Notes on the Milpas Community Association’s Community Meeting

By Betsy Cramer

Last week, the Milpas Community Association (MCA) hosted a community meeting of updates and information. Approximately 50 or 60 individuals met at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church to hear reports on the Milpas/101 highway work, neighborhood littering—and what to do about it—public safety and respect for each other.

Jeremy-GusFrias_226It was a program that could well have been extended over two meetings. Perhaps, the biggest draw was the promised presentation by Dr. Gus Frias on gang issues. Unfortunately, the most dynamic, Dr. Frias’s, was not until after two hours in, by which time much of the audience had left.

SharonByrne_219Sharon Byrne, Executive Director of the MCA, led off by pointing out the accomplishments of the past year. Kristin Ayars, publicist and community liaison, informed that the Milpas overpass will be finished “probably early next year.” Similarly, for the much- anticipated Cacique Street underpass, there will be a ribbon cutting “early next year.”

Less clear-cut were answers to concerns about safety in the Cacique area well-known for problems: will there be lighting and a camera, for instance? These are city issues, Ayars explained, but in her opinion, the underpass will be safe, just as is the State Street underpass. CLICK HERE for more information and/or to watch the 101 traffic web cam.

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Toon Op: Double Dip

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Unauthorized reproduction prohibited. By local cartoonist Steve Greenberg.

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EcoFacts: Soft Stuff

Column by Barbara Hirsch

cottonAmong the softest of stuffs is cotton, responsible for most of our clothing, and for the use of a disproportionate amount – between 10 and 25% – of the world’s pesticides and herbicides (defoliants), as cotton is planted on around 2% of arable land.  Grown around the world, two thirds of it comes from China, India and the U.S.  Most of the crop is Genetically Modified, but as this is not resistant to all pests and weeds, requires pesticide and herbicide use anyway. One example  – Aldicarb, a nerve agent, is classified as “extremely hazardous” by the WHO (World Health Organization) but nevertheless, over $100 million’s worth is used on cotton crops. Paraquat, a herbicide or defoliant, is another common toxin used in cotton fields. The list goes on, along with the toll from the synthetic fertilizers, about a third of a pound per t-shirt.

We experience cotton as such comforting and attractive natural stuff, and yet its cultivation has posed clear dangers to the environment and workers for decades. From this darkness has arisen many organizations and initiatives with goals of a more sustainable cotton production, healthier for all. The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (members include Patagonia, Nike H&M, Walmart), Better Cotton Initiative (cofounded by Adidas), CmiA (Cotton made in Africa), Sustainable Cotton Project (California) are some big ones. And then there are small groups making a difference in their communities, such as the Kokkabok Women’s Cotton group who grow, spin and weave organic cotton in a small region of Thailand.

Organic cotton production has been increasing annually, last year leaping to over 1% of all cotton grown!  (; }  their  lower yields made up for by fetching higher prices. But at least more than that is grown in certifiably more sustainable ways. In sub-Saharan Africa, 8% of the world’s cotton is grown by small farmers who use rain-fed cultivation, no defoliants as the cotton is picked by hand, and fewer pesticides.

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Santa Barbara Garden Post: Strawberries

Weekly Column by Cerena Childress – Sustainability, Eating Fresh and Organic

Strawberry Tips for Tasty Super Berries!

Strawberries are in the Rose family.

The average berry has 200 seeds, the only fruit whose seeds are on its exterior surface!  The seeds are really the fruit!

gardenUsually grown from runner daughters, they will grow from seed.  Just throw down caps you bit the berry from.  Sooner or later, you will have a plant you didn’t ‘plant.’  Strawberry seed saving is simple.

Eight out of 10 strawberries grown in the U.S. are grown in California!

Strawberries came in second to blueberries in the USDA’s analysis of antioxidant capacity of 40 fruits and vegetables. They are also rich in dietary fiber and manganese, and contain more vitamin C than any other berry.

When do I plant strawberries? Not now, NOVEMBER!  In fact, they start producing runners now, but cut them off until early July!  Then let them grow, and cut off the new baby plants mid October for November planting.  Or, just let them grow to fill spots where, for one reason or another, a plant has gone missing, needs replacing, and/or another could fit in.  When those needs are taken care of, cut off the rest of the runners.  These runner plant babies will grow so fast you will be getting berries from them late summer and fall if you have everbearers/day neutral types!!

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Adopt a Dog: Meet Kona

kona np colorKona is a year to two-year old spayed female chocolate lab mixed with a breed built to run marathons. Shy for the first minute, then warms up quickly. Loves human companionship and playing with the other young dogs at DAWG. Quick to learn, eager to please, will blossom into an exceptional companion dog with consistency and attention.
A fine family dog.
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In the News: The John Edwards/Santa Barbara Connection

In another chapter of the sad saga of former Senator and vice presidential nominee and presidential candidate John Edward’s stunning fall, he was indicted today by a grand jury in Raleigh, NC. The six-count indictment concerns the expenditure of $925,000 in housing and medical expenses to provide for his mistress-in-hiding, Rielle Hunter.

And there’s a Santa Barbara connection: A good portion of those funds were spent right here. Hunter lived in a gated seaside estate in Santa Barbara—that rented for $9,000 a month—during the last stages of her pregnancy and after the baby was born in February 2008 at Santa Barbara’s Cottage Hospital.

Various media reports note she was spotted around town—shopping at J. Crew, walking with baby Frances Quinn Hunter in her Baby Bjorn—but generally kept a low local profile.

The Santa Barbara for John Edwards website is still online headlined with his quote, “We do not have to accept mediocrity or compromise our values. We can decide to be great, we can address great problems, we can see great possibilities.”

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Vintage Photo: Santa Barbara, California

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Photo Credit for Vintage Series: Early Santa Barbara Photos taken by J W Collinge and other Santa Barbara photographers. Solely for use on the Santa Barbara View.

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Take a Hike Santa Barbara

607Tomorrow/ Saturday is National Trails Day…  and with so many beautiful hikes in Santa Barbara, what better way to celebrate than to get out and take a hike.

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1st Thursday

fiestaposterToday is Downtown Santa Barbara’s “First Thursday” Cultural Arts Event.  On the first Thursday of each month, the Santa Barbara community celebrates its arts and culture when over thirty businesses open up their establishments from 5pm to 8pm to visitors and locals to include new exhibitions, music, artist receptions. If you haven’t seen the 20 poster finalists for the Old Spanish Days-Fiesta art competition, stop by Walter Claudio or Business First Bank for a glimpse at the 20 Juror’s Choice artworks, including the winner – Celebrate with Cascarones (pictured right).

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Rental Housing Mediation Task Force

The Santa Barbara Rental Housing Mediation Task Force (RHMTF) is trying to save two part-time positions and their voluntary Board which are on the City Council’s chopping block. The City of Santa Barbara budget will be up for vote today/ Thursday, June 2nd, from 9:00am-12:00pm in the City Council Chambers.

According to RHMTF… The program has been providing mediation between landlords and tenants since 1976.This is an essential service that resolves conflicts without costly legal challenges. By eliminating staff available to conduct client office visits, and only allowing over the phone information makes RHMTF services less accessible to people with disabilities. RHMTF is a benefit to both landlords and renters, we cannot lose this valuable resource. Tenants depend on this service and many have benefited and were able to avoid homelessness as a result.

Below is their appeal letter:

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Going out of Business?

sportszoneThe Sports Zone in Santa Barbara’s Paseo Nuevo Shopping center is advertising a “Going Out of Business Sale!”; however, according to Paseo Nuevo representatives, the store isn’t actually going out of business, rather it’s moving to a new location in the mall.

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Santa Barbara Home Prices Tumble…

The Santa Barbara County real estate market is headed towards a “double dip”, with home values plunging once again. According to the Real Estate Research Council of Southern California appraisal math, Southern California home values fell 1.5 percent in the year ended in April. That followed the first regional gain in four years. Performance by county ranged from best in San Diego (up 0.5 percent in a year) to Santa Barbara’s worst – a 3.9 percent tumble.

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Re: Cold Springs Arch Bridge

A reader sends along the below photo of a netting being installed on a bridge in Switzerland (click to enlarge). This system is less obtrusive than the multi-million dollar cage Caltrans is going to install on the historic bridge. Also, below is a picture of a capture net, which was good enough for the Golden Gate Bridge.
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Building Barriers in Santa Barbara…

Construction of an unsightly suicide barrier over and around the historic Cold Springs Arch Bridge can continue, according to Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Thomas Anderlae. In 2010, construction of the multi-million dollar barrier was brought to a halt thanks to legal action by Friends of the Bridge. Yesterday, Judge Anderlae dismissed the arguments made by the Friends of the Bridge, including the idea of a capture net, which was also discussed by the Santa Barbara City Council.

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Lost in the Airport Preening

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With all the preening about the new airport terminal, they seem to have missed something. United Express/Skywest seems to have ceased flying the larger EXPlus aircraft into SBA which had both 1st Class and Economy Plus seating on the Canadair 700′s and have gone to the smaller (more cramped) Canadair 200 aircraft servicing our market. Since United is the dominant airline at SBA it’s interesting to note they get a new terminal we get a reduced product. Frontier has a good product with their Embraer aircraft which are larger but that’s limited service.

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