Monday, March 19 , 2018, 4:11 am | Fair 41º


Local News

Falcone Picks Up Backing from 4 Public Safety Groups

Mayoral candidate vows to protect budgets for police, fire services.

Two-term Santa Barbara City Councilwoman Iya Falcone held a Stearns Wharf news conference Monday to announce that police and fire groups had endorsed her mayoral candidacy.
Two-term Santa Barbara City Councilwoman Iya Falcone held a Stearns Wharf news conference Monday to announce that police and fire groups had endorsed her mayoral candidacy. (Sonia Fernandez / Noozhawk photo)

Santa Barbara mayoral candidate Iya Falcone got the endorsement of key public safety officials Monday.

Gathered at Stearns Wharf, members of the Santa Barbara Police Officers Association, the Santa Barbara City Firefighters for Better Government and the Santa Barbara County Firefighters Association announced their support for the two-term councilwoman’s plans to seek the city’s top seat. Representatives from the Santa Barbara County Deputy Sheriff’s Association were not there but the organization also endorses Falcone.

“We are proud to endorse Iya Falcone’s candidacy for mayor,” said Charles McChesney of the Santa Barbara Police Officers Association. “In her years at city council she has always been the leader at giving us the tools that we need to do our job to help keep this city safe.”

“Public safety is huge, (public) services are huge and we need the commitment to keep the services at the level they are right now,” added Tony Pighetti of the Santa Barbara City Firefighters for Better Government.

Falcone said it was vital that public safety agencies have everything they need to maintain levels of service in the face of a Tea Fire or increasing gang-related violence.

“I am proposing no cuts to public safety,” said Falcone, referring to the city budget. Falcone, the council’s liaison with the Police Department, said she wants the city to keep police force staffing at 140 employees, and in the future maybe even raise it to 150.

“I don’t think (140) is adequate,” she said. “But I’m not going to be able to change that in the next several years, but I can help to keep it status quo.” Any budget cuts, she said, should be made in a way that do no affect police coverage.

Falcone also said she would “rail against” any cuts to fire protection services.

In her discussion she mentioned her experience with creating the graffiti ordinance.

“I know (it) still has issues, but it is much more effective now ... what happened over the weekend is unacceptable,” she said, referring to a rash of vandalism along several Santa Barbara streets.

Falcone also mentioned the city’s 12-point plan to deal with aggressive panhandling. She said the proposal puts more teeth into the penalties for repeat offenders.

“It’s coupled with compassion, it’s coupled with intervention, with outreach and many, many services,” said Falcone, who declined to comment on the ACLU’s recent lawsuit against the city with regard to ordinances addressing sleeping and camping in public.

If the 12-point plan does need changes, however, Falcone said she would be the first to lead them.

Write to [email protected]

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >