The ripple effect of Chick-fil-A's anti-gay stance is crashing on the shores of Santa Barbara. Architect Keith Rivera, a member of the city's Architectural Board of Review, stepped down after he and four other members of the flock voiced objections to their involvement in the project by abstaining from a vote on a few last minute changes planned for the fowl sandwich shop, which is coming to the upper reaches of State Street. The latest Flap-fil-A is invoking criticism from a group of city council-members, who are pushing for the entire Board of Architectural Review to be ousted and replaced after the five had voted to abstain on giving an approval over their personal feelings and politics, as reported by The Santa Barbara Independent.
Rivera and fellow ABR member, Gary Mosel, a plumbing company owner who is also on the board of a gay and lesbian business organization, cited the city's ethics guidelines, which they insist allow for members to abstain when personal and political beliefs trump impartial judgments. Obviously, they are not big fans of Chick-fil-A's massive donations to anti-gay marriage groups and feel they should be allowed to remove themselves from voting on matters concerning the chain's arrival.
The situation puts Santa Barbara's mayor, Helene Schneider, in a pickle, as she tries to mediate the mess, urging the City Council to forgive and forget, while the agitated board members seem to be digging in deeper, claiming the city's design review process is impaired. Schneider tells the paper, "The City's approval process about Chick-fil-A's building application is not about gay marriage, it's about the design of a building, and the approval of the project should be based on those merits alone."
Ha! Nice try at fair, unbiased diplomacy, Schneides, but you've forgotten that this is Chick-fil-A we're talking about. EVERYone must choose a side in the U.S. chicken wars, especially city mayors. Meanwhile, anxious Santa Barbarians, whether they're the types who give credence to local conservative windbag Dennis Miller or beach-bumming, Hacky-Sack-freestyling white UCSB kids with dreads, are jonesing to try the chain's 1070-calorie, 3440-mg sodium "Spicy Chicken Sandwich Deluxe."
Earlier: The Abbey Introduces a "Chick-For-Gay" Sandwich [GS]