Crosswalk Sting in Santa Barbara

crosswalkOver the next two days, watch out for decoy pedestrians who are standing in crosswalks! The Santa Barbara Police Department, the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department, and California Highway Patrol are conducting a crosswalk sting throughout the Santa Barbara and Goleta areas. According to officials, “this detail is being conducted due to continued complaints of vehicles not yielding to pedestrians who are in crosswalks and high pedestrian involved collision rates. Locations utilized will consist of both marked and unmarked crosswalks.” The last sting netted 60 drivers with a ticket cost of around $200.

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Jailhouse Blues

Weekly column by Loretta Redd

By anyone’s definition, a person who commits a crime significant enough to put them in prison may be (at least for the moment,) mentally impaired. Not sufficiently deranged to meet the legal definition of insanity, but likely suffering from a severe personality or thought disorder, or significant substance abuse.



There’s been a lot of press lately about Sheriff Bill Brown’s jail in North County. Even though much of the construction cost is covered by the State under AB 900, the annual administration of the facility remains unfunded.

It isn’t the cost than infuriates me…it is the shortsightedness of the planning.

Of the 376 beds in the proposed Northern Jail facility, 32 of them are “reserved” for either medical or mental health treatment. In Sherriff Brown’s own proposal for his jail, he makes this statement: “A snapshot view revealed that we presently have 39 inmates in AdSeg or single cell housing units….”

So before a shovel of dirt is turned on the 50 acre site off Betteravia Road, the man who has tirelessly promoted the need and wisdom of this correctional facility is already admitting it will under-serve the incarcerated mental health population on the day they move in.

Not that the non-incarcerated people in need of a psychiatric bed in Santa Barbara County fare any better. If I do the math, for a county with an adult population of 431,250, there are a total of 16 acute care mental health beds, or a .000063 availability.

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote that taxpayers spend as much as $300-400 per day supporting patients with psychiatric disorders while in jail, and that, “Fiscally, this is the stupidest thing government can do.”

The prison system has become our default psychiatric facilities ever since Ronald Reagan emptied the hospitals, while communities spent the funding for programs to house, treat or supervise these “freed” patients on other projects. To have this opportunity in Santa Barbara to build a joint facility for both incarceration and also for psychiatric care and not search for sources of funding through national and state dollars set-aside for mental health is well, almost criminal.

I am not advocating that we “lock up” anyone with a psychiatric diagnosis. Admittedly, the conditions at many of the One Flew Over the Cukoo’s Nest type facilities were horrific; but mental health care has come out of the shadows and oversight and medical management is far better than decades ago.

A Complex Case: Public Mental Health Delivery and Financing in California

Just as there is segregation of the prison population, there could be a multi-step psychiatric facility, also dedicated to safe management of those incompetent to stand trial, those addicted to substances and in need of detox and recovery, and those few determined to be “criminally insane” and having to be monitored closely.

Unlike those in state or Federal prisons, jail populations tend to have a higher turnover. If the Sheriff is going to create an educational and job training opportunity at his complex to reduce the likelihood of recidivism for ‘regular’ prisoners, doesn’t it make sense to also have an facility adequate enough to address and treat the psychiatric and substance abuse population?

Cottage Hospital has pretty much abdicated its psychiatric responsibilities, and the construction of new facilities is a prohibitive expense, so why not retrofit the current 254-bed medium security jail into a mixed use facility for both incarcerated and acute care patients, with a sole focus on psychiatric management, mental health training and outpatient treatment.

AB 900 provided $7 billion for prison construction and renovation projects, but it doesn’t require a set percentage of psychiatric beds. The $33 million project at Vacaville has 64 mental health beds, the $34 million Chino State prison only has 45 beds for acute-intermediate treatment.

Between UCSB, Westmont, Pacifica, Antioch, SB City College, Fielding, Channel Islands, Allan Hancock, Cal Poly and Cuesta College, might we not find a sufficient pool of mental health talent to work at this proposed facility?

Various Commissions and Grand Juries have long cited the poor standard of care and capacity for psychiatric treatment in Santa Barbara County. Rep. Lois Capps, Assemblyman Das Williams and District Attorney Joyce Dudley are eager to “discuss mental illness and violence prevention” following the recent campus slayings.

Let’s do more than “discuss.” Let’s do more than pass knee-jerk legislation that is sure to be challenged by the ACLU. Our elected officials and their staff should find the federal, state, and local funding to create a state-of-the-art mental health facility that provides segregation for the psychiatric prison population, hospitalization for those needing acute (5150) care, and treatment for those who have not yet joined either of those groups…but will, without it.

Recently re-elected Sheriff Brown has worked determinedly to make his Northern Branch jail a reality. Let’s build something that serves the purpose of prevention and treatment in addition to punishment. You don’t have to be crazy to break the law, but it’s nuts not to have a treatment facility when you do.

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Cup Holder Commentary on Bicyclists

This inappropriate cup-holder commentary video about bicyclists comes from nearby Santa Paula (a reserve police office who has since resigned) and should resonate in Santa Barbara where bicyclist/ motorist relations are often strained, KEYT story credit.

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Pearl Chase Newsletter: July, 2014


Pearl Chase Society Newsletter

Santa Barbara View is proud to publish The Capital, a monthly newsletter of the Pearl Chase Society. You can read the full July newsletter by clicking on the PDF icon, left.

In this issue is a wrap-up of the Historic Homes Tour which was attended by 700 people! Kellam de Forest offers updates on the Juarez-Hosmer Adobe, Irene and Frances Rich Beach Cabana, and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art’s plans for upgrades due to seismic reasons. And Hattie Beresford presents her new book, “My Santa Barbara Scrapbook - A Portrait of the Artist, Elizbeth Eaton Burton“.

PS: please help keep Santa Barbara Santa Barbara, and consider becoming a member of the Pearl Chase Society. You can also like the Pearl Chase Society on Facebook.

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A View of the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission

Ali Azarvan volunteered for 25 local non profits in May and shares his chronicles:

I reached out to my good friend, Kaitlyn Turner at the Dream Foundation to see if there were any other local nonprofits that she was excited about – and there were! She quickly introduced me to Rebecca Weber, Director of Communications and Constituent Relations, at The Santa Barbara Rescue Mission.

Rebecca literally pulled the quickest turnaround of a call I’ve ever witnessed and was very open to allowing me to see what they do – she’s a great voice for this amazing charity and I owe her a ton for making this happen so soon.

What do they do? The Santa Barbara Rescue Mission provides help in the form of food and shelter 365 days a year to those who have no place else to go. They also provide lasting hope in the form of a 12 month residential recovery program for those looking to break free from a cycle of addiction.

I was first blown away by the amount of people standing outside of the Rescue Mission as I was pulling up – so many of our local homeless just waiting for a good meal. If there is one thing I’ve learned over the last month, it’s that I need to appreciate what I have – and how relatively easy my life is. Tonight was just another reminder.

My night was spent alongside 3 great UCSB student-volunteers, Chloe, Hayley, and Rachel and the resident volunteers to feed the needy. The gentleman running the show is named Rick Robinson. He gave me a tour of the place and quickly got me up-to-speed on what was about to take place and I immediately felt comfortable with him.

maydayAs the homeless starting walking in and getting fed their (amazing) meals, I got to spend a lot of quality time with a resident also named Rick. He is a recovering alcoholic and is currently on his 9th month of the 12 month residential recovery program. He was gracious enough to share his entire story with me and he made me a believer in everything that The Santa Barbara Rescue Mission is doing. He came to the Rescue Mission in need of serious help.

He’s now totally sober and hyper-responsible. He wakes up at 4:30am 6 days / week and is on the road by 5:30am in order to pick up all of the donated food from the local Vons grocery store as well as 6 different Starbucks. It’s a homeless shelter so the food is terrible, right? WRONG. I was shocked at the high-quality food that is donated every single day to this great charity. He also attends church every Sunday and has become much more religious over the course of his treatment (note- this is a Christian-based non-profit).

He was so appreciative of the opportunity he has been given – “I get free room and board, 3 great meals a day, bible study every morning, and they sponsor my AA meetings” he told me. It was readily apparent that Rick was now a confident man. He knows he has the ability to get over his disease and make it “on the outside”. He shared with me the fact that his resume is updated and that he’s learning how to type better / quicker and that he believes that he has a job lined up at Vons as soon as he finishes his program.

And that’s exactly what it’s about, right? It’s the kind of comeback story we all love. I couldn’t have been more motivated after speaking with him and I’m so excited to see what the future holds for him.

To learn more about this brilliant non-profit, please visit their website. To donate and help create more stories like Rick’s, please visit their donation page.

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Santa Barbara photo of the week by Bill Heller, click to enlarge.

Our hummingbirds are having a particularly active season right now. On one evening walk we counted at least eight sitting patently waiting for their flowers to refill with nectar on a small stretch of the path by the beach.

This beautiful little creature was watching me quite intently. He seemed as interested in me as I was in him. He was probably just trying to figure out what the tall guy with the 300mm nose was doing. He was a little nervous at first, but over the years I’ve found a patent slow approach usually puts them at ease. After a few minutes I was able to get close enough to get the shot I was looking for.

-Bill Heller

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Ads from Yesteryear

On Santa Babara’s bicentennial in 1982, a 72-page glossy gazette was put out with a pictorial review of 200 years. In the publication were a number of ads…
does anyone remember Kimo’s Polynesian Shop?

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Saturdays with Seibert

Local views of Santa Barbara by Dan Seibert

Thursday morning I smelled if before I saw it.  The Bird Refuge is blooming, something nasty.  The water should reflect the blue sky, but this other color is what the neighbors are smelling. – Dan

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EcoFacts: the Internet of Things

Weekly column by Barbara Hirsch

….So yes, all those devices we now require may be nothing compared to a “modern” household of the future, where ubiquitous objects interact with us continuously.

Early uses of electricity in the 19th c. were for telegraphs, automobiles and lighting, and then a hundred years ago communications took a leap when telephones and radios in our homes allowed us to connect with the world in ways never before imagined.

iocWe seem so very connected now, but soon it will be ever moreso, not simply to each other and abstract information and entertainment, but to things in our environment, and I don’t mean nature. That is, until they figure out a way to make sensors attached to trees which allow them to talk to us.

The term Internet of Things, has become empowered since a mention 15 years ago by a fellow who helped to create a global standard on RFID at MIT, that’s radio frequency identification, e.g. those tags or implants for tracking goods, people and animals. This term, now IoT, represents the coming world of internet connected, or smart devices. An example being an umbrella which glows when you should take it with you, as rain is predicted for that day. An EU initiative predicts “an ecosystem of smart applications and services which will improve and simplify EU citizens’ lives.”

Coming out this month is a book titled Enchanted Objects by David Ross, and Amazon’s offer of reading the first pages was certainly appreciated by me, anyway! It’s provocative stuff, even if not so exciting to a luddite like myself, but for me, more for reasons such as the environmental and even human tolls that may result, and that the ever dwindling natural world will be the only place we can disconnect. Or will we be able to?

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It’s You Life, Advice for the Soul of Body and Mind

IT’S YOUR LIFE, Advice for the Soul of Body and Mind with Dr. Kathleen Boisen

Our daughter is now 24 and she has been having headaches almost daily for the past four years. Fortunately our Doctor has made sure she had all the medical testing, they have done blood panels, MRI, and even a cerebral angiogram. Thankfully they are all negative and it is a medical mystery for her doctors. What experience do you have with this, any advice? LM of Carpinteria

Boisen cartoon July 14, 20140001

illustration by

Migraines and headaches are probably among the most commonly treated conditions with Oriental medicine, Acupuncture and Herbs. Once serious problems have been ruled out, ie brain tumor, cancer or any kind of structural issue, patients often seek an alternative. I explain to people that once all else has been ruled out, it is often an electrical problem, and Acupuncture does address these kinds of issues. Today we understand that everything has an electric Magnetic field, even our planet.

For the past four to five thousand years Acupuncture has been used consistently on a large population. There is probably more experience with this modality than any other. I am continually amazed at the consistency of the methods, theory and practice of oriental medicine, whether Korean, Japanese, Chinese, or Vietnamese. So you can explore this modality with a certain hopefully inspiration.

I have had many, many headache and migraine cases in my years of practice. There are two that really stand out. One case was a gentleman who had a long history of migraines, and had self medicated with Excedrin (Tylenol with caffeine). Then the stomach ulcer hit, and after a stint in the hospital for a bleeding ulcer he was told, “no more Excedrin.” The month before I saw him he had 23 migraines in 30 days and the medications weren’t helping very much. So we got to work, treatment and some herbs, and a little dietary change. Within three months he was down to a rare mild headache once a month. That was years ago and I’m happy to say that except for an occasional wine induced headache, he is pain free. Continue Reading →

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Sign of the Times in Santa Barbara, California

The stage-two drought isn’t the only ordinance being ignored… sign laws designed to protect (pdf) and enhance the City’s historic character continue to be mocked:

10.36.020 Advertising Vehicles.
No person shall operate, drive, tow, draw, transport, move, park or stand any vehicle used for commercial advertising purposes, or for the purpose of displaying such vehicle for sale, or as a prize, on or upon any public street or alley at any time, excepting that the City Council may grant special permission to organizations when it so deems worthy. (Ord. 2713 §1(part), 1959; prior Code §31.57.)

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Ornamental Water Fountains in Santa Barbara

After publishing drought discrepanciessome ornamental water fountains flow in Santa Barbara while others are turned off due to drought regulations; a viewer writes in with a photo to say the fountain in Loreto Plaza has been drained and turned off.

Here are two more… can you identify these beautiful fountains?

Photos taken Saturday, July 12

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Local Media Outlets Object to Partnership of Noozhawk and Mission & State


Joint letter from SB media to the SB Foundation Trustees

News organizations from around Santa Barbara met with the Board of the Santa Barbara Foundation to object to the partnership arrangement made between Noozhawk and Mission & State, PDF left.

As detailed in May, Noozhawk, the for-profit online news website which started in 2007, took over management of Mission & State June 1. Mission & State started as the Santa Barbara Investigative Journalism Initiative, a heavily-funded (via a Knight Foundation Grant through the Santa Barbara Foundation) non profit intended “to enhance the delivery of impactful journalism to Santa Barbara.”

Mission & State burned through a majority of its $1 million initial funding before operational control was handed over to Noozhawk. Local news organizations and at least one funding partner asked for a time out to reassess the awarding of the management contract. Tuesday’s meeting ended without a resolution.

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Dry Silt and Hot Air

Column by Loretta Redd

Asking hot air-filled floatation devises we refer to as “elected officials” to rise together and resolve a challenge by applying practical and long range solutions is sheer folly.

It’s becoming increasingly obvious why the words “successful” and “government” rarely appear in the same sentence. Common sense solutions are unachievable, especially when they involve multiple layers of bureaucracy.

Assuming Congresswoman Lois Capps wants to win her race in November, here is a daring feat, that if she can pull it off, will endear her to every thirsty voter now paying increasing water rates in order to reduce consumption.

It won’t be easy. It may not be quick, and it isn’t a ‘forever’ solution, but it will help ensure that the quantity of water available in our area is significantly increased. It’s also far from a new idea, as you will read as I quote frequently from the May, 1987 City of Santa Barbara report entitled, “GIBRALTAR LAKE RESTORATION PROJECT.”

The Gibraltar Lake Desiltation Project (proposed 1977, funded in 1978) report was submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency “Clean Lakes Program” almost three decades ago, and had the process been continued, we would not be in the water crisis we find ourselves today.

Here's their Executive Summary:
The reclamation program was proposed by the City of Santa Barbara in May 1977 to the U. S., Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Lakes Program. A Clean Lake EPA Grant to restore Gibraltar Lake was awarded to the City of Santa Barbara on May 15, 1978. This Funding and desiltation method of Gibraltar Lake was the first of its kind in the United States.

Within three years from the initial construction of the desiltation project, approximately 445 acre-feet of wet silt had been dredged from the lake at a total cost of $4,197,316.84.

Gibraltar Lake is a 273.6 acre reservoir located within the rugged Santa Ynez Mountains about seven miles north of Santa Barbara City. The reservoir provides an average of 35% of the City's drinking water supply in conjunction with the other supply sources such as Lake Cachuma 53%, and the City's 12% ground water source.

The lake's water capacity has been decreasing since the completion of the Gibraltar Dam in 1920 and subsequent enlargement in 1948, because of siltation. The reservoir formed by the damming of the Santa Ynez River had an initial maximum capacity of 14,500 acre-feet and a subsequent capacity of 22,500 acre-feet in 1948. The lake's last capacity measurement in 1986 was reported to be reduced to about 8,241 acre-feet or 37% of the total volume of 22,500 acre-feet. Over this 66 year period between 1920 through 1986, 14,259 acre-feet of silt entered Gibraltar Lake at an average rate of 216 acre-feet of silt per year.

The purpose of the Gibraltar Lake Restoration Project was to safely attempt to reclaim a portion of the reservoir's lost water capacity. The construction and dredging operations took nearly three years to complete. The actual project length satisfied the proposed 36 months originally stated in the Federal Assistance Application. EPA and representative of the Federal Government are to receive "thanks" from the citizens of Santa Barbara for participating in this grant. The purpose of the "Clean Lakes" grant has been fulfilled and this report is documentation of that participation between the agencies (EPA and the City of Santa Barbara).

A cubic yard of silt typically displaces 200 gallons of water.

I’m neither a mathematician nor a geologist, but two things seem rather obvious: first, we certainly could use the additional storage capacity in today’s Lake Gibraltar for when future rain falls, and secondly, I imagine dry dirt due to the drought conditions is far easier to remove than wet silt, though I envision the truckers dressed in white hazard suits, the dump trucks requiring union drivers and an Environmental Defense League escort.

The challenges remain numerous. How many various governmental entities would it take (this sounds like a riddle…) to approve a road being cut to allow the heavy moving equipment ingress and egress to the lake bed?

And, what do we do with all that ‘silt?‘ I am fairly certain some environmental elitist will declare it unsafe to reuse, even though it should make some of the best top-soil additive imaginable for our Central Coast farmers.

From the time of the proposal in 1977 until now, much has changed in Washington, in California and in Santa Barbara…and yet little has changed in government. Can Congresswoman Capps work with State Senator Jackson, Assemblyman Williams and Mayor Schneider to pull off this miracle or will they, too, remain blather-filled floatation devices more focused on the problem than on the solution?

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The Reclaimed Water Shell Game

By Dan Seibert

Last week I read a couple comments about the dead grass in Chase Palm park and the green grass at Fess Parker Doubletree hotel. It’s quite a contrast.

The odd thing is the hotel “park strip,” the very green grass between the hotel and street is owned by the city and is being watered with reclaimed water. Presently the reclaimed water system is under repair, the reclaimed H20 is being supplemented with city water. I think about 75% of reclaimed water is actually city water. If my info is wrong please feel free to correct me.

I don’t want be the water cop, but this photo was too strange not to post.

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