Archive | January, 2011

A View of Santa Barbara in 1835

As January 2011 ends, here’s a view of Santa Barbara in January, 1835

“lie the mission and town of Santa Barbara, on a low plain, but little above the level of the sea, covered with grass, though entirely without trees, and surrounded on three sides by an amphitheater of mountains, which slant off to the distance of fifteen or twenty miles. The mission stands a little back of the town, and is a large building, or rather collection of buildings, in the center of which is a high tower, with a belfry of five bells,” Richard Henry Dana, Jr. wrote is his classic, Two Years Before the Mast.

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Housing the Homeless in San Roque

The City of Santa Barbara is paying $1.1 million to buy an apartment building near the family-friendly enclave of San Roque… the 8-unit building will likely be converted into housing for the homeless.

The Santa Barbara Housing Authority is in the process of purchasing the complex at 2904 State Street, with escrow expected to close February 15, 2011. The Santa Barbara City Council then plans to approve a grant which will allow Willbridge, a local non-profit organization that focuses on the homeless, to purchase the property.

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Sandpiper Golf Course Sunset Path in 3D

Santa Babara photo to start the week by Bill Heller

This evening I actually stopped because the sun looked so beautiful through the trees at the far end of Hollister. The first shot was a telephoto shot from the parking lot of the golf course, and I was pretty happy with the results. As I got a little closer however I found there were all sorts of beautiful scenes that lent themselves to a panoramic view. What an amazing, relaxing walk that path must be! Well, as long as the little white ball doesn’t frustrate you too much!

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: Climate Change

Column by Barbara Hirsch

The climate is changing, NO ONE COULD DENY THIS. CO2 levels in the air and oceans, which for millennia were locked under the planet’s surface, are the highest ever. And as long as coal, oil and gas are priced as they are, their extraction subsidized by and controlling our governments (and being well supported by our way of life) these changes will keep having tragic consequences for all creatures.

Here are a few of the many recent weather records broken and extreme weather events:

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Santa Barbara Film Festival Animation

Few things at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival generate as much chatter as the introduction video, which shows before every movie. This year’s animated version was created by Harry Bossert, a London teenager. Below is the orginal version of video, but Bossert notes, “there were several edits created from this for the trailers, and I changed the ending to feature the SBIFF poster. Parry  re-worked the music, too.”
YouTube Preview Image

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Goleta Postal Massacre

January 30th is an infamous day in the history of Santa Barbara County. Today marks the five-year anniversary of the Goleta post office massacre.

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Soil and Seed Time in Santa Barbara

The Garden Post by Cerena Childress – Sustainability, Eating Fresh and Organic

With these warm days, it is ever so tempting to plant up summer veggies! Don’t do it. Not yet. Start seeds.


Depending on how much space you have, plant a last round of your very favorite winter crops – lettuces, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chard, kale, kohlrabi, potatoes, radishes, turnips. Bare-root asparagus and artichokes. I forgot to tell you last month, you could start zucchini! At Pilgrim Terrace we had an elder gardener who always started his in January and had great zucchini way before everyone else! Other than zuchs, really look at those days to maturity, and add the number of days you expect for harvest duration. If you plant a long maturing plant that would be harvested for some time, think if you would rather have that space for an early round of a summer veggie you love more. Choose mildew and disease resistant varieties for your late peas.

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The Friday Film Festival View…

Report by Film Festival correspondent Charis Robertson

The lines for the Friday morning shows started around 7:45 AM. “Crazy,” we were, said Roger Durling and rightly so. At 8 was the East European TILT, the US Premiered German-Bulgarian co-production about young love in cold war Bulgaria. It’ll be shown again two more times. I look forward to it.

Crazy like a fox, I chose SIMPLE SIMON, Sweden’s Academy Award entry, which didn’t quite make into the final five. It’s a treat of a film about, of all things Aspbergers Syndrome, but really about being different and how, really, with a bit of effort, if not understanding, we can get along. It, too, will show again two more times. Catch it if you can!

Smiles in the Metro 4 lobby this morning: a wonderful beginning to this year’s festival. Viva la Festival, Viva!

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Palin-Cheney: A Disservice to the Gipper

To honor one of the great presidents in United States history, a “uniter” who captured 49 states with a record 525 electoral votes in 1984, Santa Barbara’s Young America’s Foundation is bringing Sarah Palin and Dick Cheney to town to headline Ronald Reagan’s centennial birthday celebration. Palin and Cheney are two of the most divisive personalities is modern politics, and Dick represents the opposite view of Reagan’s peace through strength. This new conservative movement portrayed by the Foundation looks nothing like Reagan Revolution and the headline ticket of Palin (February 4th) and Cheney (February 5th) is a disservice to the Gipper.

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Film Festival correspondent Charis Robertson was right… Thursday night’s opening film, Sarah’s Key, was an exception and it did break the opening night curse – a fact that people wanted to talk about all night. Playing to a packed house at the Arlington, the heavy and moving film about a dark time in French history stirred the soul. Many wept, most were on edge, and you could hear a pin drop in the Theatre. Bravo!
The crowd then meandered down State Street to a dressed-up Paseo Nuevo. Live bands, food, free drinks, and a swanky setting. The “who’s who” were out in force on a clear, chilly and beautiful night. Making appearances were; the Palm, Mayor Schneider, a bow-tied Dale Francisco, the handsomely paid Jim Armstrong and his wife, John Dickson, firefighter of the year Rob Heckman, and a whole host of others.
Friday brings a full slate of movies which started at 8 am – over 170 films will be shown at the 2011 Festival. Then the spotlights return to the Arlington for some star power… Warren Beatty, Annette Bening, and local legend Kevin Costner.

View us on Twitter and Facebook for updates from the red carpet and around town.

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Randy Rowse: Keeping Santa Barbara Santa Barbara

sbawardIt didn’t take long for Randy Rowse to help keep Santa Barbara Santa Barbara. This week, the Santa Barbara City Council voted 4-3 to eliminate bulb outs from the historic Chapala corridor. Had Das Williams still been seated, the vote most likely would have gone the other way and Chapala would have been scarred with traffic impediments for the foreseeable future. Instead, Rowse stood with Councilmembers Dale Francisco, Frank Hotchkiss, Michael Self and the people of Santa Barbara to keep Chapala bulb out free.

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Viva la Festival

by Charis Robertson

The 26th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival takes off tonight with a US Premiere, SARAH’S KEY, starring multi-award winning actress, Kristin Scott Thomas, in what the Program guide calls a “harrowing” film, taking place in World War ll France, based on the novel by Tatiana de Rosnay. Opening night films have not been particularly memorable, at least not for positive qualities, but this one may well be an exception.

I’ve been attending the festival for more than 15 of the 25 previous years. I’ve been there for all the directors, Phyllis de Picciotto, Renée Missel, the brief, happily so, (1 year) tenure of Jon Fitzgerald, and then the renaissance brought by Roger Durling.

It’s almost a cliche that Mr. Durling has resuscitated the Fest, and that’s true in the sense it was under Fitzgerald heading for collapse. But basically it’s the same celebration that Phyllis de Picciotto began and Renée Missel continued: a mix of films and celebrities with a sidebar panel of seminars.

Back when Santa Barbara was less well known, the timing of the festival was chosen for the slow season to give a boost to the downtown. That’s been continued, with a greater emphasis on the Academy Awards timing. Those in the running seek publicity and what better venue than Santa Barbara, Hollywood’s back door, as Renée Missel infelicitously proclaimed.

One of the first things that Roger did was bring back the publicist, Carol Marshall, stupidly not hired by Fitzgerald. She has drawn on her long connection with SBIFF and Hollywood to bring out – and in – the stars. And what a gathering there have been and will be again this year!

One of the unfortunate differences between now and the past is that the festival is seen by many to be no longer friendly to locals. On one level, that’s simply not true: the festival is run by locals, the staff, and especially with the help of hundreds and hundreds of volunteers. It simply would be dead in the water without those volunteers so visible at the theaters and the many laboring unseen in the office, doing the unsung nuts and bolts that keeps the juggernaut moving.

On another level, it seems too true. The lines are long, the theaters are full at prime weekend and evening times, and the prices are high. Curious on that last, I dug up a 10-year-old Program and compared 2001 and this year’s prices: a Platinum Pass cost then $750 ($1655), a film/Cinema Pass $225 ($605), Opening Night $20 ($60), 6-pak $46.50 (minipak of 12, $125); individual movie tickets then were $7.75; this year, probably $15. and so on.

But what remains the same is that this is the ONLY time to see a full slate of documentaries and feature films from around the world. It’s a mind field and I look forward to romping and will share my impressions. Viva la Festival!

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Bits from a Barstool…

Remember when… twenty years ago the traffic signals on 101 in Santa Barbara were removed. Before 1991 there were four traffic lights stopping cars on US 101.

IMG_0846Mending fences… BevMo! has purportedly bought new fences for a few of their alleyway neighbors who protested the arrival of a liquor superstore.

Where’s your bagSanta Monica and Marin are the latest cities to ban plastic bags.

Calling all artistsenter your works of art for the 25th Annual Avocado Festival. The 2011 poster and t-shirt design contest will be open through May 6th.

This is our town… wouldn’t it be nice to see Santa Barbara police chief Cam Sanchez spending less time on a reality show and a bit more time on patrol?

Are blogger’s the future of journalism… the newest panel at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival will explore that very subject. The first ever Blogger’s Panel will be held on Sunday at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art from 4:00-5:30pm.

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A View Investigation: Artisan Court

Santa Barbara’s Redevelopment Agency:  Millions in Tax Dollars Fund Housing Project Built in Flood Plain on Contaminated Soil

By Cheri Rae

cheriGovernor Brown has focused attention on municipal redevelopment agencies, and has even called for the elimination of state funding for them. Santa Barbara’s RDA has been extraordinarily active in recent years, helping fund all sorts of activities—from the recently estimated $50,000 to rearrange benches on State Street to numerous high-density housing projects.

One Santa Barbara housing project, dubbed “Artisan Court,” recently received more than $4 million in RDA funding, and an additional $9 million in tax credits and public funding. The project is intended to provide housing for a population of youth aging out of the foster care system, formerly homeless individuals and downtown workers.


Critics of RDA funding might see this project as the kind of feel-good development that taxpayers are subsidizing with no idea of the long-term, real-life consequences or costs.

This publicly funded residential project is currently under construction in an industrial area of the city a location that once served as a dump site for debris from the 1925 earthquake. The site was formerly occupied by Haagen Printing.

When Mayor Helene Schneider presided over the “ground-breaking” ceremonies for the project last January, she wielded a sledgehammer instead of a more traditional shovel.

The symbolism may have been to indicate the demolition of the building that housed the former print shop, but the reality was that it probably wasn’t a good idea to have the new mayor digging into the contaminated soil at the site.

Due to the presence of metals in the soil—including lead levels that exceed both State and Federal hazardous waste thresholds, as well as mercury, arsenic, barium and others—the publicly funded housing project has been engineered to keep future residents from direct contact with the soil. Even the trees will have metal barriers around them to prevent human contact with the dirt.

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Bulbouts, Hedges and Bamboo

The Santa Barbara City Council will tackle a few critical issues facing the city today.

First up, at the request of  Dale Francisco and Michael Self, members of the Council will look to amend the Chapala Street Design Guidelines to remove the sentence… “Curb and Sidewalk Bulb Outs shall be added at all intersections.” Guidelines mandating these traffic impediments were developed in 2003.

UPDATE: The Santa Barbara City Council approved the amendment to remove a requirement for bulbouts on Chapala Street.

Then, a possible suspension of the hedge ordinance.

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