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Old 11-03-2006, 06:36 PM
 
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I have an opportunity to work in either Santa Barbara, Santa Maria or San Luis Obispo. I'm not sure which to choose. Don't particularly like big city life but don't want to be stuck in a small town either. I'm single and enjoy many outdoor and indoor activities. Any thoughts??
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Old 11-03-2006, 06:41 PM
 
Location: CA Coast
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Won't be "stuck" in SLO town. Everything a reasonable person could want is there,, or SB.. Santa Maria is not called Fresno on the Pacific for nuttin. It is, at best a hicktown,, at worst a racist Mexican gang ridden town.. Although the theater is the best between LA and SF... That is the PCFA. Now, before someone accuses me of some sort of bias.. Grandfather settled in the Santa Maria Valley in 1903, family is still there.. that qualifies as an old time family I think. Am fairly familiar with the town,
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Old 11-03-2006, 06:45 PM
 
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If money isn't an option, I would say Santa Barbara (lived there myself) then San Luis Obispo, then Santa Maria. If money is an option, then reverse the list. Santa Maria is the most affordable, but I wouldn't personally want to live there especially not if I was single. It is mostly subdivisions, big box stores in strip malls and agriculture. It also has the highest crime out of the three cities. The problem with SB is the cost of living is extremely high, but it has everything else you are looking for. Good luck.
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Old 11-04-2006, 05:36 PM
 
1,313 posts, read 6,126,487 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enlightenme View Post
If money isn't an option, I would say Santa Barbara (lived there myself) then San Luis Obispo, then Santa Maria. If money is an option, then reverse the list. Santa Maria is the most affordable, but I wouldn't personally want to live there especially not if I was single. It is mostly subdivisions, big box stores in strip malls and agriculture. It also has the highest crime out of the three cities. The problem with SB is the cost of living is extremely high, but it has everything else you are looking for. Good luck.
Well put. The difference in housing costs between the three is almost exponential. You could also look at Nipomo, I suppose.
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Old 11-04-2006, 10:14 PM
 
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Santa Barbaraa is very very expensive,,, medium price home over a one million,,,Santa Barbara also has more of a gang problem than Santa Maria.

The city of Santa Maria is Agri-business economy which means many immigrants, legal and other wise,,, very blue collar, poor city planning, no night life,,, very good place if you are middle income and NEED an affordable place to live,,, it has more negatives than positives,, but it does have it's upside, depends on what you seek.

I suggest you look at all the cities in San Luis Obispo County, they run the gamit of diversity,, beach towns,, cowboys, college town, houses in all price ranges,,, wine country,, night life in downtown SLO city, lakes, mountains,
lots of outdoor activities,,,, contact a SLO realtor for good help finding what you need....
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Old 11-05-2006, 12:59 PM
 
Location: CA
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I may be biased since I presently live in SLO, but I would recommend SLO over the other two cities you mentioned. I wouldn't choose Santa Barbara because it just seems a bit too stuffy, rich, and cosmopolitan for my tastes. SLO has all the amenities SB does, but at a smaller, more intimate scale with fewer people. You need to remember though that it is a college town (over 35% of the population are college students), so some people don't like that fact (retirees) but others realize the students bring a lot of life and vitality to the downtown and a lot of money in as well.
Santa Maria is pretty much an AG town that has now become a bedroom community for people commuting elsewhere. As the above commenter mentioned, historically it has had very poor planning and is now a sprawling mess with everything everywhere, however, the housing is more abundant and affordable, which some take advantage of. Personally, I would rather rent in SLO than buy in Santa Maria, but I guess it depends on your lifestyle.
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Old 11-05-2006, 05:07 PM
 
Location: Twin Cities, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grimstuff View Post
I may be biased since I presently live in SLO, but I would recommend SLO over the other two cities you mentioned. I wouldn't choose Santa Barbara because it just seems a bit too stuffy, rich, and cosmopolitan for my tastes. SLO has all the amenities SB does, but at a smaller, more intimate scale with fewer people. You need to remember though that it is a college town (over 35% of the population are college students), so some people don't like that fact (retirees) but others realize the students bring a lot of life and vitality to the downtown and a lot of money in as well.
Santa Maria is pretty much an AG town that has now become a bedroom community for people commuting elsewhere. As the above commenter mentioned, historically it has had very poor planning and is now a sprawling mess with everything everywhere, however, the housing is more abundant and affordable, which some take advantage of. Personally, I would rather rent in SLO than buy in Santa Maria, but I guess it depends on your lifestyle.
I agree with everything you said and also recommend SLO over the other 2.

Micki
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Old 11-05-2006, 07:03 PM
 
Location: Santa Barbara
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bobizzy3 wrote:
Quote:
Santa Barbaraa is very very expensive,,, medium price home over a one million,,,Santa Barbara also has more of a gang problem than Santa Maria.
Fascinating. Can you elaborate on the gang problem in SB?

One thing that has always struck me as a detriment to the SB community is that there are so-o many wealthy people, yet their school system is a majority of Hispanics. Now I can only assume based on what I know about this community is that the Hispanics students are mostly coming from the Hispaniccs servicing the wealthy population (this is not to assume there are no wealthy Hispanics in SB, there are, but we also know their is a huge population that is otherwise culturally/skin color bound and thus being serviced by the Hispanic workers i.e. maids, gardeners, etc).

Additionally much of the Hispanic population can't afford to live in SB (as can't most people!), so are these people just dropping their kids off when they go to work? I also notice SB college doesn't offer a lot in the way of experimental classes that such a cosmopolitan city does, seeming to offer classes that have nothing really to do with their general population of wealthy, well educated folks.

All of this together makes me wonder will the Hispanic population eventually rule the city, yet not live there? I know this is an odd question, but when I check out the city overall its demographics have a higher Hispanic population than most high end neighborhood or cities, which is odd because they can't seem to be able to afford the place.

I don't really understand what is going on in that community. It is very odd. Why also have such a wealthy population, but basically offer middle class to blue collar to non English speaking folks classes, but not the wealthy population that lives there. I am just confounded by this oddity of services and demographics versus the price of housing.

This is also why the gang point raised concern for me and I want to know more. We have been interested in moving to SB for sometime, so I am unsure if it is worth leaving the great offering that west LA has to offer (isolation, excellent schooling, safety, cleanliness). Sounds like we will be downgrading in lifestyle, while paying just slightly more then our present home. Any thoughts would be welcome. Thanks ahead of time.
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Old 11-07-2006, 12:15 AM
 
Location: CA
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Quote:
One thing that has always struck me as a detriment to the SB community is that there are so-o many wealthy people, yet their school system is a majority of Hispanics. Now I can only assume based on what I know about this community is that the Hispanics students are mostly coming from the Hispaniccs servicing the wealthy population (this is not to assume there are no wealthy Hispanics in SB, there are, but we also know their is a huge population that is otherwise culturally/skin color bound and thus being serviced by the Hispanic workers i.e. maids, gardeners, etc).

Additionally much of the Hispanic population can't afford to live in SB (as can't most people!), so are these people just dropping their kids off when they go to work? I also notice SB college doesn't offer a lot in the way of experimental classes that such a cosmopolitan city does, seeming to offer classes that have nothing really to do with their general population of wealthy, well educated folks.

All of this together makes me wonder will the Hispanic population eventually rule the city, yet not live there? I know this is an odd question, but when I check out the city overall its demographics have a higher Hispanic population than most high end neighborhood or cities, which is odd because they can't seem to be able to afford the place.

I don't really understand what is going on in that community. It is very odd. Why also have such a wealthy population, but basically offer middle class to blue collar to non English speaking folks classes, but not the wealthy population that lives there. I am just confounded by this oddity of services and demographics versus the price of housing.
There are lots of Latinos in California - everywhere. In 5-10 years they will be the majority in the state. Santa Barbara has very expensive housing because it is (1) a highly desireable place to live and (2) the housing supply is restricted by "no-growth" policies. There are a lot of (wealthy) retirees in SB and they are very interested in restricting the housing supply in order to protect the high values of their investment. THe city has a lot of character, and the way they see to protect that is to allow development slowly, over a long period of time.

You mentioned how there are a lot of Latinos (Hispanics as you call them - not a very accurate definition as they are not from Spain), and you find it odd since you automatically assume Latinos must be poor. I don't think most Latinos in SB can be considered "poor," however, they probably are at the lower end of the wealth spectrum.

As far as lower-income people being employed in SB, there is a large food/accomodation industry that brings in a lot of money from the outside, but unfortunately most jobs associated with it are low paying. THere are a lot of people employed in SB who live in Ventura or farther south who commute everyday. Which is the main reason why that stretch of 101 is one of the worst spots in the State (for 101). CalTRANS has been holding community meetings in SB to try to generate ideas and public support for widening the highway and other projects, so hopefully it will be better in the future.

Bascially, SB is filled with people who have "made it" and now that they "have it" they want nothing to change. Its their own fabricated utopia, like so many others in the world, surrounded by stunning natural beauty. Unfortunately for them, its bound to change, not because all things do change, but because CA is growing very rapidly and the types of industries they encourage in SB (tourism, etc) demand many low-paying jobs, which in turn forces long commutes, which in turn lower quality of life for those who live there. In other words, the jobs-housing imbalance is one of the worst there.

As far as college goes - UCSB is a very good school and offers many good progressive programs. As far as gangs, I'd say its negligible. You have gangs and drugs everywhere - and that's a fact.
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Old 11-07-2006, 07:04 AM
 
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Shhh...It is Santa Barbara's dirty little secret. Once you leave the tourist spots, there are some gangs and Latino people struggling to make it by living 2+ families in a house/apartment. The commuters coming in from the south are mainly white or Latino middle-class teachers, policeman, postal workers, nurses, etc. Santa Barbara is mainly rich and poor. How else can the median income be $55, 000 when the median house is $1.2 million dollars??? There is obviously a population of people bringing down that yearly salary and they sure aren't buying any real estate. But, I still think it is a nice place to live for a short while if you aren't planning on buying a home. It just isn't the best place to set down new roots.
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