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EcoFacts

Column by Barbara Hirsch

Paraquat, is a “contact herbicide”, destroying plant tissue on contact. It’s been around for decades, and is used worldwide (except where banned) for killing weeds before and after planting, between crop rows, and for desiccation or defoliation of plants such as potato vines, cotton and soy before harvesting. Tea, coffee, cocoa, banana and palm oil plantations have also used it extensively. Some of its brand names are: Gramaxone, Cyclone, Herbikill, and Parakill. The upside, besides crop yield benefits and efficient weed clearing, is that it binds to soil, becoming biologically inactive, and not likely to leach into groundwater.

The extreme danger that Paraquat offers is primarily to the people who handle and apply it, and also to the creatures who happen to come in contact with it. Banned in the 27 countries of the European Union since 2007 and in Sri Lanka, in the U.S. it can only be applied by commercially licensed users. Protective clothing and safe handling would help the workers who must use it here. Elsewhere, who knows? Thousands are poisoned by it annually, some intentionally, as it has become a popular poison for suicide in many developing countries. For the living, its use has caused many health problems, including permanent skin and lung damage, and it has been linked to Parkinson’s disease.

Thanks to campaigns by workers and NGOs, like the Pesticide Action Network, progress happens. Chiquita has stopped using paraquat on their banana and pineapple plantations, and Dole followed. Unilever, which owns Lipton and PG Tips, is now prohibiting its use on their tea plantations. Let’s hope its decline continues…

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How to Best Prepare for a Wildfire

With wildfires raging to the south, the Editor thought it would be a good time to post a reminder and  information about, How to Best Prepare for a Wildfire:

Step 1: Get a Kit

Get an Emergency Supply Kit, which includes items like non-perishable food, water, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, extra flashlights and batteries. You may want to prepare a portable kit and keep it in your car. This kit should include:

• Copies of prescription medications and medical supplies;
• Bedding and clothing, including sleeping bags and pillows;
• Bottled water, a battery-operated radio and extra batteries, a first aid kit, a flashlight;
• Copies of important documents: driver’s license, Social Security card, proof of residence, insurance policies, wills, deeds, birth and marriage certificates, tax records, etc.

Step 2: Make a Plan

Prepare Your Family

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Old Media, New World

The Santa Barbara Independent is purportedly struggling to come to grips with the new media. In 2008, Santa Barbara’s Blog, the extremely popular predecessor to the Santa Barbara View, took home an Independent Reader’s Choice Award for Best SB-Based Website. In 2010, instead of giving a promotional venue to the new media, the category has been removed from “Independent” competition.

And in this week’s issue the Angry Poodle takes a shot at Noozhawk, Goleta’s misspelled E-Paper. Nick Welsh chides that the poorly-named website should “develop a genuine readership that would allow (the staff) to sell ads.” Noozhawk’s founder, the “flamboyant” Bill Mcfayden, purportedly responded by saying, “technology is expanding… fossil media like yours (the Independent) is contracting.”

Piling on… Edhat continues to claim “Santa Barbara’s Number One Website“, even though independent.com delivers three-times the unique visitors, 63,000 a month.


Political Consultant Gets a Gig…

Strange, but true… James Kyriaco the political consultant who bungled the fall campaigns of Olivia Uribe, John J. Thyne III, and Iya Falcone , was just appointed by the Board of Supervisors to the County’s Historic Landmarks Advisory Committee.

Why the Santa Barbara County Supervisors would appoint a political consultant who couldn’t deliver 100 valid signatures for Mayoral favorite Iya Falcone is puzzling?


Hot Topic.. Illegal Immigration

“I am pleased with the decision to block the implementation of misguided and overly broad provisions in Arizona’s immigration law,” said local Congresswoman Lois Capps. “Immigration is a federal issue that needs a federal solution. We all recognize that the federal immigration system is broken. As a long time supporter of comprehensive immigration reform, I hope we can come together and pass a bill that will secure our borders, bring people out of the shadows, protect workers and the economy, and honor our nation’s history as a country of immigrants.”

The proposed immigration law would require police officers enforcing other laws to check a person’s immigration status if they suspect the person is in the country illegally. It also bans illegal immigrants from soliciting work in a public place.

Below photo by Editor shows an interest from local residents and area businesses.

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Climate Change to Fuel Mass Immigration

While Santa Barbara residents and tourists deal with an unseasonable cold and cloudy summer, many are still fixated on the myth repercussions of climate change.

According to one report, climate change will not only lead to an increase in sea levels, but it will also force a mass migration of immigrants to the United States, specifically Southern California. The study of the effect of global warming on migration, to be published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, concludes… “as many as 7 million Mexicans could migrate to the U.S. by 2080 as climate change reduces agricultural production in Mexico.”

Help curb immigration… another reason to go green.

In a related note, Arizona’s new immigration law is set to take effect Thursday. UPDATE, a Federal judge has just blocked portions of the Arizona immigration law.


City Council Saying YES to BevMo!

Today, the Santa Barbara City Council will likely ignore the will of the people and support the Architectural Board of Review’s final approval of the proposed BevMo!

bevmoThe City Council won’t support a Target located in a vacated, multi-acre lot near Goleta, but a wine & spirits super store with little to no parking in one of the busiest areas of Upper State Street is fine? Strange, but true.

Marc Chytilo, on behalf of Breathe Easy, has filed an appeal of the ABR’s approval correctly noting that the project is incompatible with the family-friendly neighborhood.

Those who support this position and who don’t want to see a BevMo! in the San Roque area, located less than two blocks away from Peabody Elementary School, are encouraged to attend the City Council meeting today, 2 p.m. at City Hall.

UPDATE: The City Council denied the appeal by Breath Easy and stuck it to the residents of San Roque by voting Yes on a BevMo!. Maybe it’s to reconsider district elections where neighborhoods could have a level of representation on the Council.


Former Forester Fires No Hitter

MattGarzaMatt Garza, former pitcher for the Santa Barbara Foresters, fired a no-hitter in major leagues last night.  Garza threw the first no-hitter in the history of the Tampa Bay Rays organization and faced the minimum 27 batters. The one batter he walked was later erased on a double play.  Matt was with the Foresters in 2004 before being chosen in the first round of 2005 by the Minnesota Twins.