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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on December 9th, 2020, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 21, Issue 41 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 21, Issue 41

Solvang urgently responds to new state restrictions

By Karen Garcia

The Solvang City Council created an emergency agenda item at its Dec. 7 meeting to respond to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recent stay-at-home order and its impacts on the community, ultimately stating that the city wouldn’t be enforcing it. 


TAKING A STAND
Solvang takes action in an effort to aid its business community saying it won’t enforce state and county orders.
FILE PHOTO BY JAYSON MELLOM

During public comment, residents asked the council to go against the state’s current stay-at-home restrictions, which are projected to last three weeks, or else face a tarnished legacy. Solvang resident Joan Clarke asked the council to write to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office requesting it not to enforce stay-at-home restrictions. 

“The last six months have been filled with a lot of controversy for you as a council and for us as city residents. However, if you will do this thing, it will be what you’ll be remembered for. Everything else will disappear and dissipate. You will be respected and appreciated for doing all you could to help Solvang stay solvent,” Clarke said. 

City Councilmember Karen Waite said she didn’t take kindly to the public speakers who said “if we don’t do this or that, this council will leave a legacy behind of negative actions.” Waite said the council is doing all it can to keep businesses open.

“This is not something we are doing because we have just been threatened by the general public to do it. We’ve been thinking about this for months and when this first happened back in March,” Waite said. 

The council authorized Mayor Ryan Toussaint to send a letter to the Board of Supervisors that strongly urged the creation of a new Central Coast Region on the state’s regional COVID-19 map—consisting of Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo counties. 

The City Council had a lengthy discussion about what could tangibly be done for the business community and considered disregarding the state’s newest stay-at-home orders altogether. Waite was the only member of the council who expressed concern over the legality of blatantly disregarding the state’s orders, an idea most council members were on board with.

City Attorney Chip Wullbrandt advised council that the city’s degree of liability would be determined by whatever action the council takes.

He recommended the council take a similar approach to the Southern California cities of Redondo and Manhattan Beach, which declared tables and chairs in front of restaurants as public spaces. The action enables customers to get their orders to-go and eat outside, keeping both parties—restaurants and customers—in compliance with state orders. 

The council ultimately directed staff to research what “stay open” measures other cities are implementing while maintaining the status quo of safe, open outdoor dining and other current business practices. 










Weekly Poll
What are the most important conversations to be having right now when it comes to policing?

We need to address how racial bias influences policing.
We should focus on funding the police so they can do their job.
Mental health is where our dollars need to go, both in and out of the police department.
As one Sept. 20 community input meeting attendee said,

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