State Housing Edict Sparks Local Disputes; Counting Rats on State St.; More School Racism Charges
The aggressive move by California state government to force cities and counties to get more housing built, by usurping local control, has triggered a new set of political controversies in Santa Barbara County.
On this week's edition of Newsmakers TV, Nick Welsh and Josh Molina join the genial host in getting into the weeds on the county planning department's first take effort to identify sites for 5,664 new housing units Sacramento is demanding be fast-tracked over the next eight years, via the (all rise) Regional Housing Needs Allocation.
Spoiler alert: it didn't go well.
Among other vexations that arose when planning bureaucrats took their big ideas for the county's new Housing Element to the first stop of a community road show:
Carpinteria residents, already enraged at the Board of Supervisors for installing a malodorous, and politically sleazy, cannabis industry in their town, are newly outraged at the suggestion that large swaths of ag land around Carp be converted to residential zoning to squeeze in new apartments;
Goleta political leaders, who long have operated in good faith to approve more housing with thoughtful and studied policies, loudly objected for similar reasons;
Propellor heads from the planning department were forced to acknowledge that they expect to miss a mandated cut-off for the new housing plan - a failure that could wipe out nearly all local decision-making authority in the matter.
And oh yeah: paranoid types already are circulating a theory that planners dawdled on proposed site location in order to blow the deadline on purpose, the better to give developers free reign, while fobbing blame for it onto the state.
Other than that, how did you enjoy the play, Mrs. Lincoln?
The fellas also break down the huge pushback that downtown SB restaurant interests have mounted against complaints by one of their colleagues of a purported explosion in the number of rats and vermin since the advent of pandemic parklets on State Street; two new episodes of alleged racism in public schools - one in the Santa Barbara Unified, and another in the Goleta Union, district; and the life and times of the late Bob Handy, a longtime veterans' affairs activist and Democratic Party leader, who recently passed at age 90. RIP.