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Turkey Time in Santa Barbara, CA

Local Views of Santa Barbara by Dan Seibert

A friend of mine told me to check out the turkey’s on Modoc & MIssion. Sure enough, a tom and a hen, along with a few chickens have free range of the large yard. Driving by they almost look like yard art, but as I walked up they slowly walked towards me. With a few seconds the tom ruffled his feathers and took on the look of, gulp, the classic holiday bird.

Before he got too close I beat a hasty retreat. A really gorgeous bird.

EcoFacts: Clothing Makes the Person‏

Weekly column by Barbara Hirsch

Is the fast fashion trend waning? We can hope so. People in the U.S. spend more on clothes than ever before, an average of around $900 per person and 64 garments bought in a year (average price $14 each). They are sometimes poorly made and with fabrics that have toxic levels of phthalates another chemicals, but that is a whole other issue.

Fast fashion has been big in the last decade or more – cheap and hence readily disposable clothing, but a turnaround may be happening, as some fashion experts say a “buy less but better movement is brewing”. Great! Because the average person also disposes of 68 lbs of clothes (throws away) in a year. And then there is what we give away – so much that most of the donations to thrift stores ends up with textile recyclers who either sell them abroad or turn them into rags. Last year 860,000 tons of used clothing were exported. No stats on the rags.

Santa-Barbara-Consignment-Store-signHere is a hopeful indicator: if people are buying too many clothes, at least more are buying used, it seems. The number of thrift stores increased 12% in 2012. There are now around 25,000 resale or thrift shops in the U.S.. Well, the clothes are there to fill the shops, that’s for sure. Even downtown Santa Barbara has more consignment/resale clothing shops than ever. So maybe more of our massive amounts of clothing have at least a better chance at being worn until they are actually ready for rag status.

Be a Part of the 61st Annual Milpas Holiday Parade


Help make this the “December to Remember” on Milpas! YOU need to be in the Milpas Holiday Parade! It’s free for schools to enter… Santa Claus is up in the Fire Engine, dancers are dancing in the street, musical acts will entertain, scooters, Chinese Lion dancers will strut their stuff, and more! Merchants put out hot chocolate, and everyone has a lot of fun! Click here for entry forms.

The 61st Annual Milpas Holiday Parade takes place Saturday December 13, 2014 at 5:30 PM. The parade route runs along Milpas from Canon Perdido to Mason St.

Rick Feldman Named Grand Marshall
The Milpas Community Association (MCA) is delighted to announce that the Grand Marshal for the 61st annual parade is Rick Feldman of the EyeGlass Factory. Feldman was a founding member of the Milpas Community Association, and is a larger-than-life personality. Feldman conceived and produces Kids Day – an annual event that gives free eye exams, eyeglasses, health screenings and more to kids from all over the region at the EyeGlass Factory on Milpas St.

“It’s a huge gift to our community’s children – Feldman is just all heart. He’s perfect for our parade Grand Marshal!” says MCA President Alan Bleecker.

Rick Feldman (in blue, with scarf) next to Salud Carbajal, talking with a mother whose kid received free eyeglasses at Kids Day.This year marks the 20th anniversary of Kids Day at the EyeGlass Factory. Feldman long ago realized that academic performance can be hampered by a child’s ability to see clearly. That was the genesis of Kids Day, and it’s evolved into a huge hit. The event starts at 9 AM, but crowds often start lining up at dawn. Feldman has expanded his vision over the years from providing eye care and glasses to additional health offerings like dental and health screening services, visits with Santa and a fire engine, and more.

The Milpas Holiday Parade turns 61 years old this year, revived in 2012 by the Milpas Community Association. The parade is focused heavily on children, featuring multiple youth and community groups in its procession. Because of his decades-long community gift of Kids Day, Feldman was a natural choice for Grand Marshal. “We celebrate kids in this community, and try to select a Grand Marshal that we feel symbolizes that commitment to youth and families here,” said Bea Molina, MCA Vice President. “Rick truly cares about our kids.”

Kids Day takes place on December 14th at 9 AM at the EyeGlass Factory on Milpas St. Over 500 kids are expected to come for free eye exams and health screenings.

“The chance to see Santa is a big deal to a kid,” Feldman says, with a twinkle in his eye.

Pearl Chase Week Concludes

“If it hadn’t been for Pearl, Santa Barbara would look like Oxnard.”


As we wrap up coverage of Santa Barbara’s Pearl on the week of her birthday, here are some other great stories of Pearl Chase to run on Santa Barbara View over the years:

Santa Barbara High Girls’ basketball team circa 1904. Captain, coach, player: Pearl Chase, center, holding the basketball above her head. - See more at:
Santa Barbara High Girls’ basketball team circa 1904. Captain, coach, player: Pearl Chase, center, holding the basketball above her head.

Remember the Final Traffic Signal on U.S. 101?

From 1950 until November 1991, traffic lights along U.S. Highway 101 were a part of Santa Barbara life. Then, twenty three years ago today, the signal at the intersection of Anacapa Street–the last remaining traffic light on U.S. 101 between Los Angeles and San Francisco–was removed.
“When the lights were red, they were the only thing between motorists and 435 miles of free-and-open ride up and down the venerable highway between Los Angeles and San Francisco,” wrote the Los Angeles Times. “But when they were green, they seemed to stay green forever, and they divided Santa Barbara in two.” The lights actually lasted up to eight minutes and many motorists turned off their engines! Sheila Lodge, Mayor of Santa Barbara at the time, reportedly spent the interludes poring through her mail.

From the Introduction to Pearl Chase: First Lady of Santa Barbara

From the View Vault: Originally published for Pearl Chase’s 125th Birthday in 2013

By Cheri Rae

cherilogo-150x150In 1888 the following events happened: the establishment of Hotel del Coronado; the writing of “Casey at the Bat”; the founding of the City of San Pedro; the creation of the National Geographic Society; the development of the first photos on Kodak film—and most importantly for the City of Santa Barbara, the birth of Pearl Chase.

Saint Barbara gave her name to the City of Santa Barbara, but the woman who shaped this city was Miss Pearl Chase.

College-CutiePearl Chase was the city’s most influential woman of the 20th century. With her interests in public health and education; the arts and architecture; urban planning and environmental integrity, she was a true Renaissance woman who blazed her own unique trail, and compelled others to follow in her footsteps.

She commanded attention wherever she went. She learned early how to make friends and influence people. She demanded action from individuals. She expected excellence in civic involvement. She fearlessly led without aspirations for elective office. She relied on righteous indignation as a political tool.

“Government officials are really temporary—they come and go—and this constant turnover means that many citizen organizations have far greater continuity and relative importance in community affairs,” she explained. “Don’t assume leadership will come from the professions: you often won’t find it there. If you’re to succeed, you must be led by citizens and citizen groups, with the interest and support of key public agencies.”

When I moved to Santa Barbara in 1989, the first historic figure I heard about was Pearl Chase. I was fascinated by stories of her leadership in setting high standards for this community in every level of civic involvement. I came to admire her fearlessness in speaking truth to power throughout her long and extraordinary life.

And, when I was moved to action as a citizen interested in historic preservation and alarmed about overdevelopment, I was inspired by her belief in citizen oversight of governmental action, and her determination to make Santa Barbara a better place for visitors and residents alike.

platebook2Thanks to her example, I learned to find my voice as a journalist and a community activist in standing up and speaking out. I have long focused on a variety of quality-of-life issues that Miss Chase believed in and worked so hard to address.

In recent years, Santa Barbara has seen relentless moves to undermine, un-do and discredit the accomplishments of Miss Chase and those who worked with her to create this special place admired the world over.

Some claim that the grace, style and dignity she brought to this town are passé. Others insist that buildings should be taller, the population denser, and that there’s something elitist about heeding the past while planning for the future.

But here are still some residents who have learned from her example, who spend their time, treasure and talent to continue to make Santa Barbara a special place to live, work and play—and serve the greater good.

Pearl Chase relentlessly communicated her message using the tools of her time: personal contact, the telephone and the mail service. If she were with us today, it’s easy to imagine her blogging away, uploading videos to YouTube, posting comments on Facebook and using her own Twitter account to get the word out about current issues and events. As she noted at the age of 80: “My job is still the same. Get the message across. And make politicians and others feel they must pay attention to the people.”

signaturePart visionary, part pragmatic community organizer, Pearl Chase associated with presidents and politicians; philanthropists and forward thinkers; influential friends close to home and across the nation. She enlisted their help to make this special community a better place.

In her time, she succeeded.

The city of Santa Barbara is sometimes called a jewel, a gem, a treasure; few visitors or even residents realize how many facets of this beautiful place—so highly prized and richly valued—can be traced back to a woman named Pearl.

November 16th, Pearl Chase’s birthday, ought to be celebrated as Pearl Chase Day in Santa Barbara, the city that owes her so much. So much of the natural and architectural beauty we see around our community is directly attributable to the influence and vision of Pearl Chase.

Today, 125 years after her birth, it’s time to remember what she did. And learn how she got it done.

–From the Introduction to Pearl Chase: First Lady of Santa Barbara, Olympus Press, 2013

Pearl Chase First Lady of Santa Barbara

A we celebrate Pearl Chase Week, let’s thank Cheri Rae who last year finished, “Pearl Chase First Lady of Santa Barbara“! If you haven’t bought it yet, this incredible mini book is on sale at Chaucer’s, Santa Barbara Arts, Lewis & Clark and the Book Den. You can get it online at Amazon too for less than $3. It is a must have for all Santa Barbareños. Kellam de Forest, legendary preservationist and historian offers a few words about the book.

pearlchase_300x520“Cheri Rae’s little book provides, at last, a succinct account of Miss Chase’s life, accomplishments and contributions to Santa Barbara.  Such a book has long been needed to answer the oft-asked questions by visitors and newcomers alike ‘who was Pearl Chase and why was she important?‘  It is hard even for me, who knew Miss Chase, to rattle off her all her contributions and to explain her importance.  Now here is a book that answers these questions and more. I learned things about her I hadn’t known before. The book does not pretend to be a scholarly tome, but is a well-written and informative narrative of who Miss Chase really was, a must for anyone who wants to know more about Santa Barbara.”

Kellam de Forest

Picking Up Sticks at Franceschi Park

Local Views of Santa Barbara by Dan Seibert

You probably know by now I keep a camera with me at all times. When I see something interesting I shoot it, strange, I shoot it. beautiful…

This morning I parked in the spot I featured earlier on SB View, the three parking spots above Orpet park. I pulled in and decided to walk around. These are only a few of the photos I took heading up Mission Ridge.

It was nice because no cars passed me, almost total silence. I dropped down into lower Franceschi park because ten years ago I shot some photos and wanted to shoot the same scenes.

As I walked down I could see much vegetation had been cleared. Even ten years ago I noticed plants had been removed from the switchbacks in the lowest part of the park. Today most sides of the pathways were barren. And it’s not from the drought. The plants that were here had been here for decades.

Here’s the reason I’m writing this. I saw a stack of limbs, three inches thick and 8 to 10 feet long piled up. As I walked down I saw more of these used as barriers to keep people from cutting across the switchbacks. The very same switchbacks that once had vegetation, TO STOP THIS!

Now it’s mostly a barren hillside and someone is using the limbs, like “Pick Up Sticks.” This is a lawsuit in the making. Someone, maybe not city employees is using the stacked limbs to thwart those cutting. Regardless, the cut limbs should be removed from the park.


The Rewards are Many

Steve Cook is back with his column Santa Barbara by Bicycle

Sometimes it’s hard to get motivated to ride when the weather is turning and it’s a bit cold out. This morning I woke up early and decided to ride to Carpinteria and back for a workout. As I headed down the hill to cross the Westside towards the beach, there was a chill in the air, and the clouds were dropping a few sprinkles on me. I suppose the nice thing about living on a hill is that you think twice about cutting the ride short and going back. It’s much easier to just keep those pedals turning and head down to the flatlands.

Sunrise at the Harbor
Sunrise at the Harbor

Upon reaching the harbor the sunrise was stunning so I pulled over to take a quick photo. If you look closely (click on the photo), you can even see the pelicans rising over the sandbar, and someone in the foreground sharing the same view.

Onward towards the Bird Refuge, then up over Channel Drive, out the bike path and past the Biltmore, through South Jameson, across the freeway, on North Jameson continuing on to the Ortega Ridge bike path. That path is so nice as it cuts the hill climb down to nothing compared to having to climb the winding road up the ridge as in years past. In fact, I no longer feel guilty taking this easy shortcut!

Continuing through Summerland to Via Real, and into Carpinteria, crossing the bridge at Santa Ynez Avenue, then heading East on Carp Ave. It always amazes me how nice Carp is to ride in — people give me plenty of clearance when passing, and don’t rush to cut me off with dangerous “right hook” turns like they sometimes do in Santa Barbara. As I passed the post office my odometer hit 15 miles and I decided to take the next right on Concha Loma, then headed back over the Eighth Street bridge (walking over the bridge, of course). This is a great little pedestrian bridge that was rebuilt a few years back right over the unique Carpinteria creek. The creek leads to the marsh on the beach — if you ever have a chance, head on down Linden Avenue to the State Beach Park and stroll along the beach for some great sights and ocean views.

Getting back on my bike, I continued on Eighth Street until Linden, then turned right on Linden, and left onto Carp Ave to take the same route back to Santa Barbara. The nice thing about this ride is that it’s generally flat. The hills are not sharp and are easy to climb, and the downhills allow a bit of speed to make up the time lost climbing them.

The one thing I’d like to talk about in depth is a particular challenge riding westbound on Cabrillo Boulevard by the Bird Refuge. I ride on the road as the multi-use path is encumbered with walkers, runners, strollers, pavement cracks and debris which is not too amenable for riding at speed. So, I ride on the street, legally, in the traffic lane.

However, when I get to the S-curve I need to keep an eye in my mirror for trucks approaching behind me. I cannot depend on the 3-foot to pass law alone when it comes to my safety. I’ve had two close calls in the last couple of months on this curve with trucks passing me “in the lane” instead of changing lanes to pass. This morning it was a Marborg truck with a large roll-off bin mounted on the back. This truck takes all 12-14′ of the lane width — there is no room for any other vehicle, in this case a bike, to occupy the same lane. This is a four-lane road and there is plenty of opportunity to change lanes to pass, but if I’m too far to the right trucks and other wide vehicles can make the wrong judgement call and pass in the lane. In September, a Berry Man company truck missed my head with its mirror by inches during a same-lane pass. This can prove to be fatal, as it was for Matthew O’neill up in Foxen Canyon a few months back. Lane positioning is an essential tool for a bicyclist to guide other vehicles and help them make safe passing decisions.

When I see a truck approaching from the rear, I “take the lane”, centering myself in the right-most lane, thus causing the truck to make the proper (and legal) decision to change lanes to pass, or to slow down and wait for a safe time to pass. I used this technique last week when I noticed a truck and horse trailer approaching from the rear as I was riding Highway 150 east of Carpinteria. This persuaded the driver to slow down, and pass when there was no hill blocking their visibility or oncoming traffic. The driver slowed and waited. They did not honk or express any anger — they understood my safety was paramount. When they passed me I waved in thanks to them and they waved back to me. In each case it may have cost the other driver 1-5 seconds at most to wait for the safe and proper time to pass. This is not too much to ask of others on the road to keep traffic accidents at a minimum. Here, you’ll find some good details on the 3-foot to pass law; some of the laws that pertain to bike riding in California; and lastly, some good tips for courteous cycling.

All-in-all it was a great ride and I’m glad I didn’t turn around just because it was 50 degrees outside and threatening rain. Had I done so I’d have missed a sweet sunrise, a 31 mile workout, and a pleasant walk over the Eighth Street bridge.

SB to Carp and Back
SB to Carp and Back

If you’re interested in riding and want to know how to get started, consider taking a class from a League Certified Instructor at the Bicycle Coalition. If your business or organization would like to have classes taught onsite, please contact me at

Read more about Getting Around Santa Barbara by Bicycle in my blog: or follow me on Twitter: SantaBarbaraUpClose

I’ll be looking for you on the road. If you see me on my ElliptiGO bike, say Hi!

This Date in Local History: Stearns Wharf Fire

Just before 10 p.m. on Wednesday, November 18, 1998, a fire broke out on Stearns Wharf near the Moby Dick Restaurant. Immediately a four alarm fire was declared and every firefighter in the city responded. The whole wharf was made of wood and the planks are soaked in creosote which acts as a wood preservative. Unfortunately creosote is also highly flammable.

According to one account, firemen drove their fire trucks right onto the burning wharf to the edge of the fire. Then armed with chainsaws they cut out a section of the wharf between them and the fire, and made a stand. Their strategy worked. The Harbor Restaurant and gift shops were saved. Lost were the Moby Dick restaurant and two other businesses. The mayor immediately declared without hesitation that Santa Barbara would promptly rebuild the wharf as fast as possible.