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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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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.


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.


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


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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