August 17, 2005
City clears way for Reagan visit
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — The City Council waived a waterfront services tax for this week’s visit by the carrier Ronald Reagan.
The Santa Barbara Navy League asked the council Tuesday for an exemption and the council voted 4-2 to grant a one-time waiver of what was expected to be a $30,000-plus fee. The nation’s newest aircraft carrier arrives Friday for a three-day visit.
Navy League representatives didn’t mention that radio talk show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger, who lives in Santa Barbara, had pledged $30,000 to cover the fee. Schlessinger’s son Deryk Schlessinger is in the military.
The disputed fee involves ferrying people between the ship and shore — a 10 percent tax on vendors that do business in the harbor and along the waterfront.
Earlier Tuesday, Schlessinger chided the council for considering denial of the fee waiver.
“The people who get involved in the military have a moral and ethical sense to dedicate their lives to something extremely noble,” she told the News-Press. “They’re putting their lives between the bad guys and us, no matter who’s president, no matter who’s running the Senate, and that needs to get the ultimate respect.
“The reason you and I are all sitting here in Santa Barbara happy as can be is because we have a military that, for 200 years, has protected us. We need to show respect for that.”
The Navy League still needs $49,000 for ferry costs.
“I’m donating the $30,000 for that use,” Schlessinger said.