Goleta becomes a city today.
It took nearly 20 years, four attempts and the exclusion of Isla Vista and Eastern Goleta, but the first Goleta City Council will be sworn in at 6 p.m. at the Goleta Valley Community Center. Margaret Connell will become mayor, and Jean Blois, Cynthia Brock, Jack Hawxhurst and Jonny Wallis will become the city council.
“We’re going to be a city at last,” Blois said. “We’ve been working on it for 20 years. We’re going to have local control over our area and we will be able to keep our tax dollars to ourselves.”
After presentations by Congresswoman Lois Capps, UCSB Chancellor Dr. Henry Yang, Country Supervisor Gail Marshall and others, several ordinances and resolutions need to be adopted to ensure the stable structure and framework of the new city government. The city must adopt all of the current county ordinances, ranging from administration and personnel issues to municipal codes. In addition, they will adopt a city seal and create an interim planning agency.
Connell said they are “basically housekeeping issues” that need to be taken care of in order for the city to be legally incorporated.
“Essentially they are the organizational structure of the city that we are legally required to have. None of this is unchangeable. These are adopted as urgency ordinances, going into effect right away. To change you need two public hearings or 45 days before the ordinance would actually go into effect,” she said.
Measure H, the Goleta cityhood proposal, was approved on Nov. 6 by 57.6 percent of the voters. Of more than 15,000 eligible voters, 5,512 cast ballots. Cityhood proposals appeared on the ballot but failed in 1987, 1990 and 1993.
Measure H created a city of about 29,000. UCSB, Isla Vista and parts of Eastern Goleta are excluded from the city.
Robert Bernstein, a city council runner-up, said that for the new city of Goleta to be successful they should allow as little development and be as environmentally sensitive as possible.
“Most people want the city to try and hold back development. When I was campaigning, I got a pretty consistent message that people didn’t want a lot of change,” he said. “They mostly wanted to keep things from changing a lot. To be successful, they’re probably going to need to develop plans to maintain quality of life.”
The City Council Elect has been holding special meetings since Nov. 15 at the Goleta Union School District Boardroom to discuss land use, budget, staffing and formal meeting dates.
Interim City Manager Edward Wohlenberg said they have hired an interim city attorney, manager and a contractor to assist with budget financing.
“A lot of time has been devoted to review of land use matters and the rest of it, the business of creating the city. They’ve had a lot of meetings with the attorney to go over ordinances and resolutions that have to be adopted. It’s just a matter of getting ahead on the whole process,” he said.
On Feb. 4, the Goleta City Council will hold their first meeting at the Goleta Union School District Boardroom where, among other issues, it will attempt to assemble a budget covering the city until June 30.