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Ban the Boom: Yes on P

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Editor,

This may only resonate for those of a certain age, but when you come right down to it, Measure P might rightly adopt the slogan, “Ban The Boom.”

Measure P is Santa Barbara County’s last best chance to prevent an oil industry boom unlike anything we have ever seen in this region, which would explain why Big Oil is funding the opposition campaign to the tune of 5 million dollars.

Today, there are around 1,200 operating wells in the County. Based on their statements in the business press, two companies alone are planning on nearly ten thousand more.

All of the thousands of new wells they hope to drill would use one or more of the high-intensity techniques that Measure P prohibits: Hydraulic Fracturing, Steam Injection and Acidization. What these all have in common is extravagant water consumption, polluted wastewater, high pressure injection, air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and hazard to our water supplies from the inherent risk of spills and accidents.

Don’t let Santa Barbara County be bought by Big Oil. Keep our production of oil, and oil jobs, and oil property tax revenues, at the modest level they currently represent.

Measure P made the ballot because the people of Santa Barbara County don’t want hazardous chemicals injected into the ground below our feet. We don’t want toxic vapors wafting over our vegetables and school yards. We don’t want our groundwater supplies put in jeopardy, especially in a time of extreme drought. And, finally, we don’t want our beautiful Santa Barbara County to look like the oil fields of North Dakota.

Ban the Boom, and Vote Yes on P!

Jim Taylor
Carpinteria CA 93013

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Sign of the Times in Santa Barbara, California

An exaggerated, hand-carved sign for the Housing Authority building.
Housing Authority

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Last Day to Register to Vote: October 20

polls_vote_countsToday is the last day for Californians to register to vote in order to weigh in on November 4 General Election ballot. Mailed registration forms must be postmarked by Monday, October 20. A person must re-register to vote after moving, changing names or changing political party preference.

Eligible Californians can register online until 11:59 p.m. today. Paper applications are available at local libraries, post offices, California Department of Motor Vehicles offices, and other government offices.

Registering to vote is one of the easiest and most important things you can do in a democracy,” said Secretary Bowen, California’s chief elections official. “Don’t give up your voice by not voting. Register by October 20 so that you can weigh in on proposed changes to our laws and decide who leads our government.”

The Secretary of State offers Californians a convenient web portal for checking their own voter registration status at www.sos.ca.gov/elections/registration-status.

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Saturdays with Seibert

Local Views of Santa Barbara by Dan Seibert

I saw the news reports of the people getting hit by a train and thought it sad. I have been on that bridge many times in the past 25 years as it’s a beautiful location. Not just the railroad trestle but the abandoned 101 bridge, wonderful backdrops for photographers.

The first few photos are from 1988, and I’m in the middle with my back to the camera. The rest are from February 2010 when I took a friend up for the sunrise. Very cold and very beautiful.

I understand why those young people walked out on the trestle last week.

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City of Santa Barbara Launches an Online Financial Transparency Tool

toolThe City of Santa Barbara has released an interactive, web-based financial transparency tool, here. Powered by OpenGov,this tool provides user-friendly access to the City’s financial data. The Viewer who sent this over adds, “I don’t know how the budget was presented before this neat-o cool-o graphic, but I think it used to contain line item expenditures, not just pretty bars.”

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Could the Drought Save Santa Barbara, California from Development?

overdIncluded in the most recent Plan Santa Barbara report were growth assumptions of approximately 2,800 new residential units and 2 million square feet of nonresidential development within City limits over the 20-year period. This additional growth was estimated to increase long-term citywide water demand by 5.5% by the year 2030. However, due to the drought, the City Council was forced to discuss suspension of projects that would add any new demand to the system.

On Tuesday, the City Council was torn on the recommended drought-related development restrictions which read… “during severe drought, extraordinary conservation is required of existing users, and demand from new development is a concern when existing customers are required to significantly cut back on water usage. This can also be a public perception issue with regard to the seriousness of the water shortage because all new demand adds to the problem, regardless of the amount. It is also important to balance the need for water conservation through possible restrictions on new development with a desire to not unduly impact an important sector of the local economy that have already been struggling for the past five years.”

City staff concluded that “the drought, while currently severe, is likely a temporary situation, and looking at the City’s water supplies long term, there is enough water to serve the new development anticipated by the General Plan. Suspending new development has economic ramifications that vary based on when in the process the project must be halted.” Mayor Helene Schneider asked the staff to present a list of alternative options before bringing back the discussion of restricting development.

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Santa Barbara View Poll Question of the Week

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On the Docket… Cajun Kitchen’s Gator Boy Mural

Today, the Santa Barbara City Council will discuss and consider the mural installation on the side of Cajun Kitchen in downtown Santa Barbara (Chapala and West Canon Perdido Streets) which is known locally at Gator Boy. The Historic Landmarks Commission (HLC) voted 5/1 to approve the mural but conditioned it for only one year after it was found to be unacceptable as permanent art for the location. The City Council will hear the appeal filed by restaurant business owner, Juan Jimenez.

The Santa Barbara City Council is expected to side with the HLC. According to the Agenda… “In granting a one-year time limit, the Commission compared the art mural to the most recent mural approved on lower State Street as a temporary mural installed on the south elevation of the Hotel Indigo. In contrast, that State Street art mural was sponsored by the Museum of Contemporary Art as a temporary exhibit, by a nationally renowned artist, does not serve as advertisement for a business, and was reviewed by the Visual Art in Public Places Committee (VAPP).”
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“The HLC was opposed to allowing the as-built mural to permanently remain in its current design and cited several reasons why the mural could not be approved as painted. It was noted that, while it is appreciated as an expression of art, it is not an appropriate permanent improvement located within El Pueblo Viejo (EPV). The Commission indicated that one method to gather support and get a mural installation approved is to go through the public art review process.”

“Staff is of the opinion that the painted “gatorboy” mural can be considered a logo sign advertisement that speaks more to the type of business that is being conducted within the building. The HLC does not typically accept or allow after-the-fact exterior alterations to buildings, especially if they believe the alterations are inconsistent with their EPV Design Guidelines. The HLC prefers to have some initial input on location, size and type of art exhibit that is proposed for permanent placement within EPV, especially if the art has not been vetted or reviewed by (VAPP).”

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Should Santa Barbara City College be Engaged in Sports Recruiting?

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To the Editor,

In the discussion about Measure S, SBCC portrays the educational institution as passive in simply required to take in every student who wants to attend.

It’s clear from watching their sports teams that they are engaged in recruiting efforts to bring students in from other areas.

SBCC_LogoThe quarterback on the football team, for example, has been described in recent sports reports as a freshman from Seattle. Seattle? Isn’t there a single community college for him to play at closer to his own community?

Similarly, I know that a high school student from Temecula has been recruited by SBCC to play for its new women’s water polo team. I guess Santa Barbara is a lot nicer place to play than in the Inland Empire.

And I have heard that in the baseball program, most freshmen are automatically red-shirted. In a two-year school? And they are planning a big tryout “camp” for potential players, from the area and beyond, to attend in December.

I would like to see a full accounting from SBCC about the amount of sports recruiting they do and what it costs, in time, money and effort.

Somehow I think we’re paying a very high price for them to play games at the expense of local taxpayers and at the expense of local kids having the opportunity to play for the local community college.

I will be voting NO on Measure S.

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What Will Measure P Actually Do?

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I spent a lot of time recently trying to understand what measure P will actually do. The conclusion I’ve come to is that it will essentially preserve the status quo and prevent a local oil boom that might result in 10,000 or more new wells. Here’s how I arrived at this conclusion: First, here’s a look at the concerns of both sides. The concern of the oil industry seem to be two: 1) existing wells will be shut down and, 2) they will not be able to drill thousands of new wells using the more intense methods now needed to get the oil out. The concern of the proponents of P are three: 1) that too much water will be used, 2) concern about aquifer pollution and 3) climate and air pollution concerns.

Opponents call it the oil shutdown initiative. In order to understand how the county might enforce this, I looked at statements made by the County Counsel’s office. Opponents of Measure P are saying 100% of existing wells could be affected. What does affected mean? Does that mean they’d be shut down or something else, like they’d have to get a permit? Listening carefully to recordings of the Board of Supervisors meetings and the Planning Commission meetings addressing this issue, I found that Santa Barbara County Council Mike Ghizzoni was asked about this. He cited the landmark California Supreme Court case, Avco Community Developers vs. South Coast Regional Commission. He applied the Avco standard to the Measure P and concluded current production will be allowed to continue.

Near the end of a later meeting, Sept 3 of the Planning Commission, Bill Dillon of the County Counsel’s office said that existing wells do not even have to come in and apply for an exemption if they already have a permit. “if they have a vested right and they are sure of it, they do not have to come in” (for an exemption). They do have the option of applying for an exemption just to have that determination if they want to, or have some doubt.

It seems that the shutdown concern of the industry is unfounded, but their second concern is real. They may not be able to drill their 10,000+ new wells. At the Planning Commission meeting Santa Maria Energy (one of the 16 companies operating here) states that they have approval for 136 wells on 32 acres but what about their other 4000 acres and the 7,700 well locations they have planned? This is just one of the companies indicating they plan to ramp up oil production, most of which do to propose to use high-intensity oil extraction.   Continue Reading →

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Saturdays with Seibert: Full Moonrise

Local Views of Santa Barbara by Dan Seibert

Tuesday evening a full moon rose over the harbor teeming with activity.  Surfers caught waves at Sand Spit, SUP’s and kayakers enjoyed the very warm weather & waves rolling into the harbor.  One guy even went for a paddle and took his dog.

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Save the Gator Boy

The unapproved mural on the side of Cajun Kitchen in downtown Santa Barbara has locals rallying to save the mural via a social media campaign, #savethegatorboy!

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Vintage Views of Santa Barbara, California

Can any Viewers recognize these old eateries, the location and/or date? Answers below

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Nite Owl at 530 State St. and the Rice Bowl Cafe at 532 State St. as seen in 1980.

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Two Years of the Santa Barbara Sentinel

sentinelThis week marks the two-year anniversary of the Santa Barbara Sentinel. The publication debuted October 5-12, 2012.

The “conversation paper” launched with 24 pages, including a spread provided by Santa Barbara View. Two years later, the Sentinel is a bi-weekly publication with twice the page count and a growing advertising base. You will also find multiple articles every issue by Cheri Rae and Sharon Byrne.

From all of us at Santa Barbara View, congratulations and happy anniversary!

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Re: El Encanto Parking Woes/ Progress

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I’m writing on behalf of Belmond El Encanto, as we’d like to offer a response to the article “Saturdays with Seibert: El Encanto Parking Woes/ Progress”

We’d like to start by graciously thanking Daniel for highlighting Belmond El Encanto’s recent improvements in managing our employee parking and rectifying a complaint that has existed for decades. The managerial team has implemented a very thorough transportation program for Belmond El Encanto associates and will continue comprehensive street monitoring and patrolling to ensure that employees remain compliant with our commitment to our neighbors and city.

With regards to the perimeter of the property, we were very disappointed to see Daniel’s critical commentary. He is correct that Belmond El Encanto is being very mindful of water conservation, thus allocating our precious resources judiciously. With that said, most guests continue to praise our 7-acres of garden landscaping, from the drought resistant plantings to the lush pathways and arbor and lily pond. The team is disappointed that his view is that our landscaping is “sad” and that “it’s obvious nobody seems to care,” this which is simply is not the case. Belmond El Encanto is compliant with city water usage mandates and is doing the very best we can to maintain the integrity of our grounds during this severe drought.

If you could please publish this response on our behalf, we would be most appreciative.

Sincerely,
Ty Bentsen
Managing Director | THE BRANDMAN AGENCY
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