Archive | August, 2011

The 25th Anniversary Avocado Festival Poster

The new Avocado Festival poster doesn’t have the colorful, yet scary look of the Summer Solstice Poster. It’s not loud and day glow like the Santa Barbara Independent Film Festival offering of 2011, nor it is peculiar like the Fiesta Poster. It’s simple and straight forward with a little heart…. any art critics out there?

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Questions for Candidates

By Cheri Rae

The Editor offered readers the opportunity to contribute to the questions that will be asked of the candidates vying for three seats on City Council. Since they will be asked at the forum co-sponsored by the Santa Barbara Conservancy and Santa Barbara View, the overriding theme will be Keeping Santa Barbara Santa Barbara—a mission shared by both the Conservancy and the media outlet.

I’d like to suggest a dozen questions to add to the mix:

1)      Name one Santa Barbara citizen who inspires you. How will you emulate that person as a City Council Member?

2)      Chapala One is bankrupt, unoccupied and on the auction block. How do you explain what happened there?

3)      What does “Keeping Santa Barbara Santa Barbara” mean to you?

4)      What is your position on the issue of district elections in Santa Barbara? In lieu of district elections, how are all citizens fairly represented?

5)      What is the greatest success of the RDA in Santa Barbara? What is its greatest failure and waste of taxpayer funds?

6)      Which other candidates will you be voting for in this election?

7)      How would you address the issue of Vacation Rentals by Owner in areas of town were it is not allowed—but the City collects bed taxes anyway?

8)      What do you think about creating an Office of Historic Preservation, separate from the Planning and Development Department and fully staffed to research and address issues of preservation? How important would that be to you?

9)      How would you describe the corporate culture in the Administration of the City of Santa Barbara? What would you do to address documented citizen concerns about a preference for development interests; misrepresentations by staff members and retaliation against neighborhood advocates?

10)   Considering that the “greenest building is the one that’s already built,” why does Santa Barbara allow so many buildings to be demolished rather than institute policies of adaptive reuse? How would you address this issue?

11)  How does high-density housing with limited open space improve the ability of families to live in Santa Barbara?

12)  How would you describe the difference in the quality of life in Santa Barbara today compared to 10 years ago? To what—other than the economy—do you attribute the change?

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De la Guerra Plaza Renovation Timeline

In 2004, the Santa Barbara City Council directed themselves – aka the Redevelopment Agency – to pursue conceptual design of infrastructure improvements for Plaza de la Guerra. The firm of Campbell & Campbell was contracted to develop a design and in November 2006, staff returned to Council with concept illustrations.

In late 2007, a broader concept design involving significant parking reduction, changes to De la Guerra Street and to the parking orientation between State and Santa Barbara Streets was presented to the following groups:

  • Downtown Organization
  • Downtown Parking Committee
  • Historic Landmarks Commission
  • Parks and Recreation Commission
  • Transportation and Circulation Committee
  • General Public (Library Main Branch)
  • Planning Commission

Overall reaction reflected very strong concern about the loss of parking, street circulation changes and potential project cost. The possibility of an increase in the number of Plaza events and effect on surrounding businesses was raised as a programming issue.

In response, staff was asked to develop a concept more limited in scope that would be responsive to the original direction and would address concerns raised during the 2007 public process. Subsequently, the 2009 concept design was developed which reduced the project scope while still addressing many of the concerns raised during the public process.

The 2009 concept plan design responded to the Council’s desire to improve the Plaza while maintaining its character.  It also addressed Council’s charge for safe  interaction between pedestrians and automobiles.  Additionally, the plan addressed concerns expressed by the local business community through the Downtown Organization.

The 2009 Concept Plan was declared a project for environmental review on November 24, 2009.  At the same meeting, the Council authorized a professional design services agreement with the firm Campbell and Campbell for preliminary design services for the Plaza de la Guerra Infrastructure Improvement Project.

The project was then formally submitted for the City’s Pre-Application Review Team (PRT) process on August 16, 2010.  In response to the issues identified in the PRT review, the 2009 Concept Plan was revised and submitted for the Development Application Review Team (DART) process in February 2011.  Copies of the DART application memorandum with all attachments as well as a full-sized set of plans are available for public viewing in the City Clerk’s Office and City Council reading file.

The current 2011 Concept Plan is very similar to the project reviewed by Council in November 2009.  A few of the more notable design elements in the 2011 Concept Plan include:

  • Lowering the lawn area to be flush with the road surface.  Removable bollards would separate the lawn from the road surface.
  • Widening the sidewalk along the westerly (restaurants) side of the Plaza. The sidewalk would retain a curb to separate it from the roadway.
  • Reducing the Plaza lawn and landscaping area from approximately 17,307 square feet to approximately 10,731 square feet to accommodate the wider sidewalk and replacing some lawn area with permeable pavers.
  • The net loss of five (5) parking spaces in the project area.  One new parking space will be added along De la Guerra Street for a net loss of 4 spaces.
  • Relocation of the tented electrical panel off of the lawn area.
  • Replacement of the existing trees due to age and condition.
  • Relocation of the existing flagpoles, stone monument and removal of the agapanthus.

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Sharon Byrne Picks Up Endorsements

The candidacy of Sharon Byrne for Santa Barbara City Council is picking up steam, much to the chagrin of Frank Hotchkiss. Tomorrow, at the East Beach Parking Lot, 10 a.m., The Santa Barbara City Fire Fighters’ Association and The Santa Barbara Police Officers’ Association will announce their endorsements. “Yours truly is one of the endorsements,” said Sharon. “Public Safety is a big endorsement, and is one of the only non-partisan endorsements a candidate can get. This non-partisan is certainly thrilled!”

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A Giant Statue for De la Guerra Plaza

26-foot sculpture of Marilyn Monroe

What started out as a request for electricity in De la Guerra Plaza has turned into a $2.2 million plaza overhaul. The City Council’s latest plan includes; reducing the lawn size by 6,000 square feet, eliminating parking spaces, moving the monument, replacing healthy palm trees, adding bollards, and eliminating curbs to make the lawn flush with the road.

At a recent City Council meeting, one resident offered up the idea of a giant Saint Barbara statue in the plaza and the idea isn’t too far fetched.

Rendering of a proposed 15-foot replica of the Statue of Liberty at Santa Barbara Harbor.

In 2009, the Spirit of ’76 Organization raised $20,000 in an effort to place a 15-foot replica of the Statue of Liberty in the Santa Barbara harbor. And more recently in Chicago, a 26-foot sculpture of Marilyn Monroe was unveiled on the Magnificent Mile.

So don’t put it past redevelopment planners to use some of that $2.2 million for installation of large scale public artwork.

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Sign of the Times…

For the benefit of our community, we are actively donating to homeless shelters… please do not contribute to solicitors reads a sign in Santa Barbara Plaza.

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Questions for Santa Barbara City Council Candidates

As mentioned on Friday, the Santa Barbara View, in partnership with the Santa Barbara Conservancy, will hold a City Council Candidates Forum on October 5 at the Faulkner Gallery. One viewer asked if readers can offer questions for the candidates for the forum? The answer is yes. Please put the questions that you’d liked asked to the 10 candidates in the comments field. In addition to the forum, the Santa Barbara View will be sending out a questionnaire for online publication as part of our comprehensive election coverage.

In a related note, here is the candidate questionnaire put forth by the Santa Barbara Association of REALTORS.

1)    Explain your motivation for seeking this office. What skills do you bring to this position that are needed to make decisions for the community?

2)    What do you see as the three major issues in the community and what solutions would you offer?

3)    What is your vision of the City’s future?

4)    As an elected official, how would you weigh community input or desires versus your own best judgment in controversial issues?

5)    What policy changes would you propose to increase opportunities for workforce or middle-income housing?

6)    Explain your position and the value you see in the following:
i)    Zoning Information Reports (ZIR’s)

ii)    Inclusionary Zoning

iii)    Bonus Density

iv)    Granny units (second residential units in single family zones)

v)    Second story addition to a home surrounded by single-story homes

vi)    Conversion of apartment buildings to condominiums

7)    In your opinion what transportation and parking issues does Santa Barbara face?  How would you address these issues if elected?

8)    Do you feel that the City of Santa Barbara’s Planning Department is conscientious to its constituents (i.e. timely in reports, no hassle through the permit process, fair in fees, etc.)?
YES 0  NO 0  Explain:

9)    The Santa Barbara Association of REALTORS® membership consists of 1,000 members throughout the South Coast.  As an elected official, would you choose SBAOR members for commissions/task forces/working groups and explain?

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Friday Night in Santa Barbara

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

The weatherman called it “monsoonal moisture” and this is what it looked like. Now this is my idea of a nice Friday night!  – Bill Heller

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Bollards in De la Guerra Plaza

A bollard is a short vertical post.  Traffic bollards are used  to stop unwanted vehicle access. As part of their $2.2 million renovation of De la Guerra Plaza, the Santa Barbara City Council want to insert bollards throughout the historic plaza. Other bad ideas include in the renovation plan include; reducing the lawn size, eliminating parking spaces, moving the monument, replacing healthy palm trees, and removing the curbs  to make the lawn flush with the road.

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Rattlesnake Mating Ritual Recorded by Hikers

By Santa Barbara View’s Outdoor Editor, John McKinney @TheTrailmaster

I’ve been hiking around Santa Barbara for nearly 30 years and encountered rattlesnakes on just about every trail—except, oddly, Rattlesnake Canyon Trail.

Rattlesnakes Mating

Last weekend my friend and fellow hiker Todd Fraser captured images of a pair of rattlers mating alongside a trail in the San Jacinto Mountains of Southern California.

More than a decade ago I was hiking in Big Sur and I witnessed an amazing sight: the mating dance of two rattlesnakes. Unfortunately my usually trusty Nikon malfunctioned and I was able to capture the moment only in my mind.

I was so pleased to see Todd’s stellar photos which brought back memories of my own viewing of co-mingling rattlers in the Ventana Wilderness.

Another hiker caught the snakes doing what snakes do on video. Check out this video of rattlesnakes mating.

Let us now discuss the sex life of the rattlesnake.

Though they breed in the summer, rattlesnake females store the sperm and do not reproduce until the following spring. Most snakes lay eggs but rattlesnakes give birth to live babies.

Rattlesnake moms, though, are not exactly nurturing. Within hours of birth, the baby snakes wriggle out into the world on their own in search of food and receive no assistance from their parents.

Despite the common fear of rattlers, a relatively small number of hikers actually see them and rarely is anyone bitten. An estimated 300 yearly snake envenomations occur in greater Southern California. Only a small percentage of these bites cause serious injury.

Nevertheless, hikers, watch your step. It’s obvious rattlesnakes have a healthy rate of reproduction and we’re unlikely to find rattlesnakes on the endangered species list anytime soon!

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Have a Coke and a Park

Vote for McGrath State Beach in the Coca-Cola Contest

McGrath State Beach currently ranks #6 in the national rankings for the Grand Prize is $100,000 grant to the park which would keep it open. McGrath gets about 300,000 visitors per year, and it’s estimated that each visitor brings $58 to the local economy—closure does not seem in the best interest of anyone.

VOTE HERE. Vote for McGrath as many times a day as you want (no limit). Contest ends 9/6/11, the same day McGrath is scheduled to close.

Other ways you can help keep this State Park open—with its long list of repair issues—is to volunteer to help. Contact the State Parks district office for McGrath at 805-585-1850 if you have skills you would like to offer.

In addition, there are online petitions to sign:

an online poll:

and voice additional concerns about park closures at :

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Weekly Column by Barbara Hirsch

Tetrapak, a Swiss packaging company, makes those ubiquitous aseptic cartons in which we are buying much of our juice, milks, soups, even wine. These are lightweight, efficiently shaped for packing, not needing refrigeration in transport, and their contents last well, which is especially important in less developed regions. And so this packaging is great for shipping and shelf life and all around handy, but in many places, still not recyclable. They are about 3/4 paper and the rest plastic and aluminum. Europe has a high recycling rate due to regulation. Facilities also exist in  Canada, Brazil, India, Vietnam and China.  Last year, 20% of all that were produced – 32 billion of them – were recycled globally. In the U.S., recycling availability is limited and is sadly not in Santa Barbara, where I live, but it does exist in hundreds of regions. (To learn if it exists in your community, CLICK HERE.)

The paper, milled from increasingly sustainable forest wood, is downcycled into tissue products. In the Brazil recycling plant, the plastic is evaporated, its gas used to provide 10% of the power needed by the plant. The extracted aluminum is continuously reusable.

Sustainability is a fundamental operating principle for them and they continuously work towards reducing every aspect of their environmental footprint. Since 2005 along with rapid growth, they have reduced their carbon use and emissions by 13%. Towards the possibility of  making 100% renewable cartons, they are introducing plant based plastic closures. And, with an expected sales increase of 60% over the next decade, their goal is to double the number recycled.

Their latest sustainability report  - CLICK HERE  –  is truly impressive.

They have a ways to go, but if a more perfect world exists in the future, one time use-and-toss containers will no longer be part of it.


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The Santa Barbara Garden Post

Weekly Column by Cerena Childress – Sustainability, Eating Fresh and Organic
Buying your ORGANIC SEEDS on the cheap! That’s what natural foods stores bulk bins are for! Buy by the pound, organic. I priced fava beans at $1.99/lb at Lazy Acres, and that’s a lot more thrifty than buying a small packet of 20 or 30 seeds for $3 or more!!!! The beauty of bulk is you can get as little, or a lot, as you want! Here’s what I found in the Santa Barbara area:

Lazy Acres has a lot of varieties of some seeds, and quite a selection in bulk, their Frontier Herbs display, and in their spice racks. They have a lot of varieties of several of their seeds. Amaranth, barley, black-eyed peas, chia, chocolate chip (you were reading!), couscous, faro, flax, garbanzo, hemp, lentil, millet, oat groats, popcorn, pumpkin, quinoa, soy, spelt, raw sunflower, wheat! In Frontier packets ($3.99) and their spice racks, they have anise, cardamom, celery, caraway, coriander, cumin, dill, fennel, fenugreek, flax, mustard, poppy, sage, sesame, and thyme seeds! At Lazy Acres in Santa Barbara, ask for Adrianna to measure out some for you (they aren’t out on the floor) at only $1.99/lb.!

Whole Foods bulk has beans of all kinds, including an Heirloom Bean Blend! Buy a batch if you like surprises and have enough land to play with! They also have amaranth, barley, buckwheat groats, chia, couscous, fava, flax, garbanzo, lentil, millet, popcorn, pumpkin, quinoa, soy, and raw sunflower seeds! Check out their spices section!

The only exception is okra seeds. They are messed with, so, no, don’t do ‘em.

Popcorn will grow if you get non-microwave seeds, just buy a bag at your local grocery store! How to Grow Popcorn – eHow

Check out bean and cereal store sections for bagged bulk seeds.

If that doesn’t make you happy enough, read this, adapted from Pat Veretto’s fab article….

Beans, Garlic, Tomatoes and more

Beans being beans, you can plant the ones that come from the grocery store. Eat half the beans, plant the rest! Beans are seeds and seeds grow. So do whole peas, raw peanuts, popcorn, wheat berries, raw untreated spice seed (celery, anise, sesame, etc.)…you get the idea. Vegetables like peppers, tomatoes and fruits like watermelon, have seeds in them that will grow. Eat the food, then plant the seeds of the food you like!

Note: Green beans of any kind, or peas in the pod bought at the produce counter, will not grow. They’re “green” – immature seed.

If you don’t know the general planting rules for a vegetable, read the seed packet at the nursery or check online. Easy.

In addition to seeds, the grocery store is a source of tubers like potatoes, yams and fresh ginger, sprouting plants like garlic and onions, and plants you can sometimes regrow, like celery, cabbage and carrots (carrot tops only, for edible greens – you won’t get another carrot).

If you’d like to save tomato seeds to plant, first remember that tomatoes from the grocery are HYBRIDS, unless you get HEIRLOOMS. Hybrids mean the plant and tomato you get may not be what you expect (but it will be a tomato!). Scoop the seeds from a cut tomato and save with the liquid surrounding them, or mash a whole tomato and let it set at room temperature two or three days, then rinse gently and dry for storage, or plant them right away.

Peppers, cucumbers, squash, pumpkin, and eggplant should be allowed to mature before using the seed, as the seed matures along with the vegetable. Planting these can be an adventure, as it’s not possible to know with what or if they’ve been cross pollinated, but try it anyway.

Garlic will grow happily in a container on your windowsill or in the ground. Buy fresh garlic and use the largest cloves to plant. Put the unpeeled clove, pointed side up, in light soil with the tip just showing. Keep the soil damp and in a few days you should see a green shoot. You can eat this top, but if you let it grow, it will eventually turn brown and dry up. That means the garlic is “done” – you can dig it up and you should have a whole bulb of garlic, from which you can choose the largest clove and start the process again. If you plant garlic outside, you can leave it over winter for a spring harvest, or plant in the spring for a late summer or early autumn harvest.

Root Crops from the Produce Department

Did you ever sort through one of those tubs of “onion sets” looking for ones that looked alive? Then you know what a bonus buying onions that are already growing can be! Green onions, the kind packaged or rubber banded and ready to eat, can be put back in the ground and grown to full size onions. Look for onions that have a round bulb because flat or thin bulbs may be another type of onion that never grows any larger, like a winter or spring onion. Set the onions upright in two or three inches of water for a couple of hours before planting, then keep the soil damp until the roots have been reestablished.

Most full-sized onions will regrow if you cut the root end off along with an inch or so of onion. Plant the root in good ground, and keep it watered. It will begin to sprout within a few days and you’ll have green onion shoots, and sometimes a new onion bulb.

About the only difference between “seed potatoes” and the eating kind of potatoes from the grocery store is the size – government specifications are between 1 1/2 and 3 1/4 inches diameter. Other than that, the rules are that they can’t be affected by nematode injury, freezing or various rots, soil or other damages… I truly hope that the potatoes we buy to eat are of such high quality.

Some potatoes are treated to keep them from sprouting – you’ll want the ones that sprout. Look out for the radiation symbol on the package. Irradiated potatoes are dead – they won’t grow. Most sprouting potatoes can be cut to get more than one plant. Just be sure to keep enough of the potato flesh to nurture the sprout until it can develop roots. Plant potatoes when the weather is still cool, barely below ground in light, sandy or straw filled soil.

Is it cost-effective to buy groceries to garden with? Well, you’ll usually get enough seed from one squash to plant 15 to 20 hills. One potato is enough for three to four plants each of which should produce at least a meal’s worth in a poor season. And remember the “seed quality” beans? How much does it cost for a whole pound of beans? Buy local – farmers market, roadside stands – for seeds adapted to our area. Buy organic for untreated seeds! Once you grow your own, harvest the seed of your best plants, specifically adapted to your very own garden!

Creative Home & Garden says ‘If you buy some foods, such as horseradish, with the tops (or at least part of the top still attached), you can cut off the top, plant it in the ground, and it will reproduce another horseradish root just like the one you bought. The next year it will divide, and soon from only one top you will have an entire patch of horseradish. And that’s a bargain. When was the last time you bought something, ate it, and still had 200 of them left over?!’


What to do with all those cherry tomatoes?!

From Italian Handful’s Adagio Micaletti, Summer Simple Tom Cherry Caprese Salad!

Ingredients: Your tasty Cherry Tomatos, Basil, Ciliegine Mozzarella

Adagio says: Slice the cherry tomatoes in half, slice the Ciliegine (mozzarella balls) in half, toss in a bowl with a vinaigrette of extra-virgin olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, rolled and torn basil leaves, sprinkle with Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Delicious complete low calorie meal!

Next week, September – Final Summer Harvests, Labor Day Weekend First Fall Planting! Our coastal weather has been coolish, so some of our nurseries are already stocking fall plants!

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Vintage Views of Santa Barbara

101 fwy with lights, double two lane highway, Circa late 1950"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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A Bird’s-Eye View…

The renovation of the “Spirit of the Ocean” fountain in front of the Santa Barbara County Courthouse went off without a hitch, but the work wasn’t entirely seamless (pictured left).

Fortunately, not a lot is happening in Santa Barbara, California as the Mayor will be absent for nearly three weeks… “Automatic reply: Monday, August 22, 2011: Thanks for writing. I am currently out of the office until Thursday, September 8th. — Helene Helene Schneider Santa Barbara Mayor”

Save the date… Santa Barbara View in partnership with the Santa Barbara Conservancy will hold a City Council Candidates Forum on October 5 at the Faulkner Gallery.

Somewhere Ruport Murdoch is smiling… the tabloid-ization of the Santa Barbara Daily Sound continued this week with a front page spread of Kim Kardashian accompanied by yet another sensationalized headline (pictured right).

BevMo! opened on upper State Street one year ago this week.

Milestones… 900 Followers @sbview on Twitter and only two more Facebook likes needed to reach 2,200 Friends! If you haven’t already, hop on the social media train for exclusive content, mobile uploads, and additional commentary.

Thumbs up… to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service who admitted this week that the “no-otter zone” established in Southern California 24 years ago was a colossal  failure

Thumbs down…  to Edhat, Santa Babara’s content aggregator, who launched an Open Forum this week… the Open Forum was only open to paid subscribers.

Santa Barbara starts… The YMCA first met in 1887 in the lower Hawley Building (Hitchcock Drygoods Store), while the Salvation Army began that same year in a storehouse opposite the old Mascarel Hotel,  which located at State and Cota St.

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