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Wednesday, February 20 , 2019, 5:59 pm | Mostly Cloudy 51º


Letter to the Editor: An Open Letter to Goleta City Councilmen Roger Aceves and Michael Bennett

From Carpinteria Councilman Joe Armendariz


I understand the Goleta City Council is taking up the issue of your city’s Sheriff’s Department contract. As you may or may not know, I cast the lone NO vote last week when the Carpinteria City Council took up the issue of fully funding our sheriff’s contract, or modifying it to save money. The question presented to my council was whether to absorb an 11 percent increase, or cut back the level of police service to the citizens of Carpinteria and zero out what my colleagues considered an unacceptable increase.

I voted to fully fund the contract — with the use of strategic reserves — to maintain the current level of public safety for my community. My colleagues voted to partially dismantle our community’s police protection to save money. The narrative at the council meeting was that there are no “sacred cows” anymore. Ironically, though, there was a cow that emerged from the council meeting unscathed, and sanctified; it was the strategic reserve cash cow.

I suppose some people might consider the decision by my colleagues to be a reasonable decision, particularly during these tough fiscal times. I do not believe their decision was reasonable. I believe it was a mistake with potentially huge ramifications. Indeed, I believe the 4-1 action taken by my council to be one of the most irresponsible acts by a city council in Carpinteria. To partially dismantle the community’s law-enforcement response capability to save money, when the city has $6 million of liquid reserves, is, to put it mildly, penny-wise and pound foolish. It is a shortsighted and one-dimensional view of how best to manage our public resources.

EVERYTHING that is great and wonderful about a city flows in direct proportion to the level of personal safety people feel when they are out and about in the community, and especially when they are at home. The safety of the public is the most important service government provides.

I think you both agree that the level of public safety in a community is inextricably linked to that community’s quality of life. And that is why I hope you will fully fund your sheriff’s contract (even if it requires dipping into your strategic reserves) while continuing to explore other programmatic savings, and right-sizing organizational reforms to maximize efficiencies so your city can achieve budget equilibrium.

I appreciate what both of you do for Goleta, and the region, too. I look forward to seeing you both soon.


Joe Armendariz
Carpinteria city councilman

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