Op-Ed: Santa Barbara Needs New Leadership

75 Comments
Reads 8912

By Ernest Salomon

Do the people in Santa Barbara want four more years of indecision and weak leadership.

We will all have an opportunity to answer this question in November.

Some of the homeless are on their way to burning the city down with fire after fire.  There is a fire set almost every day with the Loma Fire almost wiping out TV Hill and its residents and KEYT!  The Loma fire is the canary in the coal mine!  No area in our city is immune to a firestorm!  Fire insurance policies are being cancelled all over Santa Barbara.  Our next-door neighbor's policy was just cancelled. City Hall all but ignores the criminals in the homeless population. They have to be weeded out and dealt with.

The number of homeless camps is increasing within more areas of the city.  They are a health and safety hazard. The City Administrator and Council have tied the hands of our excellent police force.  They are as frustrated as the public!

Crime is up, especially personal crime and burglary and there is little or no apprehension, let alone punishment.  A car is not safe in any public parking area in the entire city from a break-in and theft.

The foothills have no police patrols, something we pay for.  Most of the police budget is spent in the lower State Street area drunk zone and downtown.  The city is wasting our tax dollars on feel-good projects and thus not giving us the police protection that we pay for.

Street sweeping is a myth in the foothills and other outlying sections of our once clean city!

The street cleaner that is being used where streets are swept is old technology and brushes much of the waste on our streets into the air and into our lungs.  This airborne filth includes human and animal waste, brake lining material,  automobile fluids, herbicides, pesticides, etc.  What is not "swept up" flows into our creeks and water drainage system and pollutes our ocean and kills sea life, infecting humans as well. So much for city City Hall's slogan: "Help Keep Our Creeks Clean"!

State Street is a filthy, dangerous slum! Many local residents, especially women with their children, do not feel safe from being accosted, so they do not go there. 

Remember in November!


Op-Ed's are written by community members. Do you have an opinion on something local? Share it with us at [email protected]. The views and opinions expressed in Op-Ed articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of edhat.

Login to add Comments

75 Comments

Show Comments
a-1621723332 May 22, 2021 03:42 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara Needs New Leadership

Ernie should know better. The homeless issue has consumed city politics for most of the last half century. We tried the get tough stuff and it did not work. His neighbor, like he lives in a high wildfire danger zone where getting fire insurance is tough. It has been for years. Please stop acting like these are new problems.

TheKid5 May 22, 2021 04:19 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara Needs New Leadership

I sign what I write with my name, not a nom d plume! Fire dangers and high insurance are not the subject of my comment. The city is suffering an inordinate number of arsons, just like the Loma fire set by a guy who has set others. I don't care where you live in Santa Barbara, pal, your house is not immune from being burned to the ground by some idiot who starts a fire far from your home.

a-1621730977 May 22, 2021 05:49 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara Needs New Leadership

Actually the fires that have done the most damage here are ones that were started by unmaintained SCE equipment. exhaust pipes, even a guy flying a kite. There was the Painted Cave fire that was allegedly set by a tripper that wanted to get back at his neighbor. Your obsession with the homeless fire hazard is out of proportion to the actual risk.

SBLetsGetAlong May 22, 2021 07:35 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara Needs New Leadership

Just wait until a camp fire burns and kills people and damages residences.

Is that when the City will act.
Anyone incurring any damage or loss of businesses arising from homeless camps should due the City for negligence. The City is well aware of the issues and continues to ignore them putting people in danger.

a-1621744079 May 22, 2021 09:27 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara Needs New Leadership

why the desire to protect homeless at the expense of others whose property they destroy? The Loma Fire was set by a homeless man. Intentional or accidental will be key for his sentencing, but the hill and two homes have real fire damage all the same. The fact that the city turns a blind eye to any unauthorized fie is case enough for the city to be liable.

MarcelK May 23, 2021 12:36 AM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara Needs New Leadership

Are you saying that "THEKID5" is your legal name and not a nom de plume? BTW, you're posting your responses to different comments than the ones that they are actually responses to, which is confusing.

CoastWatch May 22, 2021 04:44 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara Needs New Leadership

To the Poster- You live in CALIFORNIA- This is not just a Santa Barbara issue with regard to "hands-off" criminals and little to any criminal prosecution- unless there is body harm done by a perp...
Your Democratic lead government, at all levels, from the Governor to the insane State Senators, Assembly Members and all the way down the political food chain CREATED the new California we all have to live with. Burglary, Theft, Car theft and if the perp is under 19 is absolutely not punished in our "criminal justice system" Local D.A. are the culprits, NOT THE CITY ADMINISTRATOR- The City's hands are tied by the new California Justice system- City Attorneys are afraid of the ACLU and will not prosecute ANYONE. There is a reason why so many businesses and Californians who are able too are leaving the State... Our population is quickly turning into a majority that are TAKING government AID and Social Welfare than paying into the tax system-

bornatcottageho... May 22, 2021 07:52 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara Needs New Leadership

Totally! a Democratic issue! LOL! Sure this isn't tied to republicans from the eras past that allowed manufacturing to shutter and send middle class jobs to cheaper countries? Or maybe the republicans, that pulled the plug and state hospitals? Oh, and I forgot the dems totally wanted to repress real wages too, right? I don't think that was a democrat thing.

SantaBarbaraObserver May 23, 2021 08:40 AM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara Needs New Leadership

How predictable VOR. But if we to be honest here, you’re just being intellectually lazy and taking the blame route instead. For example: How are things going in the states where the other color is in control? Any of those in the top 10 in world economic measures? How about in education or well being or upward mobility? They are not doing better, in fact they’re all in the lowest quadrant. So maybe it’s not a Party thing but a systematic problem? However, that would require you to be honest and willing to do the hard work instead of just point your fingers and yelling at the sky… try and do better. That is if you really care about these things and are not just a grumpy curmudgeon.

dukemunson May 23, 2021 10:10 AM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara Needs New Leadership

840am - what are you basing those thoughts on? I did a quick lazy search and the first thing that came up was a US news and world reports article that has California dead last (50th) in opportunity.

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/rankings/opportunity

A huge factor of upward mobility is being able to own a house, and not be a lifelong renter. Costs in much of California (like right here in SB) are prohibitive for most.

Maybe I missed something... so please do explain how you reached that “upward mobility” conclusion of California.

Roger May 22, 2021 04:56 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara Needs New Leadership

It's my understanding that the Loma fire was started by a resident of Santa Barbara not a homeless person but your right there are alot of fires caused by the homeless that get out of control here in Santa Barbara and it's scary to think one could take out a neighborhood. I recall a major insurance company pulling out on alot of people after the Painted Cave Fire. I am an undecided voter for the Mayor's race at this time I would like to see several others throw their hat in the race, Rambo comes to mind... We need someone who is willing to be for All the People not for just one political party someone who is willing to work not just sit in their office all day or go to parties. Recently Hal Conklin passed away he would have been a great Mayor I don't think in all the years aia have lived here I ever met a nicer person than Hal Conklin..I'd love to see Jason Dominguez run he was a worker for the people not for himself. There is a woman I'd love to see run too but if I identify her she might kick my butt so I won't. We need someone here who is willing to work not just let everyone run over the city and destroy it.".I'm Roger Dodger and I approve of this message." I think it's really stupid when people say that but I couldn't help myself...

Minibeast May 22, 2021 05:17 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara Needs New Leadership

Aw, geez Roger . . . I had no clue Hal Conklin was gone. I've always had so much respect for that guy. He would have been a great Mayor.------------- RIP, Hal. Deepest condolences to your family and all who loved you.

Babycakes May 22, 2021 06:17 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara Needs New Leadership

People seem to forget that our homeless problem would be much/much worse if we did not have Mayor Murillo spearheading the campaign to reduce homelessness. Do not let her near complete silence on this issue lead you to believe that she's doing nothing. She walks the walk, and we are all much better off that she's our "Top Pol." Not to mention, but I will, the homeless overwhelmingly support her and her policies.

a-1621748614 May 22, 2021 10:43 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara Needs New Leadership

What specifically has Mayor Murillo done to reduce homelessness in SB? Didn't it nearly doubled during her tenure - at least the onramps were empty prior to her arrival.

a-1621752183 May 22, 2021 11:43 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara Needs New Leadership

I'm hoping Babycakes made that comment tongue-in-cheek. Mayor Murillo loves to get on committees like SB ACT where she looks good as 'chair', but doesn't have to do any work or commit to providing any real solutions. She certainly hasn't mustered the forces of the city on this issue. However, be assured she'll take credit 'for her leadership' for whatever they accomplish. Her 'near complete silence'? I'll say. Mayor Garcetti took a major lead in the Pandemic and in dealing with homelessness, did nightly press conferences in English and Spanish, and got out in front of it. LA has learned some hard lessons: money doesn't solve it, homelessness is really hard, outreach workers burn out fast, and quit, and they're the frontlines in working this issue. But he put a ton of $$$ and political will into combatting homelessness. LA started with 10X at least the scale of the Santa Barbara problem pre-pandemic.

What has Murillo done, exactly?

MarcelK May 23, 2021 12:13 AM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara Needs New Leadership

"the homeless overwhelmingly support her and her policies"

Most people in homeless camps don't know that she exists. As usual we see a lot of intellectually dishonest polemics.

a-1621733178 May 22, 2021 06:26 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara Needs New Leadership

Ernie is an old Testament prophet. Full of sturm and drang signifying nothing. He has railed about unclean streets for a couple of decades. A bit of obsessive on that subject. Let's ask him who he would like to be in charge (other than himself). Tiresome bromide.

SBLetsGetAlong May 22, 2021 07:31 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara Needs New Leadership

My tax money pays for street cleaning. Yet they do not clean my streets.
And the City allows homeless to live in their vehicles on my street while they piss and defacate in the street and neighbors bushes snd kea e trash behind.
And zero street sweeping. They expect us residents to clean up after these bad “guests”.
Seriously. Enough is enough.

bornatcottageho... May 22, 2021 08:00 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara Needs New Leadership

The street sweeping really only happens in the flats, where it's overpopulated and cars are ripe for ticketing. Ernies point about the archaic sweeper rig is spot on! But the city has bank to buy state of the art multi camera parking enforcement rigs? So, yes, a change would be nice. Those sweepers should be rolling all day, everyday, like any other city of it's size whether there is 'street sweeping' on your street/day or not. Santa Barbara is a filthy mis managed stye. It really is and people are so enchanted by the hills and sea they refuse to believe it.

MarcelK May 23, 2021 12:17 AM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara Needs New Leadership

Cathy Murillo doesn't manage the streets department. And if she spent her time micromanaging that department, people would complain that she was doing that instead of their own pet peeve. None of these complaints are intellectually honest or reflect how government--or the world in general--works.

TheKid5 May 23, 2021 09:30 AM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara Needs New Leadership

You are right! The City Administrator, kept on the job by Cathy et al is in charge of getting our streets cleaned and he is not doing it!

oceandrew May 22, 2021 06:40 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara Needs New Leadership

I'm so tired of hearing folks hold others responsible for the ever growing problem with homelessness without offering any LEGAL solutions. All this talk of "leadership" is empty bombast as anyone can stump on solving the problem only to walk it all back when the solutions aren't plentiful, cheap or easy. But then MAGAworld is accustomed to being overpromised and underdelivered.

CoastWatch May 22, 2021 06:55 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara Needs New Leadership

@ OCEANDREW- FYI, the MAGA influence is about ZERO in California politics. In fact, the Dems have been in control of the State and how it's run for more than 25 yrs... PLENTY of time to turn things around, which, they actually HAVE... Unfortunately we are all paying the price and seeing how this dem control has come to fruition. MAGA has absolutely NOTHING to do with CA Politics... This used to be REAGAN COUNTRY- back in the California Golden Years.

SBLetsGetAlong May 22, 2021 07:29 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara Needs New Leadership

Solutions have been offered. Solutions that work in other cities.
Government run and funded tent cities.
With structure and facilities on site that are not near residences.
Our government instead of researching and implementing instead ignores and distracts with fluff pieces and further “research” while expecting the private actor to solve a government issue. The government weds to take care of its citizens homeless and not homeless. Tax payers & those that don’t make enough to file taxes.
Perfect example is the New Beginnings Safe Parking Program. 100% if the parking is provided by the private sector.
While the City posts no overnight parking in its City lots and forced people to move off public parking areas.
I thought it was illegal to move people living in their cars or camping on public land. Apparently it is not “illegal” if the City generates revenue from that parking lot.
Seriously?!?!??! Wake up people, the lazy City bureaucrats expect private sector to do all the work and suffer the consequences.
I encourage you all to write in as this person did to all news media and the City administration & council and tell them you are tired of their inaction in serious matters.

MarcelK May 23, 2021 12:45 AM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara Needs New Leadership

"while expecting the private actor to solve a government issue"

I thought the government is the problem and free markets solve all problems. This stuff is so confusing.

MarcelK May 23, 2021 12:51 AM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara Needs New Leadership

"back in the California Golden Years"

That's Pat Brown you're thinking of, when California was #1 in per capita spending on education, before St. Ronnie let everyone out of the mental institutions, wished cheese-borne botulism on people, called ketchup a vegetable, and figured one redwood tree was plenty.

Andrea Smith May 23, 2021 09:19 AM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara Needs New Leadership

OCEAN DREW first, it's our right to criticize our elected leaders and it's not our job to solve it for them, that is what we elected them for and why we pay them. Also, why is it that when we go to Carp, Ventura, Oxnard, Santa Ynez, Buellton, Lompoc [which we often do now], we don't see this problem? What are those towns doing differently? We prefer to shop out of Santa Barbara now, even if it means going to Goleta instead if time is a constraint.

a-1621812075 May 23, 2021 04:21 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara Needs New Leadership

Your recollection of the golden Pat years is incorrect. Historically, California was always around the middle of the pack for educational spending. Here is the data. In contrast, the educational outcomes have collapsed since Pat's days as CA educations began to favor teaching what to think rather than how to think. We now 47th in English and Math, about same as Alabama. How's that for CA leadership and progress? https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d10/tables/dt10_194.asp

a-1621812090 May 23, 2021 04:21 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara Needs New Leadership

Your recollection of the golden Pat years is incorrect. Historically, California was always around the middle of the pack for educational spending. Here is the data. In contrast, the educational outcomes have collapsed since Pat's days as CA educations began to favor teaching what to think rather than how to think. We now 47th in English and Math, about same as Alabama. How's that for CA leadership and progress? https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d10/tables/dt10_194.asp

letmego May 24, 2021 11:43 AM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara Needs New Leadership

@ANDREA SMITH and @SBGETSALONG
So what is the answer? Do Carp, Ventura, Oxnard have sanctioned tent cities?

It's a real question. I want real answers. Real solutions. Where would we put a tent city? Over by the jail? I'm sure nobody wants one in their neighborhood, but there has to be a place...

a-1621735063 May 22, 2021 06:57 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara Needs New Leadership

Some of you may not like what Ernie is saying, but homeless camps can and do generate fires, aka the Brentwood fire of 2019. According to Spectrum News 1 "About 24 fires a day in the city of Los Angeles start in homeless encampments, and they account for more than half of the fires LAFD responds to." https://spectrumnews1.com/ca/la-west/homelessness/2021/05/16/businesses-terrified-due-to-fires-cause-by-homeless- It is entirely possible, and even likely, that such a fire could do significant damage under the right conditions with our density and terrain.

dukemunson May 22, 2021 07:15 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara Needs New Leadership

Yep... it’s only a matter of time before one of the dozens of homeless fires lead to something big. Heck, there is even a homeless encampment on the San Marcos preserve... which we all know is a high fire danger spot.

bornatcottageho... May 22, 2021 07:46 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara Needs New Leadership

Its comical that the council will roust you for living in a van or self contained mobil unit,-they passed laws for this-and made anyone with a big sprinter type van get a permit but if you're in a tent along a freeway that's totally ok.

MarcelK May 23, 2021 12:27 AM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara Needs New Leadership

A prerequisite for getting anything done is to be *honest*: https://keyt.com/news/safety/2021/03/16/multiple-truckloads-of-items-cleared-from-santa-barbara-homeless-camps/ https://www.independent.com/2021/03/24/homeless-camp-raids-have-unintended-consequences-in-santa-barbara/

sbsweetpea May 22, 2021 07:50 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara Needs New Leadership

I starting visiting Santa Barbara in the 1980’s and moved here in 1990.
As I recall in those days the large Morton Bay fig down near the rail station was homeless central. My friends used to point this out to me and express their dismay. They were congregating there until 1991 when Cal-Trans widened the freeway, got rid of the stoplights and gave us the State St. underpass. This made State St. easily accessible to people and I am assuming the homeless began to migrate away from the fig and on to State St. among other locations. The Homeless crisis in Santa Barbara is nothing new. I found several articles online (UPI, LA Times and a research paper from Western Michigan University 1986) highlighting the homeless problem in Santa Barbara back as far as 1984. So we cannot blame everything on the current city council, mayor and city administrator’s office. Homelessness was a national issue back in the 1930’s during the depression and here we are in 2021 in a gigantic “economic downturn” mostly due to the COVID-19 pandemic and wow what do you know the homeless population is increasing! Remember there are families living in their cars and on the streets. The homeless are not all “criminals” as is often portrayed. California unfortunately happens to be the state that has nearly 50% of all the homeless people in the United States and Santa Barbara has it’s share. Many fires do breakout on or near homeless encampments and I think our fire, police and city government does a damn fine job dealing with these issues, and for the naysayers yes there is room for improvement. Do you know the city of L.A. averages 24 homeless encampment fires a day? They account for 50%+ of all the fire responses for the LAFD. This is a national crisis, so instead of blaming everything on our local officials let’s work with them. Remember you live in Santa Barbara, not Bombay or the Gaza strip.

a-1621743033 May 22, 2021 09:10 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara Needs New Leadership

Thank you for your historical perspective. I differ with you in just one detail. This is not exactly a national crisis. This is a crisis of particular states with particular political policies. Sorry, but Florida, which has similar weather and a large economic underclass, has largely solved their homelessness problem. Over past 5 year, homelessness in FL has declined by 30%. How? Unlike CA and other states which can only put a temporary bandage on the hold times in which serious drug and mental health patients can be held, FL triages homelessness. Many of the drug and mental health are strong armed into treatment. The young and rowdy homeless by choice crowd? If they didn't attend a FL high school they get a one way ticket back to there they came. Tough love, but real love. Not the fake CA kind which doesn't actually help those in need.

MarcelK May 23, 2021 12:28 AM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara Needs New Leadership

"So we cannot blame everything on the current city council, mayor and city administrator’s office."

Not if we're honest, but that's not a common mode here.

Roger May 23, 2021 06:47 AM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara Needs New Leadership

The homeless issue is nothing new but the warming and cooking fires getting out of control are but don't listen to me listen to the firefighters who have to respond to them. I was houseless when I got her 40 years ago and it wasn't this bad then. Now there are people getting robbed and beat up over spare change. It's hard to say exactly when it took a turn for the worse I think somewhere in the early 2000's, the out of control fires the past several years..

Pages

Please Login or Register to comment on this.