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RE: Notice of Council Meeting to Discuss Plan Santa Barbara

Letter to the Editor
planadThe Notice (left – click to enlarge) does not mention that the motion to adopt Plan Santa-Barbara at Councilmember Williams’ last meeting failed. That ended the process related to the General Plan as recommended to the City Council by the Planning Commission. The City Council did not at that meeting continue the item to a date certain–as required for a continued consideration of a proposed General Plan. As a result, the process must start over. The general plan adoption process as set forth is state law and the Charter, requires a recommendation from the Planning Commission to the City Council.

The discussion announced for March 1 sounds like a time for decisions regarding adoption of a General Plan. The notice does not solve the legal status based upon the prior rejection of the recommendations of the Planning Commission. Even if the Planning Commission part of the process is ignored, this Notice does not comply with State laws, including the Brown Act, which requires a minimum of ten day notice in the newspapers of a new hearing date for a General Plan hearing.

Stearns Wharf Sunset

Virtual Reality View of Santa Barbara by renown local photographer Bill Heller

Well I didn’t get the winter wonderland photos I was dreaming of this weekend. But the clouds were just amazing.

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

(and still working on a new touch interface)

-Bill Heller

Spanish Street Names of Santa Barbara

FotoMICHELTORENA (mee-chel-to-reh’-nah) for General José Manuel Micheltorena, the kindly Mexican governor who ordered the main missions placed again under the administration of the Franciscan Fathers (twelve of the twenty were restored). Although his government sent him to California with a ragamuffin convict army of almost four hundred which constantly hampered his actions, he charmed the populace with his gentlemanly ways. His wife, La Gobernadora, for a time ably ruled the land while her wise husband was away attending to native uprisings. He also had some difficulty finding horses to pull the carriage he brought with him, as draft animals were almost unknown then (spoke and wheel wagons began to be imported about 1843). He introduced a military service measure which materially helped the revolt against him. In the final battle, Micheltorena lost one horses and one mule and left, hearvy-hearted over the impending war with the United States, which he foresaw. He stopped at the house of Gumecindo Flores whenever he was in Santa Barbara since his nephew was married to the niece of Comandante Flores’ wife.

EcoFacts: Food Travels

Weekly column by Barbara Hirsch

How few people in our familiar world of western society eat mostly local food, ever since motorized vehicles connected us so quickly. The diversity of foods available to us now would be truly incredible, if it weren’t so entirely credible by today’s standards. No doubt this is a wonderful aspect of modern life, other than the costs to the planet. But food must be fundamental to the world economy. Even so, when olive oil from Italy is cheaper than the local stuff here in Santa Barbara, one must ask why. Even IF real estate and labor is cheaper in Italy, over 6,000 miles away.

Santa Barbara County is a truly bountiful place. More than 75 kinds of fruits and vegetables are grown here. It is among the top 1% of farming counties in the country, producing over a billion dollars worth annually. There is also local dairy, beef, pork, fish. We produce plenty of wines. (We don’t grow our grains, which is, granted, a large portion of our diets.) And yet, 99% of our county’s food is being exported, 95% of all that we eat here is imported. A study by David Cleveland at UC Santa Barbara has explored this conundrum as part of its associated greenhouse gas emissions and the potential for localizing our economy. The results point to large scale ag. production, fertilizers, processing and packaging as being far worse than the final transport of the goods.

Surely though, some improvement – low hanging fruit, so to speak – is possible. Some years ago the BBC offered a fun science quiz that included this fact: “The energy used to import a kg. of fresh spinach from California to the UK is equivalent to running a 100 watt light bulb for: 1 month!” – this being about half of my daily use of electricity at home for that month.

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Santa Barbara Garden Post

Weekly Column by Cerena Childress – Sustainability, Eating Fresh and Organic

First Week of March, First Summer Planting!

Go get your seeds, transplants, any amendments that make you happy, clear your space, and go for it! Poke bean seeds in at the base of finishing peas, tomatoes, artichokes from transplants, corn, New Zealand spinach, cucumbers, summer and winter squash! If you have room and want to, plant last rounds of cool-season crops – broccoli (with cilantro & lettuce), cabbage, potatoes. Add more year-rounds, beets, carrots, chard, bunch onions, radish, turnips. Remember to leave space for your succession plantings!

True heat lovers next month – eggplant, limas, melons, okra, peppers and pumpkins. Wait, wait…you can do it. Unless you live in the foothills with a south facing wall, many wait to plant tomatoes until next month. That means if you haven’t already, get those babies started in the greenhouse to get a head start!

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Persons of the Week: Santa Barbara Conservancy

Just when it seems like no one cares about historic preservation of Santa Barbara anymore, we’re reminded once again that there are hard-working and very knowledgeable individuals who join together and give their all as good stewards of this unique community.

Quietly and coherently, this small group of standout citizens has produced impressive publications—“Stone Architecture of Santa Barbara,” and a striking architectural poster—and lent its voice to supporting the historic designation of Mattei’s Tavern, the addition of an historic element to the General Plan Update and other efforts to recognize and protect historic cultural, architectural and natural resources.

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Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic’s 16th Annual Record-A-Thon

Just in time to celebrate the birthday of Dr. Seuss, mark your calendars for the annual volunteer record-a-thon sponsored  by Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic.

Rec-a-Thon LogoIndividuals, groups, and businesses are invited to join local authors and other community members for Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic’s 16TH annual Record-A-Thon, taking place Monday, February 28 through Thursday March 3 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday, March 5 from 9:00 am to noon at RFB&D’s Santa Barbara offices/recording studios, located at 5638 Hollister Avenue, Suite 210 in Goleta.

RFB&D, a nonprofit volunteer organization, is the nation’s leading educational library of recorded textbooks serving students with visual impairment, dyslexia or other physical disability that make reading standard textbooks difficult or impossible.

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