Archive | August, 2012

A Santa Barbara Treasure: An Appreciation of Kellam de Forest

By Cheri Rae

Dressed in a freshly pressed blue pinstripe shirt and khakis, with polished oxfords, Kellam de Forest sits at the head of the table and conducts business. It’s the monthly meeting of the Preservation Watch committee of the Pearl Chase Society.

He’s prepared the agenda and sent it out, and he’s very much in charge here, working hard to keep Santa Barbara from turning into “Podunk-town,” as one member noted.

Kellam de Forest (center) enjoying the 2012 Historic Homes Tour sponsored by the Pearl Chase Society. Photo Courtesy Hattie Beresford.

His blue eyes are clear, his hands are steady and much of his strength and vigor have returned after a serious fall at his home early this spring. After a stay in a convalescent facility, he’s now comfortably ensconced in the pleasant surroundings of Wood Glen Hall, where this meeting is taking place. Members have had no qualms about meeting wherever Kellam is—he’s the heart and soul of the committee.

It’s in the family roots of this native Santa Barbaran who was born at Cottage Hospital. His grandfather, Lockwood de Forest, was a noted plein air painter who studied at the Hudson School. His work is often exhibited in shows and a series of books at Sullivan Goss.

And his famous parents, Elizabeth Kellam de Forest and Lockwood de Forest, were accomplished landscape architects. From 1925 to 1942 they wrote and published the remarkable journal, “The Santa Barbara Gardener.” Their names appear outside the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, since they landscaped that landmark site. His father was vitally important to the early days of the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, and when Kellam addresses issues about the garden that are on the agenda, he casually mentions, “My father designed the East Side of the garden and he would be pleased that lots of progress is being made.”

The tone of the meeting is high end, with a well-informed discussion about community issues; whenever anyone strays for too long from the topic at hand, Kellam gently, firmly gets them back on point. He jots notes in pencil on a legal pad—they will become the basis of his monthly report that documents preservation issues in the newsletter of the Pearl Chase Society and the community beyond.

Kellam attended Crane and Thacher schools before serving in the Army in World War II. He majored in History at Yale—and upon his return to Santa Barbara he briefly worked as a clerk at the San Ysidro Ranch. His professional career took him to Hollywood where he applied his keen research skills to the field of copyrights and permissions, examining television and movie scripts for potential legal issues for individuals and studios, including DesiLu, Paramount and MGM.

When he retired back in his own hometown, Kellam became a founding member of the Pearl Chase Society. He has dedicated much of his time and expertise to serving as the community’s conscience and chief stickler for accuracy in discussions about planning and development, preservation and stewardship of natural and built resources throughout the County. The General Plan here, an upcoming appeal there, the purchase of Hot Springs Canyon; the Measure Y issues of developing Veronica Springs—there’s nothing that goes on around here that escapes his attention.

His beloved wife Peggy, to whom he was married nearly 60 years, passed away just a couple months ago. And still Kellam carries on the business of caring for the community that needs his sharp, his big heart, and his keen mind to keep a close watch on preservation, without missing a beat.

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Santa Barbara Trivia

What current breakfast cafe was once the home of the famous Flying A Studio? Continue Reading →

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Voices from Milpas Street

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter”. – Martin Luther King Jr.

Two Letters and a new email to the Editor regarding Casa Esperanza

The Santa Barbara police department has noted that transient-related crime has increased over 400% in the immediate area since Casa Esperanza began its operations, and 20% in the city overall. Recently, Casa Esperanza has begun a jail release program, not conditioned in their CUP, and which certainly has the potential to increase crime further.

The City of Santa Barbara, the county, and other cities within the county all provide thousands of dollars in direct funding to Casa Esperanza. Indirectly it costs the city far more for police and emergency medical support for incidents related to clients of Casa Esperanza. These are significant funds that could be spent to benefit the community in other positive ways such as youth programs, parks and street improvements.

Many of us would agree that helping the homeless is a noble and worthwhile cause. We’d also agree that there should be balance between the needs of the community and helping the homeless.

Apparently, the voices for insisting on helping the homeless were louder than community members asking for balance.

by Milpas Street Business Owner:
As I headed through the round-about under the new freeway underpass towards the beach, a homeless man openly urinated on the sidewalk in plain view of lunch time commuters, shoppers and families heading to the beach or up to Trader Joe’s.

Wow, I thought, this is what we’ve come to. They’re now pissing on the city in broad daylight.

In a recent meeting, the cops told us that a recent ruling from an appellate court handcuffs them from diligently going after nuisance street crime.  The judge said that in order for a nuisance street crime to be prosecuted, it has to be considered shocking to the values of the community. The cops can no longer arrest someone for urinating in public because it’s no longer shocking.

To a neighborhood that is being asked to absorb this unrelenting assault on our sensibilities, this is a serious problem.  The veneer of civilization is very thin.  Little crimes lead to big crimes.  A sense of lawlessness and disorder does not bode well for our city’s health and well-being.

As neighbors, we’re no longer sad about this.  We’re mad.  Enough is enough.

Email received by Cacique St business owner in response to a job ad:
Subject: Re: Showroom associate
Thank you for your response.  I’m afraid I won’t be coming by.  I do not go in that area due to the rude, dangerous people who frequent there and the homeless shelter.  I have stopped volunteering there due to the vulgarity, drugs and violence.
Good luck with your search.

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Arlington Village

Renderings and description from Peikert Group Architects website.

Arlington Village
The Arlington Theater is often described as the “jewel of Santa Barbara”. The original vision for the site was to create a building that was to be surrounded by small shops like a cathedral in the middle of a village.  That vision was never realized. This proposal takes an adjacent open parking lot and transforms it into a mixed use village consisting of public open spaces, courtyards, 10,000 square feet of commercial space and 33 housing units in an effort to bring the original vision to fruition.


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Drunk Driver Hits Utility Pole in Santa Barbara

Report by Sharon Byrne
A drunk driver sped away from the bar district Tuesday night into west Downtown at 1:30 am. They struck this pole, pictured left, at high speed after running through the stop sign. They backed up, the car front end seriously damaged, sped down into the Gutierrez dead-end, turned around and drove to the highway on ramp. Several neighbors called the Santa Barbara Police Department.

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Comments on Car Chase in Santa Barbara

It was a crazy night on the streets of Santa Barbara. Here is the first of two incidents:

By Cheri Rae

Last night’s crazy high-speed car chase through the streets of Santa Barbara wound all around town—including my little corner of the world. Just after Jon Stewart hit the airwaves, the Silver Tacoma blasted through the neighborhood, up Victoria Street and turned left on Salsipuedes with a fleet of police vehicles following in hot pursuit, sirens screaming. The Tacoma driver then reportedly turned left on Micheltorena and continued along the wild ride that led up to 154 and finally ended near the Chumash Casino. Cannot imagine that driver’s thinking, the harrowing journey he took law enforcement on, or the dangers posed to the public from that high-speed madness—and there are a lot of exhausted kids off to school today, who couldn’t get back to sleep after witnessing the chase so close to home.

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On the Docket… Arlington Mixed-Use Monstrosity

The uninspired, super-sized condo project proposed to replace the current Arlington theater parking lot on the south east corner of Sola and Chapala, which many had thought was scraped due the negative business climate, has returned. The design is a wall of three-story condos stretching from the Arlington paseo all the way to Chapala. The monumentality of the Arlington will be lost forever. Being in El Pueblo Viejo District, the design seen by the Historic Landmarks Commission back in 2011, does have some Spanish Revival touches; but without them, it could be a condo block any town USA.

This “new” project is on the Historic Landmarks Commission Agenda today, under public hearing – 4:40 p.m. today/Wednesday, in the Gebhard hearing room.
Here are the super-sized details:

Continue Reading →

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A Formal Statement from Das Williams on SB 1530

After being exposed by CNN, and locally by Santa Barbara View, for  an abstention vote on a bill that would have protected students from predatory teachers, Assemblymember Das Williams issues a formal statement to his constituents, below.

Dear constituents,

I am writing to you in response to the coverage many of you may have seen recently regarding SB 1530, a bill that was introduced by Senator Alex Padilla.

The safety of our children is of the utmost importance to me and I think it is important for us to take the legislative process seriously and thoughtfully to ensure that legislation does what it intends to do. Because of this, I spent considerable time reviewing the language and intent of SB 1530 and have worked with the author before it was heard in my committee and since to perfect the language to ensure that it will do what we intend it to do. In fact, I spent as much or more time on the bill as I have on many of my own bills. It is unfortunate that the vote on the bill is being portrayed as union versus the welfare of children or as one in which a Yes vote means keeping sex offenders out of the classroom and a No vote means allowing them to continue to teach. Neither is true. Continue Reading →

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Time for the Gloom, Doom and Boom Conventions

By Loretta Redd

This Presidential election should not be about the economy, but rather what forces have caused the collapse of it, both here and around the globe.  I hardly recognize America, given the divisiveness of our national political parties, and as the philosophy of fairness has been buried in the mud of fear based, headline grabbing nonsense.

There are obvious ideological differences between the national political parties…far more extreme differences that there are between most voting Americans.  Conservatives seem to believe in socializing losses and privatizing profits, and they have embraced taxation as their cause.

Though income taxes are lower than they were under previous administrations  from a percentage basis;  in a poor economy, they are oppressive and punitive for us all, especially in combination with State and local levies.

Yes, our income taxes fund entitlements and social programs from which we may not all benefit.  And there is plenty of evidence that government spending to oblivion has neither inspired nor saved our sense of industriousness as a workforce.

Our taxes also funded the bailout for the very banking institutions which are now disinclined to lend, while recording unprecedented profits to shareholders and paying executives and directors record compensation.  And what did the American public receive for its bailout of the auto industry?

Here’s something both political parties can agree on…most of us are getting majorly Yugo’d. Continue Reading →

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Dyslexia: Different Thinking for Different Thinkers

By Joan Esposito & Cheri Rae: Joan Esposito is co-founder and program director of the Dyslexia Awareness Resource Center. Cheri Rae is director of Dyslexia Project.

The end of summer vacation and a return to the classroom is upon us, and kids everywhere are counting the days until their freedom ends and they return to the traditional classroom.

Almost all kids grumble about back-to-school, but for those who think differently, process differently and exhibit a different set of strengths than most, it’s a return to a stress-filled environment where they just don’t fit in at all. And they fail miserably, invisibly, their learning differences completely misunderstood by teachers, classmates, even family and friends.

These are the right-brained thinkers who are plenty smart, but for whom spelling, reading — and particularly reading aloud — writing legibly, taking notes in a lecture and copying from the board are never-ending struggles. They’re wrongly accused of not caring, of not working up to their potential, of not focusing on their work.

These kids may show great strength and aptitude in sports, music, art, and a whole array of other hands-on, project and performance-based activities—but increasingly in our schools today, only academics matter. Continue Reading →

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A statement from Assemblymember Das Williams

Follow-Up

Back in July, Santa Barbara View reached out to the office of Das Williams for a statement explaining his abstention on a bill that would have protected students from predatory teachers. This is the statement we received via staffer James Joyce on July 3:

A statement from Asm. Das Williams:

“I do think there is a problem, and I already voted for a bill that had half of its provisions, but I don’t think that the due process for teachers should be eliminated. We have no evidence that having a three person committee is part of the problem. I asked for amendments early on, however, they were unwilling to compromise. I also already voted for a bill by Assemblymember Knight (AB 2028) to expand the capability to fire people that may have committed heinous acts, I just think AB 1530 went too far.

I could have probably supported a bill that had been restricted to sexual abuse cases, but a teacher should be on the review panel in many cases where their specific expertise could be helpful in making a fair and accurate judgment, such as alleged violence, where experience with campus conflict could provide useful perspective.”

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Sign of the Times…

“Business is great in Santa Barbara, and Santa Barbara is great for business”, is the motto of the Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce; however, yet another store on the 800 block of State Street shuttered their doors this weekend.

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Storke Tower Lagoon Reflection

Santa Barbara photo of the week by Bill Heller.

This view of Storke tower on the campus of UCSB is taken from the path around the lagoon by the residence halls. What an amazing view those halls must have. UCSB is an amazing place to be this time of evening. The combination of architecture, lighting and water makes for some breathtaking vistas. -Bill Heller

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EcoFacts: Prius Owners

Prius owners: it’s a term of derision among some anti-environmentalists, or anti-something-or-other folks, but they do make up one group of people who are attempting to take responsibility for their actions.

Thanks to Prius owners, in the next year we in the U.S. could save as much as 1/2 billion gallons of gas, and the CO2 NOT emitted could be like taking a million cars off the road.*

Prius has become the world’s third most popular car in the world, given recent sales, behind Toyota Corolla and Ford Focus.

There are close to 1.8 million “Prii” in the U.S., over 4 million in the world.

Continue Reading →

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Santa Barbara Trivia

What happened to the old Santa Barbara lighthouse that stood for 69 years on the Mesa, just west of the harbor?

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