The Issues

Economic Development

Santa Barbara is an economically vibrant city, but our downtown businesses are struggling. As we transition away from big-box retail, our Economic Development Plan needs to promote a diversified economy highlighting local artisans, experiences, our sustainable fishing industry, and our emerging green economy, while celebrating the role of the Arts and the cultural heritage of our city. It is no longer acceptable to allow vacuous retail space. We need to actively recruit for a variety of the types of businesses that will be interesting to locals, beyond bars and restaurants, without sacrificing the esthetics that are the hallmark of Santa Barbara. This is an opportunity for our City to be leaders in developing breakthrough projects that stimulate our economy and support our goals.

Kristen is working for:

  • Continued efforts on her Downtown Master Planning initiative
  • A comprehensive plan to revitalize the State Street corridor and Coast Village Road
  • Diversified business growth led by local investment and recruitment
  • Incentives for local residents to start small businesses, including an expedient, clear and consistent permit processing
  • Incentives for energy efficiency including solar panels, organic waste management, and alternative transportation
  • Expanding the successful Property Business Improvement model of Coast Village Road to State Street.

Infrastructure

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 implement 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.

Kristen is working for: 

  • Increased replacement of our aging and bursting water and sewage mains
  • A successful relocation of our out-of-date and seismically unsound Police Station
  • Paving of roads into District 4 on our winding and sloping streets
  • Increased piping of recycled and reclaimed water
  • Updating Franceschi Park to be safe and accessible
  • Revitalizing De La Guerra and Library Plazas

Housing

Santa Barbara is experiencing an affordable 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, including our first responders, teachers, and nurses.  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 is fighting to:

  • Preserve the historic character of our city and neighborhoods
  • Take back local control against the damaging effects of SB9, especially in our High Fire and Extreme High Fire Hazard areas
  • 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 Public 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. In addition, crime rates have been increasing and root causes need to be addressed.

Kristen is focused on:

  • Implementing all the necessary abatement efforts outlined in our newly developed Community Wildfire Protections Plan to keep families and their homes safe
  • Funding Regional Dispatch and coordination among our neighboring firefighting units: the closest engine will reach you in remote areas
  • Identifying the most overgrown vegetation management units and funding mitigation
  • Increasing funding to neighborhood associations who take on the task of increased fire mitigations
  • Increased patrols and beat officers throughout District 4

Homelessness

The homelessness crisis has reached crisis levels and addressing this growing need must be a top priority for the city. Until we have shelter beds for every individual, we are prevented from moving people from the streets and creeks and underpasses. It takes a coordinated effort with our regional agencies to provide shelter and secure funding to truly address the root causes of this crisis.

Kristen is committed to:

  • Continued work with SB ACT to implement a regional strategic plan to move people from the streets into Bridge Housing and on to Permanent Supportive Housing
  • Working with Dignity Moves or other individual unit “tiny home” models to provide individual shelter with associated services to support people in the move off of the streets
  • Exit from the Rose Garden Inn project by January
  • Implementing Solutions Court for individuals who are involved in non-violent crime to either sign in for treatment or community service to stop the revolving door of jail bookings

Water

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.

Kristen is working to:

  • 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.

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.