to be shaken up to learn what a cushy deal they have compared to private industry workers.

That is what Onen is telling them and no wonder he is shocked now that he is realizing what a greedy, self-serving public employee monster he has chosen to now govern.

I hope this change in Goleta governance brings the changes it promised. And acts as a belweather for necessary changes in the city of Santa Barbara too.

Emough of public employee tyranny of the public work place, and their never ending "morale" problems when they don't get more money for no return in increased productivity. Lots of people never come close to getting COLA. Government workers should not feel so instantly abused when they don't get their full meal at the public trough.

The days of needing unions has long been over -- including at the NewsPress.

6/29/2007 10:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sara how in your own words can you be giving him "the benefit of the doubt" but have these two posts going after him? Its like reading a Travis editorial...

6/29/2007 11:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Positively, Travisesque.

6/29/2007 12:20 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Gee, if I started thinking like a private industry employee, I'd have no future, no health care, low pay and I'd get to work for folks like Wendy! sounds GOOOD!
Onnen and his developer pals just don't get it...his wide-eyed confusion about government service is pathetic. He can call in sick, but he can't hide!

6/29/2007 7:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just curious, what do the Goleta council members get paid?

6/29/2007 9:13 PM  
Anonymous voice of reason said...

Recall the three houseketeers!

Towbes, go golfing!

Keep LA 100 miles away!!!!!

6/30/2007 12:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Voice or reason:

LA is so much better than Goleta that its almost criminal to use them in the same sentence.

One is a respected international destination city with world class entertainment almost unequaled in its rich cultural vibrancy and economic significance.

Goleta is of no significance at all except to the 30,000 folks who live there. She is nothing more than an unfortunate accident of misguided parochial albeit civic activism.

If LA were to suddenly disappear from the earth, the globe would fall into an economic depression within a matter of weeks. The brain drain would devastate our financial centers, scientific communities and political relationships throughout the world.

Goleta is destined to be forever in the shadow of Santa Barbara which will be forever be in the shadow of San Francisco.

By order of importance:

New York City
Los Angeles
Hong Kong

In that order...

Everywhere else is simply a place people are from.

6/30/2007 11:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

8:04 am - you got that one right about the stupid Blue Line and waste oif city funds and time when there are so many real problems happening here and now on our city streets.

It is hardly there is not enough publicity about global warming already - we DO NOT need to waste our city dollars on this execise in municipal futiltity and substance-less symbolism.

The city has pulled too many "we care" symbolic stunts to look good to others, while much of the city rots from within. Just say no to this thin blue line bordering on city insanity.

Plus global warming will turn my home into beach front property and the way I see it, that is a Good Thing.

The city could accomplish so much more with serious attention to public transportation or a daily car tax on commuters or a hundred other things that might actually work, instead of hollow and irritating symbolim.

The Blue Line is graffiti and I'll call the graffiti patrol to snuff it out everywhere I see it.

Can't claim when gangs paint up a neighborhood is bad, when the city council can run around "officially"with a spray can and pollute it with their own version of social statements as a good thing.

6/30/2007 1:44 PM  
Blogger Voice of Rezon(e) said...

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but that VOR is not too cool for school, kiddies!

6/30/2007 4:37 PM  
Anonymous cheesball said...

I like bagels, too.

6/30/2007 11:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jerusalem? Yeah, too bad the Israelis and the Americans are creating chaos all over the middle east.

"Never again" seems to mean "Never again, unless the palestinians are the ones getting kicked out of their homes, and israel is back with american dollars and amercian nukes."

7/01/2007 6:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since when is asking questions a bad thing? Maybe he is just trying to protect the taxpayers.

7/02/2007 11:22 AM  

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