The Expensive Reality of Parking at Santa Ynez High School

Did you know our High School is suffering from an on-going structural deficit?  This school year the deficit will be $86,048.  Projections for 2019/20 are $659,878 and $792,131 in 2020/21.  The District has not backfilled certain teaching positions to address this structural deficit.  There are classes with more than 30 students, including math.  Did you know that the Board recently approved spending $1.3 million on the east parking lot with District operating funds?   This decision will not only strain the budget but will put the newly elected Board members in an unfair and grim position if staff cuts are necessary in the future.

There will be new Board members starting in December.  The current Board needs to do no harm to the already broken budget.  Allow the new Board to decide if a $1.3 million parking lot is more important than student programs, certificated staffing, curriculum, math, science, music and vocational classes.

Taxpayers approved a new parking lot to be paid with Measure K bond funds, not school operating funds. These operating funds should benefit the students.

I asked the Board to re-vote at the next board meeting on November 13 at 5:00 p.m.  The Board will hear the first interim budget presentation that includes the impact of their $1.3 millionexpenditure decision.  Please come to the meeting or contact President Jan Clevenger and let your voice be heard.  A new parking lot, I believe, does not help educate our kids.

Michelle de Werd

Los Olivos

Parent of former SYHS student

As someone who attended the City of Solvang candidate forum and watches the City Council meetings regularly the choice for Mayor couldn’t be more clear,

Although Jim Richardson should be commended for his service over the last 18 years it’s become exceedingly apparent that our city of Solvang needs new energy and leadership to meet new challenges and maintain the quality of life we all expect here in the valley. Councilmember, Ryan Toussaint, displayed a keen grasp of important local issues and exuded the dynamism that Solvang sorely needs.

• More specifically Ryan after being elected in 2016, took the initiative and dug into our water issues and stopped a proposed water rate increase of nearly 35%. Keeping his campaign promise of 2016.

• He’s also worked hard to stabilize water and sewer rates while increasing quality and ensuring reliable sources to our homes and businesses.

• He has the vision and drive to help maintain what we have but with any eye to meeting future challenges that a new economy presents. In other words, Solvang needs new leadership to meet modern challenges of today.

Please join me in voting for Ryan Toussaint come November 6th.

Patti Gilmore

City of Solvang Resident

Solvang is at a Juncture

On November 6, Solvang voters will decide whether to choose a mayor who has energy and ability to help Solvang navigate tough issues and succeed into the future.

  • Ryan Toussaint is a sitting council member running for Mayor.
  • Ryan was born and raised here in Solvang.
  • He’s owned and operated an IT business in the valley for the last 12 years.
  • He has a genuine passion to maintain our quality of life we enjoy and expect here in the valley.
  • Ryan is committed to transparency in our local government and stopping backroom deals outside the purview of public scrutiny

After being elected in 2016, he showed leadership and stopped a proposed water rate increase of nearly 35%. He’s also worked hard to stabilize water and sewer rates while increasing quality and ensuring reliable sources to our homes and businesses.

Solvang is going to facing ongoing issues with water, storm water management, sewer treatment, housing, and head of household jobs and we need a mayor that is up to the task and can operate transparency with accountability to the public.

I would encourage everyone to check out

We need a new way for a new day

Daniel Johnson

We Deserve Better

Back in 1991, the Solvang City Council, without due diligence, shifted the water burden onto the backs of residential families. Not just all families, but only those with a dedicated water meter at their residence. Now the rest, with one meter feeding multiple single-family units, apartments, mobile home parks and other multiple commercial units with one meter, got a major break as the virtual meter charge was dropped.  In addition, Solvang residents pay $3,000,000 a year for State Water which DWR in their 2017 forecast for future years indicated a 25% delivery reliability. This is an effective cost of $6400 per acre-foot. In comparison our well water is about $150 per acre-foot.

The recent grand jury report indicates that Cities and the County are heading for insolvency. The problem is the underfunded government retirement programs.

Both Solvang and Buellton have nearly the same population, but Buellton has 19 employees and Solvang has 38. Buellton was listed as low risk of insolvency by the Grand Jury. Solvang was listed as high risk. In addition, Solvang needs a new Sewer Treatment Plant and Storm Water Management Program that will come at a very significant cost.

Solvang deserves new faces on the City Council to direct our vision to fiscal responsibility. It’s time to elect leadership that will downsize City government and minimize the effects of new unfunded mandated laws at all levels.

David Brents, CPA

A Time For Change on the Solvang Council

As the election for Solvang City Council approaches, I ask you to consider which candidates will be committed to reducing residential water rates?

In 2011, the Solvang Council voted to change the way water rates were calculated, resulting in residential water fixed fees increasing by 50% and more and reducing commercial fixed fees by 53%.

Residential customers get hit again being charged a tiered rate, increasing the more the units used.  In contrast, commercial units are charged one rate for any amount of water used.  With this policy, if residents get a water leak, they are hit particularly hard.

Simply put, the 2011 plan served the interests of the commercial users to the detriment of the residential users.

What is most important to know is that Councilwoman Jamieson and Mayor Richardson, both running for re-election, voted for this skewed plan in 2011.  For the past 7 years, they failed to change it.  Meanwhile, our water bills increase.  Do these two candidates deserve to be re-elected?  I think not.

In fact, when the City paid for another water study in 2016 to justify raising rates again, it continued to use the flawed 2011 study as a basis for the new rates.  This was wrong.

In the process of auditing the 2016 water rate increase proposal, Councilman Toussaint uncovered other discrepancies including $12 Million in non-existent expenses.  (Noozhawk, August 26, 2018).  Without Ryan’s fine work, all of us, unjustifiably, would be paying up to 35% more for water.

Unfortunately, this information was not widely disseminated.  Few ratepayers seem to know of Ryan’s accomplishments and what Ryan saved us in water bills this year.

To retain our property values, keep our mature landscaping alive, and save us from unwarranted costs, a fair water policy must be adopted.   It’s time to equalize rates amongst all users.

As residents, I urge you to vote for Ryan Toussaint for Mayor and candidates for Council who truly have our best interests at heart.

Nancy Orchard

Solvang Resident

No on Measure Y

Ethics is a one-way street. But mix legality with ethics and you end up with the Los Angeles freeway system of endless exits and dead ends.  Let’s consider the promotional monies for Measure Y.  The Allan Hancock College Foundation donated $49,000 to the campaign. The Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation set up to fund scholarships for students. A political campaign is hardly a scholarship. Foundation donors should feel cheated. Their cash was meant to help students succeed. But now donor money is funding a campaign strategist, bumpers stickers, yard signs, and phone bankers.

Other Measure Y donors include engineering firms that stand to make money on contracts, and a law firm that will make money on the inevitable lawsuits that follow most AHC construction projects. AHC suffered pretty big migraines during lawsuits triggered by Measure I (2006) projects.

Is this money shell game legal? I’m not so sure. Ethical? Absolutely not. So, I filed a complaint with the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office stating my concerns about how this $49,000 magically appeared in the Measure Y campaign chest.

The Measure Y team is trying to convince you, with your money, to throw more of your dollars at vague promises.

Does AHC need new buildings? Sure. Every school needs new buildings. Do we know how much these projects will cost?  Nope. Other than the Fine Arts building, there hasn’t been a single estimate put forward to the Board for the lofty promises the Measure Y team guarantees.

Don’t exit the double wide off ramp to false promises and eternal debt. Vote NO on Measure Y and travel the ethical one-way street.

Dan Hilker

Santa Maria