Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Mayor to TKA: Mud is Better When Not Flung Around

First reported at Craig Smith's Blog -- Mayor Marty Blum responded to yet another nasty op-ed piece by her man at De la Guerra. Don't you guys have a fire to cover, Travis? -- Sara


I hope you will print this answer. If not, the other people I have copied may print it.

Marty Blum

On July 2nd Editorial Editor Travis Armstrong launched a number of mudballs at the Mayor. I respond below:

  • This Mayor did not cause a "deadly youth gang crisis". The truth is that the budget for the Police Department has climbed each year I have been Mayor. The fiscal year we just ended, it was $32,206,702 and this new fiscal year has an increase to $32,960,553. The overall crime rate has fallen steadily over the past decade, and this city has stepped up to pull together youth-serving organizations for a short term summer strategy focussing on core gang members and a longer term strategy preventing and intervening in gang activities. It is working. Government, nonprofits, schools, businesses are all working together, making a difference in the lives of our youth.

  • Saying that this Mayor is "approving overdevelopment that is changing the essence of Santa Barbara" assumes that I act alone and that there is overdevelopment going on. The fact is that I don't act alone, and we are a well-planned and well-managed city. Do I like the two buildings on Chapala Street that are so controversial? Not much, but I did not have anything to do with their approval. They were approved at the Planning Commission without an appeal. Yes, this town is changing, a steady growth rate over the past 50 years of a little over 1% a year. Now the growth rate has leveled off, less than 1% each of the last couple of years. Do I like the way this town has evolved? Yes, very much. We have managed our growth well here. It is one of the best places to live in the world, not only for its physical beauty but for its wonderful people who live here. We are a caring compassionate people, ready to help our neighbors and to celebrate this place.

  • Mr. Armstrong says that I twice tried to get him fired. Show me the letters or the emails to that effect. He can't because they don't exist. Early in his career, I tried to get then-publisher Joe Cole to get Travis out into the community so he can see who we are and what we are about in order to write better editorials and opinion pieces. I have never tried to get him fired, although everyone knows I have had many reasons to. Mr. Armstrong cannot come up with any proof of this.

  • Show me any proof that I resent former Mayor Miller. It does not exist. I don't. She has her style and I have mine which is the way it should be. It was Mr. Armstrong who cancelled my apearance on her radio show for no reason that I know of. I stand ready to come on the News Press radio station anytime, and I have an open invitation to Mr. Armstrong for him to come on my radio program.

  • I have no idea about the other mudballs Mr. Armstrong threw. I don't remember refusing to have a picture taken with Bruce Rittenhouse on the beach of Puerto Vallarta, nor do I know of any letters about former Mayor Miller I would have delivered to the News Press. Why would I do either of those? Nor have I ever ordered my husband to do anything. We are married 44 years because of a mutual respect for each other, not for any ordering around.

Mud is better when it is not flung around.

Marty Blum


Anonymous Fast Eddy said...

Madame Mayor, not so fast here.

The Planning Commission is chosen by the sitting city council members and reflects their agendas. I doubt a PC candidate would get far stating up front they though(1) "inclusionary housing" was an unmandated socialist taking and failed social feel-good experiment gone totally awry; (2) there is already a disproportionate amount of subsidized housing in this town;(3) Failing to count all the illegal units in the housing inventory, especially the affordable housing inventory grossly under-reports the true housing situation in this town, and (4) has never seen a modification or rezoning request worthy of approval.

When you put a few more balanced voices on the PC instead of the echo chamber clones and stealth development cronies who pander to your social utopia vision of Santa Barbara, then perhaps you don't have to take blame for what is going so very wrong in this town.

Paseo Chapala had no appeals because it is surrounded commercial owners, absentee owners or city housing projects. And Paseo Chapala promised "workforce housing" priced $600-700,000 for their 2 bedroom units. Bremant painted the most feel-good picture of a development even after totally trashing up the interior courtyard with those cheapie affordable units that drag down the value of the whole project.

Nothing is selling now, the initial prices got doubled and now you may eventually have affordable by public blight and vacancies, not by coherent design. Oh yes, and did we mention the units sold are not for workforce, but for short-term vacation rental. Were these the marching instuctions your PC got?

Just maybe people don't want to pay (more than) full value to live in the same place that a chosen few get to also live in at subsidized rates forever? And every year face these subsidized people at the condo meetings getting the same benefits the market rate owners have to pay full fare for? Not my idea of a social utopia.

Land left for any new development is scarce and scare land is valuable. You have maxed out this horse called "affordable". Let market forces have a breath of fresh air, lower the height limits, declare a moritorium on modifcations and rezonings, and let the last few scraps of land be built into luxury homes so someone besides tourists can afford to live and shop downtown and maybe start ganging up on the gangs and the homeless drawn in droves to your vision of social utopia.

If you want your version of affordable housing, you have to find place to build city rentals and demand each participant follow a financial plan and not take their financial benefit from this city scheme and go blow it all at the Chumash Casino.

There needs to be a time limit - up or out - on city subsidized housing. The only affordable housing problem we have is the vacancy rate and the city has total control over that. City housing should be a temporary way station and not an insatiable way of life.

Your loyal subject, whose voice is legion as shown in the last election. The neighborhoods are angry at this city council who grants benefits to the few at the expense of the many.

7/03/2008 3:30 PM  
Anonymous WSX3 said...

If Rittenhouse had been elected mayor you cannot imagine how low this community would have sunk. Travis is nuts to wave that paper tiger in anyone's face. He was soundly defeated and glad he left town, finally discredited as a one man tin horn.

7/03/2008 10:54 PM  

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