Complicit or Negligent?

Saturday, February 23, 2013
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The City of Santa Barbara leased Las Positas tennis courts to Elings Park for $1 per year. Elings has increased the rates for use of these public courts by about 400%, an action protested by the large majority of the players.

There have been many discussions with Elings without resolution. What’s more, Elings has bypassed numerous requests for costing data on which they based the fees.

In granting the lease, the City appears to have provided no oversight as to the rates to be charged by Elings now or, even more worrisome, in the future. This could have been caused by one of two things, neither of which reflects well on the Parks Department or the City.

1. The City realized that this problem existed and willfully allowed no limit on what Elings could charge now or in the future. Or,

2. The City neglected to consider protecting the public and thus provided no oversight on what Elings might charge.

In the first case, the City is complicit in the huge rate increase, while in the second, it shows a lack of due diligence in their deliberations.

Now it appears quite possible that the city did not even follow the requirements of its own charter in granting the lease.

Unfortunately, the City Council continues to rebuff our many attempts to discuss these and related issues at a Council Meeting. What’s more, they are providing no assistance to help resolve the problem they created.

Please visit and click on ‘YOU’ along the top row. There you can view our petition (at last count 448 citizens have signed) and easily launch an email or letter to City Council members to encourage them to cease denying over 400 citizens an open hearing on this issue.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

$1.00 a year? Nice idea, bad fiscal planning!

dou4now (anonymous profile)
February 25, 2013 at 7:28 a.m. (Suggest removal)

There are free tennis courts in public parks with free night lighting all over the place in most towns. The courts aren't usually very pristine but they can be reasonably well kept. If you want pristine courts you join a tennis club, but Santa Barbara is one of the few places where you have people come up to you randomly on public tennis courts asking for money. The first time it happened I thought they were trying to scam me or something.

More than tripling the rates from $150/year to $495/year for courts they lease from the city for $1/year seems pretty suspicious to me. The city should have made some restrictions since they are subsidizing their operation. The fee of $1/year is just fine, since they COULD pass that savings along to the tennis players.. but they obviously aren't doing that so I don't see why the taxpayer should continue to subsidize them.

Honestly, they should just make the courts free and then put a dollar/quarter feeder and charge $1 to keep the lights on for 15 minutes. That's $4/hour to play tennis at night and let people play for free during the day. They will probably save a lot of money on electricity because the lights will only be one while in use.

Speaking of saving money on electricity, my parents live in another state and pay about $.02 or $.03/kWh for electricity. I'm paying $.33/kWh for the top tier. That means my electricity bill would be about 1/10th the amount if I lived in another state.

Forget Elings, we need to get a lawsuit together against So Cal Edison. This is getting ridiculous.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
February 25, 2013 at 11:58 a.m. (Suggest removal)

We need a Parks and Rec director who will stand up for the public. This "adventure pass ideology" does not serve the public good.

Georgy (anonymous profile)
February 27, 2013 at 7:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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