Monday, May 21 , 2018, 4:12 am | Fair 52º


Henry Schulte: UCSB Gets Special Treatment from Coastal Commission

[Note: Part three in a three-part series. Click here for the first part. Click here for the second part.]

A few final observations and opinions regarding our community, our neighbor UCSB, and its friend and ally the California Coastal Commission.

The students: This time I’m coming to the defense of the defenseless students. Granted, I still feel transient voters should never control and dictate what happens in a community in which most will never reside full time, but in this world of muddled government where things move slower than lava, it will never change.

We, the community at large, just need to step up and use our own voting power to make the changes we deem necessary. Unless we do that we get what we deserve.

Back to the students: Last year, the UC Regents made two big decisions, one to increase the UC chancellor’s pay by 20 percent and then, apparently to help pay for those raises, agreed to increase the students' tuition. You barely heard a peep when the chancellors, who will now average $400,000 a year (UCSF chancellor $750,000 a year) just faded into quiet acceptance. And the students who tried to rally against the tuition increase, their voices gradually went silent.

The Coastal Commission: Over Christmas weekend I took my daughters and grandkids to visit Hearst Castle. I wanted to stay at the Cambria Pines Lodge because they put on a beautiful Christmas light display around the grounds and I wanted to show the kids. At first I was dismayed when I was told the lights wouldn’t be coming on that evening one day after Christmas. And then I was stunned to read the reason why posted at the check-in counter.

The Coastal Commission (remember, an unelected body of ideologists) had decided to only allow the lights to be displayed for a certain number of days. I can’t even begin to fathom where they get the authority and even further more why. Attributing to climate change? The colors are too much for the squirrels to handle? With the addition of over 900 new laws enacted this year in California, we add to that the unsupervised Coastal Commission running amok.

Meanwhile, UCSB is gobbling development steroids. Remember the dirtiest word you could ever be called in Santa Barbara has always been “developer.” Wait until someone else tries a new major project and see what happens.

Goleta Beach: A golf driver away, environmentalists and the CCC want to take away Goleta Beach and UCSB throws the public crumbs for beach parking access, and we still have to pay for it. I’d like a logical, common-sense explanation why rocks can’t be placed to protect the beach, but hundreds of thousands of square feet can be built across the bay almost unchecked. And the “take way the sand down the coast” argument doesn’t hold against a high tide. Everything south of Rincon is revetment and L.A. has some of the longest stretches of beaches in the world, all covered with tons of sand.

Farming: As someone who’s been involved in farming and raising avocados for over 40 years along our coast, I’ve watched as multitudes of regulations have been imposed to strangle agriculture. Now, the Coastal Commission, in bed with our supervisors (or the other way around), has added even more layers recently.

You take each of these hundreds if not thousands of regulations imposed over the years and you have to ask yourself: Who even thinks of them or has the time? It’s of course the self-appointed environmentalists who always know better and have the backing of the CCC, our local supervisors and our democratic Legislature. The handcuffs that have been imposed are costly and in most cases stupid and in many cases purely politically motivated.

But in the case with liberal institutions of higher learning such as UCSB, there just doesn’t seem to be any of these same restraints and regulations. In a community where an EIR is required to add a toilet, it’s the old cliché: “It isn’t what you know, it’s who you know.”

— Henry Schulte of Santa Barbara owns and operates Dos Pueblos Ranch. He has been politically active in the community for years. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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