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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Randy Parks Jul 23, 2021 11:42 AM
City Transportation Czar and Believer’s Edge Leader on Paid Leave

I knew the "all male men's ministry" line would get a few (we'll at least one so far...) stirred up...
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.

Randy Parks Jul 23, 2021 11:45 AM
City Transportation Czar and Believer’s Edge Leader on Paid Leave

I just Googled "women's christian groups near me" - here's the first (one of many) I read/found:

"Find over 338 Christian Women groups with 60301 members near you and meet people in your local community who share your interests."

RHS Jul 23, 2021 11:45 AM
City Transportation Czar and Believer’s Edge Leader on Paid Leave

He founded a secret society which tries to get government to do the things that society advocates. It says that members must do this. This is completely inappropriate. I don't know what exactly these folks thing religion requires of government but I can be pretty sure that I won't agree to give up my democratic choice and right to make those calls through the ballot box and election results. For a bureaucrat to secretly subvert policies he doesn't like and favor policies he does like is wrong. If he was denied leadership in the city bureaucracy because of such purposes good for the city management!

dukemunson Jul 25, 2021 10:44 AM
City Transportation Czar and Believer’s Edge Leader on Paid Leave

Secret society…What are you talking about?

The vocal, open and wide ranging hate and intolerance on here of religion is pretty staggering… sad to see such wildly vocal intolerance in our (top 15 beach City!) Santa Barbara…

a-1627067517 Jul 23, 2021 12:11 PM
City Transportation Czar and Believer’s Edge Leader on Paid Leave

The Civil Rights implications here are stunningly bad. Look through that website. There are other prominent local men in this group, and some had business with the city where it looks like they got a fast lane to what they wanted.
Did diverse communities or women get similar most favored status treatment for their projects from the most powerful man in this city, Rob Dayton?

MarcelK Jul 23, 2021 12:48 PM
City Transportation Czar and Believer’s Edge Leader on Paid Leave

"it looks like they got a fast lane to what they wanted ... Did diverse communities or women get similar most favored status treatment for their projects" -- first "a fast lane", then "most favored status treatment". Any evidence of these allegations?

Randy Parks Jul 23, 2021 01:31 PM
City Transportation Czar and Believer’s Edge Leader on Paid Leave

LET ME ANSWER, "no, no evidence at all." = file under Hogwash
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...

I just Googled "women's christian groups near me" - here's the first (one of many) I read/found:

"Find over 338 Christian Women groups with 60301 members near you and meet people in your local community who share your interests."

NOTE: there are SO many women only groups, 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 more than they love women; NBA, NFL, ELKs Club, and may I add; nationwide (white only and black only) fraternities... File under cults?

MarcelK Jul 23, 2021 01:49 PM
City Transportation Czar and Believer’s Edge Leader on Paid Leave

"LET ME ANSWER" -- My question was directed to the person who made the claim, and it's their burden to support those claims. "that many people love and worship more than they love women" -- you have issues. "File under cults?" -- only if they are religious / dogmatic.

a-1627074034 Jul 23, 2021 02:00 PM
City Transportation Czar and Believer’s Edge Leader on Paid Leave

Unfortunately, yes, Marcel, there is evidence of preferential treatment from Dayton to other insiders of that group. Scroll through some of the local profiles on that site. Some familiar names should jump out at you, who've had high profile funding requests and development projects before the city. This will all break open shortly, I imagine.

a-1627110959 Jul 24, 2021 12:15 AM
City Transportation Czar and Believer’s Edge Leader on Paid Leave

I crawled around on the site, first looking at the website creator's profile, and then friends of his, and then I stumbled onto some big names here, including Dayton. http://www.believersedge.org/profile/RobertDayton?xg_source=profiles_memberList

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.

MarcelK Jul 23, 2021 12:32 PM
City Transportation Czar and Believer’s Edge Leader on Paid Leave

On Facebook, I see people wishing happy birthday to people who have died (including friends and relatives of mine) all the time ... it just means that they weren't aware that they had died. As for "separation of church and state", which I strongly support, the phrase was used by President Thomas Jefferson in a letter to the Danbury Baptists in which he allayed their fears of suppression by the federal government.

SantaBarbaraObserver Jul 23, 2021 12:44 PM
City Transportation Czar and Believer’s Edge Leader on Paid Leave

Wow. That site! I find it scary that people like this are taken seriously in society let alone are employed in the public sector. Who wants someone who thinks like this managing anything? Seriously. What happened to these men? Were they abused? Not hugged enough? Scorned by a lover?

Randy Parks Jul 23, 2021 01:13 PM
City Transportation Czar and Believer’s Edge Leader on Paid Leave

I knew the "all male men's ministry" line would get a few (we'll at least one so far...) stirred up...
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.

Byzantium Jul 23, 2021 02:32 PM
City Transportation Czar and Believer’s Edge Leader on Paid Leave

One has to wonder why so many in this community are so down on "religion". Were they abused or not hugged enough , so they now take it out on those who do find solace in their faith communities? A knee-jerk negative and dimissive reaction can always be expected any time one shares their devotion to their faith, yet while proclaiming their own superior tolerance at the same time. Doesn't work that way. I am sorry so many somehow got abused by something they now label "religion". Many find their faith professions to be a necessary part of stability in their own lives, and we are all better for the numbers who do explore their own personal values and religious bedrock. Not everyone in religion was as duplicitous as Jim and Tammy Baker or the errant Catholic priests. Many, many value their own religious traditions and find ways to express this in their own daily lives at all levels. We want them in our society - they are part of our inner national strength and the Founders recognized their importance to the fabric of our society. Freedom of religion - means they get to enjoy there in their own meaningful ways, and they cannot inflict anything on you - you are free too. They are not threatening, so not sure why some so routinely respond negatively and dismissively to the mere mention of "religion". Personal boundary issues, I suppose. Even though they are not getting breached. A curiosity. And so predictable on this forum.

Byzantium Jul 23, 2021 04:28 PM
City Transportation Czar and Believer’s Edge Leader on Paid Leave

Alex: Not buying that tired old liberal shibolith. Politics, ideology and even market forces have driven far more violence globally than any cartoon version of "religion". Even the villified Crusades were more market driven and territorial conquests, than anything to do with "religion". per se. But I know this is what you were taught in liberal education ,so you stick to your own beliefs because they work for you. Can't argue with your own religiously held belief system. Won't try. But don't don't fail to label your own point of view as a religious point of view since it has come out of your own personal belief system; and not based upon fact. Was our own Revolutionary War, our very bloody Civil War or our participation in two World Wars "religious wars", or again wars against control over land, resources and a distorted national ideology?

a-1627108075 Jul 23, 2021 11:27 PM
City Transportation Czar and Believer’s Edge Leader on Paid Leave

"personal belief system"[s] that posit an all-powerful god are different from religious personal belief systems. Yes, we all have ingrained thoughts that we were raised with.
Regarding religion, some continue, some leave their early ingrained beliefs and some take them up as adults.
I only point this out to clarify your argument, which is not clear and brings an incorrect element to your argument.

a-1627191523 Jul 24, 2021 10:38 PM
City Transportation Czar and Believer’s Edge Leader on Paid Leave

Your first three sentences prove the point that religion had a great amount of control over society by being involved in "Politics, ideology and even market forces". I urge you to read more about early Christian church history.

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."

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.)

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