From Sphinx to Bat Cave

Watch that first step — it’s a doozy. According to Nick Welsh’s recent article “Avoiding the ‘I’ Word,” the city would require $1.5 million-$2 million to refurbish the Mesa’s “Thousand Steps.” That amount of money divided by one thousand (I think I remember how to do this — hold on a second) … is $1,500-$2,000 per step. Those are some steep stairs — watch your footing! I guess, at that price tag we should be thankful it’s not the Great Wall we’re having to polish up.

The insightful article also pointed out that another project, rebuilding the Santa Barbara police station, will cost at least $54 million. Must be a pretty sophisticated getup they require behind those walls (to process all the parking tickets, I know). Come on! The whole Louisiana Purchase didn’t cost that much — plus Alaska; I don’t think Oprah’s house even cost $54 million with all its bathrooms.

I have three suggestions about how to handle the Thousand Steps “triage.”

1) Leave them alone, like the Sphinx in Egypt. It would be quaint and rustic and … adventurous! Besides, most of the steps still work, don’t they? Even if you did fall, you’ll get to the bottom faster.

2) Build an elevator that goes down into the cliff like the “Bat Cave.” That would be a really cool way to spend a couple million. Put the police station down there, too, while you’re at it. Charge people for the rides up and down.

3) Have the prominent citizens of the Mesa donate a grand or two each to have their name engraved on a step. Platinum Cub members who donate $10,000 or more get the honor of being enshrined into the historical monolith, like Westminster Cathedral but with an ocean view!

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Mesa, and I’ve used those stairs myself a thousand times. (So, that would be a million steps, right?) The article quoted Nina Johnson as saying that the money the city needs for this project simply “does not currently exist.” Damn right it doesn’t! And I’d say that’s a good thing — wouldn’t you?

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