Nearly 10,000 Santa Barbara County residents will take it in the
shorts if President Bush’s budget is approved as
proposed, according to the head of the Community Action Commission
(CAC). According to CAC Executive Director Fran Forman, Bush’s
budget would adversely affect beneficiaries of Community
Development Block Grant funds, weatherization assistance grants,
and low-income energy help. Forman estimated that 9,600 county
residents currently benefit from such programs. The chances of
Bush’s budget getting passed as proposed, however, seem slim, given
Democratic control of both the House and the Senate.

Responding to its neighbors’ fears that the Santa Ynez Chumash
Casino will expand its operations, the County Board of Supervisors
agreed to send a letter to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and to
the legislature registering their concerns. Neighbors organized
against casino expansion spoke at the February 13
meeting to tell the supervisors about the deleterious effects of
gambling addiction. They urged the supervisors to bring pressure on
the state – which negotiates gaming contracts with tribes – to
limit gambling and analyze its costs to surrounding areas.

On the eve of what could be their final round of state-mediated
salary negotiations with school district
officials, hundreds of Santa Barbara teachers
turned out at the school board meeting on February 13 to
demonstrate their disgust over the stalled contract talks. Blowing
whistles, waving flashlights, and toting signs demanding that the
district “Make Teachers a Priority,” the group boisterously
protested in front of the downtown administration building before
moving inside for the public comment period. Teachers and their
supporters filled the room, and dozens more trailed out the door as
union leaders and others once again pleaded with the district to
rethink its offer of a 1.5 percent raise – a number which many
teachers say equals about 50 extra dollars a month. For the first
time in the ongoing public demonstrations, the word “strike” was
mentioned as a possibility should the district fail to meet the
union’s demand of a 6 percent pay increase.


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