Eight Activists Arrested While Protesting San Marcos Foothills Development

Eight Activists Arrested While Protesting San Marcos Foothills Development title=
Eight Activists Arrested While Protesting San Marcos Foothills Development
97 Comments
Reads 15381

By edhat staff

Eight local activists were arrested during a "sit-in" to prevent the construction of the San Marcos Foothills.

The event started on Wednesday afternoon and continued into Thursday at the end of Via Gaitero off Highway 154 near the "Bridge to Nowhere."

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office reported eight people were arrested and an additional person was cited.

The San Marcos Foothills Preserve is a protected area of 200 acres between Santa Barbara and Goleta in the foothills of the Santa Ynez Mountains. The Save San Marcos Foothills nonprofit has been attempting to purchase a parcel of undeveloped open space adjacent to the preserve that's scheduled to have eight homes built on the West Mesa.

Videos posted online showed approximately 20-30 people standing near the gate holding signs, some singing indigenous chants stating they are protecting native land and animals. Activists remained in the area overnight and into Thursday morning.

"Deputies became aware of the protest around 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 24, 2021, when contractors called to report a potential for conflict with the protesters at a construction site on the north end of Via Gaitero. Deputies monitored the area overnight," the Sheriff's Office said in a statement. "This morning, as construction equipment arrived, several people prevented the contractors from accessing private property at the north end of Via Gaitero."

The Sheriff's Office stated protesters "willfully obstructed the free movement of the contractors, who were in possession of a valid permit to access and work on the property."

A video posted on social media showed two bulldozers parked near several Sheriff's vehicles facing the protestors. Sheriff Sgt. Calderon introduced himself to the crowd and stated he appreciated what everyone was doing but the crew behind him had a job to do and they will be bringing equipment through the area. He asked for voluntary compliance for the group to move out of the way or else people will be arrested and booked at the Santa Barbara County Jail.

Six women and two men were arrested on the scene and transported to the County Main Jail at 7:19 a.m. All were booked for willfully obstructing the free movement of any person, a misdemeanor violation. A man received the same citation for using a V-arm tube to chain himself to a gate post at the entrance to the property.

"No force other than handcuffing was used to effect the arrests, and no protesters or deputies were injured during the incident," the Sheriff's Office states. "After the booking process, each arrestee was issued a citation and released from jail upon their promise to appear in court."

Deputies remained on scene until shortly after noon Thursday, when the contractor and protesters arrived at an agreement and law enforcement was no longer needed to access the property, said the Sheriff's Office.

An Instagram account titled "savethesanmarcosfoothills" stated they are asking the developers of the project to pause the construction and give the community more time to raise money to purchase the foothills. 

The Chadmar Group, developers of the project, purchased the 350 acres of foothills in 2005 with the intent of donating 300 acres to the county. This current project would be 25 acres. 

[Ed Note: This article has been updated with information from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office]

Login to add Comments

97 Comments

Show Comments
michellecando Feb 26, 2021 10:19 PM
Eight Activists Arrested While Protesting San Marcos Foothills Development

Hey! Let's focus on positive intent by the protesters: This is the best, most scenic, and most visible part of the preserve and it can still be saved from development. The owners are open to a purchase agreement. Don't let this very special part of the San Marcos Foothills get paved over on your watch. Make a donation! Spread the word! Every effort counts. Our community saved Wilcox and Carp Bluffs and we can and should save the San Marcos Foothills, too.

Babycakes Feb 26, 2021 04:41 PM
Eight Activists Arrested While Protesting San Marcos Foothills Development

It appears that all of the protesters arrested were elderly women, so I can understand the concern for their health/safety when being picked up off the ground. I suppose they were healthy enough to get to the ground (possibly with assistance?). Not quite sure why all of the profanity leveled toward LE, but possibly a weak attempt to escalate the situation into something it was not. No shortage of cameras out to record all of the action, but thankfully nothing really to report other than 8 senior women were arrested, and I'm assuming released quite quickly (no overnight in jail or anything). Overall, it seemed like a "nothingburger" event, which will soon be forgotten by most. Was talking to several people about this, and they do not believe this property will get the same support as the Wilcox did back in the early 90s, and we don't seem to have any Douglas-family type celebs willing to fork out any dough to preserve the reserve. Ellen? Oprah? Rob? Ashton? Cat? Marcus? Mark?

biguglystick Feb 26, 2021 11:15 AM
Eight Activists Arrested While Protesting San Marcos Foothills Development

Thank you to all the protestors who came out to object to this development. Thank you to those who care about our open spaces, our environment, our wildlife and this nature preserve that is home to over 205 vertebrate species. We saved the Wilcox Property, we can save this too, if we really try! There is an effort underway to buy this land. Please look up SaveSanMarcosFoothills and ChannelIslandsRestoration and DONATE! Let's DO THIS!

a-1614328144 Feb 26, 2021 12:29 AM
Eight Activists Arrested While Protesting San Marcos Foothills Development

The entitlement of these protesters is obnoxious. Where was this outrage when this project was in the approval process for years? Where were they during PC and BAR meetings? Those of us who live with the threat of fire from increased encroachment into our foothills fought this project for a long time. You should have seen the original proposed plans many years ago. The owners in the 60s & 70 were going to build hundreds of houses here, hence the bridge to nowhere. We already did the actual work and stopped this land from many more houses. We were able to get a majority of
It preserved in perpetuity. Trust me no one wants this development here. If attorneys cannot stop it through legal channels, people chaining themselves to the gate won’t either. When people grow up they learn to pick and choose their battles. This battle has been fought and unless you can come up with the cash, this is private property and trespasses will be removed. Those officers were very clear explaining everything very calmly . These protesters did nothing for the cause other than looking like a bunch of idiots.

Basicinfo805 Feb 25, 2021 07:08 PM
Eight Activists Arrested While Protesting San Marcos Foothills Development

Well watch the video provided. Law enforcement doing their job and getting cursed at with rank profanity left and right. Right in their face. That's what I see. If I were an officer like these were, just doing their job, I'd be pretty sour getting blasted at with f-bombs left and right from that crowd. Wouldn't anyone? That crowd (maybe it was a handful I don't know) sounded like they were trying their very hardest to start a real conflict, trying to get the officers to lash out and get caught on camera reacting physically. And the officers didn't.

Sarah Gertrude ... Feb 25, 2021 05:51 PM
Eight Activists Arrested While Protesting San Marcos Foothills Development

HEY GUYS - they only arrested NATIVE YOUTH who were in the middle of SUN PRAYER ... even though there were plenty of white people there. The Sherif CHAINED THEM TOGETHER and put one in solitary when they got to jail. It’s was BADLY HANDLED. Religious Freedom matters.

dukemunson Feb 25, 2021 08:44 PM
Eight Activists Arrested While Protesting San Marcos Foothills Development

General tree - I’m all for cursing... it’s great!!! But the police here were doing their job and doing it well... so... I certainly don’t feel any sympathy for the people cursing them out who refused to leave (while being in the wrong). I’m certainly not advocating for censorship... but when you are legally wrong, I can’t really see the justification to encourage or celebrate people cursing out police officers who are simply doing their jobs enforcing the law. Curse away!!! But there are times and places for those f bombs (many in fact!!)... but not when you are in the wrong and directing them at people just correctly enforcing the laws.

Basicinfo805 Feb 25, 2021 04:43 PM
Eight Activists Arrested While Protesting San Marcos Foothills Development

Pitmix you take in a few homeless in your pad, we know you can. And then (if you) make some money then you can decide if you want to give it back away just to have it wasted. Report back in a decade or so and until then you probably should ... rethink (wanted to go harsher). Your philosophy sends all of us down the tubes.

Idesofmarch Feb 25, 2021 05:10 PM
Eight Activists Arrested While Protesting San Marcos Foothills Development

I would be surprised if most of the protesters voted at all. Seems like everyone is so quick to be outraged about something, and it's turned into an outrage contest, and whoever "wins" gets the most sympathy points via likes on their social media pages. Victim olympics I believe it's come to be known as.

dukemunson Feb 25, 2021 02:13 PM
Eight Activists Arrested While Protesting San Marcos Foothills Development

A follow up (to any/all fired up about this):

Are you angry about the 5 affordable housing units built on the property as part of this project as well? As per the agreement, not only did SB get the preserve land...they also got 5 affordable housing units (and the preserve and affordable units had to be built first). This was the slam dunk of all slam dunk deals for SB...a stunning preserve and 5 affordable housing units! Are we all outraged that the affordable units are on the preserve as well?

SBZZ Feb 25, 2021 02:13 PM
Eight Activists Arrested While Protesting San Marcos Foothills Development

Wow, impressive. While I do not want the homes there either, this is a reality of free enterprise - the deal for a preserve in exchange for 8 house was not so bad. Please leave the sheriffs out of it - they were doing their job and they seemed on top of the situation.

PitMix Feb 25, 2021 03:14 PM
Eight Activists Arrested While Protesting San Marcos Foothills Development

20 homes total, 5 of them "affordable". That means less than the $2.85-4M the rest have sold for but I doubt you and I will be able to buy them. Remember the "affordable" apts at the Mark that were $3,000/mo? The 8 they are trying to save are on the West Mesa next to undeveloped area. The other 12 are being built no matter what.

dukemunson Feb 25, 2021 03:13 PM
Eight Activists Arrested While Protesting San Marcos Foothills Development

The entire project (when adding in the houses right next to SB Community Church off Cieneguitas) is 15 houses plus 5 affordable housing units! Pretty remarkable to get the preserve and 5 affordable housing units on this deal...truly a slam dunk! Let them build and lets hope on the next deal we get something remotely close to this good of a deal for SB!

Babycakes Feb 25, 2021 02:08 PM
Eight Activists Arrested While Protesting San Marcos Foothills Development

They have every right to protest and I commend them for that. But c'mon, what an embarrassment to protestors around the world. Santa Barbara has a core group of folks who do not miss any opportunity to protest....they even reuse their signs and slogans over and over. This is not some sort of grass-roots protest, these are serial protesters who need something to do with their lives, then meet up at Spices/Vices (or wherever) afterwards to happily discuss the protest de jour. Such small "per-tay-terz" as my Papa would say.

AQUAHOLIC Feb 25, 2021 02:00 PM
Eight Activists Arrested While Protesting San Marcos Foothills Development

Sadly, they are building the remaining 8 homes on the best part of the preserve. (IMO)
Nearly all the rest have been built. We have been enjoying the solitude of the preserve long before it was a preserve. It's sad that no one has come forward to pony up the remaining $$$ to buy the last remaining acres of open space. (yes, I did donate). These community gems are disappearing fast, with other open spaces are also slated for luxury homes. Joni Mitchell wrote a song about it.

Map of the proposed homes here: https://www.sanmarcospreserve.com/the-estates

ChillinGrillin Feb 25, 2021 12:11 PM
Eight Activists Arrested While Protesting San Marcos Foothills Development

What would you rather have in 20 years, a nature preserve that is valued by thousands and helps the local ecosystem, or eight mini-mansions that will probably be gutted and flipped by speculators by then? The protesters are standing up for traditional Santa Barbara CONSERVATIVE values, the police are backing up developers and short-term profit motive. The sheriffs make me sad, they have the potential to make SB better but are miserably backward in their purpose, management, tactics, and meaningful connection to the community.

dukemunson Feb 26, 2021 11:16 AM
Eight Activists Arrested While Protesting San Marcos Foothills Development

I have a stake in correcting ridiculous (and wrong) beliefs. I will admit that this is a nice diversion from the school board nonsense! So tell me BigUgly...why shouldn't the deal be honored again? Private property that followed and jumped through every hoop, created a preserve for us (and 5 affordable units)...why shouldn't they be allowed to build again?

a-1614361287 Feb 26, 2021 09:41 AM
Eight Activists Arrested While Protesting San Marcos Foothills Development

The sheriff is not backing up developers, they are doing their job. Same thing they would do for any other property owner. The deputy in the video was extremely polite explaining everything. The way these protesters acted against someone doing their job was reprehensible. I despise developers and this development, not really a fan of our current sheriff either but this was a waste of everyone’s time.

Pages

Please Login or Register to comment on this.