We offer nothing but big, greasy, smelly raspberries to the bad apples who terrorize Santa Maria with gun violence, burglaries, robberies, domestic violence and vandalism.
Four people have been shot in separate incidents since New Year’s Eve, and law enforcement has responded to multiple robberies, burglaries and assaults. There’s no reason for the vandalism twice this month of the nonprofit Corazon del Pueblo cultural arts center.
We have a mixed bouquet of roses and raspberries at the City of Santa Maria as he began prioritizing projects to be funded by his $37.2 million American Rescue Plan Act funds. Among its list of potential expenses are parks, infrastructure, broadband, license plate readers and homelessness programs, but staff have only offered $300,000 of that windfall to meet. the needs of homeless people.
It’s a problem the city has lamented that it doesn’t have the money to fix, so it seems like a perfect opportunity to donate a clean slate to help these people, a significant number of whom have been identified with mental illness. serious, substance abuse issues, or as veterans.
This confusing array of fruits and flowers also extends to Santa Maria’s decision to dedicate some of that ARPA funding to the essential workers who kept the city running during the pandemic shutdowns. Pro-rated payments of $5,000 per year for up to two years will be paid in two installments, but the second won’t come until January 2023.
Why wait another year to pay employees for work done two years ago? And what about employees who may no longer work for the city by 2023, like Santa Maria City Librarian Mary Housel, who announced her retirement this week after being told by city administrators that his contract would not be renewed? Will she and others like her still receive the bonus for services rendered in the past two years?
There is also clearly some pink quality news this week.
We present a wallet filled with roses for Santa Maria Joint Union School District, which recently took advantage of historically low interest rates to refinance a significant portion of its general obligation. The move saved local ratepayers $6.3 million with a rate cut from 4.3% to 2.6% on the remaining $67 million loan. Voters approved the 2013 Measure C2004 bond measure to fund new classroom buildings at Righetti and Santa Maria high schools.
We also have some raspberry for the same district for committing to spend up to $75,000 to hire a Southern California marketing firm to develop a new logo and brand campaign. Surely there was a local business that could have taken on the logo art project. And does a public school district really need branding?
Schools need seats, staff and supplies. With that, the students will come. The academic, artistic, professional and athletic achievements of the schools should provide all the campaign needed to attract families to the taxpayer-funded, free-for-families public education system.
Another rose at Band of Chumash Indians from Santa Ynez for recent donations of $40,000 each to the United Boys & Girls Club of Santa Barbara County, the North County Rape Crisis and Child Protection Center, and the SYBCI Foundation’s Technology in Schools program. The donations were made possible through their successful Chumash Charity Golf Classic which raised $120,000 last fall.
Meanwhile, on the west side of the valley, roses at Guadalupe City Council members who passed an ordinance limiting, but not eliminating, vacation rentals. The ordinance addresses residents’ concerns about noise, parking issues and general vacation rental safety, and prevents landlords from operating more than one local short-term rental, potentially protecting the homes of local families. .
The ordinance still allows a limited number of vacation rentals, allowing local residents to earn a few extra dollars on their property without removing an inordinate number of homes from residential inventory. Kudos for emphasizing the core function of Residences – housing people who form a community – rather than making easy money from skinless vacationers in the game.
And finally, bouquets of roses to people and programs that shine with good works, including: Southwest Carpenters Local 805 volunteer members who built a playhouse for 5-year-old Katalina Covarrubias of Santa Maria so she could have her own private getaway while undergoing cancer treatment; and human Santa Barbara, which serves Santa Barbara and the Santa Maria Valley, for adopting 1,263 animals and providing affordable care for 20,204 more in 2021.