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Saving the Gaviota Coast

gaviotaTomorrow, three projects impacting the Gaviota Coast will be heard by the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors. One of them is the Naples Project, which has been a concern to environmental groups since 2000. The Naples section was recently purchased by an overseas investor looking to revive the project:

“The former Naples developer Matt Osgood is back, this time backed by apartment developer Standard Portfolios and foreign capital,” writes Jim Hines of the Sierra Club, Los Padres Chapter. “Standard Portfolios, which acquired the Santa Barbara Ranch (SBR) property from First Bank in January, is requesting that the Board consent to a Transfer Agreement by which First Bank’s rights and obligations under the Inland Development Agreement are transferred to Standard Portfolios. At the hearing the Board must consider whether the prospective developer has the financial ability and reputation to assume the responsibilities associated with the development agreement and project approvals. The Santa Barbara Ranch Project is the wrong project for this exceptional coastal property. Please ask the Board of Supervisors to deny the transfer request, terminate the Inland Development Agreement and take the necessary steps to ensure that the developer pursues a different project.”

WHAT: Hearing at the Board of Supervisors covering three Gaviota Coast projects : the Las Varas Ranch Project, Santa Barbara Ranch/Naples Development Agreement Transfer, and funding for the Resource Recovery Project at Tajiguas Landfill

WHEN: Tuesday July 7, 2015 (time TBD, likely to start at approximately 10:30AM* see times below)

WHERE: Board of Supervisors Hearing Room, 105 E. Anapamu Street, Santa Barbara.* The hearing agenda has been published here. Tajiguas is item A25 at approximately 10:30, BOS is requesting a continuance to Sept 1 for Las Varas, item 6, and item 7 is Santa Barbara Ranch/Naples Development transfer. It is difficult to estimate the time it will take to get to items 6 & 7. If you need to know specific times, the hearing will be televised LIVE on Cox Santa Barbara Channel 20 and streamed live here, where you can watch to figure out how quickly it’s going.


EcoFacts: Sunscreens

Weekly column by Barbara Hirsch

Although the Vitamin D given to us by the sun is necessary, our sun exposure has caused skin cancer rates to triple in the last few decades. UVA rays, always present during daylight hours and penetrating clouds and glass, cause much of the aging changes in the skin.  UVB rays, much more present in summer and midday, cause sunburn, which is directly linked to cancer. Both can be damaging.

sunscreen-clipart-comp-clipart-screenshot2Broad spectrum sunscreens protect against both, and usually contain both physical mineral radiation barriers – zinc and titanium – and chemical ones such as oxybenzone that absorb the radiation. The mineral ones are often produced as nano particles, making them less white on the skin.Oxybenzone scores worst among the chemical ones. The great majority of all sunscreens available offer inferior protection or unhealthful ingredients.

Once sunscreens leave our skin they enter the environment, thousands of tons per year, where their effects are not yet fully known, but they “have been shown to damage coral, accumulate in fish and the environment and disrupt hormones in fish and amphibians.” Mineral ones might seem safer but their nano versions are possibly the least understood in their effects. Sunscreens are now banned in some eco marine parks, to protect these fragile environments.

At our recent Earth Day, I found “All Good” kid’s sunscreen which appears to be mostly not bad!  In any case, EWG’s sunscreen guide  has tons of useful info, and covering up with clothing is the best protection of all.


Saturdays with Seibert: July 4, 1985

By Dan Seibert: From my Washington D. C. journal, July 4th, 1985. (Forgive the spelling.)

Got up at 9:00 and joined some others for breakfast at Roy Rogers. On the way home we bought a case of beer and ice. For the first time in my life I was going to drink all day, or most of it. We got back to the dorm (just five blocks from the White House) and I got on my bike. Rode down to the mall and stopped in front of the National Archives.

The parade was everything that one should be in the Nations Capitol. Fire Engines, Marching bands, entry’s from countries around the world, and LOTS of people. The setting was beautiful.

In front of the Ellipse there were two ladder fire trucks with a huge flag suspended between them. It was America.

At 1:30 we walked down to the (Washington) monument and we staked a claim under a tree. Mike and I walked up near the stage, it was humanity at it’s worst. I’ve never seen so many tattoos. The crowd was definitely NOT my type and the novelty of 700 thousand people wore off fast. (Yes, there really were that many people on the mall, from the Lincoln Memorial, surrounding the Washington Monument, then all the way down to the Capitol.)

The concert started at 5:00 and we stayed for about 5 acts. The last people we “heard” were the Bellamy Brothers. Mike and I took some beers and walked down to the Capitol. There were lots of people and most were giggly-drunk. We stopped for ice cream in front of the Cap and Mike farted and I heard it and about died laughing. . . he was standing 15 feet away. That’s why I thought it was so funny.

The National symphony started and a half hour of music from West Side Story, conducted by Leonard Bernstein. After that they played 50 minutes of the weirdest music. Poems by Leonard Bernstein set to music, it just wasn’t July 4th-type. But then they did finish with the STARS AND STRIPES FOREVER and it was great! We all stood up & clapped and yelled a lot.

The fireworks were supposed to go off at this time but they didn’t because the Beach Boys were late. (They had played a concert in Philly for one million and then flew to Washington and played for 750,000. According to Google.)

We started walking from the Capitol to the Monument and it was strange. There was solid people. For 1 1/2 miles there were people covering all open areas. Half way there the fireworks started and we stopped for about five minutes, then we kept walking towards the monument. It was neat to see it back lit by different colored fireworks.

There was a great finale and then everyone started a mass exodus. There was so much trash we could hardly walk. The combination of the smoke, dust and lights made it feel like “Apocalypse Now.”
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(I didn’t have my camera but I found this after doing a Google search. We were siting somewhere to the right and in front of those two big pots, right of center.)


The Moreton Bay Fig: Planted on July 4, 1876

As we celebrate fourth of July weekend, here is a story with comments from the View Vault.
This date in Santa Barbara history… the famous Moreton Bay Fig was planted!

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Legend would have it, that on the 4th of July in 1876, a young girl living on State Street received a mysterious seedling from a sailor down at Stearns Wharf, who was returning from an Australian voyage. The sailor told the young girl to plant it and see what happens. What happened was the Moreton Bay Fig. A year later, because the young girl had to move back East, never to see Santa Barbara again, she gave the young tree to a neighboring friend, and the seedling was transplanted from 201 State Street to the same block on Chapala. Needless to say, the tree grew and grew.

Now, the famous tree’s root system encompasses an acre of ground near the train tracks and highway. The tree – dubbed the Moreton Bay Fig because it was native to Moreton Bay, Australia – really isn’t a fig tree. It has since been identified as a “ficus Macrophylla”, a cousin of the rubber tree family; however, it is believed to be the largest of its species in the world. So, plant a seed today and see what happens.


Moving the Brick Bench to the Train Station

According to Preservation Watch penned by Kellam de Forest, the City of Santa Barbara wants to remove the 20-foot long brick “art thingy” on the 600 block of State Street because it has become a hangout for street riffraff. Local artist Donald Davis designed it in 2002 and it is considered to be a piece of “Art in Public Places,” worthy of preservation. A recent request by the City to move it to the train station was rejected by Historic Landmarks Commission. Meanwhile it remains closed off by a black chain-link fence.
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Improving Santa Barbara’s News Racks

newsrYesterday, the Santa Barbara City Council took up the discussion about Santa Barbara’s news racks.

According to the Agenda, “the majority of news racks existing in the City are in need of maintenance and repair. Over the past several years, staff has received numerous complaints regarding the poor condition of existing news racks. There is a need for more effective news rack management and a need to update the antiquated Chapter 5.66 of the Municipal Code. There is also a need to cover City expenses related to the permitting of news racks and enforcement of regulations regarding news rack maintenance. A new fee for Fiscal Year 2016 is proposed, which would result in news rack owners and/or publishers paying for City staff time for improved news rack management, and for maintaining City-owned cabinets on a cost recovery basis.”

PS: There are approximately 770 news rack boxes in the City of Santa Barbara.

PPS: In 2012, the City was named in a lawsuit following an incident where a news rack fell on an individual. The City was eventually released from the lawsuit.


A Second Bikestation Opens in Santa Barbara

bikestYesterday saw the grand opening of a second Bikestation within Santa Barbara at City Lot 3, located at 11 W. Figueroa, adjacent to the MTD Transit Center. It houses 26 bicycles using vertical racks, has CCTV security cameras and and air pump. Last November, the Santa Barbara City Council approved $338,491 for the first “bicycle module”.

According to advocates, “resources invested in supporting non-motorized transportation projects, such as this one, are an economical way to increase mobility by reducing traffic congestion and creating a needed integration between the bicycle and transit network. The bicycle has proven a valuable last mile connector between transit stations and final destinations, and secure parking is a critical trip component.”


The 1925 Santa Barbara Earthquake

In a related note to yesterday’s 90th anniversary of the great quake, the Santa Barbara Historical Museum is currently holding an exhibition about the 1925 Santa Barbara Earthquake for only a few more days – through Saturday, July 5th to be exact. Out of the rubble would come a new Santa Barbara with the headline, “Spanish Architecture to Rise from Ruins.” Santa Barbara Historical Museum, 136 East De la Guerra Street.

Boom! At dawn on June 29, 1925, our city shook with a 6.3 earthquake leaving much of downtown destroyed or heavily damaged.

The twin towers of Mission Santa Barbara collapsed, and eighty-five percent of the commercial buildings downtown were destroyed or badly damaged. A failed dam in the foothills released forty-five million gallons of water, and a gas company engineer became a hero when he shut off the city’s gas supply, and prevented fires like those that destroyed San Francisco twenty years earlier.

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