Have you followed the David vs. Goliath matchup in Mission Canyon? The deep-pocketed Santa Barbara Botanic Garden seems to have endless supplies of cash for lawyers, slick brochures, paid petition gatherers, and paid phone-bankers attempting to generate support for a major building remodel and expansion project.

Meanwhile, neighbors and ordinary folks who do not want the Botanic Garden turned into a night-and-day event center and fire trap must rely on what they can scrape together. The Botanic Garden survey coyly asks respondents if they support replacement of buildings destroyed in the Jesusita Fire. This cagey question makes no mention of the proposed gigantic expansion. The correct question addressed to the public should be “Do you support more buildings, more traffic, busloads of people and amplified private parties at the Botanic Garden?” I believe the prevailing answer would be a resounding “NO!”

The beautiful Santa Barbara Botanic Garden will surely survive and prosper if the expansion plan is not approved. Of course, the garden should be able to rebuild burned structures, but it is the danger of fire itself that is a compelling reason for a much more moderate and creative plan to improve and sustain the garden’s function. On May 4, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors should not approve this costly boondoggle and demand a project better suited to a fire-prone, residential box canyon.

Kevin Snow
Santa Barbara