I am running for Santa Barbara City Council because I have strong concerns about public safety regarding our children and families. At least that is how it started.
Several standout events involving homeless people in our residential neighborhoods have made me fearful for our children’s safety. These include but are not limited to Washington Elementary School on the Mesa going into lockout because of homeless men creating an unsafe environment on school grounds, catching homeless men taking pictures of children playing on the soccer field, and witnessing two individuals lying on the ground, convulsing, near the back entrance to the school.
After stating my concerns and possible solutions, such as not allowing people to park by schools between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. during school days or prohibiting loitering and parking within 500 feet of a school or park (like other cities do), the City of Santa Barbara said NO.
From this point, I realized the huge public safety and humanitarian crisis this city has been swept under the carpet for decades.
I am going to address five issues:
We have traffic that drives way too fast down Cliff Drive. We need to reduce the speed limit to 30 mph, put up lighted crosswalks, and perhaps speed humps to slow traffic.
We have an unfriendly business climate in the city. I have spoken to several businesses that have spent well over a year AND their start-up funds trying to get through the city approval process. One company already has spent more than $2 million and is ready to walk away.
We all agree that climate change is occurring, and there are numerous activities that contribute to this.
I’ve been saying we can all make changes in our lives to help. I choose to not buy products from countries and businesses that have little or no environmental oversight. I choose to walk to school, the grocery store, my office, or out to dinner on the Mesa on date nights.
Every one of us can make changes in our lives to help the planet today.
Housing and Affordable Housing
How do you make housing cheaper? Basic economics and the law of supply and demand.
We need more housing to make housing cheaper.
The city has made it difficult and expensive to build and remodel to fit today’s housing needs. Considering that it takes two to three years to build — and factoring in mortgage, architects, planners and attorneys — it’s more expensive to build and to have a home here.
Other cities give up to a $75,000 credit if you build an accessory dwelling unit, or an ADU like a guest house, and rent it to a low-income individual for five years.
We have known since the 1980s that the first step to helping is to provide homes.
“What works is permanent housing for higher-needs homeless neighbors,” said Dinah Lockhart, deputy director of Santa Barbara County’s Housing and Community Development Division.
Other solutions include:
» Temporary shelters to provide a place to sleep.
» Parking lots, so vehicles can be parked off the street, with toilets and trash containers.
» Storage, so the homeless can leave their belongings someplace safe while they are at a shelter.
» Central management of all resources among government and nonprofit organizations. We have the technology to broadcast to homeless individuals’ cell phones so they know what resources are available (An estimated 90 percent of the homeless have cell phones). Once they’re safe, they can receive regular help. This will reduce the supportive costs the city and nonprofit organizations are burdened with.
The government has forgotten we are all people, and that we need to work together as a team and as a community. We are not divided; we are supposed to be united. Together we can make differences that help our city. Let’s show the state and the country the power of working together.
— Brian Campbell is a candidate for Santa Barbara City Council District 2. Click here for more information. The opinions expressed are his own.