Mayor Candidate Angel Martinez

Mayoral candidate Angel Martinez

Mayoral candidate Angel Martinez

DELANEY SMITH, Channels Staff

Angel Martinez is the former CEO of Deckers Brands and doesn’t have any governmental experience.

Martinez recognizes that Santa Barbara’s issues with housing availability and affordability is a regional issue that affects more than just students at City College.

“We have over 14,000 workers commuting from places south of Santa Barbara each day,” Martinez said. “These people need housing as well and should be afforded the opportunity to be part of the community in which they earn their living.”

Martinez notes that the desirability of living in Santa Barbara will always create competition for housing, but explained that there are things that can be done in the margins to ease this problem for City College students.

“One way to do that is to offer incentives for developers to create modest entry level apartments for students and in turn the student agree to forgo having a car,” he said. “Parking and transportation related issues is one of the fundamental reasons this type of housing is not being built in Santa Barbara.”

Martinez said the city could partner with private companies like Uber and Lyft to provide transportation options that are affordable for students.
“Private companies like Uber and Lyft could be incentivized to provide transportation options geared towards students budgets and schedules.  The city could partner with them on programs that pair their services, like Uber Share, to create a product that is affordable and meets student’s needs,” said Martinez.

He also noted that environmentally friendly forms of transit options like bikes would “lessen the burden on our transit system while improving the environment and the physical health of students.”

Angel Martinez touts his 40-year experience in retail-driven enterprise when discussing the job market for students downtown.

“I feel confident in my ability to focus on what matters, and on what the mayor can do from the leadership perch,” he said.

“As mayor, I will broker a proactive and meaningful collaboration of the stakeholders willing to own the problem and commit to avoiding the imminent collapse of our critical retail artery”

“Even though many in our city seem comfortable living in an impenetrable bubble, Santa Barbara is not immune to the problems created by a rapidly changing retail marketplace. And time is not on our side.”

If elected, Martinez will ban aggressive panhandling to help reduce street harassment and substance abuse.

“The situation on State Street has gotten out of hand. We must help our local people who are truly in need but we need to be firm with those who abuse our system and make our city unsafe.

In addition to the aggressive panhandling ban, his plan to address homelessness rests in a program called Rescue Dollars.

Rescue Dollars is designed to give those who want to give cash to panhandlers an alternative that actually benefits the local homeless population and removes the cash incentive from aggressive panhandlers.

Through an ongoing public information campaign, and buy-in from merchants, community leaders, and local law enforcement, Rescue Dollars will be the primary currency that the public will offer to alleviate homelessness.

The revenue generated from the program will stay exclusively with local homeless resource providers. Rescue Dollars will be date-stamped and have an expiration date, so as to not be used as parallel currency.

“Santa Barbara can’t keep kicking the can down the road and turning our heads away from aggressive panhandling, which is a serious public safety issue. Together, we can help get the homeless off the street and into a better life.”

He emphasized that he will not tolerate or enable aggressive panhandlers who are making our city unsafe and harming local businesses.