Santa Barbara County supervisors voted unanimously to get the ball rolling on the possible implementation of a short-term loan program for farmers impacted by last month’s vicious cold spell and late December’s wild wind storm. While Governor Schwarzenegger has already declared a state of emergency in the county and President Bush is slated to make a similar call sometime this week, the windfall of assistance programs in which these declarations result often takes too long to kick in for smaller farming operations. Looking to remedy this, 1st District Supervisor Salud Carbajal proposed a stopgap program for 6 to 18 months that would provide low-interest loans of up to $30,000.
In related freeze fallout news, Governor Schwarzenegger released some $800,000 in funds this week for foodbank programs throughout the state. The Foodbank of Santa Barbara, besieged by a nearly 50 percent increase in demand at its Santa Maria agencies and running low on supplies due to Mother Nature’s sucker punch, received a much needed $53,000 shot in the arm from the governor’s handout. According to local Foodbank Executive Director Jim Mangis, the money arrived “just in the nick of time,” though the food it has helped purchase will no doubt be gone before the end of February.
At this week’s Board of Supervisors meeting, Supervisor Janet Wolf urged constituents to apply for 2nd District vacancies on the county’s Board of Architectural Review, Assessment Appeals Board, Retirement Board, Human Relations Commission, and Affirmative Action Commission, as well as the advisory boards for Alcohol and Drug Problems and Historical Landmarks.