Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Twisted Tax Logic at Goleta Council Meeting

What's up with Onnen, Bennett and "gee I guess I'll go along with you because I'm up for reelection" Blois --- voting for a sure thing lawsuit from the County of Santa Barbara and then hedging on a small business license fee that most cities charge for a basic service?

The logic evades me. Protect businesses from a small fee because a survey we sent out says they wouldn't like it -- big surprise! -- but make sure the people of our city have to pay many thousand times more in legal fees and restitution to the County because we want your tax money all to ourselves. Also, forget Measure A and the regional government cooperation we talked about during the last election...what were they thinking? Has incorporation gone to the Trio's heads? Do they really think they can beat up on the county, kill Measure A and still have the respect of their neighbors?

For more information on the successive 3-2 votes that have been happening in Goleta over the last few months, pick up a Valley Voice now and then -- still the best place for Goleta news, despite their ownership. Here's their article on the last council meeting.

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Anonymous More than they can chew said...

The three stooges of Goleta City Council majority are really positioning themselves for certain recall or, in Jean Blois' case, defeat. People from all political stripes are shaking their heads at these buffoons. Even Travis got it right this time (probably following Jim Logan's great op-ed in the Voice). In any event----the good news is that this latest move by Goleta City Council will surely result in a more easy effort to return the Council makeup to a group of people NOT BEHOLDEN to the GOLETA CHAMBER. good riddance.

6/26/2008 6:17 AM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

While this has all the trappings of a game of political chicken (with a high likelyhood of an ugly head on collision), it is actually a smart move by Goleta. Just as with Measure D funding, if Measure A passes, Goleta will be a net donor; since they throw more tax revenue into the Measure D/A pot than gets allocated back to them. Having their own "general tax" (which only requires a 50% + 1 vote) would provide more revenue to the City of Goleta than Measure D does or Measure A would. So this is very good Machiavellian politics, allowing Goleta to negotiate the opening of the revenue sharing agreement from a position of considerable power. The County stands to lose the most if Measure A fails, since it cannot levy a sales tax on its own and each of the cities can. If this does not bring Mr. Brown and the Board of Sups to the bargaining table, nothing will.

6/26/2008 9:00 AM  
Anonymous anyone said...

Here they spend months lapping up to the Bacara so as to settle lawsuits yet inviting one from Santa Barbara County.

Boggles the mind what Goletans elected with this Council majority!!!!!!!

Goletans do have another chance to correct the course this fall when forever-candidate Blois is up re-election.

6/26/2008 9:51 AM  
Anonymous Are they in Oz? said...

eckermann---what makes you think there haven't been talks with the County? Was the Chamber/Council really naive enough to think that a rock solid, voter supported AGREEMENT would be unraveled over night because of some bombastic campaign promises? and do they think bullying and sabotage will gain them anything but contempt from their neighbors in the region? methinks not. they're fools. Thank Dog in the Fall the residents of Goleta can get rid of the bullied Blois and try to return this Council to one with some common sense.

6/26/2008 7:50 PM  
Anonymous eckermann is wrong said...

eckermann -

You are incorrect. The argument that Goleta, SB and Santa Maria are net donors is only true when you consider the 65% of the measure that is returned to the local agencies. When you look at the 35% that is being spent on regional projects, and where those projects are, all the larger cities, including Goleta do very well.

Measure A is a very balanced measure, and if killed somehow by Goleta (I don't think that will actually happen) the entire county loses big time.

6/26/2008 7:58 PM  
Anonymous dan hill said...

Well, the City of Goleta was gerrymandered to seize all the tax-generating bits (Costco, K-mart, Bacara) while throwing Isla Vista to the wolves. LAFCO aided and abetted this gross violation of orderly development with a provably false claim about a City including IV not passing the incorporation vote.

The RNA is an extremely fair resolution to the City of Goleta's seizure of the revenue-generating parcels. The County *must* sue to keep the City of Goleta from abrogating their contractual obligations.

As to the current clowns on the Council, they're about the same as the other clowns. But someday a few talented folks will get on the Council and start to do some good.

6/27/2008 1:23 PM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

Well, I could be wrong. I have been wrong before, many times. While there have been "talks" with the County regarding the renegotiation of the revenue sharing agreement, the County has not budged from their position. So "talks" do not really constitute good faith negotiations. With regard to the regional projects allocated under Measure A, they are just that, "regional," mostly benefitting commuters from North and South and folks just passing through on 101. Goleta could do much better for themselves with their own general sales tax. That said, I agree that Measure A is balanced and the best compromise for the entire County. I hope it passes. My point was that Goleta is simply taking the age old strategy of negotiating from power.

6/29/2008 11:36 AM  
Anonymous eckermann is still wrong said...


Goleta would not be better with their own sales tax, for several reasons:

1. The regional money is used as "local share" to qualify for and leverage matching funds from state and federal coffers. Goleta on it's own won't generate enough money to do this.

2. For you to say the regional projects mostly benefit commuters is totally false. How do you think MTD is funded? What about bike routes, safe routes to schools, etc. Goleta's sales tax would only be used to pave and maintain City streets.

3. A region's economy can be largely affected by safe, un-congested, well-maintained transportation facilities. Goleta's economy (just like the rest of the County's) is reliant on these facilities. They are not an island (even though they might think they are sometimes).

Measure A is the only way to go. It's the best option for all County residents and businesses, including Goleta.

If you want to know where the money will be spent when Measure A is approved, the expenditure plan is here:

7/01/2008 6:01 AM  
Blogger joe stevens said...

Did anyone see this? Just saw it come out.

Bishop Ranch Withdraws City of Goleta General Plan Amendment Initiation Application

Cites Negative Staff Report and
Lack of Support for General Plan Amendment

An application to initiate the study of options for the future of Bishop Ranch scheduled to be heard by the Goleta City Council next Tuesday, July 15, 2008, has been withdrawn by the applicant following the release of a staff report recommending denial of the requested initiation. The project hearing will not take place.

Not wanting to waste valuable City of Goleta time or resources, the applicant stated there is no reason to move forward. “It is very clear that while there is substantial support in the community to fully study and review the future of Bishop Ranch that same support does not exist at the City, neither with the staff nor with the council,” stated Michael Keston, the applicant.

The subject Bishop Ranch property, first zoned for housing in 1951, is a 240-acre site along the 101 Freeway and neighbored on two sides by homes. According to public records it has not been farmed since the 1940s. The application was the result of model community collaboration, a four-month Community Working Group process undertaken from late 2007 through January 2008 involving hundreds of local residents.

“In withdrawing this plan, it is important that I publicly thank the hundreds of Goleta residents who worked with us for long hours to fully understand the challenges the City faces to fulfill State housing demands without having to build high density multi-family housing,” added Keston.

“A diversity of Goleta residents came forward and worked hard to create a consensus plan, I appreciate the effort and I regret this vision will not go forward.”

Without the plan there will be no project hearing on Tuesday. Keston requested all those who have indicated that they will attend the Goleta City Council meeting stay home and enjoy time with their families.

7/11/2008 5:01 PM  

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