City Council Member Michael Self is no stranger to controversial issues. Back in 2004 she led an effort to stop the city from placing obstructions in certain neighborhoods to slow speeders, citing that it would ultimately slow down emergency response vehicles. She saw the root of the problem as a lack of enforcement. “It used to be that if you ran a stop sign, or sped, you knew you were gonna get caught because we had adequate enforcement.”
This idea of enforcement, along with “tough love” and personal responsibility, permeate Self’s views on Santa Barbara’s homeless issue. She was not a supporter of the recently shot down plan to rearrange benches on State Street in order to inconvenience panhandlers. Rather than rearrange or remove the benches altogether, Self suggested the city could rent the benches to the surrounding businesses and restaurants. By paying an affordable rent on a bench, the store or restaurant would then assume responsibility for maintaining that specific bench. It would be up to the owner to put limits on how long a person could sit there, and what they could do while seated. To read more, see homelessinsb.org.