For the past 30 years, I have spent nearly every miserable Tuesday sitting in the chambers of the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors. I am convinced we need to rename the hearing room “the echo chamber.”

The definition of an echo chamber is an environment in which people encounter only beliefs or opinions that coincide with their own, so that their existing views are reinforced and alternative ideas are not considered. The bottom line? Debate and the meaningful exchange of ideas has been forsaken.

This past Tuesday, our supervisors engaged in a perfect echo chamber exercise as they pondered why our county doesn’t have enough affordable housing.

I can cite the reasons in my sleep: the California Environmental Quality Act, the California Coastal Commission, the County Planning Commission and the County Planning Department, along with hundreds of fees and dozens of zoning machinations, regulations and restrictions.

And let us not forget the numerous nimby organizations such as the Environmental Defense Center, the Santa Barbara County Action Network, and CAUSE, all of which compose the choir that regularly performs in the echo chamber. 

It is no mystery why housing is so expensive here. The same holds true for automobiles, fuel, electricity, water and food, not to mention taxes, permits and fees charged for various services! None of this is happening by accident.

California has been governed exclusively by the Democratic Party for…

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