NOOZHAWK: What do you love most about Goleta?
JEAN BLOIS: I love the friendly, small-town feeling of Goleta. We all care about protecting our children, maintaining excellent schools, enjoying the natural beauty of our city, looking out for the elderly and disadvantaged, and helping each other when we can. I love the fact that we are now our own city and can make our own decisions for the best results on our neighbors.
NOOZHAWK: What is the most important issue facing Goleta today? Over the next five to 10 years?
JEAN BLOIS: The most important issue facing Goleta today is finishing the corrections to the General Plan. The most important issue over the next five to 10 years is the renegotiation of the Revenue Neutrality Agreement with Santa Barbara County. We must seek an end to the “alimony” deducted from our property tax and sales tax revenues. The original 10-year mitigation period ends in 2012. After that, the current agreement takes 50 percent of our property tax and 30 percent of our sales tax forever. We need to try for an arrangement whereby those percentages drop 1 percent or 2 percent a year until they are eliminated.
NOOZHAWK: If you could revise the Revenue Neutrality Agreement with the county, would you do it? If so, what would you change? If not, why?
JEAN BLOIS: Yes, I would revise the RNA, if possible. This will be a negotiation process in which each side should be prepared to give up something. See my answer to the previous question as to what I would like to see changed. The county’s budget is in bad shape, so we should not expect any adjustment in the amounts deducted until after 2012. The county has already forgiven the $1.5 million loan made to the city when we first incorporated — due to the fact that our projected share has been exceeded by $3 million this last year.
NOOZHAWK: Goleta, the county and California all face increasing budgetary pressures. What steps will you take to ensure Goleta’s financial security?
JEAN BLOIS: We have a finance committee that works closely with our finance director (Tina Rivera) and we budget very conservatively. Our goal is a one-year 33 percent reserve to tide us over any unexpected shortfalls. We have reached that goal. For the next three years, the state subvention allowed to all new cities will not be there, so our only positive increase in tax revenue available to us is to have new hotels, for the “bed tax” revenue or ask our citizens to vote for a city sales tax or income tax — neither of which is very palatable (or likely to succeed).
NOOZHAWK: Is there anything you would do differently with the General Plan?
JEAN BLOIS: I would finish the corrections to the General Plan that are now before the council. These corrections do not harm the environment nor give free reign to developers. The planning staff asked for many of these proposed changes. Some of them required environmental review, which is now being completed. I personally hope to see these changes made so we can move forward with the city ordinances.
JEAN BLOIS: We have a Town & Gown Committee meeting regularly with the university. The LRDP is one of the items under discussion. We must establish as strong a relationship as possible with UCSB for both of our benefits. The university is an economic engine for our city but it must take responsibility for housing its students and faculty, and address the reality of its traffic impacts on the city. UCSB does not have the authority to agree to the mitigation payments, only the Board of Regents of UC can do that. We need to have a strong relationship with UCSB so they will fight for the best deal to benefit us both.
NOOZHAWK: Describe Goleta’s relationship with Venoco. Is it mutually beneficial?
JEAN BLOIS: Goleta’s relationship with Venoco is fragile. It can hardly be called mutually beneficial. We collect property tax but no royalties from the oil produced. The county receives that money. Venoco is trying to reopen drilling from its pier. The state Lands Commission is hearing that request soon. If it is approved, then the city will have the authority to approve or deny the project. I don’t know if there is any possibility that the agreement could be modified so that the city would receive the royalties, if the council decides it should go forward. The general community feeling in regard to increasing production is negative.
NOOZHAWK: What do you see as the future of Bishop Ranch?
JEAN BLOIS: Bishop Ranch may someday see some housing on it, but not in my lifetime. Larwin Co. withdrew its application of a development plan. This plan included many different types of housing — single-family homes, condos and apartments, a certain percentage of them affordable. The application was withdrawn before the council meeting. In 44 years, I have never seen any active agriculture on it, except for a few cattle. Due to the size of this parcel, I would propose a vote of the people on any proposal brought forward.
NOOZHAWK: Should the city of Goleta grow into the eastern Goleta Valley? Why or why not?
JEAN BLOIS: No, the city of Goleta should not grow into the eastern Goleta Valley. The only section that might prove feasible would be the area around Mountain View School, as the only access is over city streets. The revenue generated from the rest of the area is not equal to the expense of maintaining the streets, providing police services and other city obligations.
NOOZHAWK: How would you improve Goleta’s traffic circulation?
JEAN BLOIS: Goleta needs at least one, and preferably two overpasses to improve traffic circulation. These would be similar to Micheltorena Street, with no freeway on- or off-ramps. If Calle Real could be completed from Los Carneros to Storke roads, it would also be helpful to Goleta circulation.
NOOZHAWK: Would you offer a resolution to replace the Goleta logo’s monarch butterfly with a Noozhawk?
JEAN BLOIS: No, I would not offer a resolution to replace the Goleta logo’s monarch butterfly with a Noozhawk. A galleon, maybe. (Goleta means galleon in old records, including in the book explaining city names in the Capitol Building in Sacramento.)
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