In a rare split 3-2 vote, the usually unanimous Goleta City Council decided on Tuesday not to form a special committee focused on the future of Old Town, which is where most of the city’s redevelopment money was being spent before the state killed those funds last year. Instead, the council majority decided to place such considerations under the purview of the existing Economic Development and Revitalization Committee.
As the only councilmember who resides in Old Town, Ed Easton voted against the measure along with Paula Perotte, both believing Old Town deserves steady attention since redevelopment funding was killed by the state last year. “If you want to charge that committee with what is going to be a major task, you take away from the economic development that is citywide,” said Easton, who does not sit on the economic committee that is now in charge of the neighborhood. “And just on a personal basis, to leave me off hurts me badly. I’d like to think I offer the council both the experience and the location and the dedication to Old Town that doesn’t exist on the rest of the council.”
While assuring Easton’s ideas would certainly be considered, Roger Aceves, Michael Bennett, and Jim Farr — the latter two of whom comprise the economic committee — argued that any future plans for Old Town have to be considered from a citywide perspective. “This is no longer just an Old Town issue,” said Aceves, who also cited legal concerns about having a new Old Town committee analyze issues currently being studied by other committees. “This is a citywide issue….The economic development committee needs to have a holistic view of the City of Goleta.”