Community Partners Help Keep Santa Barbara Santa Barbara ™ Partners

A Loan to Fund the Charles E. Meyer Desalination Plant

desalToday, the Santa Barbara City Council will likely approve a 20-year loan to fund the the Charles E. Meyer Desalination Plant. According to the Agenda, “the continued drought has made it necessary to continue to plan for the reactivation of the Charles E. Meyer Desalination Plant (Desal Plant). The cost to reactivate the Desal Plant is estimated to be $40 million dollars. This large expenditure needs to be financed over a number of years. Staff has applied for a Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Loan (DWSRF Loan) to finance the project. The DWSRF Loan is an attractive loan because of the low interest rate, estimated to be approximately 1.6 percent over a twenty-year repayment term. One of the requirements of the DWSRF Loan is that the City pledge repayment from the Water Fund net revenue – the revenue available after payment of operation costs and ahead of investment in capital improvements or reserves. The City must also agree that the pledge constitutes a lien in favor of the State Water Resources Control Board on the Water Fund until the loan is fully repaid and to collect such revenue as necessary to repay the loan.”

Stop the Supersizing at 209 East Islay Street

209 east islay 2Today, at 4:40 p.m., nearly 10,000-square-feet of new development, which is proposed to replace the historic old house at 209 Islay Street, is to be reviewed by the Single Family Design Board. The super-sized development exceeds the City of Santa Barbara’s maximum floor-to-area ratio by 123 percent and the plans call for 5,792-square feet of house above ground, a 2,843-square-foot habitable basement, a 719-square-foot 3-car garage, plus a pool and pool building… all on a half-acre lot! The hearing will take place in the Gebhard Room of the City Planning Building on Cota and Garden and your comments are encouraged.

Santa Barbara “Scarface” Villa for Sale

369392The Santa Barbara mansion where the classic movie Scarface was filmed in 1983 is up for sale. The Mediterranean estate is memorable as the site of the Pacino character’s most famous line, shouted over the blast of his machine gun: “Say hello to my little friend!” According to Zillow, it is a four-bedroom, nine-bathroom home that was built in 1906. It sits on 10 acres and features a unique Roman-style decor, painted and gold-leaf ceilings, tiled rooms, woodwork and carvings and a pool with fountains… it hits the market at a cool $35 million!

Stories From 209 East Islay Street

For the many viewers who don’t delve into the comments section, here are a couple of great stories from 209 East Islay Street, which is currently waiting for the wrecking ball.

209 east islay 2I am very familiar with this home, as we owned it between 1978 and 1998. I grew up in this house. Every shingle was hand cut by my father, Every roof tile, lovingly placed. We bought it as a run down boarding house and lovingly restored it. There were 15 fruit trees, a rope swing, a tree fort and matching play house. The massive wisteria vine in the back yard consumed a tree and would turn into a purple waterfall every the spring. And in the Summer the three, 75 year old, blooming pitosporums would fill the air with the smell of sweet spicy flowers. I learned to cook in that kitchen and spent night after night by the outdoor fire with my friends from school, poking at the fire and roasting anything that would stay on a stick. My hand prints are in the concrete. I know every inch of this house… in the dark. All of my memories are there. It was, and remains, the symbol of my father’s success. Take what you can get and make it the best that it can possibly be, through hard work and sweat, then fill it with family and friends and love.

What gives neighborhoods character is variance. I agree. There is no house in the world like this one. It is not a “cheap” craftsman as you have said. It was loved, and cared for, and like you or I, probably needs to work out. Did you know that 209 East Islay used to be the “Tennis House” Did you know that there are buried concrete tennis courts all over the block? True the closets are small, but there are many of them, True, there is no first floor master, and there is an entry room and the 3rd to top stair creaks when you step on it. But just because it is flawed, and old, doesn’t mean that it is useless. As for natural light… Try sleeping past 6am in one of those bedrooms without curtains.

This house, with all due respect, is NOT a Pinto. It is an MG.

Although we haven’t owned it for years, I am fairly certain, that once it’s gone Santa Barbara will never really be home to me again. As I will never know it’s equal. – Dorien Davies

209 east islayThank you, Dorien, for writing about our house. We found the house in 1978. It was like a beautiful old woman who was slowly dying. My husband and our three children moved in and proceeded to bring her back to life. Terry worked on every inch to repair, paint, paper, replace everything that was broken. He planted trees, laid yards of brick pathways. But, the house had so much good about it, beautiful leaded glass windows, hardwood floors in every room, wonderful lighting , and, outside a massive stone fireplace We loved the bathtubs with paws, the glassed in office off the Master bedroom, all the pocket doors, The house had many ghosts,. Very often, people would stop by and tell us they had lived in the house. They would tell their stories of raising families in the house… To say we loved the house is an understatement. There are far grander homes in the upper east side, but 209 was part of what the upper East Side was about. She is a queen. To think of what will take her place makes us very sad. No historical significance? How mistaken you are..She is a vintage Rolls that deserves better. – Penny Davies

Pas de Deux on the Eastside

Milpas on the Move by Sharon Byrne

Looking for tasty treats for your office mates in the morning? Some sumptuous pastries to tempt your French leanings? And would you like them even better knowing they are baked fresh daily, with locally-sourced, organic ingredients?

bakery1Look no further than Deux Bakery on Reddick St, just off Milpas. Owner Wendy Fleming and her hubby Morry started Deux as a way to provide Scarlett Begonia with gorgeous daily pastries. Their daughter is the founder of Scarlett, and loved Wendy’s genius with baking, so roped her into a bit of a family affair.

Initially, they baked within Scarlett’s premises, but as the restaurant took off, they found themselves squeezed out of space. So they leased the space on Reddick, and opened their own bakery. Initially, it was to be called Scarlett Begonia 2, but the title was too long, and they’d started supplying other shops with pastries, so they simply went with Deux, the French word for ‘two’. They’ve been open to the public about 4 months.

bakery2Wendy is a fastidious baker. Every recipe gets put through multiple test rounds and perfected before she deems it good enough to go live and public. There are some real jewels in her offerings, including an incredible sourdough loaf, sliced on request, and delectable chocolate croissant. I sampled this incredible concoction of croissant dough, folded loosely into a standing cylinder, laced with candied orange, and sprinkled with sugar. Holy cow, that was delicious! She’s also got an amazing cinnamon roll made of Yukon gold potato flour, which one would think would densify it too much, but she’d perfected it into a sweet gooey cinnamon delight.

Her daughter set a very high bar with requirements for Scarlett Begonia’s baked offerings: ingredients must be organic, no GMOs, and locally sourced. That’s made some of the ingredients costly, but Wendy holds her baked goods prices on the low side, with many treats coming in at $3.00 or under.

She and Morry are hard at work at 3 AM daily, turning out perfectly baked goodies. The Deux bakery menu sign was created by neighbor Freedom Signs, another little jewel in the area. Suzy and Betsy have some serious talent in the Awesome Graphics arena. The place is a hive of creativity and art. They also clean off graffiti on the street, which makes them golden as neighbors. When you go by, check out Xena out front! (Neighborhood secret: her facial expressions are different front vs back, so check on her expression before entering! If she’s scowling fiercely….well, maybe you’d better go get a pastry at Deux!)

Keeping Santa Barbara Santa Barbara™

The Dolphin Family FountainWhen readers of Santa Barbara View stepped up to pay for and initiate a Replacement Request Application for the Gilda Radner plaque, which had been vandalized and defaced, we asked if there were any other ideas and projects around town that you’d like to see restored or funded. One project that has come to light is the preservation of the dolphin fountain at the base of Stearns Wharf. The sculptor, Bud Bottoms, says the 30-year-old piece of art is deteriorating rapidly. He is looking for financial help to help remove the tarnish, restore the coloration and plant drought-wise succulents in and around the base. Bud has estimated the restoration costs to be between $2K and $5k, which leads to the poll question of the week:

Santa Barbara, a Large-Scale Irish Colony?

A St. Patrick’s Day post from the Santa Barbara View Vault

Had it not been for the imminence of the American takeover, it is possible that Santa Barbara might have become part of a plan to establish a large-scale Irish colony, subsidized by the London capitalists with an ultimate view to British annexation of California, Walker A. Tompkins wrote in Yankee Barbarenos.

In 1845, Eugene McNamera had petitioned the president of Mexico for a $71 million grant of land in Alta California on which to establish three, tax-free Irish colonies – one in Santa Barbara. His plan would have transplanted shamrocks amid California poppies and promised to bring 10,000 Irish emigrants to the colonies.

The grant was signed by Pio Pico, the last Mexican Governor of California, but once the Yankees planted their flag in the California soil for good, the grant was declared invalid.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day Santa Barbara.