2012: November. Santos Guzman calls a meeting with MCA businesses at El Bajio and asks why Milpas doesn’t have Christmas lights like State St? Why does the city not provide lights for Milpas? The answer was that the State St businesses pay for their holiday decorations, not the city. If we wanted to have Christmas lights on Milpas, our businesses would have to pay for it. The MCA launched a fundraising drive to get the lights back up, and within 2.5 weeks, had pulled together the $11,000 required to pay for their installation and city-required insurance. This was when we learned that a Business Improvement District had existed in Downtown for 40 years, and that the city did not provide these kinds of things for State St business owners. Their business improvement district (BID) did.

MCA Annual Meeting: 40 people, Santa Barbara Inn. City Manager Jim Armstrong presented to the MCA on business improvement districts in California, and how to form one. The thinking was that the MCA should look at this model as a sustainable way to continue advancing the cause of the business community on the Eastside and maintain improvements in neighborhood conditions. General interest expressed among business owners present in proceeding.

The MCA met with the Hollywood Merchants Patrol, funded by the Hollywood BID. Deemed too expensive of a model for us. Need for security patrol was no longer  paramount with major change in Casa Esperanza operations. Two beat coordinators and two community service liaisons were deemed acceptable for business community’s needs.

City Administrator’s office attends MCA board meetings to advise on a potential BID budget, types of businesses, fees, etc. in shaping BID outline. We requested estimates from pressure washing companies on sidewalk cleaning and water reclamation. We also dealt with graffiti removal in the area, especially at De La Guerra and Milpas and the old Milpas Post Office.

Momentum began to build for a business improvement district as a way to fund these kinds of solutions in this area.

MCA Annual Meeting: 60+ people. Introduced BID concept and process. Very popular, authorization to proceed given during meeting.

April – Nov
hire consultant, develop plan, work with city.

Nov 7: Cathy Murillo and Jaqueline Inda take draft eBID plan and walk Milpas to create opposition to the eBID.

Nov 10: We present eBID draft plan to City Council. Lot of emails and public comment in support.

Also in November, the Eastside lost its two police beat officers. One community service liaison left the job.

Mid-November-December: Holidays: Fundraising drive for the holiday lights and parade. Got the lights up on Milpas first week of December. Put up solar-powered Christmas tree in the roundabout Dec 4th. Hosted holiday party for neighborhood at the old Milpas Post Office. Pulled together the Christmas parade for December 13th.

We also made suggested revisions to the BID plan coming out of the city council meeting, and submitted those to the city for approval.

Dec 13th (Parade Day): Anti-eBID protesters hit Milpas. Anti-eBID signs go up in some windows. Police warn us there could be Feguson-related protests at the Parade. Two different protest groups protest during parade.

2015: Resume BID outreach effort.
Jan 7: Bea Molina and Santos Guzman go on Noticias TV show to discuss the eBID in Spanish.
Jan 8: City approves revised eBID plan. Alan Bleecker attends an eBID opposition meeting that night at Omar’s Travel. Cathy Murillo and Jaqueline Inda lead the meeting. They finally ask Alan to speak at end, and then disband the meeting abruptly.
Jan 14: MCA presents the eBID to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Jan 15: Start petition process. Materials on eBID up on our website.
Jan 18: A group of Eastside businesses publishes a letter asking Cathy Murillo to give the eBID a chance in the Santa Barbara Independent, Noozhawk, Santa Barbara View and Santa Barbara Sentinel.
Jan 20: eBID materials translated into Spanish and put up on MCA website.
Feb 2: Latino outreach team starts approaching Spanish-speaking businesses for the eBID.
Feb 7: Santos Guzman interviews with Telemundo on the proposed eBID.
Feb 11: Two public forums on the eBID: the SB Region Chamber of Commerce, and later that night, the Neighborhood Advisory Council at the Franklin Neighborhood Center.
Feb 12: MCA presents the eBID to the CAUSE Board
Feb 15: PODER protests El Bajio

Feb16: The SB Region Chamber issues a statement condemning the protest.

Feb 17: The MCA organizes an “Eat In” dinner at El Bajio in response to PODER protest. 200+ neighbors turn up on a moment’s notice to support El Bajio, including mayor and council. KEYT covers it.
Feb 18: NewsPress runs front page story on Santos Guzman. Santa Barbara View airs story on El Bajio protest and “Eat In”.
Feb 24: KEYT airs story with El Bajio protest footage from surveillance cameras.
Mar 1: Radio Bronco interviews Bea Molina and Santos Guzman on the eBID. Front page of NewsPress asks Cathy Murillo to recuse herself from voting on the eBID because of an email thread where she lobbies the City Council against the eBID in violation of the Brown Act.

Mar 2: Santa Barbara View runs El Bajio protest footage.
Mar 6: PODER attacks Chamber and MCA on eBID via a letter to all media.

Mar 7: Jeff Harding’s Bi-Weekly Capitalist article on the eBID and gentrification (or lack thereof) runs in the Santa Barbara Sentinel.
Mar 9: Business-to-business Outreach Meeting at the Fess Parker. Open to Eastside businesses in the proposed eBID district. NewsPress runs front-page story on Cathy Murillo and Brown Act violation via email thread.
Mar 11: Bea Molina goes on the Ernie Saloman show on TV to discuss the proposed eBID. Omar’s Travel presents opposition on the eBID to the SB Region Chamber.

Mar 16: Business-to-business Outreach Meeting at the Fess Parker. Open to Eastside businesses in the proposed eBID district.

Mar 30: Business-to-business Outreach Meeting at the Fess Parker. Open to Eastside businesses in the proposed eBID district.

Ongoing since January: businesses owners supporting the eBID have reached out to fellow business owners, one-on-one, to explain the proposal and why they support it.

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