~  Pierheads's ~
Goleta Pier Log

PFIC Get-Together, Goleta Pier,  July 2003.  Photo credit:  Rich Reano, webmaster,  www.pierfishing.com

Volunteer Time:
2006 (total):    103 days, 169 hours
2007 (to date):  213 days, 357.75 hours 

October 1st, 2007: I will be taking some time off this month and will not be updating the log as frequently as before.  For those who haven't already discovered the archived material please click on the link at the top of the page ... you can view prior month log entries, selected essays and the previous version of this site which focused exclusively on pier fishing related topics. 

When I return in November I will be concentrating on the Model Pier Demonstration Project and the opening of the Marine Center which received its final approval and funding from the Board of Supervisors on September 25th.

Looking forward to reporting from a more positive perspective now that most of the ongoing problems have been identified and solutions are being implemented.

Thank you for your patience and don't forget to sign the guest book.

October 5th, 2007: 

Important ... Please read, take our poll and email write/phone our local Supervisor.

On Tuesday, October 16th, the Board of Supervisors will consider a motion to begin charging parking fees at all County Parks and Beaches. The actual agenda and location of this public meeting will not be posted until Thursday October 11th which leaves precious little time to organize any real opposition.

Currently the poll being hosted on this site since late last month is running 13 to 1 against the proposed fees. 

In a document submitted to the the BOS on 9-25-07 Erik Axelson, Deputy Parks Director, noted the limited means of many of the park's visitors: 

"Goleta Beach Park is notable for attracting a significant percentage (up to 35%, according to recent surveys) of low income, Hispanic families with at-risk youth, and also for being a common destination for developmentally-disabled children and adults."
Presumably the imposition of fees would reduce the attractiveness of the park to that particular demographic group.  Another group negatively impacted would be the large number of low income seniors, myself included, who would have to curtail severely the number of trips we make. 

For many retirees of modest means Goleta Beach and Pier is an affordable destination for fishing, daily walks, being with friends or just getting out of the house. Unlike the downtown Santa Barbara waterfront area there is no alternative free street parking nearby. 

It will be argued that public transportation is available but that option is not really viable for the majority of beach and pier users who bring umbrellas, tents, beach chairs, coolers, charcoal, fishing tackle, kayaks, float tubes and surfboards. 

One ominous comment left at the poll site suggested that user fees were a good thing because they "...keep out transients." 

While it is true that Goleta Beach attracts its share of 'problem' people it is not appropriate to impose economic barriers on all low income visitors as a panacea. What is needed is an increase in the enforcement of the existing laws governing behavior in public.

I hope this parking fee proposal will be seen for what it is ... a false economy that will do more harm than good. 

October 6th, 2007: 

This Saturday was the second in a series of Ethical Angling classes sponsored by United Pier and Shore Anglers of California (UPSAC). Teachers were James Liu (left), UPSAC secretary/treasurer and Ben Acker (upper right at rail) UPSAC vice-president. Assisting were Bill Acker (Ben's father) and Roy Qi, a GP regular and a UCSB Marine Science student.

Prior to the class another GP regular, Martin Tait, known as Greenrag to the www.pierfishing.com online community, helped me get the pier in shape for the visiting scouts. Since I've been away the pier hasn't been cleaned ... took Martin over four hours to remove the accumulated guano.

October 13th, 2007: 

The agenda and supporting documents for the parking fee proposal (Legislative file ID 07-00810, agenda item #6) at Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting is posted. 

Perhaps the most relevant and interesting document is the Board letter dated 10-9-07 which suggests that: "The total annual revenue that could be generated by instituting a $1/day beach parking fee at Goleta Beach, Arroyo Burro Beach, Rincon Beach, Lookout Beach, Ocean Beach, and Rancho Guadalupe Dunes parks would be approximately $667,600, with annual operating costs of $244,500, which would result in approximately $423,100 in net annual revenue per fiscal year."

According to the letter, "Parks has an extensive backlog of capital and deferred maintenance needs, including replacing aging field equipment that has exceeded its useful life, repaving of various roads and driveways, preventative tree maintenance, etc, which totals to over $39,000,000 approximately."

In addition the Parks Department anticipates additional ongoing costs in the form of a new advance reservations/call center system  ($103,200) with a one time startup cost of $116,500 as well as "$223,500 in ongoing funding to support the costs to the Parks
Department of taking over the management, operation, and maintenance of Rancho Guadalupe Dunes County Park."

So those are the items driving this new push for parking fees.  Below is a table showing the anticipated revenue to be realized at each park:

The first item under Goleta Beach is the annual 'vehicle count'.  This figure is the basis for the projected revenue. The county claims that 616,500 vehicles enter the park every year which works out to an average of 1689 cars per day. 

I have some serious concerns about the validity of those figures:

According to the Goleta Beach Park Master Plan EIR (dated 4-18-2006) there are only 550 parking spaces in the entire park ...if so then the the County figures would suggest that every one of those spaces is filled three (3) times per day every single day of the year. That does not square with my personal daily observation of the parking lots over the past three years. 

There are four major groups that use the parking lots:

  • Restaurant visitors  (under 90 minutes) 
  • UCSB students avoiding UCSB parking fees (over 90 minutes)
  • Before work, after work and lunchtime (non-restaurant) short-term visitors (under 90 minutes)
  • Beach and Pier visitors (over 90 minutes)
Given that the first 90 minutes parking will be free the only two groups that would actually contribute revenue then would be the UCSB students and the long-term beach and pier visitors ... together I seriously doubt if they account for more than 200-300 vehicles per day on the average. 

More importantly, perhaps 100-150 of those are the UCSB students already avoiding the Univerity's parking fees  which average around $1.00 per day as well. So we can expect that a portion of that group would consider other alternatives.

So - let's say 250 paying vehicles per day as an average.  That's only $91,250 per year - not the $308,300 in revenue the County is projecting. 70% less. And that's only for Goleta - are there similar discrepancies at the other parks?

If so then instead of gross revenues of $667,600 the adjusted figure could be as low as $200,280 ... far less than the projected annual operating cost of $244,500.

The County's vehicle count (and anticipated revenues), to put it mildly, appear to be a bit of an exaggeration and to go forward could result in a revenue shortfall with subsequent pressure to increase the fee well beyond the 'reasonable' $1.00 per day.

[update 10-16-07, 10am]:  I've just been informed that Goleta has an embedded traffic counter at the park exit.  Assuming that it is functioning correctly then the figures can be validated.  However, the nature and length of those visits is still unclear and therefore there still is no certainity that the revenue projections are realistic without further data. 

I will forward these concerns to our supervisor, Janet Wolf and would expect that she would insist on verification of the traffic counts before proceeding any further down this road.

The 10-16-07 Board meeting will be broadcast live on the Web ... for those interested in following along here is the link. The broadcast starts at 9am. 

Please, take a minute and add your vote and comments to our poll at the bottom of the page ... help prevent the commercialization of our beach access.  Thank you.

October 16th, 2007: 
Good news!  At today's Board of Supervisors meeting the beach parking fee section of the four part motion was eliminated from the final resolution. All five of the supervisors acknowledged the negative impacts of parking fees on low income residents and are now firmly on record as opposed to any day use fees at the non-camping county beaches and parks.

Which still leaves the issue of budget shortfalls and the need for new sources of revenue ... especially at Goleta which is facing enormous expenses in the near future of "$11,200,000 - $13,300,000 - for long-range beach protection plan options
contained in EIR, as well as improvement projects for Goleta pier and slough". 

Currently the concessions at Goleta(restaurant, snack bar) and the group area and hoist rentals contribute $323,080 per year in revenue with expenditures of $372,776. The annual shortfall of $49,696 is made up through general fund contributions. 

Perhaps it's time to consider some other alternatives such as contracting for services (privatization) or giving the park to the city of Goleta (divestiture). Increasing the group area reservation fees is another possibility.

Personally I see potential in a parking kiosk at the west end parking lot to recapture some of the expenses associated with maintaining over 100 parking spaces used almost exclusively by UCSB students on a daily basis to avoid on-campus parking fees. 

Another approach that impressed me was described by one of the presenters, Mr. Ward from Santa Maria, who represented Friends of Waller Park which is a private non-profit corporation formed for the purpose of raising funds for improvements to Waller Park. The organization has raised over $300,000 since 1982 to improve the park. I could envision a similar organization here at Goleta.

There was mention made of resurrecting the S.B. County Parks Park Foundation which was a similar support organization at the County level that, apparently from the comments made, has not been active recently.  I will be following that development with interest.

I want to thank all those that took time to contribute to our parking poll and comment section ... I am satisfied that our concerns were acknowledged and addressed by our new 2nd District supervisor, Janet Wolf, and am looking forward to working with her office on Goleta Beach related issues.

October 29th, 2007: 
Even bettter news! Fully recovered from both bladder cancer surgery and a double hernia repair.  Doctors have released me to resume a full schedule without any activity restrictions.  Feel better than I have for the past couple of years. Worked for 3.5 hours this morning and managed to get first half of pier back in shape ... sure was a mess without daily cleaning since mid-September.


Editorial Policy
Questions or comments? ... email  Pierhead

View parking poll final results!

Copyright © 2007 by Boyd Grant.  All Rights Reserved