Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Community Post: Plan Santa Barbara Update

A reader sent me an update on Plan Santa Barbara and a recent item before the Planning Commission last week --- interesting topic for discussion.

=============Community Post=====================

Did you catch last week's planning commission meeting? Staff gave an update on Plan Santa Barbara where the entire commission severely chastised them for their lack of progress and questioned the value of their work to date. It was painful to watch and I almost felt sorry for staff if most of it hadn't been true. I'm one who usually find myself supportive of staff on many issues. This time the planning commission has it right.

Plan Santa Barbara to date has been a failure in the sense that the city has put no real context to this effort and is doing a disservice, to what my be good recommendations moving forward, by not doing a quality job of framing the issues and explaining to the public what this all means to their quality of life. Their consultant, MIG, is either being ignored by staff or just phoning this in. I know they can do better. The reputation they have is excellent so either staff needs let them do their job or hold them accountable.

I guess accountability is what's really in order here. What will become of the commission comments and concerns? Will staff move on and ignore their comments or will the public be served by address this in a timely fashion?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

My experience with the first public meeting was so insulting, I will never participate again. And I wanted to. I have been waiting for this public planning opportunity.

Here is how I saw one of these first meetings dissolve into insulting chaos: Staff was up there translating everything anyone said into their own agenda and frowning viciously in the smaller groups censoring any new thinking idea that did not conform to their housing, housing, housing answer for everything.

I can appreciate the facilitators wanted to start this process with positive things we like about Santa Barbara to set a good tone, but there is so much anger out there at city staff and city policy as interpreted by the current city council, no one could sit on their hands that night and play nice.

This was the first clue the next city council election was going to have at least one incumbent losing his or her job.

You could cut the collective anger in that room with a knife. And these were the people that came out because they care about this city and its future.

I think the staff is having a hard time because they got so little support for their pre-set agenda at these meetings and what they think the city council wants to hear (housing, housing and more housing) that they honestly could not give them a hearts and flowers report, because there was no raw data from those meetings to support it.

People kept insisting they wanted height controls that night and staff translated that as wanting to keep the "small town feeling". No damnit, they wanted building height limitations. And this needed to be written down, even if it did not fit into the pre-set format of "what people liked about Santa Barbara".

It was like that all night long. People would say one thing, and city staff would write down what they themselves wanted to hear.

One participant wanted rent-control and there it stood on the chart sharing equal value with the multiple people who said they wanted wanted height controls.

The weighting of the comments was scary, and I appreciate hard to control. But in the final analysis there was the fear rent-control would be out there equally weighted with other more vocal concerns in any final report.

Nor should city policy be set by a shouting match, or even majority vote.

I would say the mistranslations by city staff and ignoring any comments they did not want to hear was the biggest offense.

This was meant to be a time for everyone to check in and then sort out later, brainstorming type of session.

But the staff censorship at this very outset made any future involvement with this process to be now an exercise in futility.

I weep for the city on this one. I had such hopes for general planning process to be a collegial listening time.

Well the voters got the message across, if city staff and city council could not hear it that night.

11/14/2007 9:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Council, Planning Commission, most independent staffers are all irrelevant. It's all Armstrong, all the time. Everything else is lip service. Wake up. Measure A, Measure B, Measure C, who cares? The City administrators office has taken over the City. No opposition is allowed. Period.

11/14/2007 9:09 PM  
Blogger Citizen Stringer said...

While this is a nice Community Post from an unknown source without even a psuedonym, it leaves a strong impression that failure of the Plan Santa Barbara process may be in the eye of the beholder.

The "Action Agenda" at the city web site gives a clue about the time of this discussion on the agenda from last Thursday. Considering that the video archives by the city do not include the Planning Commission meetings, the only time to see this is on the city TV replay Sunday morning. That will be the only time this meeting will be on TV again.

This discussion item should start at about 1:15 hours into the meeting, thusly at about 10:15 in the morning Sunday on TV.

After seeing the actual meeting, then a finding that Plan SB has been a failure might be worth reading about.

(The Political Play of the Week, on a weekly basis, only was for the Silly Season that just passed.)

11/14/2007 9:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sara, You are so right on regarding everything you said in your latest post.

The city is doing a les than poor job in plan Santa Barbara.

The bottom lome is that they are doing almost nothing. and what little they are doing is totally ioncopetent.
They simply don't come close to even know what they are doing. They bare confused.
They don't even know what end is up!

Outreach? What outreach?

They don't even know yet which elements of the general plan they are going to update.

They donb't heave a clue how to hadle measure E which is expiring in 2 short years.

They are afraid to do a community survey because they know that the vast majority of the community wants no growth and no increase in density above all else, and puts affordable housing and smart growth last.

The city staff doesn't trust the people to know what's best for then and is trying to figure out how to use forums to 'sell" the public on what staff knows is best for them.

This whole thing is a joke.
The planning department is in need of a housecleaning from the top down.

11/14/2007 9:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the problem is with the staff they have their agenda.

11/14/2007 11:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First and Fourth Posts are Terrific.

The detail in #1 could not be expressed better.... If you were not there, you could get a great idea reading this ...

The fourth is passionate and true..

Wow. Kudos you two.

11/15/2007 12:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No doubt the staff does have an agenda. I've seen it in dozens of instances in all sorts of public hearings over the past few years.

Trouble is, as much as the public wants to limit building size and population growth, it ain't gonna happen that way. I think staff sees that the population is bound to grow and that if housing is not available the city will be over-run with illegal garage conversions and granny flats. This is already the case in several neighborhoods, as everyone knows (though city officials are loathe to admit it!)

And all of us who oppose structures that obscure the sky, sun and horizon really have not offered viable alternatives. None of us want to see the foothills and Gaviota coastline become Orange County-like carpets of new housing, either.

Some of us have worked hard to limit the size of single family homes through the new NPO and FARs. It seems crazy to me to build jumbo sized homes on small lots that add useless mass to the cityscape without increasing the number of housing units.

It was bizarre to see voters so frustrated that they turned to city council candidates who adamantly opposed the NPOs. How would those have assessed large projects downtown?

Who has got a real answer for these issues?

11/15/2007 7:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two of Plan Santa Barbara's Dirty Little Secrets:

1. Santa Barbara is a Charter City. It is NOT requiered by the State to update its general plan

2. Measure E is not part of the City's chater. It does NOT need to be voted on by the public. The City Council only needs to vote to keep it.

11/15/2007 8:17 AM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

Planners across the nation have taken huge draughts of the density is the answer smart growth koolaide. This poison creates symptoms of arrogance, deafness, and myopia, traits which render planners ineffective and cause them to be reviled by the communities that they are supposed to serve. At the risk of paraphrasing a New Testament aphorism, the built environment is made for the people, the people are not made for the built environment. Planners would do well to set aside the koolaide and listen to their communities.

11/15/2007 8:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

City planning staff and some planning commission members, somehow feel they have a royal mandate to encourage and approve affordable housing, housing, housing in any way they can.

They are agressive, arrogant, rude and scold with words, looks or actions at anything presented to the contrary.

They judge neighborhood spokespersons and nuisances to be ignored. They create a hostile environment that quickly censors anything other than their own viewpoints.

The mystery is where did they get this sense of entitlement to set city housing policy and act on it?

There are several possibilities:

1. The developers have somehow co-opted them at the very beginning stages of any project with compliments, gifts, favors, whatever.

2. City council has given them a formal or informal mandate to get to a yes at any hint of affordable housing. Yet most ran on the platform of neighborhood protections.

3. Paul Casey has translated some informal city policy that also demands approval and expansion of all affordable housing projects regardless of opposition.

4. Jim Armstrong acts under the same directions, having a mandate from city council to reach the same conclusions.

5. Only city attorney Steve Wiley questioned recently there was no mandate to always reach a "yes" on building projects. That anyone along the way could also say "no".

6. Is protecting HUD grant money selling out our local planning decisions to get this money for a few non-profit organizations who hav no accountability for the negative neighborood impacts of those non-profit agencies social agenda?

All we hear from everyone inside the city affordable housing decision process is yes, yes, yes. With Barnwell patting himself on the back everytime one gets approved over neighborhood opposition. At least that voice will be gone,and not a moment too soon.

What message did the city council get from this last election and how will that message filter down to city staff and particularly the planning commission and the planning department.

And what will the city do the next time HUD holds out it hand and demands control of our local city planning policy?

11/15/2007 8:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While this is a nice Community Post from an unknown source without even a psuedonym, it leaves a strong impression that failure of the Plan Santa Barbara process may be in the eye of the beholder.

I hold Anonymous postings at a higher value than what people like Citizen Stringer have to say.

11/15/2007 8:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My observation is that 'City Staff' is not a unified whole - within the departments there is a pervasive inability to work together. Each department, as well as the public, looks out for its own interests. So the problems inevitably get solved by finding a solution that causes the least reaction in the majority of areas. This does not always lead to good solutions! As the matter of fact, I've seen the process lead to inane solutions that make nobody happy!

Between the clusterf**k of city departments, design review boards, council, public and private interest, its a miracle anything gets done in this town! Whats needed is streamlining the system, and city staff that look at the whole issue and propose good solutions, now that's good leadership.

11/15/2007 9:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I went to the first public outreach meeting.

At the time where people spoke to the entire group, I spoke up and said (quote): " I want all buildings to be only 1 or 2 story." Then I said: " I hate smart growth." the facilitatoir got a discusted look mon his face at that word and
the facilitator said: "maintain small town character."
Then the staff at the board wrote down: " maintain small town character" using the facilitators words instead of my words.

Since I wanted to get my point in the record I went to the third meeting, on the westside. I said the exact same thing using the exact same words. This time I kept my comment to just one sentence so that ot could not get confused. The facilitator again mumbled something after I spoke and again the staff at the board wrote down different words than I said.
By this time I was quite upset at staff for paraphrasing my words and failing to write down the specific 2-story maximum height point.

Not being one to give up or be easily pushed around, I went to the fourth, and last, meeting and this time I stood up and very clearly, distinctly, and slowly said in a loud voice: " I want all buildings to be 1 or 2 stories." Then I said: "and please write down my comment just that way that I said it."
This time the facilitator didn't say anything but I couldn't believe it when the staff at the board yet again wrote down different words than I said.

After 3 times I came to the conclusion that this could be no accident. It became crystal clear to me that staff has a pre-determined high density smart growth agenda and they simply refuse to hear anything that does not fit with their smart growth high density vision.

11/15/2007 9:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Simple and sincere question: What is the motivation of City planning staff to behave this way?

11/15/2007 9:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I. too, was there.

I heard several comments where citizens said that they didn't like 'smart growth".

I noticed that not once did the city staff ever use the words smart growth in their staff presentation or their staff comments and I also noticed that the staff who was taking notes of the comments never once wrote down the words 'smart growth".

It's clear that the staff does not want the word "smart growth" ( or the smart growth high density concept) to ever be included in the general plan discussion.
It's as if the staff is trying to sneak the "smart growth" concept quietly into the general plan through the back door without the genertal public even knowing or realizing what is really going on.

One time at a meeting when a member of the public said the words 'smart growth" the moderator repeated it changing the words to "mixed use".
I pose this question to you: Is staff so afraid that their beloved vision of high density smart growth won't fly with the public under direct discussion of the negative effects of the smart growth concept that they have resorted to being "sneaky" and 'devious" and are trying to implement their desired high density "smart growth" vision by slipping it in the back door by calling the high density concept another name, like mixed use affordable housing, and thus avoiding a direct and open public discusion about the merits and pros versus cons of high density "smart growth".

Also, staff is trying to sneak the transit portion of 'smart growth' in by the back door by calling it by another name of "traffic calming" under a disguised goal of slowing down traffic.

Think back. Has anyone ever heard a councilperson or a city staff mamber use the word 'smart growth"? Not once. Not ever.
Whats up with that??????
Now, since high density smart growth is actually their specific vision for our city ask yourself why they are afraid to use that word and open up a direct discussion on the merits, or lack thereof, of the high density smart growth concept itself?

There can only be one answer. The council and staff doesn't want to have, or open up, this discussion. Why? Because only they know what's best for you, and they don't think you are smart enough to know whats best for you. They probably don't think that the general public is smart enlough to understand the concept of 'smart growth".

Or maybe it's that they are afraid that the public will be smart enough to come to the conclusion that high density "smart growth" with all of it's many negative effects is really bad for our city and want no part of it.

11/15/2007 10:10 AM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

Here the root of the cry for "affordable" housing...

In the aftermath of the turn-of-the-century bear market, recession and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the Federal Reserve, led by Alan Greenspan, upset this rich dynamic by slashing interest rates to superlow levels in an effort to stimulate commercial and individual investment. That put the economy back on its feet by 2003, but holding rates low for a long time had the unfortunate effect of making it hard for banks and pension funds to profit.

Bankers scrambled for innovative ways to create income-generating instruments. They hit ultimately upon the idea of encouraging low-income Americans to borrow from them to buy houses, clothes, cars and electronics, and then piled those shaky new income streams into packages known as asset-backed securities, which were themselves used as collateral to create another high-yielding type of debt known as collateralized debt obligations, or CDOs. Banks took big fees at every step along the way, putting rocket boosters on their profitability.

The low income demand for housing is now being choked off.

The housing developments now being considered were born in a different economic environment (and outlook) that no longer exists.

SB Planners should take that into account NOW. SB is an old town with old cultural roots and life style.

Who cares what they do in the 3 year old Santa Agrestic (that developers PUD Paradise) out there on the edge of the desert?

The South Coast is too unique to foul up with "Smart Growth" experiments.

11/15/2007 10:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The PC wants to hear from leaders from neighborhoods about what they want to preserve and where improvements can be made. Now that the PC will schedule GP status reports monthly, it's time for neighborhood organizations (and individuals) to submit comments (with pictures) to PC (who will refer them to staff) - otherwise we will get glossy platitudes packaged by MIG. If your issue is safe routes to school, do some homework and get a map and see where pedestrian and bike paths are - then ask, what can be improved? Take a picture and show the problem. Take ownership - it is OUR general plan.

11/15/2007 10:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

response to anon 10:15

Please don't speak badly about city planning staff. I have the pleasure to know them and they are all nice people and they all have good intentions.

It is true that they don't know much about city planning or urban planning, but that's not really their job. Their job is primarily processing developers applications and so they actually do very little actual planning. So they don't really need to know much about planning a community in order for them to do their job.

So. please don't hold their lack of planning knowledge or ability against them.

11/15/2007 10:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What general plan update?

If a general plan update is going on this is the first that I've heard about it.

11/15/2007 12:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the heads up on the issue, and I'll try to watch the PC hearing.

I was at one Plan SB Meeting and have no interest in returning - it's been said already -- no one was listening.

It's up to the Council and the PC to step in and provide some guidance and leadership -- maybe they will do so. We can only hope.

11/15/2007 3:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Staff was up there translating everything anyone said into their own agenda"

I agree with this comment. It certainly is not democracy in action. Far from it.

The general plan should be a citizen-driven process. It's not. Rather than empowering the community to plan its future, staff is writing the plan.

The general plan is the critical planning opportunity. It should be the considered vision of the community. It should be a creative document. It's sad to see the opportunity lost, which comes along rarely.

11/15/2007 5:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

10:54 - classic non-listening response.

No, the city planning staff are not nice people. Too many of us have observed them in action, and watched them dominate public meetings with their own agendas to the detriment of the public whom they are supposed to listen to and serve (through our elected representatives who are not listening either).

Granting every modification and exception over neighborhood opposition, or granting them in the first place even if there is not opposition is not nice.

It is dangerous and arrogant and contrary to public policy.

Policy is in place because it is the result of a public and deliberative process. It is not there to be tossed out and ignored by city staff, who grant almost every exception that comes down the pike.

Someone needs to get a grip on this chronic public dissatisfaction and tell city staff to put a sock in it when they are supposed to listen and neutrally report what they learn from public hearings.

Staff and council don't like to listen to neighbors because they think they have a NIMBY axe to grind.

Yet they listen uncritically to every developer and non-profit who also have huge self-interest agendas, which somehow come across as compassionate and preferable to those who actually want to protect their own neighborhoods.

How can we get a city council that does not feel guilty and can say no to the right people, instead of saying yes to the wrong people?

Sure request that sounds subjective, but trust me when those wanting to hear city staff say no a few more times are the many (the homeowning voters) and the ones demanding yes are the few (the developers, commuters, and grant funded non-profits) I think they need to do the math better about who they actually serve.

True, the voters spoke and returned two incumbents, also but soundly sent a message the status quo was no longer acceptable.

Das sent a very different message to his voters this time - so along with Dale Francisco and any other swing vote council person, let's see if all we get again is business as usual from this newly constituted city council.

Will Williams actually act on his latest round of promises to this community in order to keep himself politically viable for his next political aspiration? Will his short term and mixed message promises to the voters even matter?

Oh, Santa Barbara ...... I worry for you. Vote, vote, vote and vote for its future the way you want to see it or it will be taken away from you by powers outside the voters. Don't ever throw away your votes at this critical time.

Schneider is running for mayor - let's see if her message is what the voters really want for another 4 years in a leadership role?

I don't think so and sure hope there is a sound alternative when this time comes around.

She is really getting in everyone's face, acting like she was given a mandate, when she barely squeaked into second place over a brand-new comer. I found her Letter to the Ed thanking the voters in the Independent to be particularly offensive today.

Translate your anger into votes, is all I can say. Lots of them.

11/15/2007 5:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

response to 7:23 a.m.
you say staff sees that the population is bound to grow.
This is exactly the problem.
the reality is that our population is NOT bound to grow!
Under our existing general plan, density, and zoning the population of Santa Barbnara has been flat for 7 years.
so we have effectively stopped population growth by controlling density.
Now staff, as part of their smart growth vision wants to open up the city to significant population growth by changing the general plan by using the principles of smart growth to densify our town.

You ask who has a real solutioin:
here it is in 2 parts:
1. Preserve our existing no growth general plan and it's low density and its zoning ordinance.
( and in the process save our city).
2. Give up the competing and incompatable goal of providing affordable housing for the population growth that would move here.
Think about this; For evdry new unit built one new family will move here. (Even a unit that is purchased by a resident will free up their old unit allowing one more new family to move here.)

Now the vast majority of our residents clearly put the desire to preserve our small town chartacter over the goal to provide more affordible housing.
We can't have it both ways so the wish for preservation of the status quo of the majority trumps those few who would pick housing over preservation and ruin our town in the process.

It is a well known and accepted fact that we can't build our way out of the fact that Santa Barbara is an expensive small and highly desireable beach town. At least not without turning us into just another big city.

11/15/2007 7:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

answer to anon 9:11

You ask what is the motivation nof the planning staff to push their high density smart growth agenda.

The answer is:
The local planners all belong to the americam planners association. The american planners association has been pushing high density "smart growth" real hard for 5 years now. At this time 99% of all the planners in the country have been brainwashed into accepting 'smart growth' as the answer to everything that ails every town in the country. The magic bullet.

Every 10 years some planner invents a new Ay to plan. The latest in a long series of failed magic answers to what is the best way to plan a city is smart growth. Smart growth is doomed to failure because it's negative effects outweigh it's positive effects. It has been proven that it just does not work as "advertized".

Smart growth might work for a brand new city but just will not work in Santa Barbara, a town that already works the way it is. Is there anyone who does not love the character of Santa Barbara just the way it is? Is not our downtown vibrant just the way it is? I don't want to live in Portland!

I say" "If it ain't broke don't fix it".

11/15/2007 7:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to anon 7:23

You say it was bizarre to see voters frustrated ( with the 4 story smart growth) densification downtown that they turned to new candidates who opposed the NPO.

I know all 3 new candidates views. What you don't realize is that all the new candidates OPPOSED large 4 story projects downtown, and the incumbants actually are advocates of high density smart growth downtown while keeping houses small in the subburbs. The new candidates don't like high density smart growth downtown but are not as restrictive of additions to existing homes.

Desiring to add on to ones house does NOT equate with being willing to ruin the beautiful downtown with 4 story high density smart growth.

11/15/2007 7:38 PM  
Anonymous Club for Growth said...

Could it be that those that do not want smart growth fear only for themsleves while in their cars? I don't know why staff is having so much difficulty. Perhaps they're just pooped out with the general public and their narrowly focused comments. The reality is that we will grow. Every 12 to 15 years we elect the Republicans to the White House. The pilferage goes on and on and the national debt accumulates. In our current situation the 3.4 trillion dollar debt will require huge growth to pay off the debt. Growth will be evident everywhere and you aint seen nothing yet even if you're a direct decendent of the crew from the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria. Oh, and of course the Democrats will be blamed for all the growth and yes the environment will suffer too. The confused electorate will vote Republican once again, repeating the cycle. My advice to Pubs and Dems>>> vote Green Party to end the cycle. Suggestion to council....adopt the 1997 Transportation and Circulation Element as the general plan to eliminate conflicts. We need new neighborhoods and we have many areas in town that could fit well into the "High Density" and transit oriented re-development model. North State, Chapala St., Gutierrez and Haley between Chapala and Milpas are all good areas that will fit well into the "Smart Growth" model. The NPO did a good job at protecting existing neighborhoods and the concern for transporation.

11/15/2007 8:35 PM  
Anonymous Don Jose de la Guerra y Noreiga said...

Boy...what a bunch of grumbling no nothings with utopian visions! I'll put the planning department up against blogabarbara bloggers anytime--the evidence is in with this subject.

Too bad Barnwell lost. He knew what he was talking about.

Lot of wishful thinking here and stupid bluster.

Go talk to a real planner on the city staff and get an education.

Look around Santa Barbara, the process works but not with a take no prisoners planning process you are recommending.

You get your say and city planning staff is basically (not perfect--but what staff is?) fine.

Even Nick Welsh misses Barnwell. What are the voters thinking? People are nuts all over the country.

11/15/2007 9:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, 7:38, the candidates who opposed the NPO and FARs strenuously are willing to ruin their own neighborhoods for their own mini-McMansion gratifications --- but not the downtown? Not likely.

(Adding on to their small houses as you so pitiously describe has often meant a tear-down and then a rebuilding for a spec. sale, with the neighbors' views and privacy destroyed. But who cares: that was just a small house and we don't need small houses anymore in this rich city.)

As for the GP Update presentation, not only did the planner, John Ledbetter, not have a staff report available to the public for what he would say, but that PC hearing was televised for that week only, not last week, but the week before last.

Other than going into city hall and purchasing a copy of the meeting - or sitting there watching it, there is no way that the public can know what was said. These PC hearings on general community matters, like the general plan, should be available in the same way that city council meetings are.

In the planning division, it seems clearly that the staff is running the public's process, not the public. This is wrong and perhaps due to the inbred nature of that department along with planning being arcane for most citizens.

11/15/2007 9:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nick Angry Poodle gets a lot of things wrong and he missed Barnwell's biggest failing.

Sure Barnwell listened and thoughtfully responded to people ... and then never did a darn thing about anything.

His failure was not his listening. His failure was his lack of follow-through. Which made the listened-to ultimately feel raped.

Barnwell said too many things to too many people around town and left them all hanging in the lurch and then did the opposite with no regard for the consequences. It was pay-back time for Barnwell from a lot of people around town who felt abused by his fake sincerity.

Plus far too often Barnwell was missing in action on important matters, over-spoke his bias when discretion would have served all parties better.

Nick will miss getting good quotes from Barnwell. That is all. And the voters showed they will not miss Barnwell at all.

11/15/2007 11:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When so many people sound off their deep frustrataions with planning department staff, it is not time for planning department insiders to rush to their own petulent defense.

It is time for city staff to listen that there is something deeply wrong and disconnected going on in this department.

And more than anything it is time for the city council to tell the planning staff what to do to carry out the wishes of the voters; not the other way around.

And getting new city council people is the way the voters get the council to start telling staff they are there to carry out a new agenda, that comes from the voters who put the council into this very position.

No one wants a turf war with city staff; but something is very wrong with the flow of power in this city. It is time that it goes from the voters to the council to the staff.

So this turnaround where it goes from the staff to the council and then the council scolds the voters is what is behind much of the throw the incumbents out anger everyone just witnessed and will see a lot more of come next election.

The business as usual sign at city hall has been turned off.

11/15/2007 11:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are happy to learn we have such a talented, hardworking city planning staff. Then the major problem is the failure to give them direction and set the voters agenda into terms they can carry out.

Happy to know they are professional enough to know who their real bosses are: the voters. So now it is time for the voters to insure its elected representatives get the right message to this helpful and hardworking staff.

Because right now staff is working at cross-purposes to the wishes of the voters. Everyone deserves better than that.

11/15/2007 11:39 PM  
Anonymous ununintended consequences said...

reply to don Jose 9;34

Boy, are you just wrong...wrong...wrong... and wrong;

1. There are no real planners on city staff. yes therew are so called planners but I challenge you to name just one who has the knowledge and ability to plan a town or do do an significant urban design. Do you even know what a REAL planner is. the planners here are paper pushers and administrators---this does not a planner make.

2. Barnwell lost because he ddidn't know what he was talking about. Are you so arrogant that you think you know better than the majority of the voters who threw him out.

3. We are not "do nothing" as you claim. some of us donate hundreds of hours of our time each year to preserve Santa Barbara from the likes of you.
if you don't like the small town character of Santa Barbara please move to a big city.

4. you say; "the evidence is in regarding "smart growth".

You couldn't be more wrong and this just shows that you don't know what you are talking about.
Smart growth is a relatively new planning concept and evidence is mounting every day that smart growth does NOT work as advertized.

There is a brand new university study comparing car milage driven per year by homwowners living in traditional single family residences with those who live in the new high density smart growth "projects" located on transit corridors or next to rail and bus lines. This study shows that the number of miles driven per year is the same. This indicates that the residents of the smart growth projects are not giving uup their car as intended.
Smart growth is producing " UNITENDED CONSEQUENCES".
Bottom line is it just doesn't work as intended.

11/16/2007 11:19 AM  
Anonymous reality check said...

dear 8:35 p.m.

You are wrong when you say the reality is that we will grow. The fact is that the city of Santa Barbara stopped growing in 2000 and has been flat for the last 7 years.
The only way it will grow is if the high density smart growth advocatres can get the new general plan to densify our town.

You are also wrong when you say to adopt the 1997 transportation element in our new general plan.
Thgis 1997 transportation element is based on "smart growth" and was snuck in through the back door while nobody was looking. It is an anti car plan that fails to recognize and provide for the fact that 905 of our transportation is by car now and for the next 30 years and only 10% by alternate transit of bus, biks, wal, and rail. Studies have clearly shown that smart growth cannot change this basic 90% by car transportation mode.

The vast majority of residents and voters don't want high density smart growth here, so we need to re-do the transportation element. 95% of the local residents do not want to reduce traffic capacity of the roads but want to provide for adequate steets to be able to handle the cars. We need to provide for fact that 90% of all transit will be by car for the next 30 years. And also provide for PARALLEL alternate transportation that will be a mode of travel BY FREEDOM OF CHOICE. We don't like being forced into it.

The 1997 transportation element advocated for reducing parking to below what is required as a method of trying to force people out of their cars. it is a fact that 95% of the local residents don't want to reduce parking but instead want to provide adequate parking.

All this smart growth is nothing more than an attempt by a very tiny minority of socialistic/progressive elitists, who think that they know better than the residents whats good for the city , to do a social engineering experiment on our city.

I have news for you smart growth advocates---We like our fair city just fine the way it is thank you very much. Now GO AWAY and leave our beloved city alone!

11/16/2007 2:24 PM  
Anonymous Don Jose de la Guerra y Noreiga said...

Ununintended consequence (hey does that un un double stroke and breath make a positive? Who knows?): You seem kind of worked up. Somebody already mentioned the planner Ledbetter farther up. He is a real planner and good at it. He listens to the public and knows what he's doing. Just because your uninformed opinion isn't the guiding principle doesn't mean he's a jerk. He worked on the airport and did a great job for the public. Go talk to the planners folks. They're just sitting there working their butts off but they'll take time to talk to you.

What do you mean: "there are no real planners?"...that's nuts. Oh...and on the city council the best councilmembers have had some planning experience.

The planners problem is the rules, the public and the council. They listen to everybody and must adjust and wiggle to try and respond to all the issues. 'Process' is a big word in planning. Nothing is clearcut and wham, bam, thank you ma'am.

What did you not understand about the basic city Spanish plan, or the overlay of the American plan, or the choice between the urban boundary line and putting the growth somewhere?

Hey...I travel to Europe all the time and I've seen great cities and great city cultural amenities. What's the big deal? We have a four story height limit and lots to work with. Why so freaked out? What causes your desperation. What is so outrageous that you are ready to throw out the baby with the bathwater?

11/16/2007 7:28 PM  
Anonymous I HEART traffic congestion said...

I'm convinced.
Dumb Growth is better.

You have exposed the Socialistly Engineered Conspiracy to force people out of their cars.

Busted, Big Time!

The real plan is to convert all the streets into fossil-free parks, and they all will be painted with blue lines, by workers paid a Luxury Living Wage.

You figured it out.

Because, after all, if planning did not happen, nothing in Santa Barbara ever would change, would it?

The head-insertion approach has worked so well about how traffic congestion has increased while population (at least of people who agree to be counted) has drifted down.

11/16/2007 8:05 PM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

A lot of wise words on this thread. Thanks all.

And thanks again to Ms DLG for hosting us.

Yes Sara, I saw your exasperated comment about moderating...I wish I could help. (not really...I wouldn't post anything from that uber nut, "Anonymous".

Where does he find the time to write all that crap? and why does he always contradict himself?

Must be another sad case of Multiple Personality Disorder. Somebody show him the bridge...

11/16/2007 8:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Smart Growth as translated by this city council has brought us: (1)marekt rate condos being used for short-term vacation rentals;

(2) a few token dark and grim affordable units and an unproven social experiment;

(3) permanent loss of setbacks down town;

(4) exacerbated street parking problems due to lack of residential parking spaces.

11/16/2007 8:13 PM  
Anonymous neighborhood power said...

Hey don jose:

Just what makes you think your smart growth minority is going to get away with putting smart growh in place as our guiding principle. You think you can push this high density down our throat. Think again, buckwheat!

Just what makes you think that anyone who doesn't like your smart growth is uninformed?
Just who do you think you are?

I have news for you: Many of us who oppose high density smart growth are a lot more informed and better educated than you are.
If there is anyone who is uninformed here it is you.

You are in for a big surprise, as you are not in tune to what the vast majority of Santa Barbaran's want, and you underestimate the power of the people.

11/17/2007 3:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Soemthing happens somewhere in the city mentality where those in power or employ to serve the majority in this town (the non-subsidized home owning residents).

These residents get ignored and then are scolded from the mayor on down as if we were 3 year old nuisances when we protest their independent schemes concocted about who they think we should be, which I suspect has been fed to them by unaccountable and unelected planning and grant-writing staffers.

Hope you follow me here because tracing this major disconnect between voters and council keeps going back to the staff running the elected officials; and not the other way around.

The power of employee unions and their money is more insidious than most people suspect when they keep electing those who raise the most money.

This must be a quintessential american virture - money walks and talks.

Glad money also elected Dale Francisco and there is more where that came from to elect a few more of similar stripe next time.

Maybe I should stop complaining. Money will talk in the next election, and it is going to be carrying a very different message into the bowels of city government.

11/17/2007 8:25 AM  
Anonymous Don Jose de la Guerra y Noreiga said...

Dear Neighborhood Power:

We'll see won't we! Regarding "people power," please read Henry Adams' "Democracy"-- it'll give you something to think about besides bad guys.

11/17/2007 9:06 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

to NOTE: you are probably right and I will yabba next time I see something like that.

11/17/2007 10:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have never in my life met anybody who was as conceited, arrogant, and as big a "know it all" as the bloger who calls himself don jose de la guerra.
He is totally misinformed and is totally out of touch with reality. Every socialistic thing he ever says is always way off base. At least he is consistent that way.

What is scary is he probably actually believes all that misinformation that he puts forth.

Somebody please show him the door.

11/17/2007 11:16 AM  
Anonymous Hi All said...

I have read here several comments about the planning abilities of the Santa Barbara ciry planners.

I am a professional planner and I can shed some light on this subject.

Yes the city planning staff have jobs as "planners" and do some "planning". and yes some on the city council have some "planning" experience.
there are also several memberds of the public who also have some 'planning" experience".

But the real issue here is not that a persoin has done some planning or has the title of planner. the real issue here is their formal education in the field of city planning and urban design.
There is a huge difference between a "planner" and a urban designer city planner. Anyone who plans anything is a planner. In order to have the ability to design a city one must have formal education in the field of urban planning. Urban planning is an extremely specialized field which is taught as a specialty of a school of architecture. It is highly related to and very similar to an education in architecture. There are very few universities who offer it and there are very few graduates with that degree.

The vast majority of our city planners, and council, do not have a degree in urban design where they actually learn how to design a city. In urban design classes one actually learns how to prepare a quality urban design and the end result is a map like drawing showing things like a design for new steets in a different configuration that the existing street layout. Rather our city planners have a degree in a related field like management ( like the number one city planning department head man; or environmental studies like the number 1 city planner woman. One top planner actually has a 2 year degree from a trade school, and some have no college degree and had no formal city urban planning higher educatiuon or training. Many of our city planners graduated from UCSB where they do not even teach, or offer a degree in, urban planning. )

In conclusion, the bottom line is that it is a fact that while we have planners as people who plan our city, we do not have highly educated and skilled people in those positions. The reality is that Santa Barbara does not have a city planning staff with the ability to actually design and prepare a high quality urban design for our town in a professional and high quality manner. Yes, they can do it but the issue here is the quality of their urban design or plan.

The reality is that the people in our city planning positions know no more about planning our city than do members Citizens planning association and in some cases less because these members are often retired planning professionals with a lifetime of profesional planning experience.

The city council would be wise to listen to and make use of the urban planners at Citizens planning association.

So much for one bloggers faulty advice when he says: "go talk to a city planner". I would if we had a talented professional urban designer on staff and not just paper pushers, with a related degree, who "manage" urban planning.

11/17/2007 11:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 800 pound gorilla in the living room that needs to be dealt with during this general plan 2030 update is the matter of unpermitted dwelling units.

They have to be accounted for and not necessarily dissolved. We are living with their impacts. They provide a means for homeowners to make it financially, and provide a heck of a lot of unaccounted for low-income housing.

To not account for them when we have to tally our housing distributions to the state or the feds is sheer lunacy. To not account for them for both their postive and negative impacts when we plan for Santa Barbara 2030 is sheer folly.

Got the impression in one of the prior posts, city planning staff likes to hold these over our heads and come after the law breakers if we complain about how the staff is doing their jobs - threatening black-mailing the angry populace into dubious silence on this issue.

But that misses the whole point. They are here. They are plentiful. They have an impact, and the city council has chosen to unofficially pretend they do not exist.

Yet, they materially distort every single planning decision the city has made in the past, the present and will make for the future.

For Santa Barbara 2030, lets bring this large element of our housing stock into the light, account for them, and find ways to accomodate them.

But let's once and for all stop this schizophrenic official blindness that they do not exist, and do exist at the same time.

If there are health and safety issues ignoring them, then stop ignoring them. If they provide significant low-income housing, then let's count them.

If they provide financial stability for first-time buyers, as well as for end of life widows left with too large a home, and respond to filling a housing gap for students which drives our major education industry, and low-income workers which drive our major hospitality industry, and in home care for our retirement income industry, then let's factor this in as we plan how our town will face the realities of our unique clean industry future.

But for goodness sakes, don't let the city planning staff use this unspoken issue as a cudgel to beat us into submission claiming they are going to enforce violations and demand evictions.

Clean up this issue when re-writing the next zoning ordinance so the staff does not have this power. And that we can fairly plan the impacts and needs of any future development.

For every "affordable by design" housing unit presented to the city in this recent spate of downtown highrises, how many of these new units have become short-term vacation rentals creating a new spate of low-income support staff necessary to manage and clean them for absentee owners, workers who have to now be housed somewhere, instead of the first time homebuyers who the developers claimed these units were designed for, when they were oiling their way through the permitting process?

Obviously, staying deaf and dumb on this critical issue is not "smart growth".

And no, I do not have an unpermitted dwelling, but tours of open-houses uncover many, many of them (diguised but easily re-converted and wink, winked about.) They are here, and 99% certain to not only stay, but to also expand.

11/17/2007 12:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please respond to this and tell us that you are not related to, or involved with, don jose de la Guerra.

You are so nice, thoughtfull and so reasonable in your thinking, while he is so acidic, misinformed, unenlightened, and such a left wing radical extremest.

11/17/2007 3:04 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

No -- not related although I will occasionally call him Uncle Don for fun. Like my Uncle, I don't always agree with him but he has a right to speak his voice here like anyone. Sometimes, I let it go too far -- sometimes I reign it in.

hi all -- thanks for commenting!

11/17/2007 3:40 PM  
Anonymous Don Jose de la Guerra y Noreiga said...

Hey all: I know the work of city planners, urban planners,landscape architects, regular ol' architects, urban historians, preservationists, as well as the folks at CPA (I'll take city staff over them any time--but it's like comparing apples and oranges), and most of the other citizen's groups as well as the Bungalow Haven crowd. There's a raft of people with specialized knowledge.

Don't forget there is also CEQA to think about--a whole set of already existing rules and procedures.

I have been around Santa Barbara too long to imagine that any one "Expert" is the "ONE TRUE PLANNER", even an urban planner wears intellectual blinders on plenty of issues! So sorry, but hiring a bunch of urban planners is not the answer. Besides, some of the dumbest people I know graduated or teach at Universities. But on the other hand there are some good ones.

Don't forget, most of the urban infrastructure already exists--we're not building a new city here. We adapting to changing conditions and sucking carbon monoxide up the wazoo. I definitely don't think car and parking spaces should rule the roost.

The key is the process and I think Santa Barbara basically has a good process--although it make take years to move a boulder.

Remember that the city staff doesn't pretend to be one stop often contracts with outside experts for reports and opinions which then go into the process.

Things can always be improved. I am disappointed in the lack of set backs--remember projects mostly come in, the city just doesn't say: "Build this" responds and arbitrates.

On the personal side, I must say I feel greatly misunderstood if you think I am a left wing communist whacko!! I am a whacko of a totally different stripe.

As for who is Don Jose? --look down next time you go to mass at the Mission and take communion. You'll see me there. What I really want is a nice statue of myself on Plaza de la Guerra. We need something so that Sara can feel proud of her Spanish heritage. All citizens of any value in Santa Barbara should know my name and how to spell it. Do you?

11/17/2007 6:06 PM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

"so acidic, misinformed, unenlightened, and such a left wing radical extremest."

Oh Yeah? That maybe but he's our " so acidic, misinformed, unenlightened, and such a left wing radical extremest."

Fight Blog Rule 37 Para C states that no anonomoosi can pick on monikered contributers till said anonomoosi have monickered up so we can remember who the real nuts are.

Not sure if I could say if DJDLG is left or right but he certainly is

11/17/2007 7:15 PM  
Anonymous Don Jose de la Guerra y Noreiga said...

Just having an afterthought about how important an expert "urban" planner is...anybody ever hear of Pearl Chase and how she shaped Santa Barbara?

Charles Storke used to tell me stories about her and her power.

Rule by experts is soooo 1920s.

11/17/2007 7:37 PM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

In my view, this is all getting much to personal. The issue here is a difference in opinion regarding what urban environment results in a better quality of life. Some folks believe that a low density, small town, semi-rural built environment provides the best quality living experience. Others perfer the high density, large population, urban experience for its vibrant and diverse culture. Each environment has its positive and negative aspects. There is no need to disparage either perspective. However, in any community, whichever environment the majority wants is what the local government should provide, regardless of the desires of the ivory tower planners and the wealthy development interests, even regardless of private property rights. If the majority of Santa Barbara citizens want to retain a small town with a small population and restrict growth on the Gaviota Coast, that is what the planners should provide. If the majority want Manhattan on the South Coast, then the planners should provide that paradigm. The worst case is government officials refusing to listen to their constituency and arogantly pushing some vision that is not shared by the majority. Once the majority decides and the government planners implement the vision of the people, the next step is to live with the consequences, both good and bad.

11/17/2007 8:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only vision this city council shares is getting continued HUD grant money and selling out local planning decisions in the process.

Just like the county claims its hands are tied, in order to keep all that federal money flowing.

No one elected these people to get HUD grant money. They elected them to protect the neighborhoods.

11/17/2007 9:06 PM  
Anonymous planning club said...

Just read all these comments top to bottom.


When I was done it was as if a lightbulb went off!
It became crystal clear that our general planning process has come down to one basic
over-riding issue to be decided:

Some people are happy with the town the way it is and want to preserve that which they love and other people want to change the town by densifying it in order to accomodate significant new population growth.

eckerman's 8:29 post was right on when he said:
" the planners job it to find out which of the two basic visions the MAJORITY of the residents want, and then they should listen to this majority."

The only way the planners can do this is with either a:
1. community wide professional survey sent out with each water bill to each resident or

2. An advisory vote put on the ballot at the next election. Where each voter chooses between preserving our existing small town character or significantly densifying our town to accomodate significant population growth.

City Council are you listening?

Anyone want to guess how such a survey would come out? It's pretty obvious after listening carefully to the comments by the public in our community, which appear to favor preserving our small town character over densification by about 4 to 1.

Sara, please post on a readers pole on BlogaBarbara where your readers can vote between these two basic visions for our community. You would be doing a huge public service, and it would sure be interesting to boot.

11/17/2007 9:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

AAAARRRRGGGHHHHH!!!!!! Get a copy of Sunday's Newspress (11/18/07) or steal a look at the headline photo in a newstand and keep your moral purity, but run do not walk to see the grotesque, out of scale plug ugly Transit Center this city council is considering for your town.

Impeach the entire crew if they dare take this rendering one step further. This is the Blue Line craziness to the 100th power.

The only transit center this city should be proposing is next to the train station. Forget ever putting it blocks away at Carrillo/State/Chapala streets. Trade the empty land by the train station for this prime downtown land far better used for commercial development than more crappy low-income overly dense, non-family friendly cheap housing.

We don't need more transients riding the bus to the center of our town and hassling residents and shopping tourists. We don't need more low-income housing alters in the middle of a fleetingly gracious Historic Arts District downtown.

Build your transit center by the train station and make the surrounding hotel/motel people fund low-income rental housing for all their workers on the railroad sides of the property.

You are right - if this total architectural and planning diaster is a product of our current Planning Department and City Council, throw all the bums out.

Iya and Helene, you are big time history if you even get this past the first round architectural renderings.

Cover your ears because you are going to hear on huge howl of protest, and then the impeachment petitions will begin.

Das, if you dare let this hideous plan go one step further and cram it down as environmental soundness, you will never get another vote in this town for anything.

Dale Francisco, thank goodness you have the sense to stop this craziness in its tracks.

Grant, your head will role and you won't even be a single term council person if you dare support this monstrosity.

And for termed out Horton and Blum, hang your head in shame if this ugly eyesore and planning debacle is your ever-lasting legacy for your time on the watch of our damaged city.

11/18/2007 7:25 AM  
Anonymous Don Jose de la Guerra y Noreiga said...

Blogabarbara: I don't think you have an either/or here. It's not either a small town, leave it alone planning policy, or 'build Los Angeles all over again' planning policy choice. We don't have two policy alternatives but a myriad of possibilities.

You are forced to choose and plan within the flow of changing demographics, proposed projects, new infrastructure developments, environmental change (what about water?), and all the rest. We don't live in a bubble (Did you ever see the movie version of a nice 1950s town in a bubble?). Change is coming. It always has. Good planning is the only way to deal with it. Either/or is a false choice.

Santa Barbara is lucky. It has a lot to work with. A livable city is what we want.

Our constitution is not about majority rule but protecting minority rights and the whole edifice of the United States is built on property rights. Keep that in mind.

11/18/2007 7:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

City "leaders" led by Rob Pearson have been duped into believing that somehow if the city buys up available property and converts it into subsidized housing everyone will be happy!?!?!? what about the people who have lived here for years as renters--not subsidized--- who once lived in those properties gobbled up and turned into subsidized for people who DON"T EVEN LIVE HERE IN SB UNTIL THEY GET THE SUBSIDIZED HOUSING?!?!?!?! That scam will be OVER as city residents and most importantly VOTERS wake up to that and other facts. Many of us who are aware have been sitting on our hands or with our mouths shut until now. We're over it. Get ready folks. The wool is being pulled off our collective eyes.

11/18/2007 9:05 AM  
Anonymous Citizen Nancy said...

Hooray! Finally, someone said it plain and simple! It is the majority vote that should be heard and implemented. Thank you Eckermann. It must be satisfying to be the "voice of reason".

I remain a member of the Santa Barbara community because I love Santa Barbara for it's history and what it is, not what a few think it should become. A word to the wise to that minority, if you want to live in a metropolis, there are plenty to choose from. Don't turn Santa Barbara into one. Just know that densely populated areas come with their own consequences, many of which we are fighting to avoid in our, oh so quaint town.

To the is your right, and your duty, to elect officials that have your vision in their hearts and minds as well. Don't forego that right and duty. If you want something bad enough, make it happen. Don't be bullied by those with other agendas or by the blackmailers. That's what democracy is all about!

Keep the faith Santa Barbarans!

11/18/2007 9:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Plan Santa Barbara 2030 does have a written comments formonline and has collected written comments on printed forms handed out at public meetings.

Why has this collected information in raw form not been made available to the public?

I don't want the city staff sanitizing this input data. We as voters need to see the entire range of public input on these critical matters.

Publish this information immediately. We paid for the collection of this information and we have a right to see it in its raw form.

What does the planning department want to hide by not letting us see this collected public input?

11/18/2007 10:05 AM  
Anonymous Don Jose de la Guerra y Noreiga said...

I am for the transit center next to the train station. And I thought Roger Horton (Mr. Train Solution) was too. So I don't get it.

Why has that solution been abandoned? I must be missing something in the history of the discussion. Is a player (MTD or Greyhound?) unwilling to move?

11/18/2007 10:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Build the transit center next to the train station,........ and they will come.

11/18/2007 4:05 PM  
Anonymous Anyone who wants to be mayor hello?? said...

The control that city staff have over Plan Santa Barbara is truly breathtaking and unprecedented in its scope and depth; go to any other California city website and study the extent of COMMUNITY control vs staff control of community plans. This City Council should be ashamed of itself. Iya? Roger? anyone with common sense? what are you going to do to rectify this on your watch????
BeLIEVE me, we are watching and listening......

11/18/2007 5:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those in the know hold a lot of justified anger and disappointment at the city's process and the planning staff who implement it. The defeat of both Measure A and Brian Barnwell are just the beginning of the end of business as usual at City Hall.

11/18/2007 7:38 PM  
Anonymous MTD User said...

Why even have a transit center? From my experience all I care about is where I get on, where I'm going and where I depart. Save the money on the center and build good quality housing on this site. BTW I don't agree with those who think that they are protecting Santa Barbara by keeping it the way it was....Change is inevitable to a large degree and it is best to put the emotional hype and threatening kick ass threats in check.

11/18/2007 11:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That Lack proposal of a transit center "village" (ugh!!!!) is grotesque - anywhere, but especially in downtown Santa Barbara! 4-stories, 60' feet, probably, with roof garden massive ugliness.

The Transit Center itself should be located near the train station. Several reasons: the obvious, train needs bus; another: the area there that does need "redeveloping". And a third, for those of us living in town, lower east side or west side, say, who do bike: riding to the train station is a heck of a lot safer than riding to Carrillo and Chapala, leaving bikes there for longer trips.

I'd much more willingly take the bus out to Goleta if there was a safe and rapid way to get to the transit center. I'd ride to the train station area regularly. As it is, rather than along Milpas or back streets to Carrillo, I drive to Goleta!

As for the General Plan Update: Why even bother since they aren't following the present general plan! Here's the Charter Section 1507: "It is hereby declared to be the policy of the City that its land development shall not exceed its public services and physical and natural resources. ..." hahahahahaha, sob.

11/19/2007 6:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The new grotesque transit center will do one of two things:

1. Suck the life out of existing State Street businesses, already struggling.

2. Over-build and misuse the entire small town atmosphere of Santa Barbara.

Stop this craziness now!

11/19/2007 9:17 AM  
Anonymous Don Jose de la Guerra y Noreiga said...

Great news. Seems like support for the transit center at the train station is pouring in.

How is it that so much stuff is trying to get crammed into the Carrillo intersection. What's next? Two way tunneling under the intersection for good traffic flow?

OK. Onto a question for blogabarbara! Any support for a nice statue of Don Jose de la Guerra y Noreiga on a revamped Plaza de la Guerra?

11/19/2007 10:32 AM  
Anonymous 1000 friends of Santa Barbara said...

Growth is NOT coming!

Growth is NOT inevitable!

We will not wither and die without growth!

We do not need growth!

We do not want growth!

Just say no to growth!

We CAN be sustainable wihout growth!

We can have a vibrrant and diverse community without growth!

And most of all, since we don't grow, we sure the hell don't need or want smart growth!

Smart growh is after all just another term growth, but in a high density form.

The vast majority want to keep Santa Barbara a small town.
So if you are one of the minority who wants to live in a big city please move to one and don't be lazy and try to change Santa Barbara into a big city.

11/20/2007 12:40 AM  
Anonymous 1000 Friends of Santa Barbara said...

Don't worry folks, 1000 Friends of Santa Barbara is going to help the community stop that 4 story high density transit center monstrosity dead in its tracts.

Watch what happens to this project.
In february we are going to help get the 4200 signatures for Bill Mahan's groups new petition to place the new 40 feet height limit on the ballot next fall.
This will be in the city charter, and any project without a building pernit at the time this initiative passes next fall will have to comply with the 40 feet height limit!
HA! That will teach them to suck eggs.

POWER TO THE PEOPLE! this council won't act so we are taking their power away from them.

11/20/2007 12:53 AM  
Anonymous Fred and Lamont Sanford said...

Thank you, David Lack, for putting something forward so overtly hideous and grotesque at first glance that it could actually get the city to "wake up", invite quality developers to get involved (ever notice how major developers avoid Santa Barbara like the plague), and not squander the opportunity provided by the "Levy Meltdown" to acquire land and right of way in the area of the "Train Station" that should be your public transportation hub - even if parking lots have to be sold to raise the money.

Then MTD can get to work on hiring national quality managers to replace the homespun nappers they have now and re route their antiquated map and agreements to actually efficiently serve the people who need their services, a population that happens to be growing exponentially in this area.

In fact, CoSB should have been working on a transportation plan that included getting the Goleta Amtrak on City Land (it owns alot out there) tying that to the AIRPORT and quick MTD and train links to Downtown and outlying communities, thus insulating traffic for the Airport and Amtrak in the area, making coastal links more efficient and moving people into areas of the City of Santa Barbara where sales tax and bed tax revenue is developed more easily, It would be easy to carve Goleta and UCSB in or out of such plans, based on their own participation.

Santa Barbarans appear to prefer to drown behind a "Blue Line" as their own native children are "Gangified" while vicodin and cocaine addled Montecito 18 year olds, abandoned by their own "parents", still inhabit State Street clubs with their fake IDs and drive off impaired in their new BMWs than think about a future 5, 10 or 20 years away?

11/20/2007 8:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1000 friends: make that 1001. How can I join you?

11/20/2007 9:23 AM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

"Any support for a nice statue of Don Jose de la Guerra y Noreiga on a revamped Plaza de la Guerra?"

Sorry DJ, with this ugly mug, even the seagulls wouldn't land to poop on his head.

Besides the Chumash would probably rally around with tractor and chain to pull it down...ala Vicente Fox, Saddam Hussein and Joe Stalin...

The Hacienda system has had lasting deleterious effects that still echo and trouble us today...

11/20/2007 12:15 PM  
Anonymous Don Jose de la Guerra y Noreiga said...


It's a hard world today for statues I must admit. So in and out of fashion so rapidly these days. Yet the idea of a Plaza contains the necessity of heroic persons from the past to engender virtue in the people in the present. You must agree this is a necessary ingrediant in a democracy--virtue I mean.

I did save the town and was its most charitable citizen for many years. I didn't get my key spot at the mission for nothing.

What a town! First you made fun our King's statue and now me. Is there no honor among the people.

No man is an island but neither is he a statue it seems. Somehow the world seems smaller for it.

Are the Chumash now the arbitrating deciders good taste? Should they have a statue? Why not me and Yananoli?

Blue lines, statues, so much criticism, so little place for memorable art.

11/20/2007 9:11 PM  
Anonymous Don Jose de la Guerra y Noreiga said...

How about a nice soldato de cuero

Or putting King Carlos back. Is their no interest in historical accuracy?

What is the range of political correctness in statues?

11/20/2007 9:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about a statue of Fess Parker in Chumash regalia?

11/20/2007 9:51 PM  
Anonymous Don Jose de la Guerra y Noreiga said...

Let's be clear about Don Jose and the Chumash. I'll use this example. Once upon a time, November 1818 to be exact, California was under attack by the dastardly French pirate Hypolite Bouchard flying the colors of Rio Plata; Monterey was in cinders, the Ortega Ranch at Refugio just burned to the ground and here out in front of Santa Barbara with his two frigates and many cannons stood the menacing corsair. The call went out for help.

Bouchard was calling to the Chumash to rise up and throw off their chains (in good French fashion) and yet, led by De la Guerra, the Chumash, armed and in good military order, defended Spanish Santa Barbara.

Why should the Chumash forget their heroism and virtue that day?

11/20/2007 9:51 PM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

"What is the range of political correctness in statues?"

At the moment, starts with
1 John Fremont - Liberated S.B. from the Conquistador occupation in a bloodless coup. Helped by Ben Foxen who's ship the "Goleta" became a moniker for "The Good Land"

and ends with

Pearl Chase - Who's beautiful vision and wisdom we sorely need today...

11/20/2007 10:15 PM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

"Bouchard was calling to the Chumash to rise up and throw off their chains (in good French fashion)"

(See, You admit there were chains involved, probably leather too)

I wonder if we'd be speaking Cajun and paradin' for Carnival if only the good Pirate had prevailed.

Ooo La La... They don't call it the Riviera for notin'...Amigo

11/20/2007 11:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with an earlier comment. The City Administrator Jim Armstrong is in control of this City. His office tells every person in the organization what to say and how to think. I will never forgive the Harriet Miller led City Council for hiring him. The Santa Barbara City Administrator coming from Fullerton...come on. They are about as progressive and forward thinking as a 10 lane highway and 100 units to the acre development. What was that Council thinking?? All Armstrong cares about is his $215,000 annual salary. The Council needs to have a backbone and actually take control of this City's policies and actually engage this community in a dialogue and right the ship before it sinks.

11/21/2007 9:17 PM  
Anonymous 1000 Friends of Santa Barbara said...


I agree that Jim Armstrong 'controls" this city.
and that it is bad.
I'd love it if he moved on.

As a moderate, I don't agree that his policy is not progressive. His policy is way TOO progressive.

It appears to me that he promotes high density smart growth.
"Smart growth" is social engineering at it's worst, and densifying our small town will ruin it's character and it's quality of life.

Our town is just great, liveable, beautiful, healthy and vibrant just the way it is. The key is our 2 story small town character and our human scale.

So Armstrong should go, as should all high density smart growth advocates. They are in the minority, but they are currently in power, and they think they know whats best for us. We already have what's best for us, because of the efforts of our citizens over the last 50 years in setting up a beautiful no-growth community that works. Santa Barbara is not this way by accident.
Let's not let smart growth ruin our small town character and our quality of life with their social experiment called smart growth. Smart growth, a relatively new concept, is just now being shown to not work as advertized.

If smart growth actually worked, one could double the density of L.A. and have it be a wonderful pplace to live---much better than Santa barbara.

Yeah, right!

Don't be fooled smart growth is just another way of promoting growth. smart growh will give us 4 story monstrosities like thoes going up on Chapala all over town. A full 99% of anyone I have ever talked to about these buildings absolutely hates them, and does not want any more such monstrosities to ruin the small town character that we all cherish.

Remember ---while change is not inevitable, population growth is not inevitable. We can just say no to smart growth and keep our current no growth general plan and keep our no-growth town. Remember that Santa Barbara hit 100,000 people in the year 2000 and has not grown in population now for 7 years, and our town is wonderful, vibrant and healthy. This proves that a city does not need to grow in order to not wither and die.

So, lets choose to be sustainable, live with in our resources, not grow, and stay wonderful!

Pappy used to tell me in his wisdom: "If it ain't broke don't fix it."

11/22/2007 5:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Santa Barbara ain't broke. And when it is, then we'll fix it and feel good doing it.

But now cramming down utopian visions held by unelected special interests who have vested interests is what is broken. And we are going to fix THAT! Bye, bye regressive progressives.

11/23/2007 9:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:22 p.m.

11/24/2007 10:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why don't you take all the ideas, and comments, from both sides and write an article and place it in the independaent for the whole city to share the wondeful ideas on both sides of planning for our town?

a new level of communication. think about the possibilities.

11/27/2007 12:55 AM  

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