Archive | September, 2012

Measures A and B in Santa Barbara

It’s time to renew our commitment to a well-rounded education for our children. Four years ago voters of this community overwhelmingly approved Measures H and I and now, it’s time to renew that commitment by supporting Measures A and B when we vote in November.

Recently the Dos Pueblos High School PTSA voted to endorse Measures A and B because we believe our children need the opportunities it will afford. We recognize that Music, Art, and Theatre programs; Foreign Languages, Computer Technology, and Industrial Arts will all continue uninterrupted if the Measures pass. In addition to that, reduced class size and trade-related courses will also be part of the bargain.

My own children have always felt more comfortable pursuing athletics, but fortunately were encouraged to step outside their comfort zones and enroll in art, industrial art, and foreign language classes. Much to their surprise, and my delight, they have each discovered gifts and interests they did not realize they had! How tragic it would be if they were not able to continue developing their new-found interests, or if younger children could not even begin to discover their own gifts, because funding for these classes was to disappear at the end of this school year.

To continue our support will make almost no difference on our personal pocket books, but to deny our support will make a noticeable difference in our community through loss of jobs for many teachers, and loss of inspiration for many more students.

Carrie Hawn
Dos Pueblos High School
PTSA President

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The Educated Voter

Everyone has an opinion these days about what’s going on at school—but only a few step up to do something about it.

Four members of our community are vying for three seats on the Board of Trustees for the Santa Barbara Unified School District: incumbent H. Edward Heron is seeking a second term, and the other candidates are Gayle Eidelson, Dr. Pedro Paz and Lou Segal.

Voters will have the opportunity to hear from these candidates—three of whom will be elected to make important decisions about every aspect of our local schools—at a forum co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters and the Santa Barbara Youth Council on Monday, October 1 at 6:30 p.m. at the Louise Lowry Davis Center, 1232 De La Vina Street.

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EcoFacts: Silent Spring Turns 50

Rachel Carson

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”

On September 27th 1962, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring was published by Houghton Mifflin after being partially serialized in the New Yorker. It flew of the shelves, became a Book-of-the-Month Club choice and its effects have been felt ever since, both by those who care dearly about the future of life of all kinds and by the business interests who had worked so hard to quiet Carson and her influence. In this way, the book became fuel for the environmental movement and those who work to quell it. When it was published, one of these corporate voices, Monsanto, published a parody of Carson’s work describing in sickening prose a country overtaken by the horrible pests that it’s heroic chemical weapons had sought to destroy. She summoned strength to brave the slew of attacks from chemical makers and others, but succumbed to breast cancer soon after at the age of 56.

“As crude a weapon as the cave man’s club, the chemical barrage has been hurled against the fabric of life – a fabric on the one hand delicate and destructible, on the other miraculously tough and resilient, and capable of striking back in unexpected ways. These extraordinary capacities of life have been ignored by the practitioners of chemical control who have brought to their task no “high-minded orientation,” no humility before the vast forces with which they tamper.”

“A Who’s Who of pesticides is therefore of concern to us all. If we are going to live so intimately with these chemicals eating and drinking them, taking them into the very marrow of our bones – we had better know something about their nature and their power.”**

** All Quotes – Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

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Escape Carmageddon II… Head to Santa Barbara

Carmageddon II is underway in Los Angeles as crews shut down the 405 Freeway on Friday night. To ease the burden of the freeway closure, Los Angeles and officials are encouraging Angelenos to come to Santa Barbara. “The 405 freeway will be closed the last weekend in September (roughly 7 p.m. Sept. 28 through 5 a.m. Oct. 1), which means getting around the city will be utter hell, whether you’re on the West Side (not recommended) or need to use the 101 to get—well, anywhere,” says one announcement. “Here’s a great solution: Head to Santa Barbara.Continue Reading →

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National Prescription Take Back Day

On Saturday, September 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the SB County Alcohol Drug Program, Sheriff’s Office, and Santa Barbara Police Department, and are joining forces with the US Department of Justice-Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Office of Diversion Control and area law enforcement agencies to hold another National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

This is an opportunity for those who have accumulated unwanted, unused prescription drugs, to safely dispose of those medications.

Continue Reading →

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In the Interest of Full Disclosure

Satirical View by Cheri Rae

How could our business community have engaged in commerce for so long without revealing to the public about their social and political beliefs, their personal values and their religious affiliation?

It’s high time we remedy this oversight with a Bureau of Full Disclosure, otherwise known as BFD.

Each and every transaction conducted within the City of Santa Barbara must be under the auspices of the BFD, which will post a disclosure document on the front door of every shop, restaurant, hotelier, and place of business. Such disclosure will assist every potential consumer to make informed decisions before they enter and consider parting with their hard-earned cash. The information collected about corporate owners, local entrepreneurs and their managers will all be available to stand up to the judgment of others.

The documents will be color-coded by political affiliation—red for Republicans, blue for Democrats, green, for the Green Party, and yellow for all those others who don’t fit in. A special rainbow sticker will be affixed to gay-friendly spots; a thin blue line will mark eco-establishments.

The BFD will insure that religious affiliations held by organization and its employees will be revealed, with the obvious symbols of the major religions. Wiccan, pagan, atheist, and agnostic will be designated in writing instead.

God forbid a non-believer would unknowingly purchase a hamburger at In-N-Out with its Bible verses printed on its bags; an outfit at Forever 21, with its born-again owner and John 3:16 on every shopping bag; or a ticket from Alaska Air, that features Old Testament passages on its breakfast trays.

Those worried about anti-gay attitudes might want to take a look beyond Chick-Fil-A to learn about the beliefs of the owner of those hip shops on State Street: Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie and Free People.

Fierce union supporters better think twice about shopping at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and Fresh & Easy. Everyone should know about every company’s ties to the Koch Brothers in their insurance and investment companies and products stocked in their stores. Jewelers must provide complete documentation of the social and mining practices, policies and procedures for every diamond on display.

Other essential information posted by the BFD will include donations to political candidates and causes, as well as non-profit organizations. They must file a statement about their beliefs about global warning, their transportation choices, ie. Hybrid or gas-hog, bike or bus, pedestrian or moped; whether they are vegetarian, vegan or meat-eater, or favor organic or processed foods. Disclosure documents will reveal each owner’s hometown; level of education attained, alma mater and college major as well as favorite sports teams; whether they are breeders or not, and if so, if they send their children to public or private schools; their beliefs about abortion rights, contraception and Rush Limbaugh; whether or not they support unions; when they stopped subscribing to the News-Press; and their preferences for cats vs. dogs; beliefs about bulbouts, Casa Esperanza and the homeless situation downtown. IRS forms, medical records and utility bills will also be presented on demand.

This essential information will allow potential shoppers to make purchasing decisions only with companies with which they agree 100 percent—now known to be the most important aspect of public life.

Even more importantly, Politically Correct Santa Barbara citizens with delusions of grandeur or an overly developed sense of self-righteousness and self-importance will have the opportunity to serve on the BFD. They will sit in self-satisfied judgment of others at every hearing as they sanctimoniously grill applicants about their private beliefs and personal investments. They must agree to wear only organic cotton clothing and non-leather footwear—never Nikes—or bring into the hearing room any item manufactured in China, including Apple products.

Only by the conscientious application of such litmus tests exposing every belief of each and every business in Santa Barbara will we manage to create the perfect city inhabited by perfect people, tolerant only of those who hold exactly the same views, thanks to the BFD.

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The Anti-Graffiti Angel

Weekly column by Sharon Byrne

Now that fall seems to be in the air, and my upstairs loft has lost its furnace feel, my neighbor and I took to my balcony last night to enjoy a glass of wine and conversation in the cool evening air. Our recycle bins were placed on the curb for the Wednesday morning pick-up. While we were chatting, a man stopped on the sidewalk, checking out the cans. We’re used to various individuals coming through on Tuesday nights to sift through our recycling bins for bottles and cans. Sometimes it’s our neighbors trying to earn a few more dollars for the family budget. Sometimes it’s local homeless men and women we’ve known for years.

We thought he was one of these. He approached the cans, and bent over to examine one.

Hearing our voices drifting off the balcony, he turned and looked up at us, startled. I realized he had no shopping cart or bags to collect recyclables in. He was in his 60’s, and dressed for exercise – shorts, warm-up jacket, sneakers. My neighbor encouraged him to go ahead and do whatever he was going to do, thinking he was going to get recyclables out of the can.

The man responded that he saw graffiti on the backs of our bins (grrr!) and would be happy to remove it.

We were both speechless. I recalled seeing someone walking down the street one night about a month ago, a tall man like this, who sprayed something on the plastic strips of the telephone pole, and wiped it off.

In our neighborhood, we’re pretty vigilant about watching for vandals. I remember thinking that person was a really good neighbor for wiping off that graffiti. It’s nice to see neighbors doing that.

I realized this was the same individual from a month ago. I asked if he lived in our neighborhood? I hadn’t seen him before…we wanted to introduce ourselves…

No, was the answer. He walks different streets because he likes the exercise, and carries graffiti remover and a cloth on his walks.

An anti-graffiti angel, I thought. What a nice gift to his city he’s giving.

He was quiet as he removed the graffiti, and didn’t want to reveal anything more about himself.

We thanked him. He wished us good night and wandered off.

Whoever you are, anti-graffiti angel, thank you for wandering through our neighborhood.

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Santa Barbara Habitat for Humanity: Building a Place Called Home

Written by Cheri Rae and originally published by Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine

It’s an international movement with outposts in far-flung locales across the globe, such as Macedonia and Mexico, Ghana and Guatemala, Colombia and Cambodia, Uganda and the United States. Within the U.S., literally hundreds of affiliates work with Habitat for Humanity—including one right here in southern Santa Barbara County.

Founded at the dawn of the new millennium, Santa Barbara Habitat for Humanity has built seven affordable homes to date: four on San Pascual Street and three on Via Lucero. It is poised to begin building its new project, a 12-unit complex on East Canon Perdido, a short walk to the transit lines and conveniences located on Milpas Street. Ground-breaking for the new energy-efficient homes is scheduled to take place this fall.

Rendering of Affordable Homes Project

Two small, dreary lots on the street of the lost cannon will soon bustle with life on 19,303 square feet of hope—a place where a dozen families can grow roots and wings and have the very real opportunity to achieve their dreams, each in an affordable home of its own.

Continue Reading →

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Pearl Chase Society Newsletter for September

Pearl Chase Society Newsletter

Santa Barbara View is proud to publish The Capital, a monthly newsletter of the Pearl Chase Society. You can read the full newsletter by clicking on the PDF icon, left.

Stories in September’s Preservation Watch include ABR thoughts and updates for: safe passage, the historic resource element, Botanic Garden and the Loughead plaque. There is also a story on Antonio da Ros, who laid the foundation for the family’s legacy in stone masonry in Santa Barbara.

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Santa Barbara’s 50 Objects

By Cheri Rae

Stonework at the Santa Barbara Mission

The New York Times recently ran a participation story asking for readers to offer their ideas about the special objects in their city that tell the story of the Big Apple. More than 600 readers weighed in, offering suggestions ranging from a 19th-century stoop to a 1980s crack vial and a soon-to-be-extinct 32-ounce soda cup from 2012.

The exercise got me to thinking about what iconic objects hold special meaning to Santa Barbarans, items that tell the story of this special place. Buildings like the Old Mission and the Courthouse are a given, and would fill up the list rather quickly. The idea is to come up with other, smaller items that are associated with America’s Riviera. Are there 50? Are there even more? Feel free to add to the list.

Here are a few to get us started:

  1. St. Francis Prayer mural—the thoughtful, forgiving words of St. Francis of Assisi that grace a simple corner on the city’s Upper East serve as a reminder of a fine path to walk, as well as the Franciscan brothers and sisters who did so much to establish this city named for a Saint.
  2. The Moreton Bay Fig Tree—bigger than ever, but less visited ever since the freeway came through town, the huge specimen and historic landmark is now less accessible, with its roots now off-limits to intruders. Long ago, it was protected from extinction by the determined Pearl Chase, who stood up to powerful oil companies and the railroads interests to keep the arboreal wonder rooted in place.
  3. The Dolphin Fountain—a graceful, joyful reminder of ocean life, important to the Chumash culture who once lived along the shore; it’s beautifully situated at one of the most visited intersections in town.
  4. Stonework—from historic hitching posts and sandstone curbs around town to the recently repaired aqueduct wall at the Old Mission and all over the Riviera, the carefully hand-hewn stones recall a proud and noble craftsmanship created by hard-working, mostly immigrant laborers.
  5. Wall of Fame at Santa Barbara High School—Once a Don, Always a Don: many of those who studied here learned their lessons and went on to make a difference in the world. The wall honors outstanding alumni from architect Lutha Maria Riggs to financier Charles Schwab, designer Karen Kane to volleyball star Karch Kiraly, dancer Martha Graham to writer Ron Shelton…and many, many more.

What would you add?

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Review of Recent Architectural Board of Review Actions Concerning Chick-fil-A Restaurant

City Councilmember Dale Franciso

It is clear to me that the role of the ABR—like that of every other design review board—is to review the project, not the applicant. Anything else would be a clear violation of the Fourtheenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which says in part that no State shall ‘deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.’

The issue is not Chick-fil-A, or same-sex-marriage, or anything other than the integrity of the City’s design review process. That is what I intend to focus on exclusively this evening.” – Dale

 

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WOULDA-COULDA-SHOULDA

by Loretta Redd

Tonight’s City Council special evening session will decide the fate of members of the Architectural Board of Review, who in their zeal to protect gay marriage from being battered, fried and stuffed in a biscuit of inequality, stupidly abstained from a final approval vote on an already agreed-upon design.

Former Burger King location set to become a Chick-Fil-A

Overlooking the fact that if Burger King couldn’t make the upper State Street location profitable, that Chick-Fil-A likely won’t either;  the ABR members instead brought more free advertising to their purported nemesis than the Cathay family would have purchased for themselves.

Mayor Schneider was correct in her publicly released letter, that “The City’s approval process about Chick-Fil-A’s building application, however, is not about gay marriage; it’s about the design of a building, and the approval of the project should be based on those merits alone.”

Would that the members who abstained from voting take that opportunity to state that allowing personal beliefs to derail their civic duties and ask for a re-vote, tonight’s contentious Council meeting wouldn’t have to occur.

The City Attorney should have immediately called for an educational review for all board and commission members, to discuss how to handle any conflict of interest, and to remind all parties of the seriousness of their appointments, and the necessity for objectivity in order to ensure unbiased service to the public.

The Mayor, Council, Attorney and staff could have come together in a supportive and educational fashion, perhaps averting Mr. Mosel  from making his erroneous civic action into a civil liberties battle whose rainbow flag has now been picked up by other organizations.  Handled more adeptly, Mr. Rivera may not have resigned, and Mr. Gilliland may not have had to publicly apologize.

Simply put, “political disagreement is not a legitimate reason to abstain from voting.”  If it were, I imagine we could find threads of political, personal or religious disagreement to abstain on just about any project before the commissioners and board members.

Unfortunately, our City Charter, Article VIII, addresses Appointive Boards and Commissions through subcategories of: Qualifications, Length of Term, Meeting Schedules, Time, Financial Disclosure, Compensation, Staff Liaison, and Municipal Code References, but there is no instruction as to the education and oversight of the commissioners and board members.

Having served on two city commissions, I can tell you there was very little education offered to me as a new member…I was expected to read the materials offered, and pretty much ‘pick it up’ on my own by following the lead of my peers.  With better training on objectivity and guidelines, not only the committee members, but the City staff liaisons may also receive beneficial reminders.

Unfortunately, tonight’s Council meeting follows a series of missed opportunities for education, for understanding, and for reversing decisions outside of the spotlight of national media.  The reputation of the Architectural Board of Review has been severely damaged, and the shortsighted and unhelpful “protest by abstention” has been spun into a controversy unbefitting our predominately accepting and reasonable community.

Instead of removing prejudice from the Chick-Fil-A menu, as was the intention of some recalcitrant ABR members, they’ve ordered a double helping.  Unfortunately, they  may end up being removed from the Board, no doubt resulting in unwarranted accusations of bigotry and furthering an unhelpful schism of political ideology on Council.

Nothing about Chick-Fil-A appeals to me, from its cholesterol  laden menu to its religiously zealous and politically influential billionaire owners.  But to put a pickle on top of those who think they  wholeheartedly support Dan Cathay’s beliefs regarding marriage…he doesn’t believe in divorce, either.

It doesn’t matter why the chicken crossed the road…City Council has an opportunity to get this right.

Even if the commissioners erred in their behavior, Council should instruct the City Attorney to offer education to all its public servants.  Then, by asking each ABR member if they would prefer to serve free from the same type of prejudice they seem to abhor, or leave the Board, the Council can let the offending parties decide their own fate.

Chick-Fil-A’s executive vice-president, Steve Robinson, recently announced an apparent change of heart and mind inside the Cathay empire.  Their new philosophy is “to treat every person with honor, dignity, and respect- regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender.”

If they can be prejudice free, so can we.

Attend tonight’s City Hall session at 6 pm, or watch it on the City channel, or by live streaming online at the city website…it will hopefully be a lesson in civics we can all be proud of.

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Rescind Consideration of the Termination of Architectural Board of Review Members

Should non-partisan, appointed local boards be a political issues? The Architectural Board of Review has become one… here’s a letter from the Santa Barbara County Democratic Party:

“The past month or so has seen a media firestorm over the City of Santa Barbara’s Architectural Board of Review (ABR) members’ abstention on a vote regarding Santa Barbara’s incoming Chick fil A franchise. Letters to the editor, headlines, and news coverage have all largely condemned these ABR members’ right to abstain from voting labeling their actions as biased or harmful to the moral integrity of the review board. In reality, none of the ABR members voted “no” or in accordance with bias to harm or halt the progression of Chick fil A’s opening. Rather, each of the ABR members utilized their right to refrain from voting so as to maintain the honor of an unbiased review process.

After the ABR members received much negative and personally directed criticism from public speakers at last month’s ABR meeting, the Santa Barbara Equality Project and its coalition of partner organizations spoke at last week’s meeting to support and thank members for their service and commitment to the review process. We addressed the misconceptions over the ABR abstentions and acknowledged the members’ rightful actions in light of Chick fil A’s recent coverage of their hateful company practices and spending.

With pressure from some city council members and the public, a decision over whether or not to terminate the ABR members is slated for the upcoming City Council Meeting on Tuesday September 25th, 2012 at 6PM. Continue Reading →

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Santa Barbara City Councilmembers to Consider the Termination of ABR Members for Abstention on Chick fil A

At Tuesday, September 25th’s City Council Meeting, the Santa Barbara City Council will consider the termination of the ABR members who exercised their right to abstain on a vote regarding Santa Barbara’s incoming Chick fil A franchise. While their potential termination is based on the premise that they voted in favor of their biases, in reality, each of the three members chose to abstain from voting to protect the integrity of an unbiased review process. Like many others in our community, the ABR members were taken aback by the recent news coverage of Chick fil A’s hateful company practices and spending and acted professionally by choosing to abstain on a single vote that immediately followed. Continue Reading →

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An Evening on Stearns Wharf

Santa Barbara photo of the week by Bill Heller. (click to enlarge)

Recently my wife and I spent an evening playing tourist when friends came into town. We took them out to Stearns Wharf for dinner and to watch the sunset. As we were walking back to our car I took the opportunity to get a few shots of the fading colors in the sky. When you live in a beautiful place like this it’s a wonderful way to spend an evening seeing it through someone elses’ eyes. – Bill Heller

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