Randy: State St. Car Foes “Nostalgic for Pandemic”; Homelessness “Not a Housing Problem”; Ale “Deserves Another Shot”

Santa Barbara Mayor Randy Rowse (courtesy)

Provocative as ever, Mayor Randy Rowse returned to Newsmakers TV on Friday, setting forth some policy and political arguments sure to aggravate the lefty social engineering types who dominate local government.

In a lively conversation with Josh Molina and the genial host, the Santa Barbara mayor (and former high school linebacker) tackled the ideological conventional wisdom on urgent issues atop City Hall’s agenda — from the state of State Street and the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent big ruling on homelessness, to the city’s just-adopted climate strategy and the spirited race for the District 1 council seat.

As a political matter, Rowse’s comments are significant, given his status as the one and only official elected citywide, perhaps positioning him to better reflect the cross-currents of attitudes and mood among the overall voting public.

In our interview, Hizzoner:

  • Described as “a unicorn” the alleged “State Street Promenade,” expressing exasperation with the majority of his colleagues, who’ve refused to re-open to traffic any of the nine blocks of the city’s main downtown corridor closed as an emergency measure to help restaurants stay in business during the early days of the Covid epidemic: “I’m living in the now,” he said, joking that the council majority stubbornly keeping the street blocked may be “nostalgic for the pandemic,” while expressing concerns he’s heard from many property owners about the ongoing decline of downtown business, not to mention the red ink-stained city parking fund.

  • Said that the Supreme Court’s decision about homelessness in the closely-watched City of Grants Pass, Oregon v. Johnson case, which now authorizes the arrest of people for sleeping on the street, will have little practical effect in Santa Barbara, because of the city’s comprehensive and compassionate homeless policy, under which police officers here do not make such arrests. However, Rowse also flatly rejected triumphalist claims by some in the non-profit community — “we know what works,” as one leading advocate for the homeless put it this week — while underscoring his belief that expansive mental health and substance abuse treatments, not housing, are the key to addressing the matter. “I’m not a housing-first person,” he said.

  • Suggested that (despite his vote in favor of it) the city’s much-ballyhooed Climate Action Plan Resolution may register with some voters as a top-down, we-know-what’s-best-for-you City Hall diktat which, despite its good intentions, disdains practical concerns held by many residents about everyday transportation and energy costs and needs. Amid fierce political polarization across the country, he said, it is crucial to seek and find consensus on such complex matters.

  • Praised the work on council of District 1 representative Alejandra Gutierrez, who is locked in a tough campaign for re-election, not least because the ocal Democratic Party, which backed her last time out, now has dumped her for one of her rivals. In response to questions, Rowse acknowledged that the incumbent represents a crucial fourth vote on council against rent control proposals pushed by tenants rights advocates; while stopping short of a formal endorsement, he added that “Ale deserves another shot” for a second term.

  • Defended his support for a controversial half-cent sales tax increase proposal which council voted unanimously to put on the November ballot. Although he normally abhors tax increases, Rowse said, he fears cuts of “low-hanging fruit” expenditures in the city budget, such as libraries and recreation and parks programs, as well as the loss of revenue for the city’s special housing fund. In this, at least, he is allied with progressives, including members of City Hall unions who would be the biggest beneficiaries of the tax hike.

Plus: the mayor accuses Newsmakers of aiding and abetting the spread of narcolepsy, while crediting us with helping to cure insomnia.

All this and more, right here, right now on Newsmakers TV.

Check out our conversation with the mayor via YouTube below, or by clicking through this link. The podcast version is here. TVSB, Channel 17, airs the show weeknights at 8 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday at 9 a.m. KCSB, 91.9 FM, broadcasts the program at 5:30 on Monday.

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Written by Jerry Roberts

“Newsmakers” is a multimedia journalism platform that focuses on politics, media and public affairs in Santa Barbara. Learn more at newsmakerswithjr.com

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    • Randy listens and talks to downtown business owners, not just the diner and bar owners. Randy hears from us that the closed road harms retail and he fully gets it. He is one vote. The other council members have this fantasy of a promenade that won’t happen, and they are burning time and money on this at an alarming rate and those are your tax dollars being thrown away. He’s not perfect, none of them are nor are we. Eric and Randy both voted to open at least a partial portion of the road.
      This isn’t about anti cars, anti bikes, anti anything. This is about getting back to business and normality for Santa Barbara. Open the road, let our businesses breath again. Bring back our historic parades and events downtown. Get rid of the ebike kids, drunks and adicts, make downtown fun again. This isn’t about nostalgia. This is about our heritage, traditions, and business downtown. A lot of us spend more hours down here than we want to. I spend over 50 hours a week on State, near Carrillo and i watch it all.
      More and more, people are on the sidewalks. We rarely see anyone on the street. Businesses are on the side walks. Ebikes and skateboards are not.

  1. Hard to understand why “lefties” would be aggravated by the mayor’s comments. He’s been around since before many of the Council members were born and knows the City and it’s history. Closing State has been a disaster for everyone but restaurants and tourist oriented hotels. A City awash in debt has no recourse other than to cut, cut, cut services or increase taxes. As far as Climate Action, this is a very “liberal” approach to policy. The mayor’s approach reminds me of the good ole’ days when Council Members were voted city-wide and saw the whole picture, instead of the narrow District fiefdoms.

    • Red Creek, There is another potential action to help reduce debt – reduce staff, reduce salaries and benefits. As many have observed in the past, SB is overstaffed in comparison with similar cities. And comparing planners in Community Development, the city is at the top in CA in terms of planners per population. The unions help the council to get elected so the council increases the salaries and retirements and round and round we go.

      • Anonymous — Well, I said, reducing debt had two options, raising income or CUT CUT CUT. That includes staffing, services, maintenance, road repair or what ever the Council fills would be a lower priority. Don’t agree that reducing salaries would be an answer, as it is so expensive living here.

        • Red, Perhaps cut back the number of employees and cut a lot of time-wasting activities. I recall when a former City staff person took a job in my company (apparently for advancement) quit and went back to the City within a few weeks because we expected more work to be accomplished than he/she was used to. Unfortunately that kind of work ethic has a tendency to become ingrained.

  2. Interesting conversation! I like our middle-of-the-road mayor, especially because there is one far left councilmember and perhaps two steady left; and no others consistently in the middle of the road. Or maybe it’s just because I’ve been around long enough to have seen “strong town”ers pontificate on what we/Santa Barbarans should do before they then move on and away from UCSB/Cal Poly, Montecito, wherever. What most all of us here for a while miss is having the Solstice and Fiesta parades on State Street, with those KEEP OUT objects moved out of the way!

    One thing, though, as a longtime eastside resident, I don’t feel myself included in Councilmember A. Gutierrez’s “my people”; I’ve never met her and although I’ve appreciated how hard she has been running the last months, it’s not likely she will have my vote. So, word to the wise: as a friend advised 1st time presidential candidate Bill Clinton, “If you want my vote, ask me for it!”

    • Because they don’t understand that the economic pressures that have resulted in storefronts closing have nothing to do with cars being on state st..

      It’s pretty mind boggling actually that people think there is a link between vehicle access and economic success.

      • Randy has run a successful local business. He has first-hand experience. Do you? What’s on your resume? I don’t believe that any of the Council has significant business experience either. They wanna spend our money hand over fist for consultants and take citizen polls to find a way to decide what to do. But hey, keep supporting the COVID version of State St. and see what happens?

        • I don’t always or maybe even often agree with you, BasicInfo, but how care-less of the Council to spend $800,000+/- on the MIG consultants and then a couple of years later go back to our very own city staff and opinions! At least earlier in this slog, however, the SSAC meetings were open to the viewing public, not just those who could fit into the apparently untelevised Cabrillo Pavillion or Faulkner Library where some of the meetings were held.

          This unelected body, except for its three Council members, is hardworking but questionably representative of the City of Santa Barbara.

          Worst, this ADVISORY body has three of the final 7 decisionmakers, the City Council members, on it. We will need to pay attention to what councilmembers Harmon, Jordan, and Sneddon say because it’s human nature not to easily change one’s mind after making public statements.

          So, this whole exercise is close to farcical. It is not representative of the SB public that is mostly not following it closely, even when the meetings are televised, as the last one was not until after the meeting – as of this morning, there have been 94 viewers of the 6/26 meeting on the City’s YouTube – will this week’s be televised?

          For a city with a budgetary deficit to spend close to a $million on consultants/plus dedicated city staff is spitting in the faces of we-the-people. If they had wanted to have SB-public representation, the Mayor, elected at-large in a very contested election against an incumbent mayor and two others, should have been on this committee and the District representatives should have stayed with their local district concerns, many of which _do_ touch on State Street. Former councilmembers with a history of interest in planning, as Gerry de Witt, should have been invited. (Sheila Lodge is on the Planning Commission.) The only ones who should be – and are on the SSAC are HLC members, Grumbine, Lenvik, Ensberg – their opinions re design-plus-utility matter.)

          Commercial interests should be of prime concern; people used to come downtown to shop (as well as eat/drink and go to movies) and models for these central downtown blocks need to be other cities’ successful downtowns. But times have changed, movies seem near-dead and in Santa Barbara so seems the downtown for non-eating/drinking shopping. So what is left?

          Not just pleasing their bicycling constituents or even pleasing their pedestrian constituents – we all, except for the high-speed fat tires, are pedestrians at some point. Nor should our once central street have “play” stations or splash ponds, as threatened for the once historic de la Guerra Plaza. It’s a puzzle! But as jigsaw puzzles are made from molds with only the pictures changing, so should this/our central downtown, locked in place by existing buildings. This should not be re-inventing the downtown wheel.

          I’ve lived car-free in cities where there is good (frequent service, clean) and accessible public transit. That does not exist in Santa Barbara and is not likely to do so. So, a car-free downtown will likely mean appealing to a very limited subset of the City’s population (plus tourists); is that fair and right to the city’s taxpayers? Not unless there are businesses that generate a lot of tax money to support it.

          And so we Santa Barbarans wait and wait and wait….

      • Perhaps while visiting Costco in Goleta, and the surrounding shopping center, the “no cars on State” folks could check out the thousands of cars and shoppers going in and out of stores. It’s mind boggling to think that a viable shopping area would be so hostile to casr and ease of parking. Expensive car park garages, blocked streets with shanty like restaurants on sidewalks, 2 way streets which can be dead ends to State or parklets, all make the downtown difficult and unappealing for shopping.

        • RED CREEK – Costco and the shopping area there is in no way at all analogous to State Street. One is a tourist destination full of bars, restaurants and fine (decent) dining, the other is a big box shopping area that locals go to for their basic needs and fast food. Not in any way whatsoever comparable.

          • Shopping is shopping. The more stores that serve shoppers in Goleta, the less they will shop in Santa Barbara. Regional or not, if there is ease of access and parking and availability of goods, folks will come. The harder the City of SB makes it for shoppers (and the more expensive), the fewer locals will visit. Perhaps a tourist village is good for the hotels and restaurants but not for what local people need. Most of us didn’t vote for SB to become tourist land owed largely by outside interests.

    • Because we see how well it worked before the social engineering that threw the locals under the bus by eliminating infrastructure in favor of catering to the tourist industry. Also, not everyone fits into the eugenics-based vision of the survival-of-the-fittest crowd, and these physical limitations become more apparent as one becomes older.

      Yes, at one time Santa Barbara–while having a very strong tourist-based economy, had stores that served the needs of the locals, and ironically, within walking distance of where many downtown lived, with a very strong economy where working-class people thrived. Now, those locals have been driven out by the high prices, the city leaders are wringing their hands in frustration over the (at last count) $7 million in debt in which the city finds itself. More ironic is that despite their vision of a bike-and-hike world of “green” politics, the people who live downtown must drive (thus adding to the carbon footprint) in order to do basic shopping.

  3. “As a political matter, Rowse’s comments are significant, given his status as the one and only official elected citywide, perhaps positioning him to better reflect the cross-currents of attitudes and mood among the overall voting public.”

    Ludicrous. Rowse got a minority of the vote but won because 3 more liberal candidates split the vote.

    • So, he defeated not one but three opponents – including the incumbent mayor, and for that reason does not legitimately represent the voters who elected him? Or what? Talk all you want about vote-splitting and “more liberal candidates,” he won city-wide, which no other councilmember can claim. (I’m glad you said, “more liberal,” acknowledging that the mayor is liberal.) I am curious, though, about how you gauge “liberal.” Is opening or closing State St. a liberal/conservative issue? How so?

      • That’s a grossly dishonest misrepresentation of my point. Again, ” Rowse got a minority of the vote”. SB has a very unusual and unfortunate voting system with runoff. If there had been 100 candidates and Rowse got 1 more vote than any of the others, that wouldn’t make him more representative, it would make him less representative … the number of other candidates he defeated is a function of how many candidates were in the race, not of how representative he is. This isn’t rocket science but it seems to be way beyond your cognitive abilities.

        “I’m glad you said, “more liberal,” acknowledging that the mayor is liberal.”

        Is English your native language? I acknowledged no such thing … it’s a relative comparison. You’re more honest than Trump, but that doesn’t mean you’re honest. You’re smarter than a turnip, but that doesn’t mean you’re smart.

        “I am curious, though, about how you gauge “liberal.” Is opening or closing State St. a liberal/conservative issue? How so?”

        I said nothing about whether it’s a liberal or conservative issue … I was only addressing Jerry’s nonsense about Rowse being elected citywide as somehow reflecting the overall voting public. Again, he doesn’t because *he got a minority of the vote*. As for how I gauge “liberal”, again it’s a relative comparison. Rowse is widely–in fact universally–considered to be less liberal than Cathy Murillo, Deborah Schwarz, and James Joyce, and that fact was repeatedly noted by many people during the campaign. Again this isn’t rocket science, but you seem wholly incapable of grasping these simple points.

        • I did not say that the mayor is more or less “liberal” than anyone else – only that he is, indeed, liberal. I was acknowledging that you used a relative term and did not call him “conservative.” However, since that quote referred to the election and not the issue of State St., I should not have conflated the two. My apologies.

          As for Jerry’s quote, Rowse is still the only one with a citywide constituency. Maybe a primary of some kind would be a good idea. So far, the council has chosen not to pursue it.

          • in re DeWitt:

            “I did not say that the mayor is more or less “liberal” than anyone else”

            No, I did … duh.

            “only that he is, indeed, liberal”

            You claimed that *I* acknowledged that, which I didn’t. You seem to believe it, which is odd because I don’t think Randy considers himself a liberal, or labels himself as such. He’s a former Democrat who is now an independent because the Democratic Party is too far left for him.

            “I was acknowledging that you used a relative term”

            No you weren’t … you claimed that my relative “more liberal” was acknowledgement of an absolute, “liberal”. Which is not what I said, not what I meant, and not what I believe.

            “you … did not call him “conservative.””

            Indeed I didn’t; I didn’t call him anything. But he’s pretty conservative for SB, and certainly more conservative than the “liberal” candidates Murillo, Schwartz, and Joyce, and that was a common framing around the election. The Republicans in town supported and voted him. Centrists supported and voted for him.

            Again this is relative … he’s nothing like what the “conservative” label, which has shifted immensely, usually attaches to these days–Trump supporters, election deniers, racists, homophobes, autocrats, white nationalists, and the like. Randy’s a moderate or centrist in the OG sense. He’s not a bad person but he’s a heck of a lot more conservative than I am.

            “I should not have conflated the two. My apologies.”

            Good. As for your earlier question … yes, I do think that State St. is a liberal/conservative issue in a somewhat attenuated sense … there’s a *correlation* between position on the political spectrum and position on State St., but it’s squishy … people far to the right like Basic and Rubaiyat are predictably gung ho for opening the whole thing to cars and blame the decline of State St. on the closure, which as has been noted here many times is factually ridiculous. People on the far left are likely to be anti-car, and people in-between will take a variety of positions as to just how open or closed it should be.

            “As for Jerry’s quote, Rowse is still the only one with a citywide constituency.”

            An irrelevant fact that isn’t what Jerry said or was talking about .. he said “perhaps reflect the cross-currents of attitudes and mood among the overall voting public” — which again is ludicrous when Randy only got 39% of the vote. And even if he got 100% of the vote the whole idea of a “mood among the overall voting public” is nonsense.

            “Maybe a primary of some kind would be a good idea.”

            A primary makes no sense; a runoff, or IRV voting, does–the winner *should* have received the majority of the votes … and if there had been a runoff there’s a very good chance that Randy would not have been the winner; he got 39% of the vote while Joyce and Murillo got 52% between them, with Schwartz getting most of the rest. With IRV, Schwartz’s votes would have been distributed to voter’s second choice; it’s hard to say how many would have gone to Joyce and to Murillo, but few would have gone to Rowse. Joyce was already ahead of Murillo by 2%, so she probably would have been the next one dropped, and nearly all of her voter’s second or third (if Schwartz was the second) choices would have gone to Joyce, making him mayor. FWIW, I don’t think that would have been a good thing–Joyce was not a serious candidate and has said that he was only in the race “for the experience”. My policy disagreements with Randy don’t go so far that I would prefer someone uncommitted or incompetent in his place.

                • Actually, it is. What were you thinking of, some kind of extra election after November? Who would pay for it? Like the board of supervisors, the first round of voting is in June, in what is commonly known as the primary. The run-off follows in November, in what is known as the general election. As Roy Lee showed, a candidate with over 50% of the primary vote eliminates the need for a runoff, but a candidate could not be elected with a plurality.

                  I don’t think we disagree on this, but that first round is still called a primary (i.e. first). It’s also where the national parties select their candidates for the general election in November.

          • “An irrelevant fact that isn’t what Jerry said or was talking about”

            Correction/clarification: Jerry did say that Rowse is the only person elected citywide, which is equivalent to saying that he’s the only person with a citywide constituency, but he transmogrified that technical legal fact into this absurd claim about reflecting “the cross-currents of attitudes and mood among the overall voting public”. It’s nonsense because Randy didn’t even get 40% of the *votes*, which is an even smaller fraction of the populace, and because no one person can reflect the variety of attitudes and moods of the entire population of a city, especially on contentious issues. Jerry’s formulation is a pathetic attempt to give Randy’s views some sort of authority or credence that he doesn’t have.

        • Hey Dalgorf, “genius” whose first language appears to be English, you won’t give a damn but your superior attitude and putdowns make your arguments hard to give credence to and anger some readers. It’s not a persuasive device.

        • Who are you even responding to, and why would you tell someone what they themselves pointed out?

          BTW, I haven’t seen your right wing name in quite a while. I seem to recall frequently sparring with you in the Independent’s comment section when they had one.

  4. https://www.sfgate.com/centralcoast/article/state-street-santa-barbara-closure-19482588.php

    “[blah blah blah] he wrote, offering no statistical evidence to support the argument. Rowse, again without a citation, added [blah blah blah]”

    “And while these exhortations may seem somewhat innocuous upon first read, they discard years of community input and work by city staff — not to mention nearly $800,000 spent on work by Berkeley-based consulting firm MIG, which specializes in helping municipalities create pedestrian-friendly spaces. They also go against the original intent of State Street, according to the city’s 1964 general plan. Tess Harris, Santa Barbara’s State Street master planner, told SFGATE in March 2022 that Santa Barbara originally envisioned State Street as a “pedestrianized downtown that encourages walking and biking and other aspects of mobility.” ”

    It’s worth reading the whole article. (Don’t be the sort of loser who blabbers about San Francisco just because that’s where this was published.)

    • When the General Plan was written, State St. had two lanes of traffic in each direction with street parking and no parking garages or lots behind the stores. The goals of the plan to create a “pedestrianized downtown that encourages walking and biking and other aspects of mobility” was realized with the narrowing of the street, the creation of wide, tree-scaped sidewalks, dedicated bike lanes in both directions and a wealth of off-street parking. The Plan never envisioned closing the street to traffic. As for the claim that they “discard years of community input and work by city staff,” I assume you mean since the pandemic; there was no planning or work by City staff to close the street before that. As for that great $800,000 study, it resulted in plans and maps rejected by everyone – not just the mayor.

      Personally, I support creating a world-class pedestrian mall below Canon Perdido or Cota with the upper portion of the street open. Mostly, though, I just wish that the Council would do something – anything – to get rid of the K-Rails and rickety shacks we call “parklets.” (What an inappropriate name; these things are not parks in any way, shape or form!) The mayor supports opening the street. The rest of the Council doesn’t seem to support anything, so they keep kicking the can down the road – and the temporary, emergency closure remains. But don’t paint it as the mayor vs. the council – it’s not. The mayor is speaking out, the council is doing nothing (and just hoping that they don’t have to address the issue while campaigning in their districts. None have so far.)

      • ” As for the claim that they “discard years of community input and work by city staff,” I assume you mean since the pandemic;”

        I don’t mean anything by it, genius, since I didn’t write it.

        “But don’t paint it as the mayor vs. the council – it’s not. ”

        I’m not painting anything because again I didn’t write it, genius. But plenty of other people, including Jerry and Randy himself, have painted it that way, e.g., “expressing exasperation with the majority of his colleagues”. My own view is that your claims here about the rest of the council are false and dishonest.

        • Fine – I’m disputing the source you’re quoting. (Don’t pass it along if you don’t want to own it.) And isn’t that pretty much what I said, that the mayor, like me, is frustrated (“expressing exasperation with the majority of his colleagues”) for their do-nothing attitude on this. (By the way, I’d like to see the context of that quote.) It’s not a matter of the mayor vs. the council on whether the street should be open – the council hasn’t been able to decide what they want. I don’t totally agree with the mayor’s position, but a decision either way would allow construction to start – or not – on a real pedestrian mall. I wasn’t here in 1964, but I think it’s fair to say that K-Rails are not what the General Plan envisioned.

          As for my claims about the rest of the council, they are limited in this discussion to this issue. For what it’ worth, I have actively supported a couple of them and will do so again. I’m just frustrated with their inability to act on this issue, and with the mayor being constantly presented as the grinch who wants to open State St. That’s his opinion, but it’s not his choice – it’s the full council’s. So make a choice already!

          • “Don’t pass it along if you don’t want to own it.”

            That’s moronic and intellectually dishonest (and thus consistent for you). I passed along a relevant article for people to read … I don’t “own” the text and so I can’t tell you what time frame the authors meant by “discard years of community input and work by city staff”, but your supposition seems implausible.

      • Gerry, You said “When the General Plan was written, State St. had two lanes of traffic in each direction with street parking and no parking garages or lots behind the stores.” That is incorrect.

        While that may have been true when the original GP was written in 1964, the current General Plan was written in 2011 and conditions then were pretty much as they were before State Street was closed to cars a few years ago.

  5. What is it about our journalists, voters and representatives today? What happened to pragmatic evidence based problem solving? What happened to critical thinking? I did not hear a single evidence based proposal in this rambling discussion. Instead I heard ideological positions that should have been replaced 150 years ago by knowledge based concepts of how group functional outcomes are achieved.

    Should our community be run based on the preferences of a handful of developers and property owners that have not had an independent thought in their lives? I say no.

    Should our community be run based on the preferences of a handful of political ideologues that have not had an independent thought in their lives? I say no.

    What we need in Santa Barbara County, the US and the world are people that are capable of distinguishing between opinions and knowledge; we need domain expertise and knowledge based solutions to real problems.

    Kristian L. T. Blom

      • Of course housing is essential to solving homelessness. And of course housing is essential to solving what’s gone wrong in Santa Barbara County over the last half century. The reason State Street has become a pathetic strip mall is that commercial landlords own downtown and commercial landlords are driven by one thing Net Operating Income.

        Until voters and the City Council comes to understand that there is no private market solution to functional downtown districts or affordable housing, they will continue to waste time and money on things that are in fact tangential to the real issues. Anyone that thinks that allowing cars to drive up and down State Street will magically drive up revenues downtown, is ignoring the fact that the businesses that occupy State Street are with a few notable exceptions, the problem. And the reason that State Street is dominated by low quality, utterly generic businesses, is that the discount rate fell almost continuously for over 30 years between 1983-2012, driving up real estate values one biz cycle after another, causing many people to believe that this dynamic is permanent.

  6. ” underscoring his belief that expansive mental health and substance abuse treatments, not housing, are the key to addressing the matter. “I’m not a housing-first person,” he said.”

    Randy, Randy, Randy….you STILL don’t get it. You still refuse to face and admit that an exploding amount of homeless people exist because they can’t afford housing, even with jobs, sometimes with several jobs. You know that it’s impossible to explain away the existence of these people, so you keep on parroting those old chestnuts that homeless people are all addicts, alcoholics, mentally ill, criminals etc. It’s pretty horrifying to admit that the system is broken and that existing worsening economics is literally driving people into the streets. It’s just easier to believe that “they like living like that”, that homeless people are all lazy, crazy, addicted, drunk, and criminal than it is to realize that yeah…the system is a rolling dumpster fire. The person with that $15.00 per hour (pretax income) job can’t afford even the tiniest cell of an apartment now. The numbers just don’t square up. So it’s easier to just say “let them eat cake!”, wave a dismissive hand, and herd everyone into the corrals and internment camps like the “tiny house community”, and anyone who doesn’t comply will find themselves residents of the local Greybar Hotel.

    See how continued lies and delusions keeps working for you…and see how well arresting and incarcerating people for being poor works out. It didn’t work out so well in Dickens’ time, either.

    • Yep, they just don’t get economics. I worked as a security guard at the News-Press from 1994-2004 and the homeless were not the problem, but rather the drunks from the nearby bars who insisted on parking at the News-Press, or would stagger through and urinate on the property.

    • OK Clu-let’s acknowledge that housing affordability is a national or even global problem. Providing subsidized, free or well below market housing in paradise on the backs of already struggling taxpayers ensures a never ending demand which the supply can never meet. At what point can we ask those in need, ” Where you from?”

    • So what is your solution? Nobody is saying “let them eat cake,” the tiny house developments and others that you call “internment camps” are designed to provide transitional housing, providing the resources to find employment, if necessary, and transition back into the housing market. Such programs have been very successful, here and elsewhere. By and large, these are people living in cars or on friends’ couches while working but unable to accumulate the resources necessary to get back into housing. They are pretty invisible to most of us, and work to stay that way.

      These are not the ones hanging around State St. and living in doorways. Like it or not, for whatever reason or reasons, there are those who can accurately be described as “addicts, alcoholics, mentally ill, criminals etc.” Simply providing housing for those people will not solve their problems.

      The city is working on a number of levels and has had a pretty impressive track record in getting those you describe, who have lost housing because of economic conditions, back into permanent housing. Of course there is a lot more to be done, but for the “visible” homeless who are struggling with addiction or mental illness, Rowse is absolutely right, “expansive mental health and substance abuse treatments, not housing, are the key to addressing the matter.”

    • Maybe he does listen to his constituents. Do you really believe that your opinion is the only one there is? No, “housing first” does not always work. In our little paradise on the Pacific, most of the housing being created is market-rate and usually sold to out-of-towners who can now work from home and those just looking to get into the SB housing market. It does nothing to provide the kind of housing we need. (Do a little reading, buddy.) Affordable housing requires subsidies. The city Housing Authority is doing what it can with the resources available. Perhaps it is you who could use some education (unless, of course, you have the magic solution. If so, please educate us and stop calling people names. It only makes you look bad; it does not advance your argument. Just sayin’.)

      • I don’t think you understand “housing first” when it comes to homelessness. It’s not referring to increased housing in general (market rate or designated by income). It’s referring specifically to housing for the HOMELESS. Housing that is created, built, purchased, whatever – specifically only to get people OFF THE STREET. Apples and oranges.

        If you would LIKE some education, simply google “What is housing first”. And I did not call Randy names, unless you consider “buddy” a name. “Uneducated” (about housing first) is simply a definition. The article did not clarify why he “isn’t a housing first guy”.

      • SBSurfer this is straight from the conclusion section of the very article you googled up above:

        “Given Utah and California’s experience with Housing First, adopting a Housing First approach nationally is unwise.”

        Hmm? Doesn’t sound like support for the “housing first concept” you’re into.

        • BASIC – of course you missed the point as well as missing this part, which absolutely is in line with SBSURFER’s comment that housing availability is critical:

          “There are many ways to improve housing affordability, including dramatically reducing regulatory barriers to housing development and increasing housing supply. Local policymakers should consider Houston’s example and act swiftly to address homelessness with reforms to increase housing supply and reduce costs.”

          SBSURFER: “affordable housing availability is imperative to lessening homelessness.”

          Article: Increased housing supply will help homelessness.

          BASIC: Housing First might not work in CA, therefore SBSURFER is wrong in saying that housing availability/supply will help homelessness.

          SBS said only that availability is important. This article agrees with that and supports that common sense claim. Just because it recognizes that some methods might not be the best way to achieve it, SBS’s statement rings true and valid.

        • Thank you Sac.
          Yes there are boundless ways to go about providing more housing in general and more affordable housing. I’m not the expert on this but I would guess that having more inventory would lower the prices making it a tad more equitable for all.

      • Absolutely true in most cases, but not here. Demand for market-rate homes and apartments is inelastic. What used to be an affordable home on the Westside now sells for a million and a half dollars. The same is true for new apartments – the only affordable units are the 10% required to be affordable to those making $100,000 per year or less. (Yes, most are required to be affordable to lower incomes – but even doctors and lawyers in this town can qualify.) The “more is better” philosophy assumes that the market will respond to the increased supply, which it does most places – but not here. ALL new housing from here on must be affordable, and somebody has to pay for it. Housing as we’re doing it now helps neither the homeless nor our working poor.

  7. Wishy washy..don’t listen to what politicians say but what they actually do…BOS impact of the high density Projects is already driving grocery stores to sell there stores in the area. Grocery stores do their research
    And will move on low forecasting. Thanks BOS for the demise of our great community, congestion, crime, pollution, and grocery stores leaving…one sup commented, people get so emotional as she drove off
    On tax payers dime to her acreage housing void of high density. They don’t care about their constituents
    they cram people in like cattle. No worries constituents are voting them out.

  8. Is there an update on the short-term rental crackdown? The city set aside a good chunk of money for enforcement but has there been an update?

    Other regions have been very strict and limiting about this, only issuing a handful of permits for specific areas. When is Santa Barbara going to join the ranks? Or do we need to stand outside with water guns and spray tourists like in Barcelona?

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