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Helene Scheider press conference on Feb. 7, 2012

Paul Wellman

Helene Scheider press conference on Feb. 7, 2012


Who Backs the Mayor?

Schneider Releases List of People Helping with Ballot Initiative Push


Thursday, April 5, 2012
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Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider provided a list of 15 individuals who cumulatively have donated or pledged $30,000 to her effort to collect enough signatures to qualify three initiatives for the November ballot. Schneider estimated the paid signature-gathering effort could cost as much as $40,000, depending on the number of volunteer signature gatherers who could be recruited. The list of donors includes liberals like Chuck Blitz, longtime philanthropist associated with homeless causes; publisher-philanthropist Sarah Miller McCune; Rob Pearson of the Housing Authority; Dave Davis of Community Environmental Council; and Dave Peri, who runs the prominent and politically connected accounting company Peri and Alvarado. In addition, the list includes the politically conservative former city attorney David Hughes, active with many nonprofits.

One of Schneider’s initiatives would increase the sales tax within city limits by half a cent; the proceeds would feed City Hall’s general fund, though an advisory measure is in the offering to split the increased sales tax revenues with the Santa Barbara Unified School District. Likewise, she’s proposing another initiative to increase the business tax on downtown bars and nightclubs to help defray the cost of law enforcement associated with that area, especially on weekends. Lastly, Schneider has proposed a measure that will require public-employee unions to pay the maximum the law allows into their retirement funds, which, if approved, would have most impact on firefighters and police officers.

This Thursday morning, members of the Downtown Organization — many of whose members are leery about the proposed tax hike, will discuss the pros and cons of Schneider’s proposal. Thursday evening, the Democratic Central Committee, which all but opposed her initiatives last month, will meet with Schneider to discuss her plans.

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Big Surprise! FH, who at first supported the propositions... Has FLIP-FLOPPED! Must be nice to have a job that allows him to complain all day long without providing any solutions. Get a real job dude, I'm just saying!

BBOY (anonymous profile)
April 5, 2012 at 12:32 p.m. (Suggest removal)

We cannot maintain our shared infrastructure and beautiful community just by cutting expenses – there is very little left to cut and it’s long past time to generate more revenue.
Every one of these initiatives makes absolute sense and I am going to vote in favor of them. A half-cent increase in sales tax is certainly reasonable. Increasing business tax on downtown bars and clubs to help offset the high costs of law enforcement there is a no brainer (why should the rest of us be asked to subsidize their businesses?). Requiring public-employee unions to kick in the maximum allowed for their own retirement is also just plain common sense.
As a long-time city resident and business owner, I’ll vote in favor of each of these.

freshpavement (anonymous profile)
April 6, 2012 at 7:12 a.m. (Suggest removal)

FIX pensions first. THEN ask for tax increase. ELSE tax increase will just go to pensions, whether directly or indirectly.

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
April 6, 2012 at 11:08 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I agree, freshpavement, "Requiring public-employee unions to kick in the maximum allowed for their own retirement is also just plain common sense." However, we also need to cap at the top and pour those monies back into the fund. FIX the public schools first!

DrDan (anonymous profile)
April 6, 2012 at 8:46 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Education and public safety funding should be spent on just that, not on retirement benefits. Change all defined benefit plans to defined contribution plans. Fix our pension system THEN ask for a tax increase if it's still needed.

Botany (anonymous profile)
April 7, 2012 at 7:23 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Scrapping defined-benefit retirement plans in favor of defined-contribution (401(k)-type personal savings account) plans would be a huge mistake, and be very costly in the long run. I've been involved in the preparation of the following paper that illustrates the facts of this matter; please see https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pi... .

Also, any changes in retirement benefits should be negotiated along with all other employment contract terms, not imposed by legislative fiat through ballot initiatives. It's the fair and right thing to do.

GregMohr (anonymous profile)
April 7, 2012 at 2:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Great article Greg Mohr. Very concise, easy reading. Even a 'conservative,' such as our friend DrDan, should be able to understand it. And yes DrDan fix the schools first would be great too, except for the current wave of conservative propaganda and the effort to privatize.

And we currently have the same old retired downtown business organization members pushing privatization of everything from municipal golf course maintenance to street sweeping. Importing cheap labor from Lancaster to Lompoc is not only mean but unfair and environmentally detrimental. It also won't fix our schools; golf courses perhaps but not schools. Please compare the muni-golf course to the condition of Adams Elementary. Strange priorities indeed.

DonMcDermott (anonymous profile)
April 8, 2012 at 6:12 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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