Archive | March, 2012

More Mesa Open Space and Beach

Santa Barbara County beaches by Outdoor Editor, John McKinney

More Mesa offers more: a defacto nature preserve, great bird-watching, a network of walking-hiking trails and access to the beach. This land has been threatened by development for decades. And it still is, though any development scheme would face vociferous opposition. A mile-long walk up a residential street, across the bluffs, and down the cliffs on a combo stairs-pathway leads to a clean, mellow and sandy beach, which for some resolute naturists has long been clothing-optional.

Facilities: none.
Cost: none.

GPS Coordinates: N 34 25 497
W 119 49 735

Directions: In Santa Barbara, from the far upper end of State Street, continue west under the freeway. State becomes Hollister Avenue, and you’ll proceed to Puente Drive. Turn left (south) . Puente Drive bends west and passes Mockingbird Lane on your left. Park along Puente Drive and walk up Mockingbird Lane to the gated entrance to More Mesa.

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Santa Barbara Garden Post

Tuning the Dial: Planting Times Foil Insect Pests!

Super Vibrant Crookneck Squash!One of the simplest ways to reduce pest problems is to stagger your plantings. Another is to adjust your planting times to avoid peak pest times, or just don’t plant that plant at all! Pests have life cycles per heat, water, light, humidity. They like only certain parts of your plants, maybe the leaves, or the flowers! If you have no crop for them at their time, no plant at the stage of the plant they prefer, you have a clean garden! Some insect pests carry diseases that infect the plants they prefer, and those diseases can spread to other plants as well. If you know your pest’s cycles and preferences, you can plant to avoid them completely! If you have a crop in, and know when the pest is likely to occur, you can keep a closer watch, and use your organic techniques to immediately repel or remove them.

Contrary to old-time thinking, as Cornell U says: ‘IPM (Integrated Pest Management) programs stress suppression of insect and disease populations to levels that do not cause economic damage, rather than total eradication of a pest. In the case of insect pests, it is important to have at least some pests present to ensure that natural enemies will remain in the crop to suppress subsequent infestations.’ Better to plant host plants for beneficials insect predators, and keep a healthy balance. You will have some loss, but a lot less.

Through Cornell U, a pest weather prediction service called NEWA, calculates factors daily and is available to the public! They call the Tomatoes diseases forecast the Tomcast! When you are looking online, be aware of what area the forecast or pest life cycle info is coming from, like Cornell is in New York. If it is much different from your area, you will need to adjust your timing. Keep a record of your local pests and diseases times. That can really help with your choice of planting times in the future.

Life Cycles and Planting Times to avoid common insect pests:

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Vintage Views of Santa Barbara, California

Here’s a vintage photo from the Thomas Schmidt treasure trove… exact date unknown.

Photo Credit for Vintage Series: Early Santa Barbara Photos taken by J W Collinge and other Santa Barbara photographers. Solely for use on Santa Barbara View.

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A Bird’s-Eye View of Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara City website… current as always, preparing you for VOTE 2011.

For whom the bell tolls… The Santa Barbara Courthouse is home to a well kept Seth Thomas Tower Clock. It has been faithfully ticking the time away for the past 80+ years. For the first time ever, the clock will toll on Friday as part of a new bell system test.

Two dogs, a cat, and a sunrise… it was a slow news week on Edhat Mountain View.

Viva la Fiesta Old Spanish Days kicked off their season on Thursday. Long-time local Ricardo Castellanos is El Presidente and this year’s theme is Viva la Familia!

A night out in Santa Barbara for $20… two tickets to the West Wind drive-in movie theater on Kellogg, red vines, pop corn and a drink. Bring a blanket.

Santa Barbara’s first drive-in theater… showed movies during the summer of 1921. It was located on the block bounded by Alamar, Constance, State and Chapala Streets.

Did you know… local resident Rob Lowe is California’s official unofficial tour guide?

The American Riviera… A cocktail that tastes like Santa Barbara. The American Riviera was created by bartender Mandy Huffaker Chinn of Sly’s Restaurant and was chosen by the Santa Barbara Conference & Visitors Bureau to promote the region:
1.5 oz Bombay London Dry Gin
Juice from one Meyer Lemon
1.5 tsp Lavender Sugar
1.5 tsp Hot Water
Sparkling Wine (preferably from Santa Barbara)
Dissolve lavender sugar in hot water. Set aside. Cut lemon into quarters. Use one to moisten rim of a tall glass. Pour remainder of the sugar on a saucer and dip glass rim to coat. Fill glass with ice and all other ingredients. Stir and top with sparkling wine.

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Sign of the Times…

Sign of the Times… the Mega Millions jackpot climbs to over $500 million in Santa Barbara. Drawing Friday, March 30.

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The Rise of the Independent Voter

Weekly Column by Sharon Byrne

People register as a decline-to-state (DTS) voter because a) they never have identified with a party or b) because their party has alienated them. Anger with your party doesn’t necessarily translate to jumping to the other side, though some do. David Mamet, author of Glengarry Glen Ross, went from a corporate-greed-hating-liberal to conservative… after he moved to Santa Monica.

But this isn’t a story about conversion to the other side. This is about becoming an Indy, short for independent voter.

There’s a lot of Indies. A 2011 Gallup poll reveals a record 40% of Americans identify themselves as Independents. That’s bad news for political parties, who count on loyal followers to propel them to victory by voter registration numbers alone.

Indies swing elections. They swung 2008 for Obama, and 2010 for the Republican takeover in Congress. Swings like this are not unusual. If the winner of the last election failed to deliver, Indies feel little angst about ousting them.

Indies also know that continued party dominance is not desirable. Parties often advance their cause at the expense of the taxpayer. Party affiliation is likely declining as a result. It doesn’t help that parties have thoroughly mastered the art of eating their own. Dems throw women and minorities under the bus, and threaten protests of such treatment with the loss of civil rights, or Roe V Wade. Republicans drown their pro-business old guard under neo-cons, the religious right, and the Nascar crowd.

Party factions alienate moderates. When a party wins a majority, factions within it begin infighting for domination. The winner then pushes increasingly extreme positions that would seldom pass a mainstream sniff test. Our local Dems push a Progressive Platform of Pedestrian Peculiarities (bulbouts), Plastic Prohibitions (bag ban), Prolific Pensions, Pot, Pee (homeless), and Polemics. It makes no sense to anyone outside that inner circle, and little sense even to some insiders. Someone should tell the Progressive Arch Druids to exit the echo chamber, and check in with reality. But they too eat their own when challenged. Moderate Democrats have fled, or been ousted as a result. Even the (progressive) mayor appears to be distancing herself from the camp.

Parties sell out, so why sign up? Both camps bilk taxpayers, and pander to special interests. Republicans have raised taxes. Pro-environmental Dems have been on the payrolls of oil companies seeking generous offshore drilling rights. Check out Look at campaign contributions flooding in right before a key vote in Congress, and see how that vote went. We have the finest government money can buy. Literally.

Think Different. Registering as DTS might sound like politically dropping out, and for some, it is. But many Indies are hard sells, increasingly immune to party rhetoric. They process political issues differently by stepping outside of polarized positions and seeing things from another angle. They want progress rather than partisanship. The really engaged Indy has a bias-filter is set permanently to ‘high’, often reading multiple news articles on an issue to get at the truth. They’ve learned all news outlets are slanted, and can identify the degree of slant. They read blogs from the left and right to see how emerging issues are shaped and messaged. They look for candidates that can work across lines. They avoid candidates low on qualifications, but high on party-machinery.

Locally, there are two upcoming races where Indies will decide the outcome. This will be the first year California sees the effects of redistricting and the open primary, where the top two vote-getters advance, regardless of party:

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The Party’s Over

Weekly Column by Loretta Redd

One of the things I find so incredibly charming and refreshingly novel about our seven member City Council is that in the midst of the vitriol and paralyzing dysfunction that has infected both state and national politics, it remains a non-partisan body.

Or at least, it should be.

Surrounded by division and extremism as rarely seen in our political history, it is important to note the task of a council member is to work for the betterment, the security and the safety of our city, not their political futures or a particular party. Council members should feel a refuge from such affiliations rather than obligated by them.

The media would also do well to cease using the convenient, but overreaching terms of ‘liberal’ or ‘conservative’ when describing our Council, much less refer to them by using the big R or big D.

How offensive to hear about the Democratic Central Committee chastising council members or candidates for expressing their views. Apparently Daraka Larrimore-Hall believes he should be consulted by our Mayor before she dares to propose a ballot initiative that might not fit his narrowly defined side of the political equation.

What right and authority do these partisan groups have over city government?
The answer should be: none.

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La Casa De La Raza Demands Immediate Retraction Of Articles Published in the Santa Barbara News-Press

The board and staff members of La Casa de la Raza, the Cesar E. Chavez Center, demand that the Santa Barbara News-Press retract its front‐page story, which appeared March 25, 2012.

Put succinctly: a) La Casa de la Raza is not being sold or auctioned; b) La Casa has not lost its nonprofit status; and c) La Casa and its attorneys have been working closely with Santa Barbara County officials long before both articles appeared in print.

La Casa continues to work closely with the county to address the issue of property taxes. As we’ve explained in the past, we are in the midst of reconciling a complex property tax assessment issue. Unlike what was reported, we are not evading our tax responsibility. It is evident, however, that the inaccurate reporting by both the News-Press and SB Latino actually accuse us of being tax evaders. It is also evident that there was a failure, prior to publication, to even attempt verification of the facts and conduct their due diligence.

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Deep Roots and Family Trees: The Trayvon Martin Story Hits Home

By Cheri Rae

A bag of Skittles and a can of iced tea will never look the same—not since the news of the tragic loss of Trayvon Martin’s life. The African-American young man may just have well been my brother-in-law, my nephew, my cousin who know all-too-well the dangers of simply walking the street or driving the car, and considered suspicious for the color of their skin and the style of their hair and the clothes they wear.

When my sister married an African-American man, decades ago, it sent shock waves throughout my mostly conservative family, rooted in the Catholic Church on one side and the Southern Baptist on the other.

No one in the Sicilian immigrant families that arranged my grandparents’ marriage ever imagined that the family tree would branch out and join up with another race (somewhat ironic, since Sicily has been a crossroads of civilizations for centuries). They—and the rest of the family elders—were mortified, embarrassed and unwilling to accept their granddaughter’s, their daughter’s, choice for a husband, or the children of that union.

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The Great Wall… of Santa Ynez

Santa Barbara photo of the week by Bill Heller.

I’ve driven by this beautiful wall a number of times in the past, but the timing was never right to get a nice shot. There is a rather large hill across the street, and the sun sets pretty early at this particular spot. But Saturday I was fortunate enough to be in the neighborhood right before the sun slipped behind the hill and I was able to catch some nice golden light. – Bill Heller

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Letters Policy: Responsible Journalism Procedures

Furthering the conversation about responsible journalism policies, Robert Perry writes to Santa Barbara View after the Santa Ynez Valley Journal chose note to publish his Letter to the Editor which may have contradicted the position of the publisher. As Robert puts it, it’s “a failure of the newspaper to provide a public voice for its readers.”

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Reflections: Not Fit to Print

Re: Not Fit to Print by Cheri Rae

Although today I write primarily opinion based on fact and research, I’d like to add to the discussion about responsible journalism policies and procedures, and how far they’ve strayed from the ideal. Earlier in my career, one of my primary responsibilities as assistant managing editor at Runner’s World magazine was to spend literally days on each issue, vetting each and every story with a lawyer at a high-powered law firm on retainer. The fact-checking was required on everything from minor stories on healthy foods and training methods all the way to the White House for an annual series on politicians who were runners on Capitol Hill (the late Lee Atwater was my liaison there, then a low-level staffer). It was both time-consuming and expensive–and it required seasoned professionals asking pointed questions to understand the work. This was in a running magazine, with very high standards. No story ever made it into print unless it passed through fact-checking and then an extensive editing and proofreading process with a top-quality team of savvy, well-educated editors who proofed and re-proofed and proofed again. Of course a monthly magazine has a much longer lead time than a daily or even weekly newsroom to get it right, but still, none of those facets of fact-checking—which served as the basis of getting it right and maintaining credibility—are deemed as valuable and worthy of investment in today’s approach to journalism as they once were, most particularly in the local paper of record.

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Six Years of the Santa Barbara Daily Sound

Believe it or not, March 23rd marks the six-year anniversary of the Santa Barbara Daily Sound. Their launch narrowly preceded the meltdown at the Santa Barbara News-Press, but it also coincided with the decline of newspapers across the county.

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Another View: The Plastic Bag Debate

On March 13, the Santa Barbara City Council voted 5-2 to draft an ordinance to ban plastic bags and charge consumers 10 cents for each paper bag.

City staff told the Council that “plastic bags really make up a very small percentage of the city’s waste stream.” The “overwhelming majority” are recycled or deposited in landfills. The city recently launched a campaign to get the word out that Gold Coast now accepts plastic bags for recycling in blue bins.

Staff said litter data for plastic bags is “kinda inconclusive.” City staff “are really not seeing them all that often.” Plastic bags are only in the “top ten types of trash that we find,” after bottles, cans, Styrofoam, cigarette butts, hard plastics, and other items. Staff could not confirm that plastic bags are reaching the ocean from Santa Barbara, especially as the city is efficient at clearing trash from creeks and beaches.

So what was the main argument in favor? About 16% of California is now subject to plastic bag bans. Therefore Santa Barbara should go along with the trend.

Banning plastic bags in Santa Barbara is a solution in search of a problem. Citizens should voice their displeasure at paying for ideological symbolism and being penalized even though they have kept the city clean. – Stephen Joseph

(Stephen is Counsel for the Save The Plastic Bag Coalition, which includes Los Angeles-based plastic carryout and reusable bag manufacturers. About 72% of plastic bags are made in the USA. Most reusable bags are imported from China.)

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Not Fit to Print

Weekly Column By Cheri Rae

Every once in a while, I’m reminded why reading the local daily newspaper makes about as much sense as the Newt Gingrich campaign for the presidency.

Both are untrustworthy shells of their former selves—now bloated with a sense of their own entitlement due to massive amounts of money that allow them to exist—and each exhibits a penchant for gross exaggeration, ugly misrepresentations and the willingness to assert anything without regard for the consequences.

Their self-indulgent, narcissistic actions hurt individuals and institutions as they plod on, refusing to abide by even the most commonly accepted policies and procedures that would lend credibility to their claims—like conducting research, checking the facts and using critical thinking skills.

Last week, the Santa Barbara News-Press published a story that portrayed Santa Barbara Open Alternative School in a way that bears absolutely no resemblance to the way the school has successfully taught students for more than three decades.

Blazed across the front page, the daily ran a one-sided account about a father who charges: “My son’s being taught to be gay.”

What really occurred several weeks ago is that a student arrived at school with painted fingernails and another began to laugh and make fun of him. When the teacher heard the laughter, he initiated a discussion about bullying (this is known as a “teachable moment” and is completely in-line with the school’s chartered philosophy). He added that he would be painting his own nails in solidarity with the student who had been bullied for it. A number of students joined in during break time, painted their own and each other’s nails and learned the lesson that it was no fun to be singled out and laughed at. They all had a great time in support of their friend. Teachable moment captured, lesson learned. Move on. End of story.

But not with the News-Press.

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