Archive | June, 2011

Redeveloping Around a Promenade

The Santa Barbara View caught up with the PR agency representing Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade, which dates back to the 1960s when three blocks of Third Street were converted into a pedestrian mall… below is their summary.
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Santa Barbara’s General Plan

As the City Council approved another round of revisions to Plan Santa Barbara yesterday, let’s take a look back… from The General Plan, which was adopted by resolution of the Mayor and Santa Barbara Council on July 28, 1964.

“The General Plan is, above all else, a declaration of principles, of hopes and aspirations—of potentials.”

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Scene Around Town…

Alameda Park… can you hear me now? (photo below)

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High Anxiety: Density and the Brain

By Cheri Rae

cheriIt’s always seemed like a no-brainer, but here’s scientific proof that the increased density that developers and urban planners are so fond of pushing is not optimal for good health or happiness.

According to researchers at the University of Heidelberg and McGill University, and reported in the journal Nature on June 23, the stresses of city life have negative effects on the brain. (CLICK HERE to read)

The research notes the rate of anxiety disorders is 21% among urban dwellers; mood disorders are 39% higher, and schizophrenia rates are nearly doubled.

In addition, researcher Jens Pruessner believes the brain changes of city life are most profound on those born and raised in urban environments, up to age 15.

It’s time to take another look at that General Plan and all its provisions to transform the laid-back Santa Barbara prized by so many into a high-density urban village—with all the stresses of city life. Sure looks like it’s not such a brainy idea after all.

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Santa Barbara RDA Funds on the Brink…

A new budget agreement reached between California Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic legislators pushes redevelopment agencies to the brink of extinction.

Brown vetoed legislators’ original budget two weeks ago, but the Governor has reportedly agreed to two new redevelopment bills as part of a balanced budget, which counts on $1.7 billion from the elimination of redevelopment agencies. The first bill eliminates redevelopment agencies altogether, while the second version purportedly allows these beleaguered local agencies to exist, but only if they pay back property taxes, which have been diverted from local schools.

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New Santa Barbara Police Headquarters

Tomorrow, the Santa Barbara City Council will discuss and consider a $50 million proposal to replace the Santa Barbara Police Department headquarters, located at at 215 E. Figueroa St. Even if the cash-strapped Council takes $20 million from expiring redevelopment agency funds, the top-priority project will be $30 million short. The Council subcommittee purportedly discussed a variety of options like retrofitting, but why not relocate the headquarters to Chapala One, “the empty castle of over-consumption and symbol of wretched excess in local development?”

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Early Endorsement Parade Continues

Long before the election field for Santa Barbara City Council is set, media outlets and local organizations continue to make premature endorsements. The latest slate selection comes from Mary Ellen Wylie, President of the Democratic 24Women of Santa Barbara County (pictured left)… “I am pleased to announce that the Board of Democratic Women of Santa Barbara County has endorsed Iya Falcone, Cathy Murillo and Deborah Schwartz for election to the Santa Barbara City Council in the fall. We are confident that each of these outstanding candidates will bring strong leadership skills, understanding of neighborhood and community concerns, and their unique perspectives and priorities to the policy and decision making process. Your support will be essential in the upcoming battle to take back the majority on the City Council.” The filing period for the Nov. 8 election starts July 18.

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Knapp’s Arch Sunset Time Lapse

Santa Barbara Photo to Start the Week by renowned local photographer Bill Heller.

Last Saturday I had the opportunity to visit Knapp’s Castle for an assignment. The mountain was completely socked in… “June Gloom.” But the sunset was anything but gloomy. By the time the golden hour rolled around, the fog had turned into beautiful clouds and just enough haze in the air to make the light beautiful and golden.

I was interested to see the construction taking place. Not only is there a new amphitheater type of area, but the beautiful archway has been reinforced. You can see the old state of the arch in the image on my home page that was originally taken for the Santa Barbara View a couple of years ago. Although it might have been nice if they had matched the style of the old stones a little more, I can understand not wanting the liability of the previous state of the ruins.

Be sure to check it out full screen then click “HD” to enjoy the details.

-Bill Heller

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A Scene from Solstice in Santa Barbara

Outside of one week during Fiesta… how about a moratorium on cascarones?

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Spanish Street Names of Santa Barbara

GUTIERREZ (goo-tee-eh’-rehs) named for the distinguished civic leader, Octaviano Gutierrez, who served faithfully for many years on the Ayuntamiento or City Council. He came to California about 1816 as a lieutenant of artillery in the Mexican army. His penmanship in the official records is a work of art. His daughter, Mercedes, sold to the city of Santa Barbara (1901) the old adobe she occupied.

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The Santa Barbara Garden Post

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

bucketFoliar plant care is so easy! Use a Dramm Can, the Perfect Foliar Machine!

Worm Castings, Compost, Manure Tea, Fish Emulsion/Kelp for FEEDING – All in ONE!

You can easily make this tea! A handful of castings, a handful to a cup of compost, handful of manure, stir and let them soak overnight in a bucket or watering can. Pour the liquid into a watering can, with an upturning rose, add a Tablespoon Fish Emulsion/Kelp, mix, and drench your plants in the morning! Yum!

Epsom Salts, Magnesium Sulfate, Your Solanaceaes, Peppers especially, and Roses!

Magnesium is critical for seed germination and the production of chlorophyll, fruit, and nuts. Magnesium helps strengthen cell walls and improves plants’ uptake of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur. Magnesium deficiency in the soil may be one reason your tomato leaves yellow between the leaf veins late in the season and fruit production slows down.

Sulfur, a key element in plant growth, is critical to production of vitamins, amino acids (therefore protein), and enzymes. Sulfur is probably the oldest known pesticide in current use. It can be used for disease control (e.g., powdery mildews, rusts, leaf blights, and fruit rots), and pests like mites, psyllids and thrips. Sulfur is nontoxic to mammals, but may irritate skin or especially eyes. Sulfur has the potential to damage plants in hot (90°F and above), dry weather. It is also incompatible with other pesticides. Do not use sulfur within 20 to 30 days on plants where spray oils have been applied; it reacts with the oils to make a more phytotoxic combination.

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Weekly column by Barbara Hirsch

woodpulpSome of our clothing is made with fabric that is both synthetic and natural. The fundamental substance is wood pulp, which is then synthesized through a chemical process.  This process, of extruding filaments into thread from a highly viscous, or viscose solution of dissolved cellulose (also used to make cellophane before the advent of plastics), was first developed in the 19th century. The American Viscose Company began producing this material in 1910.   The soft and shiny stuff was sometimes called artificial silk because of its similarities to the natural stuff, for which silk worms did the work, extruding their own viscous saliva.

Rayon became the common name and in recent years other varieties and trade names have emerged, such as Lyocell and Tencel, Modal,  and Danufil.  Bamboo based fabrics require the same processes in its manufacture.  Environmentally speaking, these are unfriendly, even by the Federal Trade Commission’s standards, using “harsh chemicals that release hazardous air pollution.” Sodium hydroxide and carbon disulfide are two of these, with associated harmful effects on rayon workers and the factory environment. Lyocell and Tencel are preferred, as their process is less toxic and closed loop, meaning that the chemicals are recovered and reused rather than disposed of.

The methods and sustainability of growing and harvesting the wood for these fabrics is another factor. FSC cerified (Forest Stewardship Council)  eucalyptus is used for Tencel, and as we’ve all heard, fast growing bamboo – most grown in China – can also be extremely sustainable, but perhaps it is better utilized in buildings and flutes, rather than in our t-shirts and sheets.

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Santa Barbara Person(s) of the Week

personsThis week, the  Santa Barbara Writers Conference came back. And according to all accounts, it was a successful return. Before declaring for bankruptcy in 2008, the conference had been a part of the Santa Barbara community since 1973.  In June of 2010,  The Santa Barbara Writers Conference was purchased by Monte Schulz, the Santa Barbara son of the late “Peanuts” cartoonist Charles M. Schulz.  For bringing back this community jewel and for a great event,  Schulz and his fiancee, Nicole Starczak, the Conference Director, are Santa Barbara View’s Persons of the Week.

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Vintage Views of Santa Barbara

From the Thomas Schmidt collection… Old Franklin School, corner of Montecito and N. Nopal, Circa 1910. The building still there!

Photo Credit for Vintage Series: Early Santa Barbara Photos taken by J W Collinge and other Santa Barbara photographers. Solely for use on the Santa Barbara View.

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Pointless Plastic: Rethink the Drink

A video message (below) from the Santa Barbara Community Environmental Council

Americans buy nearly half a BILLION bottles of water every WEEK. More than 17 million barrels of oil are used each year to transport bottled water to our stores — enough to fuel one million vehicles for a year. Despite being recyclable, most bottled water is consumed ‘on the go’ and fewer than 30% of the bottles are recycled. The rest end up in landfills or as trash in storm drains, watersheds and the ocean.
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