Energy and the Environment
Climate change is not just a global threat, it is an urgent local threat here in Santa Barbara. Kristen has fought for community-wide increased efficiency as well as developing a local renewable energy grid. Keeping costs low and reliability high is the number one priority. The Thomas Fire and subsequent Montecito Debris Flow taught us the need for local, reliable, safe energy and highlighted the disastrous impacts of a changing climate. Kristen is diligent and committed to reducing both the causes and impacts of climate change.
On Council, Kristen has:
- Worked to develop a new City Department of Sustainability and Resilience
- Supported the establishment of Santa Barbara Clean Energy, a community choice energy option of 100% Sustainable Energy procured through our already established energy grid
- Voted to update stormwater management toward cleaner creeks and run-off traveling to the ocean
- Supports the ambitious goal of Santa Barbara Fossil Free be 2035
As a continuing Councilmember, Kristen will:
- Fight to make the solar permitting process easier, so we can move closer to being a city that is a leader in providing solar energy
- Ensure the city takes a more active role in helping residents and businesses access renewable energy
- Work with her Council colleagues to create a well-developed plan for energy management to ensure future generations live in a cleaner, safer Santa Barbara
- Work with the private sector to develop new energy options.
- Make sure the city prioritizes sensible, environmentally friendly transportation planning with a strong focus on cyclists, pedestrians, and vehicle electrification infrastructure.
- Support green jobs and innovative industries with her plan to help economic development in Santa Barbara.
Kristen comes from a background of applying Geophysical techniques to environmental problems. At this time in the history of our city, the City Council benefits from including a member with a science research and application background. We all benefit from varied perspectives in tackling this challenge.
Santa Barbara is an economically vibrant city, but our downtown businesses are struggling. We can work together to plan intentional goals and benchmarks for the economic development of our community. Now that the City has adopted the commendable resolution of 100% renewable energy, it will be important to integrate this goal into any plans for active economic development. The goal of 100% renewable energy will be met through intentional planning and consideration that will need to be built into the economic development program, and has the potential to stimulate a green jobs economy.
Kristen will work for:
- A comprehensive plan to revitalize the State Street corridor
- New business growth led by local investment
- Incentives for local residents to start small businesses
- Incentives for energy efficiency including solar panels, organic waste management, and alternative transportation.
This is an opportunity for our City to be leaders in developing breakthrough projects that stimulate our economy and support our renewable goals.
As the City is re-envisioning State Street and housing density, this is time to consider reducing traffic congestion and making parking more convenient. It is also a good time to consider mitigations to the freeway widening project to move traffic along Coast Village Road and side streets. Now is the time for innovation and consideration of improving the framework of infrastructure our city is built on.
Santa Barbara is a beautiful city with a long history of strong public services, including a heroic fire department, a vigilant and effective police force, a central library that serves as a cultural and community center, a bounty of unique parks and beaches, and access to varied and thoughtful recreational services. The aesthetic of our city, and our commitment to strong services, is a hallmark of our community. Santa Barbara became what it is through innovative planning, as well as through preserving and maintaining and improving the carefully considered infrastructure.
Santa Barbara is in a housing crisis. We must do more in our planning to welcome and accommodate our workforce. Many people who find jobs in Santa Barbara, simply cannot afford housing here. Young families, students, our elderly, and our community members with restricted incomes all face an uphill battle to find housing in their budgets. This housing crisis hampers the local economy.
Kristen will fight to:
- Preserve the historic character of our city
- Promote diversified housing options, without needlessly increasing density,
- Create neighborhood communities that are balanced and inclusive.
- Ensure that local business can find and retain the top talent they need to succeed by securing affordable housing for those who need it.
Fire and Safety
District 4 borders some of the most volatile fire-prone areas in California. With extreme drought and a changing climate, it is essential that the City provide our Fire Department the resources it needs to protect us and keep us safe. Fire dangers have become a way of life — it is essential to plan for these continued risks. Kristen will focus on implementing all the necessary abatement efforts to keep families and their homes safe.
Though District 4 is not a comparatively high crime area, we need to assure that our fine police dept has the resources necessary to provide for safety in all neighborhoods.
Water shortages may be the most imminent and dangerous threat facing Santa Barbara. Kristen knows we must invest time, energy and resources into solving this problem. As a professor of Environmental Geology at Santa Barbara City College, she has an intimate understanding of the dramatic changes to the water levels at Lake Cachuma. In the last 18 months we have seen dangerously low levels in the reservoirs that provide our city with the basic necessity of drinking water.
Santa Barbara has just been through one of the longest and most painful droughts in the history of our city. Torrential rains put an end to the most severe dangers of the drought, but we cannot rest on our laurels. Lake Cachuma is already at the same level it was the last time Santa Barbara declared extreme drought. We must work today for a more sustainable tomorrow. Creating a long-term plan to ensure Santa Barbara continues to have access to water is probably the most important single problem we can solve.
- Make sure the City is prepared for both extreme drought as well as extreme flooding – either case is possible in Santa Barbara’s future.
- Continue progress on the desal plant as an integral and essential part of a sustainable plan for Santa Barbara.
- Ensure that the City keep the desal plant operational and to bring it on long before dead pool is actually reached again.
- Address concerns with the potential for massive runoff and issues of water quality following the Whittier Fire.
- Manage Santa Barbara’s water prudently and continue to monitor water consumption to keep Cachuma as full as possible.
- Innovate in water efficiency by encouraging greywater (“Showers to Flowers”) training and implementation, which works particularly well on the steep hillsides of Santa Barbara where water flow can be gravity driven.
- Work toward new programs in wastewater capture and diversify our water portfolio wisely to plan for our future.