The Town Halls presented by the Museum and the Santa Barbara Foundation are intended to provide a safe, neutral place for community conversation in which diverse viewpoints of a topic can be heard and discussed in a respectful manner. The discussions aim to foster public discourse around issues that will affect our lives and well-being as well as that of our children and grandchildren. It is not designed to promote one opinion, but to give an airing to a spectrum of views in order to safely talk about contentious issues as a community.
In March 2006, the series premiered with “Sea Otters in the Santa Barbara Channel: Harmful Competitors or Rightful Residents?” Biologists, fishermen, city representatives, and community members (adults and children) gathered together to discuss sea otter management issues and the environmental, economic, and social implications of a management plan. The Town Hall series has also included the following topics:
- USFWS Sea Otter Translocation Program
- Oil in the Channel: Contentious Solutions
- Building Heights: The Pros and Cons of Measure B
- Can California be Saved?
- Homeless...Can You Spare a Dime?
- Stirring the Pot: It's 2016 and Legal...Now What?
- Death...in the Age of Choice
- Unions: Advocates for Growth or Drags on the Economy?