Just two days before the scheduled trial, Santa Barbara City
College agreed to pay $1 million to a woman raped by an on-duty
campus security guard in his truck two years ago. SBCC President
John Romo said it was in the best interest of both sides to avoid a
painful and protracted courtroom experience. Three women ultimately
accused City College security guard and student Kent Kafatia of
sexual assault. Kafatia is now serving an eight-year sentence, and
his story revealed significant deficiencies in City College
security practices. Romo said the college now conducts background
checks on security personnel, maintains much better records of
on-campus crimes, and has hired more security guards.

NASCAR, the Sierra Club, and the YMCA have filed
friend-of-the-court briefs on behalf of the City of Santa Barbara
and against the parents of Katie Janeway, the young girl who
drowned three years ago while enrolled at a City Parks and
Recreation program. At issue is whether the release the Janeways
signed when enrolling their daughter gives the city immunity in
cases of gross negligence. The three organizations argued that if
such releases are not legally binding, then organizations like
theirs will drastically curtail the recreational opportunities now
offered to the public. The Supreme Court is expected to hear the
case next spring. If City Hall prevails, the case is over. If the
Janeways prevail, the case will be argued before a Santa Barbara
County jury.

Santa Barbara City police negotiators rejected City Hall’s
“last, best, and final” offer and are threatening to take their
contract dispute directly to voters in the form of a special
election. This Thursday evening, the union will hold a membership
meeting in the back room of Harry’s Plaza Café to discuss the
city’s offer, which police union chief Mike McGrew guaranteed would
be overwhelmingly rejected. “It’ll look like [the movie] Braveheart
just before they [the Scots] attacked the British,” he predicted.
The two sides disagree on the exact amount of the city’s latest
offer. McGrew maintains it’s a 21 percent pay hike over a
three-year period after medical coverage is factored in, while
Councilmember Das Williams said the figure is 24.24 percent. “I’d
like to give them even more, but I don’t think that’s possible,”
Williams said.

The battle for hearts, minds, and political endorsements remains
unabated in the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s race, with three
Santa Barbara City Councilmembers endorsing the incumbent – Sheriff
Jim Anderson – and four supporting his opponent – Lompoc Police
Chief Bill Brown. Mayor Marty Blum and Councilmembers Iya Falcone
and Roger Horton endorsed Anderson, arguing that he prevailed
despite the controversy over the Sheriff’s Council, over which he
presided earlier this year. Councilmembers Grant House, Das
Williams, Helene Schneider, and Brian Barnwell endorsed Brown,
saying the challenger would bring fresh ideas to the office.


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