Monday, August 10, 2020     Volume: 21, Issue: 23

Santa Maria Sun / Canary

The following article was posted on September 3rd, 2019, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 20, Issue 27 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 20, Issue 27

CANARY: Meltdown mode


The Canary

Lompoc is simply melting down over grease traps. 

Apparently, the city stepped up its code enforcement of an ordinance that requires all food establishments to have a grease trap. Even the shops that don’t cook anything! And let me tell you, these food purveyors aren’t having it! Well, actually only four out of a few dozen of them aren’t having it at this point. 

This non-greasy business has been stopping up the wheels at City Hall. 

And Lompoc City Council members are siding with the businesses over its city staff. No surprises there! But on this one, they might be onto something. Councilmember Jim Mosby is accusing City Utility Director Brad Wilkie of not exercising his discretion correctly, burdening small businesses with the expense of installing a grease trap. As if!

“Why would you want to mandate something that is not needed?” he asked.

Good point. Wilkie’s response is simply that the city’s ordinance conflicts with the city’s sewer management plan. 

“We have to get those in sync,” Wilkie said. 

OK then! Can we make that happen, already? Or do we need more businesses to appeal a mandate to install an unnecessary grease trap, wasting city staff time and taxpayer dollars on something that City Council is just going to tell the business it doesn’t have to do. 

As the lone vote on the City Council that agrees with city staff opinions on grease, Mayor Jenelle Osborne also said that the ordinance needed to be corrected. 

OK then! Make it happen, Osborne. You and Wilkie have the power to do more than just speak! Maybe we need take all of that non-existent grease out there and dump it on City Hall so the creaky wheels of policy-making get a move on. 

All this talk about grease traps is making me hungry. I think I’m going to head over to Solvang and hang out in Ingeborg’s Danish Chocolates with Solvang Conference & Visitors Bureau President Kim Jensen to talk shit about Solvang City Council. That sounds fun! 

Only, it seems like Jensen’s position is tenuous, what with City Council voiding a contract to fund the bureau and no new one on the horizon. So what’s up with the prettiest little Danish town that basically caters to every tourist that ever lived tearing up its relationship with a tourism bureau it created?

Well, it has to do with expenditures, ya see? More than $800,000 in expenses (and city dollars) that don’t have a label. While Jensen waives them off as labor- and salary-related, I’m starting to think that I’m in the wrong business. That’s a lot of money for a nonprofit with a small annual budget to spend on employees. 

The City Council is accusing the bureau of not answering its questions about where Solvang’s hard-earned taxpayer dollars are going. Fair point. 

I think the bureau thought it had more power than it actually did. You see, this money fight was also with the Solvang Chamber of Commerce, which is again funded with some city dollars and moving forward with chamber-type things. 

The canary is thinking about getting into the Solvang tourism business. Send comments to

Weekly Poll
What do you think of the Lompoc prison facilities' ways of mitigating the spread of COVID-19?

Definitely cruel and unusual—more people should have received home confinement.
It was certainly inhumane; inmates couldn't even shower for almost two weeks.
It was not great but was typical of our current institutions.
I think it was adequate given the situation.

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