Archive | September, 2011

Vintage Views of Santa Barbara, California

Santa Barbara’s State Street isn’t the region’s only famed strip which looks much different today. Can viewers recognize this avenue from the Thomas Schmidt collection?

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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Friday Lites: If We Only Had a Target!

If only we had a Target in Santa Barbara–or maybe Goleta–we might run into the First Lady. But she’d have to get rid of the plastic bag.

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Hiker Safety in Santa Barbara

Hiking Expert John McKinney had a busy summer, but it wasn’t all happy trails. Hikers fell off Half Dome and got lost in the woods. Hikers were swept to their deaths over mighty Vernal Fall in Yosemite and over tiny EatonCanyonFalls in a park near Pasadena.

And the media kept asking The Trailmaster for explanations about these hiker deaths.

“My heart goes out to the friends and families, as well as to the horrified onlookers,” McKinney told ABC World News with Diane Sawyer. “But my head cannot comprehend the decision-making that took place to step around the guardrail at Vernal Fall and into those raging waters.”

Recently John took the KEYT news team on the trail and encouraged the audience to take a hike—with the right preparation of course. “Nature is not a theme park,” he said.

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Questions for the Candidates… High-Density Housing

How does high-density housing with limited open space improve the ability of families to live in Santa Barbara? Sharon Byrne, Santa Barbara City Council Candidate

“I am a fan of the downtown living experience, as I live it! But I understand it’s not for everyone, and families in their peak earning years often desire a house, with a yard, a dog, and markets nearby. The idea of living in high density, with no yard, little available parking, and no nearby markets is not attractive to most families. You can see this clearly from New York City’s demographics. Families buy homes in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut, and commute in for work. Unless we plan high-density communities to allow for pets, easy access to local markets, safe routes to schools, and nearby parks for recreation spaces, it’s not going to draw families to live in the city. We really have to solve the public safety issue first, because people are going to live away from what they perceive as unsafe for their family. If the city had a very safe feel to it, and other family needs for shopping, school access, and open space are resolved, you might see some families gravitate here. My largest concern, though, with high-density zoning, is that it raises property values, and long-term working class families and small businesses that have been here for years might suddenly find it prohibitively expensive, from their property-tax bills, to continue. Displacing these families and businesses is not the way a responsible city treats its citizenry.”

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30th anniversary of the Diablo Nuclear Plant Protest

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

This month marks the 30th anniversary of the Diablo Nuclear Plant Protest—by some accounts the largest anti-nuclear plant demonstration in the nation’s history—and perhaps its most significant. Many Santa Barbarans were among the 1,960 protesters arrested.

In September 1981, many thousands of anti-nuclear activists assembled at the plant’s entry gate, about seven miles from PG&E’s nuclear facility. Under the leadership of the Abalone Alliance, a California conservation group, they attempted a human blockade to stop the opening of the shoddily constructed plant, built on an active earthquake fault.

CLICK HERE to read John McKinney’s retrospective of that event, “The No-Nukes That Turned to Slow Nukes” posted on the online magazine Miller McCune

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Newspapers Now the Third Choice for News

According to a new study produced by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, the public’s top two sources of news remain television and the internet. Two-thirds of Americans (66%) say television is where they get most of their news and information, while 43% say they turn to the internet. About three-in-ten Americans (31%) say they get most of their news from newspapers. Radio was a distant fourth (19%).

Read Full story…

Among those younger than 30, the internet far surpasses television as the main source for news (65% vs. 51%). While those 65 and older are only age group in which more cite newspapers (49%) than the internet (15%) as a main news and information source.

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Questions for the Candidates… High-Density Housing

How does high-density housing with limited open space improve the ability of families to live in Santa Barbara? Cathy Murillo, Santa Barbara City Council Candidate

“High density housing isn’t for everyone, and it doesn’t belong in every neighborhood. It’s about providing options. Compact sustainable development is a way to create housing options, while protecting our remaining open space. Some people prefer to live in compact areas with little or no outside maintenance needs, where they can walk to stores, restaurants and entertainment. This is particularly true of some of our young singles, seniors, or “empty nesters.” Santa Barbara will always have a limited supply of housing, but as some of or “empty nesters” move into compact developments, it frees existing neighborhood housing for families. Many of our residents live in apartments or other areas with limited open space; they make use of our parks, beaches and open space. I am an advocate for protecting our remaining open space and enhancing recreational activities for families and our youth.”

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A View of the Local Media… Another Blog Down?

More than two years after Blogabarbara—a website purportedly associated with former Mayor Marty Blum—shut down, blogger Craig Smith appears to have given up the gig.

Read Full Story…

Smith’s insider coverage of the Santa Barbara News-Press meltdown made him a celebrity in the community and go-to source for everything News-Press related. Smith was a early staple for EdHat, but the site has since moved away from aggregating columnists.  His blogging even led to a column in the Daily Sound and Montecito Messenger. Smith, who used to entertain and inform on a daily basis, has penned one post (and one column in the Montecito Messenger) since the middle of August.

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This Date in History… Carpinteria Becomes a City

After a couple of false starts, the city of Carpinteria was officially born on September 28, 1965. At the time, it became the fifth city in the county, and the 306th in the state.

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The Moving Wall is Coming to Santa Barbara

Honoring those from Santa Barbara County who died during the Vietnam War will be the mission of the five-day visit of The Moving Wall, the original replica of the national memorial designed to honor the sacrifice of the more than 58,000 men and women who died in that conflict. It will also serve as a reminder of the 11 million who served during the Vietnam War era.

Members of the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 218 of Santa Barbara are bringing The Moving Wall to Chase Palm Park from noon Thursday, September 29 through noon Monday, October 3, 2011.  The mission of all Vietnam Veterans is that “never again will one generation of veterans abandon another” and the exhibit of The Moving Wall is one way to achieve this goal.

Photo credit David Perry. Read the rest…
The Moving Wall is viewable 24/7 during the five-day stay. The UCSB ROTC members will stand guard at The Moving Wall; it will be illuminated throughout the night and volunteer docents will be on hand to help guide visitors locate a name and provide information on the memorial itself.

Dedication ceremonies begin at noon on Saturday, October 1 followed by a fly-over of Vietnam era fixed wing aircraft and helicopters at 1 p.m.  This could be the last time we will see such a large group of Huey Helicopters in formation, making this dedication ceremony very unique. There will also be a Huey parked at The Moving Wall for Saturday’s events.   Major General Joseph Franklin, former Commandant of West Point and a veteran of two tours in Vietnam will be the keynote speaker. Chapter 218 will also honor and remember the 99 veterans from Santa Barbara County who were killed during the war, by reading their names aloud.

Additionally, on Sunday, October 2 at 6:30 p.m. there will be a non-denominational Candlelight Vigil to include all who wish to honor and remember our veterans – past, present and future and come together in one voice.

Hap Desimone, President of the VVA Chapter 218 said, “By providing the community with an opportunity to see it and reflect on what happened to this country, and indeed, the world from 1959 to 1975, we honor and remember all Vietnam Vets.” The Moving Wall has been here before – in 1997, again in 2001 just a few weeks after 9/11, and in 2005.

Visitors are encouraged to bring notes, artifacts, wreaths and photos to commemorate their loved ones.  The Moving Wall staff will gather up all of these mementos to be carefully stored with The Moving Wall in Minneapolis.

Donations and sponsors are sought to help defray the costs of bringing The Moving Wall to Santa Barbara. Sponsorships range from $100 to $5,000.  Individuals, families, businesses or organizations can also sponsor a flag at The Moving Wall for $100.  When The Moving Wall comes down on Oct. 3 the flag will be presented to the sponsor. All these opportunities are online  You can also send a check in care of VVA #218,  P.O. Box 4862, Santa Barbara, CA 93140.

Volunteer docents are also needed to help staff the exhibit while it’s here.  Members of the VVA #218 and Vietnam Vets will be the first groups from where docents are sought, but any resident who wishes to help may also sign up.  Shifts are three hours each and will require attendance at one of the advance training sessions for docents: Tues., Sept. 20 @ 7pm; Sat., Sept. 24 @ 10am; Tues., Sept. 27 @7pm at the Veterans Memorial Bldg., 112 W. Cabrillo Blvd. in Santa Barbara.   Call (805)284-6372 or Don Matter by e-mail:

Please visit the Chapter website for updates at:

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Bikes and Books: Classics Rediscovered

Column By Cheri Rae

All too often around here, any talk or thought about bicycling deteriorates into angry turf battles between bike riders and car drivers, bureaucratic doubletalk about multi-modal transportation alternatives and soulless misunderstandings between those who ride bikes and those who don’t.

What’s forgotten is the pleasure of pedal power, the sense of freedom of riding a bike, of cycling on the open road—so simple and pure, with a rich and memorable heritage.

I was reminded of this the other day at the Planned Parenthood Book Sale, when I picked up a timeless anthology, “The Literary Cyclist.” It’s a revised version of a book once more obscurely titled “The Noiseless Tenor,” one that I had in my collection during my days as a writer and editor of cycling articles for national bike magazines.

Back then I wrote about the bicycle as an important vehicle for suffragettes in the early days of women’s liberation; as a way to tour Maui, ride around Lake Tahoe and Race Across America. I covered the Coors Classic in Colorado, Olympic cycling, and the Crested Butte-to-Aspen mountain bike madness.

When I met my husband the hiker, I was definitely the biker, with a whippy Vitus racing bike, a custom-built touring bike and a hand-built Ritchey. When our kids were little we rode them around in their little seats on the back of our bikes, and taught them to ride on their own as soon as they could.

Our daughter was a Bike Monkey, who repaired bikes for her classmates at Santa Barbara Middle School. She got to tour the backcountry all over the West as part of an extraordinary education. Our son races around on his BMX and his mountain bike; he’s worked as a student-intern at VeloPro downtown, and he learns valuable skills as he and his buddies negotiate constantly, trading components, determining value and rebuilding their bikes to make your head spin.

Bikes were never meant to be pushed.

Bicycle commuting is such an infinitesimal portion of the wonderful world of pedal power. When joyless bureaucrats drone on about automobile interface and squeeze in bicycle lanes where they really don’t belong, we all tend to lose sight of the value of the bicycle as a way of increasing our fitness, lifting our spirits, and feeling like a kid again.

Re-reading my new-old book, with its “great bicycling scenes in literature” written by literary heavyweights from Mark Twain to Ernest Hemingway is a great reminder to get out and ride: Away from the city, the traffic and way too much noise.

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What Needs to be Repaired in Santa Barbara?

Following President Obama’s Jobs Bill, sent out the following message… “It’s shameful that our bridges are literally crumbling while construction workers are unable to find employment. America’s infrastructure needs work, and Americans need jobs. The solution is obvious: Put people back to work repairing our bridges, dams, highways, schools, and the rest of our failing infrastructure. We’re putting pressure on Congress to pass a jobs plan that does just that. But we need to make the problem visible. That’s why the American Dream movement is setting out to find and photograph the jobs that need doing—and we need your help.”

The are asking people to  take a picture of a job that needs doing in our community; which leads to the question… what piece of Santa Barbara’s infrastructure needs repair?

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Question of the Week: District Elections

As recently as 2007, the Santa Barbara County Civil Grand Jury made a compelling case for district elections, where one Councilmember is elected from a particular neighborhood or segment of the City. We’ve asked the candidates, but what do you think?

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Questions for the Candidates: District Elections

What is your position on the issue of district elections in Santa Barbara?

Iya Falcone, candidate for Santa Barbara City Council

“I fear that district elections will cause the focus of the elected policy makers to narrow too much which I believe will result in an unhealthy provincial perspective. I feel Santa Barbara, still being a small town, is best served when its elected representatives take the larger overall view of what is best for the whole, not just the area that elected them. Santa Barbara policy makers should remain in touch with its entire community.”

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Questions for the Candidates: District Elections

What is your position on the issue of district elections in Santa Barbara?

Sharon Byrne, candidate for Santa Barbara City Council

“I am in favor. The current general election is a high bar for candidates to scale, and requires a lot of fundraising and work to win the neighborhoods that ring the city from the Mesa through the Foothill Rd area to the upper Eastside and over into the Coast Village Rd area. These are the high-propensity voter districts, and this is where most of our current council lives. That leads to a council not really reflective of the people that live and work here, especially those living below Canon Perdido St. It also means that only those with significant time and resources can run, or those backed by party machinery, which creates partisan politics in an non-partisan position.

Read the rest of Sharon’s answer…

The effect of an outer-rink council can be seen in zoning decisions, where controversial land uses are put below Canon Perdido, and over on the Eastside. These are low voter-turnout areas, that can’t turn an offending council out of office for these affronts, even though they are also high-density neighborhoods. Therefore, with no voter penalty, councils are free to make one-off decisions that over time bring these areas down. District elections would stop that because neighborhood representatives would be accountable to their voters. It also means there is someone on council that represents you. District elections would also lower the barriers to entry, which would help ease the partisan politics present today in council races. Candidates would only have to meet voters in their district, and raise enough funds to win their district. They wouldn’t be relying on party machinery to get them across the finish line in the wider city. The only downside is tendencies towards districts fighting to get their way, at the expense of the wider city. A solution to that is a hybrid approach, recommended by the Grand Jury in 2006, that gives four district reps, a mayor elected at large, and 2 at-large council members.”

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