2006 (total): 103 days, 169 hours
2007 (to date): 213 days, 357.75 hours
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.
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.
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.
This Saturday was the second
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
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.
and supporting documents for the parking fee proposal (Legislative file
ID 07-00810, agenda item #6) at Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting
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
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:
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.
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)
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.
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.
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
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.
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.