Archive | July, 2010

Santa Barbara Goes Greek

Big crowds and long lines at the 37th annual Greek Festival in Oak Park.


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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 delivers three-times the unique visitors, 63,000 a month.

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Rob Lowe News…

robloweRob Lowe, of 700 Picacho Lane in Montecito, is reportedly behind on his taxes… to the tune of $269,000.00, according to reports.

Maybe Lowe got ahead of his finances by building a mega mansion on a vacant parcel of land he bought for $8.5 million at 700 Picacho Lane.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Goat Tying… a Sad Addition to Fiesta

As Santa Barbara counts down to Fiesta, a poorly-conceived event has been added to the Stock Horse Show and Rodeo portion… goat tying!

Friday, August 6th:
Junior Goat Tying (12 & Under)*
Junior Goat Tying (13 to 17) *

Sure, a “Competencia de los Vaqueros” has been a been a part of Old Spanish Days since the earliest of Fiestas, but it’s a new age around the world.  This week in Barcelona, officials are scheduled to vote on a ban of bullfighting.

While the barbarous behavior associated with the rodeo is bad enough, encouraging our youth to get involved with the inhumane treatment of animals is just plain wrong. Kids should be taught to treat  people, animals, and the environment with kindness. Please put an end to goat tying before it starts.

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What Would Pearl Think?

The “junkification” of Santa Barbara continues… rag tag business signs, clearly unapproved by the sign committee, litter the corner of Anapamu and State Street.


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Santa Barbara City College – Harbor View

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

Santa Barbara City College has one of the best views around. They have some great classes too! But these days I usually just go for the view. The evening I took this, the fog was just starting to roll in. You can see it on the other side of the wharf.

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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EcoFact: Hemp Redemption

Column by Barbara Hirsch

“To deliver from sin and its penalties…” is a Webster’s definition of “redeem”. Hemp production has been banned in this country for most of a century. The crop was just too good. Its sins were: 1. of association, being a cannabis plant (though not at all useful as a drug); 2. being far too functional for the timber and plastics industries to want to compete with it. And so it is imported from Canada, China and other countries for its current uses, which number in the thousands.

Every part of the hemp plant is useful. As a plant, it is naturally more drought, mold and pest tolerant than cotton, and more can be grown, per acre. Its fiber is very strong and durable, hence its use for marine rigging and rope, before the era of plastics. As a fabric, it wicks moisture and dries fast, stretches little, and becomes softer with use. The seeds are not only edible but extremely healthful, containing omega 3 and 6’s, lots of protein and more. The plant’s oils can be used for food, personal care products and every thing else that uses oil, e.g. inks, paints, lubricants, fuel. The stalks are used for building materials, textiles, paper, biofuels, the leaves as food and mulch. Perhaps even, hemp is the single most useful plant of all. So, CAN THIS ABSURD LAW BE CHANGED?!

Commercial cotton production is bad for the planet, being pesticide and herbicide intensive. Quantities of sustainable wood and petroleum are clearly now both limited. It is time for hemp’s redemption.

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Another Jumper…

The debate over a barrier around the Cold Springs Arch Bridge got even murkier today, as another person has reportedly jumped to his death off of the historic bridge. Construction of an unsightly and expensive suicide barrier was halted last week by a Santa Barbara County Superior Judge due to “noncompliance with the California Environmental Quality Act.”

Today’s tragic suicide by a local man in his 50′s marks the 54th time a person has jumped to his/her death since the bridge opened in in 1964.

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