To All Council Candidates:
I read and re-read your platforms and am astounded. The weakness of the platforms in a time of crisis is sad.
Here is what I have to say:
What will you do about the regular water crisis?
You are building and building, and we have no water. We have narrow streets and can barely get around town these days, but with a fire, earthquake, or flood, we would be out of luck. What are you going to do about it?
We had a buoy that would alarm us in case of an earthquake with signals from Washington and Alaska etc. You had it removed due to cost. Ridiculous. Who is going to reinstall it? This is essential!
For several years our city zoning attempts were made to evacuate the Riviera. Each one failed miserably. How and when are you planning on getting it right? This must be accomplished. It affects all of us.
A tsunami will enter the city for six miles so we have been told. That means up to the Old Mission. What are your plans for evacuating the main part of our city including the police department, fire, and just about everyone that would be needed?
You have been warned about the steadily climbing water level rising and taking out our coastline. How are you planning to build up the coast to protect our city? Why are serious steps not being taken to prevent this? Look at Italy and other cities preparing. Why not us? Correcting it afterward is ridiculous. It must be done as prevention now.
The homeless population is a crisis indeed. We cannot house more. If they have not been raised here or here longer than five years, they need to move on. We do not have the funds to cover everyone who comes to this town. Make a serious plan to employ the homeless, and if they get housed, they must work at least four hours per day. Handing out everything for free must stop. This is possible. Our agency did it and many other cities have done it successfully. Send the message that if you are homeless and arrive in S.B., you will work or depart. Serious and thoughtful steps to stem the tide must take immediate action and be loud and clear.
Start charging the real estate holders with empty shops within six months to one year of unrented property. Get them in gear to be part of the solution, not just write off our city as a tax break. They can advertise and fill their own shops and offices better than you can. Hold them responsible as other cities do.
Get the commercial people out of houses and into the multitude of office spaces, and allow the houses to be rented by families who are desperately needing them.
You are worried about tourism, start worrying and representing your citizens. Tourism is the least of our problems.
Deborah Barnes advocates for and works to help homeless people in Santa Barbara.