At the Goleta City Council meeting last Tuesday, July 16, three proclamations recognized a diverse suite of achievements: first, the Stonewall Riots 50 years previous in fighting for the civil rights of the gay community, then the 14th Dalai Lama’s 84th birthday, and last, Team City of Goleta’s first-place win in CycleMAYnia’s Bike Commute Challenge this year.
Project Gold Coast President Keith Coffman-Grey, who was raised in the Goleta Valley, accepted the Stonewall proclamation, remarking on members of the LGBTQ community, such as Wright Ludington and Michael Gonzales, who shaped the area: Ludington supported the Santa Barbara Museum of Art with his collection, and Gonzales had held a birthday procession one year that grew into the first Solstice celebration. Coffman-Grey noted that Gonzales died of AIDs in 1989, and that five people died in the county of acquired immune deficiency in the first three months of 2019. The proclamation was the first time Goleta had recognized the LGBTQ Pride month of June.
The congratulations to the Dalai Lama on his 84th moved Mayor Paula Perotte visibly as she read the recognition of his work for social justice, universal responsibility, nonviolence, human kindness, and love and compassion on a global scale. Perotte remarked, “The world seems so confusing right now. We need this more than ever.” That day, the U.S. House of Representatives had censured the president for his “go back” tweet, condemning him for legitimizing “fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color.” Theban Tulku, who accepted Goleta’s proclamation and said he would convey it to the Dalai Lama, noted that in his travels, people always commented on how beautiful the city or weather was here, but it was the compassionate city that bestowed the honor, this peaceful and safe place, that he really admired.
CycleMAYnia, an annual South County cycling challenge, awarded seven city workers and Councilmember Kyle Richards for the most bike trips made during the 31 days of May: 565. Lori La Riva with Traffic Solutions said they traveled a total of 1,900 miles, burned 95,000 calories, and that team member J. Ritterbeck had not only the highest number of trips for the team, 124, but the most of all the competitors in the 2019 challenge. As well, the city had held bicycle tours of Old Town, toted seniors in pedicabs, and had many large employers participate.
The Indy asked Mayor Perotte if there was any connection between the three proclamations, which seemed quite disparate. After pondering the question, Perotte answered that if there were any, it was found in “To Althea, from Prison,” written by Richard Lovelace in 1642, at the beginning of the final stanza:
Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage:
All three awards recognized people who would not be confined, either by unjust laws or the internal combustion engine, Perotte said.