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Haggen: Part II

cherilogo-150x150I went to Von’s uptown on the weekend and the place was packed. The checker told me that they keep getting Haggen employees shopping there in Vons, because they can’t afford the prices in the store where they work!  Now comes word that Haggen has laid off the employees with developmental disabilities who worked as courtesy clerks—many of whom had been there for years. Yet another reason to avoid shopping at Haggens, a company that is seriously out-of-touch with this community, and lacking good business sense and knowledge about how to treat valuable employees.

PS: How terribly ironic that this news of the layoff of these workers comes at the 25th anniversary of the American Disabilities Act which protects the civil rights of individuals with disabilities.

Editor’s Note: Here is a petition asking Haggen to rehire all developmentally disabled employees or offer a generous severance package.

Haggen Terminates Developmentally Disabled Employees

b5b560b2a3012ca61a56502deffb05f0Last week’s hot topic was the corporate takeover of Santa Barbara grocery storesA recent report by the Santa Barbara Independent really underscores the loss of small-town kindnesses and compassionate outreach that used to exist.

According to the disturbing report, “every Haggen store in the Santa Barbara area has terminated long-term developmentally disabled employees: one in Carpinteria, two in Five Points, four in the Mesa, one at Turnpike, and six at the Fairview location.”

The outcome of the Appeal at 1818 Castillo

By Scott Wenz, Cars Are Basic

Cars Are Basic watched with amusement at the appeal of former Councilman Brian Barnwell of the 1818 3-story 19-bedroom building he helped create with his voting position on the City Council. The former Councilman stated the size, bulk, and scale, with the lack of parking is a serious problem for the neighborhood. City Staff almost had a stroke when it became aware their approval of outrageous AUD and impact on neighborhood would be voted down.

The intent of the builder is supposed to be for families. Multiple neighbors and a number of those who are involved in renting stated there laws on the books stating the renter cannot hold to a family rental. The design, according to these statements is for multiple people in each of the units over and above the supposed design.

High Density developments is coming back to bite the Left and the Blum Council and that the Mesa architects so openly embrace. Like the statement “Life really is a Beach.” Insert your own spelling.

The streets in the upper Castillo neighborhood cannot handle more parking. The statement by the developer there is a parking garage for each unit so why would the renter go out to the neighborhood to find street parking. This completely ignores the issue roundly brought out by neighbors that there are going to be multiple residents far in excess of the “supposed” plan of the developer.

The next elections will be interesting; density will be a major issue and the lack of parking and street capacity.


MURILLO ­ Wants people to ride bikes.


WHITE – He champions AUD average unit density & Voted for AUD. Too much bulk for his liking; wants to get away from mansionization instead of condo. Concern with compatibility with neighborhood (remember this when density comes to Westside and the Mesa) Doesn’t believe garages will be used for cars. Focal point is size a scale.

ROWSE – Voted for AUD, now trying to get a way out.

HART ­ Too big, site specific and not a good issue….. Fire Code requires 18-foot drive…. All of a sudden the issue of full bath each floor and it will induce many tenants.

SCHNEIDER ­ Doesn’t have an issue with the lousy parking. Did everything she could to justify a vote against what she really wants: high density and little parking. Not willing to destroy the AUD and parking removal on this project, but voted no. Beautiful project.


FRANCISCO – the point of the AUD was reduce the parking requirements because Millennials want to use buses, it did not work. The issue of “alternative transportation and parking” has failed. Because of the AUD there has not been a reduced parking issue, and it has not resulted  in alternative transportation use. Where will they park?

HOTCHKISS ­ Parking is a major problem; needs to be reconfigured.

Santa Barbara in Athens

Column by Outdoor Editor John McKinney, aka The Trailmaster, follow on Facebook.

Saint Barbara Athens AcropolisThere she was, in the shadow of the Acropolis: Saint Barbara.  My son Daniel and I just finished touring the Acropolis alongside hordes of tourists, pictured below, and were walking to The Acropolis Museum when we came upon a little shrine to Saint Barbara.

A framed painting of her, tucked into an alcove, adorns the front of a lovely little church, St. Sophia of the Acropolis. In the painting, she stands on a beautiful coastline (which could be a lovely Greek island or even our own Santa Barbara) while holding a chalice and a scroll.

Saint Barbara is given near equal billing to church namesake Saint Sophia, who is also on display along with her three daughters Faith, Hope and Love. The church is supported by the Meropion Foundation, a charity for underprivileged girls and women. No doubt Saint Barbara (so strong in her faith) and Saint Sophia (“Wisdom” in Greek) are inspirational figures.

Acropolis CrowdAthens is a crazy place in the best of times and these are not the best of times in the Greek capital city. Daniel and I were happy to find a quiet sanctuary, Saint Barbara, and a reminder that there’s no place like home.

Editor’s Note:  The 42nd Annual Santa Barbara Greek Festival takes place August 1-2, Saturday and Sunday at Oak Park. Santa Barbara is well known as a beautiful, Mediterranean-style community located on the scenic California coast. It’s less well known, but still significant, as home to a diverse population—including a thriving Greek community. The heart of this Greek community—indeed its very soul—resides within the congregation of Saint Barbara Greek Orthodox Church. Members of the congregation have long shared their beloved Greek culture with all of Santa Barbara at the annual Santa Barbara Greek Festival.

News Racks Going Malaga Green

newsrOver the past several years, the City of Santa Barbara has received numerous complaints regarding the poor condition of existing news racks. According to City Staff, “there is a need for more effective news rack management and a need to update the antiquated Chapter 5.66 of the Municipal Code.”

Leading up to tomorrow’s City Council meeting, City staff met with the Architectural Board of Review, and with the Historic Landmarks Commission regarding citywide news racks and they all agreed that Santa Barbara’s news racks should be a new and unified color… Malaga green, including the support post!


Santa Barbra County Courthouse Clocktower Reopens

Santa Barbara photo of the week by Bill Heller, click to enlarge.
Clock Tower Reopens!
The beautiful view from the Santa Barbra County Courthouse Clock Tower officially reopened Friday after many months of work. Now the view is easily accessible by all with the elevator opening right out on the observation deck. The only drawback is, newcomers might not notice the beautiful clock gallery below that you had to walk past to get to that last flight of steps to the tower. The elevator still stops at the Clock Gallery though, so you can still enjoy every part of this local treasure!

-Bill Heller

EcoFacts: Cool Man

Weekly column by Barbara Hirsch

What is the state of air-conditioning, you might ask?  Well, it’s been a warmer summer than usual, so I did.

“Two-thirds of all homes in the United States have air conditioners. Air conditioners use about 5% of all the electricity produced in the United States at an annual cost of more than $11 billion to homeowners. As a result, roughly 100 million tons of carbon dioxide are released into the air each year — an average of about two tons for each home with an air conditioner.”
air-conditioning-furnace-repair-installationThe electricity in the U.S. used for air conditioning is more than all of the electricity used on the continent of Africa. As the world gets warmer and incomes rise, more energy will be used to cool homes, cars and buildings. Sales of air conditioning units are increasing every year, China will soon surpass us in number of units employed…and India is a very warm place.

The refrigerants used in air conditioners now no longer damage the ozone layer, but are still extremely potent greenhouse gases. The EU has banned the ones currently being used. The EPA is working towards progress in this realm, by approving new more climate friendly refrigerants.

Meanwhile here are some ways to use less carbon based cooling. And, Umbra of Grist suggested wearing your clothes right out of the washer and letting them dry while on you!

Plains All American Pipeline, L.P. Offers Full Page Apology/ Update Ad

Today, the Plains All American Pipeline, L.P. ran a full page ad in the Santa Barbara News-Press. The ad reads:

Two months have passes since the accidental crude oil release from line 901 in Santa Barbara County. Together with organizations in Unified Command and local volunteers and groups, these united efforts have made a significant difference.

The waters are open to fishing and El Capitan State Beach and Refugio State Beach are now open. Our Work in not complete. 

We deeply regret this accidental release and the impact it had on the community, the environment and wildlife. Plains is committed to doing the right thing and remaining an engaged member of the Central Coast Community. If you were adversely impacted, please call. 866-753-3619 to file a claim.



Community Clean-Up Day This Saturday

Santa Barbara’s next Community Clean-Up Day is Saturday, July 25th. Every year, the event grows larger, drawing more than 500 volunteers from throughout the community, and producing long-lasting effects volunteers had first hoped for. Here’s what has been accomplished over the past 10 years:

  • 3,600 volunteers since 2003
  • Total of 10,900 hours of volunteer time donated
  • Volunteer time valued at $270,211
  • Approx. 70 tons of trash/recycling gathered
  • Over 300 trees planted

If you wish to participate, simply arrive at one of the two volunteer locations on Saturday, July 25th at 9:00 am.

  • East Side: Ortega Park, 600 block of Salsipuedes St.
  • West Side: Cavalry Baptist Church, 736 W. Islay St. (pancake breakfast from 7:30 – 9:00)

Afterwards, all the volunteers eat lunch (provided) in Ortega Park and celebrate as a community. The event is put on by the City’s Looking Good Santa Barbara program, whose mission is to reduce waste (reduce, reuse, recycle and compost) and contribute to a clean community through graffiti and litter abatement.