Community Partners Help Keep Santa Barbara Santa Barbara ™ Partners

Safe Passage and Historic Preservation in Mission Canyon

Last month, the Santa Barbara City Council approved a resolution to make the Mission Park to Mission Canyon Improvements Plan a project in the City’s Capital Improvement Program. For the few critics who complained that even after multiple walkabouts and public workshops, not enough community input was given; a “Mission Park to Mission Canyon Community Plan Meeting” will be held on Wednesday, April 8 at 7 p.m. at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

Safe Passage is a combined plan to celebrate the historic resources in the lower Mission Canyon area and to ensure a safe walking route from the Mission to the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History and all the way up to Foothill Road. Some 10,000 trips per day travel thorough the bottleneck area—with nearly a million visitors to the Mission each year.

The Plan is a grant-funded community process and joint effort of the County and City to prepare concept level plans for pedestrian, bicycle, and vehicle circulation improvements in the historic Mission Canyon corridor. The Plan area extends from the intersection of Laguna Street and East Los Olivos Street to the intersection of Mission Canyon Road and Foothill Road. No continuous pedestrian or bicycle connection exists through this narrow corridor. Although a few facilities exist at various points, they are not continuous, nor do they comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The lack of continuous facilities makes walking and biking in the area difficult and hazardous for residents and visitors.

This third public workshop, directed by the City Staff, is an attempt to increase public awareness. The purpose of the meeting is to present the conceptual plan (available online here) and allow the public to ask questions about the project and understand the public process that led to this innovative plan about safe passage and historic preservation.

Saturdays with Seibert: Orange Crush

Local Views of Santa Barbara by Dan Seibert

Friday morning, just before the sun came up I was stopped on State street at Anapamu. Looking up the street I saw something orange in the bike lane. Some kind of custom recumbent bike, or maybe electric vehicle.

Later I saw a post by Steven on Edhat, he saw the same thing and took two photos. My red truck is visible in one photo. Although this vehicle is orange it’s also very low. In the same photo as my small Toyota truck there are three full sized contractor type trucks. This driver is very brave, no flags or banners to alert drivers. Knowing how people drive in this town I wonder how long it will be until we hear about, “Orange Crush.”

(And yes I fear for this guy having been hit by an inattentive driver on the 405. I was a passenger in a big red truck towing a 40 foot trailer with outrigger canoes and we were hit, then bounced off of three other cars. So yes, bad things happen. . .)

Ice Ace: The Clear Vision of John Rodrigues

“Sculpture is the art of the intelligence.” –Pablo Picasso

By Cheri Rae

cherilogo-150x150Take one 7,200-pound block of ice, add an assortment of power tools—including a chain saw and a drill—put them in the hands of one uniquely talented individual and you’ve got art. Ice Art. Crystal-clear and freezing cold, it lasts only until the sun comes out.

John Rodrigues just returned from competing in the World Ice Art Championships in Fairbanks, Alaska, where he worked for days on a massive chunk of ice, turning into two large and graceful swans featuring intricately feathered wings.

ice art birdsThat experience is just another chapter in the interesting life of this author/teacher/artist/high-school dropout/college graduate/inspirational speaker. One more interesting aspects about Rodrigues: like 1 in 5 people, he has dyslexia and it’s anything but a disability.

Rodrigues struggled in the classroom—so much so that he dropped out of high school, but not before he learned the skill of ice sculpting in a special Culinary Arts program. As a teenager with this unique talent, he landed a job on a cruise ship making thousands of dollars a month as he traveled to exotic ports of call around the world. Despite all that money and all that travel, the desire to earn a college education burned within him. And he decided to return to school. “Ironically, the key to getting into college was not in trying to change my dyslexia,” he noted, “but in embracing how I learned to its maximum potential.”

from high school to harvardHe started taking classes at his local community college, eventually transferred to University of California, Berkeley, and studied at Harvard University. Today, he teaches high school math in Hemet, CA.

As part of the Santa Barbara Unified School District’s regular “Dyslexia Dialogues,” Rodrigues, author of “High School Dropout to Harvard: My Life with Dyslexia,” will be speaking at the Santa Barbara High School Auditorium on Thursday, March 26 at 7 p.m. He will share the story about his uniquely inspired pathway to success, and his recent competition in the World Ice Art Championships in Alaska. The event is free and Spanish interpretation will be available.

“John Rodrigues is an uplifting, rebellious voice who will strike a chord with anyone who has ever had a hard time marching in step in a culture of

conformity. His book is not just about how John found personal success after growing up with severe learning differences (Dyslexia and ADHD), it’s the story of his journey to accept himself by finding others labeled ‘disabled” or “not normal” who survived and even triumphed.” -Entertainment Weekly

Luna, Mars, and Venus‏

Local Views of Santa Barbara by Dan Seibert

Here’s follow up to my, “Saturday with Seibert” post. On Saturday the moon was 3% illuminated, with Mars appearing close by. On Sunday the breeze made some branches fuzzy while others were in focus. Now the moon was at 9% and had joined Venus in the same photo. I like the contrast of the moving branches and still moon, although everything is moving. – Dan


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.