Archive | March, 2010

City College Cuts Hurting Preschoolers

Attempts by Santa Barbara City College to deal with $5 million in budget cuts are affecting more than college students and continuing education programs… co-operative preschools in Santa Barbara are feeling the pinch too.

For over 50 years, SBCC has provided The Oaks Parent Child Workshop, and two other preschool co-ops, with a tenured director. The co-ops raise the money for operating expenses, and City College flips the bill for a director.  Recently, the long-time director for The Oaks retired and now SBCC is trying to save money by eliminating that position altogether reducing the director from a fully tenured position to a minimally qualified part-time position, which could decimate the program.

Adding insult to injury, SBCC President Andreea Serban and the Board of Trustees are reportedly refusing to put the “cut” on the agenda for discussion. This slight has forced parents to take out full-page ads and appeal to the community directly.

If you’d like to help Save The Oaks, and other cooperative preschools in Santa Barbara, contact information for the SBCC Board of Trustees is listed below the fold.

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Bagged

The Santa Barbara City Council postponed consideration of a “Bag Tax” and said no to funding a $23,000 public survey, which would gauge the interest of a bag tax.

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Where’s Your Bag? Day

It’s unofficially Where’s Your Bag Day in Santa Barbara. A “Love Yer’ Bag” Rally kicks off the festivities today – 1 p.m. at Santa Barbara City Hall. The rally is being billed as an underground movement to end the use of single-use bags.

According to organizers, “residents are encouraged to attend what will be a visually stunning, fun, and inspiring event designed to convince City Council members to approve a November ballot issue to place a tax on use of paper and plastic bags.”

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$23,000 for a Disposable Bag Survey

Wheres your bagOn the docket… today, the Santa Barbara City Council will discuss and consider spending $23,000 to conduct a public survey to “take the pulse of local voters about ways to reduce the use of disposable shopping bags (both plastic and paper), including in particular whether they’d vote yes on a ballot initiative to implement a nominal tax at the cash register of large retail stores for each disposable bag taken/used by the customer.”

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Save the Santa Barbara Sea Otters!

On Sunday, the Santa Barbara Independent published a disturbing article by Chris Goldblatt, which advocated for the elimination of sea otters in the Santa Barbara region… so abalone and urchin fisherman could make a few bucks of their own.

seaotter“They Will Destroy Fisheries if They Colonize Here”, was the headline published by the once environmentally-friendly rag. “The otters are coming, and Santa Barbarans will be able to enjoy espying them from atop their cliffside mansions, watching them float in the kelp beds in the MPAs—where nobody is allowed to fish except of course the otters, who will gladly deplete the areas of everything with a hard shell,” wrote the beleaguered Goldblatt.

Wrong… the return of sea otters to our local waters should be celebrated! The sea otter is a symbol of wilderness, and integral part of California’s natural ecosystem, and serves as an indicator of for the overall health of California’s near-shore marine ecosystem. Plus, Santa Barbara residents in their “cliffside mansions”, would much rather see likable sea otters in their native environment, than disgruntled urchin trollers who sell our local resources to Asian markets.

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Mission Santa Barbara Twilight 360

Santa Barbara Photo of the week… by renowned local photographer Bill Heller.

A while back I posted a single still of this image on Santa Barbara’s Blog. I thought you might like to see the final product.

Controls from left to right: + Zoom in; - Zoom out; change the way the view moves when you drag; toggle full screen

-Bill Heller

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EcoFacts: Pilot Lights Keep on Burning‏

Column by Barbara Hirsch

pilot_lightWe don’t really think about pilot lights, which is part of their intention. They just sit there quietly and burn, waiting for the moments when flames are needed. They came to be when waste was not an issue.

According to a source at Cornell University, pilot lights account for over 20 percent of the gas used in the U.S.. A study for a Canadian utility found that in homes with gas fireplaces, half of the gas was used just for the pilot, if left on all year. Granted, natural gas is a clean fuel by fossil fuel standards, but a limited and CO2 emitting fossil fuel, nevertheless.

While many newer appliances have electronic ignitons, pilot lights burn continuously in millions of stoves, water heaters, furnaces and gas fireplaces, pool heaters, and equipment in labs. The flames may seem small, but multiply hundreds of millions of them by 24/7 use, burning natural gas or propane. Each pilot light uses enough energy to make ten or more pots of coffee or tea PER DAY – enough to make billions of people happier, more productive (or crazy) – except that instead the stuff is just gone, used for nothing. (As for hot beverages, electric kettles boil water most efficiently, gas and electric stoves less, microwaves are the least efficient.)

The point of this, really, is to suggest turning off your pilot lights for the seasons when they are not being used. If you do not have access to yours, the gas man does, and you will save some bucks (seeing a notable difference in your gas bill), while doing the world a service.

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Meet Drake

drake sit 72Drake is the quintessential young neutered male border collie, 43 lbs. He is smart, loyal, wants to please, athletic, a great running/hiking partner.  He is particularly fond on tennis balls. Drake gets along nicely with other small and big dogs. He is active, though calm in a home environment. A fine family dog.

He is awaiting adoption at DAWG (Dog Adoption and Welfare Group), 5480 Overpass Rd, Santa Barbara. CLICK HERE to see more adoptable dogs. DAWG is a no-kill dog rescue/adoption not-for-profit organization. (805) 681-0561.

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Taxing California Oil Production

Opinion: California’s Families Can’t Afford Nava’s Oil Tax Scheme
Joe Armendariz, executive director, Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association

In a recent article that appeared in the Santa Barbara Independent, Nick Welch, the paper’s executive editor, let the cat out of the bag as it relates to Pedro Nava’s true motive for pushing AB1604, which if passed would impose a 10% severance tax on California domestic oil production. In the article, Nick points out that Nava’s reason for pushing this new tax legislation is to gain favor with environmentalists who he hopes will help him in his race for Attorney General.

In other words, the Nava oil tax scheme isn’t about good fiscal policy, sound economic policy, or even smart environmental policy…it is about politics and Pedro’s personal ambition. And that is of course bad enough. But it’s even worse when you consider the impacts on our state’s families if Nava’s oil tax scheme were to become law.

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Legalization Coming to California

All the dickering by the Santa Barbara City Council over marijuana dispensaries in the last few years could be moot by November… as a measure to legalize marijuana for recreational use will be on California ballot in 2010.

The state could certainly use the revenue from the legalization and taxation of California’s biggest cash crop. And, then there is the enormous amount of time spent chasing pot’s black market… last year in Santa Barbara County, nearly 250,00 marijuana plants, with a street value of about $750 million, were seized by the U.S. Forest Service, sheriff’s department, and narcotics agents. The plants were burned.

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The Bridge Barrier is Coming…

The controversial suicide barrier to be placed on and around the historic Cold Springs Arch Bridge is actually going to happen. According to reports, a construction contract has been awarded to an out-of-County construction company. From the loss of aesthetics to the need to prevent suicide jumpers, it’s sad in so many ways.

bridge

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Lost Horizon Bookstore

losthorizonIn this digital age, Santa Barbara is very fortunate to still have independent bookstores. Lost Horizon Bookstore, 703 Anacapa Street, is one of the local bookstores worth a visit.  Lost Horizon is a cozy, family-owned bookstore which has been around Santa Barbara since 1983.

They specialize in art-related books, antique reference, maps, and California  history. If you want to browse or purchase publications from Santa Barbara’s past, this is the place. So, the next time you are downtown, stop in and support the Lost Horizon Bookstore.

(805) 962-4606
Store Hours: Mon – Sat 10.00 am – 6.00 pm

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Two Steps Back…

Tuesday was a bad day for Santa Barbara.

First, the Santa Barbara City Council voted 4-3 to uphold the bulbouts for the mixed-used development at 803 Milpas Street. Bendy White let down the citizens of Santa Barbara and cast the deciding vote for traffic impediments. Email Bendy

Later last night, the Santa Barbara School Districts Board of Education approved the preposterous proposal to end the Gifted and Talented Education Program (GATE). The move will dummy down education and students who have have demonstrated high academic performance will no longer have the opportunity to excel.

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Hot Cookie Bid Adieu

Dear Friends and Supporters of HotCookie.com,

It is with a heavy heart that we must inform you that after experiencing declining sales the last 12 months we will be closing our storefront location in the Mesa Center. The last day of operation is scheduled for Saturday, April 3, 2010.

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Health Reform

cappsToday is great day for Central Coast residents and all Americans,” said Congresswoman Lois Capps on her way to the Health Reform Bill signing ceremony. “With this bill signing ceremony, we set in motion the extension of health care coverage for 32 million more Americans and real health security for those already with insurance. Although it will take some time to phase in all aspects of the legislation, many key benefits take place immediately and over the next several months.”

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