<b>GUT CHECK:</b>  Councilmember Frank Hotchkiss worried about spending city resources on a community health initiative.

Paul Wellman (file)

GUT CHECK: Councilmember Frank Hotchkiss worried about spending city resources on a community health initiative.

Healthy Living Causes Acid Reflux

Councilmember Balks at Community Program

Thursday, February 6, 2014
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A feel-good resolution exhorting city residents and employees to exercise more and eat healthier became the focus of a rhetorical shoving match pitting Santa Barbara Councilmember Frank Hotchkiss against fellow Councilmember Gregg Hart. The Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) resolution will not impose any new regulatory mandates nor saddle City Hall with any additional costs, but it may prove helpful in applying for certain grants. Hotchkiss took exception with the assertion in supporting documentation that more than half the city’s residents were obese. Likewise, he suggested that the resolution’s call to break down “ethnic and socio-economic disparities” to healthy food choices would require serious dedication of additional staff. As for the suggestion that employees should be encouraged to exercise during their lunch break, Hotchkiss opined, “The idea of Mr. Armstrong [city administrator] leading calisthenics in the coffee room is just horrific.”

Hotchkiss took issue with the resolution’s fine print calling on private schools to allow the public to use their fields and basketball courts during off-hours. Hotchkiss led the charge to bar such use from the private school in his neighborhood, citing its impact on neighborhood quiet and tranquility. He also questioned the wisdom of passing such a resolution when he said 90 percent of all restaurants in town serve food that might not be deemed healthy. A semi-flustered city planner, John Ledbetter, replied that City Hall is already doing ​— ​or supporting ​— ​95 percent of what the resolution calls for, noting that no additional resources would be required. Susan Klein-Rothschild of the County Public Health Department said when healthy choices are made easy, “the level of disease will decrease.”

Hart noted that “It must be a slow day” for the council to be debating such issues and pushed to embrace the resolution, suggesting that perhaps city resources should be dedicated to the cause. After satisfying himself that no public funds would be encumbered, Councilmember Randy Rowse acknowledged that government does have a leadership role to play in promoting healthy lifestyle choices, while noting that Winchell’s doughnut shop could experience a plunge in sales. The council approved the resolution with only Hotchkiss objecting.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

Frank, you did the right thing. Few "grants" to the city come without strings attached anyway, which compromise the city's right to direct its own future. City needs to get back to civic basics like its $200 million plus infrastructure repairs and maintenance.

And how the city will fund the gap between budget and estimates on the Cabrillo Bath House and Los Banos Pool complex, let alone cost over-runs once the project gets started.

More time repairing windows, than mere window-dressing. This sort of fluff exercise does not tell me the city "cares"; only tells me the city is careless with its time, energy, focus and diligence.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
February 6, 2014 at 9:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Residents of Santa Barbara need to bookmark "Transparent California" so they can keep track where city revenues are actually going, when they keep hearing "there isn't enough money" to do what needs to be done in this town:

How did so many salaries get so high and why do so many city employees make so much money well beyond just their salary level?

This is an excellent resource for everyone in the public to know and understand where their tax dollars are going.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
February 6, 2014 at 9:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)

How funny! Is this the same Gregg Hart who when hundreds and hundreds of Santa Barbarans petitioned to have Council adopt a resolution, as was being done by many cities in California and the US, against a preventive war in Iraq voted "NO!"?

The same one who a year or so later when the Council was asked to take a stand against the Patriot Act and its invasive aspects, conveniently absented himself from the vote? (In both cases, the resolutions passed - and in the first he was the only council member in opposition.)

at_large (anonymous profile)
February 6, 2014 at 9:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

If Gregg Hart, as rumored is really planning on ditching council to run for Lois Capp's seat, voting "present" just like Obama built his early political career seems to be a worthy option.

Trading principle for politics is a principle, for some people. Too bad we keep electing them.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
February 6, 2014 at 10:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Why don't you clowns schedule a meeting with him in his office to discuss your issues with him? Or are your constant, embarrassing, inane internet comments the extent to which you exercise freedom?

Gregg is extremely easy to meet with and talk with about whatever you want. I dare you to put your money where your mouth is and criticize him in person. Cowards.

nitrogen (anonymous profile)
February 8, 2014 at 11:21 a.m. (Suggest removal)

This is a discussion about the issues raised by the article, and is not intended to be private conversation only with the principals mentioned. Otherwise there would only be phone number and not a "comments" section.

And frankly, talking to Hart is like talking to a wall. He knows where he is going on ahead of time, and does not deviate. He answers only to himself and his own agenda, so why waste time. Which is his right. He was elected to serve as he sees fit, and he was a known quantity.

However comments help educate the public, which is more important than bringing issues before elected officials, who rarely listen anyway.

Not sure what your point is, nitrogen. Or what your dog is in this fight due to your misguided and wounded defense..

foofighter (anonymous profile)
February 8, 2014 at 2:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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