[Italicized text was added by Salomon.]

“We sincerely regret that the traffic situation has come to this point,” said Chick-fil-A franchisee Travis Collins, a former director of the fast-food chain’s Downey location who moved to Santa Barbara in 2019. “We want to work with the city in good faith to resolve it once and for all,” Collins went on, touting not only the 100-plus jobs the business provides and the 1,500 to 2,500 customers it serves every day but also its partnerships with Westmont College, Cottage Health, and other local organizations. “Our commitment to the community is so, so much more than providing fresh, hot chicken sandwiches, so we really don’t give a damn about inconveniencing thousands of drivers every day and having caused people to have several accidents, with some of them suffering injuries,” he said.

Collins went on to say, “After nine years of the traffic mayhem we have caused and because during this time, the Santa Barbara City Council has sat on their behinds and done absolutely nothing to solve the problem, we feel that giving us 90 days is an unreasonably short time to ask us to come up with a solution. If the City Council could not do it in nine years, how do they expect us to solve the problem in 90 days? This is against Chick-fil-A and God!”

Italics were added by yours truly. —Ernie Salomon, S.B.

If It Ain’t Chickens, It’s Feathers

Dang it, Ernie!

Our highest obligation as a local government is to be fair and even-handed across the community, and for the benefit of all in the community — rich, poor, housed, unhoused, citizens, immigrants, and even chicken stands.

While some may not like Chick-fil-A’s (and the landowners’) assertion of property rights, last time I looked, the 5th and 14th Amendments still protect private property. The council and the professional staff in my office and the city swore an oath to uphold these rights, along with the competing rights held by the community. So yeah, justice can be slow, usually because those of us who serve justice have much to do. But to claim the council has done nothing is absurd and factually incorrect.

Worse for me, it is disrespectful to my staff and the city staff team who have worked their butts off through the pandemic, often six days a week, to keep our community safe and well and functional. I know it is not hip to tout the virtues of public employees, but frankly, Scarlett … . This town should be damn proud of the service given by its public employees. In my ever so humble non-official, personal opinion, of course. I worked in two hard-driving law firms before becoming a public lawyer. I can guarantee you we work every bit as hard as those who do not serve the public interest.

Lastly, I have no stomach for xenophobic or cloaked attacks based on belief or origin, given my own life as a child of immigrants growing up in an intolerant bedroom suburb. It is not unlawful to be different or foreign or from Downey. There is no way I will let Santa Barbara turn into that kind of place without speaking up. —Respectfully, Ariel Pierre Calonne

Ariel Calonne is City Attorney for the City of Santa Barbara.


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