Saturdays with Seibert: This Week in Santa Barbara

Local Views of Santa Barbara by Dan Seibert

Here are some random photos from this week, starting Sunday night during the Oscar’s, I walked outside and saw the moon partially obscured by high clouds. Some plants looking good after the rain, and the “herringbone” clouds over West Beach.

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EcoFacts: Our Own Ecosystem

Eco FactsLife is a balancing act, and the pH of a system is a perfect example.Numbers higher than 7 on the pH scale are alkaline and lower is acidic, and here are some pHs of our bodily fluids:

blood =  7.35 – 7.45
saliva =  6.4 – 8
urine = 4 – 8
stomach acids =  2(ish)
small intestine = 8
intracellular fluids = 7 and higher

The systems in our bodies are always working together to regulate pH, especially our lungs and kidneys. When we exhale and pee, we are ridding ourselves of CO2 and other acidic waste products, products of breathing and eating.

How foods taste does not indicate whether or not they are acid forming when digested. For example, lemons are very alkaline, which is why they are often used in cleanses and juice fasts. Watermelons are too. I remember an alternative doctor, years ago, recommending an all watermelon diet for a short while to an unwell dear older British gent I knew, one whose diet was normally things like eggs fried in bacon fat. (I enjoyed those eggs too.)

Processed foods and sugars are acid producing as well as meats, dairy and most grains. There are hundreds of charts and lists available, and with some foods, they do not agree, due to varying properties. Check them out if interested, searching acid alkaline foods and images, or acid alkaline diets.

Sodium bicarbonate, baking soda, is a natural antacid, good for taking care of excess stomach acids, preventing tooth decay, counteracting poison oak and bug bites, and in medicine as a cure for acidosis. It’s also great for cleaning, us too!

In baking, it reacts with acids to release CO2, hence the rising properties.

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Change In the Wind? District Elections

Column By Sharon Byrne

DistrictElections3District Elections is gaining some momentum since the forum held during the last City Council race, in which nearly every candidate was against it, except those with no chance of winning. I keep trying to see the clear-cut case for district elections. What I see are separate, distinct threads of deep problems, long unsolved, being woven together, not always coherently, into a call for district elections.

I am probably not going to do this topic the justice it deserves. I am just watching the threads for now.

One that has merit is the problem of inner city neighborhoods. Didn’t think we had those here? Well we do, and they get continually shortchanged. When parts of the Eastside lack lighting and sidewalks, in a neighborhood over 100 years old, you have to wonder why. For those dedicated neighbors pushing to get basic infrastructure installed and maintained in these inner neighborhoods, it galls to see a new 1,000 steps staircase installed on the Mesa, or read about the latest improvement slated for State St.

Theoretically, the at-large system is supposed to provide citizens with 7 City Council reps that can address their concerns. But unless the good little citizen’s concerns align nicely with the Democratic Party establishment agenda, or other large agendas, help might be hard to find. It takes a lot to win a citywide election. You need party backing, lots of contributions, big endorsements, and other machinery. To get that backing, you have to attend to the backers’ concerns. I can guarantee you they’re not the concerns of the inner neighborhoods, unless there’s a convenient overlap tied to some social justice agenda currently in vogue.

A concerned resident who decides to run singing a tune of ‘let’s invest in the Westside’ will be met with polite silence in the voting blocks on the Mesa, Upper East and San Roque. The game of at-large elections is all about what you’re going to do for ME.

If they can’t win elections based on trying to fix their community, inner city residents can always call Public Works and beg. But even with that, some neighborhoods never seem to get high enough in the priority queue to get their sidewalks fixed, lights on their street, or other infrastructure needs met. There are rare cases, like the mayor going to bat for West Downtown lighting after a spate of violent crimes, but you need that willing ally on Council. District Elections provide a route to fix that problem.

Also woven into the sales pitch is the notion of Latino representation, and why we haven’t elected more than a token one to council every 10 years or so. And here the Democratic Party surprised folks at the forum. You’d think as the party of diversity, the poor, and the oppressed, they’d engage in a bit of soul-searching on why they haven’t achieved a better track record. Instead, they pushed the notion that this whole District Elections thing is a nefarious plot a la Koch Brothers to elect more Republicans.

I burst out laughing. But their agenda is clear. District elections threaten their power base and ability to keep electing their chosen farm team candidates to City Council via their solid, at-large election machinery.

The counter-argument is that these inner neighborhoods just need to vote. Except that the votes of the inner city areas, even if they register more voters, do not present any significant numerical challenge to the outer neighborhoods.

And that is probably the real reason they get underserved in the present at-large process; there’s no political penalty for ignoring them.

Well, until they riot. That tends to be a game-changer.

Latino PACs at state and federal levels get Latino candidates elected. Someone could start a local PAC, groom some solid candidates and run them. It would probably immediately be co-opted into service to the Democratic Party, the way PUEBLO was.

The final thread is a pervading sense that the activists of the 70’s are unhappy that the next generation didn’t take up their cause. Sigh.

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Green Bike Lane Added to Goleta

This green bicycle lane in Goleta is Santa Barbara County’s first. What do you think?

The green lane uses the roadway itself to communicate where cyclists should be and motorists can cross,” says Carlos Soto. “I’ve ridden many lanes like this in San Luis Obispo… they are an elegant solution that works.”

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Photo by Carlos Soto, Published by the Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition, Bici Centro

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Cold Springs Canyon Arch Bridge and Suicide Barrier… Two Years Later

Two years ago today, Caltrans announced the completion of a controversial suicide barrier for the historic Cold Springs Arch Bridge, picture below.

54 people tragically jumped to their death from the time the bridge opened in 1964 to completion of the suicide barrier in March 2012. Peter Stefan Roycewicz from Santa Monica foiled the suicide barrier, jumping to his death just six months after completion. A second man, identified as Gilbert Hererra from Santa Barbara, scaled the 9’7” tall mesh fence and jumped to his death last July.

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Date in Santa Barbara History… de la Guerra Born

delaguerraJosé Antonio Julian de la Guerra y Noriega was born on March 6, 1779, at Novales in Santander, Spain. De la Guerra, commandante of the Royal Presidio, was considered the most influential Spanish-born resident of Santa Barbara at the time of the American take-over of California. He retained ownership of five of the choicest ranch grants in Southern California, and his home, Casa de la Guerra, is today the best known Spanish-era residence in Santa Barbara, California.

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GONE Again

Dan Seibert’s feature of a Funk Zone artist, who goes by the name of GONE, ignited the discussion of muraling and art vs. graffiti and litter. Well, GONE has struck again… “I noticed a car door leaning up against a telephone pole and I thought it must have been some accident,” writes Dan. “But I looked closer and saw it was painted, and this one was signed by G*NE 2013. I took some photos and then moved it off of the sidewalk and leaned it against a tree. It’s quite heavy but it’s there for the taking.”

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Santa Barbara by Bicycle

Column by Steve Cook

Nortons1Last Friday, Roberta and I were on a roll: two days without driving the car — I don’t think we’ve accomplished this in years. It’s not that we’re trying to stop driving the car, we’re just trying to see if we can get control of our default habit of driving. We thought we’d run some errands using the tandem, but we needed to outfit it with some panniers and a rack to carry things. So, off we went to the new Open Air Bike Shop location on upper State Street.

Heading out near La Cumbre Junior High School, we took the bike/pedestrian path over the 101 freeway to Oak Park. From there, we headed up West Junipero Street to West Alamar Avenue, taking the lane for safety up past State Street to Calle Nogura, then continued through the San Roque neighborhood to the alley off of Toyon and parked in the front of Open Air. The manager of the store, Todd Frein, helped us find the right rack for our bike; and we picked out some great panniers and a water bottle cage. Once we installed the rack and panniers, we rode down Madrona Drive to Amapola Drive, then took State Street to the Post Office and dropped off our letters. Even though the lot was parked out with cars, it presented no access problem for us.

Our third stop of the day was the CVS Pharmacy at 1109 State Street, the old Thrifty’s store location with the great rocky road ice cream that was five cents a scoop back in the day. We took State Street from the post office down to De La Vina Street, and continued downtown. Much of our ride on De La Vina was done by taking the right lane so we could stay out of the car door zone, and let cars safely pass us in the left lane of this one way street. Once we got a half block from Figueroa Street, we checked over our left shoulder to make sure the left lane was clear, signaled, and took the left lane until we could make the left on Figueroa to continue on to Chapala Street where we rode into the city parking lot behind CVS. The great thing about riding a bike is we can bypass the line of cars waiting for the full lot to open, and we just park next to the building. With my mom’s prescription in hand, we decided to splurge and get some lunch right around the corner.
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Next stop: Norton’s Deli for a Pastrimi Dip Sandwich. If you haven’t tried the fare at Norton’s, you’re in for a treat! When the server dropped off our order to us, he asked “would you like some ranch dressing with those onion rings?” Well, of course — we were burning calories, so we thought, “let’s enjoy the lunch.” We discovered Norton’s when we saw them on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. Once we saw that show a year or two ago, we had to try it out. No regrets, we’ve been there three or four times since then! Even the pickles are great. And the bike hitching post is right outside the doorway.

Our fifth stop was dropping off things at my Mom’s place downtown. Then we headed down Olive Street to Haley Street and stopped in at Bici Centro to pick up and install a one-dollar used reflector for the bike rack. This was our sixth and last stop of the day. Continue Reading →

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Despite Rains, Drought Continues Says County

From: Santa Barbara Public Works — Water Resources Division

The recent rainfall in Santa Barbara County has been most welcome but it has not been nearly enough to end the drought.  This winter remains among the three driest winters in 100 years of rainfall record-keeping in the County.  This dry winter is the third dry winter in a row, with 2013 having been the driest calendar year on record across most of California.  As of March 3, 2014, rainfall this winter is only 46% of the County-wide average for this time of year.  However, that percentage varies across the County, with some areas such as Santa Maria still experiencing their driest winter on record. Even in years when seasonal rainfall is “average”, the rain is not enough to produce significant runoff to area reservoirs. Several storms such as the one just experienced would be required to replenish area supplies. According to County Public Works Director Scott McGolpin, “The primary benefit from such storms is to reduce water use by allowing residents and growers to stop irrigating. It also prepares the soil for future runoff and recharge of groundwater”.

After the recent rains the water volume in Lake Cachuma has risen by only one foot because the dry soils have absorbed most of the rain with very little inflow to the lake.   The reservoir is fifty feet below being full, and it is now at 39.6% of capacity.  At smaller reservoirs such as Gibraltar, serving the City of Santa Barbara, the water level is at 32%, and at Jameson, serving Montecito, it is 30%.  Detailed information on reservoir status and rainfall can be found at the County Hydrology webpage.
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Red-Ink Drip Factor

Weekly Column by Loretta Redd

On this weekend’s political talk show programs, when asked why Vladimir Putin dared to increase his presence in the Ukraine, the answer basically was, “Because he can.”

water-rates-increaseIt may be a far stretch from the Black Sea of the Baltic to the Santa Barbara Water Resources department, but the news of yet another rate hike left me to wonder if it isn’t also, “Because they can.”

In July 2013, the Water Department released its Rate Study and “multi-year financial Plan and water rate structure that:

  • promotes water conservation
  • provides revenue stability
  • ensures customers pay their proportionate share of costs
  • is fair and equitable, and
  • is based on cost of service principles, as required by Proposition 218

The structure of rate charges for water and water-related services is complicated by its ever-changing categories and tiers of allocation.  The charges vary based on amount of use, type of use, delivery pipe size, residential or commercial or agricultural.  What is consistent, however, is the upwards direction of each of our utility bills.

In that July 2013 study, the residential rate was listed as $39.21, set to increase to $40.78.  In the Finance Committee meeting happening this Tuesday, our Water Resources folks plan to ask for yet another raise, to $43.00.  I imagine the staff report will contain bureaucratic language like “appropriate means of recovering additional costs related to water services,” “infrastructure improvement,” or that often used,  “customer related service costs.”

Funny, how the red ink never seems to suffer from a drought.

“Water rates must cover the costs of all of the operations of providing water to the City water customers,” according the City’s current web page.  But if “City water costs are mostly fixed,” and “purchasing the water itself is actually only a very small part of the budget,” then why do they need to raise rates every time they appear before Council?

Their answer,  according to this on-line missive, is “inflation.” My definition of their “inflation” has more to do with salaries and benefits, than the cost of purchasing state water, or materials and supplies.

I really want to know why didn’t the Water Resources department and the hundreds of other regional water “experts” didn’t sound the alarm- and I mean alarm- earlier about the drought?  Everybody from grandma to the gophers knew we were in trouble, but we continued to be assured it was far too soon to panic, or be told to meaningfully conserve.

I begin to feel like a conspiracy theorist when I read quotes like this from the City’s current water rate increase justification, “If the City is not able to meet all our customers’ water demands with its current water supplies and through the efforts of its customers conserving water, more expensive water sources will have to be developed.  Any new supply would significantly increase overall City water costs, which would cause a far greater increase to the City’s water rates.”

Supply and demand makes sense whether we’re talking about H2O or salaries and benefits…trouble is, they both result in higher costs to consumers.

Would the Council or Finance Committee find it beneficial to have a twenty-year historical review of just one consistent water related item?  That period of time would take us back through the last drought, as well as through time of plenty, when reservoirs were spilling over.  Would a twenty year salary and benefit chart be helpful as well, or are we to believe this increase is only about pipes and meters?

I don’t want to pick on any Water Resources department staff, whose competency and professionalism are not in question.  I just can’t understand why water rates have to be (1)so complicated, (2) always heading upward, (3) seemingly more tied to compensation than production.

I do hold elected officials responsible when they seem to be about as effective in holding down costs, as Obama in getting Putin to roll back his tanks.

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Pearl Chase Newsletter March 2014

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Pearl Chase Society Newsletter

Santa Barbara View is proud to publish The Capital, a monthly newsletter of the Pearl Chase Society. You can read the full newsletter by clicking on the PDF icon, left.

In this month’s issue, Kellam de Forest provides updates on the Italian Stone Pines on Anapamu, the Juarez-Hosmer Adobe, and a non-conforming structure County Ordinance.

Also, Hattie Beresford previews the Pearl Chase Society’s 15th annual Historic Homes Tour which will take place on Sunday, May 18, 2014.

Help Keep Santa Barbara Santa Barbara… consider becoming a member today.

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Are There Days You Feel Cursed?

HEALTH TIPS, By Dr. Kathleen Boisen

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Illustration by entera-theartist.com

Oh yes, who hasn’t experienced a crazy bad day. It’s when everything goes wrong; you spill coffee on your best outfit, you lock your keys in the car, you lose an important phone message, the computer has a virus and is threatening to spread it to the fax machine etc…

And yet there can be a worse curse. In the big picture of life, we sometimes observe ourselves or others caught in a re-run movie of the same unhappy situation. For example, marry a person and divorce the same type of person several times. We wrestle with the same unwanted habit over and over. Quit smoking, then start smoking, enthusiastically join a gym, then don’t go for months. Got on that healthy diet only to find yourself late at night with an empty ice cream carton in your hand. Who ate this? You ponder.

But wait…..there’s good news. Neuroscience has made tremendous progress in the last 15 years to understand how our brain’s neural circuits can be strengthened to generate inner peace, create calm instead of agitation, and a positive focus instead of a negative one. Continue Reading →

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Shipwrecked After Dark

Santa Barbara Photo of the Week by Bill Heller, click to enlarge.
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If you have to be shipwrecked, this is a nice place to do it. Every so often a sailboat slips its mooring in the Santa Barbara area, and it seems more often than not they end up on Butterfly Beach. This shot is from a year or so ago, but I stumbled across it again when I was searching for an image. The exposure was quite long (well long for cameras these days anyway) taken well after sunset, which created kind of a dreamy quality. Well, dreamy unless it’s your boat! -Bill Heller

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Saturdays with Seibert: Dan’s Drawings

Local Views of Santa Barbara by Dan Seibert

“Although I’ve been taking photos since I was the yearbook photographer in high school, I started drawing seriously in the late 80′s. Right about the time Reagan left office. By the late 90′s I had a few shows around town and sold a number of drawings. But I never seemed to sell them for what I thought they were worth. At some point I decided to stop selling. I had three favorite subjects, SB landmarks, SB athletes, and the beautiful SB women.

The first few photos are of ones I sold. The drawing of the snow behind the Mission was lost in the Jesusita fire, but thankfully I had a professional take a photo of it and had it scanned. The woman the bought/lost it paid to have another printed on canvass, so it still lives.

This afternoon I opened my closet and started opening boxes of drawings. It was a trip down memory lane. There’s stepladder on my patio and I used it as an easel to photograph everything. Some photos looked washed out but that’s my bad photo technique, they are as bright as ever.” – Dan

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Keep the Restaurant at 413 State Street Local

You have probably read about the Snyder family, owners of Pace Food +Wine, 413 State Street, who are giving away their restaurant in a contest. The skills-based contest will start with a $500 entry fee, a YouTube video, and a one-page overview of your concept.  The entrance period ends May 12 with ten people, hopefully local, being selected as finalists before a final cook-off, Top Chef Style. The winner will be announced June 1st and he/she will receive keys to the restaurant, the beer and wine license, plus $20,000 for expenses. Below is a video to help get the word out locally.
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