Activists are Raising Funds to Purchase Land Near San Marcos Foothills Preserve

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San Marcos Foothills (Photo: John Wiley)
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By edhat staff

Local activists are working to raise funds to purchase the West Mesa area of the San Marcos Foothills that is slated for housing development.

Last week the Save the San Marcos Foothills Organization announced they've reached an agreement with an option to purchase and preserve the 101 acres from the Chadmar Group, developer of the land. 

Grading and development of the land will be halted for 90 days, allowing the nonprofit organization to raise $20 million to purchase the land. The price of the land is $18 million and $2 million will go toward and endowment and campaign efforts.

The cut-off date is June 2, 2021, if the funds aren't met by then, both sides agreed developers can proceed with the housing development.

This agreement comes after activists blocked heavy machinery from gaining access to the property in the past few weeks. During one exchange, eight people were arrested by Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Deputies and transported to the County's Mail Jail for willfully obstructing the free movement of any person, a misdemeanor violation. The charges were later dropped. 

The Chadmar Group purchased 377 acres of foothills in 2005 with the intent of donating 300 acres to the county. 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 West Mesa area of the foothills, 101 acres, is still owned by the Chadmar Group where 25 of these acres are permitted for eight large homes.

As of Thursday, the group had raised just over $1.6 million from more than 1,000 donors. They have a March 24th deadline to reach $5 million. 

Organizers plan to purchase the property and place a permanent restriction that prohibits development, establish an interest-bearing endowment that will fund long-term habitat restoration and management, and then convey title of the property to Santa Barbara County or another appropriate entitey. 

Tax-deductible donations can be made here or a tax deducible contribution by check can be sent to the below address:

Foothills Forever Funds
 c/o Santa Barbara Foundation,
 1111 Chapala St, ste. 200
 Santa Barbara, CA 93101

(Include “Foothills Forever Fund” in the memo line)

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a-1616308402 Mar 20, 2021 11:33 PM
Activists are Raising Funds to Purchase Land Near San Marcos Foothills Preserve

It’s cringworthy to read the comments throwing out names (and on instagram, “handles”) of wealthy or famous residents of our region- and its a clearcut giveaway that the writer is a newcomer to santa barbara fundraising. The people named do not live here to get hit up for every worthy cause- and there are plenty causes. Just stop. It’s embarrassing.

biguglystick Mar 21, 2021 02:12 PM
Activists are Raising Funds to Purchase Land Near San Marcos Foothills Preserve

8402 I 199% completely disagree with you. The wealthy come here because it's beautiful and because they can afford to. THEY are part of the problem why local middle class people find it increasingly hard to find housing here. The rich have a duty to help out where they can. I believe we should tax the hell out of the rich and call on them to help better the communities they live in. Santa Barbara in the 70's and 80's wasn't so elite, and it has changed for the worse. HIT THEM UP as much as possible. With great wealth comes great responsibility.

Ksen'_Sku'_Mu' Mar 19, 2021 07:29 PM
Activists are Raising Funds to Purchase Land Near San Marcos Foothills Preserve

About 2 weeks ago...they had 1.3mil, 1million was donated by 1 person. The 300k came from individual donations from summer of 2019 till now. Roughly 15months, about 20k a month. In the last two weeks they raised 400k. Which works out to be 28k per day. With 74 days left they need to raise 266k a day to hit the 20mil goal minus the 1.7mil. ....they need to up the game from 28k per day to 238k per day if they have any shot.

Bene Mar 21, 2021 07:46 PM
Activists are Raising Funds to Purchase Land Near San Marcos Foothills Preserve

Just curious, is there any blood quantum requirement to be in any Chumash band? How can anyone prove Chumash or any kind of north american Native American ancestry? I was told that most all tribes refuse any kind of genetic testing, so there is no real reference group to prove anyone has north american Native American ancestry and never any way to prove which tribe. As I understand it, there are reference groups for genetic testing for south american tribes but not north american.

Ksen'_Sku'_Mu' Mar 19, 2021 06:57 PM
Activists are Raising Funds to Purchase Land Near San Marcos Foothills Preserve

Its unfortunate to see you dont know the name of that chumash group. Allow me to enlighten you, they are called "Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Mission Indians" . They tend to stay on the valley side of the region which is their homestead. Each region of the chumash had distinctive dialects all very different from the others. The spanish recognized this and divided the regions by the Missions they established. The chumash had more Missions for one native american group than any others in California. 5. But there are from 9 to 13 dialects depending on which researcher you cite.
The Tribal group that have direct lineal descendant of the coastal santa Barbara region is the Barbareño band of chumash indians(BBCI). Under tribal protocol it would require the BBCI Tribal chair to submit a request to the SYBMI and for SYBMI business council to officially recognize BBCI as a Chumash tribal group in order to provide funding. Unfortunately for many of years many independent tribal groups have sought some public offical recognition from SYMBI but it is unlikely to happen due to the secondary effect of every tribal group from Malibu to Bakersfield to monterrey then also wanting the same recognition and financial support. Just the reality of the situation not anything malicious.

RHS Mar 19, 2021 06:14 PM
Activists are Raising Funds to Purchase Land Near San Marcos Foothills Preserve

The idea that the uber wealthy should be the salvation of our society is destructive. Knelling to those with this sort of bizarre wealth will mean the end to democracy. The people can intervene by way of their elected government to deal with these issues. If there is not enough popular support for that solution let's just get on with it.

a-1616389477 Mar 21, 2021 10:04 PM
Activists are Raising Funds to Purchase Land Near San Marcos Foothills Preserve

https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/03/12/musk-bezos-zuckerberg-gates-pandemic-profits/?arc404=true

I downplayed my donations, for no good reason, as I'm anonymous. I didn't give hundreds. I've given thousands in the past year. It's the only thing that assuages my depression.

a-1616389395 Mar 21, 2021 10:03 PM
Activists are Raising Funds to Purchase Land Near San Marcos Foothills Preserve

Former Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer, whose fortune increased $23 billion during the pandemic, gave an unspecified amount last year to pandemic response, including on testing and contact tracing and personal-protective equipment. Ballmer didn’t respond to requests for comment. Michael Dell, the CEO of Dell Technologies, who gained $18 billion during the pandemic, also declined to comment.

a-1616389365 Mar 21, 2021 10:02 PM
Activists are Raising Funds to Purchase Land Near San Marcos Foothills Preserve

[Larry Page, Google founder] Page made no public philanthropic commitments. Brin donated $104 million to covid-19 relief efforts through his family foundation, according to a person with knowledge of his giving, or 0.24 percent of the wealth he accrued during the pandemic.

Larry Ellison, who serves as executive chairman and chief technology officer of Oracle, and saw his wealth grow by $28 billion, may have had the most sway among tech billionaires on the Trump administration during the pandemic. He urged President Donald Trump to consider the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a miracle cure for the virus, according to the New York Times, and planned to build a database for doctors to register every covid-19 case as part of a wellness laboratory on his island in Hawaii, Forbes reported in April. Ellison declined to comment.

a-1616389283 Mar 21, 2021 10:01 PM
Activists are Raising Funds to Purchase Land Near San Marcos Foothills Preserve

Tech billionaires invested comparatively little of that increased wealth back into the public sphere for the pandemic. Bezos donated $150 million, or roughly 0.26 percent of the profits he accrued during the pandemic, to covid-related causes...

Musk reportedly gave $5 million, or 0.004 percent of his newfound gains, to covid-19 research, in addition to donating ventilators built to help patients with sleep apnea.

Through the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, an LLC, the CEO of Facebook and his wife, Priscilla Chan, gave $104 million, or 0.36 percent, of the $29 billion he accumulated during the pandemic to support covid-19 research, testing and treatment, and to assist the people and communities most affected by the pandemic, building on Zuckerberg’s earlier pledge to try to “cure all disease.”

a-1616389106 Mar 21, 2021 09:58 PM
Activists are Raising Funds to Purchase Land Near San Marcos Foothills Preserve

Yes. None but the rich can be a saviour. I'm rich because I inherited a house. I'm a reclusive 60 year old, not a trust fund baby. My riches allow me to donate hundreds of dollars to food banks and rent relief. I should be called upon to step up!

Washington Post:
"The pandemic has been a boom time for America’s richest billionaires.

The wealth of nine of the country’s top titans has increased by more than $360 billion in the past year. And they are all tech barons, underscoring the power of the industry in the U.S. economy. Tesla’s Elon Musk more than quadrupled his fortune and jockeyed with Amazon’s Jeff Bezos for the title of world’s wealthiest person. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg topped $100 billion. Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin gained a combined $65 billion."

Getoffmylawn Mar 19, 2021 05:57 PM
Activists are Raising Funds to Purchase Land Near San Marcos Foothills Preserve

People get offended by a different view point. How many years has this area been ready for construction. Why is it that everyone joins the bandwagon to save a preserve thats privately owned. Santa barbara was once empty land. You are living inside a home that was once open space. Everyone will live happily even if homes are built here. Maybe others want to pitch in when construction workers are out of work.

Babycakes Mar 19, 2021 02:23 PM
Activists are Raising Funds to Purchase Land Near San Marcos Foothills Preserve

It would be quite nice if some of our local ultra-wealthy celeb residents would step up to the plate, I hope that I am proven wrong, but doubt any of them will fork out a single dime to save this precious property. Most, if not all, talk-the-talk, but that's about it. Eco conscious....oh no, private planes. Water conservation.....oh no, we have pools, spas, fountains, and a bathroom for each day of the month. Anti-gun....you bet....we have armed guards 24/7/365 so we don't need 'em. If any of you have been unlucky enough to work in a service industry and come across these peeps, you know what I'm talking about....almost never a "thank you" and tipping....well let's say they're penny pinchers (not all...but many are like this in my 1st-hand experience).

Bene Mar 21, 2021 07:58 PM
Activists are Raising Funds to Purchase Land Near San Marcos Foothills Preserve

Babycakes, not sure why you got so many downvotes, because your observations are certainly correct in many cases. I too have observed what you are talking about--dated an ambassador's son, an uber wealthy scion of an uber wealthy family, and all I ever heard about was how they saved money on this or that. In contrast, rode a bus to L.A. in my teens, and was protected from aggressive guys on the bus by a farmworker--who then offered me half of his lunch, even though it was obvious he could ill afford to share anything. Frequently, the non-wealthy are more generous than the wealthy.

a-1616258343 Mar 20, 2021 09:39 AM
Activists are Raising Funds to Purchase Land Near San Marcos Foothills Preserve

Sorry to disappoint you, but wealthy donors have more than contributed to the Santa Barbara region, and continue to do so. Michael Towbes, through his management of Montecito Bank and Trust's non profit donations, has contributed millions to many causes., and the legacy trust of the bank continues to do so. Michael Douglas helped created the mesa Douglas Family Preserve with a donation of 600,000 towards the $3.6 million purchase price. Virgil Elings contributed significantly to Santa Barbara through his purchase and creation of a popular park. Lester and Viola Girsh also created and sustain a beautiful popular park in Goleta. There is a lot of wealth in this area, and sometimes miracles happen, and have happened.

Ksen'_Sku'_Mu' Mar 20, 2021 08:00 AM
Activists are Raising Funds to Purchase Land Near San Marcos Foothills Preserve

The eight homes are directly next to the walk path of the preserve. No one keeps dogs on a leash there and the dog walkers have been crossing over into the private property where the eight homes are to be built. Once the homes are built proper fencing will be up preventing them from further trespassing. This whole protest is to keep that trespassing option open.
These homes do not threatened the existing county preserve but the marketing tactic they are using says its threatened. ThenEIR that was done says 90% of the terrace is "non native grasslands," but protesters claim they want to save the "last native grassland"...and people buy what they are selling.
Go read the bio section in the EIR. See for yourself.

Ksen'_Sku'_Mu' Mar 19, 2021 07:03 PM
Activists are Raising Funds to Purchase Land Near San Marcos Foothills Preserve

You are actually pretty close to the heart of this issue. The 25acres is not the preserve, its a glorified dog walking park. The ones who started this all only found out in the summer of 2019 and were afraid they couldnt walk their dogs there anymore. They admitted they never know about the approval back in 2005-6 and wanted to change what was already settled. They didnt want to walk dogs in the neighborhood. No sidewalks on foothill rd in that area..lol

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