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Gone Patrol

One of the most exciting shows on television is in jeopardy. The City of Santa Barbara pulled “On Patrol with the Santa Barbara Police Department,” because the producers of the show, Ira and Linda Distenfield, purportedly owed the City money. Countering that claim, the Distenfields just filed a $1.2 million claim against the City… specifically the Santa Barbara Police Department, which has provided plenty of drama over the last year.
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2012 Ballot Initiatives to Raise Taxes… Seriously?

Weekly Column by Sharon Byrne

From a slide show of 10 insanely overpaid public employees, there are 3 notables from California:

  • Prison doctor: $784k
  • Prison Psychiatrist: $737k
  • Prison dentist: $621k

Prisons are flush, apparently! But wait, California’s prison systems are over-crowded, requiring the release of 43,000 inmates to county jails, similarly overcrowded. Net: supposedly non-violent, victimless-crime inmates are released right back to where they committed their offense.

Me thinks there’s not just a little waste in the prison system…

Something is rotten in the state of California, but it’s not the molars and psyches of prison inmates, apparently. Our state is often scrutinized in news stories as a shining example of what NOT to do. The state’s pension funds are $500 billion in the red, and over 5,000 retired teachers and administrators receive pensions in excess of $100k. Santa Clara’s retired fire-chief takes home $200k+ in pensions every year, and a consultant’s salary to boot.
Bonus: you can commit a crime on your public sector job, and still get your pension!

California spent $61b for elementary and secondary school systems in 2009, according to the US Census Bureau. Per pupil, that was $9,600, about the same as Georgia.

Being on a par with Georgia is nothing to be proud of, California.

We’re outspending Mississippi, Alabama, North and South Carolina by a few hundred dollars per pupil, but our 4th graders can barely beat Louisiana’s in reading test scores.

Clearly, education needs help, but don’t look to the full-time legislature. They’re busy banning food trucks within 1500 ft of schools, sweating over sugar drinks on campus, and insulting one another. So leave it to the special interest groups to put up three California ballot initiatives to fix the deficit, and fund education. In order of favorable polling:

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Clipboard Klunkers

Weekly column by Loretta Redd, PhD

June is fast approaching, which means small armies of signature gatherers are hitting the streets in order to find sufficient voters to help a myriad of ballot initiatives qualify for the election.

After the 2010 election, I felt as though I should receive an honorary law degree–or ticket to a comedy club–for working my way through the fourteen statewide initiatives.  But fourteen was a minor nightmare, compared to the 90 different Title and Summary letters submitted to the Attorney General for approval.

Some of those 90 initiatives failed for legal reasons; others because they couldn’t find 433,971 registered Californian voters needed to qualify for a state statute, or the 694,354 folks required for an amendment to the California constitution.  That may sound like a high bar to sail over- but not really in a state with over 17.3 million registered voters.

Of the fourteen initiatives which qualified in 2010, eight were defeated at the ballot box.  It takes time and money to gather those signatures, but anyone who wants to try can certainly hit the pavement.

Personally, I think it’s sad that private citizens or groups must do the work that our legislators would rather not bother with.

They’re so busy raising funds for their own re-elections and chasing their recalcitrant partisan tails, why should  waste valuable time actually legislating?  Why not let special interest groups and well-funded private citizens do your work for you?  After all, six of the 14 Ballot Initiatives in 2010 passed into law.

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Two Years of Santa Barbara View

This week marks the two-year anniversary of Santa Barbara View. In February 2010, Santa Barbara’s Blog’s Blog was re-branded in an effort to bring readers a wider variety of content—not limited to a blog or journal. Little did we know that 24 months later acclaimed writers like Cheri Rae, Loretta Redd, and Sharon Byrne, would be penning weekly columns for the County’s fastest-growing website. Outdoor Editor John McKinney, Cartoonist Steve Greenberg, Cerena Childress, and Georgina Stassi have also teamed with photographer Bill Heller and Barbara Hirsch to entertain, chronicle, and inform…. and to help foster our mission, Keeping Santa Barbara Santa Barbara™.

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Goleta Pier Sunset Stroll

Santa Barbara photo of the week by Bill Heller.

This was from a walk on the Goleta pier. The evening was amazing and it was one of those times that the subject perfectly matched the medium. I can think of no better way to capture our winter sunsets. This one is truly a 360° sunset.

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-Bill Heller


Sounds Good: Bringing Books to Life for Students who Read and Learn Differently

It’s the annual event that gives voice to the written word—to help those who struggle to read. The week-long Record-a-Thon sponsored by Learning Ally (formerly known as Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic) is scheduled for February 27-March 3—coinciding with Read Across America and the celebration of Dr. Seuss’s birthday on March 2.

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