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Goleta Abandons Gang Task Force


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Goleta’s decision to pull funding from the South Coast Youth Gang Task Force raised eyebrows at last week’s Board of Supervisors meeting. Supervisors Wolf and Carbajal ​— ​whose districts combined include Goleta, Santa Barbara, and Carpinteria ​— ​had not known about it. All three cities and the county chip in for the Task Force, whose goal it is to augment cooperation between agencies, service providers, and schools. “We were all shocked,” said Wolf upon learning from task force coordinator Saul Serrano that Goleta had pulled out prematurely. The city administrators had agreed to fund the effort for five years, said Serrano, but Goleta’s city manager Dan Singer said, “There was never any discussion that I was aware of about a long-term strategy.”

Goleta Mayor Roger Aceves, who announced that he is running for Wolf’s supervisor seat on September 10, said, “I have explicitly asked for performance measures showing that the city of Goleta is benefiting from our contribution [which was $22,800 last year], and we couldn’t see it.” He also added that Goleta ​— ​through its revenue neutrality agreement ​— ​has contributed $82 million to the county over the past 20 years and that the county should pay for services. Supervisor Carbajal said of the decision, “This is another example of ineffective leadership coming from the mayor of Goleta.” The Task Force ​— ​based on a regional approach to juvenile crime ​— ​will continue to include Goleta, and Goleta will continue its (nonmonetary) participation. Santa Barbara Assistant City Administrator Marcelo Lopez said, “I’m hoping that we can engage with the City [of Goleta] again, and they can be a funder.”

Billy Collins & Aimee Mann

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