Between now and next November’s election, the Santa Barbara City Council will be voting on an abundance of issues, some of which will undoubtedly impact homeless people. Questions related to RV dwellers, the location of free meal programs, and the deployment of more police to enforce “nuisance” laws are just a few of the matters that could confront the council this year.
With Randy Rowse in Das Williams’s seat, homeless issues won’t get the same kind of sympathy that they had been getting before Williams became a state assemblymember. He secured the reliably liberal majority the council was enjoying, with Mayor Helene Schneider, Mayor Pro Tem Grant House, and Councilmember Bendy White completing the flank.
Nobody knows for sure how conservative or moderate Rowse will be in his responses to homeless programs and policy. What’s known is that having owned and operated the popular Paradise Café restaurant for 18 years, he is a businessman first and foremost. He’s also a leader in the Downtown Organization (DO), though now on hiatus because of his council appointment. The DO lobbied hard for the stricter panhandling ordinance that’s now on the books and designed “Real Change,” the alternative-giving program adopted to balance out the more punitive begging policy. To read more, see homelessinsb.org.