Discrimination Should Not be Acceptable at City Council Meetings
By Jim Carbone
Last night at the City Council Meeting, Santa Barbara City Councilman Oscar Gutierrez asked if they could enact an ordinance to prevent old, sick and disabled people from living in the SB foothills to develop more housing in high fire areas. When did it become ok to discriminate against protected classes? If this is how he conducts himself in a public meeting, what is happening behind the scenes that we don’t see? This behavior should not be allowed to happen without ramifications. The fact that the City Attorney advised him that this was not legal and the rest of the Council did not support it is not sufficient; it does not change the fact that Councilman Oscar Gutierrez was advocating for discrimination.
To provide further context, his comments came up in a discussion related to an ordinance to allow lot splits (item number 17 on the agenda). The City Council and Mayor were cautioned by many that allowing lot splits in high fire areas would pose a significant risk to residents and there are no plans to mitigate this risk. This was Councilman Gutierrez’s solution. So I guess it also means it’s ok if people not in these protected classes can’t get out in an emergency and die?
For the record, I am a strong proponent of the need to develop housing, especially targeted to low income individuals. Discrimination is never the answer.
I for one would like to know what actions our City is taking to respond to this behavior and our community needs to know what our elected officials are doing.
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