Archive | April, 2012

Mission Santa Inez Artifacts in Virtual Reality

Santa Barbara photo of the week by Bill Heller.

The California Missions are rich with history. Each one has an amazing story to tell. The Santa Inez Mission is no exception. Walking through the museum rooms attached to the working church, you can read about a working and fighting history that would rival any fictional wild west story.

Be sure to zoom in or go full screen, this shot is a bit higher resolution to allow exploration of the artifacts. Controls from left to right:
+ Zoom in;
- Zoom out;
change the way the view moves when you drag;
toggle full screen

-Bill Heller

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Sign of the Times…

City Ventures Residences are using bike billboards to market their East Beach Collection. Bicyclist hauling signs for “Santa Barbara’s smartest, most- sustainable new homes” circle the waterfront. Bike billboards are part of the green outdoor advertising market.

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Regarding the Homeless: Santa Barbara’s Loss, La Jolla’s Gain

Hot Topic Reset: Originally Published on April 25, 2012, by Cheri Rae

While in a Los Angeles home recently for a family event, I had a conversation with the couple next door who for years frequently visited Santa Barbara for a weekend getaway. These hard-working people of modest means saved up for their favorite splurge and, in typical tourist fashion, always enjoyed staying in our nice hotels, shopping, dining and strolling the waterfront. I had often given them suggestions about where to go and what to see, and they always reported back to me on their Santa Barbara adventures.

But never again. They told me that after their last trip a few months back, they will not return.

La Jolla, CA

They were shocked and offended to encounter homeless individuals trying to take their food at a sidewalk café, pawing through trash cans, and wafting their strong aroma as they passed by. “I am sorry for their situation,” said the woman. “But I am afraid and upset to deal with it during my little vacation. I don’t know what to do to help them.” From now on, reported her husband, they’re going to La Jolla. “It’s just as nice as Santa Barbara,” he said, “but we don’t have to deal with the homeless there. I can’t imagine what Santa Barbara is thinking, letting a nice place like that get completely ruined.”

When I told them about the shelters, the parking program, the RV campers, the lawsuits, the many housing projects built to house the homeless, they just shook their heads, and he noted, “It doesn’t make any sense for an expensive place like Santa Barbara to even try to take care of so many homeless people.”

One couple, one conversation, one conclusion.

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Spanish Street Names of Santa Barbara, California

PORTOLA (por-to-lah‘) honors Gaspar de Portola, first Spanish Governor of California, the man who led Padre Junipero Serra and his first settlers (1789) to San Diego, the diplomat whom the padre wept to leave. Portola’s men were soldaldos distinguidos, distinguished soldiers, some even entitled to the prefix of “don” to their names. Notwithstanding his successful governorship, he was a homesick Spaniard (pictured right) whom the Western Hemisphere neither pleased nor satisfied. Continue Reading →

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Campus Point Beach in Santa Barbara, California

This month Santa Barbara View unveiled a Guide to Santa Barbara, above. The Guide will help unlock the secrets of the Central Coast, including a detailed overview of all Santa Barbara County beaches by Outdoor Editor, John McKinney @TheTrailmaster.

A popular surf and body boarding spot on the UCSB campus, beach patrons here are a mixture of students, faculty, families and surfers of all ages and abilities. At low tide, walk around the point to visit other campus beaches; at high tide walk over the point on hiking trails and partake of fine ocean views as well as vistas inland over the beautifully situated university. Continue Reading →

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EcoFacts: Consumption

Consumption. It was a tragic problem in previous centuries, very infectious, especially among the urban poor, causing suffering and death. Today, Tuberculosis still kills, is still sanitation and class related and so appears less in rich countries.

Now, it is our consumer class that has a disease of sorts, also very contagious, but the activity is often entertaining, the suffering is more of a spiritual kind, and it is not usually fatal.

Consumption is a function, in some ways a fundamental doctrine, of our social and economic system. But there are two giant, looming reasons why we cannot continue buying and disposing of things at the same rate as we have been: limited resources and waste/pollution – what goes into them and what comes out. Besides burning gasoline, heating our homes and watering our lawns, every thing we buy uses lots more resources than the thing itself contains…… jaw dropping amounts. Continue Reading →

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Santa Barbara Garden Post

Merry Magic May & Happy Mother’s Day to you all!


May is more of April, plus Cantaloupes!

Melons!  Choose small early varieties, cool and damp weather tolerant, if you are coastal!

Now you can plant all you did in March, if you did. Santa Barbara night temps were so cool many of us waited. And you can do more of the April heat lovers if you did them! Smart gardeners plant when the time is right, not just because it is that month, time of year. It’s still a bit cool, so many of us are getting a late start this year. Our April 1 jicama planters didn’t put them in until the 3rd week of April this year! Consider growing plant varieties with less days to maturity. We have already lost a month to 6 weeks of planting time.

Some beans are up now if you hit the window right, plant some more if you love beans and don’t mind all that harvesting. Limas too. Plant corn in blocks. Wilt resistant cucumbers with dill, and with radishes to repel the cucumber beetles. Snuggle peppers and eggplant, with radishes as trap plants for flea beetles that attack the eggplant. Okra likes heat. Probably going to be better to wait until June unless you are in the hot foothills? Summer squashes, that includes zucchini and all their friends, pumpkins and melon vines. Winter squash for sure – don’t wait any longer since it needs time to harden as well as grow. Summer lettuce varieties with New Zealand spinach, SloBolt cilantro, arugula. Tomatoes, wilt resistant/tolerant varieties with flavorful basils. Put in Heirlooms only if your soil has no wilts fungi. Tomato planting tips!

Continue Reading →

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Update: Santa Barbara Filmmaker Makes Good

A few weeks ago we reported that Santa Barbara native, Earthling daughter and Santa Barbara Middle School graduate Dorien Davies won an award at the Cleveland Film Festival. Her film, “Missed Connections,” just took home two more awards (one from Boston and one from Colorado Springs) and is now headed to a screening in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on June 2nd and 3rd at an historic theater as part of the Cinetopia International Film Festival. Here’s hoping the hometown girl—and the rest of us—get to see the award-winning romantic comedy screened at the next Santa Barbara International Film Festival, scheduled for Jan. 24-Feb. 13, 2013.

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Vintage Views of Santa Barbara, California

Do viewers recognize this famous hotel lobby from the Thomas Schmidt treasure trove?

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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Open letter to Taggers:

By Sharon Byrne and Joel Garcia

Westside gang: you defaced the Cacique underpass Tuesday morning.

You might think you had a bit of fun. Maybe you did it as an initiation. Maybe you did it to mark some turf, and put a rival gang on notice.

It’s highly unlikely that you’d be willing to come and sit down with us and talk about this, but we need to find some way to reach you. Thus, we’re writing to you, from two viewpoints:

-       the personal, in the form of an ex-gang member that knows where this path leads

-       the collective, from a neighborhood activist working with an area struggling to revitalize itself.

Joel Garcia was a San Diego gang-member, federal prisoner, and now street evangelist. He works to get kids out of gangs, one at a time. I brought Joel in to help the lower Eastside after neighbors there contacted us. The area had been struggling with violence, intimidation, and vandalism for years. A brutal beating death in the neighborhood in late 2010, followed by a stabbing at Art’s market in early 2011 was the final straw.

No one should have to live this way. No one should be afraid to get out of the car to go into their home. No one should have to live with police constantly speeding to their street to respond to the latest 911call. No kid should fear trying to make it to the bus stop just to get to and from school.

Everyone deserves a safe neighborhood. It is our right as citizens of this city.

We worked together with the neighbors to create a safer place. Safety is one of our most basic human needs. The police gang unit moved in, calming things down. Neighbors started a watch, and began clean up efforts. Joel began to work with the kids in the area.

For the past year, it’s been relatively peaceful. The underpass at Cacique opened at the beginning of April, and marked a huge improvement to the area. A neighborhood formerly closed off now had an easy two-block walk to the beach. Families began using it for evening strolls with children and dogs…. enjoying it.

You marred that ray of hope for this area.

We’re inviting you, with this letter, to participate in a conversation, even if only as a fly on the wall to start:

Sharon: While irritated by graffiti, I have often felt wall scribbles were somebody’s way of saying “I was here. I am trying to matter. Somehow.”

Continue Reading →

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On Boxes and Thinking Outside of Them

By Cheri Rae

If you aren’t one of the 5 million people who have taken a look at the video known as Caine’s arcade, stop reading now and spend the most inspirational 10 minutes of your day—if not your week—watching it.

It’s the inspirational story of a bright little boy’s creative vision—one that turned a bunch of cardboard boxes into a wondrous amusement park. And it’s about a couple of wise adults with an appreciation for a child’s strengths of resourcefulness and tenacity—in the face of limited resources—and how, with a little help, he has stepped onto his pathway to success.

And it’s a reminder that not all learning comes from books or in school. Continue Reading →

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Shame on You Carpenters Local 150

In psychology, the definition of ‘shame’ refers to humiliation so painful and embarrassment so deep that the entire self worth of the human is called into question.

It is a powerful word that carries a damaging accusation; so much so that forms of public humiliation such as stocks and pillory were constitutionally considered cruel and unusual punishment…that is, unless you are a member of the Carpenters Local 150.

There are massive white vinyl banners with super-sized red lettering held silently popping up in front of businesses, calling on passers-by to join the public condemnation.

When you see them, do you cringe for that individual being called out in shame?  Or do you make an assumption that the company must not be treating its employees fairly, unconsciously assigning blame, even though you know nothing about the issue at hand?

I was guilty of the above…until I saw the name of someone I knew and respected being called out in this act of public humiliation.  So, I stopped to ask the sign holder what egregious anti-union behavior this respected business leader had performed.   Turns out, the bearers of the banners are not allowed to speak to the public or answer any questions about the nature of the accusations or suggested malfeasance.

But they will hand you a neon-colored flyer with an incredibly bad drawing of a large rat chewing on what looks like an American flag inside an outline of a house, shaming the individual “For Desecration of the American Way of Life.”

Now, when I think of last years’ La Presidenta of Fiesta, her tireless service to the community, her tribute to the fire and police response to the wildfires, her leadership as a founder and President of Business First Bank, her role model and mentoring of young men and women in Santa Barbara, I have a kick in the gut reaction to anyone suggesting that Joanne Funari is responsible for the desecration of the American way of life.

She’s in pretty good company because just down the street, Robert Andrews, partner in the prestigious law firm, Mullen and Henzell, is being called out as well, for “…contributing to erosion of area standards for local carpenter craft workers.”  Who would have thought that these two civic leaders were responsible for robbing the Carpinteria-based branch of the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters the joys of wielding a hammer and saw!

Truth is, they aren’t.

What they are apparently ‘guilty’ of is having had a seat on the board of Trustees of the Goleta Valley and Cottage Hospital Foundation.  With that damning accusation of impropriety, I decided to inquire further as to their role in this heinous act of labor injustice that would result in the public shaming by ‘bannering.’

Here’s some of the text and claims of the flyer:

“Carpenters 150 has a labor dispute with CA Hoffman, a sub-contractor for the HBE Corporation on the Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital expansion project… CA Hoffman does not meet area labor standards, including providing or fully paying for family health care and pension for all of its carpenter craft employees…In our opinion, the community ends up paying the tab for employee health care and the low wages paid tend to lower general community standards, thereby encouraging crime and other social ills.”

Wow, if these two local benefactors are encouraging “crime and other social ills,” then the Santa Barbara police force had better whip out their nail guns and go make an arrest!  C’mon, that’s a bit of bridging the truth, even for those in the construction trades. To put these claims into perspective, if the quality of the Carpenter’s Local 150 workmanship was reflected by the reality of their accusations, their framing projects would fall flat in the first Santa Barbara breeze.

But ‘truth’ isn’t what Carpenters Local 150 seems to thrive on.

Continue Reading →

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Condition of Santa Barbara Streets to Decline

Did you know, the City of Santa Barbara has a roadway network consisting of approximately 238 miles of roadway pavement with an estimated replacement value of approximately $335 million? On the Santa Barbara City Council agenda tomorrow is an interesting discussion about City road pavement maintenance conditions since 1985.

According to the agenda… “At that time, the citywide pavement condition index (PCI) was an average of 59 out of a possible 100, with 100 being a new pavement surface, and 0 being essentially a dirt road.  A PCI rating of 59 is slightly above the level where significant pavement maintenance is required.  Since 1985, and with the passing of Measure D (a ½ percent transportation sales tax) in 1989, the City has implemented a strategic pavement maintenance system.  This is based on the proven concept that it is far less costly to proactively maintain a street in advance of deterioration than to respond when the pavement is at a condition requiring significant rehabilitation.  This proactive strategy has proved successful in raising the pavement quality of City streets.

The City has a longstanding goal to maintain a PCI of 70 or higher.  The citywide PCI has dropped from a peak of 75 in 1996 to its current level of 68, which is slightly above the statewide PCI average of 66.  With the current funding level, the Citywide PCI trend is projected to continue to decline.  Considering current material costs, staff estimates that approximately $4.7 million per year is needed to maintain an average citywide PCI of 70.” Continue Reading →

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Stargazing in Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara photo of the week by Bill Heller.

We are so fortunate to have such amazing beaches, and their beauty is not limited to the warm sunny days. After sunset they are an amazing place to watch the sky. They may not be dark enough to see the really wonderful skies you can see further away from the light of the cities, but the proximity combined with the atmosphere of the crashing waves makes them a perfect spot for stargazing. Originally this shot was going to be a virtual reality panorama, but after a little experimentation I thought this would be a better way to take in the whole sky. – Bill Heller

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Keeping Santa Barbara Santa Barbara

Last week, Santa Barbara View called out the Clean Air Express for using Chapala-area streets as a commuter bus parking lot. Since that report, Santa Barbara View received complaints about new sight-seeing school bus, pictured below, which has been using the streets around the Mission rose garden as their permanent parking facility. Continue Reading →

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