[PICTURED ABOVE: Ellwood School students hold the ribbon as, from left, Goleta Mayor Michael Bennett, Sheriff Bill Brown, and Camino Real Marketplace developer Mark Linehan celebrate the opening of the new Goleta police station while city councilmember Roger Aceves watches.]
It takes a whole variety of events and concerns to make a vibrant community and, last Wednesday, June 4, a few of them were on display in the Goleta Valley. A new police station opened; there was a community celebration; and a contentious hearing was held about a development plan that could significantly impact one particular neighborhood. And as your dedicated Goleta Grapevine columnist, I attended them all.
In the morning, the Goleta Police Department became more visible and accessible to the community with the opening of the Marketplace Station in the Camino Real Marketplace. The space and construction costs, estimated at $250,000, have been donated by Mark Linehan and the Camino Real Marketplace. In addition, it is funding the city’s new Community Resource Deputy, a position long desired by the city, who will be the “face” of community policing and crime prevention in Goleta.
Sheriff Bill Brown, whose county department runs Goleta’s police force, hailed this public-private partnership and described it as a shining example of community policing, with police and the community working together to enhance the quality of life. He quoted Sir Robert Peel, founder of the London Metropolitan Police in the 19th century, who said that a police station should be accessible to the public. This remains equally true today.
The station includes state of the art communication equipment and convenient and comfortable work space for deputies to write up reports. There is also a restroom and shower facility, important for deputies coming in from the beat. The station will house the Community Services Bureau, which includes programs such as DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education), Project Lifesaver, Neighborhood Watch, Crime Prevention, Citizen Satisfaction Surveys, and Community Events. The station will be open during normal business hours and the lobby area will be open to the public 24 hours a day. It has an emergency phone, informational literature, and will eventually have a computer terminal with access to law enforcement and the City of Goleta website. The station will be accessible at all times to law enforcement personnel, including the Highway Patrol.
Mark Ingalls, manager of the Marketplace, noted that firemen from station #11 on Storke Road frequently use the area for training drills and people love to come up and talk to them. He is hoping that the same thing will happen with the police officers as the public gets used to seeing them around the station.
As an early step toward this familiarity, a group of 4th graders from Ellwood School participated in the opening ceremonies. Deputy Bill Borneman, a DARE officer, awed the kids with all the equipment he carries, including a radio, nightstick, and handcuffs. But he added that the most important tool he has is his brain, to be able to judge what is best to do. He told them that it was people not getting along that caused the worst problems. On a tour of the station, each student got to make a handprint and see the whorls on their fingers, and then they had fun climbing in and out of a patrol car and learning about all the equipment it carried.
Mayor Michael Bennett commended the generosity of Linehan and the Marketplace and credited the synergy of people working together to bring about this needed public facility. It is a step toward enhancing public safety, always a high priority in what people seek from their local government.
Fiesta Ranchero at Stow House Gardens
A year ago, Roger Aceves, Goleta’s Mayor pro-tem and the 2001 El Presidente of the Old Spanish Days Fiesta, suggested that there should be a Fiesta event in Goleta. The result was the Fiesta Ranchero last Wednesday evening at the Stow House off Los Carneros Road.
More than 600 guests gathered in the beautiful gardens, surrounded by magnificent specimen trees planted by the Stows in the early 1900s. There was great food and wine from Goleta restaurants and regional wineries, music by the award-winning Dos Pueblos Jazz Choir and dancing by Spirit of Fiesta Jessica Marquez and Junior Spirit Ashley Almada of Goleta. A joint endeavor of Old Spanish Days and the Goleta Valley Historical Society, it was a great evening that may become an annual event.
UCSB LRDP Hearing
From the Fiesta, I rushed to Isla Vista for a public hearing on the draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) on the UCSB Long Range Development Plan (LRDP). Storke Ranch neighbors were there in force to protest the proposed opening of Phelps Road to through traffic and the danger it would bring to the neighboring childcare center and to children accustomed to playing in the street.
Other issues raised included traffic impacts, the need for public transportation, policies to discourage cars, adequate housing, and the limited water supply. It was strongly suggested that the proposed increase of 5,000 students should be reduced. All comments presented Wednesday night will be addressed in the final EIR.
Additional written comments may be submitted through June 23 and sent to: UC Office of Campus Planning and Design, c/o UCSB vision 2025, Santa Barbara, CA 93106-1030.
Goleta Valley Planning Advisory Committee
The deadline to apply to be a member of this committee, which makes recommendations on revisions to the Goleta Community Plan for the Eastern Goleta Valley, is June 10, 5 p.m. Applications should be sent to: Office of the Clerk to the Board of Supervisors, County Administration Building, 105 E. Anapamu St. Santa Barbara, CA 93101.