Carpinterians will have to wait to see if their elected City Council will take a stand one way or another on the Paredon initiative slated for the June ballot. The initiative, which would allow Veneco to skip the planning process for its plans to slant drill off the coast of Carpinteria, was put on the ballot after Veneco collected enough signatures to do so. Dozens gathered on 1/11 in the council chambers to weigh in on whether the council should declare an official stance but were disappointed after nearly two hours of waiting for the agenda item, when the four present councilmembers agreed to postpone the discussion until the missing fifth member — Brad Stein — was present.
In the interim, they said, city staff should continue to refine information on the project, perhaps most importantly on the revenue the slant drilling project would bring to their city and the effect its presence could have on property values. The council will hold a special meeting on 2/15, during which they will decide whether to take a position on the development initiative. While observers say it appears at least three members are prepared to take a formal position against the project, enough for a resolution to pass, that position could be strengthened or weakened depending on where the other two — Mayor Gregg Carty and Councilmember Joe Armendariz — land. The months leading up to the June election will no doubt be interesting in the seaside city, as both supporters and opposition have begun to rise up and vocalize.