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Reinvirogating Santa Barbara GOP

On this unofficial Republican holiday, the Santa Barbara County Republican Party looking to rebound and rebuild – specifically they seeking a manager to recruit, motivate, and supervise volunteers and implement various political programs. Qualified applicants must have a professional appearance, strong written and verbal communication skills, proficiency in Excel, Word, Publisher, and various web-based programs for email and social networking, excellent interpersonal skills, and a history of being registered to vote as a Republican. Main work location is flexible but some travel throughout Santa Barbara County is required.

This is a fascinating opportunity for someone who is interested in promoting limited government, individual freedom, and personal responsibility. Salary depends on experience. Bonus depends on performance. Expenses are fully reimbursed. If you or someone you know would be a great fit for this job, visit

Ronald Reagan Day in Santa Barbara, California

0000077980-reagan014-004The Reagan Ranch Center, at 217 State Street, has dubbed February 6th as Ronald Reagan Day. The Center is honoring the 104th anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s birth with a day-long celebration of the United States military. The event, which features retired secret servvice Agent John Barletta and RADM JJ Quinn, who both served under the former president, takes place at the Reagan Ranch Center from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. today.

Ronald Wilson Reagan followed his dreams to California and harnessed the dreams of a nation,” the Center said. “As the 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, with conviction and moral purpose, achieved his three principal goals… invigorating the economy, defeating communism, and restoring national pride. Please join us in celebrating Santa Barbara’s most famous resident on his birthday.”
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In Remembrance: Gwen Phillips

By Cheri Rae

cherilogo-150x150Above all it was those intense blue eyes that drew you in when you encountered Gwen Phillips. They sparkled with intelligence, twinkled with delight, rolled when encountering absurdity, and softened when imparting wisdom to children and their parents, as they did so often.

I am one of the countless lucky parents who sent her children to Open Alternative School, our amazing school of choice based on a progressive, child-centered model. It’s a school that’s been around for 40 years, thanks to the leadership and collaborative spirit of Gwen, who served as the Head Teacher for nearly all the years the school has been in existence.

In many ways, she was the essence of the school.

What makes Open Alternative School so special is its grounding in pedagogy that understands child development and the needs our wee ones have for a sense of community, accountability and connection to nature. Long before it was fashionable, teachers at OAS practiced differentiated teaching methods, with two grades of children in every class.

Every day, as the students settle in to their Core Group to share their cares and concerns, the skilled teachers lead students to hone their skills of communication, compassion and restorative approaches to problem-solving. And the kids at OAS have been working in the organic garden since the school began—and for years the produce grown there was used in the school’s kitchen.

There is a great embrace of diversity and creativity—from the plays that are largely student-written, set-designed and performed, to the annual Festival of Lights that showcases the winter holidays of cultures around the world, to the inclusion practices that have been the norm in the school from Day One.

The school is grounded in cherished traditions handed down over the years: the classes take on such outside-the-box activities as interviewing candidates for the School Board; taking faraway camping trips; a day at the beach a day in the park and local hiking adventures—all with carefully planned curriculum—and at the end of the year, a triathlon at Leadbetter Beach and a pancake breakfast on the last day of school.

And parents participate in this school community—in the classrooms, on the trips, teaching enrichment classes—helping support the school in any way possible. Over the years, my husband has led countless hikes, I have taught classes as diverse as magazine production and The Sixties, and driven on field trips near and far. And our son grew from being a sweet Little Buddy to a responsible Big Buddy, gaining great knowledge, self-confidence and accountability in the process.

And always knowing that Gwen Phillips was the heart and soul of the school—one who inspired others to follow in her footsteps. She had a strong commitment to keep alive an idealized vision of education that truly works. Students of Open Alternative School move on in their lives to become very accomplished, thoughtful and grounded people who give back to their community. Indeed, there are many second-generation students at OAS, guided back to the place where their parents set down roots and grew their wings.

Perhaps it was a distinctively Santa Barbara approach to education in the mid-Seventies when alternatives seemed endless and possible, an alternative school founded long before the charter school movement. It took a person of great strength and skill to successfully navigate an alternative school through the increasingly standardized approach to education.

And it wasn’t easy. I remember having many strategy sessions and philosophical talks with Gwen about the state of education today. There were rocky times that required the community to dig deep to understand what the school represents in theory and in practice, to examine its importance—and always realizing that it was well-worth the work to come to a place of agreement.

As the mother of a son with dyslexia who attended the school from K-8, most of the time with Gwen at the helm, I remain ever-grateful for her thoughtful understanding of the special gifts of each child—and her determination to protect them from becoming square pegs pounded into round holes. Her keen vision has enriched and enhanced the lives of so many, and we were lucky to have her in our midst for so long.

A gathering to honor and celebrate Gwen Phillips’s life and her legacy of 40 years at Open Alternative School will be held at Skofield Park on Saturday, February 21, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., with a gathering core group circle at noon. Bring a potluck dish to share.


Civic Engagement Plan for District Elections

districtmapWith a trial date regarding district elections set for April 2015, the Santa Barbara City Council jumped into the development of a civic engagement plan. Here is the proposed Civic Engagement Plan with two distinct goals:

• Goal 1 (Pre-trial): The first goal of the public input process will be to quickly collect as much public input as practical to inform the City’s positions in the April 2015 litigation and potential settlement discussions.

• Goal 2 (Ballot Measure): The second goal would be to move forward with gathering input necessary to place the question of whether to implement district elections on the November 2015 ballot, as originally planned, should the plaintiffs be unsuccessful in getting an order for district elections without approval of the voters. Ballot language decisions must be made by June 2015. Continue reading…

Time to Take Down Darth Vader Mural

“It’s a little like Darth Vader welcomes you to Santa Barbara” – Santa Barbara City Councilperson

Speaking of murals… in January 2014, a black and white mural went up on the side of the Indigo Hotel. It was painted by Raphael Vargas Suarez along with at-risk youth who had been in trouble for tagging. The mural was created for the opening of an art show inside the hotel. It went through Santa Barbara Historic Landmarks Commission and was approved for only one year; however, as of Saturday, the Darth Vader mural (pictured below) remains.

Mural Given Landmark Status in Santa Barbara

Yesterday, the Santa Barbara City Council designated the Joseph Knowles Mural at 38 West Victoria Street as an official City Landmark. According to the resolution, the Joseph Knowles Mural is significant for its historical and cultural influence on the heritage of the City. It was designed in 1958 by noted Santa Barbara artist, Joseph Knowles, who made a significant contribution to the heritage of the City. The mural represents the largest, mid-twentieth century public art piece in Santa Barbara. The mural consists of six panels made out of polychromatic tiles. The panels depict six historic epochs in the history of Santa Barbara County in sequential order from left to right (north to south). The first panel depicts the area’s first inhabitants, the Chumash, the successive periods are represented by the Spanish explorers, Mission Santa Barbara, the California rancho, the American settler, and finally the modern era. When the mid-century grocery store building upon which the mural was originally installed, was demolished, the mural was carefully removed, cleaned and installed on the west elevation of the new Public Market building facing Chapala Street.


Should the Santa Barbara Airport Get It’s Glass Wings?

wingsOn April 12, 2013 the the Santa Barbara City Council unanimously approved a 20-foot public art installation of two glass wings for the front of the new Santa Barbara Airport terminal. The piece of art has been designed to commemorate the men and women who served in World War II at the airport, which was once the site of the Santa Barbara Marine Corps Air Station. The installation, pictured above, will be shaped to resemble wings and will be installed in an arch on one of the grassy knolls in front of the new terminal. Once complete, the wings will be the largest cantilevered glass sculpture in the world. Yesterday, the giant glass sculpture with self-cleaning glass and light-emitting diodes received support from the Santa Barbara Architectural Board of Review and leads to Santa Barbara View’s question of the week:

The Santa Barbara Declaration of Environmental Rights Turns 45

Forty-five years ago, on January 28, 1970, The Santa Barbara Declaration of Environmental Rights (SBDER) was proclaimed at a gathering of Santa Barbara citizens and nationally prominent educators, scientists, and government officials, the date marking the first anniversary of the infamous Santa Barbara Oil Spill. The gathering was the first of its kind in the United States and was followed by the nation’s first Earth Day observances around the county later that year.

The gathering was convened by a coalition of Santa Barbara citizens and groups dubbed the January 28 Committee, whose members included Robert O. Easton, Pearl Chase, Bud Bottoms, Selma Rubin and was chaired by Marc McGinnes. Here is that declaration:

The Santa Barbara Declaration of Environmental Rights (January 28, 1970)

All people have the right to an environment capable of sustaining life and promoting happiness. If the accumulated actions of the past become destructive of this right, men now living have the further right to repudiate the past for the benefit of the future. And it is manifest that centuries of careless neglect of the environment have brought mankind to a final crossroads. The quality of our lives is eroded and our very existence threatened by our abuse of the natural world.

Moved by an environmental disaster in the Santa Barbara Channel to think and act in national and world terms, we submit these charges:

We have littered the land with refuse.

We have encroached upon our heritage of open space and wildland.

We have stripped the forests and the grasses and reduced the soil to fruitless dust.

We have contaminated the air we breathe for life.

We have befouled the lakes and rivers and oceans along with their shorelines.

We have released deadly poisons into earth, air, and water, imperiling all life.

We have exterminated entire species of birds and animals and brought others close to annihilation .

We are overpopulating the earth.

We have made much of the physical world ugly and loud, depriving man of the beauty and quiet that feeds his spirit.

Recognizing that the ultimate remedy for these fundamental problems is found in man’s mind, not his machines, we call on societies and their governments to recognize and implement the following principles:

We need an ecological consciousness that recognizes man as member, not master, of the community of living things sharing his environment.

We must extend ethics beyond social relations to govern man’s contact with all life forms and with the environment itself.

We need a renewed idea of community which will shape urban environments that serve the full range of human needs.

We must find the courage to take upon ourselves as individuals responsibility for the welfare of the whole environment, treating our own back yards as if they were the world and the world as if it were our back yard.

We must develop the vision to see that in regard to the natural world private and corporate ownership should be so limited as to preserve the interest of society and the integrity of the environment.

We need greater awareness of our enormous powers, the fragility of the earth, and the consequent responsibility of men and government for its preservation.

We must redefine “progress” toward an emphasis on longterm quality rather than immediate quantity.


WE PROPOSE A REVOLUTION in conduct toward an environment which is rising in revolt against us. Granted that ideas and institutions long established are not easily changed; yet today is the first day of the rest of our life on this planet.


Current Drought and Related Efforts in Santa Barbara

Today, the Santa Barbara City Council will be an updated on the states of current drought and related efforts. Here is the summary that they will receive:

Water Supply Outlook
Despite moderate rainfall in November and early December, our water supply outlook remains unchanged.  We need prolonged wet weather to make a significant impact on our current water supplies.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) is  projecting above-average rainfall through March.  Unfortunatley, January has remained dry, and any significant rainfall is not projected until mid-February. Due to the uncertainty in projected rainfall, staff is planning for continued drought conditions.  Staff continues to work on securing additional supplemental water, accelerating drought related capital projects, and sustaining a strong message for extraordinary conservation.  The most recent water conservation numbers for December 2014 show a 33.5 percent reduction in water use as compared to average water use in December 2013. This positive news means that the community continues to be responsive to the request for conservation, and that we remain on target with our goal of a 20 percent reduction in water use.
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Increasing the Salary for a New City Administrator in Santa Barbara

Photo_of_Paul_CaseyTomorrow at their weekly meeting, the Santa Barbara City Council will discuss and consider amending a salary control resolution (No. 14-046) to establish a new salary range for the position of Santa Barbara City Administrator. Last week, Paul Casey (pictured left) was chosen as the new City Administrator; now, concurrent with the appointment, City staff is recommending that the compensation be adjusted to align with the median labor market… or between $210,825 to $256,260 per year!