Bury the Power Lines in Santa Barbara Updated on January 13, 2014 at 12:30 pm.Written by Editor9 Comments Speaking of custom content on Facebook, here is a popular post… photo taken by Dan Seibert, “Saw this today at Chino & Valerio. Talk about a bad haircut.” 9 Responses to “Bury the Power Lines in Santa Barbara” Hot wired January 13, 2014 Yes!. This was a goal for a city general plan back in the 1970’s. Then it was pushed aside in favor of funding more city social utopia programs and staffing. Infrastructure improvements which benefit residents and tax payers was ignored, while millions of dollars of city revenues was spent encouraging gangs, vagrants and even more city employee benefits. No chance city money will ever be found today to undertake this project. City is in debt over $200 million just for city employee pension benefits, so no way is there anything now left for the rest of us. These are city council decisions and voters chose for the city to go in a different direction than hardscape improvements. We funded growth of gangs and vagrants instead. Maybe if they start complaining about overhead utility lines, we might finally see some action. It is time to declare mission accomplished for the very expensive city Environmental Services Department and terminate this relatively recent city program so we can devote the cost savings to a city wide underground utility project. Doing so would be far better for the environment overall, than the current make-work projects this department is now undertakes since they met most of their original program goals. Bravo. Good job. Well done. Now, good-by. Good example of job protections once they are created taking precedence over benefit for the tax-paying residents who are asked to keep paying for these now unnecessary personnel commitments. Anonymous January 13, 2014 The ugly power lines are a huge blight on our city, and it’s funny the few places where they have been buried: all along Milpas and on the Mesa’s Cliff Drive. When Cottage was excavating and building their huge condo project at St. Francis they, and the City, wouldn’t hear of burying the massive ugly Riviera lines at the same time. And at a time when everything seems to be wireless, we have more and more wires everywhere, ugly and inefficient. Anonymous January 13, 2014 Couldn’t agree more. Should be the top goal for city council in 2014! Not on city's agenda, ever January 13, 2014 It was not a 2013 campaign issue, so it will not be on any one’s 2014 city council agenda. Do you even remember who you elected in 2013 to form the new city council majority that will be making decisions on our behalf? How to dig a hole in this city January 13, 2014 Here is how it works. City ran up over $200 million in unfunded infrastructure repairs and maintenance over years of long-term neglect. Any new money the city gets over its built in expenses (personnel costs mainly) will have to fund that built-up backlog of neglect. Underground power lines are infrastructure improvements; not repairs or maintenance. Therefore, there is no money for these improvements. On top of this infrastructure debt burden is the additional $200 million plus in unfunded city staff pension demands. So you can see there will never be any additional city money to fund underground utilities. Even if we had 10 cruise ships a day, it will be years before we fill the unfunded $400 million gap between expenses and revenues we now face. Somewhere after the 1970’s the city headed in the wrong direction. They abandoned the general plan, fiscal common sense and started spending money they did not have. And NO one held them accountable for the fix the city is now in. City RDA funds which should have cleaned up this blight in the RDA zone instead went for pet projects of city council members or their campaign supporters. What was left over from city general revenues was spent increasing city staff numbers, social programs and benefits. Getting “green” awards for new bragging rights programs was more important, than caring for the present built environment. Same time MTD was bragging about their “green” busses, but never created a system that was user friendly. Getting the accolades was more important than getting the riders. Did you hear about any of this during the last city council election campaign? It was asked of candidates, but voters were content with inadequate answers and vague generalities from those who finally won seats on the current city council. When Grant House was recently asked in his exit interview about the massive unfunded liabilities he left behind, he said it was too bad but it was not his fault. He blamed Wall Street, not his own fiscal imprudence promising more than he could later deliver. At this point we would have to pass a special citywide bond issue or parcel tax to tax ourselves to get this project done. This is doable. If we really want this, we can pay for it ourselves. If we agree to add the cost of underground utilities to our property tax burden, we can pay it off over multiple years. Let’s at least look into this possibility. And let’s stop electing city council members who are fiscally clueless. Mypup January 13, 2014 For some reason I hear the Mickey Mouse Club theme song when I look at that picture Tom Ambrose January 13, 2014 Bury the lines in my lifetime, please… Robert Murphy January 13, 2014 Here in my beach community of Oxnard Shores we lobbied the City and Edison to remove the poles and bury the electrical lines. That was in the late 1990s. They did so. It was difficult, and somewhat disruptive, but we got it done. Our major selling factor was that the salt air corroded the lines and connectors and was often faulty. Edison and the city agreed and understood, but it took some co-ordination and a bit of arm twisting. Santa Barbara is a City where most of you do not realize how corrosive the onshore salt winds are. Your close proximity to the ocean slowly corrode your electrical infrastructure. I see it regularly in my contracting work in SB. So really, it is a safety issue for you guys too, like us here. It is not just a beautification issue. Edison was helpful to us here, as they wanted to protect their lines from the elements. And eventually, once we found common purpose, we were able to work it all out. But it was tough for a little while, but not as disruptive as most feared. Electrical lines should be buried for long term safety and prevention of future problems of an aging utility. With today’s technology of directional drilling encasing bundles of wires underground the costs are really mitigated. Good Luck, Bob Murphy 805 5095398 Could we? January 13, 2014 Thank you, Bob! You offered a ray of hope. SCE, here we come. Add our high winds, street trees and salt corrosion and this goes well beyond mere aesthetics. It is for the public good, and it is also time the residents saw some action instead of handing our our city’s treasure over to those who don’t even own property and pay taxes here.