In a video interview with Newsmakers, Santa Barbara City Councilmember Kristen Sneddon said that with a budget "disaster" looming, she supports temporary pay reductions for high-salaried City Hall employees as a matter of shared sacrifice.
Sneddon took note of an online change.org petition now circulating, which references the recent layoffs of several hundred hourly city workers in demanding 30 percent cuts for the 10 top-salaried employees in city government. She said she is uncertain that specific figure is correct, but agrees with the general notion, amid the coronavirus pandemic and the recession it has triggered.
“I don’t know where the 30 percent came from, but yeah….we’ve got to share the pain,” she said.
In a wide-ranging conversation about other issues and controversies, Sneddon also:
Acknowledged as “a fair criticism” concerns about City Hall’s slow and sputtering approach to strategic economic planning, while also expressing hope that newly-hired Economic Development Director Jason Harris will jump start change and "a new paradigm," as Santa Barbara seeks to repair the damage inflicted by the pandemic.
Indicated that she favors even more stringent social distancing and public health protection measures than those the city now uses, including tighter limits on hiking trails, a more “unified, consistent” policy for grocery stores thats protect both shoppers and employees, and more widespread use of masks: “My belief is everybody should be wearing a mask when out.”
Expressed concern about a recent “uptick in petty crimes (and) violent crimes,” saying because of the economic shutdown, “tension is high and people are a little bit desperate.”
An environmental geology professor at City College, Kristen also said she is spending half her life on Zoom these days, with classes being taught and taken online. She recalled with a laugh that she fell backwards off her chair during a recent virtual meeting, and seemed hurt that no one noticed she was gone.
Watch the whole interview by clicking on the link above. The podcast version is here.