Unanswered Questions Regarding Cityhood

As a 34-year resident and homeowner in Montecito, I find Mr. Tony Manzanetti’s evaluations on cityhood to Kelly Mahan very misleading with many questions unanswered. (MJ #14/13)

1) Mr. Manzanetti is a hired consultant. He has been gathering information from the Montecito Special Districts. Who hired him? Why are the people behind cityhood so clandestine in their quest for misinformation?

2) If Montecito became a city, what makes Mr. Manzanetti believe it would give Montecito more influence regarding Coast Village Road? The SB City Council ignores the wishes of its own constituents. Why would it listen to the City of Montecito?

3) Mr. Manzanetti states “another advantage of cityhood is a simplified government. The reality is that a whole new level of government composed of special interests for personal gain will probably prevail.

4) Mr. Manzanetti avoids major issues pertaining to inclusionary housing and the probability of massive liability, which is currently the responsibility of the County.

If Montecito becomes a city, you can kiss the semi-rural character of Montecito goodbye.

Harry Hovey

Montecito

(Publisher's Note: The cityhood movement is still at its earliest stages and pending a poll which requires a 25 percent vote by Montecito to continue forward, the group funding this project has yet to make public comment on the subject. I do agree that Mr. Manzanetti is wrong in believing that making Montecito a city would simplify government. No government is simple nor does it strive to be simple. Montecito's city government would likely become bloated and become the same nuisance it set out to replace. ~TLB)

Measure D Sticks It To Us

Elected politicians and bureaucrats from city councils to county supervisors are conspiring to impose on Santa Barbara County the most outlandish tax increase in history for the 2008 election. For the past six months, the thirteen elected city and county supervisor members of the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG), and their selected appointees have been meeting in North County and South County to determine just how to divvy up the sales-tax pie that the county and city jurisdictions would receive if Measure D should be renewed by voters in 2008.

What is wrong with their actions?

This group is telling us that the renewal of the present Measure D, which expires in 2010, will cost the same as the old; what they do not say is that it will last for 30 years and cost us twice as much in dollars: from $500 million to $1 billion.

In order to make this look good to the uninformed voter, the Policy Committee has, with the direction of the SBCAG staff headed up by Jim Kemp, split the proposed sales-tax income budget so that North and South County will have an equal share and can then spend it in any way they choose. This is subterfuge.

South County will never use its funds to widen Highway 101, but will use them for a railroad to nowhere, or more bike paths, or another "blue line" around town. If they can get eight votes, they will probably take all the funds for their railroad.

The North, on the other hand, has been told it can use its half of the sales taxes to build new road projects; the catch is there are not enough funds to build any of the projects. They all fall way short, and no one knows where the other funds will come from. This occurs in part because city and county bureaucrats want 77.5% of the funds (up from the present 70%) collected to be used for potholes, curbs and tree trimming – regular maintenance! – rather than directing those funds towards improved roads for a growing number of commuters.

Of the funds promised to North County, most go to the Santa Maria area. Lompoc Mayor DeWees and Supervisor Joni Gray have only managed to get a pathetic few dollars promised to make patchwork improvements to highway 246, which is already overtaxed with commuter traffic due to years of neglect. Under these present SBCAG plans there is simply no way we will get better roads in this county.

Why do we need 30 years of SBCAG Measure D to fix our roads?

The answer is: We do not!

The main reason County staff is pushing this is because they skim off $3 million every year to pay their $150,000 salaries and benefits for each of their 20 employees, and they would like to have that continue until they retire.

We do not need to give the city and county bureaucrats 77.5% of the funds; 30% would be plenty. Most of the cities have millions of Measure D funds in the bank after 20 years of the present tax. By turning around this plan and giving the new road work 70% of the funds, we really could get new roads. We do not need to pay Santa Barbara a half-billion-dollar ransom to get a promise of road funds in North County.

What we need are funds to widen 8.5 miles of 101, 12 miles of 246 and 10 miles of West 166, which could be paid for with a Measure that would end in ten years at 1/2 % interest to do it, with 30% of those funds targeted to the locals for potholes.

In 2008, let’s vote out of office those trying to stick us with new higher taxes and elect fiscal conservatives who will get the job done now!

Concerned Taxpayers, I.N.C.

Justin M. Ruhge

Lompoc

(Editor’s note: You make an interesting point, which leads to an interesting question: Just how much of this proposed ½% sales tax for thirty years will go towards salaries, pensions, and benefits? – TLB)

No Comment, Please!

Regarding your reply ("Letters to the Editor" MJ #14/12), it appears my "blackmail" remark so irritated you that you decided to, above my letter, try to embarrass me by making it a type of headline. In case this made you feel nice and smug, it didn't work.

If I want to read a blog, I'll go online. Frankly, the ones I've seen are boring and don't waste my time. In the meantime, the constant MJ comment-replies border on, if they are not in fact, juvenile and know I'm not the only person who thinks so.

At this point the 1298 CVR issue is moot as, surprise! big money has again won out. We again have the best government on earth money can buy. And, by the way, did you catch the connection between the owner's last name and this issue? We can now look forward to more years of some of the highest-priced gas in the country!

...There's still a huge difference between 700,000 and 4 million gallons of gas being sold per year, even if transformed to a 24/7 "fuel depot." Any fool also knows these stations make their real money selling snacks and beer, etc.

If nothing else, we can hope the compressed air car will be available to the general public come next year, but watch for the big energy companies to fight it!

Sincerely,

Benjamin Burned

Montecito

(Editor’s note: Since you have expressed a desire not to read comments about your letters, we will neither edit them nor comment upon them – TLB)