Santa Barbara Mayor Marty Blum and City Administrator Jim Armstrong spoke optimistically at the 3/27 State of the City address. Blum discussed the city’s forthcoming tsunami emergency plan, the reopening of the Granada Theatre, and gang abatement, noting 80 gang-related arrests, free after-school sports programs offered, and an $800,000 grant secured to provide job training to at-risk kids. Armstrong focused on the $3-million budget shortfall expected for the city’s next fiscal year but said impacts of it would be “minimal” in the city.
The use of pesticides and rodenticides by Santa Barbara City employees dropped by 51 percent, largely because dry weather brought about fewer weeds and mosquitoes. An alternative pest management program initiated four years ago had the city using just three gallons of Round Up concentrate last year, as opposed to 48 gallons five years ago. Also, the Parks Department is gradually installing concrete barriers throughout its 365 acres of parks to control the spread of cultivated grasses.
The waterfront’s Maritime Museum appears to have secured a new lease with Santa Barbara City Hall that enables it to buy its space outright for just $1 million over the next five years. Museum officials have argued that the current $14,000-per-month rent would drive them out of business. Critics of the plan have charged City Hall is giving away roughly $12,000 a month in potential rental revenues by approving the new deal.