Archive | July, 2011

Toon Op

Unauthorized reproduction prohibited. By local cartoonist Steve Greenberg.

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The Santa Barbara Garden Post

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

Sunflowers at Pilgrim Terrace Community Garden, Santa Barbara CA

The Next Three Months….

August is keeping your soil water absorbent, sidedressing, harvesting, plant a last round of summer favorites, start cool-season seedlings, time to preserve your abundance for winter eating, to take stock and make notes for next year’s summer planting!

September is exciting because it is the first month to plant fall veggies! Do your final harvesting, preserving, clean up, chop and compost, and plant on Labor Day weekend!

October is considered by many to be the best planting month of the year!! Time to take up strawberry daughters (runners) for November planting, clean up to break pest and disease cycles, plant your winter veggies, plant more veggies if you started in September!

…but specially in August:

Plant another round of your summer favs if you want, but keep in mind that Sep/Oct are the best fall planting months, so check those dates to maturity! The sooner you start your winter plants, the faster start they have, the sooner you have winter veggies. Things get slower as it gets cooler, so a head start makes sense. And, heat lovers started now will have a shorter harvest period. Just saying.

Watering: Keep your veggies well watered, daily on extra hot days. Seedlings may need water 2 to 3 times a day! Keep strawberries moist or they will stop producing. It tomatoes dry out, they drop their blossoms. Water short rooted plants, beans, lettuces, cukes, more frequently. They like lots of water, steady water!

Mulch short rooted plants, beans, cukes, lettuces and strawberries, and deeper rooted chard, to keep them cool and moist. More about summer mulching.

Feeding: Get out your fish emulsion, get some manures, and feed your plants! Foliar feed with compost, manure, worm casting tea. Epsom salts your peppers. Seabird guano (NOT bat guano) keeps plants flowering and producing! See about Aspirin below!

Pests and Diseases: Stay with your prevention programs, and clean away debris, spent or unhealthy plants.

Prep your fall beds! Start making compost for fall planting. Chop into small pieces for faster decomposition. Add compost to safe spots set aside for seedling nurseries.

Install gopher wire barriers in your new planting beds, redo an old bed. Incorporate manures, worm castings, and already-made compost into your soil.

Get the best varieties of seeds for starts now for Sep/Oct planting, or to put in the ground then!

Let strawberry runners grow now.

Enjoy your harvests! Preserve or Give Away your bounty!

*Next Saturday: The Beauty of Beans!

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Weekly Column by Barbara Hirsch

Yesterday, some good news along with the debt ceiling and budget crisis brouhaha. A breath of fresh air managed to squeeze through, signaling (and reflecting) a future with less fossil fuels. Thanks to compromise.

President Obama announced an agreement with the auto industry which will double fuel economy standards by 2025. In 14 years, new fleets will average 54.5 mpg. This includes 5-10 mpg lower numbers for light trucks and SUVs, and some credits and exemptions requested by automakers.

CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) government regulations began in 1975 following the Arab Oil Embargo. In the last 33 years the standard for cars went from 18 to 27 mpg. Prior to this year, larger pickups and SUVS were exempt from fuel economy standards, which will no longer be true.

Could it be that the U.S. will no longer be the country of gas guzzlers?

“The US and Canada have the weakest standards in terms of fleet-average fuel economy rating among first world nations…..

45 mpg in the European Union and higher in Japan.” (Wikipedia)

Maybe so.

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Andreea Serban, President of Santa Barbara City College, Placed on Paid Leave of Absence

The controversial reign of Andreea Serban as President of Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) appears to have come to an end. According to reports, Serban has been placed on a paid leave of absence.

Serban’s tumultuous three-year tenure in Santa Barbara included; the Tea Fire Fire, which was allegedly started by nine Santa Barbara City College students, her decision to take on and eliminate co-operative preschools in Santa Barbara, and the cutting and raising of fees for the popular Continuing Education programs. She also laid off staff and eliminated nearly 50 classes. In March, Serban was caught applying for the same position at Mount San Antonio College in Walnut.

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Vintage Views of Santa Barbara

Vintage photography from the Thomas Schmidt collection: Looking from TV Hill, The old Victoria Train Station in the foreground, circa 1890′s.

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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Olio e Limone: A Genuine Italian Trattoria but not so far from home

Food, Wine, and Travel

In downtown Santa Barbara, tucked away in a quiet little corner of Victoria Street half way between State Street and Chapala, sits Olio e Limone and their pizzeria. The decor is classically Italian; not that it is covered in colorful pottery, with loud music and terra cotta with lemons and garlic hanging everywhere, like some commercial Italian-American chain restaurants, but in the simple understated way that great Italians chefs treat their food with just enough cozy warmth that it is inviting and comfortable. The restaurant has white table cloths and on a busy Friday night, the waiters and buss persons bustle about squeezing in between tables just like they would at my favorite little spot in Firenze. The pizzeria is more casual but with an inviting bar and roaring pizza oven, it’s more fun to sit at the bar than at one of the tables….who doesn’t want to watch rustic, hand-rolled dough be dressed in rich home-made tomato sauce and then sprinkled with freshly, rough-torn basil by while listening to the lyrical mix of Spanglish and Italian from the kitchen?!?!

Head Chef Alberto Morello and his wife, Elaine, own this gem and they are gems themselves. Both are very open and unpretentious; it just makes you fall in love with the place, let alone the food. Since I moved to Santa Barbara three months ago, I’ve stolen away from my crazy work schedule four times to enjoy their food. Every time I go, I order the Umbra Pizza. It has an incredibly thin and crispy crust and is covered with mushrooms and shaved black truffles. I’m not talking some essence or oil….there are quarter-sized slices of these precious little delicacies and then, it’s generously drizzled with olive oil which emulsifies all of the flavors. For dinner, I happily indulge in the wild mushroom lasagna with spinach pasta (hot the first time and cold for leftovers). Not only is it overflowing with mushrooms of all varieties, but it is B-E-A-U-tiful! The vibrantly, green homemade pasta with the dark mushrooms and luscious ivory béchamel are a stunning mix. Finally I highly suggest you top it all off with their homemade panna cotta. Far richer and denser than the average, it is topped with a balsamic reduction. It’s genuine, and if you get the chance you need to go! And when you do go, ask for Matteo to suggested a dessert wine pairing. The tall, dark and handsome Sicilian will not disappoint!

Contributed to the Santa Barbara View by Danielle Gerbracht of

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The Last Festival Standing

Last Festival Standing: The 38th Annual Santa Barbara Greek Festival at Oak Park Saturday July 30 and Sunday July 31; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. We said a sad “Au revoir” to the French Festival this summer. But the Greek Festival is still going strong.

“Kalos Orisate,” say the Greeks, “Welcome!” Santa Barbara is well known as a beautiful, Mediterranean-style community located on the scenic California coast. It’s less well known, but still significant, as home to a diverse population—including a thriving Greek community. The heart of this Greek community—indeed its very soul—resides within the congregation of Saint Barbara Greek Orthodox Church. Parishioners—and their friends—have long shared their beloved Greek culture with all of Santa Barbara at the annual Santa Barbara Greek Festival. This year, the festival marks its 38th year.

The annual event is a warm and wonderful celebration of every facet of Greek life. It’s about the food—the delectable flavors that season festival favorites like moussaka, tyropitas, dolmathes and gyros. It’s about the pastries—the delicacies like baklava, kataifi, kourabiedes and melamacarona. The names may be nearly unpronounceable, but the pleasure is undeniable…the delicious flavors that festival-goers anticipate all year long.

Seize the moment to indulge in the healthful Mediterranean diet—whether you’re a strict vegetarian or a dedicated omnivore, you’re sure to find a meal to satisfy your tastes in the many booths serving our tempting Greek treats The Greek Festival is all about the fun—the joy of taking to the stage to participate in the same dances you would perform in the ancient villages of Greece. Admire the beauty of the intricate costumes worn by performers who share their carefully practiced steps, and often intricate dances with the admiring crowd. Enjoy the distinctive sounds of authentic Greek musicians who perform traditional songs with exotic instruments like the bouzouki.

The Greek Festival is all about the spirit of community, the friends and family who flock to the festival and imbue it with a spirit the Greeks call “Keffee,” (which translates roughly to “possessed by the spirit of happiness”) You feel Keffee from the dozens of volunteers who enthusiastically staff their booths year after year, creating a convivial, welcoming atmosphere. And you feel it from the other festival-goers who experience that undefined, easy feeling of well-being as they stroll through beautiful Oak Park, enjoying the sights, aromas, the sounds and feeling of being transported to another time, another place.

The Greek Festival is all about the simple pleasures that make life worth living: take the day off and join your friends and family for a day in the park. Dance the afternoon away, eat a little (or a lot), shop in the Greek marketplace, relax and enjoy yourself under the oaks in the warm embrace of the best the Greek culture has to offer. So maybe you can’t make it all the way to Athens this year; The Santa Barbara Greek Festival is the next best thing to being there—without the jet lag!

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Describing EdHat…

How do you describe, the one-time “Community Website” and aggregator of news which has digressed into a multi-community bulletin board? Craig Smith, famous local blogger who also writes about Santa Barbara for the Montecito Messenger, has this description… “the quirky website that links to news stories and lets readers ask for referrals and post gripes.” Not bad.

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The Seven Walls of Local Government: Wall VII: Playing with the House’s Money

We bring you the seventh and final installment of Professor J.H. Habermeyer’s entertaining essay on the means and methods local government deploys to do what it wants, to get what it desires, and to abuse those who oppose it. Here is the Seventh and final wall—as always, it’s about the Money.  Pay particular attention to the ways and means of the establishment when its failures are exposed: no one is ever held accountable. Think Granada Garage; 617 Garden Street; the waste of public funds to restore a non-accessible train car…what other examples come to mind?

The Seventh Wall

We have reviewed the myriad ways that local governments obfuscate what they do and then defend their actions against the very citizenry that has placed its faith in the charming swindle known as participatory democracy. The process is one of systematically winnowing out ever smaller numbers of remaining opposition through all sorts of clever tactics that include preying upon citizen apathy, bamboozling the public with unfathomable pseudo-technical jargon, delaying, temporizing, and even legal hair splitting that would make any Philadelphia lawyer proud.

Finally we come to the seventh and final wall that the bureaucracies of local government have erected about themselves and that provides the ultimate protection of the citadel, the sanctum sanctorum, the Holy of Holies. This final palisade is constituted of the legal and practical insulation in which the government functionaries have enveloped themselves.

It is well-known that government employees are cocooned in the protections afforded the “civil service.” This insulation provides great protection and engenders great arrogance. While politicians are theoretically answerable to the public, public employees, practically, answer to nobody. Practice and law provides effective shields to these denizens of the citadel.

The police structure can be counted upon to cover up, obscure, and ultimately exonerate instances of corruption and physical brutalization of perpetrators and innocent, alike. How? Because sham investigations are performed by other police like “Internal Affairs” and the local District Attorney  -fellow members of the law enforcement fraternity who need each other symbiotically.

Likewise the urban renewal bureaucrats and land planners who devise titanic fiascoes effecting the lives and livelihoods of hundreds if not thousands of people are protected from public wrath and disapprobation. Their mantra is to look forward not backward; that hindsight is eagle-eyed; that lessons learned will provide a guide for the future; and most comically, that their projects would have worked but for lack of adequate funding. The vehicle known as local government has no rear view mirror, and no matter how rickety the contraption is, its operators will never cast a backwards glance. Thus the great open air civic center mausoleums and dysfunctional ghetto housing projects that should have worked in theory but that failed in practice dot the urban landscape while the perpetrators thereof suffer no rebuke for their manifest failures. In fact they are apt to give each other self-congratulatory awards and accolades!

Layer upon layer of onerous regulations will be promulgated by compliant politicians and then used, and abused, by the bureaucracy with an autocratic arrogance against which the citizenry has little effective recourse; for the guardians of the citadel cannot be held accountable.

In the last analysis, the agents of local authority take their decisions with impunity. They have invested nothing in the expensive mistakes that will cost the taxpayers plenty. There being no practical difference for the bureaucracy between success and failure we may be sure strategies based on arbitrary whims, and not sound financial or economic judgment will be propounded. The consequent failures and municipal catastrophes will result in no opprobrium cast upon the decision makers, let alone fiscal detriment.

Inside the seventh wall the air is rarefied, indeed. Those securely ensconced within its sacred precincts look down upon those outside the citadel with the resigned noblesse and disdain of the mandarin. They are from the government and they are here to help.

And no, you can’t come in.

With thanks to Friends for Fullerton’s Future for reprint permission.

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Deborah Schwartz officially kicks off her candidacy for Santa Barbara City Council tonight

Deborah Schwartz officially kicks off her candidacy for Santa Barbara City Council tonight at Kill B’s BBQ, Santa Barbara’s newest sports bar. Why is Deborah Schwartz running? According to her facebook page…

“The numerous calls I have received from concerned residents, neighborhood leaders, and business owners over these past several months, has led me to the difficult and exciting decision to run for Santa Barbara City Council 2011.

The unbalanced priorities of the current Council majority are sending clear messages of:
• exclusion rather than inclusion;
• discarding rather than caring;
…• delaying important policy-making decisions rather than engaging in productive consensus-building on issues that are of major concern to Santa Barbarans.”

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Saving Goleta Valley South Little League

Letter to the Editor:

At the upcoming annual meeting of the Goleta Valley South Little League a presentation will be made and vote taken to abandon the Little League charter and move the league affiliation to the Cal Ripken/Babe Ruth Baseball League. Goleta Valley South has held its charter with Little League for over 40 years. As alumni of the league, we have no right to vote on this issue and it is questionable whether we would be allowed to speak but our presence would lend support to the current members who opposed this proposed change.

For now, everyone’s efforts are best spent insuring that those who want to be informed, have an opinion or want to be involved in this decision be at this meeting.  Since we may not be able to speak at the meeting, as we are not current members, please write down your thoughts or comments and we will present them to the Board of Directors that night. Between now and the meeting date PLEASE PASS THIS ON. (e-mail, “snail mail”,  Facebook, etc.

Monday, August 1, 2011
Dos Pueblos High School Cafeteria
6:00 p.m.
Questions: / 682-2283

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Must-See Movie: Page One

By Cheri Rae

“Page One”, in the simplest description is a documentary about the New York Times. But in this time of once-unimaginable changes in journalism, particularly in this town, where the upheaval has been felt so painfully, the movie is so much more.

It forces the engaged viewer to consider the deepest implications of how our democracy is affected by the power of the press—and the lack of same. At a high point, our nation’s highest officials were brought down by the bold and brilliant investigative work of Carl Bernstein and Robert Woodward who exposed the Watergate cover-up.

And at a low, low point, journalists like the NYT’s own Judith Miller performed as unquestioning cheerleaders for politicians who then cited the work as providing credibility for America’s war against Iraq. In the movie, she basically shrugs off her astonishing lack of critical analysis, attributing it to bad sources.

Chilling as that episode was, the economic war against journalism depicted in the movie makes obvious the long-term implications that threaten to leave our citizens completely unprepared for rational participation in our democratic institutions.

The differences between the old and the new in the current revolution are neatly embodied in two NYT reporters featured in the movie. The fiftysomething, world-weary David Carr, with his tough, worn shoe-leather and blunt interviewing style, takes weeks to research, write, develop and vet a story. He works in stark contrast to the former blogger Brian Stelter who is half Carr’s age, and twice as hyper—with his two laptops, constant use of Twitter, and moment-to-moment perspective of the news cycle.

What is made quite clear in the movie, however, is that responsible, reflective and substantial newsgathering is a job, not merely a hobby or a training ground for hopeful interns. It is a profession. But there is currently no sustainable business model to pay for the work that takes more time and soul-searing effort than any “citizen journalist” popping off at a keyboard can imagine.

When journalism is treated with respect, there are careful writers, scrupulous editors, responsible publishers—all of whom ask questions, correct mistakes and consider the implications of their work before it gets into print.

But today there are too many examples of how the profession of journalism no longer serves the public. The movie memorably documents how it’s a plaything of those with money to burn—the profane Sam Zell of the Tribune—or a source of great wealth for masters of technology who simply aggregate the work of others—the short-term Santa Barbaran Arianna Huffington.

At a time when most of our news isn’t even delivered on an actual page, and in a place where most of it isn’t written by pros—and no one would assert there’s a single reliable, unbiased, highly professional source of information in Santa Barbara anymore—Page One is worth the investment in time and money.

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Letter to the Editor: Broken Government

Submitted by Ernie Salomon, host of Santa Barbara’s The Ernie Salomon Show

Is this budget kabuki dance madness or what.  Obama is as deranged as the Republicans in tying in reduced spending with the debt increase, even while our economy is on life support.

Name any government, anywhere, that reduces spending during a deep recession?

These people in Washington are all out of their minds!  This is government idea of the hour!  Do all these idiots want to completely destroy our country’s economy?

Why is it that Arlington National Cemetery, the home of “Our Nation’s Heroes” as President Obama and every member of the U.S. Congress calls them, is in such disrepair that a private volunteer organization had to install a new sprinkler system and clean up and plant the decimated “hallowed grounds” at a cost of $200,000 and thousands of man hours of work.  There is money to build roads and infrastructure in Afghanistan and to fight a losing war there while our infrastructure declines and yes, our National Cemeteries, are left to fall apart and wither. Talk about a presidential and congressional disgrace!

80% of the American public has some form of anger towards the federal government. Joseph Stiglitz, former Chief Economist of the World Bank has said that a Middle Eastern type anti-government revolution here is not out of the realm of possibility some time in the future.  I agree!  Stay Tuned

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On the Docket… Plan Santa Barbara

The never ending project, You Plan Santa Barbara, is back on the Santa Barbara City Council docket today. In addition to a Historic Resources Element, the council will look at Subcommittee recommendations on; open space, parks and recreation,  economy and fiscal health, environmental resources and public services and safety.

According to Santa Barbara’s Community Environmental Council (CEC), “key decisions relating to energy, climate change and the environment will occur, and the impacts will be felt for decades. ” The CEC, is encouraging residents to send the following letter:

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Peter Lance Strikes Again

One month after Peter Lance penned his five-part editorial series (pdf) for the Santa Barbara News-Press to expose alleged misconduct by the Santa Barbara Police Department’s award winning DUI officer Kasi Beutel, the arrogant yet diligent investigative reporter returned Saturday, Sunday and today with more accusations, including the alleged backdating of officer Beutel’s marriage license.

The bizarre and lengthy series, which has forced officer Beutel to “lawyer up”, has been praised by some who have had similar experiences as Peter Lance, the five-time Emmy-winning investigative who was arrested for DUI on New Year’s Day by… officer Beutel. The court case against Mr. Lance is still pending in the Santa Barbara court system, which is a bone of contention for critics of the series.

“In a word, I am horrified,” a local writer told the Santa Barbara View. “The News-Press allowing an accused DUI defendant to write a five(8)-part attack on his arresting officer goes way beyond irresponsible journalism. As a career journalist, I am disgusted to the bone by this.”

Five years after the infamous meltdown of the paper, the series has put the Santa Barbara News-Press back on the forefront of community debate, for better or worse.

While fueling a much-needed discussion about  investigative journalism, the series has also served as a reminder to the level disgust many locals still feel towards the Santa Barbara News-Press. One former subscriber lamented that in under ten years, “one of the best Pulitzer Prize-winning newspapers on the Pacific Coast (has turned)  into the ultimate weapon of retaliation and revenge.”

In a related note, a rally will be held in De la Guerra Plaza this Thursday to mark the the five-year anniversary of the paper’s meltdown.

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