Community Partners Help Keep Santa Barbara Santa Barbara ™ Partners

Santa Barbara View’s Weekend Picks

For a full list of activities in Santa Barbara this weekend, be sure to click on over to the Events Calendar, located at the top of every page on Submission of Calendar events to Santa Barbara View is free. Compiled by Irina Vinarskiy.

Downtown Santa Barbara is the place to be as thousands of people will gather to watch as colorful floats, marching bands, performers and local personalities clear the way for arrival of Santa Claus and the lightning of the Holiday tree on the corner of State and Victoria.
The 60th annual Santa Barbara Holiday Parade, 6:30 p.m., is likely to galvanize the downtown crowds in the wake of Christmas preparation and festivities to come in the next few weeks. This is a not-to miss colorful event that brings the cheer of holidays to everyone in our town!


The wonders of the world brought closer to home: A National Geographic Photographer, Mattias Klum of Sweeden, will come to UCSB to present a lecture abut his travels to the most remote corners of the globe and stress sustainability in the new and ever-interconnected world we all live in.

Light up a life- Hospice of Santa Barbara hosts its annual 29th annual Light Up A Life Celebration to remember the memories of loved ones by accepting donations and lighting up a memorial tree.
Much in the spirit of the holidays, this event brings the past and present together in the most touching of ways and in the true spirit of giving as we look to the New Year ahead.

Livingreen: Environmentalism That’s Healthy, Attractive, AND Convenient

Milpas on the Move column by Sharon Byrne, as featured in the Santa Barbara Sentinel

The building trades are a major industry in the Milpas-Eastside area, a mecca for architects, builders, stone and marble yards, lumberyards, tile showrooms, and hardware stores plying everything from basic bolts to high-end fixtures guaranteed to produce spontaneous drool in the aspiring remodeler. A relatively new breed is springing up of green builders, designers and materials providers striving for sustainability and reuse. One of these, Livingreen, has a unique formula.

I’d long been attracted to Livingreen from dropping in periodically with the intent of enlisting them into joining our latest community endeavor. I’d peruse the merchandise while waiting to speak to owner Ellen Strickland, and discover unusual finds, attractive wares, and great gift ideas. Livingreen offers environmentally-safe products, but you can forget gnarled gray hemp mats, lint tablecloths, weak cleaners, and ugly, utilitarian ‘stools’ hewn out of old railroad ties (ideal for a former-Soviet Union work camp, maybe) with astronomical price tags.

The merchandise at Livingreen is hip, stylish, and affordable. Who knew environmentalism could be so sexy?

photos courtesy of Ellen Strickland, Livingreen

I popped in to see Ellen after her showroom had been demolished by a van careening in reverse out of the parking lot of Superica, late at night. The damage was devastating:

The police found the van up at the Bowl, but the driver had vanished, and nobody seems to know who he was. The investigation appears stalled, and the insurance company isn’t exactly leaping to settle the claim, leaving Ellen with large repairs, inventory to replace, and a lot of unexpected expense. It’s a disappointing turn of events for a business that’s worked hard to be a great community member.

When I visited Ellen, the demolished windows had been boarded over, and the showroom put back together. Gone was one of my favorite displays – the seaglass collection of dinnerware made entirely out of recycled glass, in beautiful, delicate hues.

Despite this disaster, Ellen surprised everyone on Milpas St when she enthusiastically stepped up to help us get the holiday lights back up this year. While some of us might turn into a Grinch on the spot, Ellen was determined to support the neighborhood, despite her terrible loss. We were stunned at her generosity, and deeply moved by her community spirit. Her story inspired neighboring merchants to similarly step up to help get the holiday lights back up on Milpas. Neighbors like this are priceless in our community.

holiday gift items at Livingreen, made of recycled materials. The light strand shines through reclaimed glass pieces, including old blue ink bottles!

She was upbeat on my visit, and related a fantastic story of how she came to be in this business. She’d had the usual start in environmentalism – active in the anti-nuclear proliferation movement of the 70’s, working tables at environmental state fairs, and so on. But it was her own desperate health struggles that moved her in a new direction.

Ellen has multiple sclerosis, and was in a wheelchair 25 years ago! She made the connection that toxins in the environment can contribute to serious health issues. Cleaning up the exterior and interior environment in which we dwell can ease health problems. “How much is your health worth to you?” she asked herself. She started living it, and it worked. As she showed me around the store, I couldn’t believe this same lively lady was once wheelchair-bound.

As a designer, Ellen saw that a lot of products used in the design and building trades are quite toxic, and repeated exposure over time puts tradesmen at elevated risk. Livingreen carries paints, cleaners, building materials, furniture – even beds – that are top quality, non-toxic, and don’t aggravate chemical sensitivities or immune disorders. Being environmentally-friendly doesn’t have to equate to being overly restrictive, or a constant downer. Environmentalism can be achieved if products are cost-effective, convenient, and attractive. Health and environmental benefits are an added bonus.

In Ellen’s vision, living green just becomes easier overall for the consumer, a vision very evident in Livingreen’s offerings.

I picked up great gifts for friends on my visit, including reclaimed-glass holiday lights. A very modern ceiling lamp, shaped into a twisting fish, was crafted from reclaimed wine barrel clamps from Arroyo Grande. She had a floor lamp, locally made from an old clothing rod, bike and computer parts, and a handmade lampshade. Non-toxic child finger-paints, dog beds filled with recycled polyfill, and recycled materials made into ornaments make convenient holiday gifts for friends.

Ellen Strickland showing ornament made out of recycled magazine materials

Livingreen is a must-see if you’re remodeling, decorating, trying to reduce health issues from environmental stressors, or looking for a unique gift for a friend this holiday. Livingreen’s always got a smile ready for you, and gorgeous goodies to peruse.

From all of us on Milpas to Ellen… Happy Holidays, you community angel!

A Bird’s-Eve View…

Make a pledge by 4 p.m. tonight… and help the Surfrider Foundation preserve the only 20 miles of coast that remains undeveloped in Southern California.

Better late than never… the holiday tree arrived in Santa Barbara yesterday, just in time for the 60th Annual Holiday Parade, courtesy of Southern California Edison.

Another blow to your father’s media… after 79 years, Newsweek magazine will publish its last print edition at the end of December and become digital only.

Speaking of your father’s media
… in April 2005, the once-lucrative Classifieds section in the Santa Barbara News-Press was a robust 20 pages. Last Sunday, the Classifieds section was down to four pages and filled with internal ads.

A Santa Barbara tradition of electing strong Jewish women into power… in an article in the Jewish Journal, Mayor Helene Schneider, 42, presents the list which includes past county supervisors Naomi Schwartz and Susan Rose, current county supervisor Janet Wolf and Assemblymember Hannah-Beth Jackson.

The Mayor’s three favorite restaurants
… Wine Cask, Edomasa and Brophy Bros.

Very little fallout from the Chick-fil-A public relations drubbing… intense scrutiny, both locally and nationally, was heaped on the chain after President Dan Cathy said his company supported the biblical definition of the family unit; however, consumer use of the chain was up 2.2% over the last three months and awareness was up a hefty 6.5%.

Did you know… Santa Barbara’s In-N-Out Burger, which seems to have lines all day and night long, reportedly generates $50 million in sales annually?

Santa Barbara’s first bank… on a hazy afternoon in 1871, a bearded veteran of General Winfield Scott’s army in the Mexican War arrived in Santa Barbara aboard the steamer Orizaba. His baggage consisted of a second-hand iron safe he had purchased in San Francisco, and a carpetbag containing an extra shirt and a supply of buck-wing collars which, in 1871, was the badge of financiers. His name was Mortimer Cook, and he had come to open Santa Barbara’s first bank. Renting an office at State and Ortega Streets, Cook inserted a small ad in the Morning Press—The Private Bank of Mortimer Cook, capital $40,000, was now open for business.

“Miracle on Milpas St”: Holiday Lights Return to Milpas, Thanks to United Community Push

By Sharon Byrne

The Milpas Community Association is delighted to announce the return of the holiday streetlights to Milpas St.! They are being installed right now.

In prior years, one community benefactor put up the holiday lights, from the top of Milpas down to the freeway, as his gift to the community. He was unable to do so in the past few years, leaving Milpas bereft of holiday lights. This year, Santos Guzman, of El Bajio, wanted to see the lights back up. He had a dream that Milpas would be lit again for the holidays, so he contacted the Milpas Community Association (MCA). A small team gathered in his restaurant on a dark Monday evening, talked it over, and committed to making that dream happen. It was a daunting task, as the MCA reaches out to the community to raise donations to pay for the Milpas holiday parade at this time of year. To raise funds for both, and with the lights coming in at almost $9,000….well, it looked a bit overwhelming, to say the least.

But the community rallied, and enthusiastically supported returning the holiday lights to Milpas St. Everyone agreed that the community deserved to be lit up for the holidays. Businesses, community organizations, schools, and our parade’s Grand Marshal, County Supervisor Salud Carbajal, all pitched in to make this happen. The lights will be lit Wednesday evening, November 27th, achieved in under 3 weeks from the date Santos gathered us together. For the first time, the lights will extend below the freeway, making Milpas truly festive for the holidays. Thanks to the generosity of our community, this year we can provide both the holiday lights and parade, giving our neighborhood a great reason to celebrate!

We’re excited to see the return of the lights, and welcome everyone to enjoy a lit-up Milpas St during this holiday season! We also invite you and your family to come and enjoy the 59th Annual Milpas Holiday Parade December 15th at 11:00 AM.

We’d like to thank the following Community Angels for creating this “Miracle on Milpas St:” Continue reading…

Pearl Chase Society Newsletter for November

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.

Preservation Watch, penned by Kellam de Forest, looks at the Historic Landmarks Commission recommendation for the designation of the Main Library and Faulkner Gallery, and 13 Lemon Eucalyptus trees, as historical landmarks. Also, the draft version of the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden’s Cultural Landscape Master Plan is available for public review.

A Paris Bistro off the State Street Sidewalk

Relais de Paris by Irina Vinarskiy

Behind the elegant black and white glass front, invitingly lingering candlelight, and crisp white table cloths’ understated simplicity, there is the most precious little bistro, likely to define State Street across from Paseo Nuevo for years to come.

The owner, Lilia, had gone to the original Relais de Paris that she used to frequent growing up in the City of Light and licensed the Sauce Originale from them to create a traditional French Bistro with an internationally known name and taste. “Here in Santa Barbara we have a diverse Bistro menu (unlike the Paris location which only has one dish, the Famous Entrecote Steak-frites.),” said Skye McGinnes. “In addition to the Famous Entrecote Steak-frites, our menu has several additional entrees, including local seafood dishes; we have traditional French salads and sandwiches… we also have a number of smaller dishes, for appetizers, or a snack at the bar. Our specialty is the same as it is in Paris, the Famous Entrecôte Steak-frites.”

the Famous Entrecôte Steak-frites

“The Entrecôte is served with a salad, dressed with a delicate vinaigrette and walnuts, simple but remarkable,” she said. “In Paris, due to the unique flavor and quality of this dish, combined with a large population, this is the only item on the menu… in fact, in Paris there is no menu, when you come in they ask you what you want to drink and what temperature you would like your meat prepared. We have used the high bar of the Entrecôte to create a menu where each dish stands alone as a winner, and nothing will be added to the menu until the dish is able to be excellent every time.”

Modeled after the original Relais de Paris in Paris, this jewel on State underscores consistency, elegance, and tradition… “for us the art of this restaurant is not innovation, but consistent excellency,” said McGinnes. “It sounds funny, but we strive to have the ‘the same’ be better all the time!”

Strategically placed on State Street to invite an international audience and create a true feeling of a French bistro in a busy part of town, it already feels like a part of Santa Barbara only after a few months of being open. “The space is chic, but not formal. Very high quality with our being exclusive, a place for fine meal or just an after work cocktail.” A bite of Paris, just off State Street, this is a place to be late into Friday night, an all-weekend Parisian experience drawing on the State Street crowds, or a true French treat—so casual and yet so out of this world—all week long.

Solutions for Santa Barbara: Fluid Parking Rates?

The hunt for parking spaces in Santa Barbara, especially this time of year, can be challenging for locals and visitors. Donald Shoup, a UCLA professor dubbed the “prophet of parking”, estimates that a third of traffic on downtown city streets involves motorists looking for parking.  San Francisco is taking aim at this problem with a pilot program that prices parking based on demand.

Sensors in 7,000 of San Francisco’s parking spaces provide data for mobile apps that alert drivers when spaces are open. Meanwhile, prices around local hot spots go up at peak times to encourage parking on sleepier streets where prices are lower. Rates are evaluated every six weeks with the goal to make parking easier and more convenient.

Continue reading…

Santa Barbara’s Brush Goats

With brush fires always a threat, Santa Barbara View caught up with one of the region’s most unique businesses, Brush Goats 4 Hire. Lorraine Argo and Ian Newsam run the company that uses goats to help clear vegetation in areas susceptible to fires.

“We were running cattle on a private ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley, however half of the acreage was brush and not suitable for cattle consumption,” said Lorrain when asked how they got started. “The landowner asked us to run goats on his land to convert some the brush into pasture land. We agreed, started Brush Goats 4 Hire and learned a lot through the good ole’ school of hard knocks; eventually finding the best methods for our area. We started helping family and friends with their weed abatement and restoration projects. Our business began to grow, primarily through word of mouth.”

Poison Oak Feast

So what about the goats… “Goats have the largest livers of all the ruminants and therefore can process plants that would be deemed as toxic to other livestock this includes Cape Ivy and Poison Oak. Contrary to popular belief, goats are relatively selective in what they will consume. Sorry, no tin cans. Therefore, using target browsing, we rotate the herds through smaller pens to ensure that they eat not only the “candy” plants, but also the less favorable “broccoli” foliage.”

“We have found that Boer, Kiko and Spanish goats and crosses of such are best fit for brush clearance. We sometimes acquire goats that have been slated for slaughter (wethers, which are male castrated goats), so we offer a reprieve from such a fate. However to be a brush goat can be more difficult than being a stabled or pastured animal in the sense it is a life closer to nature. This closeness to nature exposes the livestock to predators and fluctuations in feed, the effects of which can be mitigated by predator control dogs and free choice nutritional supplements. However, eating browse can be healthier for goats then cut hay. Also, moving up and down our Santa Barbara hills and canyons helps with muscle strength and stamina vise standing around in a pen waiting at the gate for the next flake of alfalfa. We had a brush goat doe(female) give birth to triplets at age 19. So there is something to be said about being a brush goat.”
Continue reading…

Question of the Week: the Huguette Clark Estate

Local leaders have begun a public relations effort to encourage preservation of the ocean-front home of the reclusive heiress Huguette Clark as an arts institution, as provided in her last will and testament. Bellosguardo, Clark’s 23-acre cliffside vacation home above Santa Barbara’s East Beach, is the estate’s largest asset valued at $85 million. The case could go to trial in 2013, which leads to the question of the week…

Evening at Knapp’s Castle

Santa Barbara virtual reality/ 3D photo of the week by Bill Heller

There’s no better place to watch the sunset than, Knapp’s Castle. High in the hills overlooking Cachuma Lake the view is spectacular.

If you have problems with the VR viewer, please contact me here.

Controls from left to right:
+ Zoom in;
– Zoom out;
change the way the view moves when you drag;
toggle full screen
-Bill Heller