Op-Ed: No on T, Protect Carp!

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By Jason Rodriguez (Co-Owner Food Liaison) 

On this November’s ballot, there’s an initiative that’s a Trojan Horse for Carpinteria voters. The initiative is being presented as one thing, “Save Downtown Open Space,” but in fact, it’s another thing altogether. It would forever alter how the city oversees and analyzes projects downtown or anywhere else in Carpinteria. The initiative is step one, and if passed, would trigger more future initiatives every time a parking decision must be made on recreation-zoned properties within city limits. 

What could go wrong? The city could get mired in disputes about who has the authority to approve what type of projects and where. Proponents of the initiative aim to subtract one property from city oversight, but that is not the whole story. How they intend to accomplish this subtraction adds an ugly can of worms.

As written, this initiative changes the zoning on recreational properties throughout Carpinteria to convert parking changes voter decisions. For example, if there’s a proposal to upgrade or install parking lots to access the bluffs, skatepark or the proposed bike path down to Rincon Point, the city could lose the power of oversight. Instead, taxpayers would be compelled to pay for costly elections to make future decisions. Decision-by-voter-initiative would be a tangled mess and a horribly inefficient way to plan and operate a city.

We think it is imperative that voters not be convinced to vote for this initiative to accomplish the narrow goal of preventing a new hotel from being built on Linden Avenue. Already, there is a public oversight process for this development proposal, and elected City Council members should decide the project’s fate. It would be a tremendous error to remove the City Council and city planners from the planning process, particularly when it comes to recreational properties and issues of parking. If we make parking a voter decision, who would an applicant petition for permits? In the future, if more parking is needed at Monte Vista Park, should the applicant be stuck campaigning for a voter initiative to get it done? 

Voters elect City Council representatives; voters don’t review complicated planning documents and decide whether proposals honor the city’s General Plan and its stated objective to “preserve the general character of our small beach town.” As a comprehensive planning document, the General Plan guides consistent policy. Planning by voter initiative will create a whack-a-mole process resulting in patchwork decisions based on who shows up to vote in which election.

People’s initiatives are an important part of citizen oversight in the State of California. However, each voter must comb through the fine print so citizens do not get misled into approving decisions that come back to haunt them. In this case, the initiative undermines and disrupts the public process and our representative government. 

Let’s make sure this Trojan Horse is fully inspected before we accept it as the new law of the land in Carpinteria. Vote No this November on the initiative, which might be better titled the “Unintended Consequences Initiative.” 

Committee Members
Jason Rodriguez- Principal Officer 
Kyle Zuvella
Lorraine McIntire
Sandra Moreno
Carla Stein


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7 Comments

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Rinconer Aug 18, 2022 06:52 AM
Op-Ed: No on T, Protect Carp!

Voter oversight is a good thing. Remember when Carpinteria overpaid $40 million for water?

SBStoner Aug 18, 2022 07:41 AM
Op-Ed: No on T, Protect Carp!

Kind of long and read like a tangent, but I’d bet that somebody is a developer who has their eyes on that open space.

Last time I checked, more involvement by EVERYONE in development or zoning decisions leads to happier citizens. Just because you have a problem with democratic processes doesn’t mean everyone should agree with you.

In Santa Barbara the same issue is particularly apparent. A select group of “elected” officials take bribes and hush payments from big canna businesses and developers to approve projects that detriment the public and our city image in tangible ways. Rising rents? Thank the council and their approval of “affordable housing developments.” Higher taxes year after year? Thanks to the city council for the misappropriation of funds to the police force, cannabis enforcement and utility companies. Roadwork weekly on Thursdays and main road are still full of potholes.

We as a city are really hemorrhaging money and at some point the ball will stop rolling. Remember who your council members are and hold them accountable.

I’ll never forget the city council meeting on how to fairly license cannabis business in town and DW proposes a buy-in “lottery.” Well surprise surprise, those with the largest buy-ins to council members’ pockets won the lottery. Now, thanks to the council, Carpinteria has been sold to out of state money funding the downfall and commoditization of the cannabis industry. No wonder the black market is BOOMING.

We need a new lease on the leadership of our city. I want to see some younger and more invested faces and hear some thoughtful ideas. Not banter and bullshit like at the council meetings. Not crooked developers in bed with elected officials to approve mega projects that are way out of scope for our city. Not talking about redeveloping all of down town. It’s time to look at the management of our budget, the effectiveness of our law enforcement, the physical state of our Infrastructure, and the effects of the tax giant industries like cannabis and cruise lines that have slowly been sinking their teeth in. Last I checked, we don’t need to be the county with the highest level of cannabis production in the United States. We also don’t need floating Petri dishes popping into the harbor 25+ times a year.

Be the change. Replace the council members. If you think you have good ideas for our city then I encourage you to either petition them to your fellow citizens and take action or get out and run. These people have run our city into the ground and it’s time to put a stop to this.

Now is the time to save not only our cities, but the great county we are together.

Rainey Aug 18, 2022 07:47 AM
Op-Ed: No on T, Protect Carp!

Very succinctly said and Jason stuck to the facts. Facts are very powerful in this argument.

a-1660835070 Aug 18, 2022 08:04 AM
Op-Ed: No on T, Protect Carp!

Declaring a parking lot as an "Open Space" is ridiculous and insulting to those people trying to protect what really are open spaces deserving preservation! Vote NO on NIMBYism! Vote NO on T!

blazer Aug 18, 2022 08:19 AM
Op-Ed: No on T, Protect Carp!

The initiative process isn't a good way to settle land use issues. Unfortunately if this measure passes it will undoubtibly end up in the courts and cost the city dearly. Designating a parking lot as Open Space is a dumb idea. The proponents of measure T should simply tell the truth about their intentions. Try something like "I don't want anyone building a hotel, so close to my house". Stop trying to claim asphalt is worthy of protection.

yacht rocked Aug 18, 2022 10:07 AM
Op-Ed: No on T, Protect Carp!

Right. One of the main off-the-radar leaders of the initiative effort actually leases some adjacent "open space" land from the City to have an expanded yard garden, which could be impacted in the future as the City puts this land, which is right adjacent to the Carpinteria Train Station, to better use than a weed and trash lot.

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