Vintage Views of Santa Barbara, California

Here is a photo of the Boeseke & Dawe Co. building as seen after the June 29, 1925 Santa Barbara earthquake. Does anyone know where this was/is? Answer below
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Busted on a Bike

By Cheri Rae

cheriIn all the recent back-and forth about bikes or cars in Santa Barbara, it seems like we’re missing something. It’s bikes and cars, and there are rules to help everyone share the road safely.

For several years, I made my living writing articles and editing magazines about the sport and utility of bicycling, and I’ve learned a lot about the right way to ride. But years before that, I learned one important lesson that seems to be lost on far too many bike riders: Stop at the STOP sign.

Every time I see a bike rider roll right through an intersection without heeding the sign, I’m reminded of the time I did the same thing. It didn’t turn out too well.


When I was growing up, my strict father was a stickler for punctuality. The surefire way to get in trouble at home when we were teenagers was arriving late—even just five minutes late. My sister and I knew it, and were usually conscientious about staying on the right side of time.

But there was this one long summer day at the local swim club where we regularly hung out; we just couldn’t seem to break away from the enticing pleasures of adolescent fun under the sun. When we could finally stay not a moment longer without risking restriction, we pulled on our Levi cut-offs and hopped on our 10-speeds. Since we were already late, we didn’t even take an extra minute to cover up our bikini tops before we headed home.

In high gear, we pedaled as fast as we could through the familiar neighborhood route on the 4-mile ride. Paying no attention to the typical rules of the road, we blasted through the wide, clear suburban intersections to beat the clock. We had made up enough time that we were on track to avoid Getting in Trouble.

We would have, too, if it hadn’t been for the cop parked down the block who caught us zooming past a stop sign just before the entrance to our subdivision. He turned on his lights and pulled us over. On our bikes. Wearing our skimpy bikini tops.

He looked, lectured and took his time. As the clock ticked past zero hour, we were out of time and officially In Big Trouble. He wrote us up and handed us our tickets for running the stop sign. He told us we were lucky and that he was doing us a favor; that maybe because he had done his job he had saved our lives.

That seemed unlikely. By then, a good 20 minutes late, the prospect of showing up so late with tickets in our hands seemed like life as we knew it was pretty much over anyway.

We faced our father: Busted, grounded, and humiliated with no plausible excuses.

We had to explain ourselves: our bad decision-making and poor judgments in choosing fun-in-the sun while we ignored the time; failing to cover up; riding recklessly through the intersections. And our run-in with the law.

Then, when the summons came in the mail, we had to go to court.

Dressed in our Sunday best, we appeared tearfully before the judge and accepted responsibility for our transgression as he sternly admonished us about the dangers of running a stop sign on a bicycle. Since the whole family showed up and we obviously showed remorse, he dismissed the charges. The judge was more lenient than our dad: We finally worked our way back into our parents’ good graces, but it took a good part of the summer before we were allowed back in the pool or on the bikes.


These days, I regularly notice cyclists ignore the rules of the road and get away with it. And it always reminds me of that hot summer afternoon, a million years ago, when my sister and I didn’t. Maybe that cop was right, that he did us a favor by teaching us a lesson we never forgot. What I know for sure is that neither of us ever again tempted fate by running a stop sign—and we’re still here to tell the story.

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Senior Development at 251 S. Hope Avenue

In a related note to Sharon’s column, the Santa Barbara Housing Authority is proposing a new development for low-income seniors at 251 South Hope Avenue, called “The Gardens on Hope”. The Gardens on Hope will be situated on a 1.75 acre lot located at 251 S. Hope Avenue, which is adjacent to Graham Chevrolet and is adjacent to a channelized section of Arroyo Burro Creek. The development will consist of 90 to 100 studio units serving low income, frail seniors, modeled after Garden Court.

Friends of affordable housing say… “the need for affordable senior housing is growing significantly nationwide. Today, just over 34 percent of the US population is aged 50 and over, and their numbers are rising rapidly with the aging of the baby-boom generation.The populations among 65-74 year olds is set to soar from 21.7 million in 2010 to 32.8 million in 2020 and 38.6 million in 2030. Unfortunately with this growth, the number of seniors living in poverty and in need of affordable housing also continues to grow, and Santa Barbara is no exception. Within the City of Santa Barbara proper:”

  • 1 in every 14 seniors live in poverty
  • Seniors make up 13.1% of the people living in poverty in the City of Santa Barbara – the highest percentage of any area of the County
  • The trend of seniors living in poverty has continued to grow within the City of Santa Barbara
  • There are 805 senior, single person residents on the Housing Authority’s Section 8 wait list, of which 70% have annual incomes less than $15,900 (less than the annual cost of an average 1 bedroom apartment in Santa Barbara)
  • 31% of the seniors on the Section 8 wait list have a disability
  • The percentage of seniors on these wait lists has grown much faster over the past 5 years than any other segment of the Housing Authority’s wait list population

A planning Commission meeting will take place on Thursday, October 9, 2014 at 1:00PM at the City Hall Council Chambers to discuss this development, pictured below.

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The Darker Side of Aging

By Sharon Byrne, as featured in the Santa Barbara Sentinel

When I was little, we often visited our UK relatives. Grandma Byrne lived in a Home for the Aged, as Brits call them. She had a nice flat, with a parakeet, and her own furniture. The Home took them round to the shops, and on outings. She was well looked after, especially given it was government-run.

But that’s Europe for you – they take care of you from cradle to grave over there.

By contrast, the American system of care for the elderly is a bit of a crapshoot. There are good facilities, to be sure, but there are some awful ones too. Lest you think I am talking about some dreadful state-run facility for destitute elderly, egregious instances of elder abuse also occur in private facilities, the kind you pay a lot of money for.

It’s an old joke here that Santa Barbara is for the newly-wed and nearly-dead, but there’s some truth to the adage, as there are quite a few senior living communities here. The climate is gentle on older bones, and the scenery stunning. Senior living options include:

1. Independent Living
2. Assisted Living
3. Skilled Nursing Care

These are fairly self-explanatory, and the cost goes up as you move down the list. Assisted living facilities are not inexpensive, with some here running at $5,000 per month. That doesn’t include extras: hospital beds, wheelchairs, diapers, medications, bedding, and additional care-givers.

Senior living facilities aren’t charities. They’re a business, so their job is to generate revenues and minimize expenses. They must market themselves, and the brochures for some of these places look terrific. Piano in the main room, activities, gourmet meals – they sound a bit like resorts. But the reality can be quite different. Some facilities draw clients by advertising that they have an RN on site, but the staff are hourly workers without nursing skills, and the RN is never there. So who’s dispensing medication?

Economic pressures drive leaner staffs, so seniors that require too much labor can be subjected to some dreadful tactics. Someone who needs considerable assistance to use the restroom, for example, is sedated and diapered so as to reduce staff load. The family is told the senior is now incontinent. And don’t disrupt the dining room by complaining loudly about the food or causing a scene. You will be isolated to meals in your room.

One facility here has a ‘death closet’, where the recently deceased are stored while awaiting removal. A family with a loved one at this facility came to visit. The loved one had cognitive impairment issues, so the family was quite surprised to discover she was not in her room, but someone else was. When the family cornered staff on her whereabouts, they discovered to their horror that she had been moved into the ‘death closet’. The facility wanted to rent out her room at a higher rate, while still charging the family for it.

Some workers are understandably horrified by these kinds of abuses, but fear speaking out, as whistle-blowers aren’t likely to be welcomed at other facilities. The same goes for family members who protest about problems with their loved one’s care. Bills for newly necessary equipment, new requirements for a caregiver at your expense, and even eviction can ensue as retribution.

Many of us take care with our health, strive to live a long life…. and shudder at the thought of wasting away in a nursing home as our closing chapter. We also cringe with worry over subjecting our parents to potential abuse when they’re very frail. Money is supposed to be the great equalizer in this country – we believe that by having financial resources, we can insulate ourselves from being at the mercy of others, particularly when we are at our most vulnerable. But even with expensive senior care, there are no guarantees. The industry is loosely regulated, and California generously warns facilities of impending inspections.

What can you do? Review the Medicaire ratings for facilities. A Place For Mom also has great info on audits and complaints. Hire caregivers to keep eyes on your loved one when you can’t be there. Make surprise visits. Ensure your family puts these provisions in place for you.

As a country with a large population of aging baby boomers facing their golden years, you can bet this issue will generate increasing scrutiny, as it should. Our senior care options should be a lot better than this.

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Audits and Complaints on Senior Living Facilities

ultimate_senior_living_1Hi -

I’m reaching out in reference to author Sharon Byrne’s article The Darker Side of Aging written on 9/24. In it, she suggests A Place for Mom as a way to look into audits and complaints on senior living facilities. Here is our link that will help readers look up these reports.

Thanks so much! Erin

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On the Docket: Reactivating the Charles E. Meyer Desalination Facility

Today at their weekly meeting, the Santa Barbara City Council will discuss and consider reactivating The Charles E. Meyer Desalination Facility, which was completed in March 1992, and put into long-term standby mode in 1997. The City is preparing to reactivate the Desal Facility, should conditions continue to remain dry, to ensure that the community continues to have sufficient uninterrupted drinking water supplies.

According to the Agenda… as required by the State Water Resources Control Board, a 12-month source-water sampling program near the Desal Facility’s intake began in July 2014. The water sampling information will be used to confirm that the proposed Desal Facility will provide sufficient treatment in compliance with all State Drinking Water Regulations. Environmental studies associated with the City’s existing California Coastal Commission Coastal Development Permit were authorized by City Council on July 29, 2014. Also on July 29, 2014, the City Council approved a contract with Raftelis, Inc., to develop water rates to support reactivation and operation of the Desal Facility.

The next steps towards reactivating the Desal Facility are to begin the contractor selection effort, continue with the permitting process, and establish a framework for completing the project by fall of 2016, should the current drought persist.

The cost to reactive the plant is estimated at $32 million. The facility will reportedly produce over 3,000 acre-feet of water per year or 20% of the City’s current total.

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Smart Meters in Santa Barbara County


Comments: You did an article on Smart Meters a couple of years ago. The public fight seems to have died down, but the deception from SCE hasn’t.

Edison Smart MeterSanta Barbarians need to know that digital meters have been forced on us Opt-Out customers here in Santa Barbara. Its a worthy news item that those of us who chose the “opt out” option, for which we paid $75 one-time fee and a monthly $10 charge for two years, have been duped. They’ve gone into another round of shoving these digital meters down our throats.

I survived the first round of digital meters by protesting and participating in the SCE OPT OUT program that they were forced to offer to us. A few months after I was on the opt out list, SCE came around and put an orange OPT OUT sticker on my analog meter. I thought that was a little weird, but was happy that it was clearly marked by them. But I see that this sticker was part of the deception.

Sometime in the last 3 weeks SCE still put a digital meter on my property and removed my analog meter. But they are being super sneaky about it. First, they didn’t tell me they did it, secondly they ignored that I have a sign on my electrical box notifying them to not put a digital meter on my property, thirdly, they installed a digital meter — and on the outside of the meter they put a same orange sticker that I had on my analog meter which says “OPT OUT” so that at first glance it appears that no changes have been made.

When I called SCE to question this, they said, “The new meter is an ERT meter, not a smart meter”. This ERT digital meter actually is the same thing as a smart meter but its not called a smart meter. It is NOT an analog meter. The ERT meter carries with it the exact same concerns as a smart meter, so people all over the SB are are being deceived by SCE. This needs to be made very public. For those of us who opted out – we didn’t realize that we were not opting out of having digital meters… we were only opting out of meters that had the “smart meter” commercial name. The Opt-Out program was a total scam. SCE has completely deceived us.

The effects these meters are having are not psychosomatic. I am having headaches and heart palpitations as the meter is only 4 feet from my head where I sleep.

Please make this issue more public again.

Thank you.

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Who’ll Start the Rain?

By Cheri Rae

cherilogo-150x150In these parched times, we are all rain lovers, call us Pluviophiles, worshiping the rain gods who might bring forth much-needed droplets from the sky. But where do we go to make our pleas?

There’s a hidden spot in town where it’s raining every day. Actually, it’s a whimsical celebration of rain, expressed in a colorful mosaic fountain that features the repeated motif of storm clouds and raindrops with the term “It’s raining” translated into dozens of languages, including Navajo, Welsh, French and even Esperanto.

The late local artist Marge Dunlap created this work of art in 1985 as a project of the then-Visual Arts in Public Places Task Force. Over the years, it had fallen into a state of disrepair, but was recently renovated with the addition of new grout; new ceramic tiles, bits of pottery and the like contributed by community members; Zen-like black river rocks and agaves atop and below the whole wonderful jumble.

When early Santa Barbara leader Bernhard Hoffmann spoke of the “community mosaic” he probably didn’t imagine something that qualifies—literally and figuratively—as this, the most obvious example in town. It tugs at my heart to see the names of dear, departed members of the art community memorialized here, and it always makes me smile to see the funny little offering by the godfather of local publishing, Noel Young of Capra Press. On a tile he glued a cup handle (now missing) and drew a picture of a cat and wrote, “This is the handle of the cup made for me by a dear friend. A cup I lifted to my lips a thousand times for my wake-up coffee. A time-crafted cup it was until the cat did it in.”

Seeking some relief from the recent hot, dry, late-summer days, I paid an early morning visit to the lovely little fountain in the Las Aves business park, lined with financial services, doctors’ offices, and places extolling health, fitness and beauty. It’s one of those hidden gems in Santa Barbara—located just a stone’s throw from the Bird Refuge.

There are those who might say that this exuberant artwork shouldn’t be tucked away in a largely unknown place so far from view; bring it out into the public square for all to see.

I think maybe it’s good that this fountain dedicated to rain has remained in its obscure location, far from the masses; it should require a bit of a trek for Pilgrims of every faith, every heritage, to make offerings to the rain gods of any name: Zeus (Greek), Jupiter (Roman), Tlaloc (Aztec), Chaac (Mayan), Yu Shi (China), Tó Neinilii (Navajo), Lono (ancient Hawaiian), Indra (India).

These supplications to the deities of the world fit right in with the humanitarian feel of the fountain, celebrating all cultures, equal under the sky. Clearly long droughts and pleas for rain are nothing new.

Some 1300 years ago, Rabbi Elazar ha Kallir, prayed toAf Bri, the angel of rain:  “May He send rain from the heavenly towers, To soften the earth with its crystal showers.”

From The Catholic’s “Rural Life Prayer Book” comes this entreaty: “Almighty God, we are in need of rain. We realize now, looking up into the clear, blue sky, what a marvel even the least drop of rain really is.”

We have faith that the day will come when our dusty community will be refreshed. We will reach our hands to the sky and exclaim in many voices, “It’s raining!”

Until then, we have a happy place to contemplate that joyful day.

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Shoreline Bluff

Santa Barbara photo of the week by Bill Heller, click to enlarge.
Shoreline Bluff
Just after sunset the colors are beautiful this time of year. This is looking east from Shoreline Park, one of the best places in town for a nice evening walk.
-Bill Heller

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Ecofacts: Nuts for Coconuts‏

Weekly column by Barbara Hirsch

Coconut_Water (1)Coconut water is a perfect symbol for the confluence of globalization and marketing, for the internet-viral speeds of health claims, for our thirst for convenient and healthy alternatives to soda and tasty alternatives to water.

So recently, it was a rare thing here in the U.S., on the mainland anyway. Within a decade or so, cans, bottles and tetrapaks of it seem to be everywhere. And where does it all come from? Imagine a couple or more coconuts’ worth of water in every one of those cans sold, and that a tree only produces 50 fruits in a year. What, are coconut palms taking over large swaths of previously forested lands? Well at least that’s not happening yet. In fact much of the water comes from small growers in places like Indonesia and the Phillippines, and previously, the water was wasted while getting to the meat, which is used for the shredded stuff, coconut milk and oil. It has not been an economic boom for those farmers though, until more fair trade practices take hold.

As for health, suffice to say that coconut water’s well hyped nutritional claims are not nature’s answer to all of our bodily problems. More importantly, what we westerners drink is not the same as a freshly hacked coconut with a straw in it. Rather, it has usually been reconstituted or pasteurized, removing some of the original nutrients. But it sure does taste good. Too bad about all that packaging, all of those single use, disposed of containers, and those thousands of miles worth of shipping to get it to our lips, to quench our thirsts.

Below’s a video about the tremendous reliance on the tree and its fruit, having been used for food and shelter for millennia.

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Sea Otter Awareness Week

The 12th Annual Sea Otter Awareness Week takes place today through September 27, 2014. Every year, Defenders of Wildlife organizes and promotes Sea Otter Awareness Week to teach people about the integral role that sea otters play in the nearshore marine ecosystem and to promote research and conservation programs:

Learn More Here

otterAccording to the group, sea otters play a critical role in the marine ecosystem asa keystone species. They promote a healthy kelp forest that, in turn, supports thousands of organisms. Sea otters are also an indicator or sentinel species. They are dying of diseases that have land-based connections. Since humans and sea otters eat many of the same seafood items, high rates of sea otter disease may be a warning for both human health and marine ecosystem health.

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Saturdays with Seibert: Still Life in Santa Barbara

Local Views of Santa Barbara by Dan Seibert

Spotted this morning on top of a utility box in Plaza del Mar. – Dan


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Ahoy, Mateys! Santa Barbara’s Pirate

Today, the Santa Barbara Public Library System is celebrating International Talk Like a Pirate Day, so we dipped into the View Vault for a story about the only known pirate to threaten Santa Barbara—and attack nearby environs, Hippolyte de Bouchard.

He may not have had the charisma and swagger of Johnny Depp in “Pirates of the Caribbean,” but as pirates go, he and his crew were rather impressive.


Hippolyte de Bouchard

The time was 1818 when the French-born knave led a group of 250 mercenary pirates on two vessels outfitted with 54 guns who sailed under the flag of Argentina. They raided the Presidio in Monterey and headed south to Santa Barbara. On the way, the pirate crew plundered and set fire to Captain Jose Francisco de Ortega’s family ranch in Refugio Canyon. Prisoners were taken on both sides during the incident.

Upon arrival in Santa Barbara, the motley crew was dissuaded from attacking the town, when they spotted a group of some 150 Presidio soldiers, padres and Native Americans hastily assembled and lined up to intercept them. A prisoner exchange was hastily negotiated, the pirates left Santa Barbara without attacking, and sailed on to Mission San Juan Capistrano—where they stole supplies and damaged several buildings.

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The Eastside Is Bringing Their “A Game” To “Eat Street” For The Taste of Milpas

Milpas on the Move By Sharon Byrne

On October 4th, Milpas area restaurants are determined to shine for patrons of the second annual Taste of Milpas. 20 taste stops line the route, all hoping to win patrons over and win the title of “Best Taste”. If you spend any time on Milpas, you know the food culture here is diverse, tantalizing, yet also surprisingly affordable. As one Milpasareno puts it, ‘this is the authentic Santa Barbara dining experience for us locals.’

Some of our culinary power-hitters include:

  • La Super Rica – 8th Best Taco in USA: Travel & Leisure Magazine
  • El Bajio – featured in Forbes, New York Times
  • The Habit – Best Burger in USA: Consumer Reports
  • Los Agaves, Jack’s Bistro, and Your Place Thai – winners of “Best Of” in the Independent and NewsPress.
  • La Colmena – Winner, Foodie Award, Independent
  • Hot newcomer The Shop Café – doing American fusion at its finest.
  • A very well-kept local secret – amazing Chinese at Shanghai, including stellar vegetarian options

Drive by any of these places for lunch or dinner, and you’ll likely find a line out the door. The word is out: the eating is great on Eat Street!

They’re also intensely competitive, so expect them to turn it up for the Taste!

New this year is a rockin’ wine and beer garden at Ortega St and Miloas.Eastside brewers Pure Order and Telegraph will be pouring samples of their hand-crafted brews for you to try. Pure Order grows their hops right here on the Eastside!


You’ll also get to sample fine local wines from a place with one of the best wine selections in town: Tri County Produce. Casa de la Raza, one of our best neighborhood volunteers, will be serving as wine stewards.

Four live music stages will keep you grooving along Milpas, with funky soul provided by Soul Biscuit, and a classic rock blast from the Jim Rankin Band. The new FUNZONE at East Beach Batting Cages will be putting on some incredible youth bands, while stages at the Fresh Market and McDonalds will feature dance and music teams from local area non-profits vying for patron tickets.

We’re all about community on Milpas, and our area non-profits step up and put a lot of effort into the Taste. Some will provide youth ambassadors to guide you to your next Taste destination. Some will provide art on the street, like the Visual Art and Design Academy at Santa Barbara High School. Some will do live performances, and others will assist with setup and breakdown. We love giving them the chance to show their great work off to Taste patrons, while helping them raise funds for their programs.

Milpas is 14 blocks long, so you can walk off some of that great food, but we’ll also have pedicabs and shuttles from MTD to get you around easily.

Tickets are $30 in advance, $35 day of the event. Wine / beer garden tickets are $15. It sold out last year, so get your tickets now at or call (805) 636-0475.

Viva Eat Street!

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Safe Passage Initiative Moves Forward

Safe Passage is a combined plan to celebrate the historic resources in the lower Mission Canyon area, called by some as the cradle of our community, 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—hundreds of children and residents venture from the Mission to the Museum on a weekly basis.

The Safe Passage Initiate, which is now 3 ½ years in the works, has progressed from identifying problems to the next phase of problem solving and group sharing. Detailed drawings of the Master Plan are now being presented to groups all over Santa Barbara. The group behind Safe Passage has filed as a 501C3 called the Mission Heritage Trail Association and has received a CalTrans grant for preliminary design studies improvements in the traffic corridor.

photo 1The improvements start at Laguna and Los Olivos (corner of the Mission) where the intersection will be changed by 90% and an impressive Visitor’s Orientation Center will be created to showcase the historic nature of the region. Improved walking areas and surfaces will run up both sides of the corridor. For pedestrian safety, an arched stone opening will go under APS and connect both side of the park, pictured left. Crossing under APS, there will be a second Orientation Plaza highlighted by an overlook near the aqueduct.

The historic walking tour will go around the reservoir and the city mill. A unique design feature will have the visual imprints of the two aqueducts added across the street. On the east side, a pedestrian bridge will go over the sewer pipeline, and there will be another overlook point before heading over to Rocky Nook Park where the meandering walkway will highlight key trail heads already in the area. Improved pathways will continue past the County/ City line all the way to Foothill Road.

For those interested in learning more about this innovative, historic and exciting project,  a second walking tour is being scheduled and details will be posted here.


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