The Board of Supervisors on 1/13 voted 4-1 for a graffiti abatement ordinance in Isla Vista in hopes that the quick removal of graffiti will deter future culprits from such vandalism. Proponents hope the ordinance will spread to other areas in the county. The ordinance would penalize property owners who fail to either remove graffiti themselves or contact the county to do it. Fifth District Supervisor Joe Centeno opposed the measure because of its penalties.
The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on 1/13 to help four county employees whose homes were damaged or lost in the Tea Fire. The four will get 40 additional hours of personal leave time to address the loss of or damage to their homes, and can also use up to 80 hours of their existing sick leave balances for the same purpose. Conservative watchdog Andy Caldwell, however, alleged the offer constituted a gift of public funds.
Republican State Senator Abel Maldonado, who represents Santa Maria and other chunks of North County, was removed as chair of the agriculture committee on 1/13. A press release from Maldonado’s office said he was removed because of his “outspoken opposition to leadership allowing legislators to continue to receive per diem in the midst of a budget crisis.” Democratic state senate leaders denied the move was retaliation, noting other Republicans had been assigned commitee chair posts.
A state audit of the Irvine-based California Avocado Commission-whose chairman, Rick Shade, is a Carpinteria avocado grower-found that more than $1.5 million in questionable spending was charged on commission credit cards by 18 employees over a three-year period. The spending allegedly included gifts, meals, clothes, luxury spas, and hotels. Auditors said they “appeared to be lavish in nature, and may be considered gifts of public funds.”