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Santa Barbara Year in ReView: December, 2012

Santa Barbara View takes a look back at the stories that made news in Santa Barbara, California this year. Here are ten stories from December, 2012:

  1. Union Bank spokesman said that Santa Barbara Bank & Trust will shed 468 jobs.
  2. Boot the bank out: Santa Barbara and its sister communities have at least three locally owned, locally serving, locally caring banks.
  3. Peter Sklar, the pioneer of Santa Barbara’s online media and the founder of Edhat, passed away.
  4. Bright lights dimmed, remembering Robert Maxim and Peter Sklar.
  5. The City of Santa Barbara made a renewed effort to sell “easy curb access” ramps.
  6. The Santa Ynez Valley Journal shut down.
  7. Pedro Nava told local residents that they have a right to opt-out of smart meter programs.
  8. After 144 years with the same Victorian seal, the University of California system has decided to introduce a new logo, and the critics came out to kill the change.
  9. Santa Barbara School District Superintendent Dave Cash weighed in on the Connecticut tragedy.
  10. Sea otters are free to return to Santa Barbara waters.

Christmastime in Santa Barbara

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

Ahh Christmastime in Santa Barbara, when everyone decorates their… umm.. rigging? Which of course makes the beautiful Santa Barbara Harbor even more enjoyable than usual. – Bill Heller

Santa Barbara Year in ReView: November, 2012

Santa Barbara View takes a look back at the stories that made news in Santa Barbara, California this year. Here are ten stories from November, 2012:

  1. Should a building where sexual abuse of children took place be given landmark status?
  2. Winners, news and photos from election night in Santa Barbara.
  3. The Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile, which drew protests in Santa Barbara, successfully launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, video below.
  4. Taking a moment to appreciate Pearl Chase.
  5. Another brush fire burned six acres in the Santa Barbara foothills.
  6. “What is the parking protocol for the Clean Air Express in Santa Barbara?” Scott Spaulding, Transit Programs & Project Delivery for Santa Barbara County, offered an answer.
  7. Loretta Redd weighed in on Southern California Edison’s installation of a ‘Smart Meter’.
  8. After much angst, Santa Barbara got its holiday tree.
  9. Miracle on Milpas St: holiday lights returned to Milpas, thanks to a united community push.
  10. The Amgen Tour of California bicycle race will return to Santa Barbara in mid-May.

Santa Barbara Year in ReView: October, 2012

Santa Barbara View takes a look back at the stories that made news in Santa Barbara, California this year. Here are ten stories from October, 2012:

  1. Santa Barbara got a new weekly paper, the Santa Barbara Sentinel.
  2. No RV Parking signs, pictured below, went up along Cabrillo Blvd.
  3. Landmark status for Santa Barbara’s main Library and Faulkner Gallery.
  4. Kevin Costner suffered a legal setback in his dispute over hedges.
  5. Is investigative reporting coming to Santa Barbara?
  6. An unfunny thing happened at the Santa Barbara School Board forum.
  7. The Westar mixed-use village received initial approval from the Goleta City Council.
  8. The KMart parking lot in Goleta became the new RV hangout.
  9. Another fatal shark attack happened off a beach near Vandenberg Air Force Base.
  10. Twenty photos from the Lookout Fire in Santa Barbara.

EcoFacts: Smart Meters Part II

I went online to view my new electric bill recently, now that I have a smart meter. I rarely look because my solar panels have basically eliminated my bills (small home, small, fortunate person), but I was glad to check it out, as it gave me more information than I could have gotten on my own, e.g. how much electricity my home was using in the middle of the night, or how my peak usage changed from day to day. This is one of the best reasons for smart meters. I’d be interested to know this for my gas usage as well, and apparently, so would Southern California Gas Company, who would like to go the same route with the metering.

As for the health aspect of this issue, there will be no results of definitive studies relayed here, sorry. Although the meters’ signals are less powerful than those of cell phones, people have experienced health problems after their installation.The Public Utilities Commission hearing here in S.B. was rife with complaints and sad stories, so is the internet. One could claim that people are fearful, some paranoid, and our minds are powerful things. Yes, but there is also no question that some people are far more sensitive than others, in almost every way imaginable. And there has been a major change, very recently, in our global environment.

Could it be that a world fairly saturated with electro-magnetic fields from power sources and lines, and radio frequency fields from cell phone and satellite transmissions, microwave devices, radar, television and radio broadcasting, wireless internet and other wireless devices – almost none of which could happen alone in the natural world – is not affected by this fundamentally different environment? That all of the creatures who rely on the tiniest of signals to sense danger, migrate, procreate, live, are not at all affected by this new environment? That if they are, how could we not be? Why is there a maximum Specific Absorption Rate determined for devices by governments?  Only because of potential health effects.

I had no interest in “opting out”. Minor headaches and memory problems began for me shortly after my meter was installed, but I did not even consider that as a possible cause. I went down many other paths first. I am now trying out a device that seems to be helping. I do not believe that the meter itself directly caused my headaches, but that it is possible that my environment was brought to a tipping point, along with wifi, and other RF activity. I could be wrong, and hope I am.

Santa Barbara Year in ReView: September 2012

Santa Barbara View takes a look back at the stories that made news in Santa Barbara, California this year. Here are ten stories from September, 2012:

  1. What happened to all the pot shops in Santa Barbara? Sharon Byrne details their demise.
  2. The City Council caved in to the ABR’s poor decisions and denied the appeal of 901 Olive Street.
  3. The City of Santa Barbara gave residents a month to weigh in on the naming of the airport terminal.
  4. The California State Assembly passed a bill that requires motorists to provide three feet of space when passing bicyclists.
  5. Local companies were upset that they didn’t get to bid on the City’s $130,000 website redesign.
  6. Former Santa Barbara City Councilperson Iya Falcone was arrested for drunk driving.
  7. Weighing in on the Chick-fil-A controversy, Councilmember Dale Francisco said that the ABR—like that of every other design review board—is to review the project, not the applicant.
  8. Loretta Redd had some thoughts about the ABR/ Chick-fil-A controversy.
  9. Safe passage: concerned citizens teamed up to address a long-time issue.
  10. What are the 50 objects most associated with Santa Barbara?

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


Merry…Feliz…Happy….io Saturnalia???

By Sharon Byrne

You’ve got to love those Romans. Even if you’ve never been to Rome, or it was totally boring to study ancient Roman history, Roman heritage is part of your life. In America, our founding fathers embraced the idea of the Roman republic in their framing of the (then) new American republic. E Pluribus Unum, and all that. We continue to elect Senators and representatives to government. Much of Roman common law evolved into British common law, and was then imported into what would become the American system of laws. Roman sewers, concrete, bridges, roads, heated baths and homes, and mass entertainment have got to appeal to your modern sensibilities. The Romans were first-rate political advertisers, so you can thank them when you scream over the deluge of ads in the next election. Emperor Julius created the Julian calendar, still in use today. Those of us speaking Italian, French, Spanish and Portuguese are using regional adaptations of Latin – the ancient language of the Romans, still in use in Catholic rituals, biology, and of course, the legal system.

But the Romans weren’t just builders and lawmakers. Some of their festivals and customs are still in use today. The most recognizable and widely celebrated is the Saturnalia, though you may not have ever heard of it by that name.

Saturn was the Roman god who reigned over death and rebirth, sowing and reaping (think agriculture, and the annual renewal of fields, planting cycles, and harvests), hard work, reversals, wealth and destruction.

That sounds like an early god of capitalism, doesn’t it?

Most of the Roman Empire was in Europe, and it gets dark there around 4 PM this time of year. That’s a bit depressing, so leave it to those hedonistic Romans to fix that problem! They invented the Saturnalia, running roughly from December 17th through December 25th. This period marks the start of Capricorn in the astrological year, with Saturn as Capricorn’s ruler. The winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, was important to the celebration.  People lit up candles en masse to symbolize the quest for knowledge and truth. Feasts, gifts, role reversals between master and slave, and lights marked the Saturnalia.

People gave gifts, mostly on December 23rd, and verses often accompanied these gifts, perhaps a precursor to the modern greeting card. Children got toys as gifts. No work was allowed during the high feast days, and an atmosphere of revelry prevailed.

Not everyone was thrilled with the Saturnalia:

Seneca wrote:

It is now the month of December, when the greatest part of the city is in a bustle. Loose reins are given to public dissipation; everywhere you may hear the sound of great preparations, as if there were some real difference between the days devoted to Saturn and those for transacting business.”

Pliny retreated to his Laurentine villa “especially during the Saturnalia when the rest of the house is noisy with the license of the holiday and festive cries. This way I don’t hamper the games of my people and they don’t hinder my work or studies.”

Perhaps these were early incarnations of Scrooge and the Grinch.

The renewal of light and the coming of the new year was celebrated in the later Roman Empire at the Dies Natalis of Sol Invictus, the “Birth of the Unconquerable Sun,” on December 25th. From this point on, the days would grow longer, and soon the warm summer days and harvests would return.

If this sounds a bit familiar, it should! It’s what we now celebrate as Christmas. Lest anxiety arise that this somehow conflicts with Christian teachings, please relax. Facing the Herculean task of converting people entirely happy with their present religion, thank you very much, early Christian leaders showed a particular genius in marketing and psychology. Long after the fall of Rome, it was clear people were not going to give up celebrating the Saturnalia, so the wise church fathers simply adopted the holiday as a Christian one, relabeled it, added new religious significance to it, and allowed to continue on to present day – a highly successful strategy in the spread of Christianity throughout the old Roman empire.

So enjoy the lights, festivities, presents, and everything those Romans handed down to us at this, the darkest time of the year. Issue whatever greetings you like: Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Happy Hannukah! Feliz Navidad! Cheers!

And send a nod to those ancient Romans with a hearty Io Saturnalia!

Santa Barbara Year in ReView: August 2012

Santa Barbara View takes a look back at the stories that made news in Santa Barbara, California this year. Here are ten stories from August, 2012:

  1. Julia Child was remembered on what would have been her 100th birthday.
  2. Architectural Board of Review members abstained from voting on the Chic-Fil-A project because of personal and political views.
  3. Mayor Schneider released a statement regarding the Chick-fil-A project in Santa Barbara.
  4. UC Santa Barbara was named the 8th most beautiful school in the United States.
  5. Old Spanish Days Fiesta 2012 in photos.
  6. A Santa Barbara treasure: An appreciation of Kellam de Forest.
  7. Vacation renters of homes in the Santa Barbara neighborhoods.
  8. Renderings of the Arlington Village monstrosity were released.
  9. Assemblymember Das Williams was targeted in a CNN report for blocked bill that makes it easier for sex crimes.
  10. After being exposed by CNN, Das Williams issued a formal statement on SB 1530.

Santa Barbara Year in ReView: July 2012

Santa Barbara View takes a look back at the stories that made news in Santa Barbara, California this year. Here are ten stories from July, 2012:

  1. The Milpas Community Association said Casa Esperanza violated their Conditional Use permit.
  2. The decline of Santa Barbara’s sign ordinance, which was established in 1922.
  3. Social sharing was made available to Santa Barbara neighborhoods.
  4. The City of Santa Barbara finally got into the current century with online bill pay.
  5. What is up with the useless glass jetways at the Santa Barbara Airport?
  6. Sharon Byrne wrote about life in the vicinity of Casa Esperanza: Part I. Part II.
  7. How to design a Fiesta costume for Old Spanish Days Fiesta.
  8. The largest renovation project in the State Street corridor is the demolition of the old Von’s supermarket on Victoria and Chapala streets, lost views pictured below.
  9. Volunteers completed the Historic Element of the City’s General Plan.
  10. The Santa Barbara Daily Sound began selling off their office supplies and equipment on Craigslist.