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Chandra Wallar

Paul Wellman

Chandra Wallar


Orange You Going to Say Goodbye?

County CEO Chandra Wallar Seems Determined to Ditch Santa Barbara


Thursday, February 28, 2013
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There has been an aura of uncertainty clouding the halls of the County Administration Building this past week, as people ​— ​from members of the Board of Supervisors down to frontline staff ​— ​continue to wonder if CEO Chandra Wallar is leaving town.

After news leaked out of Orange County last week that she was in serious talks to take over as CEO down there, Wallar informed Santa Barbara boardmembers just minutes before their February 19 meeting that she was indeed being considered for the job.

The O.C. Board of Supervisors was supposed to discuss the CEO appointment during a private closed-session meeting Tuesday at noon. When the board emerged from that meeting, no announcement was made, but an agreement announcement is scheduled for the board’s meeting next Tuesday. The O.C. supervisors did talk in open session — in a testy exchange with leaders of employee groups — about a possible compensation package for the next CEO, though there was no mention of Wallar, or anyone else, by name.Wallar, in an email this Tuesday morning, said she still had no comment on the situation. Many in Santa Barbara consider it basically a done deal and even noted Wallar’s behavior at the February 19 meeting, saying she appeared disengaged from discussions.

Wallar has risen through the ranks quickly. Just three years ago, she was working as a deputy chief administrative officer in San Diego County, overseeing a staff of 1,550 and a budget in excess of $400 million. Now, she could go from overseeing a Santa Barbara bureaucracy of 3,800 employees and a budget of $820 million to a county system with more than 17,000 employees and a $6 billion enterprise. Orange County is the third-most populated county in the state, and the sixth largest in the country. If Wallar does head down south, it will bring an end to a less than three-year stint in the county’s top bureaucratic office. And many are wondering if she left the county better than she found it.

Of course, she arrived in S.B. during one of the most difficult times in county history. In the midst of the recession, Wallar had to immediately go to work in November 2010 on a $72 million budget deficit. That year was followed by a $25 million deficit. The county has shed a few hundred positions in the last few years; the county has also negotiated with employee unions, getting salary and benefit concessions from most, totaling $15 million in onetime savings in 2012-2013. And Wallar had to coordinate budget cuts necessary to keep the county viable but keep reductions from impacting the public as much as possible. “There’s no question she works hard on that,” one department head said.

Plus, Wallar inherited a county government with what was basically a hiring freeze in place, with salary increases few and far between. While former CEO Michael Brown in 2010 had one deputy CEO, three assistant CEOs, and a number of analysts working for him, Wallar has had to get by with only two assistant CEOs, as well as a handful of analysts, in her office.

Morale has been an issue, but given the hard times, as one official put it, “Where is morale good?”

While some department heads and managers get along with her just fine, others are rubbed the wrong way by her management style. Some county leaders say Wallar — who makes $232,000 a year plus benefits — hasn’t been around long enough to understand the uniqueness of the area, and she doesn’t show creativity or executive prowess. Morale has been an issue, but given the hard times, as one official put it, “Where is morale good?”

At the behest of the board, Wallar attempted to get creative to increase efficiencies. She combined the Parks Department with the Housing and Community Development department (HCD) ​— ​throwing in a few others, as well ​— ​to form the Community Services Department (CSD). She told the board it was going to save money. But while that may or may not be true, it was an odd combination from the get-go, and while CSD director Herman Parker may make a good parks director, he often appears in over his head when it comes to HCD, especially as the department endures a housing scandal in the Lompoc Housing and Community Development Corporation (LHCDC).

In addition to questions surrounding LHCDC, Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Services remains a big question mark. Staff is expected to come to the board later this spring with an update on that department.

Parker was one of two significant hires made during Wallar’s time here. The other is assistant CEO Renée Bahl, whom Wallar brought in from San Diego County and who serves as an intermediary between Wallar and department heads. In the last year, three department heads have left ​— ​embattled Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health director Ann Detrick was basically forced out, Social Services director Kathy Gallagher left for a job in Contra Costa County, and General Services director Bob Nisbett left for a job in the Bay Area.

Wallar has helped the county prioritize big-ticket items ​— ​like getting funding for the jail ​— ​and has realized the need to increase tax revenue. She’s given most ideas a shot ​— ​fees for parking at beaches, an oil severance tax, increasing the county’s hotel bed tax to levels similar to other area jurisdictions. But all of those proposals have failed to find agreement at the board level.

County staff creatively came up with the hotel incentive program, with the hope that foregoing some tax revenue would encourage Miramar owner Rick Caruso to build the luxury hotel in Montecito. But agreements between the two sides have stalled, with Caruso’s team finding Wallar’s side tough in providing the answers they need to move forward.

Wallar ​— ​whose three-year contract with Santa Barbara County was set to expire in October ​— ​is responsive to media requests and encourages her department heads to be active in communicating with the press, a stark contrast to her predecessor. Still, control seems to be an issue with people in the CEO’s spot, and she wants to know what is going on. She insists on having her staff inform her when a media request is formed, and each day, her office sends out a report on who contacted personnel in the county, what information was asked for, and how it was handled. She insists department heads not call supervisors by their first names and, at board meetings, give presentations from a table, not the podium.

Among other things, Wallar has reorganized the budget book ​— ​set to be released later this spring ​— ​into a much more readable, succinct document. She’s lessened the number of board meetings, which some have appreciated and some have not. She’s improved relations with Santa Barbara’s business community, perhaps best shown in a glowing column from Pacific Coast Business Times editor Henry Dubroff. “If she goes, she’ll be badly missed,” Dubroff said, specifically noting what he sees as level-headedness and positive budgetary work.

Whatever happens in the coming weeks remains to be seen. But the common feeling is that, one way or another, Wallar will not be with the county much longer, whether her split happens in a couple of weeks or when her contract expires in October.

Comments

Independent Discussion Guidelines

Mr. Parker is an excellent Parks Director. The combined department is a joke and no one around has the expertise to hold competencies in departments that virtually have nothing in common that were combined .

BeachFan (anonymous profile)
February 28, 2013 at 9:06 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Sounds like Wallar tried to do what she was hired to do and the entrenched bloated bureaucracy resisted. Quel Surprise!

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
February 28, 2013 at 9:17 a.m. (Suggest removal)

My take away from this story is the pouring leak coming out of either the Orange County Human Resources Department, the Orange County CEO office, or the Orange County Board of Supervisors. I will grant that perhaps the employee organization simply surmised that Waller would ask for more money than she is currently making, which is more than the last Orange County CEO made. But details such as Waller's indentity as a candidate and the linkage of the raise in salary and retirement could only have come from loose lips. I guess that I could have added the Orange County Counsel to the list of potential leakers, but County Counsel lawyers are usually the ones admonishing folks to keep their traps shut. If I were Waller, I would worry about the inability of Orange County Board and staff to keep confidential items, well, confidential. By the way, I would not do the Orange County CEO job for any amount less than $300,000 per year. The stress and housing costs are just too high down there to justify anything less.

Eckermann (anonymous profile)
February 28, 2013 at 4:12 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Keep in mind Wallar has been very effective at directly taking money out of county workers pockets and working back room deals with department heads to steal more away from the negotiating table. Orange county, the center of CA teabilly politics, is the perfect place for her.

If OC doesn't hire Wallar our BOD must fire her. She obviously doesn't feel this is her home or have the dedication to properly manage SB county. She probably keeps her cars longer.

Validated (anonymous profile)
February 28, 2013 at 4:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Well, the County is in major need of reductions, added revenues, restructuring. The restructuring of Parks was a joke. Maybe adding just animal control would have made sense, but HUD???? Eliminate pet projects, maybe some more contracted services, eliminate some of the middle managers, more business friendly environment. Reality Check folks, extreme Enviromental positions don't generate $$, but allowing uncontrolled business expansion isn't the answer either.

SUPS. Give up your pet projects, give up facilities to local agencies where it makes sense (Like Cuyama pool to Cuyama). There are hard choices to make that while not popular, have to be done to keep from filing bankruptcy. While this nor any other paper have written on this, you can't keep running a government entity that is always in the hole by millions.

BeachFan (anonymous profile)
February 28, 2013 at 4:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

@beachfan ~ I agree with a lot of your ideas (pet projects, less over paid managers, Cuyama pool, ext.) but this county is in NO WAY close to bankruptcy. No today and not tomorrow.

In fact, the deficits we see now are a drop in the bucket when compared to the nearly $1 billion budget. Bankruptcy talk is just old political fear mongering by talking clowns like Andy Caldwell and those Tax Payer Association losers. The last election kind of proves that.

What I find so interesting about losing Wallar was the justification to pay her more than Mike Brown made. They said it takes money to hire a good administrator, but apparently not keep one.

Validated (anonymous profile)
February 28, 2013 at 9:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Choose someone with solid roots locally.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
February 28, 2013 at 9:53 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Zing!!!!

eddiekd (anonymous profile)
February 28, 2013 at 10:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Actually, when pension obligations are factored in, the county is indeed technically bankrupt.

And by virtually any measure has a too big and too expensive government structure.

Biggest laugh I got was when carbajal said essentially 'don't worry, we have excellent department heads and don't lack for leadership'! Perhaps the most self-serving bit of BS ever spoken by a politician, except for Obama's claim that the sequester was a Republican plot (news flash: the sequester was Obama's idea).

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
March 1, 2013 at 9:51 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Andy is way out there and not associated with reality. BUT, the pension obligations, which are real dollars have not been addressed and virtually ignored by this group. You see cities like Santa Barbara and many others addressing them, albeit slowly. What is the projected shortfall for this fiscal year?? $7 million? Is there anywhere in their budget presentations that shows revenues meeting or exceeding expenditures.....Nope. Absolutely not. Haven't see one yet projecting out 10 years.

Apart from Parker, what is left of the department heads are exactly what Salud wants...yes men and yes women.

BeachFan (anonymous profile)
March 1, 2013 at 11:56 a.m. (Suggest removal)

While not accepting JL's point that the County is technically bankrupt (fear-mongering), I agree with BeachFan's stating "the pension obligations, which are real dollars have not been addressed and virtually ignored by this group."
The recent election made some dent in the generalized Calif. pension plans (over 85 public plans), even a liberal like me has to see we need to at the minimum CAP at the top, say, all those in all the pension plans making over $90,000 @ year. We cannot float this in the longer term. [Disclosure: my spouse will get a UC pension; they aren't in such bad shape.]
Where are Hannah Beth and Das Williams on this issue??!

DrDan (anonymous profile)
March 1, 2013 at 2:56 p.m. (Suggest removal)

One could debate the "fearmongering" assertion - the County does not have the funds to cover its obligations and I'm not sure the County gov has the right to sell county (i.e the peoples') assets to cover their problem. I think that meets the technical definition of bankruptcy. How 'bout just settling for 'our county gov is morally bankrupt'. Any local government official who claims that the budget is balanced without any attempt to fund the pension obligation is a liar.

Williams and Jackson are hiding - after all, they were elected by the power of government employee union votes and helped to create this mess, as did Janet Wolf and others.. They'll be the last to go kicking and screaming to any attempt to fix the pension problem. Their obligations are to those who put them in office, not to the taxpayers, at least in their tiny little minds.

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
March 1, 2013 at 4:35 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Dr Dan, if you're a liberal, then I'm way left of center.

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
March 1, 2013 at 4:47 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Oh and uh, DrDan, if UC is not in such bad shape, how come tuition has skyrocketed over the past 10 years. Or don't you remember the discussion we were having about the pitiful state of eduction in California. All that $ is from the same pot, dude, so while we can all thank God your wife's pension is secure, there are many who can no longer afford UC. Ever heard the phrase "dog in the manger"?

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
March 1, 2013 at 5:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

How does Santa Barbara County have a staff and a budget larger than San Diego County?

RealityCheck22 (anonymous profile)
March 1, 2013 at 10:36 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Because San Diego County is an even bigger disaster revenue wise compounded by embezzlement scandals and the like.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
March 1, 2013 at 10:43 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Because the voters in SB County keep electing big spenders. The budget has doubled in 10 years while the population has not grown much at all.

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
March 2, 2013 at 9:57 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Because consultants are paid huge fees to determine the sky is blue and the ocean wet.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
March 2, 2013 at 10:10 a.m. (Suggest removal)

RealityCheck22,

To clarify, Wallar was a deputy CAO in SD County, so she wasn't overseeing the entire bureaucracy there, just a number of departments.

Chris (Chris Meagher)
March 2, 2013 at 11:40 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Yes, but the fees are paid by the big spenders elected by the SB County voters. I always wondered why we have a government staffed at twice the norm for towns of 100K people, but still have to hire consultants to do anything that requires a brain.

We need to elect a local (city and county) government who will sit on these "wonderful department heads" (per carbajal's comments) and cut spending dramatically. Or who will hire a competent CEO and then stay out of the way of professional management.

Start by firing those with clear political agendas, like the head of traffic planning who is on record as believing his job is to eliminate cars from SB, as opposed to facilitating the safety and movement of all traffic and pedestrians.

I'd suggest we start with a 20% cut to the overall budget, to be composed of greater than 20% cuts from every department except police, fire, and road repair. Use the resulting surplus to pay down pension obligation. Make no small plans.

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
March 2, 2013 at 4:16 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I still don't understand why a round-a-bout was so crucial at Los Carneros/Calle Real. Especially when so many pre-existing road/walkways need maintenance and some places need sidewalks period!

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
March 2, 2013 at 6:07 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Because the traffic department has decreed that roundabouts are a good thing and allocates resources accordingly. See my previous post!

Not to mention the deplorable condition of the streets on the east side. Probably west side, too, All around the town!

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
March 2, 2013 at 7:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Never mind that roundabouts have a 90% reduction in fatalities, a 76% reduction in injuries and and a 35% reduction in crashes, I agree that Santa Barbara drivers are way too stupid to navigate a circle. Frankly, I think we should ban all turns in the county, and mandate that all vehicles drive in only a straight line.

That's the only real way to accommodate the morons that make up the Santa Barbara driver. As JohnLocke is fond of saying, it's just math.

EatTheRich (anonymous profile)
March 2, 2013 at 7:53 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I don't know how some of our elderly and handicapped people (especially in wheelchairs) navigate many of these sidewalks and curbs.
But there's enough money for red brick sidewalks in the ordained tourist area.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
March 2, 2013 at 7:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Wow how in the world does a story about the County Ceo's move to Orange County become a debate aout city sidewalk configurations! Oh wait, I know, we are in Santa Barbara! Not judging, just observing

whosecityisthis2012 (anonymous profile)
March 3, 2013 at 10:16 a.m. (Suggest removal)

@Eat, once again your logic veers into the incomprehensible while you continue to spew hatred and bile.. Those of us capable of holding two thoughts simultaneously realize that while roundabouts may be safer, we may not be able to always afford them. Or that with road maintenance at less than 20% of what it should be (per City streets dept), the resources may be better allocated to road repair. It's just math and logic.

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
March 3, 2013 at 10:28 a.m. (Suggest removal)

@JohnLocke,

The problem is that Private Sector GAAP, Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, make it mandatory to disclose "Deferred " Liabilities" (unfunded pension liabilities) on the Balance Sheet in plain view.

This game that the "Peoples Business" does not have to play buy the same rules is Ludicrous and is tantamount to Fraud.

Governments in effect keep two sets of Books, and the Stockholders (taxpayers) never really know the true health of their investment. Its a Ponzi Scheme. Bring Government into an honest accounting and Voters may make better decisions.

"Bureaucracy is the Aids of Democracy", ©HGWMV

howgreenwasmyvalley (anonymous profile)
March 3, 2013 at 1:58 p.m. (Suggest removal)

*AIDS

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
March 3, 2013 at 2:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)

@JohnLocke: "...once again your logic veers into the incomprehensible while you continue to spew hatred and bile."

I take this as a compliment. I keep forgetting that I need to use smaller words so you can 'comprehend'.

@JohnLocke: "Those of us capable of holding two thoughts simultaneously..."

Oh, my. I hope, for your sake, someone is reminding you to breath.

@JohnLocke: "...realize that while roundabouts may be safer, we may not be able to always afford them. Or that with road maintenance at less than 20% of what it should be (per City streets dept), the resources may be better allocated to road repair. It's just math and logic."

Your math doesn't add up and your logic is illogical. Accidents cost the taxpayers money. Injuries cost the taxpayers money. Congestion costs the taxpayers money. There is a long-term savings involved in roundabouts that those with your short view just don't seem to 'comprehend' (perhaps those 'two thoughts' are taking up too much space). It is yet another reason why I am so glad your political influence is limited to the comments section of The Independent.

EatTheRich (anonymous profile)
March 3, 2013 at 4:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Yep, howgreen, it's a crime for us to lie to the gov, but OK for the gov to lie to us. Doe gov even publish a balance sheet?

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
March 3, 2013 at 4:46 p.m. (Suggest removal)

@Eat: If you think being accused of incomprehensible logic is a compliment, then either you do not understand English or you are seriously damaged. Being logical is not a matter of opinion - logic is actually a form of mathematics, with symbols, rules, and everything. The lack is rather easy to detect. As usual, you make insulting assertions with no backup data. Is it possible for you to post without projecting your self-loathing on the world? Is it possible for you to conceive shades of gray (no, not the book) as opposed to a simple-minded black-and-white view of everything?

I happen to think roundabouts can be a good thing (except for the stupid little ones on the upper East side) - west end of Coast Village Road is a good one - but since I also understand math, I realize that the gov has to allocate resources, as do we all.

Q: How on earth could you possibly know cost of accidents as opposed to roundabouts? A: You don't - just more Eatsie self-congratulatory BS.

Just what are the long term savings due to roundabouts? And what about accidents cause by poorly maintained streets? Don't forget to include those in your nonexistent calculations.

Your rage is matched only by your inability to argue logically, much less civilly. Or, perhaps you are a member or relative of a member of our hopelessly incompetent traffic planning staff desparately trying to justify their existence while failing to execute the basics of traffic managment.

You need meds, dude, serious meds. I recommend large amounts of Prozac. Very large amounts. Nitey night. Try not to let your demons bite.

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
March 3, 2013 at 5:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)

And BTW, Eatsie, how would you know just how far my political influence reaches? Do you actually think that just because you disagree I may not have influence? Or vice versa? Yet another unwarranted assumption, brought to us by EatTheRich.

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
March 3, 2013 at 5:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

well, JL, you went the gutter route first writing to EatThe.. "once again your logic veers into the incomprehensible while you continue to spew hatred and bile.. ". That was unwarranted.
Your bitterness is plain and evident, behind a well-educated veneer...luckily, your influence is limited to these petty thread-wars, despite your boasting.
@hgwmv, it's often been true that "This game that the "Peoples Business" does not have to play buy the same rules" as GAAP, and I agree government is sort of a Ponzi scheme...didn't Rick Perry say that?? Why are you so surprised?

DrDan (anonymous profile)
March 3, 2013 at 5:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Gutter route? Excuse me? Unwarranted? Read his posts. And some of your own, for that matter. Agreeing with positions does not require condoning bile, hatred, and invective. Might wanna reconsider who you are accusing of goint the gutter route.

Bitter about what? Not me. Just not a card carrying member of the Santa Barbara Far Left Wing. More of a center leftist, actually, who insists on intelligence, logic, and data in discourse and despairs for its rarity. Disagreeing with positions does not imply some kind of personality defect, while slinging bile and hatred, well, that kinda does...in my opinion, of course.

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
March 3, 2013 at 5:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)

And DrDan, same comment as to Eatsie, how would you know the reach, or not, of my influence. Another unwarranted assumption by DrDan.

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
March 3, 2013 at 5:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm surprised both "DrDan" and "JohnLocke" fell prey to "Howgreenwasmyvalley"'s apparent ignorance of accounting; private and public accounting practices are by design and utility different.

This is a long-standing and well-recognized distinction that governments are not businesses. Unlike business, in which the bottom line in to create value and a profit, government exists to serve its constituency.

Any number of online sources can further the detail, but here are two good ones.

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-publi...

https://www.boundless.com/business/fi...

Of course, governments, like businesses, don't always comport appropriately or openly, but that seems a different, case-by-case, discussion.

binky (anonymous profile)
March 3, 2013 at 7:21 p.m. (Suggest removal)

What pedestrians at Los Carneros/Calle Real? The ones stealing oranges?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
March 3, 2013 at 7:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Yes, I know that private and public accounting practice are different. Doesn't mean I agree with a rule that allows government to hide its liabilities...

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
March 3, 2013 at 7:36 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I don't think anybody's hiding support for the red brick sidewalks, let's start there!

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
March 3, 2013 at 8:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Hi, K_V. I think the red brick sidewalks are very nice, but not affordable in the current budgetary climate.

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
March 3, 2013 at 9:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)

They're for sure aesthetically pleasing, but impractical. Does that make them Art? In this case no.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
March 3, 2013 at 10:32 p.m. (Suggest removal)

correct, Binky, but I didn't exactly fall for hgwmv's angle since I specifically stated the [public] government does not have to play by the same rules as private companies, corporations, or even private individuals. But hgwmv, and to some extent JL, seem unafraid of anarchy...

DrDan (anonymous profile)
March 4, 2013 at 8:22 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm confused. How does anarchy have anything to do with honest reporting of government liabilities? And how did you conclude that I am "unafraid of anarchy"?

Beam me up Scotty...

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
March 4, 2013 at 8:32 a.m. (Suggest removal)

@Dan,PhD,

Big words Armageddon, Delusional and now Anarchy - LOL - but NO Solutions. I call those 10 dollar College Words that really mean nothing, just empty shock jock value - where is the meat?

@Dan, PhD and Binky,

The problem that Governments don't have to act like Businesses or Individuals is what got us into the mess, bad laws.

Infrastructure needs to be properly amortized and funds set a side for their replacement - its called a Reserve Analysis. One of the reasons that Channel Keeper had to sue, was the replacement process was not competent and Pollution was making it way to the Pacific Ocean, of course no money - it was squandered some place else.

It is impossible to get a full and complete picture of the health of any Enterprise without full disclosure. Public Employees want raises, fine, but unless you know your true deferred liabilities, you really don't know how much you can afford. Oh you can always raise taxes or make the next generations pay for it but eventually the "Law of Diminishing Returns" bites you in the arse.

The concept of "Can Kicking" does not work. Each generation should pay its own bills instead of Stealing from the Next.

Government has exempted itself from the Moral Obligation of not stealing from its Children, what happens when then Children refuse to pay, a bunch of toothless old farts going to rebel, LOL?

Government should not be a Ponzi Scheme, its Immoral!

@JohnLocke,

Governments should have Balance Sheets, this crap they are any different than you are I is insanity.

howgreenwasmyvalley (anonymous profile)
March 4, 2013 at 12:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Common Interest Developments

They started in the late 1950’s. By the late 1970’s it was evident that the people living in them had used up the infrastructure and replacement was needed. Gee no money and the owners were starring at spending massive amounts of money that not all the owners could afford. Special Assessment had to be levied, taxes to you.

This micro-municipal government is a good way to study what a City or County may be facing today.

Legislatures across the land passed the Davis-Stirling Act. The Act forced the CID’s to have a set of books, per GAAP. Reserve Study listing each infrastructure item; listing the asset, its remaining useful life, its replacement cost. Also they had to allocate Income for current expenses as well as monies to fund the Reserve.

Some States require the Reserve to be fully funded, some don’t but a disclosure needs to be made as to what percentage is funded. California does not require the Reserve to be fully funded but is silent about the owners voting to fully (100%) fund the Reserve. The amount funding the Reserve is allocated against each asset in the Reserve.

CID’s that fully fund, the owner or future buyer knows that with one check each month all necessary repairs, maintenance and replacements will take place as needed. Now that’s Utopia.

It was painful for the badly run down CID’s to get on board but the final result was a better environment for all.

The City or County of Santa Barbara is no different than a CID, just bigger in scale.

The Davis-Stirling Model is one of Utopia – you should study it.

howgreenwasmyvalley (anonymous profile)
March 4, 2013 at 1:45 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Again, "howgreenwasmyvalley" you compare apples and oatmeal: the relative simplicity of a CID to a municipal government the size of Santa Barbara or California requires different methodologies. Goals, activity, and scope are not comparable.

Take a look here at the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for our state, and tell me what more info you need. Of particular note to both you and "JohnLocke," please notice funds and assets (and obligations, deficits, etc.) explained in often frightening detail.

http://www.sco.ca.gov/ard_state_cafr....

Guv'mint may be run poorly, but disclosure and accounting practices are hardly the problem.

In the meantime, I'll bone up on the Davis-Stirling act of which I am unfamiliar.

binky (anonymous profile)
March 4, 2013 at 2:23 p.m. (Suggest removal)

@binky,

Before you comment, do study Davis-Stirling. CID's were a mess before it. Davis-Stirling cleaned up the mess and put all the stakeholders on equal footing because before it, Individuals had little fiefdoms in the CID. I will argue that CIDs are small but the same principals apply to all Municipal Governments no matter what the size.

Full Disclosure is just that and that information gives the People, an idea of what is going on and how they want their Tax Dollars spent.

Before Davis-Sterling owners were getting hit with emergency "Special Assessments" on a regular basis, which is unfair to fixed income owners. Fixed Income owners needed to know the true current and future costs which Davis-Sterling gave them. Let alone a new purchaser surely need to know about unfunded liabilities before they purchased.

Current Government is complicated because it is made to be that way, not because it has to be, its not rocket science and Davis-Stirling has a proven model that works.

Each State has a different enactment of Davis-Sterling but the main tenet is the same.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Davis-S...

howgreenwasmyvalley (anonymous profile)
March 4, 2013 at 4:55 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Why are you arguing about the nits of whether Davis Stirling is appropriate? Complete and open reporting is appropriate. Isn't that why the Brown Act was passed? Isn't it simply the right of the stakeholdlers (ie. the taxpayer who pay for all this) to understand? Why would anyone continue to give gov the power to hide the true financial condition of gov from the taxpayers? Except, perhaps, a card-carrying member of said gov.

Yes, I am afraid of anarchy. But I am much more afraid of unfettered government without legal and actionable responsibility to the citizens. As someone else recently commented, read up on the Weimar government and its disastrous policies - wheelbarrows of cash for a loaf of bread. Think it can't happen here? If enough citizens are fearful enougn to trade liberty for the promise of safety, then they will elect a government that will ensure that it damn well will happen here. Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
March 4, 2013 at 8:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)

JL, on Mar 4 you scathingly asked me " How does anarchy have anything to do with honest reporting of government liabilities?" but later same day admit "Yes, I am afraid of anarchy. But..." Try to get yourself organized, eh? Scott beamed you up long ago
Ludicrous and disingenuous calling yourself "center left" !

DrDan (anonymous profile)
March 5, 2013 at 10:19 a.m. (Suggest removal)

@JohnLocke: "And BTW, Eatsie, how would you know just how far my political influence reaches? "

My bad - I now understand why the candidates you vote for keep losing elections.

EatTheRich (anonymous profile)
March 5, 2013 at 7:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

@JohnLocke,

Because Davis-Stirling is a proven working Model on how a Municipal Government becomes accountable to the People.

After you have the True Picture of the Health of a Municipal Government, then you can play blue/red Politics.

Today public municipal governments are playing Politics and they have NO IDEA, about estimated usual life and replacement costs of their many departments.

I bet $100.00 that if a true Reserve Study was none on the sewer/water and treatment facilities for the City of Santa Barbara the deficit would be in the tens of millions. How can you claim to have a budget with unrealized deficits hiding under the rug?

Proper Accounting is a Moral and Ethical responsibility of Government. The Politics is up for debate, but all stakeholders are entitled to a proper accounting so they can make honest choices.

Government today is Morally and Ethically Bankrupt, but so is Society at Large.

howgreenwasmyvalley (anonymous profile)
March 6, 2013 at 11:13 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Binky's webref http://www.sco.ca.gov/ard_state_cafr.... certainly supplies amazing financial detail, and shows hgwmv we CAN figure out the details. However, how many citizens will actually bone up on all this?
hgwmv, too bad you are so negative about all this governance and financing stuff... writing "Government today is Morally and Ethically Bankrupt, but so is Society at Large" shows you've given up, hence your obsession on how poorly government runs today.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
March 7, 2013 at 1:21 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Billy Collins & Aimee Mann

Presented by UCSB Arts & Lectures, Former U.S. Poet Laureate ... Read More