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  • Writer's pictureNewsmakers with JR

City Hall Tries to Please Everyone with State Street Plan -- Walkers, Bikers, Even Something for (Gasp) Cars

Updated: Jul 3

In a case of the elephant giving birth to the mouse, City Hall last week rolled out its long-awaited, block-by-block recommendations for the future of State Street to the (all rise) State Street Advisory Committee.

It was a splendidly detailed presentation, including a deck of fifty-two slides -- 52, count 'em, 52 -- by Community Development Director Eli Isaacson, but in the end nothing concrete was effectuated, just as with the 15 or so previous SSAC meetings, not least because of committee chair Dave Davis's penchant for "facilitated small group discussion," "report outs," and other such process gobbledygook as a substitute for action.

The committee is to resume its deliberations on July 15,***still shooting for its tight deadline of 2074 for a final plan.

On this week's edition of Newsmakers TV, Josh Molina, Nick Welsh, Ryan P. Cruz, and the genial host, all of whom were treated to an early, embargoed look at the report, drill down deep on the key features of the report, along with its chief policy and political conflicts.

The latter begin with the über issue of where, or even whether, vehicles other than bicycles will be permitted, given the fierce opposition to even the most minimal recommended return of cars from "Strong Towns Santa Barbara," a group formed about 12 seconds ago that seems primarily comprised of Gen Z electric bike know-it-alls.

Multiple battles of that war, which Josh correctly identified as generational, lie ahead, once (if?) the committee ever approves its version of the plan, not least from the Historic Landmarks Commission and, oh yeah, City Council, where Mayor Randy Rowse's ferocious opposition to the council's ongoing, clingy clench to its 2020 pandemic closure of downtown's main corridor must be reckoned with.

No word at the State Street committee's meeting, which drew a crowd of 150 to Cabrillo Pavilion on Wednesday, of whatever happened to its famous $800,000 special consulting firm, which seems to have been mysteriously buried, like those old Soviet apparatchiks who disappeared from photographs standing next to Joe Stalin, after Dear Leader disappeared them in real life.

P.S. Mega-kudos to new City Administrator Kelly McAdoo, who has made a fine first impression on Santa Barbara's vast army of journalists, both because of the transparency she has brought to deliberations over major matters, and for jumpstarting some movement on the interminable deliberations over State Street. And we would have said that even if she hadn't agreed to come on the show in the near future.

All this and more, right here, right now, on Newsmakers TV.


Check out the new episode via YouTube below or by clicking through this link. The podcast version is here. TVSB, Channel 17, airs the show at 8 p.m. M-F, and at 9 a.m. on weekends. KCSB, 91.9 FM, broadcasts the program at 5:30 p.m. on Monday.

*** Update: The next SSAC meeting is now scheduled for July 15, not July 9, as earlier reported.

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