Sunday, November 28, 2010

Turkeys and Other Things That Might Not Fly

I'm one of those people who stayed in town for the long weekend. With Mom and Dad, not to mention Grandma, having long ago gone on to attend that big Thanksgiving feast in the sky, there's really no reason for me to hit the road.

But judging from the number of unfamiliar faces I saw in my usual familiar places, I'd say there were a lot of visitors who hit the road in order to spend their Thanksgiving in Santa Barbara.

For some reason, that I can't quite put my finger on, I get the feeling that a lot of the out-of-towners were here to visit relatives who, unlike them, can still afford to live here. It's one more piece of evidence, albeit anecdotal, that the middle class is getting squeezed out of Santa Barbara.

Middle class flight, or the increasing inability of the middle class to settle down here, is not something that has gone unnoticed by our leaders. In fact, the problem is at the center of the debate over the proposed updates to the City of Santa Barbara's General Plan. (And there is probably no better primer on the General Plan update and the battle lines being drawn at City Hall over it than Josh Molina's article that appeared over the weekend in the Daily Sound.)

On one side is the "liberal" half of the Council, which is composed of mayor Helene Schneider, and council members Grant House and Bendy White. On the other side is the "conservative" half of the council made up of Dale Francisco, Michael Self and Frank Hotchkiss.

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The liberals have this strange notion that there ought to be a place here for those who are something other than the newly wed or nearly dead. The conservatives having comfortably managed to get on board this Carnival Cruise are now demanding that the gang plank be pulled up. In other words, "I've got mine, good luck in getting yours."

In light of this deadlock, who wins in this debate is likely to be influenced by whomever is chosen to fill the vacancy created by the departure of Das Williams, which figures to make that process all the more interesting, if it wasn't interesting enough already.

If you thought the TSA has become overly thorough in searching people to make sure they're not concealing any explosives wait until the council starts checking out candidates to make sure they're not hiding any agendas on the update to the General Plan.

Unless someone can glide in under the radar look for the General Plan to remain on the "no fly list."

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One local who stuck around for the weekend was City Administrator Jim Armstrong, who on Saturday afternoon was standing out in front of Borders book store on State Street ringing a bell while soliciting donations for the Salvation Army.

I know for a fact that he victimized at least one cheapskate blogger.
© 2010 by Craig Smith and