News & Op-eds


Focus: Goleta Development

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The public is invited to a forum on Goleta Development: How it gets approved and what we can do about it!


WHAT: During the forum’s first segment, approximately 45-minutes, a panel of knowledgeable community members and activists will present a brief overview of:

*- Who makes what decisions?
*- What rules govern decision-making?
*- Who are the decision makers (and how did they get there)?
*- How can YOU influence the development process?

This will be followed by audience participation: All are invited to participate in a Q&A.

**Come for the session, stay for the questions … and the cookies.**

WHEN:  6:30 PM, May 25. This forum is a repeat of the one on May 17, for those who cannot attend the first event. It should be different with different questions; attendance at both is welcome!

WHERE:  Goleta Public Library, 500 N Fairview Ave, Goleta, CA 93117 in the large community meeting room.

R.S.V.P. is optional and just to make sure we have enough cookies:

The Goleta Grapevine — 
Hilton Gardens Hotel, showing obscured mountain views
The race for Goleta City Council may determine whether more developments, like the Hilton Garden Inn/Rincon Palms Hotel at Storke and Hollister that is rising to obscure the Santa Ynez Mountains, will proliferate. —photo by George Relles

Why Way Goleta?

Council Election Will Decide the City’s Direction

For the first time in six years, we have a contested election for Goleta City Council. Five candidates are running for two seats. So much is at stake in this election. It is a virtual referendum on whether voters approve of the recent amount and pace of development or whether we want a change of direction. And voters want to know which candidates will best represent their point of view.

Contrary to what some have said, Goleta still has a great deal of proposed development waiting in the wings. Just click here to see Goleta’s Cumulative Project List. Page 3 contains eight projects that are “pending” approval.   …:::snip:…  Click to continue reading:

by George Relles;  published Monday, October 17, 2016.

Santa Barbara Independent

Great Growth, Bad Vibes in Goleta

City’s Challenges Has Five Council Contenders Competing to Solve Them
by Jean Yamamura, Oct. 6/updated Oct. 7. 

“The bulky constructions rising along Hollister are only the most visible of Goleta’s issues that have led to the first challengers to City Council in years. From among five candidates, only two will gain seats on a council soon to decide a number of proposed developments — 500 residential units and almost 200,000 square feet of commercial development, including Heritage Ridge, Kenwood Village, and another piece of Westar/Hollister Village, among them. …” :::snip:::

For the rest of the story, including brief descriptions of the candidates, noting sources, as of publication date, of the candidates’ funding: 

The Goleta Grapevine — 

A Former Goleta Mayor Weighs In on the Election

Voters Can Decide Whether to Select or Elect the City Leader
by Margaret Connell

To elect or select the mayor — that is the question. For Goleta voters, C2016 on this November’s ballot is a measure to decide whether to move to an elected mayor for Goleta and, if so, whether it should be for a two-year or a four-year term.

For the city’s first 15 years, Goleta’s mayor has been selected or appointed by the five councilmembers at the first meeting in December. In practice, the position has rotated among the councilmembers each year.


This may seem like a minor matter with the drought and extended development pressing in on us. But C2016 is an unnecessary change that adds nothing to the smooth governance of the city. I urge Goletans to vote “no” on C2016.

 Read more, click here: S.B. Independent,

published September 19, 2016.

The Goleta Grapevine  

Time to Close the Ellwood Onshore Facility

If Not Now, When? ___Primo Levi
by George Relles

Goleta history lovers probably already know that Goleta is the site of the first shelling of the North American mainland during World War II and also the first organized, scheduled drag races in the US. A less known fact is that Goleta is the site of one of the last remaining shoreline oil wells on the West Coast of the United States, known as “Pier 421.”

Anyone wondering what an oil well is doing on a Goleta Beach may also wonder what the Ellwood Onshore Facility (EOF) for processing petroleum is doing just off of Goleta’s Haskell’s Beach, near to The Bluffs and The Hideaway residential complexes and also next to the Bacara Resort & Spa and the Sandpiper Golf Club.      :::snip:::

Read more: The SB Independent

Published: Monday, July 18, 2016

Shelby Foothills Coalition Forms to Oppose Shelby Development Plan

One of the members of the coalition, Barbara Massey of The Goodland Coalition, said, “Our members are bound together by the belief that rezoning for the development of this 14-acre agricultural parcel is wrong on many levels. Ten years ago Goleta residents, and Goleta City staff and Council, carefully crafted the General Plan over a period of many months. Changing the Shelby zoning now would completely contradict that effort.”

For more:

April 21, 2016

 Goleta’s Foothill Views Disappearing Right Before Our Eyes — Mountains, Ocean, and Skies in Danger of Being Lost, Too

Recent construction of new developments in Goleta has drawn criticism primarily for increasing traffic and raising demands for water. More and more I’m also hearing complaints about the effects of this construction on our eyes. Views of Goleta’s surrounding foothills, mountains, ocean, and skies are being replaced by views of bricks and mortar and parking lots.

Approvals of Goleta development and redevelopment are not over. There may still be time to save the visual quality of our community. To that end I want to offer some ideas and language “borrowed” from one California city, even if some of these ideas seem somewhat extreme or radical. However, these ideas may find support among Goletans who think our community views add to our enjoyment, quality of life and property values. :::snip:::

For the rest of the Goleta Grapevine column by George Relles, click here: Independent, Sunday, April 17, 2016.

TGC presents an informational City Council candidate program

This first of a kind — and non-partisan — forum was held February 4, at the Goleta Library’s Multipurpose Room. Moderated by George Relles, the forum was well attended, with many audience questions.

Former council members Margaret Connell and Cynthia Brock shared experiences about being on the Council, what’s expected of a councilmember, the time needed — is it a full-time job? Not really, but it can be! Of interest was the salary and former mayor Connell explained that Goleta is a General Law city with council pay set by the legislature.

Campaign manager James Kyriaco gave detailed information about the nuts and bolts of running for office in Goleta. Five newcomers to Goleta politics but not necessarily to Goleta, indicated preliminary interest. For more information on running, please contact us:

Thank you for your interest!

 Goleta’s City Council and Growth

Councilmembers Control the General Plan

Monday, January 18, 2016, by George Relles

Few people realize that not one of the five current Goleta City Council members faced opposition to win his or her current term. Here’s how this curious and unprecedented condition happened: Councilmembers Michael Bennett, Roger Aceves, and Paula Perotte were unopposed in their 2014 elections; Councilmember Jim Farr was unopposed in 2012; and Councilmember Vallejo was appointed in July 2014 to fill the seat of resigning councilmember Ed Easton.

Different theories have been suggested for why these councilmembers ran with no competition. :::snip:::

for the rest of the story, click here: Goleta Grapevine, Santa Barbara Independent.

A Conversation with Westside Goleta Coalition’s Robert Miller

Monday, July 20, 2015, by George Relles

My fellow columnist Vic Cox previously wrote about the community resistance to the new California Highway Patrol location, and the following is an interview with Robert Miller, who has been instrumental in organizing the Westside Goleta Coalition, Goleta’s newest neighborhood association. A trial lawyer affiliated with a national law firm, Robert Miller moved to Goleta about 16 months ago.  :::snip:::

complete column, Goleta Grapevine

Neither Hypocrites nor Anti-Oil
Fossil Fuel Development Restrictions Are for Safety

Monday, June 15, 2015, by Margaret Connell

Those who fight for restrictions on oil development are often accused of hypocrisy because they drive cars that use oil both in their manufacture and as fuel to get around. No one is ready to say that we can be oil independent yet, but that does not mean that we cannot move in that direction and advocate for alternative energy sources, conservation, and support for transportation and goods that use less oil.  :::snip:::

complete column, Goleta Grapevine

Incumbents Run Unopposed — Goleta’s City Council Race Is Already Done

Sunday, September 14, 2014, by Margaret Connell

Where have all the Goleta candidates gone?

When you open your ballot for this November’s election, notably absent will be any candidates for the Goleta City Council. At the close of filing on August 8, only the three incumbents had submitted papers. There were no challengers.

For the City of Goleta this is the second election in a row without a campaign. Jim Farr and Ed Easton were elected in 2012 unopposed. This December, the new council will consist of five members, none of whom have had to conduct a campaign to gain their seats. …:::snip:::
complete column: Goleta Grapevine

 Marriott Residence Inn before the Council on 9/16

The Marriott Residence Inn proposal for a 118 room, 80,945 square foot extended stay hotel, located on the corner of Hollister and Robin Hill Road. This undeveloped parcel includes the last intact Chumash village and burial site in the City, eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.
This project is going to the Goleta City Council for final approval on Tuesday, evening September 16, 2014. We oppose this project for five key reasons: (link to follow)

For news on the Marriott proposal before the Goleta Council on the 16th, and also the Shelby property and news of a proposed drive-through at Taco Bell, click Edition 19 of The Goodland Outlook linked here (link to follow)

 Perotte Running for Re-Election; filing period ends 8/8

Goleta City Councilmember Paula Perotte has submitted papers to run for reelection on November 4, according to the city clerk. … Also up for reelection in the Good Land are councilmembers Michael Bennett and Roger Aceves, who were both elected in 2006 and reelected in 2010. No other candidates have filed to challenge the three for their spots; the filing period started on 7/14 and ends on 8/8.
Thursday, August 7, 2014 — by Lyz Hoffman
SB Independent

3-2, PC Supports Marriott Hotel Project

The Marriott Residence Inn hotel development plan was supported by the Goleta Planning Commission in a 3-2 decision Monday night, which pushes the project to the City Council for final approval.

The 118-room hotel would be located in the 6300 block of Hollister Avenue, across the street from the Santa Barbara Airport.

By Giana Magnoli, Noozhawk News Editor | @magnoli | Published on 07.29.2014

Traffic in Goleta — A Tale of Three Stooges

Monday, July 21, 2014, by George Relles

It’s five o’clock on a Wednesday evening in western Goleta. I reluctantly head to Storke and Hollister. With traffic to and from UCSB and the three nearby shopping centers, it takes a while to get through that intersection. I wonder what this trip will be like when the 270-unit Westar project plus the new hotel at this intersection are completed in about a year. :::snip:::
The Goleta Grapevine in the Santa Barbara Independent

Goleta Water District Won’t Consider Water Use Restrictions Until September

State board calls on agencies to enforce fines for water-wasters and approves restrictions on outdoor water use

By Giana Magnoli, Noozhawk News Editor | @magnoli | Published on 07.16.2014.

Goleta water officials say they won’t consider any water-use restrictions until September, despite a statewide order issued Tuesday.

The Goleta Water District is relying on voluntary conservation and hasn’t imposed water-use restrictions, drought water rates or rebate programs to encourage conservation for customers. :::snip::: Noozhawk

Goleta Council Gives Green Light to 465-unit Village at Los Carneros Development

The 465-unit project will have to adhere to a 100-foot buffer with a nearby creek

— By Gina Potthoff, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @ginapotthoff | Published on 07.15.2014.

The Village at Los Carneros development of nearly 500 residential units will at long last come to fruition after gaining approval from the Goleta City Council on Tuesday night. …Noozhawk

3 Council Seats to be Contested in November
City Council candidate nomination deadline: Noon, August 8,

By Janene Scully, Noozhawk North County Editor | Published on 07.14.2014.

Fall Election Season Kicks Off in Santa Barbara County :::snip::: The Goleta City Council will have three seats on the Nov. 4 ballot, with the nomination period closing at noon Aug. 8, and extended to 5 p.m. Aug. 13 if an incumbent doesn’t file. Terms now held by Roger Aceves, Michael Bennett and Paula Perotte are set to expire this year. Goleta City Council candidates can make an appointment with the city clerk to get the paperwork and qualification information by calling 805-961-7505. Noozhawk

PC Green Lights Village at Los Carneros
Goleta Planning Commission Gives Green Light to Village at Los Carneros Development

Noozhawk By Gina Potthoff, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @ginapotthoff | Published on 06.23.2014.

Development Fuels Debate
Development Sprouting Up Across Goleta Fuels Debate on Impacts, Future and Community Identity

Noozhawk By Joshua Molina, Mission & State Staff Writer | Published on 06.22.2014.

Tony Vallejo Appointed to the City Council

Goleta City Council Taps Tony Vallejo to Fill Vacant Seat Noozhawk By Gina Potthoff, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @ginapotthoff | Published on 06.17.2014

Supervisor Candidates Wolf, Aceves Talk Infrastructure and Open Space at Goleta Forum

The candidates for Second District county supervisor met Wednesday evening to discuss issues that are important to residents of the Goleta Valley. This was a League of Women Voters Education Fund forum, co-hosted by Families Act and The Goodland Coalition.

By Giana Magnoli, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @magnoli | Published on 04.23.2014 10:24 p.m.

With a 3-2 vote, city leaders uphold an appeal by the Goodland Coalition citing traffic and parking concerns

“A proposed drive-through for the McDonald’s restaurant in the Camino Real Marketplace has been the target of an appeal by the Goodland Coalition. The Goleta City Council upheld the appeal and denied the project Tuesday night in a close 3-2 vote.”
By Giana Magnoli, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @magnoli | Published on 02.04.2014 9:44 p.m. Noozhawk

Overwhelming approval…

By Giana Magnoli, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @magnoli | 11:30 p.m. | Published on 11.07.2012 1:31 a.m.
“Goleta voters overwhelmingly approved the Agricultural Land Protection Initiative in Tuesday’s election, receiving 71.05 percent voter approval of 9,566 votes cast.
The measure requires majority approval from voters before the city can redesignate certain agricultural parcels larger than 10 acres. …”