Carpinteria City Council voted unanimously on Monday night, Sept. 9, to approve the California Avocado Festival’s special event permit—with twice as much law enforcement as any other year. Doubling down on event security comes at a cost of $10,000 to the city (compared to $5,000 last year) with festival organizers matching the amount to a total sum of $20,000 for law enforcement services for the three-day event (Oct. 4, 5 and 6). Public law enforcement is on top of other event security provided by private companies and paid for by festival organizers.
Total law enforcement costs have risen in recent years, augmenting personnel and equipment to provide increased safety. Last year, Avofest law enforcement costs were just over $16,000. This year, festival organizers will be increasing law enforcement services at a total cost of $19,254.
Through an agreement between Avofest organizers and City Council made 10 years ago, the city has historically paid $5,000 towards law enforcement. The figure, $5,000, was originally intended to cover 50 percent of event security, which a decade ago was between $9,000 and $10,000. While the agreement has remained unchanged, the cost of law enforcement has increased.
In addition to law enforcement, the city provides in kind services to ensure public safety, including traffic control and street cleaning, budgeted at $37,000 in staff time. Additionally, Avofest will contract with the Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District to provide paramedic services at the event.
Articulating his approval of augmenting funds, Councilmember Fred Shaw stated, “Let’s face it, things are different now than they were 25 to 30 years ago when the Avocado Festival first started. Anything that can make the literally 100,000 people who attend safer, is better for the community.”
The vote to approve the $10,000 towards Avofest law enforcement was approved 4-0, with Gregg Carty recusing himself because of his past involvement with festival organization.
City Council approves resolution to protect child asylum seekers
As early as last July, the council expressed collective support for measures to protect the health and safety of immigrant minors seeking asylum in the United States. At Monday’s City Council meeting, Sept. 9, the city of Carpinteria formally approved a resolution “supporting efforts by California and other state attorneys general to ensure the health, safety and welfare of immigrant minors.”
“These children are fleeing unspeakable horrors in their home countries,” said Carpinteria resident Gail Marshall, “Instead of being met with warmth and care they are being detained and treated like criminals.”
Carpinteria marriage and family therapist Toni Wellen spoke on behalf of supporting the resolution stating: “that which is most precious to all of us, our children… we need to take care of children… that they will never recover from this trauma… I am a first generation American and aside from the Native Americans and the slaves who were brought here, all of us were refugees. My parents were refugees from Nazi Europe…
I want to remind all of us what is written on the Statue of Liberty in the harbor of New York. ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door!’ We welcome those who have suffered in other countries, and we treat them with dignity, not what is happening now in our name.”
The council expressed full agreement before approving the resolution 5-0. Reading from a prepared statement, Shaw said, “The current administration in Washington has intentionally ignored one of the foundational moral tenets that has defined our national identity. We overwhelmingly—the people of our country—are not pleased. It is my fervent hope in supporting legislation like this that families reaching the safety of our borders and requesting asylum will not be subjected to separation and mistreatment at the hands of our very own government.”
Councilmember Al Clark amplified the sentiment stating, “This detainment and the treatment of people is a violation of a number of laws, but also really a violation of human decency. It is very cruel.”