Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Margaret Connell Announces

As expected, former council member and Mayor Margaret Council announced she will be running for one of the two seats open this November on the Goleta Council. Here's part of the press release she sent out tonight describing a media event tomorrow in front of Bishop Ranch. -- Sara

"The current council has a poor record of listening to Goleta residents and ignoring their concerns about growth and traffic congestion. I am running to ensure that residents, not special interests and developers have a voice on the city council."

Connell's long track record of community involvement has earned her the support of current councilmember's Roger Aceves and Jonny Wallis, as well as County Supervisors Janet Wolf and Salud Carbajal. Former councilmember Cynthia Brock and current city council candidate Ed Easton, a member of the Goleta Planning Commission also endorse Connell.

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Blogger Bill Carson said...

...and (if elected) she will pursue "smart growth" policies that will ensure the same growth and traffic congestion problems that she accuses the current majority of creating.

7/22/2008 11:03 PM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

I see BC is taking cues from the Strickland playbook of ethical campaigning...

7/23/2008 6:14 AM  
Anonymous 'til i'm blue in the face said...


If it was up to you and your cronies you'd roll back time to when there was nothing but lemon orchards, or was that too much development for you?

7/23/2008 9:01 AM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

Well Bill Carson, you have made a statement, but you have failed to explain what Mrs. Connell has done to make you believe that your statement is true. A lot of politicians were enamored by the glamor of "smart growth" rhetoric. Lots of koolaide was drunk all around. But now, many who were true believers before have slept off the bender and awakened with clearer heads to see "smart growth" for what it always was, a con job perpetrated by wishful thinking urban planners and scheming developers. The falacious presupositions of "smart growth," which so many people swallowed, are 1)infinite growth is an unavoidable given, and 2) if we warehouse people in tenements they will no longer drive cars. Many politicians are recognizing that those two "facts" are not necessarily true. It is possible that Mrs. Connell is one of those who is taking another look at the "smart growth" assumptions.

7/23/2008 2:10 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

sa1 -- on the border there! I know Bill has thick skin but we can agree to disagree.

7/23/2008 5:48 PM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

Ok Sara...(sa1 lowers his head)

Dear Bill, I sincerly apologise for associating you with Republican campaign tactics.

Rather than sue me for defamation and emotional damage, how about I leave you 12 bucks under a coffee can behind Costco?

7/23/2008 6:15 PM  
Blogger Bill Carson said...

sa1: THIN skin could take that pathetic comeback.

'til I'm blue: Not a bad idea at all.

eckerman: If Maggie denounces smart growth...she's got my support (and the support of thousands of Goletans).

Oh, I know it's not partisan (yeah right), but the Republicans want to build to support the pro-development/pro-business machine. The Dems want to build to support their social-engineering agenda. What both parties miss in all this is that our resources are dwindling. We are slowly but surely building our way into a world of water and power shortages, all the while systematically destroying the very qualities that once made this community so special.

Give me a candidate that recognizes these things and I'll bust my butt to get them elected. But when I see the endorsement list for Mrs. Connell, however, all I can see is "same 'ol, same 'ol".

7/23/2008 6:22 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

You two crossed paths with this one -- Bill, go for the pizza with the $12. Huge lunch!

7/23/2008 6:39 PM  
Blogger Voice of Rezon(e) said...

OK Bill and sa1,

Break it up. You two are like two boxers that came out swinging and ended up in one of those hug-grasps.

So sad, everyone is talking about growth - smart growth, dumb growth, inevitable growth, etc.

Here's the dealio kiddies:

There are two competing schools of thought: One is that of the old-school neighborhood preservationist Goletans that don't want any kind of change or growth; and the other is that of rational people, largely fueled by the business community that understands that keeping businesses operating is vital to the sustainability of the City of Goleta, especially when you take into consideration the awful RNA negotiated by the previous Council, of which I believe candidate Connell was a member.

Perhaps Sara should ask the declared CC candidates to provide this blog with their vision of Goleta's future (100 words or less, please) so we can have an informed discussion.

And Bill C, I won't drop $12 in a can for you, but I'll gladly by you a Greyhound ticket out of town.

7/24/2008 9:57 AM  
Blogger Goletaman said...

Eckerman has it exactly right. Smart Growth is like smart cancer. The same players pitch it for the same reasons they pitched just plain growth; They make money from it.

7/24/2008 10:27 PM  
Anonymous dan hill said...

Goletaman is right. All the housing subdivisions in Goleta are cancer, and one can rightly questions whether the $20 million spent to keep the Gap fire out of town supported heroism or unsustainable tumor support.

Goletaman could help reduce the cancer by remediating the parcel that his home is on back to how it was in 1750, donating it to the land trust, and moving to Bakersfield.

Everyone who opposes growth but resides in Goleta faces the same choice: remediate your land and get out, or support the ongoing cancerous use of Goleta's land. Once you decide to keep your home, we know what you are, and the only question is the degree... you support the growth that led to your home, but now that you've got yours, you want to kick down anyone else who merely wants to be equal to you.

7/25/2008 6:18 AM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

I dare say no one will ever be the equal to me, Dan. However if one would like to try, simply buy one of the many market rate homes already for sale. Batta bing, you're almost equal.

There's hundreds of square miles of what you seek just 65 miles south of here...What's stopping you?

What's that you say? The houses down there are just as expensive as those up here? Too crowded, crime ridden, hot and smoggy?Hmmm...sorry about that, Get a better job maybe or get out of Calyforneeya. Your real problem is people with more money than you keep out bidding you...It's not we who live here already.

"Go East Young Man!"

7/25/2008 7:59 AM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

Dan Hill, your hyperbole is bracing, better than coffee in the morning. As you well know, but would no doubt fail to acknowledge, the difference between a pleasant built environment and an unpleasant one is not a matter of either/or but rather a matter of degree. We have all lived in or visited beautiful towns and communities that are a pleasure to be in and we have all experienced urban cesspits, where no person in his or her right mind would want to live. All built environments have the potential be transformed from paradise to cesspit. Many of us would prefer to prevent this fate from befalling the South Coast of Santa Barbara County. I am the first to admit my good fortune in being able to live here. It is too bad that everyone who wants to live here can't. But they all just won't fit.

7/25/2008 8:12 AM  
Anonymous AN50 said...

News Flash! The smart growth mantra touted in this area is yet another Santa Barbara mutation. Smart growth in its original inception was supposed to be a counter point to mindless sprawl and decentralization of urban cores. What we got handed here was nothing more than high density urban sprawl on suburban infill properties. Most of these types of development and Margaret was in favor of, are poster children for why you have zoning laws and general plans. This little fact has been largely buried by the rancorous debate between the No-Nothing-Never crowd and the liberal/developer fueled house everyone crowd.
As someone who witnessed the ravages of mindless urban sprawl in Ventura County, is a shameless denouncer of European socialism (aka liberals) and the “I got mine now close the gates” society, I support growth and development done right. And Connell, as nice a person and well intentioned as she is, is part of the class of politicians here who believes we should do nothing simply because they don’t know how to do it right and think pandering to the masses is the same as democracy.

7/27/2008 10:03 PM  
Anonymous she's all dressed up with no where to go said...

Margaret already lost once for being so rigid that Goleta tract home owners couldn't add on space to take care of elderly parents.

She'll lose again.

Then, one hopes, she'll move on.

7/27/2008 11:54 PM  
Blogger Voice of Rezon(e) said...


Kudos to you for laying it out so articulately. I've been saying that on this blog for a couple of years.

We have a huge leadership vacuum in our overall community and no technical innovation with respect to urban or regional planning. So, the result is that nobody makes any serious attempt at planning and yet people continue to make babies and come to the area but since nobody planned for them the result is added traffic, poor housing stock, jobs/housing imbalance, etc.

Then, the NIMBYs latch on to those ill-effects as if they will occur no matter what is built or how it's planned.

Unfortunately, until we get more proactive leadership and a commitment to working our issues regionally it will be more of the same...

7/28/2008 11:46 PM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

Actually AN50, if you consider the orgininal Greek root of the word "democracy," you will find that pandering to the masses is exactly what it is. If the masses, if that what such a small community as Goleta can be called, want to control growth, in a democracy, that is what they get.

7/29/2008 9:10 PM  
Anonymous AN50 said...

Sorry Echermann, but controlling growth is not what the N3 mob wants here. They want no growth at all and nothing that might resemble it even if it is the mitigation of impacts from past growth. Those of us who possess the acumen to see other possibilities are shut out of the debate, labelled as evil developers or their friends. Everyone else is gripped in the fear the N3’s preach. The N3 mob has been very successful at shutting down almost all development through a campaign of fear and demonizing. The only thing they have not done is shut down growth, for it has happened anyway thanks to the ever expanding UCSB and local government. So we get all the problems and no solutions, just excuses. Voice of rezon(e) is absolutely right. Until we elect leaders who tell us what we need to hear, rather than preach fear and then pander to it, we’ll keep getting the same broken result.
Growth, tall buildings, more and wider roads are not the enemies. We can have a wonderful and prosperous community that actually is growing, but it takes putting ignorance and fear out of the political system and accepting that you cannot freeze time or prevent change. And the things you want to preserve the most are the strong community and family values that make change not only tolerable but desirable. The negative impacts of growth – traffic, lack of resources, shortages of infrastructure, crime, high prices, imbalances in job/living spaces we already have, not because greedy evil developers over built the south coast, but because what little growth we have had never benefited from proper mitigation, that having been successfully shut down by the N3's.

7/30/2008 12:04 AM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

AN50, the so called N3 folks are not as doctrinaire as you assert. Paranoia, or as you call it "fear," is only irrational if it is not based on reality. The Orange County model has manifested in Goleta. There are those who like it and many who do not. Tall buildings can improve the built environment if built in the correct context, which is not the classical Southern Californa beach town. London and Paris are beautiful cities, but I do not believe that we want that here. Redevelopment is a great option, especially for Old Town Goleta, but when we reimagine Old Town, do we imagine it as Irvine or some other model? It is not the greed of developers that people object to, it is their unimaginative vision and refusal to build an environment that the majority of the citizens would find pleasing. The Camino Real Center is ugly when it could have been beautiful. The Ellwood Bluff development looks like a Xerox machine gone wild. Wouldn't a little architectural diverstity have been a little more pleasent to the eye? And, finally, the agricutural land that surrounds Goleta is an essential part of its ambience (yes, including Bishop Ranch). Do you really blame the Goletans for wanting to preserve it? Come on AN50 meet us half way. Let us keep some essential bits of the old farmland beach town. Let us be able to see the mountains from the beach and the beach from the foothills. Let us have some little shops and funky little restaurants. Let us keep some of the precious stuff and I am sure that we would listen to reasonable development ideas.

7/31/2008 8:37 PM  
Anonymous AN50 said...

Eckermann, I agree with meeting half way. But how does that happen when even now you cannot divorce yourself from illogical an irrational description of development here as the “Orange County Model”. There isn’t even a scintilla of similarity between developments in Irvine and the South Coast, both in size and geography. The evil Orange County developer and Orange County development labels came about simply because some developers proposing development here were from Irvine in Orange County. So how far from reality does the N3 crowd have to get? How about this, anyone who does not agree with you must want “Orange County” style of development. In any of the several thousands of words I have preached publicly and privately on the blog-o-sphere, mentioned once inviting “Orange County” style development? No, but simply disagreeing with the philosophy of the N3’s is enough to wear that label. If I propose, for example, that old town redevelopment should allow for taller buildings, properly placed to give the aesthetic of being the “center” of the community, the automatic reaction by your beloved N3’s is “argggg, that’s so Orange County! We only want low rise suburban style ‘small beach town’ architecture in our urban metropolis of 200,000”. The debate is thus shutdown and the polarization begins, we the labelled branded and ostracized on one side and the N3’s on the other. As a long time resident and community citizen I have no desire to see the kind of development here that I witnessed in my youth in Ventura County, but I don’t want the N3 style development either which is to deny that your metro area is bigger than it is, that it is still growing and in all the wrong ways, that any mitigation of past growth be denied as growth inducing (like widening and building more arterial roadways) and finally that the best method for “preserving” a community is to ensure the destruction of its middle class and replace it with transient students with no vested interest in the long term health of the area and wealthy retiree’s who have become the most self centered bunch of obstructionist on the planet. Ok, then where is the half way point? Where do you want to meet if any development, at all, is in your mind “Orange County”? I coined the N3 term after watching for 40 years every public hearing and every editorial preaching the “do nothing” and call it “preservation” philosophy while watching it destroy the real character of any community, its values toward its own. When “saving” a community means chasing your neighbors and children away, what have you saved? Buildings, views, open space? What value are these things, if to have them we destroy families, careers and the human fabric of our community? But don’t answer, because I already know what you’re going to say, “we can’t save any of that by growing like Orange County”. No one I know has ever proposed growing our community as a way of preserving it, we only want the N3’s to wake up to the reality of their own philosophy and come to the table with an open and objective mind, that’s all. Are you willing to stop saying no to everything you don’t like and consider someone else’s point of view, without automatically labeling them? Are you even willing to admit that the no growth philosophy has been a major train wreck here, in that the only growth it has really stopped is in providing infrastructure to the community? When you can step back, take a deep breath and clear your mind of the over blown emotional attachment to this local N3 cult, see things for how they really are without trying to justify your attachment you will begin to see what I and many others do. Then maybe we can meet half way my friend.

8/02/2008 9:46 AM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

AN50, I can see that you are frustrated with those of us who advocate slow or no growth. I agree that no growth advocacy never results in "no growth," but rather unplanned and random development. But I disagree that the Orange County model has not crept into Goleta. The Ellwood Bluffs project is the most obvious example. Just go down to PCH between Corona Del Mar and Laguna and you will see the same design and development ideology. In fact, an interesting contrast in land use planning is the difference between Huntington Beach and Newport. At precisely the boundary between those two beach towns the view of the ocean disappears. The reason for this stark difference in view is the difference between land use standards of the two cities. Now I am not saying that Huntington Beach (or Newport) are wonderful models. The contrast in views is just an example of what poorly planned development can do. I do not agree that we have a train wreck here. We have challenges to be sure. I believe that we can, as a community, meet them without accepting, without question, what the developers throw at us. I also remember Ventura in the 1960s and 1970s, when you could surf at the Ventura Point and knew everyone in the water, and could drive out past Victoria Avenue on Telephone Road through miles of orchards. Is it better now? The no growth movement may be an over-reaction, but in the face of what can be seen in Orange County and Ventura, it is understandable that the reaction is simply to slam on the brakes.

8/02/2008 8:32 PM  
Anonymous AN50 said...

Echermann, frustration does not begin to cover it. When you know people are doing something wrong and they are in a state of denial about it and it affects you and everyone you live and work with, it goes beyond frustration. My point of contention here has been that slamming on the brakes was a mistake and now we have 3 decades of crap to prove it. Unfortunately, just saying that does not bring about healthy debate but instead, polarization (and yes I, in particular, am guilty of this). Forget the facts, forget history, forget that we are on the same side, all that matters now is you are an N3 or you’re not. And if not, you are then by their twisted logic, an evil “Orange county developer”, believe in rapid “Orange County” style development, have some vested interest in development (particularly large scale), are greedy, anti-environment, a landlord (sorry, evil landlord), a republican (though this controversy has effectively split both parties), want housing for all at any cost, an out of towner or somebody who is not a native and so on and so on. Get the picture? You and I can’t even agree on development style, which is, as you correctly stated, a sad mix of market forces mutilated by over regulation by government (thus the two Orange County examples you mentioned). Why I can’t even express my distain of Ventura’s rapid and largely uncontrolled growth with out you using that incorrectly as a statement of affirmation for the N3 movement. How cockeyed is that? I agree that most of the development in the Goleta valley has been done wrong. But unlike you and the N3’s I don’t blame developers for it but rather the ineptitude of government to apply cogent, sensible planning in guiding developers through the development process. Developers have one overarching goal; to make money, period. This is not a bad thing and government’s job is not to throttle a company’s profits. But to guide a community’s development without damaging either community or the developer’s business you need a strong vision for what you want your community to look like. And that vision should be something grounded in realistic expectations for the future not some idiotic notion that you can just freeze time. We have not had that kind of leadership here on the south coast and in fact have invited the opposite. We elect visionless panderers who in turn bate the voters with the ole “your voice will be heard” nonsense. No vision of greatness can emerge from the cacophony of voices screaming to be heard. The usual result is mediocrity. When and if the N3’s realize their slavish emotional investment in their movement has clouded their judgment and stifled true progress, that it has wrought upon us the very environment the movement was supposed to prevent, then we can come to the table, my friend, but not to debate, that is done and very tired, but instead to share our collective visions and once again bring about an expectation of greatness.

8/03/2008 12:16 PM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

AN50, I will not try to sort through the emotion and logic to further this dicussion. In many ways, I do not disagree with you. But your last sentence may be where we disagree most. The reconcilation of different "visions" so as to make them a "collective" vision requires debate. Something as simple as building height significantly affects the aesthetics of the built environment and different people will have different "visions" about how a place should "look" with regard to the height of the buildings. The only way we can reach consensus on such matters is to debate them. As with all dialectics, the answer will sort itself out in the context of the discussion. The key for all of us is to listen and understand and accept as valid all view points of all members of the community while trying to find that sweet spot on which we can all agree. Yes, that process is tedious and becomes "tired" over time. But without that process we only get winners and losers, which is a loss for the whole community.

8/04/2008 8:33 AM  
Anonymous a reader said...

After all those posts, I still wonder what an "N3" is: ..."all that matters now is you are an N3 or you’re not."

The discussion becomes pointless when the acronyms are not clear or, as here, apparently limited private knowledge.

8/30/2008 7:28 AM  

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