Extreme Bad Timing

I call on Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors to rescind their self imposed raises.

When I first read that Santa Barbara supervisors voted to give themselves a raise, I thought it was a joke. But after reading the confirmed report in the Independent, I realize the joke was actually on us.

At this time of complete economic turn down; thousands of S.B. residents on unemployment; countless businesses closed; the majority of business lucky to still be open panicked that they may not be able to make ends meet — all with the looming presence of another shutdown this winter — we get this vote.

It’s with this unprecedented backdrop that supervisors Joan Hartmann, Das Williams, and Steve Lavagnino, decided they were doing such a great job that they deserved a raise. The 90+ thousand they’re making from our tax dollars already just wasn’t matching the responsibility of the job.

To hear tone-deaf comments from Supervisor Hartmann lamenting the difficulties of existing on 90k+ a year, especially during this time, was staggering. I can think of countless people who would rejoice in making $90k a year, most with jobs that require a lot of responsibility as well.

I’m a progressive blue voter, so don’t get my letter wrong. It’s no fun to call out people you’ve supported in the past. I’m especially disheartened at my district’s supervisor, Das Williams, who voted for this as well. But an egregious error is an egregious error, and we need to call it like we see it.

Gregg Hart and Peter Adam are the only supervisors who had any kind of understanding of optics. Knowing that a vote for a raise at this time was an affront to both the woes and sympathies of what most of Santa Barbara is going through.

Any one of the supervisors who voted to give themselves a raise during this crisis should do the right thing and rescind it. We should give them a chance to correct this big error.

If they don’t, then they don’t deserve our vote again. If they decide to keep this raise, even if it’s a small one, then we need to find other candidates who aren’t as brazen with with our money and patience.

I hope the lesson here is the residents of Santa Barbara show our elected officials that we are paying attention to what they are doing, and that we hold them accountable … even if we like them personally.

I vote we stop letting the joke be on us.


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