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Sign of the Times: Santa Barbara Gas Prices

Gas prices continue to skyrocket in Santa Barbara, California. The immediate cause is being blamed on a power outage at an Exxon refinery in Torrance. Gas prices around the state have soared by 55 cents in the last week and are now sitting at historic highs. California has the most stringent fuel regulations in the nation and few refineries in the world can produce the blend that the state requires.


Measures A & B in Santa Barbara

Yes on Measures A and B will continue the funding for the arts that was approved by voters in 2008. This locally controlled funding cannot be touched by Sacramento. It is designated for music, art, theatre, and will enhance programs in math, science, career technology, and world languages. It will help bolster career technology classes that will teach a new generation of tradespeople who deserve to learn fundamental skills of construction, graphics and design, automotive technology and business. Voting YES on Measures A and B will ensure that the Santa Barbara Unified School District remains one of the top districts in California.

Voters will be voting to invest directly in our community. For every dollar that is invested in our local schools it yields almost double in return. Ask our music businesses who sell and repair instruments; ask our art businesses who sell the raw materials to student artists; ask our local hardware, paint and lumber companies who sell the materials to build stage sets; ask them if they benefit when the arts are funded locally. It is far too important for the well being of our students and the vitality of our community to let the current funding lapse.

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Santa Barbara Courthouse Clockwork

Santa Barbara photo of the week by Bill Heller. (click on photo to enlarge)

Thanks to some dedicated volunteers, the Courthouse clock tower has a new attraction. As if the view from the top wasn’t enough. Refurbishing the mechanism of the clock was something that was overdue. But the dedicated caretakers of this local gem went above and beyond. Rather than just fix the clock and close it back up, they realized the intricate workings of this amazing device was something most visitors would love to see. With the backdrop of an amazing mural the workings of the clock are as beautiful and interesting as the exterior architecture that encloses it. I particularly like the gear at the top that distributes the movement of the clock to the four faces on the sides of the tower.

Thanks to the anonymous poster on Santa Barbara View who suggested this shot a few months back. If you have a favorite spot you’d like to see just post it here. I love to hear about everyone’s favorite spots. -Bill Heller


EcoFacts: Commoner for “the Commons”‏

1970 was a big year for the natural world  becoming an issue of public awareness and policy. It was the year of the first Earth Day; Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency; the Senate passed, 73-0, the Clean Air Act; Barry Commoner was on the cover of Time Magazine with the headline The Emerging Science of Survival where he was called the Paul Revere of ecology. Among other alarms he had sounded, were those of nuclear fallout, leading to the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

In the beginning of Commoner’s book of 1971, The Closing Circle; Nature, Man, and Technology, he wrote at length about that first Earth Week and its meaning. “The environment has just been rediscovered by people who live in it.”  The ease of living in our modern age “leads us to believe that we have made our own environment and no longer depend on the one provided by nature.”

He went on to describe his informal laws of ecology-now sustainability:

  • Everything Is Connected to Everything Else.
  • Everything Must Go Somewhere
  • Nature Knows Best
  • There is No Such Thing as a Free Lunch

More and more, we’ll be seeing what, in his 1976 book The Poverty of Power, he presented as the interconnectedness of the “Three Es”: the threat to environmental survival, energy shortages, and the decline of the economy, one example being that the most energy intensive industries also have had the worst environmental impacts.What is needed now is a transformation of the major systems of production more profound than even the sweeping post–World War II changes in production technology.”

Barry Commoner died last Sunday at 95.


Santa Barbara Sentinel: A New Weekly Paper

Get your Santa Barbara news and views now in print! Santa Barbara View is proud to partner with the Santa Barbara Sentinel, a new weekly paper for Santa Barbara, on newsstands now.  Read fresh columns, business reports and much more every Friday in the Santa Barbara Sentinel.  But don’t forget to login every day to sbview.com for more news, views and information about Santa Barbara, California.

The Santa Barbara Sentinel was a good fit with our mission to Keep Santa Barbara Santa Barbara because of their desire for opinion journalism, something done best on Santa Barbara View.

While we hope this partnership will expand our reach and foster the mission, not everyone is happy to have another print publication…

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Random Occurrences and the Dystopia of Looper

Weekly Column by Sharon Byrne

Saturday: I walk the dog at 7 AM. He doesn’t get the concept of ‘weekend’, so my lie-ins are extinct. An RV is parked in front of the Family Services agency. There’s a bike outside, and a man is working on it. I greet him, introduce myself, and ask where he’s from. He opens with he didn’t kill his sister by stabbing her 19 times in the San Fernando Valley. The DA believes him. That’s why he’s up here, chilling out, getting away from that mess, hoping to find work. I nod, wish him well, round the corner and immediately call the police to please come by and run a check for outstanding warrants. We’ve had this problem before…

Sunday: 7 AM dog walk. The RV is gone, a pile of trash in its place. I notice the creek is low, it’s late summer…and a woman stands up, and stretches in her PJs in front of Family Services Agency. She slept there. She is 19, as it turns out, from my conversation with her. She hitchhiked in, landed on State St at midnight, and camped. Today, she’s hitchhiking down to San Diego. At 19, I would never have hitchhiked or camped on someone’s property in a city I didn’t know. I should mention I grew up in Atlanta. People had rather strong ideas about property rights, and guns to back them up. At 10, I climbed a neighbor’s tree at the border of our property, far from his home, to watch some distant fireworks. His dog started barking. He came out, looked in my direction, and cocked a shotgun.

I fell out of the tree and fled home, terrified.

I wished her a safe journey, and meant it.

Mental note to walk the dog on a different route in future.

Tuesday, I am on my bike, across from Circle K on Cacique, and I notice a man drinking in the parking lot. I call out to him, hey buddy, how about not drinking in public like that? We’re trying to improve the neighborhood around here. He stands up and screams profanities at me, challenges me to do something about it.

Challenge accepted. Bluetooth in my ear, I call 911. The man hurls his beer at me, and it spews at my feet. He’s charging towards me. I get on the bike and start pedaling. He chases me across the parking lot. I pedal, give the police location, description, and ask can they not hear him??? He’s shouting profanity at the top of his lungs, and people are stopping to look. I hightail it down Milpas on my bike. He chases me to the batting cages, and quits, winded. The police (still on the phone!) ask where I am now. The railroad tracks at Milpas. Wait there.

I wait. When they turn up, I tell the officer what had just happened. He replied that I really must have set this guy off.

My mouth falls open. I am wondering why he isn’t jumping back in that cruiser to collar the Enraged One. He admonishes me never to approach these guys, because they’re dangerous, and mentally ill. I could get hurt. I ask him what kind of world are we living in when a citizen cannot request that someone stop an illegal behavior on private property because she might be assaulted on the spot? He advises to call the police. OK, but we do just that.

Often. Continue reading…


Proposed Santa Barbara City Landmark Nomination for the Central Library, the Faulkner Gallery and the Historic Eucalyptus Trees

Friends and colleagues,

On October 23 our City Council will consider HLC’s recommendation for designating the Main Library and Faulkner Gallery, and 13 Corymbia citriodora (Lemon Eucalyptus) trees as historical landmarks. HLC acted unanimously to recommend designation of the building AND the trees as a unit, but Planning Staff has sent the item to Council separately; the building as one independent element and the trees as another.

The Parks & Recreation Department is opposing designation of the trees, claiming landmark status would be redundant protection since P&R already has jurisdiction over all trees on City land, and the Library Director also opposes designation on the grounds that the Library Plaza plan (abandoned since the RDA was dismantled) cannot be properly developed if the trees remain. My opinion regarding these arguments is that essentially one City department will go along to get along, so P&R cannot be relied on the protect the trees without the landmark designation. The Library Plaza plan could find other sources of funding and be resurrected.

I feel strongly that if people in support of the trees do not make an effort on their behalf they will NOT be protected. Continue reading…


Update: Kevin Costner Hedge Dispute

Santa Barbara View Exclusive Report

Kevin Costner and his wife, Christine, suffered a legal setback this week in the defense of their Padaro Lane view dispute with their neighbor, Charles Richard Grimm. The Costners’ Los Angeles-based attorneys have filed papers seeking to remove Kevin and Christine from the lawsuit and to have several of the legal claims against the Costners dismissed. Unfortunately for the Costners, the Judge disagreed and ruled that the Costners must remain as defendants in the case and that all of Mr. Grimm’s legal claims are valid. Among other things, Mr. Grimm’s lawsuit against the Costners claims that the Costners planted a hedge and allowed it to grow to a height exceeding the six-foot limitation stated in the exclusive beach community’s CC&Rs and that the hedge blocks Mr. Grimm’s ocean views, pictured right. The trial is set for late spring, 2013. Kevin Costner is no stranger to the courtroom, having recently been sued by Stephen Baldwin regarding a business dispute and, just this past July, filing a lawsuit against Morgan Creek Productions for allegedly not receiving profits from his 1991 movie, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

For the official complaint against Kevin Costner for excessive hedges, CLICK HERE.


Watch the Presidential Debate Live on Santa Barbara View: Replay Loaded

Working late? Not going to be near a television tonight when President Barack Obama debates his GOP rival, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney? No problem, because you can watch the debate via live stream on Santa Barbara View. The presidential debate from the University of Denver gets underway at 6 p.m., PDT.

Update: The full video reply is below, Click Continue Reading.

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