by Nick Welsh

Despite strong objections from Goleta Mayor Jonni Wallis, the
Santa Barbara City Council took one small step toward extending its
sphere of influence to include Eastern Goleta Valley — commonly
known as Noleta — and an even smaller step toward outright
annexation of the unincorporated territory between the cities of
Goleta and Santa Barbara. The council action was precipitated by a
five-year campaign waged by Eastern Goleta residents active with
either the Committee for One or the Western Santa Barbara
Committee, who collected 4,500 signatures in favor of the action.
William Gilbert of the Committee for One denied that he and his
allies were motivated by the snob appeal offered by a Santa Barbara
mailing address, pointing out that Noleta and Santa Barbara enjoy a
long shared history. He explained that he and his wife like to
cruise State Street to see and be seen. Representatives of Noleta’s
eight mobile home parks turned out in force to make sure Santa
Barbara would exclude them from the proposed extension of sphere of
influence. Mobile home park residents in the county’s
unincorporated areas are still covered by rent control laws, but
Santa Barbara abandoned its rent control ordinance years ago. A
loss of rent control, these speakers warned, would cause great
hardship to 1,800 residents — mostly seniors — who still enjoy the
last best affordable housing on the South Coast. Councilmembers
took pains to reassure them they had no designs on extending the
sphere to include the mobile home parks. Mayor Wallis and Goleta
Councilmember Cynthia Brock asked their Santa Barbara counterparts
to hold off, pending their completion of the Goleta General Plan.
Members of the Santa Barbara council respectfully declined to do
so, but only after gushing about what a great neighbor the City of
Goleta will be once it adopts its general plan.


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