City Transportation Czar and Believer’s Edge Leader on Paid Leave

City Transportation Czar and Believer’s Edge Leader on Paid Leave title=
Rob Dayton | Credit: Paul Wellman (file)
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This story was originally published by the Santa Barbara Independent and is reproduced here in partnership with Edhat.


By Nick Welsh of The Independent

Rob Dayton, City Hall’s go-to guy in terms of transportation planning, traffic, electric bikes, parking, and increasingly the revitalization of State Street in times of the pandemic, has been out on paid administrative leave for the past two and a half months after filing a complaint about inquiries made by three members of the Santa Barbara City Council regarding his involvement in Believer’s Edge, an all-male Christian ministry he started. 

Among the missions articulated on the Believer’s Edge home page is a stated interest in influencing the culture of Santa Barbara in a myriad of ways. “Believer’s Edge is a movement of men who are being activated into their calling and destiny within the marketplace community,” it reads. “We believe that each of us have a God-given assignment to influence the culture of Government, Business, Arts, Media, and Education within our own community.”

Dayton has made no secret of seeking a position of leadership in determining the future direction of State Street. In his complaint, he reportedly expressed concern that he has not been considered for such a position because of his religious views and involvement with Believer’s Edge. 

These allegations have been the subject of an ongoing investigation within City Hall; because of the legal and political sensitivities involved, no one is willing to say anything on the record. Off the record, Dayton’s religious beliefs have long been well known throughout City Hall, and the position Dayton was reportedly seeking did not actually exist. 

He had, however, applied for the job of community development director after George Buell resigned under pressure last year, but did not get the gig.

Dayton has long been one of City Hall’s most enthusiastic and creative proponents of change, especially on matters relating to alternative transportation. He was a major player in the post-pandemic redesign of State Street. 

Within City Hall, Dayton’s high-profile posture within the community has rubbed some the wrong way, especially within the historical preservationist community and some members of the Historic Landmarks Commission. With the new 15-member State Street subcommittee just having been formed, Dayton’s absence will be acutely felt.

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PitMix Jul 26, 2021 01:35 PM
City Transportation Czar and Believer’s Edge Leader on Paid Leave

How do I know which religion to place my faith in? Hinduism? Muslim? Christian? Buddhist? Going for Christian just because it is the dominant religion of the place I was born in seems too easy. I'm going to need to see a few miracles before I pick one.

Rinconer Jul 25, 2021 07:27 AM
City Transportation Czar and Believer’s Edge Leader on Paid Leave

Thanks to freedom of Religion in the U.S., he can worship anyway he wants, as long as he doesn’t hurt himself or any other living creatures.
Just thinking about all the good things S.B. could have done with his 2.5 months of salary he got for doing squat. Taxpayers lose again.

AQUAHOLIC Jul 24, 2021 04:47 PM
City Transportation Czar and Believer’s Edge Leader on Paid Leave

"To accomplish this goal, we will commit ourselves to growing and activating our faith in four areas of mastery; Personal, Family, Career, and Kingdom Calling. We're here to pray for you and lift you up in the Lord, so don't hesitate to call or send us an email."
Kingdom calling?...wait, what?
Please don't pray for me. But if you must pray for me, please DO hesitate to tell me about your praying for me.
They just cannot help themselves, always selling, always.

Randy Parks Jul 24, 2021 05:19 PM
City Transportation Czar and Believer’s Edge Leader on Paid Leave

I won't mock or judge anyone's belief system, or lack there of... I will say that I have a peace that surpasses all understanding. It wasn't always like that, and the peace I have was not through a membership, "buying it', being convinced of anything, or playing let's make a deal... - it was, and is a gift. Pretty simple.

Randy Parks Jul 24, 2021 03:57 PM
City Transportation Czar and Believer’s Edge Leader on Paid Leave

OH WAIT, NOW IT'S AN "All White Men's Group", what an ignorant statement, silly beliefs about Christianity are expected, but don't play the race card, YOU ARE WRONG about all white...

And yes, I will mention this important part ...
ARTICLE FORGOT TO INCLUDE THE very NEXT LINE FROM BELIEVERS EDGE WEBSITE:

To accomplish this goal, we will commit ourselves to growing and activating our faith in four areas of mastery; Personal, Family, Career, and Kingdom Calling. We're here to pray for you and lift you up in the Lord, so don't hesitate to call or send us an email.

Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.

mtndriver Jul 24, 2021 12:44 PM
City Transportation Czar and Believer’s Edge Leader on Paid Leave

Well, I looked at the most recent video on their site. Seems pretty innocuous, really, standard Christian mens' group stuff. Not my cup of tea, but not subversive. What I found a little odd was their holding the movie Braveheart as a model of their purpose and intention. And they have the sword from the movie. Okay, bunch of medieval Scots fighting for independence from the Brits--that's your model for how to be Christians in the 21st century? Seems a little juvenile. Unless I'm missing something, I don't see anything added to that site in several years. The videos aren't dated, but there's no mention of Covid, and the most recent comments are from 2018 (so many happy birthdays). Are they even still meeting? I don't know, looks like a tempest in a teapot.

Byzantium Jul 24, 2021 10:55 AM
City Transportation Czar and Believer’s Edge Leader on Paid Leave

Time to renew appreciation for the tie proven wisdom of our nation's Founders: John Adams particularly warned against mob rule, and built in as many protections against it as possible. (Electoral college; representative democracy; no direct democracy, checks and balances; three separate but equal branches of government - all designed to protect from mob rule.)Pretty well documented in contemporaneous literature what the Founders felt about fundamental governance principles. They would be shocked to see how much freedom and liberty we have now thrown away with the growth of the deep state, government employee unions, and unelected large government administrative agencies which violate much of what they tried to put in place - limited government and powers retained by the states versus a large centralized federal government. Just read the Federalist Papers by Madison, if nothing else, but there are volumes of original writings that let you explore what the Founders were thinking, and hoping for. Theirs indeed was a truly exceptional experiment in self-governance, that became the light of the free world at the time. No more hereditary monarchies or military dictatorships. That is what made America exceptional. And experimental.

a-1627153443 Jul 24, 2021 12:04 PM
City Transportation Czar and Believer’s Edge Leader on Paid Leave

Unfortunately his absence has dumped his workload on his immediate staff, none of whom are managers, nor paid appropriately to do the work they are now forced to do. They now do his job and theirs, are interviewed by the investigators due to scandal and have the stress of the whole mess at the top of the City to contend with. Another sad biproduct of Dayton and Co's behavior.

dogsnsand Jul 24, 2021 12:23 AM
City Transportation Czar and Believer’s Edge Leader on Paid Leave

This is an interesting red herring lead-in to a much bigger story. Dayton, arguably, THE most powerful man in the city, filed an HR complaint that he didn't get his self-created promotional position because of discrimination of religion, his. But the REASON this is floating up is because some council members found out he was a leader, if not founder, certainly a recruiter, of an all-white Christian men's group that includes some very prominent developers in this town, whose projects seem to be 'untouchable' by City Hall.
So a big question should start percolating for citizens, and clearly did for councilmembers who brought this up....given the group's mission is clearly stated to use their power to influence government, among other things:
To what extent did Dayton use his power in the city to advance members of the group's projects / agendas?
If you don't see a problem here, you're not paying attention.

a-1627335150 Jul 26, 2021 02:32 PM
City Transportation Czar and Believer’s Edge Leader on Paid Leave

JG - I did preface it with 'arguably'. Methinks you might not understand power dynamics. Legitimate power is that conferred by title (City Mgr). Referent power is the power of influence, and Dayton has wielded his considerable influence in City Hall to enact all kinds of policies and projects across the city. That's why he's arguably more powerful than the City Manager.

JG_in_SB Jul 26, 2021 09:20 AM
City Transportation Czar and Believer’s Edge Leader on Paid Leave

Hey DOGSNSAND! If anyone reads this: "Dayton, arguably, THE most powerful man in the city" they can ignore the rest of your post as you clearly have no idea how the City works. FYI the "most powerful man in the City" recently announced his resignation.

Randy Parks Jul 24, 2021 04:01 PM
City Transportation Czar and Believer’s Edge Leader on Paid Leave

OH WAIT, NOW it's an "All White Men's Group"? What an ignorant statement - silly beliefs about Christianity are expected, but don't play the race card, YOU ARE WRONG about all white, shame on you...

And yes, I will mention this important part ...
ARTICLE FORGOT TO INCLUDE THE very NEXT LINE FROM BELIEVERS EDGE WEBSITE:

To accomplish this goal, we will commit ourselves to growing and activating our faith in four areas of mastery; Personal, Family, Career, and Kingdom Calling. We're here to pray for you and lift you up in the Lord, so don't hesitate to call or send us an email.

Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.

edney Jul 23, 2021 07:13 PM
City Transportation Czar and Believer’s Edge Leader on Paid Leave

Kinda weird that the Founding Fathers were OK with religion, Freemason beliefs being included in the Constitution and Bill of Rights and had no problem with religious people and Freemasons leading government, but now there can't be any because of an uneducated, illiterate and ahistorical take on seperation of church and state. I can't judge if this is a cult or not, but at least they aren't running around telling us we are all gonna die if the temperature goes up a degree F.
I guarantee you that there is at least one high ranking county employee who is a firm believer in Edgar Cayce and who has passed out literature to co-workers.
Should he/she be fired? Nope. Judged on the merits of performance on and at the job

MarcelK Jul 24, 2021 02:07 PM
City Transportation Czar and Believer’s Edge Leader on Paid Leave

The temperature is already up 1 degree C, which is 1.8 degrees F, and it's going to get much worse. That's not a cult, that's science. I agree with your other comments (and I'm an atheist and extremely critical of organized religion but I respect the 1st amendment which allows freedom of religious expression), but that one greatly detracts from your credibility.

dukemunson Jul 24, 2021 05:14 PM
City Transportation Czar and Believer’s Edge Leader on Paid Leave

Because he is religious, he’s a “freak”…? Pretty wild takes on this thread! That’s milder than the Comparisons to ISIS and the declaration that Evangelicals are the worst people on earth, but geez… lotta hate on this one! Kind of wild!

Marv Jul 23, 2021 05:01 PM
City Transportation Czar and Believer’s Edge Leader on Paid Leave

Another scurrilous article by Nick Welsh. As mentioned above, Nick conveniently omitted a couple of lines which would have more accurately described the group. But then, it wouldn't have been click bait, right Nick? I had a friend, since passed, who was a member of this group. It is a men's group. They are upfront about their values. Many churches and synagogues in Santa Barbara have men's groups. These churches and synagogues also have women's groups. Bad faith has been Nick's MO for years.

a-1627084714 Jul 23, 2021 04:58 PM
City Transportation Czar and Believer’s Edge Leader on Paid Leave

If it is all so innocent, why has Dayton been on a two plus month paid leave of absence? He's very well-paid, probably close to 3x the city average pay, plus very valuable benefits, and that length of time when others have to be doing his work is expensive.

a-1627272146 Jul 25, 2021 09:02 PM
City Transportation Czar and Believer’s Edge Leader on Paid Leave

Good for you. Wanking means masturbation, not complaining. I thought it could be used for both but my comments have been deleted for using the word. It is or was more British slang, but look up the word online: It doesn't mean what you think it means.

a-1627114853 Jul 24, 2021 01:20 AM
City Transportation Czar and Believer’s Edge Leader on Paid Leave

Believe it or not, there ARE non-evangelizing sects that believe in Jesus Christ as savior. Many other religions are non-evangelizing.
I don't object to people's religious beliefs, I only object when they insist on sharing them with those who do not want to receive them.

a-1627108556 Jul 23, 2021 11:35 PM
City Transportation Czar and Believer’s Edge Leader on Paid Leave

Are you dictating or typing your posts? Do you know who Hippocrates was? He has nothing to do with "hypocrisy."

"hypocrisy (n.)
c. 1200, ipocrisie, "the sin of pretending to virtue or goodness," from Old French ypocrisie, from Late Latin hypocrisis "hypocrisy," also "an imitation of a person's speech and gestures," from Attic Greek hypokrisis "acting on the stage; pretense," metaphorically, "hypocrisy," from hypokrinesthai "play a part, pretend," also "answer," from hypo- "under" (see hypo-) + middle voice of krinein "to sift, decide" (from PIE root *krei- "to sieve," thus "discriminate, distinguish"). The sense evolution in Attic Greek is from "separate gradually" to "answer" to "answer a fellow actor on stage" to "play a part." The h- was restored in English 16c.

MarcelK Jul 23, 2021 03:50 PM
City Transportation Czar and Believer’s Edge Leader on Paid Leave

It really doesn't. The First Amendment is a restriction on what the government can do, not on what religious organizations can do. As a government employee, Dayton must of course not violate the rights of others to exercise their religion, nor may he take actions that favor the establishment of a religion, but what he does or says as the member of a religious organization doesn't violate anything. (And I am as anti-theist as they come, but I also believe in intellectually honesty application of the law.)

Ahchooo Jul 23, 2021 02:22 PM
City Transportation Czar and Believer’s Edge Leader on Paid Leave

Religious people, dogmatic people, and cultists are all around and amongst us. They obtain positions of power and work to shape society the way they’d like to see it. Beware. The question is, did he do anything unethical or illegal? What were the city council members specific concerns? Was he any good at his job, and how did his religious views manifest in the workplace? Were the council members out of line, or just doing reasonable due diligence? Alas, we may never know, because it will all be considered a confidential personnel matter.

dukemunson Jul 24, 2021 05:19 PM
City Transportation Czar and Believer’s Edge Leader on Paid Leave

Everyone in power works to shift society to the way they’d like to see it… that’s the definition of leading. I have no problem with someone of any religion (or no religion) leading… so unless there is a specific thing he did that was illegal wrong, what are you actually talking about as we need to BEWARE of any/all our leaders/politicians.

a-1627100897 Jul 23, 2021 09:28 PM
City Transportation Czar and Believer’s Edge Leader on Paid Leave

I like Rob Dayton and have had only positive dealings with him. That said, after reading about this Believer's Edge group, I would no longer want him making decisions for the city. As a woman, I would find it hard to interact with him without thinking in the back of my mind that he wants his guys to influence decisions and my opinion is worthless. Leave the church stuff at the church door. Or outside the work place. In your private life, do what you want but do not cross the line and bring that nonsense into the office.

MarcelK Jul 23, 2021 12:17 PM
City Transportation Czar and Believer’s Edge Leader on Paid Leave

I am no friend of organized religion (nor of dogma generally), but the First Amendment (together with the 14th Amendment which extends those rights to state governments) guarantees the right to freedom of religious expression as well as freedom of association. Joining the government and then writing theocratic laws is a violation of the separation of church and state, but members of a religious organization pledging to be activists in their community in line with their dogma is not only not a violation of the separation of church and state, it is protected by it, and plenty of other such organizations exist. I personally find an all-male Christian ministry rather creepy, but my personal opinion isn't legally relevant and neither is anyone else's. (Don't expect me to agree with Randy Parks on anything else ever.)

MarcelK Jul 23, 2021 04:14 PM
City Transportation Czar and Believer’s Edge Leader on Paid Leave

Um, Randy, I've read your comments and even responded to them on occasion so I know a fair amount about your ideology. And no, I did not state that my opinion is the only correct answer ... your reading comprehension and general cognitive functioning are not top notch.

Randy Parks Jul 23, 2021 02:57 PM
City Transportation Czar and Believer’s Edge Leader on Paid Leave

Ok, so here's a NEW ONE; your statement, "Don't expect me to agree with Randy Parks on anything else ever". What the heaven!? A little closed minded, are we not? You don't know me, to my recollection, we've never commented with each other before. So what you've (publicly) stated is that YOUR input, or opinion is the only correct answer (since you've made up your mind, that I can't be correct in anything), hmm... - Sounds a little dogmatic to me. Help me Roger!

Randy Parks Jul 23, 2021 01:48 PM
City Transportation Czar and Believer’s Edge Leader on Paid Leave

NOTE: there are SO many women only groups, (oh my goodness - in churches also!) <> I couldn't begin to post them... before I go, let me think of just 4 (officially stated or not) men's only groups that come to mind (that many people love and worship...); NBA, NFL, ELKs Club, and may I add; nationwide (white only and black only) fraternities... File under cults? Good grief...

a-1627067524 Jul 23, 2021 12:12 PM
City Transportation Czar and Believer’s Edge Leader on Paid Leave

Something is rotten in virtual Santa Barbara. I looked at the BELIEVER’S EDGE website. Looks like it was created in 2021 by Rick Girard.
The site profiles one of it's member's. I will cut and paste and leave the name out.
How long have you had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?
2 1/2 Years
Briefly share how you have come to faith in Jesus Christ.
I was brought to Jesus Christ by my wife XXX and saved by Dave Goss of Light and Life Goleta
How do you want the Lord to use Believer's Edge ministry in your life, career, etc.?
To help me through tough times with my marriage and my fiancial issues with finding work.
How did you hear about Believer's Edge?
Through a fellow member Gabrielle
Finally, what city do you presently live in?
Santa Barbara
This member died in 2014 and if you look at the site it shows BELIEVER’S EDGE members wishing this man a "Happy Birthday" as recently as 2018 and also in 2015/2016.
Founding fathers had the right idea of separation of chuch and state.
Scary stuff.

Byzantium Jul 25, 2021 09:19 AM
City Transportation Czar and Believer’s Edge Leader on Paid Leave

9:59: Were Ireland and Syria really "religious conflicts"? Only in cartoon sound bites. Talk to anyone in Northern Ireland and they will describe The Troubles as a socio-economic conflict; not a religious ideology one. Muslim against Muslim in Syria? Sounds more like an inter-family squabble - again an ideology conflict when the same religion is found on both sides of the conflict. Just be more nuanced when it comes to long-standing conflicts- multi-factoral and not an excuse to justify your own personal discomfort with "religion" in toto. Plus, it is a repetition of the tired agenda on the Left that tries to divide and conquer on the most simplistic expressions of shallow prejudice. Reach much deeper when trying to explain the "times that try men's souls."

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