City Gives Away Public Sidewalks

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Update by Dana Johnson

The item was not on the Agenda and all I have is this weird thing from the meeting. They are bringing it back this week, but I don't see it on the Agenda.


By Dana Johnson

When the Soviet Union disbanded the people we now call "oligarchs" got rich by getting the new Russian government to give them public assets for far less than what they were worth. This week the bar and restaurant owners of Santa Barbara are hoping to pull off the same trick. They want exclusive use of city sidewalks for customer seating without paying us for it. I say "us" because it is "ours."

The public property in Santa Barbara is held in trust for all of us. It should not be given away or rented for less than it is worth. This is a terrible precedent. Obviously if the city decides to allow these sidewalk takeovers for free, there will be a lot more of them created, and the existing ones will be expanded to claim as much free real-estate as possible.

Furthermore, these outdoor bars areas on public sidewalks are a gaping loophole in the city's alleged crackdown on public smoking. This is contrary to the grant money the city has received as a reward for its supposed crack down on outdoor smoking.

It's just a fundamental principle of good government that public real-estate should not be rented or given away without fair compensation. The public sidewalks belong to all of us. The city has already removed the majority of public benches on State Street and now they want to create a situation where you have to pay sit down. It is the continuation of a trend where the city proposes to charge residents to use public parking and public sidewalks but at the same time proposes to give them to business for free.

Let your Councilmember and the Mayor know that you expect better stewardship of our public assets: SBCityCouncil@SantaBarbaraCA.gov. 


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Factotum Jun 05, 2019 09:10 AM
City Gives Away Public Sidewalks

How popular will outdoor dining actually be now that the city is required to allow vagrant camps on the same sidewalks. Time for this city council to stop being so passive when faced with ridiculous and petty court mandates. Fight back, City Council. That is why you are elected - not to just hand our city over to flawed lower court rulings and ACLU hysteria.

a-1568540665 Jun 05, 2019 08:33 AM
City Gives Away Public Sidewalks

On the plus side, if the city gives up charging rent, all the vagrants will be free to sit at the tables so generously placed on public property for all to use.

a-1568540665 Jun 04, 2019 11:49 AM
City Gives Away Public Sidewalks

Council is considering eliminating the fees they charge now tomorrow at their budget meeting based on the video above. If residents want the city to collect fair market rent for the use of public property (our sidewalks) they need to send an email today to the Councilmembers at: SBCityCouncil@SantaBarbaraCA.gov

SBWoman Jun 03, 2019 12:30 PM
City Gives Away Public Sidewalks

Call, write, STOP the give aways of public property to advance the personal political agendas of local politicians harm g and forever changing Santa Barbara for the worse. For your perusal- Email addresses for comments on sidewalk give aways, proposed buildings, density issues, water, new fees, increased taxes, homeless, park, walk and street cleanliness. As per Council, POLICE WILL ALLOW CAMPING on any public sidewalk 6’ or wider to allow for 3’ pedestrian ADA compliant passage. SBCC to soon allow overnight free parking in its lots plus free 24-hour use of gym hygiene facilities. Tax & user free ocean view home sites. Is this what you want for SB? Copy communications to: Mayor Cathy Murillo and to your Board of Supervisor Rep Das WIlliams or Greg Hart, and to: 1) City Manager Paul Casey Phone: 1-805-963-0611 E-mail pcasey@santabarbaraca.gov, 2) County Administrative Officer Mona Miyasto Phone: 1-805- 568-3400. E-mail: caoemail@ co.santa-barbara.ca.us. Planning Commission email PCSecretary@SantaBarbaraCA.gov Google City Planning Commission for list of appointed Commissioner Names and contact info. OUR CITY District Reps 1) Jason Dominquez EASTSIDE Phone: 564-5324 jdominquez@santababaraCA.gov 2) Randy Rowse MESA Phone: 564-5325 RRowse@santabarbaraCA.gov 3) OGutierrez WESTSIDE Phone: 563-5394 Oguttirrez@santabarbaraCA.gov 4) Kristen Sneddon HOT-SPRINGS TO PATTERSON ABOVE APS Phone: 563-4321 KSneddon@santabarbaraCA.gov 5) Eric Friedman SAMARKAND LACUMBRE Phone: 562-5320 EFriedman@santanarbaraCA.gov 6) Megan Harmon DOWNTOWN Phone: 563-5319 MHarmon@santabarbaraCA.gov Mayor Cathy Murillo Phone: 1-805-564-5322 CMurillo@santabarbaraCA.gov Districts 1,2,3,6 are up for election 11/2019. Ballots to be counted in Los Angeles versus locally.

SBCountyLocal Jun 03, 2019 12:18 PM
City Gives Away Public Sidewalks

Ordinance Requires: "Some form of fair market rent as compensation to the public for use of the sidewalk or right-of-way in an amount established by a resolution of the City Council." -- What other things will change? Liability insurance requirements? What other business want free use of the public right of way?

Lucky 777 Jun 03, 2019 11:36 AM
City Gives Away Public Sidewalks

All I know is I used to really like to eat downtown at wrought-iron cordoned off little patios, with one of my dogs tied to the grill, enjoying watching people walking past. But now I don't care to run the gauntlet of pit bulls and vagrants, and I'll wager the tourists leave with a diminished experience as well. Downtown could be the lifeblood of the city, but it is presently lost.

a-1568540665 Jun 03, 2019 06:07 PM
City Gives Away Public Sidewalks

LUCKY 777 - you would wager well! I have spoken to several tourists - including friends and family, who left scratching their heads why anyone would want to spend hard earned vaca money and time here in SB with so many other beautiful, cleaner, less hostile places to go. They didn't always say that. But within the last 4-5 years, I hear it more and more.

a-1568540665 Jun 03, 2019 12:35 PM
City Gives Away Public Sidewalks

Do you and others care enough about SB to rattle the safe cages of local politicos? Or is it business as usual for you? Closet Avoidance.

a-1568540665 Jun 03, 2019 10:57 AM
City Gives Away Public Sidewalks

One of the reason SB is so myopic and small minded is due to the people who love to brag about being "X generation natives/locals" - who have never left, never spent any decent amount of time living anywhere else. The things that go on here make my nonSB friends cringe and laugh. One thing I love about going back east is, I can get just as good if not better food for less $$ and you can BYOB without the stupid corkage fees. This is just a money grab - another reason for the local restaurants to charge more for their unimpressive fare. And really, who cares, there are much bigger issues on the horizon for this town which is sliding downhill fast.

SantaBarbaraObserver Jun 04, 2019 08:00 AM
City Gives Away Public Sidewalks

The long term financial health and well being of the city is FAR more important than min-wage service jobs and tourists which may offer a short term bump in revenue and provide cover for commuters, politicians and corporate entities but is a net drain on our city and its future. The city is bordering on broke and we are in boom times! We have indebted our great grand kids for yesterday's expenditures and continue to spend as if there is not a concern in the world. Meanwhile the schools are faltering, the streets are potted, the infrastructure is crumbling and the city's only plan to find its way out of this mess is to increase taxes float more bonds and try and lure more tourism, all while gifting more land and resources to fewer and fewer... Who do you think is going to pay for the city's gross mismanagement ? How will we afford to run our city when 50% of the revenue is earmarked for pensions and debt management? (est. by 2025) Just ask yourself if the city improved on the schools, the parks, the streets, the infrastructure, the traffic, crime and the economic challenges in any way in the last 10 years? Or have they continued to spend, avoid hard decisions and pay themselves handsomely while increasing debt, taxes and fees? Worrying about a few feet of a sidewalk with some cafe chairs while the entire city (especially the waterfront) has been gifted to private entities is not only stupid, its insane. We are heading towards a bleak future because our city has been run by incompetent, selfish nincompoops. The figures do not lie. But the politicians and union bosses sure do... Like everything else, follow the money and you'll find the core of the problem. But I can save you the hunt. Its 100% a result of city hall's abject failure to manage our city's resources for the citizens instead they work for themselves and their party bosses. Surprise! Its not working out very well...

a-1568540665 Jun 03, 2019 12:41 PM
City Gives Away Public Sidewalks

Tell us your “much bigger issues”. What issues are more important than saving our downtown, our central core that brings in millions of tourist dollars providing jobs for locals? I can think of only one issue of greater importance: focusing an all out effort to improve our failing public SB elementary and high schools. They should rank among the best statewide to be at least mediocre on a national ranking scale.

Bird Jun 03, 2019 10:40 AM
City Gives Away Public Sidewalks

This is an interesting topic. The op ed would be more useful and informative if it said if this is a city council agenda item, when it is scheduled, or how we can read about it. Those of us who know that op eds are just one person's opinion also know that sending emails based on others' opinions accomplishes little that is positive.

a-1568540665 Jun 03, 2019 01:38 PM
City Gives Away Public Sidewalks

You’re wrong! Regardless of when this give away is on the Agenda, elected District Reps need to hear from the public Tuesday, and via emails. Council votes as a block, except for Dominquez and Rowse, as the other 5 are instructed by their Dem Machine Handlers. Only voters can improve SB, supported by Montecito, Hope Ranch and Noleta non-voters who financially and actively back independent candidates. We lose a voice with Rowse. Dominquez must be supported if only for being an independent voice trying to represent the Eastside despite being target of the Mayor’s wrath.

Luvaduck Jun 03, 2019 10:22 AM
City Gives Away Public Sidewalks

That local governments often do stupid things and that vagrancy is a problem not being handled well are self-evident. Sidewalks were paid for with public money, so they are public property. Only with voter approval should they be sold or given over to private use. Maybe that's guaranteed by the 5th ammendment--I'm no lawyer--but they obstruct foot traffic which is the reason for their existence.

a-1568540665 Jun 03, 2019 12:43 PM
City Gives Away Public Sidewalks

Also the confetti eggs now contain non-biodegradable plastic, much of which ends up in the ocean.

Factotum Jun 03, 2019 10:47 AM
City Gives Away Public Sidewalks

Don't forget the public sidewalk abuse during Fiesta when mainly out of town hucksters sell cheap Chinese junk and little our town with gaudy confetti eggs. City tried to "shame" us into accepting this annual abuse that has now become hostile and totally out of control. Yet we pay to clean up their messes while they scamper off with untaxed and unregulated sales. State Street now becomes a grim gaunlet during Fiesta by this unpermitted and profiteering invasion of our public space.

PitMix Jun 03, 2019 09:24 AM
City Gives Away Public Sidewalks

Some of the posters on this topic are also the ones who say they never go downtown any more because of the homeless/chain stores/empty stores/filth/etc. So really why would they care what the City does with their empty sidewalks? Eating outside with people walking past is not a big thrill anyway. But this topic gave people a chance to rail against the corrupt local government and the supposed nincompoops that keep re-electing them, so at least it made some people feel justified.

a-1568540665 Jun 03, 2019 12:49 PM
City Gives Away Public Sidewalks

I want to frequent downtown restaurants again. Clean up downtown. Remove vagrants as do other beach communities such as Redondo, Hermosa, Manhattan Beach and the Hawaii. Create an inland Tent City with bathrooms and showers on County or City distant property with mailboxes to enable easy pick up of $1600 monthly social security disability checks. Add a convenience store, Work Inc Training Center with Daily Job Hotline. No sincere effort is being made to restore downtown. May Amazon workers demand improvements.

ZeroHawk Jun 03, 2019 09:23 AM
City Gives Away Public Sidewalks

i don't care of restaurants put chairs and tables on the sidewalks. I pay for the sidewalks with my taxes, and this does NOT bother me....what does bother me, and downtown Ortega to Haley is in my neighborhood, is that they took away the benches. So when myself and my two daughters walk downtown to get a snack or a treat, we have to sit on the edges of the planers, almost on the ground. This is completely f'ing ridiculous. PUT THE BENCHES BACK ON STATE STREET. Not everyone that sits on them are homeless beggars. Put more downtown patrols to stop the beggars and shoe them away, but removing the public seating was just more stupidness, like filling the fountains with dirt...dumb. Business owners and land owners downtown are to blame, and people, STOP saying the homeless are peeing and pooping all over state street. I went down last tuesday farmers market with my kids and took tally's. We counted 4 homeless people...sitting down or collecting cans. We counted 15 dog owners ignoring the no pets policy at the farmers market and 10 of those 15 dogs peed in the planters and 5 pooped. none was cleaned or removed. this is where your stench comes from. pretty simple.

Crystalandmaui Jun 04, 2019 07:30 AM
City Gives Away Public Sidewalks

Exactly, who knew the homeless were so powerful? And yes I have seen dogs pooping on state street and their owners leaving it, Maybe available poop bags would help. Plenty of trash cans. Getting back to the homeless, they are not the reason for loss of businesses or high rents, and yes the side walks are public. Why would we want to stop restaurants having some tables outside? Again, they bring in Money, that’s the goal right. Please put the benches back. Maybe more police patrol never see to many of them.

Crystalandmaui Jun 04, 2019 07:30 AM
City Gives Away Public Sidewalks

Exactly, who knew the homeless were so powerful? And yes I have seen dogs pooping on state street and their owners leaving it, Maybe available poop bags would help. Plenty of trash cans. Getting back to the homeless, they are not the reason for loss of businesses or high rents, and yes the side walks are public. Why would we want to stop restaurants having some tables outside? Again, they bring in Money, that’s the goal right. Please put the benches back. Maybe more police patrol never see to many of them.

Crystalandmaui Jun 04, 2019 07:30 AM
City Gives Away Public Sidewalks

Exactly, who knew the homeless were so powerful? And yes I have seen dogs pooping on state street and their owners leaving it, Maybe available poop bags would help. Plenty of trash cans. Getting back to the homeless, they are not the reason for loss of businesses or high rents, and yes the side walks are public. Why would we want to stop restaurants having some tables outside? Again, they bring in Money, that’s the goal right. Please put the benches back. Maybe more police patrol never see to many of them.

Crystalandmaui Jun 04, 2019 07:30 AM
City Gives Away Public Sidewalks

Exactly, who knew the homeless were so powerful? And yes I have seen dogs pooping on state street and their owners leaving it, Maybe available poop bags would help. Plenty of trash cans. Getting back to the homeless, they are not the reason for loss of businesses or high rents, and yes the side walks are public. Why would we want to stop restaurants having some tables outside? Again, they bring in Money, that’s the goal right. Please put the benches back. Maybe more police patrol never see to many of them.

Crystalandmaui Jun 04, 2019 07:30 AM
City Gives Away Public Sidewalks

Exactly, who knew the homeless were so powerful? And yes I have seen dogs pooping on state street and their owners leaving it, Maybe available poop bags would help. Plenty of trash cans. Getting back to the homeless, they are not the reason for loss of businesses or high rents, and yes the side walks are public. Why would we want to stop restaurants having some tables outside? Again, they bring in Money, that’s the goal right. Please put the benches back. Maybe more police patrol never see to many of them.

Crystalandmaui Jun 04, 2019 07:30 AM
City Gives Away Public Sidewalks

Exactly, who knew the homeless were so powerful? And yes I have seen dogs pooping on state street and their owners leaving it, Maybe available poop bags would help. Plenty of trash cans. Getting back to the homeless, they are not the reason for loss of businesses or high rents, and yes the side walks are public. Why would we want to stop restaurants having some tables outside? Again, they bring in Money, that’s the goal right. Please put the benches back. Maybe more police patrol never see to many of them.

Crystalandmaui Jun 04, 2019 07:30 AM
City Gives Away Public Sidewalks

Exactly, who knew the homeless were so powerful? And yes I have seen dogs pooping on state street and their owners leaving it, Maybe available poop bags would help. Plenty of trash cans. Getting back to the homeless, they are not the reason for loss of businesses or high rents, and yes the side walks are public. Why would we want to stop restaurants having some tables outside? Again, they bring in Money, that’s the goal right. Please put the benches back. Maybe more police patrol never see to many of them.

Crystalandmaui Jun 04, 2019 07:30 AM
City Gives Away Public Sidewalks

Exactly, who knew the homeless were so powerful? And yes I have seen dogs pooping on state street and their owners leaving it, Maybe available poop bags would help. Plenty of trash cans. Getting back to the homeless, they are not the reason for loss of businesses or high rents, and yes the side walks are public. Why would we want to stop restaurants having some tables outside? Again, they bring in Money, that’s the goal right. Please put the benches back. Maybe more police patrol never see to many of them.

Crystalandmaui Jun 04, 2019 07:31 AM
City Gives Away Public Sidewalks

Exactly, who knew the homeless were so powerful? And yes I have seen dogs pooping on state street and their owners leaving it, Maybe available poop bags would help. Plenty of trash cans. Getting back to the homeless, they are not the reason for loss of businesses or high rents, and yes the side walks are public. Why would we want to stop restaurants having some tables outside? Again, they bring in Money, that’s the goal right. Please put the benches back. Maybe more police patrol never see to many of them.

Crystalandmaui Jun 04, 2019 07:31 AM
City Gives Away Public Sidewalks

Exactly, who knew the homeless were so powerful? And yes I have seen dogs pooping on state street and their owners leaving it, Maybe available poop bags would help. Plenty of trash cans. Getting back to the homeless, they are not the reason for loss of businesses or high rents, and yes the side walks are public. Why would we want to stop restaurants having some tables outside? Again, they bring in Money, that’s the goal right. Please put the benches back. Maybe more police patrol never see to many of them.

Crystalandmaui Jun 04, 2019 07:34 AM
City Gives Away Public Sidewalks

Exactly, who knew the homeless were so powerful? And yes I have seen dogs pooping on state street and their owners leaving it, Maybe available poop bags would help. Plenty of trash cans. Getting back to the homeless, they are not the reason for loss of businesses or high rents, and yes the side walks are public. Why would we want to stop restaurants having some tables outside? Again, they bring in Money, that’s the goal right. Please put the benches back. Maybe more police patrol never see to many of them.

Crystalandmaui Jun 04, 2019 07:53 AM
City Gives Away Public Sidewalks

Exactly, who knew the homeless were so powerful? And yes I have seen dogs pooping on state street and their owners leaving it, Maybe available poop bags would help. Plenty of trash cans. Getting back to the homeless, they are not the reason for loss of businesses or high rents, and yes the side walks are public. Why would we want to stop restaurants having some tables outside? Again, they bring in Money, that’s the goal right. Please put the benches back. Maybe more police patrol never see to many of them.

Crystalandmaui Jun 04, 2019 07:53 AM
City Gives Away Public Sidewalks

Exactly, who knew the homeless were so powerful? And yes I have seen dogs pooping on state street and their owners leaving it, Maybe available poop bags would help. Plenty of trash cans. Getting back to the homeless, they are not the reason for loss of businesses or high rents, and yes the side walks are public. Why would we want to stop restaurants having some tables outside? Again, they bring in Money, that’s the goal right. Please put the benches back. Maybe more police patrol never see to many of them.

Crystalandmaui Jun 04, 2019 08:14 AM
City Gives Away Public Sidewalks

Exactly, who knew the homeless were so powerful? And yes I have seen dogs pooping on state street and their owners leaving it, Maybe available poop bags would help. Plenty of trash cans. Getting back to the homeless, they are not the reason for loss of businesses or high rents, and yes the side walks are public. Why would we want to stop restaurants having some tables outside? Again, they bring in Money, that’s the goal right. Please put the benches back. Maybe more police patrol never see to many of them.

Crystalandmaui Jun 04, 2019 08:14 AM
City Gives Away Public Sidewalks

Exactly, who knew the homeless were so powerful? And yes I have seen dogs pooping on state street and their owners leaving it, Maybe available poop bags would help. Plenty of trash cans. Getting back to the homeless, they are not the reason for loss of businesses or high rents, and yes the side walks are public. Why would we want to stop restaurants having some tables outside? Again, they bring in Money, that’s the goal right. Please put the benches back. Maybe more police patrol never see to many of them.

Crystalandmaui Jun 04, 2019 08:15 AM
City Gives Away Public Sidewalks

Exactly, who knew the homeless were so powerful? And yes I have seen dogs pooping on state street and their owners leaving it, Maybe available poop bags would help. Plenty of trash cans. Getting back to the homeless, they are not the reason for loss of businesses or high rents, and yes the side walks are public. Why would we want to stop restaurants having some tables outside? Again, they bring in Money, that’s the goal right. Please put the benches back. Maybe more police patrol never see to many of them.

mtndriver Jun 03, 2019 06:00 PM
City Gives Away Public Sidewalks

It sounds like that man was very ill. People don't just poop lying down in public unless there is something seriously wrong with them. I think the thing to do in a situation like that is to call 911. The dispatcher would know who to send.

Sam The Dog Jun 03, 2019 05:12 PM
City Gives Away Public Sidewalks

While there is ALSO plenty of dog crap to go around dogs don't crap on the benches. I was unfortunate enough to witness with my own eyes, homeless man (unassumingly) laying under a blanket on the wooden bench, in the middle of the day with plenty of people around, and this liquid started dripping out beneath, more unfortunately, he rolled a little pulling up his blanket so I had to see the side of his crap crusted butt (his pants were down)! This was on the 1000 or 1100 block. Why would I make that up?

ZeroHawk Jun 03, 2019 04:51 PM
City Gives Away Public Sidewalks

Sam, no they do not! I LIVE downtown, 2 blocks from this area and am there EVERY day when i'm out on numerous walks. I have seen and counted dogs doing this. The homeless are further down state, not in this area. One possible incident that you claim you "saw", which i highly doubt, doesn't mean everyone without a home craps on the sidewalk...that's just lame. You're just one of the many that like to blame the town's problems on a handful of crazies or homeless people.

a-1568540665 Jun 03, 2019 12:53 PM
City Gives Away Public Sidewalks

Install metal round bubble benches. Carry paper towels to sit on. Don’t let children touch anything. Be extra careful in SB Public Parks. Who’s running for City Council to replace the status quo?

a-1568540665 Jun 03, 2019 12:53 PM
City Gives Away Public Sidewalks

Install metal round bubble benches. Carry paper towels to sit on. Don’t let children touch anything. Be extra careful in SB Public Parks. Who’s running for City Council to replace the status quo?

Sam The Dog Jun 03, 2019 09:39 AM
City Gives Away Public Sidewalks

Zerohawk, the problem with the wooden benches is that they can't / aren't cleaned after the homeless urinate and defecate on them (which I've personally seen). The benches that are left downtown I wouldn't touch nor let my kids.

Arnon Jun 03, 2019 09:01 AM
City Gives Away Public Sidewalks

Wow Dana's op-ed has really struck a nerve. We all choose what to read and what to skip on Edhat. So when i read a comment devoting 300 words trying to convince others to ignore an article I always think of Shakespeare. "The lady doth protest too much, methinks." This article prompted me to research the facts for a couple hours yesterday. Santabarbaraobserver clearly believes I should have spent that time doing something else, not discovering how corrupt this City can be. But I thank the author for the expose. There is so much going on that none of us know. CrytalandMaui asks "where are the benches"? The answer is: in a warehouse. The same folks orchestrating this gift of land from the City, in the last two years successfully demanded the City remove more than half of the benches i used to sit on. Clever! Now we need privatized sidewalks where you have to pay, because there is no where to sit for free. Did removing most of the benches stop the homeless? Or did it just deprive the rest of us of the seats that used to be available after the homeless claimed "theirs"? There was no public process of any kind about removing more than half the public benches on State Street. The business owners demanded it and it was done. I think it is fine for someone to write here that they don't care if they City Council eliminates the rent it currently charges for private control of public land. But iI disagree. I think it is scandalous. A big chunk of this gift, which was proposed out of the blue by Public Works last week, will go right into the pockets of the senior public works official who currently pays one of the highest annual rents to the City under this program, for his own restaurant and bar. Do you care about that? http://www.abc.ca.gov/datport/lqs.html?rpttype=12&license=528592

a-1568540665 Jun 03, 2019 01:03 PM
City Gives Away Public Sidewalks

This OpEd is about much more than paid vs free dining. You hit a homer in by telling all we will all pay more to compensate the City for this REVENUE LOSS. Stop blatant conflicts of interest such as those at public works, and at SBUnified. Stop give aways. Make City workers WORK the full week that we pay them to work. End Friday’s off with pay. Cut sales and other taxes. Cut salaries and pensions given the number wanting City jobs.

a-1568540665 Jun 03, 2019 12:57 PM
City Gives Away Public Sidewalks

You gotta be kidding? The City has no standards beyond its give-away that which is not theirs to give.

a-1568540665 Jun 03, 2019 11:03 AM
City Gives Away Public Sidewalks

City Employee to Benefit $$ - Rob Dayton, Transportation Planning and Parking Manager. - Owner of BRAT HAUS. Huge Patio. Guess City is watching out for its own.

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