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Poor Pot Holes
updated: Dec 10, 2013, 12:30 PM

By Edhat Subscriber

My car recently had to go to the tire shop to get an alignment performed, and the staff explained to me how bad our roads are compared to most of the country where they perform a lot of this service, especially this time of year. Upon reflection, I have had many out of town guests observe and remark, the same. For a city/county that has so much wealth, what explains the general disrepair of our local roads?

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 475903P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-10 12:44 PM

Seriously? Well, for starters, how about a fleet of 5 helicopters and 1 fixed wing aircraft for a population of barely 450,000 people? if you check around I'm sure you'll find that that's quite an air force for a county of this size.

Or how about the idiotic fixation on building a north county jail? We just barely got the pathetic Santa Maria jail reopened, but somehow the delusionals think they will be able to fund the $3 million annual operating cost for a new jail.

Roads? Who needs roads when you've got helicopters to transport everyone to the new jail?


 COMMENT 475904 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-10 12:52 PM

Bloated city budget due to poor past choices regarding union contract concessions that siphon funding for necessary maintenence into salaries and pensions.

One of several reasons, but that is the primary one.


 COMMENT 475905 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-10 12:55 PM

Wealthy citizens do not necessarily make a wealthy community.


 COMMENT 475908 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-10 01:08 PM

the systematic fleecing of future generations by the ones in charge... And their complete and utter lack of foresight.

They'll spend millions on pet projects, bloated workforce and countless consultants while ignoring the financial realities or even putting aside monies for capital infrastructure.

In other words: We keep electing and hiring the foxes to guard the hen house ...


 COMMENT 475913 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-10 01:20 PM

Go look at the pay for the open position of director of public works on the city website and you'll get an idea why.


 COMMENT 475919 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-10 01:29 PM

To paraphrase de Tocqueville, "People get the government they deserve". Did anyone raise this issue during a public forum at the last election? What was the candidate's answer? Seems to me everyone was pretty much reelected. So why is this an issue now?


 COMMENT 475923 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-10 01:34 PM

The city spends a lot of money on the transients but we take bumpy roads to work so we can pay for all this.


 COMMENT 475930P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-10 01:52 PM

I love how ignorance assigns blame without knowing what it is talking about.



 COMMENT 475932 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-10 01:53 PM

I often think about how much the roads suck....as I drive to Ventura to spend my hard earned money. If the dimbat city council think I'm going to give them a penny extra....they are so sorely mistaken. The roads are a lot worse elsewhere in the state though.....at least the potholes here are not as big as my car.


 COMMENT 475943P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-10 02:15 PM

It is NOT the dimbat city council. Ever heard of CalTrans.

Saying that it is the city council is dimbat.


 COMMENT 475948 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-10 02:20 PM

Two Words; PROP 13.


 COMMENT 475953 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-10 02:38 PM

943 - CalTrans had nothing to do with our city streets.


 COMMENT 475955 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-10 02:40 PM

Uhm the city is busy subsidizing the housing of people from other states.. and countries. Ain't nobody got time to give the tax payers what they deserve here!


 COMMENT 475956 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-10 02:43 PM

Yeah, but 943 was responding to 932 driving to Ventura on the 101.

Part of the escalating cost is the required environmental studies for any government activity. The Flood Control District is required to mitigate their channel cleanout activities in order to make sure their channels can convey the design flow. This costs extra.

Of course, the reason we have the regulatory agencies is that in the old days they used to nuke the channels to keep them clear. So irresponsible actions by local government and corporations have resulted in the mess we have now.


 COMMENT 475960 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-10 02:58 PM

Cheap "chip seal" and "slurry seal". Worse than that, in our neighborhood, they prepped the cracks and then never completed the job! On one street, the only did ONE SIDE!

So now the cracks are becoming holes. Patching IS NOT a long term solution. CalTrans is just as bad! Sections of 192 are actually becoming unsafe. The patchwork fixes on 101 in Goleta are going to cause someone to loose control, of their vehicle if not their temper. Just my two cents.


 COMMENT 475965 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-10 03:13 PM

And one more reason... We have far too many employers who hire out of town workers (commuters). So not only do they cause us all headaches and hassles by increasing traffic, the tax revenues are never realized because these folks live and shop in Ventura County.

In my opinion we really need to make the employers more responsible for the costs that we all incur as a result of their long distance commuting workforce. Not only in terms of lost revenues but in a significant amount of traffic that comes as a result of so many people commuting the 101 from Ventura to jobs in SB and Goleta.

Drive the 101 anytime during commute hours (6:30 -9:30am -- 3:30-6pm) and you'll be stuck, along with all the commuting workers...

I believe the employers of these people owe us something in return. They get cheaper workers and we all get traffic and lost tax revenues.


 COMMENT 475975 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-10 03:39 PM

I hate to bring out the obvious but municipalities have been hit with incredible budget cuts in the past 6 years.

With the economy tanking local governments just haven't had the funding to do all the things we expected them to do. Every year they try to make do with what they got. Lately it's been improving but it'll take a while to get back to health, or pre-2007 levels.

Meanwhile slow down, watch the road and you won't be knocking your front end out of alignment so much.


 COMMENT 475984 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-10 04:13 PM

Then there's the Castillo/101 under(water)pass. I wonder who the brilliant engineer was who designed a roadway below sea level! Well, it is now seriously dangerous. Even CalTrans decided to post signs indicating the 'rough road'. How about "wet and rough road---careful, if you make it through without skidding you're wheel alignment will be shot."

Personally, I think those damaged by this should send their bill to the state of Ca.


 COMMENT 475991P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-10 04:22 PM

I agree with most of these comments. I wish we all could see the wisdom of having our various levels of government restricted to narrower fields, and being required to pay necessary expenses first -- like maintenance of infrastructure. We need to elect people who quit trying to grow local government, but instead will focus on their core responsibilities -- which doesn't include overseeing every aspect of our lives.


 COMMENT 475997 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-10 04:54 PM

It's not just the roads, the sidewalks are also a disgrace. Even without the wealthy residents and their property taxes, the city takes in millions in taxes from the outrageously priced hotels. I have to place the blame on residents who don't speak up and demand action. Hold your city council members accountable for the condition of your neighborhoods.


 COMMENT 476005 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-10 05:25 PM

Several reasons. More heavy traffic, that is vehicles over 5000 lbs such as SUV's on truck chassis. Lots of wealth = lots of SUVs in the heavier weight class. Add in the amount of traffic in every weight class, due to Santa Barbara is a tourist destination with over 1 million visitors per year, most drive.

Then there are private contractors who do most of the work using the bare minimum materials to get the contract. For a hit go down Lillie Ave. in Summerland, brand new road may as well be 50 years old, bumpy and crummy construction. No oversight, and a lot gets contracted out to 'save us money', right? (Or is that grease the campaign contributor wheels.) Throw in bad planning as in when new road goes in, a week later it's getting torn up for sewer line replacement.

Lower tax base due to recession, lack of maintenance such as seals, allowing semi traffic (vons, cosco, walmart) on local roads. Poor priortization at Public Works.


 COMMENT 476017 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-10 05:55 PM

All the money is being spent in the wrong places. How many more traffic circles are we really going to be burdened with.


 COMMENT 476021 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-10 06:03 PM

Are our roads that bad? I drive all over Santa Barbara and Goleta and would say the only bad road I ever have to use is the underpass at Castillo. Given the last several decades' history of the roadway there I'm not expecting any miracle fixes. Outside of that tiny area, road surfaces seem well maintained, and markings and signs are in good condition. I'm a satisfied taxpayer.


 COMMENT 476077P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-10 10:17 PM

There are a lot of reasons for the poor road conditions. Budget crunches, yes, but also poor planning by city councils past and present, who decided to put off maintenance in favor of other pet projects for priority funding. Public Works now competes with non-profits wanting roof repairs for CDBG funding, which used to be for the purpose of eliminating blight or repairing city infrastructure. These dollars are peanuts compared to need, so Public Works puts up only the most direly needed projects, and even those are only occasionally granted by the CDBG committee, who regularly prioritize a new roof or bathroom for Casa Esperanza over Public Works projects. And how did Public Works get into the game of having to compete for those funds? Because City Councils decided not to set aside general funds for these projects, contributing to road maintenance backlog over a period of years. There have been several news stories about a $600 million infrastructure backlog in this town. That includes boondoggles like a $50m police station overhaul or the East Beach Pavillion redo, but there you go. Look no further than your esteemed city management.


 MTNDRIVER agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-10 11:02 PM

905 and 948 for the win.


 DRDAN agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-11 06:39 AM

Pensions & roundabouts


 COMMENT 476092 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-11 07:32 AM

Historically the least capable, least able people ended up working for the Govt. So we have a slew of people who wouldnt last a month in a private sector job (where they're actually accountable) running the show.

Over the last decade or two the cost and of a public worker somehow flipped on its head and we started paying these people more than a comparable job in the private sector. So not only do we have incompetent nincompoops running the show, they now make more money than their private sector counterparts.

Insanity rules when it comes to all areas of govt., especially local. Remember nepotism is the rule rather than the exception in SB and contracts are awarded without oversight or retribution.


 COMMENT 476111P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-11 08:10 AM

Go to the east coast or big city and see how bad their roads are and then you may consider yourself lucky.


 COMMENT 476113P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-11 08:12 AM

I think people who work at alignment shops will tell you what you want to hear. Customer is always right.


 COMMENT 476115P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-11 08:19 AM

Graft, yes I said Graft -- that is old as a government. I say I'm paying for A grade materials, you use D grade, and we split the difference. Of course, there is nepotism and giving jobs to whoever will give the best kickback. The potholes and cracks are filled and back again within a year, due to inferior materials being used. You won't find potholes, etc,, in a place similar to SB, such as Santa Monica -- that has more traffic and better materials. I've never seen potholes on the Denver freeways, and they get harsh weather all year. Yes, it is time to replace the Public Works director, and for City Hall to conduct a quick study on the cost and quality of materials and the inferior work on our local roads. We've all seen how these crews behave as though time and the inconvenience to people doesn't matter! Where's the oversight and management?


 COMMENT 476120P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-11 08:25 AM

I wonder that every day. Just came back from Oregon, which has roads all over as smooth as a baby's bottom. It may be a tax-based-revenue issue with the City deciding which part of town has the most pull for better repairs -- and if so is discriminatory, I think; for example, I travel daily on Gutierrez, perhaps the most heavily used cross-streets between Eastside and downtown, and it's a dangerous mess in all respects. We just had a water-line repair made on Milpas (which was recently all smoothed out following upgrades after a SB Jr. High student's death on Milpas) and the new patch is such a bad cobble, it could cause an axle to go out.


 ROGER DODGER agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-11 08:35 AM

Alot of fall victims tripping over holes in the sidewalks, streets, broken curbs, I think many file claims aganist the city needs to be fixed I've been complaining about this for years..I fell and hurt my back and noggin in the Holy sidewalk in the 700 Block of East Haley almost sued decided not to and it's still not fixed that was 10 years ago...One would think the more moola it cost things would be fixed???


 FLICKA agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-11 08:58 AM

Someone blames Prop. 13? Without it we would truly have a wealthy city, it would take great riches to live here. We couldn't afford to live in our home of 37 years, we'd be taxed out. Doesn't matter how high the income from taxes, it would still be squandered.


 COMMENT 476140 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-11 09:11 AM

Because the City, County and SBCAG are busy spending the money needed on road repairs on sensless "taffic calming" devices, narrowing of streets, installing dangerous and unecessary ideas they think are the "new wave" of traffic planning like the pedestrian dangerous "bulb-outs" . Take for example the rarely used five million dollar ($5,000,000) "bike lane" from Summerland over the freeway side of Ortega Hill to Sheffield drive that serves about half dozen bike riders a day (maybe), mostly pleasure riders, not the hoardes of bicycle commuters as originally claimed to justify that huge expense. It is this foolish "anti-car" wasting of money needed to repair the terrible conditions of the roadways that explains why they are in such a state of disrepair.


 COMMENT 476147P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-11 09:24 AM

The SB county budget is available online and it's pretty obvious why there's no money for road maintenance - "public safety" gets 54% of the county general fund - of that the Sheriff gets the lions share and he STILL projects a $3 million dollar shortfall for the 2014-2015 fiscal year.

A $3 million dollar shortfall even without a new jail to staff - how will the Sheriff get the money? Well whatever he can't steal from county fire, he'll just go to the board of supervisors and pretend it's an "unforseen emergency" like he did with the Air Support maintenance fund this year - "golly, I didn't know it's expensive to use helicopters as trucks to haul marijuana around for photo ops!"


 COMMENT 476157P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-11 10:10 AM

Whoops, I was looking at the wrong graphic - in the 2004-2005 budget Public Safety "only" got 54% of the general fund.

In the 2013-2014 fiscal year Public Safety will get 60% of the general fund - at this rate it won't be long before there's no money in the general fund for road maintenance at all (or anything but "public safety").


 COMMENT 476165 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-11 10:24 AM

Classic edhat. Some guy at a tire shop says something and it becomes true and the comments take off.


 COMMENT 476173 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-11 10:36 AM

Prop 13 helped seniors not get taxed out of their homes. But the corporations included a tax break so that commercial real estate billionaires get treated like senior citizens on social security.

For instance, there is a house on my street that was bought by a little old lady in 1962. Before she died she put it into an LLC in a trust for the benefit of her heirs. It is now rented out to 12 unrelated people for $3000/mo. The property taxes on it are $250/yr.

I purchased my house in 2007. I pay around $6,000/yr in prop taxes.

Her heirs are getting a great deal.


 COMMENT 476188 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-11 11:11 AM

Too many overpaid COPS!


 COMMENT 476245 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-11 12:35 PM

Many other countries have quality roads that are built with longer life expectancies due to having a fuel tax based on % of fuel cost versus a fixed amount.

As the price of gas increases, the fuel tax does not (unless voter approved), therefore, it does not keep up with inflation. We have one of the lowest taxes around and it is reflected in our transportation system.


 COMMENT 476291P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-11 02:09 PM

there is supposedly a shortage of small aggregate quarries (the pebbles in asphalt mix) so a larger grade is used. Equals less surface contact with oil emulsion/sand binder so they can wiggle loose faster than small aggregate. Soon you have a very rough road with missing aggregate, water gets in, asphalt cracks, and more water gets in, potholes and general wearing down of tire pathways. An new Caltrans asphalt overlay project used to last anywhere from 12-18 yrs before needing replacement. Now it's more like 10-12 years.

The oil slurry on cracks IS the finished job. No aggregate is ever applied to those oiled cracks. It's a Band-Aid used to stave off a complete overlay job only.


 COMMENT 476299 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-11 02:36 PM

092, the roads are largely built and maintained by private sector companies. The executives are raking in the moola and paying the road crew peanuts, so you are getting what you pay for. The hypy gaucho private sector mantra has been DEBUNKED, along with trickle down economics. Where have you been?

Anyone makes more than their private sector counterparts, because the private sector pays squat. Using that as a baseline we should pay gov workers 2 bucks an hour. Contracts are awarded....you keep shifting between blaming the government and blaming the government, nothing about the par exellence private road companies ripping off the government, that is, you. When your private sector rip off artist company lets you go, don't apply at the government!


 COMMENT 476579P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-12 12:53 PM

KCLU (89.7 FM) reported this morning that SB supes or council (I didn't catch which) is considering a fee (tax) on oil generated locally to cover local budget shortfalls, which include several million in deferred infrastructure projects. Anyone have more info on that?


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