On Monday night, we attended the Carpinteria City Council meeting concerning a vote of approval for an agreement between the city and the applicant Surfliner Inn partners, for a lease of city land and development of that property for a for-profit business: the hotel. 

The city staff’s presentation of the project was so enthusiastic and positive, you might have thought that it was presented by a member of the project’s team. It was mentioned, however, that it had been sent back for revisions, which were never acted upon or returned to the city. So, my question is this: how can you vote on something you haven’t seen? 

The comments from the public were overwhelmingly against the hotel and approval of an agreement between the city and the applicant. Staff recommend approval as they have a great influence on the council’s voting; over 90% of their recommendations are approved, so it was perhaps a predicted conclusion. This is a dangerous arrangement as staff is not elected by the voters. 

Some of the concerns from the public were these: setting a very bad precedent for hotels on the beachfront, not being in sale with our small-town feel, safety, the leasing of public property to a for-profit project, the drought and water use of hotel, blocking views of mountains and open space and allowing the public’s voice to be heard through a vote in the coming election. 

The council listened and had very little discussion. Four councilmembers voted for approval of a lease and one voted against. We made no difference at all. Thank you to Al Clark for listening and voting your concerns.