The Santa Barbara Hospice Foundation is the happy recipient of unexpected largesse. H. Guy Di Stefano – a former employee of the Federal Aviation Administration who lived part-time in Santa Ynez and part-time in Washington State – bequeathed $30 million to Hospice, which provides free counseling to patients and families facing issues related to terminal illness. Di Stefano, who had no heirs, passed away in late July.
The City of Santa Barbara concluded the last fiscal year with $86,000 in its piggy bank despite having projected a shortfall of $4 million. City administrators said the shortfall was avoided because of a hiring freeze that kept many vacant positions unfilled. Parks and Recreation accounted for $620,000 of the savings; Community Development, $602,000; and the Police Department, $508,000. In addition, the city collected far more than it expected, mostly through increased property tax revenues.
Santa Barbara City Councilmembers delayed deciding on whether to spend another $250,000 to fix a glitch that marred the opening of the new $25 million Granada parking garage. City engineers omitted from their plans a traffic lane into the garage’s Anacapa Street entrance, raising worries that rush hour drivers might collide with backed-up cars waiting to get into the garage. The $250,000 solution would have been to cut a lane out of the sidewalk. The cheaper solution – and the one adopted by the council – was to eliminate the 12 parking spaces across the street from the garage.