Cathy Murillo: Why I Oppose Santa Barbara’s Proposed Gang Injunction
I oppose the City of Santa Barbara's proposed gang injunction.
If approved by the judge, it would be an expensive yet weak law enforcement tool with duplicate functions already provided by the probation and parole systems. Also, it may lower property values in the Westside, downtown and Eastside neighborhoods, as well as harm our vibrant tourism industry. Overall, and most important, it does not address the root causes of gang involvement and gang violence.
Because the injunction is a civil rather than criminal proceeding, the penalties do not pack the same punch as the criminal justice system. If a person under the injunction violates the order (by engaging in misdemeanor gang activity), the penalty is a $1,000 fine and six months in County Jail or three years of supervised probation. This is not an effective deterrent.
As for controlling the behavior of a defendant, the probation and parole programs already severely restrict a person's movements. Officers can search homes and cars. Conditions placed on the person forbid her/him from associating with other gang members, from breaking laws, etc. Conditions mandate participation in classes and other rehabilitative activities. The control mechanisms are already in place.
I'm sorry to report to my constituents living in the gang injunction's so-called "safety zones" that the judge is being asked to legally designate the Westside, downtown and Eastside areas as gang territory. If your property is located in these zones, you would have to disclose that fact when you go to sell your home or business. I live on the Westside. I have pride in my neighborhood and feel safe there. My neighbors are good people and deserve for the city to value and nurture their neighborhood, not create a negative overlay on our community.
The proposed gang injunction is a "suppression" tool and does not focus energy and resources on prevention and intervention. Wouldn't we all be better served by helping children do well in school and teaching them conflict resolution skills? Why not find ways to support our stressed low-income families? It makes so much more sense to keep kids out of gangs in the first place, and to help those who want to get out of gang life. Our money would be better spent on mentorship programs, tutoring, counseling, jobs for teens, sports and recreation, and health education.
Seeking alternatives to the gang injunction, I co-founded the Pro-Youth Movement. Joining me are professionals in youth development, educators and members of the faith community. I am active with this effort because our community needs sustained, focused attention on addressing the root causes of youth-on-youth violence. These include poverty and bad parenting, as well as any unique personal challenges a child may be facing, such as a learning disability in school.
The Pro-Youth Movement leadership is committed to patiently combating the gang culture and other factors that drag young people into street life. Our group holds public meetings (offering resources, solution-oriented discussion, and lunch) the third Saturday of every month at Trinity Episcopal Church, starting at 12:30 p.m. Our next meeting is this Saturday, March 15. Please join us if you want to be part of the solution.
This essay states my main objections to the gang injunction, but opponents criticize it on other grounds as well. For instance, gang injunctions violate the defendants' constitutional rights, and no long-term studies prove their effectiveness. Also, a civil proceeding blocks the accused persons' right to a public defender as they are being asked to defend themselves on criminal matters. Specific to Santa Barbara's proposal: The opt-out provision is unreasonable and does not offer a realistic "out" for someone wanting to extricate himself/herself from a gang.
I am available to discuss these issues, with people who oppose or support the proposed injunction. Please contact me at 805.564.5322 or email@example.com.
— Cathy Murillo is a Santa Barbara city councilwoman.
John Daly: How to Avoid Lapses in Workplace Ethics
The best way to shoot holes in your self-image is to create lapses in workplace ethics. This will destroy your chances for advancement and have coworkers distancing themselves from you.
So, what are fundamental workplace ethics? Do you make up excuses for your behavior? Do you feel guilty after you’ve failed to act ethically on any given circumstance? Susan M. Heathfield — author of an article, “Did You Bring Your Ethics to Work Today?” — lists examples of employees failing to practice fundamental workplace ethics.
» You take office supplies from work to use at home because you justify, you often engage in company work at home, or you worked extra hours this week, etc.
» You use the last roll of toilet paper or the last piece of paper towel in the company restroom. Without thought for the needs of the next employee, you go back to work rather than addressing the issue.
» You call in sick to your supervisor because it’s a beautiful day to go to the beach, or shopping, or ...
» You engage in an affair with a coworker while married because no one at work will ever know. You think you’re in love, you think you can get away with it, your personal matters are your own business, the affair will not have an impact on other employees or the workplace, yada, yada, yada ... Right.
» You place your dirty cup in the lunchroom sink. With a guilty glance around the room, you find no one watching and quickly leave.
» Your company sponsors events, activities or lunches and you sign up to attend and fail to show. Conversely, you fail to sign up and show up anyway. You make the behavior worse when you say that you took the appropriate action so someone else must have screwed up.
» You tell potential customers that you are the vice president in charge of something. When they seek out the company VP at a trade show, you tell your boss that the customers must have made a mistake.
» You work in a restaurant in which wait staff tips are shared equally and you withhold a portion of your tips from the common pot before the tips are divided.
» You have sex with a reporting staff member and then provide special treatment to your flame. How about you just have sex, period? No impact? Wrong! Can you spell sexual harassment?
» You spend several hours a day using your work computer to shop, check out sports scores, pay bills, do online banking, and surf the news headlines for the latest celebrity news and political opinions.
» You use up the last paper in the communal printer and you fail to replace paper, leaving the task to the next employee who uses the printer.
» You hoard supplies in your desk drawer so you won’t run out while other employees go without supplies they need to do their work.
» You overhear a piece of juicy gossip about another employee and then repeat it to coworkers. Whether the gossip is true is not the issue. Trust me.
» You tell a customer or potential customer that your product will perform a particular action when you don’t know if it will and you don’t check with an employee who does.
» You allow a part that you know does not meet quality standards leave your work station and hope your supervisor or the quality inspector won’t notice.
» You claim credit for the work of another employee, or you fail to give public credit to a coworker’s contribution, when you share results, make a presentation, turn in a report or in any other way appear to be the sole owner of a work product or results.
» You fudge your expense account, claiming more expenses and falsifying receipts spent on personal rather than business use or misuse company assets.
» You have a close personal relationship with a contractor that constitutes a conflict of interest.
This is by no means a comprehensive list of workplace ethical failures at work. You will be able to get away with some of them. The rest will catch up to you. This type of behavior is addictive and grows. After the first time, it becomes easier and easier.
The point is that without ethics, there is no trust, no respect and certainly no real chance for this type of behavior to propel you into success. Like lies, unethical behavior will catch up with you eventually and destroy everything that you’ve tried to build.
Think about all the other types of unethical behaviors that are possible and avoid them like they are the plague. If you’ve behaved unethically in the past, change your behavior to protect your future.
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— John Daly is the founder and president of The Key Class, the go-to guide for job search success. Click here to learn more about The Key Class or get information on Thursday night classes in Santa Barbara. Connect with The Key Class on Facebook. Follow John Daly on Twitter: @johndalyjr. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.
Red Flag Warning Issued for Wednesday in SB County
Santa Barbara County will be under a red flag warning Wednesday from the National Weather Service for the fire weather trifecta: strong winds, warm temperatures and low humidity.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued warnings for interior areas of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Wednesday, though the warm and windy weather will last through the weekend.
The red flag warnings are aimed at the Santa Barbara County mountains and Cuyama Valley, according to Santa Barbara County Fire Capt. David Sadecki. He said the winds are coming from a low-pressure area near Idaho that is expected to drop into eastern California on Wednesday.
Wind speeds up to 40 miles per hour and gusts to 65 mph are likely in the windiest locations, and humidity is likely to drop below 15 percent on Wednesday.
“Despite the initially higher humidity, the strong wind potential will bring a potential for extreme fire behavior if a fire is started,” Sadecki said in a statement.
Temperatures are expected to peak at 71 degrees on Wednesday with winds all day, but the strongest winds are likely to be in the morning.
Fire weather specialist John Dumas in the Oxnard Weather Office has been talking with fire agencies all over the area about live fuel moisture and other concerns.
Winter storms two weeks ago did add a little groundcover, but the few inches of rain weren’t enough to boost moisture levels in the dry chaparral, Dumas said.
“Unfortunately we have nothing in the outlook showing rain down the line,” he said. “If you get a little bit of green from the last storm and no more rain, that’s something that’s going to dry up and become fuel for fires later in the summer.”
Weather will be warm and windy through the weekend with temperatures above normal, but it won’t break any records or cause more advisories, Dumas said. The rest of the week will have highs in the 70s, heating up on the weekend to 75 degrees on Saturday and 78 degrees on Sunday.
County Fire is concerned about high-fire-weather periods on Tuesday and Thursday even though they aren’t part of the warnings, Sadecki said.
He asks people to report any signs of smoke immediately, be extremely careful when operating any spark-or-flame-producing machinery in grass or brush areas, prepare an evacuation plan and report any suspicious people or vehicles to law enforcement.
Off-Duty Lompoc Patrol Officer Arrested for Alleged DUI
An off-duty Lompoc police officer was arrested Friday morning on suspicion of driving under the influence after a witness saw the officer's vehicle collide with a tree.
Deputies determined there was probable cause to arrest Garcia for DUI, according to Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Kelly Hoover, but charges have not yet been filed by the District Attorney's Office.
Sheriff’s deputies responded to the incident around 1:15 a.m. Friday in the 100 block of West Oak Avenue in Lompoc at the request of the Lompoc Police Department, Hoover said.
"A Lompoc police officer was observing traffic when he witnessed a vehicle collide into a tree in the median of North H Street and then watched as the vehicle kept driving northbound," she said.
He pulled the vehicle over a few blocks away in the 100 block of West Oak Avenue, and identified the driver as a fellow Lompoc police officer, David Garcia, and determined he may be under the influence of alcohol.
The responding officer requested the assistance of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department to conduct a DUI investigation, who determined there was probable cause for DUI.
Garcia was arrested and then later cited and released to his wife’s care, Hoover said, and he was not booked into jail.
Lompoc Police Chief Larry Ralston had no comment about the incident or whether Garcia was still working for the department, but did confirm to Noozhawk that Garcia worked in the patrol division and had worked with the department for 13 years prior to the incident.
He said an internal investigation will be launched.
U.S. News & World Report Ranks UCSB Graduate Programs Among the Best
In its annual ranking of leading graduate and professional programs at American universities, U.S. News & World Report magazine has rated two of UC Santa Barbara’s programs among the top 10 in the nation.
UCSB’s materials program was ranked No. 2 in the 2015 U.S. News list of American universities, and No. 1 among public institutions. UCSB shares the No. 2 ranking with Northwestern University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, while the top spot is held by Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Both MIT and Northwestern are private research universities.
The chemical engineering program at UCSB ranks No. 8 overall, and No. 4 among public universities.
In addition, UCSB’s College of Engineering was ranked No. 19, moving up one spot from the 2014 rankings. Tied with the University of Pennsylvania, it is No. 11 among public universities.
U.S. News does not compile rankings in all fields every year, and this year did not update the rankings for graduate programs in the humanities, social sciences and biological sciences, including chemistry, earth sciences, computer science and physics.
“The latest rankings confirm UC Santa Barbara’s leadership role in graduate education across a wide spread of disciplines,” said Carol Genetti, dean of UCSB’s Graduate Division. “Our graduate programs are a great source of pride for the campus and our students are known for their extraordinary impact on their disciplines and on our broader society. I am truly gratified to see this recognized at the national level.”
“This upward trend in our rankings shows that UCSB’s impact in engineering and the sciences is recognizable on a global level,” Rod Alferness, dean of the College of Engineering, said of the college’s tick upward. “We continue to be dedicated to the success of our engineering students and faculty. Our graduate programs are becoming known as the best in the world, and students seek out the unparalleled opportunities they find at UCSB.”
The U.S. News rankings are based on a weighted average of various measures, some specific to the particular programs.
The rankings generally include an assessment by peers, with measures of faculty quality and resources, student selectivity, research activity and several other factors.
Highlights of the graduate school rankings are included in the current issue of U.S. News & World Report and in the 2015 edition of “America’s Best Graduate Schools” as well as on the magazine’s website by clicking here.
Letter to the Editor: Santa Barbara — A Plutocracy or Democracy? Gang Injunction a Case in Point
The City of Santa Barbara is being sued on several fronts these days. The lawsuits largely appear to concern the city's lack of accountability to its constituency. Perhaps nowhere is this better illustrated than in its proposed gang injunction, a measure to proscribe the activities of a large segment of the population that the city's attorneys deem — with characteristic patrician disdain — a "public nuisance."
In March 2011, City Attorney Stephen Wiley and District Attorney Joyce Dudley filed a gang injunction against the "unincorporated associations" of the Eastside and Westside calling for their transformation into "safety zones" (i.e. police zones) in order to target the alleged gang members and their associates who live there.
In their court brief, the city and district attorneys claim to represent the people of Santa Barbara. This begs the question: Which people? The people of the general population of the city? The people of the Eastside and the Westside? Or the people who make significant campaign contributions to city coffers?
The lack of accountability of city officials on this issue can be traced back to 2011 with a series of closed-door meetings for the imposition of the injunction on Santa Barbara's Latino residents. Representatives of the city (recently elected officials excluded) allowed no public vetting of such a momentous decision. This seems in keeping with the zeitgeist of our age, which tends to view money as protected speech and the rights of the poor as negligible.
It no doubt accounts for the Olympian attitude of the mayor, Helene Schneider, when Latino citizens pleaded before her at the council's one and only public discussion of the issue in May 2013.
Studies of gang injunctions in other cities indicate that they further marginalize Latino communities and accelerate incidences of police violence against them. Case in point: Manuel Diaz. Shot to death by Anaheim police in the summer of 2012 despite having committed no crime, the death of this Mexican youth and the subsequent dismissal of his family's wrongful death lawsuit hinged on one critical factor: the perception that he was a gang member. Diaz’s murder is illustrative of the broad scope of an injunction as it allows local police to become judge, trial and executioner for those merely suspected of gang membership.
A case closer to home involves the fatal shooting of Brian Tacadena by Santa Barbara police last September. Though the official report states that he was 15 feet down the street when police opened fire on him, his alleged gang involvement was one of the factors alluded to as a justification for his shooting. And despite disturbing discrepancies in the report, city officials have stonewalled requests from concerned citizens for a full disclosure of the internal investigations of the SBPD and have withheld release of any identifying information of the involved officers.
As we can see, the city's unilateral decision has already had grave consequences for the Latino community, but the ripple affects spread further. A spate of police shootings this past year seems indicative of officialdom’s continued penchant for shooting at the poor, the homeless, the mentally ill and the non-white. Nicola Mollo was shot with a “less lethal shotgun” (in the parlance of military non-lethal weapons experts) in January this year after a standoff with the local SWAT team when he refused to come out of his house following a domestic assault. Andrew Furst was listed in critical condition and eventually paralyzed after he was shot repeatedly by the SBPD in a dispute at the Stalwart House, a sober living facility in December.
Taken along with the deployment of tactical units (i.e. paramilitary strike forces) for routine calls such as burglaries, drug busts and domestic disputes, the SBPD seems bent on extending the long arm of the law into the lives of “suspects” around the city.
Again, we can ask ourselves: Whose interests are served? The citizens of Santa Barbara? Or the moneyed elites who want to protect their investments in the city’s tourism and gentrification industries?
In the final analysis, the city government is looking more and more like a plutocracy masquerading as a democracy.
Ph.D. candidate, UCSB
‘New to Medicare’ Presentation Planned for April 17 at Goleta Valley Community Center
HICAP (Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program) will sponsor a free seminar for people interested in better understanding Medicare.
The "New to Medicare" presentation will be held Thursday, April 17 beginning at 1 p.m. at the Goleta Valley Community Center, 5679 Hollister Ave. in Goleta.
“HICAP is offering this presentation to help new beneficiaries and their caregivers better understand this comprehensive health care program,” said Karen O’Neil, president of the Board of Directors for the Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens.
Even those who currently have Medicare coverage could benefit from this detailed overview.
Topics will include a comprehensive introduction to Medicare including what Medicare covers, supplemental insurance, Part D prescription coverage, Medicare and employer group health plans and retiree health plan considerations.
HICAP is pleased to partner with the Goleta Valley Community Center and the Community Action Commission in presenting this important information to the community.
HICAP offers free and unbiased counseling and information on Medicare issues. HICAP does not sell, recommend or endorse any insurance product, agent, insurance company or health plan. The presentation is a service of the Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens, HICAP with financial assistance, in whole or in part, through a grant from the Center for Medicare and Medical services, the federal Medicare agency.
For more information about the "New to Medicare" presentation and to reserve a seat, call the local HICAP office at 800.434.0222 or 805.928.5663, email firstname.lastname@example.org or RSVP online by clicking here.
— Bill Batty represents the Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program.
Equipment Breakdown Delays Dredging of Santa Barbara Harbor
Boaters are cautioned to leave only if they have to, while holdup has affected whale-watching and other cruise businesses
Traffic in and out of the Santa Barbara Harbor will remain minimal this week following a delay in dredging because of broken equipment.
Dredging of the sand-packed harbor began late Saturday, and the city’s equipment ran for about four hours before an electrical breakdown, according to harbor operations assistant Doug McConnaughay.
New parts were en route Monday, but dredging won’t begin again until Thursday at the earliest, which means most boats shouldn’t venture outside the smaller-than-normal channel unless they need to, McConnaughay said.
He emphasized that the city would not close the harbor entrance and merely encouraged as few passages as possible until the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers could resume dredging.
“We’re definitely cautioning boats to not go out,” he said. “We’re really encouraging boaters to contact Harbor Patrol, and we’re helping them in every way that we can. We’ve done a lot of escorts, a lot of guiding. We realize that people have reasons to go in and out.”
The holdup has affected whale-watching and other cruise businesses.
The Condor Express hasn’t gone out since Feb. 27, and it hopes to resume trips Saturday, depending on dredging.
The delay also has forced the city’s Waterfront Department to cancel the cruise ship visit that was set for Wednesday. The Sapphire Princess would’ve brought most of its 3,700 passengers ashore to dine and shop locally.
“I have serious concerns for the safety of the ship’s passengers and transporting tenders,” Waterfront Director Scott Riedman said in a statement.
Riedman cited shoaling and low tide as the main cause for caution because Seal Landing is the only place where the 149-passenger tenders, which come every seven to 10 minutes from the cruise ship, can disembark.
He expected dredging wouldn’t interfere with the next cruise ship, slated to dock March 20.
McConnaughay said boaters should expect a more restricted harbor area once dredging begins, since the equipment will span across and block the channel.
He hoped for passage as usual by Sunday.
“The more time that boats are going in and out, that’s the longer that it takes for the dredge to complete,” he said.
Board of Casa Esperanza Homeless Shelter Lays Off Two Top Administrators
Continuing budget woes force the organization to part ways with Executive Director Mike Foley and Associate Executive Director Imelda Loza
The two top administrators of the Casa Esperanza Homeless Shelter were laid off last week to help balance the beleaguered organization's budget, leaving a board member at the helm on an interim basis.
Executive Director Mike Foley and Associate Executive Director Imelda Loza were let go Thursday, board member Denny Bacon said.
Foley has headed the organization for about nine years, and Loza has been there for nearly that long.
“It was purely financial, it has nothing to do with a cause,” Bacon said. “They’re wonderful employees and were absolutely first-class in how they handled themselves in the aftermath of the decision.”
Casa Esperanza is in bad financial shape and eliminated its Community Kitchen lunch program and day center services last September.
The shelter moved to a sobriety-based model for programming too, a change from previous years. That includes the 200-bed winter shelter that runs through March 31.
Foley has said the housing-first model will help the shelter stay financially sustainable over the long term.
The shelter has been in the red for years, with an operating deficit above $1 million, so the board has been working on a break-even budget for the past several months.
“We tried to do too much and ended up borrowing some money we shouldn’t have borrowed, so the board has some responsibility there, too,” Bacon said.
Along with the program changes, there have been deep cuts to line staff salaries to cut the budget from $2.6 million to $1.6 million.
Foley and Loza had already taken a voluntary salary cut when they were dismissed, but eliminating the highest-paid employees will save the shelter about $200,000.
“When it was pointed out there’s still a significant deficit this fiscal year, which ends June 30, there wasn’t any more fat to cut,” Bacon said.
The only reason the board could cut the shelter’s two managers was the offer from board member Bob Bogle. He volunteered to be interim manager for as long as it takes.
“We’re extraordinarily lucky to have Bob Bogle, who has a great business background and commitment and a passion to Casa, who is acting as our executive director without any salary,” said the Rev. Mark Asman, a Casa Esperanza board member and rector at Trinity Episcopal Church.
Bogle started as a volunteer last year and joined the board a few months ago. Without Bogle and the committed staff, the shelter wouldn’t be able to do these layoffs without affecting programs, Asman said.
"We just are very grateful to these two hardworking leaders at Casa, Mike and Imelda, for their passion in what we do and people we serve," he said. "It was a very painful decision for us as a board to lay them off but a necessary one to follow through with our commitment to a balanced budget."
Eventually, the organization will need to hire a full-time executive director again, but that could be 18 months away. The board believes Foley and Loza will have moved on by the time Casa Esperanza can hire another executive director.
Casa Esperanza gets some of its funding through grants from the city and county of Santa Barbara, and had to amend its funding agreements last fall when the Community Kitchen and drop-in services were eliminated.
The city wasn’t involved in the board’s decision to lay off Foley and Loza, Mayor Helene Schneider said.
The city and county are still critical partners for the shelter, Asman said.
"The reality is, if we were to go away, there's nobody who's in the position to provide these services," he said.
Fundraising campaigns have been very successful in recent months, which is an affirmation of community support, he noted.
"We're already well under way with next year's budget. We made these layoffs with an eye on this budget year and next budget year," Asman said. "These unfortunate decisions to have to lay off Mike and Imelda would position us for the next 18 months or so to sort of have a balanced budget. We still have work to do, but it seems very doable."
Casa Esperanza still has a mortgage on the building, which the city and county helped purchase, and operational debt.
"We did everything we could to try and be everything to all people," Asman said. "We took on debt to continue to support programs and it became unsustainable, which is when cutbacks happened in the fall."
Chronic Diseases the Leading Causes of Death in Santa Barbara County, Report Finds
Public health trends are generally positive in Santa Barbara County, and it ranked 14th in the state for overall health outcomes, county officials said in the 2014 Community Health Status Report.
This year’s report focuses on the 3-4-50 concept the Public Health Department uses to emphasize the need for preventive health care: There are three unhealthy behaviors that contribute to four chronic diseases, and those cause more than 50 percent of all deaths in the county.
Many leading causes of death are chronic conditions that are significantly impacted by behavior, according to the Public Health Department.
Poor diet, physical inactivity and tobacco use contribute to heart disease, cancer, lung disease and type 2 diabetes, which cause hundreds of deaths every year, according to the report. In 2012, the year which is the focus on this report, there were 2,986 deaths recorded in the county.
Heart disease caused 773 deaths, making it the leading cause of death overall and for premature deaths, which is anyone younger than 75.
Stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, mental and behavioral disorders (dementia, schizophrenia, mental retardation) and lung cancer were the other top leading causes of death for the county. It’s consistent with data from past years.
The county measures premature deaths in terms of potential years of life lost, meaning the difference between the decedent’s age and 75. Larger numbers mean that younger people are impacted by those causes.
By those calculations, the leading causes of premature deaths after heart disease were suicide, motor vehicle accidents, chronic liver disease and cirrhosis, and accidental drug overdoses.
In terms of total deaths, heart disease, lung cancer, unintentional injuries (not counting motor vehicle accidents or accidental drug overdoses) and suicide are the top causes of premature death.
There were 261 more premature deaths in 2012 than 2008, even though there were only 69 more total deaths, according to data from the 2011 Community Health Status Report on premature death and preventable illness.
Generally, the county’s trends are going in the right direction, according to the Public Health Department. The county is healthier than the state average for rates of smoking, adult obesity, physical inactivity and sexually transmitted diseases, which helped contribute to its ranking among other counties.
It also has fewer hospital stays, higher diabetes screening levels and higher levels of mammography for its population, according to the report.
However, more than half of the county’s adults identify as overweight or obese, which means too many residents will be experiencing chronic health conditions in the future, the report said.
The percentage has been increasing every year for the state, which is at 59.8 percent of the population this year, and Santa Barbara County’s population reports 56.5 percent of adults being overweight or obese.
“One of the most promising insights from the data is that many of the chronic diseases, poor outcomes and many of the premature deaths could be improved through prevention,” the report says.
To better understand the community’s needs , the county also tracks demographic information like age, education and income, which all influence health. Santa Barbara’s population is generally younger in the northern part of the county and older in the south, with 14 percent of Santa Barbara residents over the age of 65.
Average incomes vary on the area, but there has been a major increase in the amount of residents living below the federal poverty level since 2001. In the 2010-11 year, 22.6 percent of people were living in poverty, compared with 17.1 percent in 2001, the county reported.
The county’s Hispanic population has grown significantly in recent years and Public Health data found that Hispanic residents have been more likely to be uninsured. That’s a big factor influencing access to preventive health care and medical care in general, the county reported. With preventive health care services, health needs get identified earlier and have better outcomes.
To help with that access, Santa Barbara County has been very proactive about getting people signed up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act, whether it’s through the expanded Medi-Cal program or the state-run exchange.
It also has programs to help deal with poor diet, physical inactivity and tobacco use like the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, the Nutrition Network for a Healthy California and the Tobacco Control Programs.
Two Arrested After Panga Intercepted Near Santa Rosa Island
The Coast Guard received a report of a suspicious vessel late Monday morning, and sent a MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Los Angeles to investigate, said Adam Eggers, a Coast Guard spokesman.
Two 45-foot boats and two other aircraft also joined in the search, and the panga was located with two suspects on board, Eggers said.
The suspects were arrested and turned over the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations for processing and possible federal prosecution, Eggers said.
Some 50 bales of marijuana were seized, Eggers said.
Unity Shoppe Reaches Out for Public’s Help After Tree Damages Delivery Vehicles
An official says the 'already financially strapped' nonprofit can't afford to replace the desperately needed vans and a truck
A local nonprofit is imploring the public for help as it attempts to replace three vehicles that were totaled after a large oak tree fell on top of them Sunday evening.
The Unity Shoppe, whose retail store front is located at 1219 State St., serves 22,000 people a year by helping people in need with food, clothing and other essentials.
It uses four vehicles to haul items such as groceries from more than 300 donators, such as local farmers markets, but now will have to find a way to replace the vehicles after they were destroyed by the tree.
Barbara Tollefson, director of operations for the Unity Shoppe, told Noozhawk on Monday that the vans and truck were parked at a storage location when the tree fell around 9 p.m. Sunday, for unknown reasons, badly damaging the cabs and bodies of the trucks.
"It's how we pick up a lot of food, so we need to get some new trucks," she said.
The organization picks up and distributes about $2 million worth of merchandise annually and helps more than 10,000 families throughout the county, she said.
The incident couldn't have come at a worse time for the organization, which "is already financially strapped," Tollefson said, because it is about $400,000 behind on donations.
The organization, which formerly had a donation drop-off at the Victoria Theater, lost donations when construction was going on there last year, setting it back financially, she said.
"Now we're working hard to fill up empty shelves," she said.
The vehicles that were damaged were insured, but Tollefson said the full cost most likely won't be covered, which could add up to as much as $100,000 to replace.
"And I just had them serviced, too," she said. "We can't afford to spend our money to replace them."
The organization runs a complete grocery store and clothing center at its downtown space, where families in need are referred for assistance.
Most of the people the Unity Shoppe helps are working adults, and Tollefson said the food and clothing help they get from the Unity Shoppe "keeps them in the workplace, off of welfare and keeps them from being homeless."
The organization does still have a larger truck used to pick up and deliver furniture that wasn't damaged, but the other three are gone, she said.
"We're so desperate," she said, adding that people wanting to help can reach her at 805.886.2323 or by email at email@example.com.
Donations can also be made via its website by clicking here.
Suspect in Hawaii Murder Case Arrested at Santa Barbara Homeless Shelter
Santa Barbara police arrested a man last week at a local homeless shelter who was wanted for murder that occurred in Hawaii in January.
Robert Ryan Roediger-Geauque, 31, was arrested at Casa Esperanza, 816 Cacique St., at 5:45 p.m. last Thursday by local police after they received a warrant for the man's arrest from the Honolulu Police Department, said Lt. Paul McCaffrey of the Santa Barbara Police Department.
Roediger-Geauque was charged with second-degree murder in the killing of Scott MacMillan, 37, who died on Jan. 13 of multiple stab wounds in Kailua, a beachside town outside of Honolulu, said Michelle Yu, spokeswoman for the Honolulu Police Department.
He is being held awaiting extradition, and Yu said his bail has been set at $5 million.
The victim of the crime was believed to be homeless and was transported to a local hospital but was pronounced dead after he arrived, Yu said.
McCaffrey said the SBPD was contacted by Honolulu police, who said Roediger-Geauque might be in the Santa Barbara area.
"They notified us that they were investigating a homicide and that he was a person of interest," McCaffrey said, adding that the agency called SBPD later that day to say that they had a warrant for the man's arrest.
McCaffrey said Santa Barbara police "had a few different leads" and were able to track him to Casa Esperanza.
"We actually found him in the lobby area watching television," McCaffrey said, adding that Roediger-Geauque was arrested without incident and taken into custody.
Mark D’Arelli Named New Commander of California Highway Patrol’s Santa Barbara Area
Santa Barbara County native Mark D’Arelli has been named the new commander of the California Highway Patrol’s Santa Barbara Area effective March 1.
D’Arelli has been with the CHP for 15 years.
He attended Solvang Elementary and Santa Ynez high schools. He earned a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice from Sacramento State University and a master of science degree in emergency management from California State University-Long Beach.
In May, he will graduate from the Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Command College, an 18-month leadership program that focuses on emerging issues and problem solving in law enforcement.
D’Arelli has worked in the communities of San Jose, Sacramento, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara, including the CHP Academy and the department’s legislative unit.
As it relates to his new assignment, D’Arelli said, “I am honored and thrilled to be working back in this beautiful community that I call home. It is my highest priority to promote the continued safety of all persons on our roadways, and I will work diligently with all of our community stakeholders and law enforcement partners to do so.”
D’Arelli would like to remind the community April is designated as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month and “It’s Not Worth It” as it relates to inattentive driving and the tragic results that result from doing so.
— Jonathan Gutierrez is a public information officer for the California Highway Patrol.
Michael Barone: For Good Highways, Use Tolls and Ditch the Gasoline Tax
Last month, President Barack Obama traveled to snowy St. Paul, Minn., the same place where in the sunnier days of June 2008 he predicted that his clinching of the Democratic presidential nomination would be remembered as "the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and the earth began to heal."
This time in St. Paul he addressed a lesser problem, one within the ambit of a president's powers: transportation.
He mentioned the most common form of transportation — auto travel over streets and highways — only in passing. Instead, he hailed St. Paul's "spiffy new trains," one of which was derailed downtown two hours later.
But he did make one very practical and sound point, and that is that you have to find a way to pay for these things.
What he failed to mention is that the funding source for federal transportation spending is drying up, in part because of his own policies. That's the federal gas tax, enacted as part of the Interstate Highway program in 1956 and last raised in 1993.
Gas tax receipts are on a downward trajectory, for multiple reasons. One reason is that people have been driving less, and not just because of the recession. Average monthly driving, the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center reports, peaked at 900 miles in 2004 and was down to 820 in 2012.
Young people, glued to smartphones and video games, are less likely to drive or even get driver's licenses. Commuting is down, with employment still below pre-recession levels.
And the Obama administration raised gasoline mileage standards to 35.5 mpg in 2016 and 54.5 mpg by 2025 — far above the 2013 average of 23 mpg. These sharp increases mean that less gas will be sold and much less revenue will be generated by the 18.4-cent-per-gallon federal gas tax.
In addition, the government is promoting hybrid and electric cars, whose owners pay less or no gas tax — even though they cause wear and tear on highways. Owners of natural gas vehicles — promoted on a bipartisan basis by Sens. Jim Inhofe and Carl Levin — would pay no gasoline tax at all.
This has left congressional transportation committees in a quandary. Raising the gas tax is considered highly unpopular. Obama's solution in St. Paul — "simplifying the tax code" — doesn't seem to be in the cards any time soon.
All of which undermines the argument that the gas tax is a user tax, in which those who use roads tend to pay for them.
Fortunately, there is another and better kind of user tax available. That, as the Reason Foundation's Robert Poole has argued, is per-mile tolling.
Poole proposes that limited-access highways — interstates and expressways — be funded by tolls. He would leave local streets and rural roads to be funded by states and localities.
The technology is available. Transponders are used to assess tolls today in California's Orange County, Dallas County in Texas, and Northern Virginia. The charges go to your credit card, and you hardly have to slow down through the toll plaza.
Computer-generated tolls are a superior form of user fee. They tie revenues to the highways in proportion to their use, and can be adjusted to reflect the cost of maintenance and improvements.
Per-mile tolling also would eliminate the use of federal gas tax funds for ancillary forms of transportation — subways, light rail, bike paths and trails — which have been gobbling up revenue needed for highways. States and localities valuing such amenities could pay for them.
Tolling would also pay for proper ongoing maintenance. Too often that is left unfunded by local officials or congressmen eager to cut ribbons on new projects.
In addition, per-mile tolling would enable public-private partnerships or private firms to fund construction or operations by borrowing in bond markets instead of paying for future needs out of current funds.
That's already happening, too: The Canadian government is funding the new Detroit River bridge through a public-private partnership.
Private firms would have an incentive to keep roads in good shape. Otherwise, traffic and toll revenues would decline and profits would disappear. And per-mile tolling can also reduce traffic congestion by varying fees according to usage or time of day.
The gas tax worked tolerably well for nine decades. But technological progress, behavioral change and government mandates have rendered it obsolete.
It's time to pay for highways not at the gas pump but through the transponder.
— Michael Barone is a senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. Click here to contact him, follow him on Twitter: @MichaelBarone, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.
County Supervisors Honor Marymount Students for Service to Community
This past Friday during the student-led, biweekly morning meeting, Marymount of Santa Barbara students screened a video that depicted the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors presenting four of their classmates with an official proclamation congratulating them on their work on behalf of Santa Barbara’s homeless community.
The students watched raptly as Marymount Middle School students were recognized for all the hard work they have done for their community.
The county clerk read from a long list of outreach programs that students from the Middle School have initiated from lemonade stands that the class of 2014 put together two years ago and raised $2,000 for Transition House, to the recent Chili Cook-off that the class of 2016 organized and raised more than $1,300 for Casa Esperanza. The Board of Supervisors were particularly impressed with the students for taking a challenge to live on $1.25 for one day, so they could walk in the shoes of those in extreme poverty.
“Marymount is a private school with a public service, and this is a perfect example of our third core value, Ethical Collaboration,” Head of School Andrew Wooden.
Sixth-grader Spencer Bassi spoke on behalf of the students and said, “My only regret is that not all of my classmates are here with us to receive this award.”
Sixth-grade teacher Kate Burris was beaming as she watched the students receive the accolades.
“The work our students have done this year on behalf of Casa Esperanza makes me so proud because their service to the community continues," she said, "and I know that this passion will stay with the kids for a lifetime. That means more to me than any test grade!”
Marymount is an independent coeducational school, junior kindergarten through eighth grade, on a picturesque 10-acre campus nestled on the Santa Barbara Riviera. For 75 years, Marymount has prepared young people for the academic challenges of high school and college, while laying the foundation for life-long character, achievement and love of learning.
If you are interested in learning more about Marymount or scheduling a tour, please contact the Admission Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 805.569.1811 x131.
— Molly Seguel is the director of admission for Marymount of Santa Barbara.
Man Struck, Killed While Walking on Road Near Lompoc
A 23-year-old Lompoc man was killed Sunday night when he was struck by a vehicle while walking on a road near Lompoc, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Officer John Ortega said Ronald Ray Lawrence was walking southbound on San Miguelito Canyon Road, south of Willow Avenue, in the Lompoc area about 7:45 p.m. when he was struck by a 2006 Chevy pickup driven by Steven Masi, 26, of Lompoc, who had been traveling southbound on San Miguelito Canyon Road and passing a slower-moving vehicle.
Lawrence was wearing dark clothing, and appeared to be walking near the center of the roadway after dark, Ortega said.
Lawrence was transported to Lompoc Valley Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead a short time later.
Masi was not injured, he said.
Ortega said intoxication does not appear to be a factor in the collision, which remains under investigation.
Guadalupe Library Receives Grant from EnergyPartners Fund for STEM Books
The grant went toward the purchase of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) books tailored for junior high students. The majority of the books are now on the shelves for students to utilize.
The grant was made possible by the EnergyPartners Fund, formerly the Central Coast Education Collaborative. The group is made up of dedicated energy professionals, business partners and community advocates.
Energy companies such as ExxonMobil, Santa Maria Energy, Freeport-McMoRan, Venoco Inc. and 23 other partners have contributed more than $650,000 to community.
This fund has engaged more than 50,000 students in innovative, hands-on learning in the STEM fields since the nonprofit organization was founded in 2008. Funding initiatives include Santa Barbara, San Luis and Ventura counties.
The Guadalupe Branch Library is located at 4719 W. Main St., Suite D. Its hours are 12:30 to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturdays. The library is closed on Sundays.
Questions may be directed to Youth Services at the Santa Maria Public Library at 805.925.0994.
— Dawn Jackson is a librarian for the Santa Maria Public Library.
Enrollment Under Way for Short-Term Online Classes Through Allan Hancock College
Attend class when it fits in your schedule. Enrollment is currently available in 21 online classes offered by Allan Hancock College.
The classes last eight weeks and run from March 24 through May 14.
Online classes are a popular choice for students needing to balance work, family and college obligations.
They provide flexibility for students to “attend” class as their schedule permits. And the short, eight-week time frame is popular with those who want to complete classes at a faster rate, with concentrated instruction.
Online classes available include:
» ANTH 101: Intro to Biological Anthropology
» ANTH 102: Intro to Cultural Anthropology
» BUS 141: Global Economics
» ECON 101: Principles of Macro Economics
» ECON 141: Global Economics
» ENVT 456: FRO Refresher
» FT 107: Apparatus & Equipment
» FT 323: Fire Prevention 1B
» FT 326: Fire Management 1
» GBST 141: Global Economics
» HIST 102: World Civilizations Since 1500
» HIST 119: History of California
» HUM 102: World Civilizations Since 1500
» POL SC 103: American Government
» PSY 101: General Psychology (2 are open)
» PSY 112: Human Sexuality
» PSY 117: Child Psychology
» PSY 118: Human Development-Lifespan
» SOC 102: Social problems
» SOC 120: Race & Ethnic Relations
For class details, click here and click Class Search, Spring 2014, Credit classes. In the Start Month box, search for classes beginning in March. In the Location box, select Online. For specific class information, including registration deadlines, click the blue CRN (Course Record Number).
Register online by clicking here; click on Apply & Register.
The enrollment fee for California residents is $46 per credit. Classes range from one-half to six credits. Other fees may apply.
Classes are open to anyone who is 18 years or older and able to benefit from instruction, including high school graduates under age 18. Current high school juniors and seniors are also eligible for enrollment through Hancock’s College Now! program.
For more information, call the college at 805.922.6966 or toll free 866.DIAL.AHC (342.5242) x3248.
— Sonja Oglesby is a public affairs and publications technician for Allan Hancock College.
UCSB Political Scientist to Give Talk on President Obama’s Use of Executive Actions
Prominent critics who object to executive actions taken by President Barack Obama have characterized them as unlawful and unconstitutional.
In a talk on Thursday, John Woolley, professor of political science at UC Santa Barbara and an expert in presidential politics, will discuss Obama’s recent unilateral actions, focusing on their historical precedents and apparent legality.
His talk, “'I’ve Got a Pen and I’ve Got a Phone' ... Is President Obama Abusing His Authority?” will begin at 6 p.m. at Mosher Alumni House at UCSB.
It is free and open to the public.
Woolley, who is also co-founder and co-director of The American Presidency Project, an online archive that contains 104,791 documents related to the study of the presidency, is currently conducting research on change in the presidency over time, presidential use of unilateral action, and financial regulatory reform.
In addition, he continues to be involved in research on the politics of monetary policy, especially involving analysis of the transcripts of the meetings of the Federal Open Market Committee.
He has collaborated with other scholars on work addressing democracy and economic growth and California environmental policy.
Questions about Woolley’s talk can be directed to Rocio Torres at email@example.com.
Construction Crews Strike Sprinkler, Causing Minor Flooding at AppFolio in Goleta
A Goleta business suffered minor flooding damage Monday when construction crews struck a sprinkler while working, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.
Fire crews responded about 12:10 p.m. Monday to a fire alarm at 50 Castilian Drive, which is home to AppFolio, Capt. David Sadecki said.
Construction crews working inside the building had knocked off a sprinkler head, causing water damage to the second and first floors, Sadecki said.
“Firefighters were able to stop the water flow, and then also help with evacuating some of the water,” he said, adding that crews were on the scene for about 45 minutes.
Sadecki said many AppFolio employees were not inside the building when the fire alarm went off because it was during the noon lunch hour.
AppFolio spokeswoman Aimee Miller said the minor flooding was not a huge disruption for employees, who briefly filed outside for the fire alarm but then got back to work.
An estimate of damages was not immediately available.
AppFolio, a web-based software provider, recently signed a new lease to occupy an additional 11,172 square feet at the Castilian Technology Center.
Santa Ynez Chumash Helping Fund Renovation of Tennis Courts at Los Olivos Elementary
The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians is joining forces with Santa Ynez Valley Youth Recreation to replace Los Olivos Elementary School’s unusable tennis courts with a state-of-the-art surface for both students and the community to utilize.
The school’s asphalt tennis courts were cracked, unusable and in need of a little “love,” so the tribe agreed to partner once again with SYVYR and upgrade the facility — similar to the way the groups combined efforts to install a top-flight tennis surface at Santa Ynez High School in 2011.
“We’ve always been a strong supporter of youth sports,” Tribal Chairman Vincent Armenta said, “but we thought this would also be a great way to create a high-quality resource that members of the Los Olivos community could also use for both tennis and basketball. We’re proud to partner again with Santa Ynez Valley Youth Recreation, and we know this is something that the community will enjoy.”
Los Olivos School’s original tennis courts were donated by SYVYR/Santa Ynez Valley Elks in 1977. Decades of weather damage and tree root complications rendered the courts unusable for tennis. Now, Los Olivos School will soon to be able to use the area for boys and girls tennis, boys and girls basketball, and physical education classes.
“We are delighted to have both the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians and Santa Ynez Valley Youth Recreation donate the funds to replace and repurpose our courts,” Los Olivos School Principal Bridget Baublits said. “Additionally, we are excited to partner with the community to provide a multi-use recreational facility.”
To upgrade the facility, SYVYR and the tribe turned to Sport Court of Southern California, one of just three companies in Southern California that’s certified by the American Sports Builders Association.
“Not only are the courts being repaired, but we’re doing it first-class,” said Frank Kelsey, chairman of Santa Ynez Valley Youth Recreation. “This is the same company we used to replace the courts at Santa Ynez High School. A lot of schools can’t justify the costs of adding or renovating their sports facilities, so that’s where we come in. We approached (Chairman Armenta) about splitting the costs, and he and his board thought it would be a good idea.
“Our intention is to add something to the school that the entire community can use. But our motto is: the youngest group applying for use has highest priority – kids first.”
The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians has donated more than $18 million to hundreds of groups, organizations and schools in the community and across the nation as part of the tribe’s long-standing tradition of giving.
Click here to find out more about the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Foundation and its giving programs.
— Mike Traphagen is a public relations specialist for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians.
New Book by UCSB’s Timothy Cooley Examines Complicated Relationship Between Music, Surfing
Long before The Beach Boys made “Surfin’ USA,” a 1960s national anthem and helped the surf music genre earn its own category in record stores, surfing music was riding the waves in its native Hawaii. Mele — surf chants — about surfing date back at least as far as the 18th century, when surfing was a highly ritualized activity enjoyed by Hawaiian royalty and commoners alike.
King Kalakaua, who ruled Hawaii from 1874 to 1891, had his own surf chant, as did Emma, the queen consort of King Kamehameha IV some 40 years earlier.
In his new book, Surfing About Music (University of California Press, 2014), Timothy Cooley, an associate professor of ethnomusicology at UCSB, studies the interrelationships between music and surfing and explores the different ways surfers combine surfing with making and listening to music.
Drawing on his knowledge and experience as a practicing musician and an avid surfer, he considers the musical practices of surfers in locations around the world, taking into account ideas about surfing as a global affinity group and the real-life stories of surfers and musicians he encounters.
“My students introduced me to the idea of music and surfing as a research topic,” he said. “I made connections — I listened to music going to the beach — but it hadn’t occurred to me that there were surf bands that we still having an impact on these young surfers.”
Cooley begins his survey of surfing music with a study of Hawaiian surfing chants.
“Much of what we know about pre-revival surfing comes to us from Hawaiian legends and mele — the original surfing music,” he writes. “Since at least the surviving mele tend to focus on Hawaiian nobility, they skew our picture of surfing history a bit. However, Hawaiian legends and early accounts by Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians leave no doubt that just about everyone surfed — royal and commoner; men, women and children.”
From there, Cooley explores Hawaiian popular music of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
“They were called hapa haole — half foreign or white — songs and they became a Hawaiian tradition,” he said. “These were Tin Pan Alley-type songs, some written in New York, but most were written in Honolulu. There are a few songs about surfing in Hawaii, and Hawaiian women are emphasized.”
The quintessential California surf music — that of The Beach Boys, Dick Dale (aka the King of the American Surf Guitar), the Bel-Airs, The Chantays (known for the instrumental “Pipeline”) and The Surfaris — represented a watershed moment in surfing history, according to Cooley.
“All of a sudden it’s associated with California as well as Hawaii,” he said. “Culturally, surfing shifted to the mainland. Before that, surfers in California were referencing Hawaii with their music and their mythologies — and we still do. But there’s an important shift, and it’s marked by surf music.”
And that music marked a problem for surfers. The naming of the genre became an issue, Cooley explained, because surfer-musicians were then expected to write or perform instrumental rock music or songs about surfing that followed the style of The Beach Boys or Jan and Dean (think “Surf City” and “Deadman’s Curve”).
By the mid-1960s, however, surf music was beginning to wane. Cooley attributes this to a number of factors, including the emergence of The Beatles, but added that other factors also came into play.
“There was a different cultural emphasis for young people during the rise of the civil rights movement and growing opposition to the war in Vietnam,” he said. "The surf hits didn’t have the political angst that began to define the later 1960s.”
According to Cooley, it wasn’t until another UCSB connection — alumnus Jack Johnson — had somewhat accidental success as a musician that surfer/musicians, or musician/surfers experienced a rebirth of sorts.
“He was a film studies major here at UCSB,” he said of Johnson. “His first career was as a semi-professional surfer and his second career was making surf films. He put one of his own songs on a film and his career as a musician began. It wasn’t until then that surfers realized their individual musicianship had value or was welcome in a way other than that of big bands like The Beach Boys. That’s almost 40 years — from 1961 to 2000.”
Cooley added that an interesting trend has developed with professional surfers creating second careers as professional musicians. Jack Johnson is one, Tom Curren another, and Donavon Frankenreiter and Stephanie Gilmore still others.
“This is an interesting moment,” Cooley said. “Part of it has to do with clever songwriting, and part of it has to do with extending one’s own persona brand through presenting yourself as a musician. And there’s some good music being made."
Amber Alert Issued for Boy, 12, Last Seen in Long Beach
An Amber Alert was issued Monday afternoon for a 12-year-old boy who had last been seen Thursday in Long Beach.
The “suspect vehicle” involved in a Long Beach Amber Alert was described as a tan, four-door Saturn sedan, license plate No. 4AUU679.
The boy, Nicholas Johnston, was allegedly abducted by a 49-year-old woman named Sri Johnston.
Nicholas Johnston was described as 4 feet 8 inches tall, 80 pounds in weight, with blonde hair and blue eyes. Sri Johnston was described a 5 feet 1 inch tall, with brown hair and brown eyes.
The Amber Alert was put out by the California Highway Patrol just after 1 p.m.
The alert was in effect and the agency was working to gather more details, according to CHP Officer Tony Polizzi.
Anyone who sees that Saturn was asked to call the Long Beach Police Department at 562.570.9650.
The Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management notifies the public about Amber Alerts received by the California Highway Patrol in an effort to increase awareness and improve public information efforts.
UCSB Career Services’ New Assistant Director John Coate Will Focus on Graduate Student Services
Coate comes to UCSB with more than 12 years of experience in career development and counseling at UCLA, where he was counseling manager for Employer Services, and before that, a career counselor. Among his duties there, he counseled, instructed, and provided programming for undergraduate, master’s and Ph.D. students in all areas of the transition from school to career.
For more than 10 years, he worked with graduate students on academic job search; critiques of CVs and other academic documents; interview preparation; and transitions out of the academic arena.
With a master of science degree in counseling from Cal State-Northridge, a depth and breadth of understanding of the unique issues graduate students face, as well as substantial counseling experience, Coate will bring even greater strength to the existing team of UCSB’s career counselors dedicated to helping graduate students.
Coate will also be working collaboratively on graduate student initiatives with Graduate Division’s coordinator of graduate student professional development, Robert Hamm.
Coate — who pursued undergraduate studies at UC Santa Barbara before transferring to USC, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in business administration — is happy to be back on the UCSB campus.
“Having done undergraduate work at UCSB, I am especially thrilled about returning to this outstanding institution and further developing career services and resources that are cutting edge and highly applicable to this unique population of graduate students,” he said. “In this day and age there is a wider range of career possibilities than ever for master’s and Ph.D. students, both inside and outside of academia. But with this comes the need, often, for help in navigating this reality, and I’m very excited and honored to be a part of this service at UCSB.”
Director of UCSB Career Services Ignacio Gallardo is looking forward to Coate’s contributions to the university’s services for grad students.
“I am thrilled to have John join the Career Services team," Gallardo said. "He brings the combination of counseling skills and management experience we need for this position. In addition, John shares Career Services’ commitment — and has the ability — to help UCSB students identify how they want to contribute to the workforce and then to strategize to achieve those goals.”
Westmont Students Spend Spring Break Serving Others
About 225 Westmont College students and local volunteers have traveled to Mexico as part of Potter’s Clay helping the under-served in Ensenada during spring break, March 7-14.
A student-organized service trip that started in 1977, Potter’s Clay is one of Westmont’s longest-running traditions. About 30 students will also serve with Urban Initiative in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and San Francisco for Spring Break in the City.
In Ensenada, a new team specializing in photography will set up a mobile photo booth to provide free, quality portraits to families and individuals.
“The portraits will be taken, printed after brief editing, and handed to the family or individual,” said Jonny Wahl, Potter’s Clay Core Team co-director. “The idea comes from nonprofit Help-Portrait that does similar work in the U.S.”
Matt Bennett, a senior physics major, heads the team and is excited to convey love and worth by giving people photos of themselves.
In addition, Potter’s Clay will be constructing a dental clinic, four homes, two church additions and five building remodels.
Five medical and dental clinics, including a new location at Ojos Negros in the mountains west of Ensenada, will provide much-needed medical and dental care to the Zapotecos, an indigenous tribe. On Thursday, March 13, the mayor of Ensenada will visit the clinic in his city.
Last year, Potter’s Clay created a new mobile salon team that served abused and exploited women. This year the team returns to Ensenada, providing haircutting and beauty salon services to all men, women and families.
“We want to join the work that God is doing in the city of Ensenada by side-by-side service with members of the local faith community,” said Rose Ellen Bohnsack, Potter’s Clay co-director. “We intend to provide a growing experience for Westmont students by instilling competence and confidence in team leaders, as well as challenging participants to step outside their comfort zone and connect their experience on Potter’s Clay to living a life on mission. We strive to keep Christ at the center of all we do by remaining constant in prayer and recognizing that His grace and strength enable us to participate in His work.”
Spring Break in Santa Barbara will partner with the Uffizi Missional Order, strengthening relationships with youth on the Westside. Volunteers will also serve at Adelante Charter School, a bilingual elementary school on the Eastside.
“Our goal is to foster relationships that can be continued after the week ends and to help Westmont students connect in a different way with the city they live in,” said Emily Petty, co-director of Urban Initiative.
Students with Spring Break in Los Angeles learn and engage with complex issues in the city such as poverty, gang violence and human trafficking. By day they will serve meals at the Union Rescue Mission; at night will sleep on the roof of the mission in Skid Row.
“We hope to provide an opportunity for students to discover new ways to engage in the inner-city from a perspective of faith and then apply those tools to their own community,” Petty says.
Spring Break in San Francisco will learn, experience and serve in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco. The students will confront issues such as mental illness, addiction and at-risk youth. Volunteers will serve at the San Francisco Missions Outpost, where Westmont students have forged relationships for about a decade. For the first time, the group will learn about human trafficking within urban America and will work with Freedom House SF. They will also serve with Project Open Hand, Alpha Pregnancy and City Team.
— Scott Craig is the media relations manager for Westmont College.
Bitcoin or Bust? UCSB Scholars Dissect Popular — and Polarizing — Digital Currency
Depending on whom you ask or what you read — and when — bitcoin, the so-called “cryptocurrency,” is either days from extinction or destined to give central banking a run for its money.
With implications for computer security, business, the economy and our culture, predicting the future of bitcoin is practically a cottage industry all its own. Pervasive media coverage and public debates about its worth (both literally and figuratively) have become de rigueur for today’s prevailing digital tender, which is alternately characterized as a revolutionary innovation on par with the Internet or a flash in the pan that can’t possibly survive.
“Central banks are not threatened unless bitcoins become popular, but bitcoins won’t become popular unless, in effect, they become popular,” said Benjamin Cohen, the Louis G. Lancaster Professor of International Political Economy at UC Santa Barbara, a currency expert and author of several books on the subject. “It’s a chicken-or-the-egg problem.
“A currency becomes powerful in proportion to the size of the network of transactors that are prepared to accept it,” Cohen added. “But very few people are willing to accept something unless they think others are going to accept it, and others aren’t going to accept it until they think you are. So who’s going to do it first?”
There is seemingly no shortage of those willing to try.
From independent restaurants and retailers to the NBA’s Sacramento Kings and Tesla Motors, a growing number of businesses large and small are now accepting bitcoin as payment. Just last week, the well-heeled Winklevoss brothers (of suing-Facebook’s-Mark-Zuckerberg fame) used bitcoin — they’re big believers and investors in the nascent currency — to book two tickets on would-be space airline Virgin Galactic. There are now Bitcoin ATM machines in Vancouver, London and Austin, Texas.
The ubiquitous crypto-cash is decidedly en vogue. And it’s a hot commodity. Since the Bitcoin network launched in 2009, the value of a single bitcoin has rocketed from less than a dollar to more than $1,200 in late 2013. It currently sits just south of $700. Its volatility is both part of its problem and part of its allure. Speculators see it as a potentially major moneymaker; experts say bitcoin can’t evolve into a true currency until and unless it stabilizes.
And so it goes with bitcoin and its ilk (there are a multitude of competitors), which attract some people and repel others for identical reasons.
Bitcoin’s champions herald its fixed supply (only 21 million bitcoins will ever be put into virtual circulation) and its elimination of the proverbial middle man (read: banks) and related transaction fees. Detractors cite the same characteristics in forecasting its ultimate failure as a true, dollar-competing currency.
“I think it will be very difficult for electronic currencies to replace the currencies we have now because there are so many fundamental issues,” explained UCSB professor of economics Douglas G. Steigerwald, who said that in a growing economy, a finite supply of currency would trigger deflation. “Suppose we had dollars that are electronic, all controlled by banks, backed in the same way, by the same policy. I have no problem with the currency being electronic versus physical. The question is: Who controls the supply of the currency and how is it altered?
“We recognize the dollar’s value because we believe it has value,” Steigerwald added. “Why gold? Because we value gold and consider it a rare commodity. These are things in human culture that we value. Are we going to fix on bitcoins? Is it better than the U.S. dollar or the Japanese yen for someone who lives in Zimbabwe? That’s not at all transparent. There are problems with bitcoin as a currency: deflation, the transparency of who holds what and what backs up the value of bitcoins.”
And then there’s a different brand of backup to worry about: the computer security kind. Bitcoins, of course, aren’t coins at all. They exist in lines of code — and so does their value — making their protection a more complex process than stashing cash under your mattress.
Leave your wallet on an airplane and you might have to cancel your credit cards — a nuisance, but not catastrophic. Get your laptop stolen out of your car, however, and any bitcoins sitting on your hard drive will be gone forever. Once a bitcoin is “mined” (a computing process by which the funds are obtained), it stays where you store it. Whether it’s on your local network or online, hacking is a major concern.
“Bitcoins are for hackers, fundamentally, and it’s a big stage,” said Giovanni Vigna, an Internet security expert and UCSB computer science professor. “You have to understand the implications and how the cryptography works. Someone breaks into your computer and they can steal all your money. So now you have to go and put your computer in the bank so nobody can break the computer? It’s a complicated issue.
“As a security person, I would never invest in bitcoin,” Vigna added. “The cryptography seems solid enough, but when cryptography is associated with dollar values, suddenly a lot of people are spending nights looking at the code. There are a lot of checks in place for the banking industry to prevent disaster. Bitcoin doesn’t have that. If somebody breaks the cryptography one day, it’s all gone.”
Bitcoin was, in fact, based and built on cryptography, which is partly what’s made it simultaneously intriguing and troubling. Can it survive long-term in the face of cyberattacks and rapidly changing technology?
Only time will tell, asserted UCSB cryptographers Huijia “Rachel” Lin and Stefano Tessaro, assistant professors of computer science and founding faculty of the campus’s inaugural cryptography research group.
“Bitcoin is a very intriguing idea in the sense that cryptography is trying to replace trust,” said Lin. “It is using mathematics to replace trust, which is kind of a radical idea, but it makes sense from a high level. A bank is not a magic fortress. It also uses databases, has doors, is connected with the Internet.”
“If there were a metric to compare it to the banking system, I think bitcoin would win,” added Tessaro. “I suspect it’s probably easier to break into the local bank. The general problem with electronic cash is making sure that you don’t spend the same money twice. And the Bitcoin network is designed to prevent that.”
Not that it can’t happen outside the network. Leading bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox went dark in recent weeks — an estimated $500 million in stored bitcoin lost — and has now filed for bankruptcy. A hack that used just such a duplication technique (geek term: transaction malleability) has been identified as the most likely culprit in that demise.
With all its promise — and its problems — the nascent currency is also increasingly polarizing. China moved to regulate bitcoin in late 2013, banning bitcoin transactions by financial companies. Japan recently announced it would tax bitcoin transactions and regulate bitcoin trading. The U.S. is still in the regulatory research and development phase, but such measures are widely deemed to be inevitable.
So then, is this digital dough the greatest thing since sliced bread — or just pie in the sky?
“You can find other algorithms, different versions that work on the same mathematical principles as bitcoin,” said Ben Zhao, an associate professor of computer science. “Bitcoin is unique in that it was the first to prove it could be done. And it’s likely going to be the first to be regulated and widely accepted — and it will probably dominate the market.
“Bitcoin has a lot of technological benefits that fundamentally change how people use money, and that’s what’s interesting to me,” Zhao said. “It is a potentially world- changing disruptive technology.
Bone Up on Your Dog Parenting Skills at Free Santa Barbara Workshop
Seasoned dog parents and beginners who want a happy dog are invited to attend a free dog workshop in Santa Barbara that goes beyond basic obedience and teaches valuable canine parenting skills.
The event will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 29 at Antioch University, 602 Anacapa St. in Santa Barbara.
Presentation, discussion and interactive sessions will be used to show attendees “how dogs learn.” Common questions will be answered through attendee case studies.
The workshop instructor is Joan Hunter Mayer, The Inquisitive Canine.
Space is limited. Register online by clicking here to save your space. The workshop is for humans only.
Pay it forward: Say thanks for the workshop by making a tax-deductible donation to C.A.R.E.4Paws by clicking here.
Stearns Wharf Lil’ Toot Water Taxi Now Offering Private Charter Service
Santa Barbara’s iconic Lil’ Toot water taxi, operated by Santa Barbara Water Taxi located on Stearns Wharf, can now be rented out for private charter events, including sunset cruises, kids’ birthday parties, private dinner parties, anniversaries and more.
Santa Barbara Water Taxi — the only nonsubsidized water taxi service on the West Coast — transports Stearns Wharf visitors to the Santa Barbara Harbor, and vice versa, sharing local history and lore of the Santa Barbara waterfront and harbor along the way.
Lil’ Toot makes the trip 24 times a day on Saturdays and Sundays during the winter season and seven days a week during the summer season.
Capt. Fred Hershman and his wife, Kathy, started the business 10 years ago. Since that time, they have hosted more than 300,000 passengers aboard their yellow-and-black boat, which can be boarded on Stearns Wharf.
In honor of Lil’ Toot’s 10-year anniversary, Capt. Hershman is announcing his new charter service. Lil’ Toot can be rented for $250 per hour (limit 19 people). Individual tickets for scheduled sunset cruises are available for $25 per person (limit 10).
For birthday parties, private dinners or other chartered events aboard Lil’ Toot, passengers can bring their own food aboard or can have food catered from any number of local restaurants.
Capt. Hershman has a liquor license and alcohol can be purchased on board.
“Lil’ Toot is all about fun,” according to Capt. Hershman, so during birthday parties, kids learn about the harbor, help steer the boat and can blow bubbles to match the bubbles that rise out of Lil’ Toot’s smoke stack.
To book Lil’ Toot for a sunset cruise or private event, call 888.316.9363. Click here for more information.
— Jennifer Goddard Combs is a publicist representing Santa Barbara Water Taxi.
Former Cabrillo High Wrestling Coaches Charged with Battery on Minor
Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley has announced that three charges have been filed against Chad Johnson and Matthew Giles, two former Cabrillo High School wrestling coaches in Lompoc.
Johnson and Giles, age 45 and 22 respectively, are charged with battery on a minor from the Cabrillo High School wrestling team, in violation of Penal Code section 243.2.
They are also charged with contributing to the delinquency of minors for their conduct that day in allegedly sanctioning a battery from other wrestlers on the minor.
The incident is alleged to have occurred on school grounds on or about Dec. 9, 2013.
Both individuals have been sent letters to appear in court on March 26 in Department 1 of the Lompoc Superior Court.
Countywide Head Start Program Earns High Marks in Compliance Review
Community Action Commission Head Start was recently evaluated by the federal government for compliance with the program’s national Performance Standards.
Every three years, Head Start programs undergo detailed fiscal scrutiny and standardized teacher observations.
The almost-unheard-of result?
CAC Head Start passed all 100 compliance ratings with flying colors. It’s a stunning outcome, even for a program that has 22 of its 24 countywide centers accredited by the National Association of Education for Young Children, the national hallmark of excellence in the field of Early Childhood Education.
CAC Children’s Services Program Director Mattie Gadsby praised the staff of the program, “who are experts at working with families with complex needs, including homelessness.”
CAC Executive Director Fran Forman said: “I knew we had a high quality program, but this is very affirming. I couldn’t be more proud of what CAC is doing to prepare children to succeed in kindergarten.”
— Elizabeth Lee is a grant writer for the Community Action Commission.
Letter to the Editor: Bob Geis’ Fiscal Impact Statement Short on Real Numbers
To: Mr. Bob Geis, Santa Barbara County Auditor-Controller
Cars Are Basic (CAB), a nonprofit public interest group, has read your Fiscal Impact Statement for Measure M. We believe you are required to prepare the impact statement pursuant to the requirements of California Elections Code 9160 (c). Under 9160 (c) your office is required to estimate the fiscal impacts of Measure M.
CAB believes you have failed to meet the legal requirements of 9160 (c).
We failed to locate any dollar estimate of the impacts of Measure M on the county budget, as a whole or on any specific part of the county budget. Instead, we have located vague references to impacts with wording such as “may have,” “may,” “could” and other generalized expressions. Inference is a far cry from a true estimate. If a licensed contractor were to give a homeowner an estimate such as “this may cost a lot of money,” the contractor would be in violation of California law. Contractors (and motor vehicle repair shops) are required by law to give written estimates, in monetary units, of labor, material and outside labor costs. We believe your office is required by 9160(c) to give an estimate, in monetary units, of the impacts on the county budget as a whole as well as individual departments.
We believe your office is required to provide in the impact statements at least the following facts:
1) The estimated county budget (approximately $844 million)
2) The estimated budget for Health and Public Services and Public Safety (approximately $585 million)
3) The estimated cost to fund the requirements of Measure M (approximately $18 million-$21 million)
4) The estimated reduction in the combined budgets of Health and Public Services and Public Safety if Measure M funding was taken exclusively from those departments (an estimated 3.6 percent reduction in funding for Health and Public Services and Public Safety).
Please be aware that CAB is a nonprofit organization the does not take positions on ballot measures. We do, however, provide impartial analysis of ballot measures. As your Fiscal Impact Statement is currently written, neither CAB nor the voters will be able to use the statement as a tool for determining the fiscal impacts of Measure M. We believe you do have time to correct the legal deficiencies of your impact statement before the public review period begins on March 11. Please remember that your office was made aware of many of these deficiencies on Friday, March 7, and have had Friday, Saturday and Sunday to work on addressing those deficiencies.
Cars Are Basic
Thomas Goodson: Planning for the Decumulation Phase of Retirement
An Introduction to the Decumulation Phase
Retirement is like a coin; it has two sides. Instead of heads and tails, the retirement “coin” has accumulation and decumulation sides.
The accumulation side gets the most press and is the area where most financial advisors spend their time. While accumulation is important, it is only part of the equation.
Do You Fear Outliving Your Savings?
As advisors, we tend to think of the accumulation phase as the easy part. It is easy for us because we don’t have to make the daily sacrifices to set aside the money; we just have to figure out how to make it grow.
Decumulation tends to be a bit more complex. Here’s why: In the accumulation phase, market fluctuations and investment risks can be smoothed over time. During decumulation, there is less room for error.
A decumulation strategy can help ward off the top fear of most retirees: outliving savings.
The fear of outliving savings is so great among retirees that it often overshadows the fear of death (61 percent vs. 39 percent). When we think of living out our golden years, it certainly should not include images of waking in the middle of the night worrying about paying bills.
Having a plan that coordinates the receipt of income and retirement benefits to offset expenses can help alleviate fears of outliving your money. It allows you to structure your portfolio to provide both income and growth, and can prevent you from making bad payout decisions.
A common issue many baby boomers now face is that they have overlooked the need for growth in their portfolios throughout retirement. As retirement nears, many grow more conservative with their investments. Many retirees look to traditional fixed-income strategies to provide the cash flow needed to “keep the lights on” throughout retirement. What keeps them up at night is the worry that those investments aren’t keeping pace with inflation and unforeseen rising expenses, such as health-care costs.
Our approach to preventing this worry from dampening our clients’ retirement, we provide every bit as much focus on the decumulation phase as we do accumulation strategies.
One strategy we recommend is the use of Durable Income investments. Durable Income investments have many of the same attractive features of traditional fixed income — they can provide income and more predictable returns. What makes them appealing in a rising rate environment, like the one we are currently in is that they may be more resilient to economic downturns and changes in credit and market risk. They may help mitigate risk by diversifying your retirement portfolio while also providing the opportunity for capital gains.
Where once advisors sought fixed-income investments for retirees, these traditional investments may no longer be able to offer the reward for the risk. As interest rates begin to climb and duration becomes important, bonds lose their appeal.
Consider the following pros and cons of different investments:
» Bonds: While bonds are an important part of a balanced portfolio as a fixed income security, in a rising interest rate environment, the price of bonds may decrease. The duration and quality of bonds are critical.
» Equities: During the accumulation phase, there may be more tolerance for market volatility. However, this is not the case in the decumulation phase.
» Cash: “Cash is King” except for when it is not earning enough to keep up with inflation.
» Alternatives: These investments may provide durable income and improve portfolio efficiency as they have low historical correlation in comparison to traditional investments. While there is the potential for long-term growth these investments are less liquid than traditional investments and are therefore considered riskier.
AmeriFlex Is Here to Help
Our AmeriFlex team takes pride in providing a holistic approach to your financial life. We focus on all the financial levers, and when it comes to retirement that includes accumulation and decumulation. As you begin the next phase of your life, do so with confidence in your ability to balance your expenses and income. We are here to help.
You have spent a lifetime accumulating a nest egg for retirement. As you prepare for the next stage in your life, you face the challenges of low yields from banks, higher federal and state taxes, when to take social security, and increased medical costs. AmeriFlex is prepared to help you face these risks and protect your nest egg by building a durable income stream to match your expenses in your retirement years. You don't have to face these challenges alone — we can help.
We have 25 years of experience helping individuals and families generate income and mitigate longevity risk — make your nest egg last the rest of your lifetime.
— Thomas Goodson, ChFC, CLU, CASL, is a wealth manager for AmeriFlex Financial Services. To learn more about how alternative investments might help you reach your financial goals, please call 805.898.0893 or click here.
Santa Ynez High’s MechaPirates Earn Trip to FIRST World Robotics Championship
Student engineers at Santa Ynez Valley Union High School earned the All-Star Award at the FIRST Robotics Central Valley Regionals in Madera over the weekend — the first major milestone for the rookie robotics team.
The Central Valley Regional competition drew teams from throughout California and as far away as Hawaii and Idaho. The competition was held Friday through Sunday at Madera South High School.
The winning schools advance to the FIRST World Championship, which will be held April 23-26 at the Edwards Jones Dome in St. Louis.
Sponsors of the MechaPirates include Limotta IT, Santa Ynez Valley Foundation, Santa Ynez Valley Youth Recreation, Chevron, Corner Capital Partners LLC, Marvin Goodwin Construction, Pacific Advanced Technology, Lori Plater, Rotary Club of Los Olivos, Solvang Rotary Club and Jim Wittmann.
— Andy Weber is a Santa Ynez Valley Union High School parent.
No Tsunami Warning after 6.9-Magnitude Earthquake Off Eureka
A powerful earthquake struck off the Northern California coast late Sunday but no tsunami warnings were issued in the wake of the 6.9-magnitude quake.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the quake hit at 10:18 p.m. in the ocean about 50 miles west of Eureka in Humboldt County. Officials said the epicenter was 4.3 miles beneath the seabed.
There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.
Authorities say the earthquake was felt over a large swath of the North Coast, from the Bay Area to the Oregon border. The temblor has been followed by several smaller quakes that are believed to be aftershocks.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there were no signs of a tsunami as a result of the quake.
Community Group Envisions New Life at Abandoned Lompoc Theater
Undaunted by deterioration, liens and neglect, project volunteers pursue plans to purchase, renovate and reinvigorate historic building
When Cecilia Martner looks at the deteriorating theater that stands silently at the corner of H Street and Highway 246 in downtown Lompoc, she’s looking past the signs urging people to keep out, the trash strewn across the front and broken windows, and focuses on the building’s historic details.
Peering through the glass front door, one of which has been shattered badly, Martner points out an art deco gem just inside the abandoned theater’s lobby.
A string of golden dancers encircle the room’s doorway, welcoming would-be theater patrons in toward a concession counter and the dark entrance to the theater itself, which was built in 1927.
Bits of its gilded former glory are still visible even if they’ve been tarnished over time, and “it’s full of little details,” Martner said excitedly.
Those details mark the building not as a forgotten relic, but as a historic monument and community treasure for Martner, a former city council member, and others she’s gathered together to help reopen the theater and, in time, give the downtown area a vibrancy it’s lacking now.
The Lompoc Theatre Project was formed “because there was really nobody making an attempt to do something about the theater,” she said.
Founding members started to look at how they could take ownership of the theater and move forward with renovating it.
The group started a nonprofit organization just about a year ago, and they’ve been working with the city on a memorandum of understanding to try to come up with a path to assume ownership of the building, which has multiple liens on it, and is owned by the now-defunct Lompoc Housing & Community Development Corp.
Because the building was purchased with redevelopment agency monies, and because those agencies were dissolved by the state, the property sits in what Martner called “a legal quagmire.”
The housing agency had two loans from the City of Lompoc, which were used for acquisition and development plans, “but nothing came out of it,” she said.
Ten years later, agency is in the process of dissolving and the California Department of Finance would have the ultimate say in whether ownership of the building will be transferred to the community.
The property has some sizable liens against it — as much as a $1 million — and as the legal issues continue to slog on, Martner’s group has already started on some restoration projects with volunteer community members.
There are two layers to the theater project: Coming up with the funding for the restoration of the building and then establishing an operating budget, Martner said.
She acknowledged that a “phenomenal” amount of fundraising will have to come from the community. There will also have to be a huge volunteer effort.
“We need the community to get involved and stand behind the project,” she said. “If they don’t, it’s just not going to happen.”
Right now, the group is fundraising to get $100,000 to stabilize the building’s roof.
Consultants have told Martner that if the group had all of the money raised for the entire project, it would take 16 months to complete.
Getting enough money will likely need to amount to several million dollars, but the “biggest priority right now is to take ownership of the theater,” she said.
“We understand that it’s difficult to raise money when you don’t have ownership of the property,” she said.
The group has been issuing surveys to gauge what kinds of events people would like to see at the theater — early feedback shows that The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a favorite — and how much they would pay for a ticket.
“We don’t have an agenda, we’re looking for what the community wants and then we’ll make it happen,” she said.
Organizers have also been reaching out to local dance and theater companies and musicians to get their feedback. In principal, Martner said, those groups would be able to perform at the theater for free.
With more people coming from other places to explore the Wine Ghetto, Martner said if the theater had an event going on, “I’m sure they would spend the weekend here.”
She suggested that the theater would draw people from Solvang, Mission Hills, Santa Maria and the Santa Ynez Valley to events, which could be as diverse as a lecture series from UC Santa Barbara to short films and performances.
The theater contains 350 seats, making the venue unlike any of the others in the area.
Inside, “it’s dark, it’s dirty, but it’s structurally sound,” Martner said.
It needs upgrades, but the skeleton of theater is a solid one.
“The bones are healthy, and it would be a shame if it didn’t get restored,” she said.
The property is also home to some commercial and office space, and Martner said the group plans to rent out those spaces to subsidize the operation. She pictures one of the areas hosting a food space for coffee, frozen yogurt, wine or the like, that would serve people before and after shows.
“The history of the theater is a sad one ... This is perhaps the third attempt to restore it,” Martner said. “What is going to make us different than the rest is being as realistic as possible and to actively engage the community.
“We need to inspire people in this town and the surrounding areas that this can be done.”
People can help the effort by contacting elected officials at all levels and asking for their support. Volunteers are also needed in the effort.
Grant writers, people to conduct the surveys, and people to help get bids for the building repairs and do historical research on the theater are all things the group needs help with.
“We need anything and everything,” she said.
Click here to take the survey, volunteer or make an online donation.
Noozhawk’s Kim Clark Attending Sacramento NAWBO Conference
Noozhawk co-owner Kim Clark and several other members of the Santa Barbara chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO–SB) are in Sacramento this week for NAWBO California’s annual Propel Your Business Conference and Public Policy Summit.
At the conference, held Monday and Tuesday at the Sheraton Grand Sacramento Hotel, business owners and entrepreneurs will have the chance to get together with service professionals to discuss access to capital, marketing and public relations, social media and other hot topics. Sessions include speakers, workshops, business matchmaking and networking.
In addition, state legislators will be participating in several panel discussions on tax and public-policy issues and their impacts on California’s business climate.
Clark, Noozhawk’s vice president of business development, is board president-elect of NAWBO’s Santa Barbara chapter. Joining her in Sacramento are Karen Mora, founder of Accountability Plus and the NAWBO chapter’s president and treasurer; energy healing specialist Gloria Kaye Ph.D.; Jacky Lopez of Jacky Lopez Web Consulting; and Amber Wallace, president and CEO of Dowitcher Designs.
Helicopter Rescues 3 Hikers from Remote San Rafael Wilderness
Trio airlifted out after getting lost near rugged Hurricane Deck north of Santa Ynez Valley
Three hikers were rescued by helicopter Sunday after becoming lost in a remote wilderness area north of the Santa Ynez Valley, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.
The hikers used a cell phone to place a 9-1-1 call at about 1:45 p.m., reporting that they were lost near Hurricane Deck in the San Rafael Wilderness, said Kelly Hoover, a department spokeswoman.
“The location is one of the most remote areas in Santa Barbara County,” Hoover said. “The three hikers had apparently missed a turn and became lost.”
Dispatchers were able to determine the trio’s position by using GPS, Hoover said.
Members of the sheriff’s Search & Rescue Team responded, along with the county’s Helicopter 3.
At about 4:30 p.m., the hikers were hoisted out of the wilderness and flown to Cachuma Saddle, Hoover said.
Their names and details on their conditions were not available Sunday night.
Hurricane Deck is a rugged ridge that divides the drainages of Manzana Creek and the Sisquoc River. The nearest road is at Nira, which is the main trailhead into the San Rafael Wilderness.
Open Air Bicycles Extends Reach to Upper State Street with Second Location
From children to elite sports racers, owner Ed Brown Bicycle welcomes all customers for full-service cyclist needs
A cute beach cruiser was what the customer had in mind, and Open Air Bicycles owner Ed Brown finished her thought by picking out the perfect model.
On a recent morning at the new bike shop location on Upper State Street, Brown’s success was certain when the elderly customer — an unseasoned rider — offered a grateful smile.
That appreciative facial expression explains why Brown, a longtime Santa Barbara resident and businessman, got into the bike business in the first place.
After wetting his bicycle chops for eight years at Velo Pro Cyclery, Brown bought Open Air Bicycles from its second owner four years ago, around the time the now 42-year-old business moved from a location at the Amtrak station to 1303 State St. near the Arlington Theatre.
The business evoked Brown’s love of first-rate customer service, which is an ideal also practiced in the store’s second location at 3516 State St.
A late bike bloomer himself, Brown feels customers should never be confronted with the snobbery that sometimes accompanies talking to experts.
“Never should you be treated like that,” Brown told Noozhawk. “It’s the shop that supports the biker. Open Air has always been, and I believe in, friendly customer service.
“I just love all aspects of bikes,” he continued. “It’s fun to get people on bikes.”
Brown opened the new location last month, wanting to add to the shop’s convenience and presence in town while maintaining high standards.
Both locations are similarly sized, serve as repair stations and display more than 100 bikes for cyclists ranging from children to elite sports racers with four main brands — Giant Bicycles, Cannondale, Schwinn and GT.
The Upper State Street location boasts more parking, which has been a challenge for the downtown shop, Brown said.
The stores also have “different feels,” he said, noting the checkered-tiled, 1950s vibe downtown and rich, earthy vibe of African mahogany uptown.
“We love the neighborhood up here,” Brown said. “We believe it’s going to be a great location.”
Brown said he isn’t looking to expand further or franchise, something old shop owners tried in the past.
Sounds like he’ll be content hooking more folks on a favorite hobby-turned-career.
Lili Byall, Ron Guilbault Win Mission Chapter Toastmasters Speech Contests
At the recent Mission Chapter Toastmasters Club contests, Lili Byall won the club’s International Speech Contest and Ron Guilbault won the club’s Tall Tales Speech Contest. Both Byall and Guilbault are eligible to represent Mission Chapter Toastmasters at the area contest Saturday morning at Citrix GoTo Café.
Everyone — Toastmasters and the public alike — is welcome to attend the area contest for the Santa Barbara region clubs, and hear inspiring and entertaining speeches from contestants representing our local clubs.
Since its charter on April 17, 1979, almost 35 years ago, Mission Chapter Toastmasters has been holding regular weekly meetings! We currently meet at 5:50 p.m. Tuesdays at the Salvation Army, 4849 Hollister Ave. in Santa Barbara.
We provide a supportive and positive learning experience in which members are empowered to develop communication and leadership skills, resulting in greater self-confidence and personal growth.
Click here to learn more about the Mission Chapter Toastmasters Club.
— Christine Campos is vice president of public relations for the Mission Chapter Toastmasters Club.
10-Year-Old CEO Invites Kids to Bennett’s for First-Ever Wigglo Day
Bennett’s Educational Materials in Santa Barbara will be hosting its first “Wigglo Day” from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 22.
Wigglo Pets are toys created by local fifth-grader Maya Grace. She started the business when she was 8 years old working from the garage of her home. Since then, she’s sold more than 1,000 of these cute, furry creatures all over the world. The toys are interactive pets that respond to their owner’s touch.
“We thought the toys were so cute and had to have them in our store,” said Julia Yescas, Bennett’s manager. “Kids loved them because they were a throwback to toys of yesteryear, with no batteries, buttons or screens. Children were able to exercise their creativity and imaginations playing with the Pets.”
When she saw how much kids loved the toys, Yescas offered the creator the opportunity to have a day at the store dedicated to her creation.
“I was so excited when they asked if we could do a Wigglo Day at Bennett’s,” the young entrepreneur beamed. “I love Bennett’s and this will be a fun way for kids to learn more about Wigglo Pets.”
And, fun it will be. The day will include face painting by local face artist, Maria Perez, Wigglo-inspired sweet treats from Delicious Expressions Bakery in Santa Barbara, art activities, contests, a scavenger hunt, a Wigglo Pet stunt station, prizes and lots more!
“I think it’s important for kids to see that the owner of this company is just like them ... a kid,” Maya explained. “We kids have so many cool ideas, but sometimes we don’t believe we can make them real until we’re adults. It’s important for kids to see other kids making their dreams come true. I want to inspire other kids to follow their dreams, too.”
Not only does Maya follow her dreams, but she’s trying to make the dreams of others come true, too. A lover of animals, Maya donates a portion of the profits of her sales to the Santa Barbara Humane Society via her “Pets for Pets” campaign. Through her business, an art show she hosted in 2011, Girl Scouts fundraising and more, she’s already raised nearly $2,000 for the local nonprofit. And, she’s donated 50 of her pets to Unity Shoppe to help local under-privileged children via her toys during the holidays.
Maya is so pleased to have the opportunity to team up with this 40-year Santa Barbara mainstay that’s been giving familys ways to play and learn together for a fun, free family-oriented interactive event.
To learn more about Bennett’s Wigglo Day, call the store at 805.964.8998 or click here for more information. Bennett’s Educational Materials is located at 5130 Hollister Ave. in Santa Barbara.
Click here for more information about Wigglo Pets.
— Proud dad Leon Scott Baxter Lewandowski represents Maya Grace.
Michelle Malkin: Eat Your Own Obamacare Words, Debbie Wasserman Schultz
At the end of 2013, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., had some nasty words for yours truly. Irked that I used my Twitter feed to criticize her Obamacare propaganda efforts, Wasserman Schultz snarked back at me:
“Thanks for spreading the word! You’ll be eating them next year. #GetCovered.”
Classy as always. And completely wrong-headed as usual. Less than three months into 2014, how’s dutiful Debbie and her Dear Leader’s pet government takeover program doing? The most recent retreat measures — call it the Obamacare Endangered 2014 Midterm Democrats’ Rescue Plan — include:
» Allowing insurers for two extra years to continue selling plans that otherwise would have been banned by Obamacare. Last fall, Americans across the country and from all parts of the political spectrum raised an uproar in the wake of millions of Obamacare-induced cancellation notices on their individual market health plans. President Barack Obama trotted out a “keep your plan” Band-Aid effective through this year. Now, the “transitional period” will extend through October 2016 and cover policyholders until the following September, after Obama is safely out of office.
» Extending the open enrollment period for 2015 from November 2014 to February 2015, a month longer than originally scheduled. (It will no doubt be extended again as the midterm elections get closer.)
» Relaxing eligibility requirements for insurers to qualify for financial help under a three-year program intended to cushion insurers’ costs of complying with Obamacare mandates.
» Exempting labor unions, universities and other self-insured employers from paying a fee that creates the above-noted fund.
In addition, the White House last month allowed medium-sized employers an extra year to comply with the Obamacare mandate to offer insurance to all full-time workers and reduced the percentage of workers that large companies are required to cover. These latest regulatory walk-backs by administrative fiat all come on the heels of dozens of administrative delays and rollbacks.
While Democrats complain about Republican Obamacare repeal efforts, we may be nearing a special inflection point at which the White House will have reneged on more Obamacare regulations than it's actually enforcing!
Remember: In November 2010, the White House began issuing thousands of waivers to unions, cronies, businesses and organizations that offered affordable health insurance or prescription drug coverage with limited benefits outlawed by Obamacare. The federalized health-care architects had sought to eliminate those low-cost plans under the guise of controlling insurer spending on executive salaries and marketing. Despite the waivers, the mandate has led to untold disruptions in the marketplace and has prompted businesses to cancel the beneficial plans altogether and/or slash wages and work hours.
In April 2011, Obama signed a bipartisan-backed law repealing his own onerous $22 billion Obamacare 1099 tax-compliance mandate that would have destroyed small businesses inundated with pointless paperwork.
Last March, with the support of several key Democrats, the Senate voted to repeal the Obamacare medical device tax. But the vote has not been enforced. Device makers have cut back on research and development. And according to the medical device manufacturers industry group AdvaMed, the punitive tax has forced companies to lay off or avoid hiring at least 33,000 workers over the past year.
In December and January, when Wasserman Schultz was busy acting like a 2-year-old in response to Obamacare critics, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was busy:
» Delaying premium payment deadlines.
» Delaying high-risk insurance pool cancellations.
» Delaying equal coverage mandates that force companies to drop health benefits rewards for top executives.
» Delaying onerous “meaningful use” mandates on health providers grappling with Obamacare’s disastrous top-down electronic medical records rules.
While Wasserman Schultz defiantly claims all Democrats will proudly run on health care in 2014 and 2016, endangered Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., was caught on camera just last week literally running away from a journalist who dared to ask her about the 24 times she falsely promised that if you liked your plan, you could keep it under Obama.
It’s not just Hagan; every vulnerable Senate Democrat who rammed Obamacare down America’s throat is now running for the hills. When the White House now talks about the “Get Covered" campaign, it’s not about ordinary Americans getting health care. It’s about covering the backsides of the Obama water-carriers who may very well lose their jobs. They’re not just eating their words. They’re choking on Obamacare’s massive, inevitable, job-killing, life-threatening failures.
I’d like to tell bratty Wasserman Schultz that Obamacare critics will have the last laugh. But we’re too busy weeping at the senseless government-induced wreckage around us.
— Michelle Malkin is author of Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Twitter: @michellemalkin, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.
Susan Estrich: Dads, Dogs and Death, and How I Keep Remembering
My father died on March 7, 1977.
My best friend, Judy, died on March 7, 2000.
Coincidence, of course, but one that kicks me in the stomach every year when I light the memorial candles for these people I loved who died so young.
Technically, under Jewish law, they died on different days. Jewish law goes by a different calendar.
In my heart, it’s the same day.
When my father died, a friend told me that the pain would never go away completely, but that someday, it would be a part of my “history.” That was, I think, a nice way of saying what is certainly true: that time numbs but does not erase, that sadness can seep into your soul and live there, even amid the joy that life sometimes brings.
My mother’s mother died years before I was born. Her father remarried. No one ever talked about my mother’s mother. There were no pictures of her. My sister, Ruth, was named for her, and so was my cousin Ruth Anne — but all I knew about her was her name. It was decades before I met my mother’s cousin, Rowena, her only relative from that side of the family. When I finally asked my mother why we never talked about her, why there were no pictures or stories, she said she was always afraid of offending her father and his new wife.
I vowed to do “better.” I vowed that I would keep my father alive. I vowed that I would keep my friends alive.
But I have not done so well.
Last night, I took a friend’s daughter to dinner. Her dad died 22 years ago. He was one of my best friends. We spent the night telling stories, mostly me talking, telling her how much her father loved her. I realized that not a single one of my father’s friends ever took me to dinner after he died to tell me stories about him or how much he loved me. But how can I blame them when I have told my own children so few stories?
It is not easy to keep a person alive when you start crying at the memory of their death.
That brings me to my dogs.
I grew up afraid of dogs, especially big dogs. My Auntie Edie, my father’s sister, had a gentle black Labrador retriever of whom I was terrified. But in the year and a half that I spent flying back and forth across the country to see Judy while she was sick, there was no room for that old fear. Judy’s dog was Molly. There was a breeder in Hyannis Port, Mass., now famous as the birthplace of the “first dog” (a gift from the Kennedys), and one her prize Portuguese water dogs somehow found her way to a black Lab, producing a litter of mutts. Molly was one of them, one of the sweetest dogs in the world. Molly Jarvis taught me to love dogs.
When my children and I got our black Lab, we named her Judy Jarvis Estrich. That way, I could talk to my friend Judy every day. Somehow, it felt like a tie that death couldn’t break. A few years later, we got our second dog, and we named her Molly. And when we got our pug, a boy, it was easy: He is Irving A. Estrich, my father’s name.
If you don’t love dogs, maybe you’ll think I’m just a poor old fool. How could I name these dogs for the people I loved and lost? How could I pretend that talking to a Lab or a pug was like talking to my best friend or my dad? Of course it isn’t. I know that. It’s not about the talking. It’s about the remembering. About the love.
— Susan Estrich is a best-selling author, the Robert Kingsley Professor of Law and Political Science at the USC Law Center and was campaign manager for 1988 Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis. Click here to contact her or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.
Three Arrests Made in Isla Vista Stabbing, Near-Riot on Del Playa Drive
Lompoc man charged with attempted murder after fight, 2 others arrested as massive crowd gathers to taunt officers
A Lompoc man was arrested in a Saturday night stabbing in Isla Vista and the subsequent investigation touched off a near-riot that led to the arrest of two college students, authorities said Sunday.
According to Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Kelly Hoover, a fight broke out at a party in the 6600 block of Del Playa Drive about 10:45 p.m. Saturday. During the altercation, she said, a 20-year-old man was stabbed in the stomach on the sidewalk in front of the residence.
“The suspect attempted to flee the scene but was arrested shortly after by deputies with the Isla Vista Foot Patrol,” Hoover said.
Kuriyan Summers-Dickinson, 18, of Lompoc, was arrested nearby and booked into County Jail, where he was charged with attempted murder in the stabbing, she said.
The victim, a Rhode Island resident who was in Isla Vista visiting his brother, was transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital and admitted in critical condition, Hoover said. She said the man, whose identity has not been released, has since been upgraded to stable condition.
While sheriff’s deputies were investigating the stabbing, a large crowd gathered near the scene, Hoover said.
“Shortly after midnight, deputies arrested a suspect who was jumping on top of vehicles that were driving down Del Playa Drive and yelling, which not only caused property damage to the vehicles but also incited the crowd,” she said.
Otis Dezjuan Washington, 20, was arrested after a brief pursuit and charged with vehicle tampering and resisting arrest.
“While in the process of making the arrest, a large crowd of several hundred people gathered around the deputies and began chanting and throwing bottles,” Hoover said. “Additional deputies from the Santa Barbara and Carpinteria stations, along with UCSB police and California Highway Patrol officers responded to help.”
She credited several residents with helping deputies hold back the hostile crowd until reinforcements could arrive.
Hoover said the unruly crowd grew to more than 1,000 people, at which point officers on the scene deemed it an unlawful assembly.
Law-enforcement agencies worked together to push back the crowd and close down Del Playa Drive. Several times, Hoover said, officers ordered the crowd to disperse and used pepper spray and batons to push back individuals who refused their orders.
One man — whom Hoover identified as Tomas Delaveau, a 21-year-old UCSB student — allegedly spit on an officer and was arrested for battery on a peace officer.
Hoover said it took officers about an hour to disperse the crowd and order was restored around 2 a.m.
The stabbing incident remains under investigation.
Victor Dominocielo: Science Makes Mistakes, But It’s Part of the Scientific Process
When I talk about a scientific explanation of events and cause and effect, I am sometimes told that, “Science also makes mistakes.”
True enough: Science makes mistakes. However, it would be more accurate to say that Science makes mistakes and then, as part of the scientific process, vigorously and even viciously purges those mistakes from its system by experimentation, repetition and peer review over time.
This adversarial element of science to its own body of work is exemplified by the “null hypothesis” or, more colloquially, “What you said is wrong.” If your hypothesis can withstand the onslaught of professionals in your field trying to shred your work and prove you wrong, then your idea/hypothesis wins provisional and temporary acceptance. It is a brutal performance standard.
Albert Einstein said, “No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.” This is a very high bar of legitimacy to maintain and it is the reason why Science holds a respected place of authority in our society.
When Einstein published his Special Theory of Relativity in 1905, he was immediately ridiculed. He remained a patent clerk for four more years. Gregor Mendel, the founder of genetics, was complete ignored when he presented his work … for 40 years! Charles Darwin was petrified about publishing his work and offending the prevailing religious/professional establishment of his day, so he waited for 23 years after his famous voyage.
Many people who question scientific findings still think their beliefs and ideas have the same weight as scientific theories. This may be a semantic misunderstanding between the use of the term “hypothesis” (a proposed explanation with no evidence at the beginning of the scientific process) and a scientific “theory” that is usually the result of years of research, evidence, experimentation and peer review.
As an example, our personal ideas and beliefs about Evolution are hypotheses. Darwin’s work is a scientific theory that has withstood the test of time: generations of experts trying to prove the “theory” of evolution wrong with no success.
If you Google the 10 worst mistakes of science, you get a very interesting list. From Galen’s faulty idea of the circulatory system and Ptolemy’s Earth-centered solar system in the second century to the theory of the four humors and spontaneous generation and on to alchemy and astrology, it appears that Science has made some incredible mistakes.
Except that when these events took place, there was no Science as we know it today. In the second century, Ptolemy watched a few sunsets and without any theoretical astronomy framework and only rudimentary tools, wrongly concluded that the sun revolved around the Earth. Galen was dealing with the incorrect medical framework of the four humors when he proposed a completely wrong idea for circulation.
To be sure, throughout history there have always been scientific individuals and in our more recent past there were local, coordinated groups of scientists. However, Science as we know it today, as civilization’s organized, worldwide, multicultural network of research-based, experimental explanations of cause and effect, did not exist until the 1870s. By that time, travel and communication between global research institutions allowed knowledge to be standardly measured and reliably repeated with the process of experimentation, data collection and repetition ensuring that mistakes were purged from the system over time.
We, as individuals, have no such performance standard. We consistently and continuously make mistakes with no idea that we even made a mistake. We claim to be our own expert but we are a completely biased, anecdotal story of one.
Science, over time and repetition, is a process that points the way to an ever-more accurate picture of reality. Individuals, over time, can continue to make the same mistake generation after generation after generation. For millennia we continued to fabricate emotionally pleasing philosophical and spiritual explanations for natural events instead of adopting the very simple procedure of scientific methodology: observe, measure, propose an explanation, test it and have someone else check your work because we are all prone to mistakes.
Why was this simple approach so elusive? Why couldn’t communities from 500, 1,000 or even 2,000 years ago process observations and information in a scientific manner. Humanity needed a tool to prevent us from making these individual and then collective false associations, generation after generation.
Mathematics seems to have escaped the disuse that has plagued Science through the millennia, and a comparison may suggest a reason for the reluctance to accept and use scientific methodology. Mathematics offends no one and its logic is impossible to refute.
Science on the other hand, has an inverse relationship with one of the other pillars of our society: religion. As Science explained more and more of the natural world, mystical/spiritual explanations were less and less necessary. This process may have inadvertently offended many religious people and slowed the acceptance of various scientific theories.
Science is humanity’s method for not fooling itself. It’s not an opinion or a belief. It is not my way against your way. Science is a tool for collecting repeatable evidence: a tool that ensures that beliefs, opinions, individual false associations and prejudices are purged from our collective understanding of the natural world.
In the words of Carl Sagan: “Science is not perfect. It is often misused. It’s only a tool, but it’s the best tool we have. Self-correcting, ever-changing, applicable to everything. With this tool, we vanquish the impossible.”
— Victor Dominocielo, a California-credentialed teacher for 36 years, is the human biology and health teacher at a local middle school. The opinions expressed are his own.
Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Team Recruiting New Members, Sets Meeting for Interested Volunteers
The Santa Barbara County Search and Rescue Team (SBCSAR) annual recruitment drive is currently under way to fill its next search and rescue training academy.
SBCSAR is a volunteer branch of the Sheriff’s Department. This highly trained team uses specialized training and equipment to handle a variety of emergencies, including high-angle rock rescues, car-over-the-side accidents, downed aircraft, swiftwater rescues and medical emergencies.
SBCSAR is a California Type I search and rescue team and one of only 19 teams in California that is fully certified as a Mountain Rescue Team. To qualify for MRA status, a team must pass proficiency tests in Snow and Ice, Rock and Search Operations every three years. MRA teams are viewed as the best in the nation and are often requested to support search and rescue personnel of other counties.
Team members are men and women from all walks of life and are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
SBCSAR’s primary jurisdiction is the wilderness and urban areas of Santa Barbara County. As such, team members have the opportunity to visit parts of the county very few ever experience to see the unique beauty of our backcountry. In addition, as part of the Mountain Rescue Association, the team responds to emergencies in other counties, states and national parks such as Yosemite, Sequoia & Kings Canyon national parks.
As an active arm of the Sheriff’s Department, the team is called to assist on evidence searches, provides medical support for large community events, and is the primary entity to coordinate and carry out evacuations during major disasters such as wildfires.
Those interested in joining this elite organization of people giving back to the community are invited to attend a no obligation recruitment meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday at 66 N. San Antonio Road in Santa Barbara.
Click here for more information about the Santa Barbara County Search and Rescue Team.
— Kelly Hoover is the spokeswoman for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.
Jeff Moehlis: Legendary Burt Bacharach Revisits Timeless Classics in Magical Performance
Now 85-year-old songwriting legend Burt Bacharach and his band put on a stellar show full of magic moments at the Chumash Casino Resort on Thursday night, reminding the audience that great songs are truly timeless.
The concert began with the classic “What the World Needs Now is Love,” originally released way back in 1965 — yep, that’s two years before the Summer of Love. Vocals were handled by three wonderful singers: Donna Taylor, John Pagano and Josie James, with Bacharach playing a grand piano and conducting the band, which filled out the sound with two keyboard players, two horn players, a violinist, a bass guitarist and a drummer.
This was followed by the first of several medleys, a construct that is probably the only way to fit a decent portion of Bacharach’s prodigious catalog into one evening. This one began with “Don’t Make Me Over,” the first of many of his songs that Dionne Warwick recorded, this one more than 50 years ago, and like many of his songs with lyrics by the late Hal David. Other hits in this medley included “Walk On By,” “I Say A Little Prayer” and “(There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me” — the latter well-known to my generation from Naked Eyes’ synth pop cover in the 1980s.
After another medley, the singers got a chance to shine individually, with James bringing “Anyone Who Had a Heart” to a thrilling climax, Pagano nailing “I Just Don’t Know What to Do With Myself” and Taylor wowing on “Waiting for Charlie to Come Home,” a song that Bacharach introduced by noting how cool it was that it had been recorded by the great Etta James.
Bacharach introduced the next song as being perhaps his only attempt to write a rock ’n’ roll song, a genre that he said “wasn’t in my music vocabulary,” with his “too fancy” chords being “too complicated for Bill Haley and His Comets.” He explained that this song, “My Little Red Book,” was originally recorded as a music cue for the movie What’s New Pussycat with the “hot English group” Manfred Mann. Bacharach joked that it took a surprisingly long time to record and didn’t end up being or deserving to be a hit. But it was later covered by the Los Angeles rock group Love, which “changed the melody and changed the chords,” ending up with a hit. At the Chumash Casino, it was sung by keyboard player Bill Cantos.
Next up was a medley of Bacharach’s first four hits, which he introduced by telling a bit about how he came to be a songwriter. The short version is that from listening to demo recordings sent to the Ames Brothers, who employed him as an accompanist, he realized he could write such songs himself. He ended up at the famed Brill Building, but it took a year and a half before one of his songs was even recorded, and a bit longer before one was a hit.
Previewing the medley, he joked that the songs sound like someone else wrote them, even to himself. It kicked off with “Magic Moments,” and included “The Blob” from the movie of the same name, with sax player Dennis Wilson amusingly making perfectly timed pops with his finger flicking the edge of his mouth.
This was followed by “(They Long to Be) Close To You,” made famous from the cover by The Carpenters, and the smooth sounds continued with “Make It Easy on Yourself” and “On My Own.”
The final medley of the evening consisted of Bacharach’s contributions to motion pictures, which he noted were “good luck for me.” This started with “The Look of Love” and included the Academy Award winners “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)” and “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,” plus “What’s New Pussycat” and “Alfie.” For “The Look of Love,” “Raindrops” and “Alfie,” we were treated to Bacharach himself on lead vocals.
The encore began with two newer songs, “Every Other Hour” and “Hush,” from the recent musical Some Lovers, which he did with Stephen Sater. The concert closed with a reprise of “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,” which the audience was encouraged to sing along to and did so with great enthusiasm.
Bacharach continues to write new music, notably together with Mike Myers and Elvis Costello for a Broadway show about Austin Powers (you might remember that Bacharach made cameos in the Austin Powers movies).
More than 55 years since his first hit song, Burt Bacharach is still going strong, performing his timeless songs in concert and working on yet more songs for the future.
What the World Needs Now is Love
Don’t Make Me Over
Walk On By
This Guy’s in Love With You
I Say A Little Prayer
Trains and Boats and Planes
Wishin’ and Hopin’
(There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me
One Less Bell to Answer
I’ll Never Fall in Love Again
Only Love Can Break a Heart
Do You Know the Way to San Jose
Anyone Who Had a Heart
I Just Don’t Know What to Do With Myself
Waiting for Charlie to Come Home
My Little Red Book
Story of My Life
Tower of Strength
(They Long to Be) Close To You
Make It Easy on Yourself
On My Own
The Look of Love
Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)
What's New Pussycat?
The World is a Circle
The April Fools
Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head
(The Man Who Show) Liberty Valance
Wives and Lovers
A House is Not a Home
Every Other Hour
Any Day Now
Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head
— Jeff Moehlis is a Noozhawk contributing writer and a professor of mechanical engineering at UC Santa Barbara. Upcoming show recommendations, advice from musicians, interviews and more are available on his web site, music-illuminati.com. The opinions expressed are his own.
Letter to the Editor: Oil Industry Representative Admits Man-Made Climate Change
“Climate change is man-made. There’s no question about that.”
— Tupper Hall, vice president, strategic communications, Western States Petroleum Association, March 6, 2014
This quote was from an event at UCSB on March 6 entitled, “Game Changer: Unconventional Gas & Oil and the Energy Landscape.”
The event was a panel discussion with the editor-in-chief of Science Magazine, the chief scientist at EDF, the founder of a venture capital firm focused on clean energy and a representative of the Western Petroleum Association, an organization dedicated to advancing the interests of the oil industry.
When asked about a 60-minutes clip that showed people near fracking sites lighting their water on fire, individuals in a town in Pennslyvania who lost their water supply due to pollution and other negative impacts, the Western Petroleum Industry representative said that those issues were due to faulty construction and human error.
The main arguments in favor of fracking centered around the fact that burning natural gas produces less carbon than burning coal and oil and so, provided you can capture fugitive methane emissions and the gas replaces other fossil fuels, fracking for natural gas is better for the climate.
However, it was pointed out that in California the fracking being done is for oil, not natural gas, and so that argument is irrelevant here. There is no potential climate “benefit” to fracking for oil, only climate downsides.
What was most surprising at the event was that despite on-going funding of climate change denial by the oil industry, the representative of the Western Petroleum Association admitted that climate change is happening and it is man made.
What’s more, in response to an audience question, “Is the Western Petroleum Association willing to state publicly and loudly that climate change is an urgent and existential challenge?” He said, “yes.”
The moderator, Emmy-winning CBS journalist Jeff Greenfield, asked why the Western Petroleum Association is funding climate change denial. The representative demurred, noting that the Association doesn’t fund things, their oil industry members do.
— Katie Davis
350 Santa Barbara
Wild Night in Isla Vista Includes Del Playa Drive Stabbing, Unruly Crowd
Sheriff’s deputies confront near-riot with large group of people early Sunday
It was a wild night Saturday for Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies, including a stabbing and what witnesses described as a near-riot.
The stabbing occurred at about 10:45 p.m. on the 6600 block of Del Playa Drive, according to Kelly Hoover a sheriff's spokeswoman.
The victim was hospitalized, Hoover said, but details on his condition were not available.
A suspect from Lompoc was arrested, and another was being sought, she said.
Shortly after midnight, deputies had their hands full trying to control a large crowd on the same block of Del Playa, Hoover said.
"A male suspect jumped on top of a slow moving vehicle and attempted to rile the crowd," Hoover said. "He was arrested after a short foot pursuit. During that arrest, a large crowd gathered, and the situation turned into an unlawful assembly."
Isla Vista Foot Patrol deputies, assisted by UCSB Police officers, attempted to push back and disperse the crowd, Hoover said, adding that they were assisted by a large group of students who helped keep the crowd back so the deputies could finish their work.
Both cases remained under investigation.
Randi Rabin: Married Woman Leaves But Won’t Divorce; Underage Drinking and Social Host Liability
Dear Feelings Doctor: I fell in love with a married woman, as did she with me eight years ago. I told her if she left her husband we could be together. She left him, but she refuses to divorce him. Her reasons are: 1) his health insurance is better than mine; 2) the longer she stays with him the more money she will get from his retirement/palimony; and 3) it will hurt their grown kids. All I can think is: Will she do this to me?
Dear Jeff: When one leaves their current mate for another, there will always be some type of energetic unfinished business. Jumping out of the frying pan into the fire doesn’t leave much room for personal growth.
I do believe there are many different ways to be in a relationship if those involved are willing to work at creating what they truly desire. It doesn’t have to be a typical version of anything. It can be the recipe that works for you, your partner and everyone involved, providing it carries the elements of honesty, openness and integrity from all parties.
After eight years, something must still be working! Perhaps the idea of being in a relationship but not really being in on the day-to-day workings that make a house run smoothly allows the newness to remain. Still “quasi-dating” after all this time may be the answer to your longevity. She has stated her reasons for staying where she is. What are yours?
Dear Feelings Doctor: Last week, my daughter, who is 16, went to a party where there was drinking. I just found out about it, and I am so angry. She said her friend’s father was fine with it. What do I do?
— Square Dad
Dear Square Dad: First of all, it is such a dangerous situation for anyone to allow underage drinking to take place in their home. That said, it happens all the time. The consequences are high, and the aftermath can be life-changing. So, have a candid conversation with your teens.
The monetary fine that the parents’ are responsible for and the safety of everyone on the property also falls on the homeowner. Let your teenagers know if they feel unsafe, uncertain or uncomfortable at another person’s house they have your permission to call any time, day or night! Your main concern is their safety. The “talk” comes after they are home, safe and sound.
The longer a young person waits to try alcoholic substances, the less likely they are to develop a desire for it, and the easier it will be to say no — “no” is the new cool …
Got a question for The Feelings Doctor? Click here to submit a question anonymously.
• • •
Imagine This ...
There is an inmost center in us all, where truth abides in fullness. To know this innermost center, we must open a way for the “imprisoned splendor” to escape … — r browning
Expressing our God-given gifts is the inheritance we leave to this world …
Mindful of the Present and the Past, Plein-Air Artist Michael Drury Gives Life to Landscape
Local painter’s work on display at Pacific Western Bank through April 30, but don’t expect many Santa Barbara scenes
Plein-air painter Michael Drury has never forgotten the time or the place that he first encountered the landscapes of Fernand Lungren. He was taking his spending money to a State Street bank and he was just 8 years old.
“I know that has a huge amount to do with why I became what I became,” he said.
Drury now has the opportunity to display his own paintings in a downtown bank. Pacific Western Bank, 30 E. Figueroa St., has a collection of his work on exhibit during regular business hours until April 30. The bank also hosted an evening reception for him last week as part of the monthly First Thursday program sponsored by the Santa Barbara Downtown Organization.
When Pacific Western Bank opened its branch last May, “we included art walls throughout to provide the community with an additional venue to showcase local artists and their works,” said Catharine Manset, the bank’s senior vice president.
“We try to showcase talented members of the local arts community offering unique and diverse artistic perspectives.”
Like Lungren, Drury is a Santa Barbara local with a penchant for landscapes. As a painter in the plein-air tradition, Drury typically paints outside, directly taking in the beauty of the place he is rendering as he works.
Interestingly, Drury claims he prefers to paint locations other than Santa Barbara.
“It’s too genteel ... it’s not rough,” he explained. “I like places that stick out in the open a little bit.”
Drury’s three favored locations to paint are California’s Central Coast, the high deserts of Nevada and the western coast of Ireland.
His love for nature explains his involvement as a founding member of The Oak Group, a collection of local artists committed to preserving Santa Barbara coastal spaces from development.
The Oak Group periodically puts on benefit exhibitions, donating half the proceeds from the sale of its paintings to conservation efforts. Its current show in the Faulkner Gallery at the Santa Barbara Public Library will benefit the restoration of the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden’s wildflower meadow.
Drury was drawn into The Oak Group when it was formed in 1986 through his mentor, the late Ray Strong. The two met in 1970 after Drury was awestruck by an exhibition of Strong’s work at the library. A friend of Drury’s who owned a frame shop downtown gave him the artist’s telephone number.
After working up the nerve to contact Strong, the pair made arrangements to go out painting together at the ranch where Drury worked.
“This brown VW bus pulls up,” Drury recalled, and “this man ... unfolds from the van.”
At the end of the afternoon, Drury remembers, “(Strong) takes this huge hand of his, bangs it on my knee ... ‘Why don’t you and I just start painting together?’”
Drury views his relationship with Strong as formative for his development as an artist.
“He called me his painting son, and he was my painting father,” he said of Strong, who died in 2006 at age 101. “A mentor in the best sense ... I found a kindred spirit. We talked about intensely personal things. One of the great lessons of my life was meeting Ray and becoming part of his circle.”
Being able to honestly portray the beauty — but also the chaos and ruggedness — of natural landscapes matters a great deal to Drury. He searches for roughness, huge scale and openness wherever he paints.
“Connemara (on the Irish coast) reminds me of Nevada, except there’s the ocean, right there!” he said. “The sense of space, and bigness, and giant things to paint ... It’s very much like Nevada.”
Drury said he holds authenticity and honesty as the main guiding values of his work.
“I don’t paint sentimental, I don’t paint nostalgia,” he explained. “I try to paint who I am, and where I am and the time I live in.
“I just try to paint as clearly as I can, as unadorned as I can.”
Princesses, Princes and Amphibians Get Royal Treatment at Santa Barbara Zoo
Conservation efforts for frogs, toads and snakes all part of the message behind popular annual Princess Day
The Santa Barbara Zoo on Saturday welcomed hundreds of young girls dressed as princesses, and their families, to raise awareness about threats to the world’s amphibians.
“It’s called Princess Day; it’s a celebration for frogs,” explained Dean Noble, the zoo’s marketing director. “The more we can do to get the word out about amphibian conservation, the better for us all.
“It’s a bonus if we can connect kids with the natural world and (another) bonus if we can connect girls with science.”
Princess Day drew a large crowd, which included hundreds of young girls dressed as princesses and many young boys dressed as princes, superheroes, pirates and frogs. The theme undoubtedly stems from the Disney movie, The Princess and the Frog, which is based on a classic Brothers Grimm fairy tale.
“This is a fun way to talk about a serious issue,” said Rich Block, the zoo’s CEO. “The world’s amphibians are in trouble, and there are no easy answers to stem the shocking drop in their populations.”
Fortunately for attendees and zoo staff, the sky was clear and the sun was out.
“Thankfully, (Princess Day) wasn’t last Saturday,” said Noble, referring to last weekend’s storms.
Upon arrival, guests were greeted by “Princess Belle,” from the Disney classic The Beauty and The Beast, and “Alice,” from Alice in Wonderland. Although not a princess, Alice drew a large crowd of young girls who were eager to meet their favorite movie character.
Further inside, the zoo provided a variety of activities for the young royals. Attendees lined up to take professional photographs with “Anna” and “Elsa” from the hit movie Frozen, which recently won the 2014 Oscar for best animated feature. Young girls approached Elsa hesitantly, fearing she would utilize her movie superpower and freeze those around her.
Many of the boys flocked to the rock-climbing wall, a new addition to this year’s Princess Day.
“The rock-climbing wall is new,” Noble said. “This is the first time we are testing it out, and the story behind that will be climbing into a condor nest to check on a chick.”
Similarly, girls flocked to the makeover station, provided by the Paul Mitchell School in downtown Santa Barbara. This station was perhaps the most popular activity; at least 20 young girls waited patiently for a turn to get their hair and nails done, and complete the princess look.
Other activities were aimed at raising amphibian conservation awareness.
“In the center we’ve got some activities, we’ve got some crafts, and our keepers are bringing out amphibians every half-hour or so,” Noble said. “We’ve also got keeper talks at a variety of exhibits throughout the zoo.”
While some of the young princes and princesses appeared timid around the movie characters, others were eager to learn more about the amphibians. One girl, no older than 3 years old, held out her hand to touch a medium-sized snake.
All in all, the event was a success. Both children and parents enjoyed a beautiful day at the zoo and learned more about amphibian conservation.
“It’s always a very popular day,” Noble observed. “There are many young ladies that come every year and many young men, too.”
Michael Barone: Obama’s Mistaken Belief That Others See the World as He Sees It
Solipsism. It’s a fancy word that means that the self is the only existing reality and that the external world, including other people, are representations of one’s own self and can have no independent existence. A person who follows this philosophy may believe that others see the world as he does and will behave as he would.
It’s a quality often found in narcissists, people who greatly admire themselves — such as a presidential candidate confident that he is a better speechwriter than his speechwriters, knows more about policy than his policy directors and is a better political director than his political director.
More recently, Obama’s narcissism has been painfully apparent as the United States suffers one reversal after another in world affairs. But it has been apparent ever since he started running for president in 2007.
Candidate Obama campaigned not just as a critic of the policies of the opposing party’s president, as many candidates do, but he portrayed himself repeatedly as someone who, because he “looks different” from other presidents, would make America beloved and cherished in the world.
Plenty of solipsism here. Obama’s status as the possible — and then actual — first black president was surely an electoral asset. Most Americans believed and believe that, given the nation’s history, the election of a black president would be a good thing, at least in the abstract.
But that history has less resonance beyond America’s borders. Obama must have been surprised to find, on his trip to his father’s native Africa, that he was less popular there than President George W. Bush, thanks to Bush’s program to combat AIDS.
Obama was also mistaken in thinking that his election and the departure of the cowboy bully Bush would make the United States popular again among the world’s leaders and peoples — though it had that effect in the faculty lounges and university neighborhoods Obama had chosen to inhabit.
In the wider world, the United States, as the largest and mightiest power, is bound to be resented and blamed for every unwelcome development. American presidents for more than a century have been characterized as crude and bumptious by foreign elites.
Moreover, as Robert Gates argued persuasively in his 1996 and 2014 memoirs, there is more continuity in American foreign policy than domestic campaign rhetoric suggests. From Guantanamo to Afghanistan, Obama found himself obliged more to carry on than to repudiate Bush’s policies.
Where he has clearly changed course, he has done so solipsistically. A reset with Russia was possible, he reasoned, because Vladimir Putin, insulted by Bush’s mulishness, was ready to cooperate with a president in mutually advantageous win-win agreements.
So in the past week, Obama has insisted that Putin’s invasion of Ukraine’s Crimea was not in his own interest. No doubt most in the faculty lounge would see it that way. But Putin clearly doesn’t. As the military say, the enemy has a vote.
And in his astonishing interview last week with Bloomberg’s Jeffrey Goldberg, Obama declared that Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas was ready to accept peace with Israel. Again, that’s what Obama and the faculty lounge would do. But Abbas has turned down one generous peace deal and has never said he would recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
Obama’s assumption that other leaders share his views has its limits. It does not always apply to those who have been allies and friends of the United States.
In the Goldberg interview, he lashed Israel, and by implication Benjamin Netanyahu, for “aggressive settlement construction” in the West Bank. The implication is that only Israel is blocking a peace agreement. But it was Abbas who has rejected John Kerry’s framework.
Obama’s solipsistic narcissism extends even to the mullahs of Iran. This goes back again to the 2008 campaign: The problem was Bush’s refusal to negotiate. Speak emolliently, send greetings on Muslim holidays and ignore the Green Movement protesters, and Iranian leaders would see that it is in their interest to halt their nuclear weapons program.
Most Americans, conservative as well as liberal, would be delighted if Putin, the Palestinians and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei believed and behaved as we would. They would be pleased to see an enlightened American leader bridge rhetorical differences and reach accommodations that left all sides content and at peace.
That, unhappily, is not the world we live in. Being on the lookout for common ground is sensible. Assuming common ground when none exists is foolish. And often has bad consequences.
— Michael Barone is a senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. Click here to contact him, follow him on Twitter: @MichaelBarone, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.
Diane Dimond: How Your Nose Could Save Your Life
My dear grandma Cora always grew geraniums — red geraniums, to be specific. Nearly every time I went to visit her she had pots of them flowering outside the front door. I would gently stroke the leaves and breathe in that unmistakable geranium smell. To this day I love the smell of geraniums so much I grow them myself — all year round.
Now I’ve discovered that retaining the memory of that smell could help save lives. The same holds true for the smell of garlic, horseradish and other common odors. If suddenly detected in the wrong place at the wrong time, it could signal that a chemical weapons attack is under way.
Look, I’m not one of those doomsday planners. I figure when it’s my time to go, then I’m ready to see what’s next. But after a conversation with a 30-year veteran of law enforcement named Rod Davis of First Responder Prep — a man who applies smell science to public safety — I came to realize how vulnerable we all are.
Our world is full of chemical weapons. Some were manufactured as far back as World War I and still exist today. Newer arsenals have added to the total number and increased the possibility of mass murder. Syria, pressured by the United Nations, says it is currently in the process of getting rid of 1,200 tons of chemical weapons. We know there were all sorts of chemical weapons developed for use during the Iran/Iraq war in the 1980s. In the early ’90s, our Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm troops discovered massive Iraqi chemical weapons stockpiles. North Korea is suspected of having a stockpile, too.
In this age of random and deadly terrorist attacks here in the United States, what would stop a determined criminal from using a chemical weapon instead of a gun or a homemade bomb? Law enforcement rushing to the scene would likely not have personal protective equipment with them — gas masks or rubber suits — and they would have to rely on all their training and their senses to keep themselves and the public safe.
As Davis puts it, “Science has proven that our sense of smell is the only sense directly hardwired to the brain.” So this former police chief and commander of criminal investigations has come up with a set of 8 x 10 reusable training cards embedded with a near-permanent “rub-for-scent” component that helps emergency teams memorize the deadly smells. Teaching first responders those smells ahead of any attack, says Davis, could spell the difference between life and death.
Davis’ patent-pending idea has already been marketed to police, fire and public safety offices nationwide. He says he has had interest from an unidentified Middle Eastern country that wants to use his scent technology expertise to train their military to use all their senses when responding to emergency situations.
Davis says he came up with his idea of a pack of carry-along cards a few years ago while attending an emergency response training session. “The instructor told us that many of the most common chemical weapons give off smells ... like geraniums,” he told me on the phone from his home office in Mechanicsville, Va. “The officer next to me leaned over and whispered, 'Gee, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a geranium, let alone smelled one!’”
Davis researched the world’s stockpiles and came up with the top eight chemical weapons with distinctive odors. Those are the scents embedded in his training cards.
For example, did you know that the lethal chemical Cyclo-sarin smells like peaches? It can cause seizures, paralysis, respiratory failure and death.
The same happens with another nerve agent called Tabun, which has a decidedly fruity odor.
Hydrogen Cyanide smells like almonds. It is so extremely toxic and immediately fatal to humans that it has been used in gas chamber executions.
As the name indicates, Hydrogen Sulfide smells like sulfur or rotten eggs. If exposed to high enough levels, it can be immediately lethal.
If you suddenly and inexplicably smell the odor of newly mowed hay, you may be in the vicinity of a release of Phosgene, which was used as a chemical weapon in both World War I and II. It still exists in the world, attacks the respiratory system and is fatal.
The chemical Sulfur Mustard can smell like either garlic or onions. It doesn’t kill people, but it incapacitates them almost immediately and results in the need for prolonged, intensive medical care.
And, finally, the blister agent Lewisite. It is an extremely toxic arsenic-based liquid that attacks human tissue, eyes and lungs and smells like Grandma Cora’s geraniums.
Some readers are surely thinking, “Good grief, don’t put the idea of using a chemical weapon in some madman’s mind!” But, please, understand, many of those who hate America already have access to these agents. And if you think the distance between our country and theirs will prove to be a deterrent — I suggest you think again.
We need to talk about this stuff. We need to be prepared to respond to all sorts of threats. And chemical-based armaments are the most readily available and most often used weapon of mass destruction in the world. Training with scent technology just makes good sense.
Are first responders in your area ready?
— Diane Dimond is the author of Be Careful Who You Love: Inside the Michael Jackson Case. Contact her at email@example.com, follow her on Twitter: @DiDimond, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.
Mark Shields: Republicans Imperiled by Ignoring a Changing America
According to the Census Bureau, for the first time in more than a century, the annual number of deaths among white Americans exceeded the number of births. Add to that the facts that Asians are now the fastest-growing minority in the United States, and a majority of American children younger than 5 now belong to a racial or ethnic minority, and we can begin to appreciate Heraclitus’ wisdom that “change is the only constant in life.”
Consider the velocity of change in our presidential politics. In the 1988 presidential election, Republican nominee George H.W. Bush won 59 percent of the white vote, and in 2012, Republican nominee Mitt Romney also won 59 percent of the white vote. The differences in the final results between those two elections, not even a quarter-century apart, are beyond staggering. Bush’s 59 percent of the white vote was the key to his winning 426 electoral votes and running more than 7 million votes ahead of Democrat Michael Dukakis.
In 2012, Romney’s 59 percent of the white vote did not prevent his losing the popular vote to the Democratic incumbent, President Barack Obama, by 5 million and being able to win only 206 electoral votes to Obama’s 332. When Bush defeated Dukakis, the U.S. electorate was 85 percent white; when Romney lost to Obama in 2012, the nation’s electorate was just 72 percent white.
I was surprised to learn that Asians are the fastest-growing minority group in the country. Asian immigrants from South Korea, India, Japan, Pakistan and China are disproportionately found in the scientific, engineering and medical professions while also demonstrating a remarkable aptitude for launching their own businesses. But the anti-immigrant rhetoric, led by Romney, which dominated the GOP presidential primaries, and which may have been intended as hostile only to those coming in from Mexico, had the effect of alienating so many Pacific newcomers that Obama beat Romney by 3-to-1 in this voter group.
Remember the first election of the 21st century, when Republican George W. Bush, despite losing the popular vote to Democrat Al Gore, prevailed in the Electoral College by way of the U.S. Supreme Court? Gore’s gracious concession was an exceptionally unselfish act of political leadership that enabled most of his supporters to accept the decision. But if Romney had gotten the same percentage of the votes in 2000 that he in fact won in 2012, the Massachusetts Republican would have won a clear majority of the national popular vote that year.
My friend, Mark Russell, the wittiest man in or out of Washington, likes to remind us that his census figures indicate that by 2020, there will be 123,000 Americans over the age of 100 ... and that all of them will have valid Florida driver’s licenses. But for the Republicans who ignore change and insist on campaigning in a country that no longer exists, its party platform castigating immigrants could turn into the political world’s longest suicide note. Let’s hope not, because this nation must educate, train and welcome the immigrant children among us, and because we need two healthy, relevant, competitive political parties.
— Mark Shields is one of the most widely recognized political commentators in the United States. The former Washington Post editorial columnist appears regularly on CNN, on public television and on radio. Click here to contact him, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.
Sunshine, Warm Temperatures Expected to Stay through Next Weekend
Santa Barbara County will enjoy mostly clear skies over the next several days although cloudy conditions could be spending a few nights here, the National Weather Service said.
Sunday is expected to be another unseasonably warm day, with highs in the mid-70s along the coast and into the mid-80s in interior valleys, the weather service said.
An upper-level trough is likely to move in late Sunday afternoon, however, bringing a heavy cloud layer with it overnight. The weather service said a similar pattern may develop Monday evening.
Beginning on Monday, daytime temperatures are forecast for the upper 60s to low 70s through next weekend, with mostly clear skies and overnight lows in the 50s.
» Click here for the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Services. Click here to sign up for the OES’ messaging service. Connect with the OES on Facebook.
Open House Listings for Santa Barbara, Goleta, Montecito, Santa Ynez: March 9, 2014
Sunday, March 9
Winifred Lender: Guided Imagery Is a Powerful Tool for Mastery and Relaxation
If you watched the recent Winter Olympics you might have seen athletes who appeared to be in a meditative state; some with eyes closed sitting quietly and others with eyes opened and arms and legs moving around, as though they were rehearsing their upcoming routine.
They appeared calm, intently focused and unaware of the whirlwind of activity around them. These athletes were engaging in guided imagery. This technique has been shown to improve the performance of elite athletes, such as the Olympians, as well as regular athletes.
In addition to enhancing performance, guided imagery has been found to increase relaxation and lead to overall well-being. For example, this technique has been linked to reduced pain in a number of clinical populations (e.g. children with abdominal pain, individuals with fibromyalgia, cardiac patients), improved healing after surgery, decreased latency to fall asleep, less stress and anxiety, decreased blood pressure and improved mood.
Guided imagery is a simple and effective technique that focuses and directs the imagination. It utilizes all the senses, emotion and cognition, and can be performed by people of all different ages. In guided imagery, people experience via imagination an event that evokes the emotion, sensations and thoughts of the actual experience. If very focused, people will enter a clam state and become almost unaware of what is going on around them. Research using brain scans has found that people engaging in guided imagery show the activation of parts of the brain responsible for sensations, cognitions and emotions that are associated with the actual act they are imaging.
Guided imagery can be practiced alone or with the help of facilitator. The process of guided imagery starts with the creation of a script that details an upcoming event. The script is highly specific and focuses on all the sensations that accompany each component act of the activity. For example, a person using guided imagery to prepare for a speech might have several first component steps in the script that include: “I walk on the stage. I hear the thud of my shoes on the wood floor, squint with the bright lights before me and feel the cool air rush toward me. My legs move quickly and my hands swing naturally as I walk to the podium. My hands feel the cool wood as I grasp the sides of the podium. I take a deep breath and feel the air rush into my lungs. I exhale and feel my muscles relax. I look out into the audience. I see the bright lights. I clear my throat and smile. I feel my calm, slow breath as it goes in and out. The words come out of my mouth easily and my heartbeat is calm.”
The detailed script can be read and reread with additional details included as needed. The goal is to create enough detail so that a person could have a vivid image of the event, using only the script for guidance. The script then can be recorded and can be listened to daily. When listening to the recording, one should adapt a relaxed position and focus on hearing the script and experiencing the guided images. At first, the task may seem unnatural, but with practice the experience can become very vivid to the extent that you may become unaware of what is going on outside of the guided imagery tape. The daily practice of taking time to listen to the tape is an important component of guided imagery.
The guided imagery script can change with time and as mastery is experienced. For example, a child who is very anxious about petting dogs, might be given an initial script that involves her being in the same room with a small dog. The next script might have her sitting close to the dog. By pairing the relaxation and mastery of guided imagery with an increasing hierarchy of demands, the child will slowly develop the ability to remain calm while being guided through a scenario in which she is ultimately touching a dog. Next, the success in the imagined experience can be generalized to the real world.
Guided imagery can be used not only to enhance performance on a particular task, but to improve health and increase relaxation. Guided imagery that focuses on deep breathing and muscle relaxation may be used to induce a relaxed state. The relaxation script may entail having people visualize the air going in and out of their lungs like a balloon expanding and shrinking or their blood flowing through their body like a stream. The recordings can encourage people to engage in activities such as stretching, deep breathing and muscle relaxation that induces calmness while envisioning scenes that may produce endorphins to lead to overall well-being.
The power of guided imagery is due to several factors. First, by engaging in the scripted imagery, people can exert control over the image and eventual experience, moving away from self-defeating ruminations that may accompany new events. For example, instead of thinking about all that could go wrong when you give a speech, the guided imagery forces you to focus on an imagined sequence that is controllable and positive. Likewise, a person with heart disease that has anxiety around their health, might be forced to focus on relaxing their body, slowing their breathing and envisioning blood flowing well; behaviors that distract them from their anxiety and the muscle tension and the shallow breathing that may accompany it.
Second, anxiety about a new experience can be due to the fact that it is unknown, and the more we practice the experience, the unknown will becomes familiar and the anxiety is likely to decrease. This can be particularly empowering to children, who may feel they lack control in a new situations.
Third, by engaging in guided imagery we are able to practice the task at hand providing our neural pathways with repetition of the act that will only help to bolster our performance. Finally, by practicing a successful outcome to the experience we may increase the likelihood of actually succeeding in the real life task. In essence, the practice may become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Whether your goal is to run a race more quickly, give a speech, decrease your blood pressure or simply attain a more relaxed state, consider guided imagery as an effective tool. This simple, yet productive technique can help you open new doors, achieve greater levels of performance, and break through barriers that are holding you back.
Gerald Carpenter: Madeleine Dring, Hendrik Andriessen Highlights of Santa Barbara Music Club Concert
The next free concert of chamber music from the Santa Barbara Music Club takes place at 3 p.m. Saturday in the Faulkner Gallery of the downtown branch of the Santa Barbara Public Library, 40 E. Anapamu St.
The program begins with Madeleine Dring’s Trio for Flute, Oboe and Piano (1968) with Benjamin Leinfelder, flute, Adelle Rodkey, oboe, and Neil Di Maggio, piano; continues with Hendrik Andriessen’s Variations on a Theme of Haydn for English Horn and Piano and Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s Variations on a Theme of Glinka (transcribed by Tamàs Sulyok), performed by the duo “Dolci” (Ted Rust, English horn and oboe, Viva Knight, piano); and concludes with Gareth Farr’s Kembang Suling, Astor Piazolla’s Histoire du Tango, and Isaac Albéniz’s Suite Española, played by two of those indefatigable Cameratans, Adrian Spence, flute, and Ji Hye Jung, marimba.
Dring (1923-1977) was a British composer, pianist and singer. She wrote a lot for her own instrument, and also — since her husband was the oboist, Roger Lord — for the oboe. She studied with Ralph Vaughan Williams, and admired and was influenced by French composer Francis Poulenc, whose light and witty spirit often finds reflection in her works. One musicologist says that her “style is typically light and unpretentious,” while another wrote that her music “never displayed influences of contemporary developments, but it was distinctive, entertaining and suffused with vivacity and wit.”
Andriessen (1892-1982) was a fine, relatively conservative Dutch composer and organist most famous for his improvisations on his instrument and for his one-man revival of Catholic liturgical music in the Netherlands. His music possesses great charm and clarity. He is also famous as the father of two composers, Jurriaan Andriessen and Louis Andriessen, and of the flautist, Heleen Andriessen.
Joe Conason: Scholars Call Out Lies in Rep. Paul Ryan’s Poverty Report
For the sake of America’s poor, a sincere conservative effort to improve the programs that serve them is very desirable — especially so long as Republicans control the House of Representatives, where they habitually yearn to cut or defund those same programs. For months, Washington has eagerly awaited the latest version of “compassionate conservatism,” promised by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and his publicists.
Appearing at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday, Ryan denounced government programs that serve the poor, including food stamps and free school lunch: “What the left is offering people is a full stomach and an empty soul. The American people want more than that.”
But what the House Budget Committee chairman and 2012 vice-presidential candidate delivered a few days earlier showed that he is offering not more, but much less. “The War on Poverty: 50 Years Later,” produced by Ryan’s budget committee staff is merely more of the same old right-wing propaganda against the safety net, and worse.
Promoted as a scathingly rigorous analysis of the impact of poverty programs since the 1960s, its 200-plus pages cite dozens of academic researchers. Yet it more resembles an ideological tract than the social science meta-study it purports to be. Having determined in advance that nearly all of the nation's anti-poverty spending is wasteful, counterproductive and damaging to the work ethic of poor people, Ryan and his staff perform an audacious statistical stunt: They prove those programs have failed by pretending those programs don’t exist.
Poverty in America is officially determined by household income, and any official measurement of the number or percentage of poor Americans — those living “below the poverty line” — is determined by their incomes alone. But to measure the effectiveness of government programs designed to reduce the impact of low incomes, it would seem logically necessary to add in those extra sources of cash, goods and services.
But the Ryan report rejects such plain logic, relying instead on the official poverty numbers without assessing the impact of those programs — and then insists that because the number of families with low incomes remains around 15 percent, those programs have failed.
As the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities explains in a pithy review:
“The report features the ‘official’ poverty measure even though analysts across the political spectrum — and all three witnesses at a recent hearing that Ryan held, including the two Republicans he invited — have warned that the official poverty measure is deeply flawed for tracking changes in poverty over recent decades and for evaluating the impact of the safety net today. The official measure ignores a very large share of the safety net — including SNAP (formerly known as food stamps), tax-based benefits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, and low-income housing assistance, among other programs.
“Using a more comprehensive measure of poverty that analysts broadly favor, known as the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM), Columbia University researchers recently found that poverty had fallen markedly, from 26 percent in 1967 to 16 percent in 2012. Ryan buries this fact, failing to note the deep reductions in poverty under the SPM since the ’60s until page 201 of his report.
“Moreover, the SPM shows that in 2012, the safety net cut poverty nearly in half — shrinking the poverty rate from 29 percent to 16 percent. Yet in its 200-plus pages, the Ryan report fails to mention these findings.”
In other words, Ryan cooks the books (again!), this time to denigrate programs that the Republicans want to cut drastically, notably the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Medicaid.
If such manipulations aren’t troubling enough, it now appears that some of Ryan’s copious academic citations are also misleading and perhaps fraudulent, with the same distorting effect. According to The Fiscal Times, the group of Columbia researchers whose work is cited in the report complain that Ryan omits critical data from their study, which examines progress against poverty between 1967 and 2012. For reasons best known to Ryan, his team simply left out the data from 1967 to 1969 — and artfully diminished the very substantial improvement gauged during those years.
Not so impressive for a politician claiming wonk status.
Said a surprised Jane Waldfogel, one of the Columbia professors who co-authored the study cited so misleadingly by Ryan: “In my experience, usually you use all of the available data. There’s no justification given. It’s unfortunate because it really understates the progress we’ve made in reducing poverty.”
Like any faithful House Republican, Ryan and his staff also ignore the beneficial impact of health-care reform. Based on completely outdated figures, they insist that poor families are discouraged from working (as if there are plenty of jobs) because they fear making too much money to qualify for Medicaid. But as CBPP also points out, that problem has been erased by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which sharply increases the amount that a household can earn before losing Medicaid to 136 percent of the poverty line. Above that line, a working family can qualify for Obamacare subsidies and retain its insurance. But the Ryan report conceals that salient fact, too.
The report does offer a few brighter moments — including its advocacy for an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit, which is proposed by President Barack Obama in his budget today as well. Time will tell whether House Republicans join the White House to improve that traditionally bipartisan program, a favorite of both Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. A safer bet is that they will surrender instead to the tea party caucus, which abhors any cooperation with Obama.
Either way, there is nothing in Ryan’s latest effusion to dispel the impression of intellectual impoverishment that is the hallmark of compassionate conservatism — always an embarrassing oxymoron, and now a synonym for scholarly deception as well.
David Harsanyi: Do Most Americans Really Agree With Democrats on the Issues?
“Poll: Democrats’ advantage on key issues is not translating to a midterm-election edge,” reads the headline of a Washington Post piece by Dan Balz and Scott Clement examining the guts of a Washington Post-ABC News poll — which, in turn, is titled “Democrats hold issue advantage, but not on 2014 midterm vote.”
Take health care. The authors explain that despite “the problems with the health-care law’s implementation” (because only the “implementation” has been problematic, right?), “Democrats maintain an edge over Republicans on which party Americans trust to deal with the issue, by a margin of 44 percent to 36 percent.”
In hypothetical terms, Democrats do hold a lead on the “trust” between the two parties — a lead that has significantly contracted since Barack Obama held 20-point leads on a Republican challenger back when he was first running for president in 2008. More significantly, though, what the authors left out of the story was that 15 percent of extraordinarily sensible voters say they don’t trust either party to handle their health care choices.
Once we recalculate, adding in those numbers, here’s what the poll actually tells us:
» Americans who want Democrats running their health care: 44 percent.
» Americans who do not want Democrats running their health care: 51 percent.
In fact, the very same Washington Post ran a post titled “Don’t trust either political party? Then you’ve probably thought about voting Republican in 2014,” which makes the case that disgruntled and independent voters are breaking toward the GOP. Why does it matter? Not long ago, Gallup found that 42 percent of Americans identified as political independents in 2013. It’s the highest percentage the pollster has recorded since it began asking the question.
And the Washington Post-ABC News poll breakdown finds that independents — largely ignored in stories — make up the largest bloc of its polling (30 percent Democrats, 22 percent Republicans and 40 percent independents).
So ignoring independents can trigger wishful thinking.
Republicans may be unpopular, but when it comes to quantifiable, real-world health-care policy, Democrats are, at the very least, also losing. When those polled were asked whether they approve or disapprove of the way Obama is handling “implementation” of the new health-care law, 38 percent said they approve, and 57 percent said they disapprove. (One wonders what the numbers would look like if those polled were asked whether they approve or disapprove of the law itself rather than just its execution.) But even if we concede that the GOP has a baffling inability to articulate a meaningful reform platform — or, even if it had the ability, would offer a policy that is unpopular — it’s quite a jump to assume that Americans approve of the technocratic misery they’ve been subjected to thus far.
Almost every issue (save some social issues) break similarly in polls. Even with that said, not all issues are equally significant. Obama is attempting to transform the minimum wage into a “key” issue, because it’s not. In Gallup’s “most important” issues poll, the minimum wage issue shows up nowhere, with even “the gap between rich and poor” pulling a 2 percent showing. Immigration is similarly unimportant to most voters.
That’s not to say that broadly speaking, these aren’t useful political strikes on the GOP. But if we’re to believe polls, the most vital issues to voters are the economy, jobs and deficits/debt. And when asked which political party they trust to do a better job handling the economy, voters in the Washington Post-ABC News poll split evenly at 41 percent — with 12 percent saying neither. That seems to reflect the nation’s preference more than any cherry-picked poll numbers.
— David Harsanyi is a senior editor at The Federalist. Click here for more information, or click here to contact him, follow him on Twitter: @davidharsanyi, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.
Time To Spring Ahead, Change Smoke-Alarm Batteries
Clocks should be advanced an hour before going to bed Saturday night
Is it losing an hour of sleep, or gaining another hour of daylight after work?
Either way you look at it, clocks turn forward one hour on Sunday morning for daylight savings time.
Officially, the clock springs forward at 2 a.m. to 3 a.m., so set them ahead on Saturday night (including those alarm clocks) to avoid being late to any Sunday events.
Clocks in smart phones, computers and many other electronic devices should jump ahead automatically overnight.
Local fire departments remind everyone that this also is a good time to change the batteries in smoke alarms and carbon-monoxide detectors.
Home fire fatalities peak between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. when most families are sleeping, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.
“A working smoke alarm can give your family the extra seconds you need to get out of a home fire safely,” Capt. David Sadecki said.
Smoke and carbon-monoxide detectors can be tested by pushing the test buttons, and families should take the opportunity to practice escape routes, he said.
Working smoke alarms should be installed in every bedroom and hallway, the Santa Barbara City Fire Department said. Working alarms save lives and cut the risk of dying in a home fire in half.
It's very common for the department to respond to house fires with no smoke detectors at all or non-working ones, fire inspector Ryan DiGuilio said.
There's a perception that flames harm people in house fires, but smoke is what injures or kills a lot more people, he added.
"There's a lot more of that in an enclosed space than fire."
Some newer buildings have smoke alarms wired in, but the batteries in those should still be changed as a failsafe, fire officials said. Commercial buildings should have alarm systems serviced by a licensed technician, too, since they do need occasional maintenance.
There's also an easy reminder for testing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors monthly: "Take a second on the second," DiGuilio said.
Judy Crowell: In Sequoia National Park, the Trees Are the Kings of the Forest
Experience the splendor of Mother Nature amid the vastness of this national wonderland
Driving to Sequoia National Park from the south on Highway 198, you traverse the flat, fertile San Joaquin Valley, often called the “food basket of the world,” and begin your mountain ascent on The Generals Highway over continuous hairpin curves to a hiking and camping paradise almost 7,000 feet above sea level.
Word to the wise: Don’t trust your GPS or MapQuest. You’ll still have 23 winding miles left to go from the park entrance to Wuksachi Lodge, the only lodging in the par — a beautiful mountain lodge with guest rooms located in groves of trees, blending into the forest.
With every modern convenience and mouth-watering high country cuisine, you will be encountering the splendor of Mother Nature in pristine and peaceful perfection.
Surrounded by a gazillion trees, the first thought that popped into my head was of Joyce Kilmer’s saccharine but well loved poem, “I think that I shall never see …”
The very first thing I would do upon arrival is to call Paul at Sequoia Sightseeeing Tours for a half- or full-day tour to acclimate yourself to the vastness of this national wonderland. He is such a delight to be with that I would have paid him just for the company, but boy, does he know his way around these trees.
We stopped first at the Giant Forest, named in 1875 by famed naturalist John Muir. When topography and climate are in sync, sequoias reproduce and grow. Reaching heights of 311 feet and weights of 2.7 million pounds, these giants live more than 3,200 years, producing 31-inch bark and bases up to 40 feet in diameter and drinking 400 to 500 gallons of water per day.
Herein lies the world’s largest tree by volume, The General Sherman Tree. Nearby, you’ll stop in the Giant Forest Museum and Crescent Meadow, where you might spot a black bear feeding in the open grasses. Whether black, brown, tan or red-coated, all the bears found in the park are black bears. Able to smell barbecue ribs or canned tuna from a mile away, you must never leave food or anything scented unattended.
Paul will take you to one of the favorite places in the park, Moro Rock, a gigantic granite dome with 400 steps up a steep, narrow trail for a breathtaking view (especially at sunset) of the Great Western Divide. He’ll show you baby sequoias, Tharps Log, the first house built from a fallen sequoia, Tunnel Log and hollowed trees, making for a great photo-op.
On your own, you’ll want to tour Crystal Cave; walk among the wildflowers at Tokopah Falls; watch for wildlife including badgers, bobcats, coyotes, mule deer, mountain lions and the adorable, darting Alvin chipmunks. Bird watching includes mountain chickadees, golden-crowned kinglets and red-breasted nuthatches.
The mid-1800s brought the Gold Rush to California along with loggers who tragically cut down more than 300 sequoias, using the wood to make pencils and grape stakes for vineyards. Sequoia wood is brittle and breaks against the grain when it falls, making it almost unusable for timber. Still, they continued to destroy the giants taking over a week to chop down a single tree.
Finally, in 1890, President William Harrison established the park as America’s second national park, thanks in large part to the combined efforts of George Stewart and Muir. Muir’s appalled response to this devastation was that we “might as well sell the rain clouds and the snow and the rivers to be cut up and carried away, if that were possible.”
Every American owes a great debt of gratitude to America’s first naturalist, Muir, for saving these kings of the forest and for giving us this hallowed walk through the trees — nature’s own cathedral.
So, the least I can do is to end with another lofty Muir quote: “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” So true.
Teen Sentenced to Prison for Vehicular Manslaughter
A 19-year-old Santa Maria man will spend 12 years in state prison following a no contest plea to vehicular manslaughter and other charges related to the death of an 18-year-old former star athlete last June.
Superior Court Judge Rick Brown handed down the sentence to Christian Iban Carbajal Friday in a Santa Maria courtroom after several emotional appeals from both sides of the case.
Carbajal faced a maximum of 14 years in prison after he entered a no-contest plea in January to charges of vehicular manslaughter, DUI causing injury, and reckless driving, according to Deputy District Attorney Anne Nudson.
He had originally pleaded not guilty.
Carbajal must serve at least 10 years of his sentence before he is eligible for parole because he pled to a serious and violent felony strike, Nudson said.
Prosecutors alleged that Carbajal was racing at speeds up to 80 mph when he caused a June 18, 2013, five-vehicle accident at South Broadway and McCoy Lane, which injured two people and killed Jade Marie Dodson, who had recently graduated from Santa Maria High School and was a star member of the school’s tennis team.
Carbajal was allegedly driving under the influence when his Chevrolet pickup truck failed to stop for a red light while southbound on Broadway at McCoy Lane, according to authorities.
Dodson, a passenger in a Toyota Camry, succumbed to major injuries and died at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.
The driver of the Camry, 19-year-old Robert Caroag, suffered traumatic brain injuries, and another passenger, 7-year-old Isabel Dodson, sustained facial lacerations, authorities said.
Carbajal, whose blood tested positive for marijuana, sustained minor injuries and was booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail, with bail set at $1 million.
The DA's Office did not offer Carbajal a plea, and Nudson sought the maximum prison sentence.
Carbajal, who has been in custody since the incident, read a letter of apology to Dodson’s family, who spoke and played a photo slideshow, along with the parents of Robert Caroag.
“It was very emotional,” said Nudson, who said she was satisfied with the sentence. “Prison was warranted in this case due to all the aggravating factors, including the defendant hot boxing his car, the defendant street racing, and the defendant’s seeming lack of remorse and lack of insight into his behavior.
“This is a very tragic case, and no amount of prison time can fill the void the families feel,” she continued. “However, I believe that the prison sentence in this case will bring closure to the families of the victims and help them begin to heal.”
Captain’s Log: Taking Stock of the Storm’s Destruction to Plants, Ocean Life
We read the news accounts of the damage caused by the big storm last weekend. We saw the TV reports. We viewed the videos on the Internet. It was awe-inspiring and awful. But that ain’t the half of it!
All of those videos and reports focused primarily on damage to man-made structures. What happened to the natural order — the habitat, plants and critters — is even worse. Actually, far worse.
Kelp beds get uprooted and ripped out by monstrous storm surges and swells. Our coastal kelp beds serve as the home to more flora and fauna than most of us can dream of — everything from microscopic life forms to schools of large fish. Whole generations of plants and critters were wiped out or dislocated to places, perhaps without adequate habitat. Early season spawns were disrupted. Small fish were pounded mercilessly.
It was mass destruction out there. Huge waves crashing onto the beach dug trenches and moved massive amounts of sand off the beaches. Critters that live in that sand can only stand so much compression and scouring. The death toll, I believe, is staggering.
We didn’t lose any people (though one guy came mighty close to losing his life at Goleta Beach), but then, I tend to focus on critters. I’m saddened by the loss of life and habitat.
There is a bright side. The ocean is incredibly resilient. Large-scale destructive events also push spores and larvae into places they might not otherwise go; therefore, new and interesting dispersion of life begins. Kelp beds grow again from spores that reach good growing habitat. Where kelp grows, life follows.
Give that ocean some time and it will again be teeming with life. Meanwhile, larger fishes had the strength to get to deeper, safer water, lobsters and other crustaceans scurried to safety under rocks and in crevices and caves.
The effect on the critters we fish for and dive for is minimal, thank goodness, but the lower end of the near-shore food chain will take some time to rebuild.
— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit softininc.blogspot.com to learn more about the organization and how you can help. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.
Appeal Hearing for ICE Facility in Santa Maria Postponed
The special meeting of the Santa Maria City Council scheduled for Wednesday, March 12, has been postponed due to a noticing defect.
The city will reschedule the meeting for the appeal of the Planning Commission’s approval of a planned development permit to allow a developer to build a 12,700-square-foot office building at 740 W. Century St. to house an immigration facility for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.
The delay was necessary because the approximately 120 residents who live within 1,000 feet of the proposed project did not receive mailed notice of the appeal 10 days prior to the hearing as required by law.
The new date for the meeting will be determined.
Questions may be directed to the City Manager’s Office, 805.925.0951 ext. 372.
Open House Listings for Santa Barbara, Goleta, Montecito, Santa Ynez: March 8 and March 9, 2014
Saturday, March 8
Sunday, March 9
Bill Macfadyen: Waves of Storm Leave Mark on Santa Barbara County, but Rain ... Not So Much
NoozWeek's Top 5 goes heavy on weather but includes drought conditions, road rage, a hit-and-run bicycle collision, and Uggs
There were 97,086 people who read Noozhawk this past week. I’m expanding this week’s column to the top 10 stories, since the first four and six of 10 were storm-related.
The series of storms that pummeled Santa Barbara County by air and by sea last week made for some terrifying moments, but — fortunately — delivered no serious injuries.
Jill Freeland of Goleta and had just finished breakfast with her family when the wave struck.
“I really didn’t expect it to break,” Freeland told our Gina Potthoff. “Another swell beforehand came pretty close. We were just expecting some excitement.”
Freeland posted a video of the close encounter, which went viral on the Internet and sent a wave of web surfers to Noozhawk to read more.
Joining Gina on storm patrol that Saturday were our Tom Bolton and Lara Cooper, and a vast army of Noozhawk readers who eagerly provided tips and photos all day long.
Early that morning, Warren Thomas, president and CEO of SurfingSports.com, alerted us that the wave-battered Gaviota pier was in danger of collapsing. Al Fimlaid, an employee of his Standup Paddle Sports subsidiary, sent some pictures of the pier as it was losing a 50-foot stretch, almost back to its iconic boat hoist.
“Waves were breaking over top of the pier,” Hjelstrom said. “They took out some pilings, and once one goes, they all go down like dominos.”
One wave that hit the restaurant swept an employee out to sea as he and co-workers furiously tried to board up the place. Although the man dislocated his shoulder as he was sucked underneath the water, he managed to grab on to a pier piling and was rescued.
Many thanks to Noozhawk contributor Zack Warburg for sending us some terrific photos and video of the angry surf as it plowed through the pier.
The Goleta Beach destruction provided a timely glimpse of what may be in store for the heavily used recreational area. On March 18, the county Board of Supervisors will be voting on a controversial “managed-retreat” proposal that would remove the rock revetments protecting the beach from erosion and likely will spell the end of the park.
Click here for a gallery of storm photos and video submitted by Noozhawk staff and readers.
Every little bit of rainfall helps in a drought. But after two days of continuous downpours last weekend, that’s about all we ended up with: A little bit.
Curious about the impacts, our Tom Bolton talked to local water and fire officials to see if the storms made much of a difference. What he found wasn’t all that encouraging.
“It was welcome and needed, but it doesn’t really affect the drought situation,” said Tom Fayram, deputy director of Santa Barbara County’s Water Resources Department.
He said there’s a danger that residents will get the wrong idea about the water shortage.
“It’s good news to get the rain, we really need it,” Fayram said. “My concern is it will lower people’s concentration that we’re still in a drought.”
It wasn’t a total loss. Lake Cachuma, which was around 40 percent of capacity before the storms, inched up by 557 acre-feet of water — an increase of ... about 0.2 percent. The lake remains more than 50 feet below spill level.
Unfortunately, March marks the beginning of the end of the rain season.
Fayram said that, absent a repeat of 1991’s “March Miracle” rains, which ended a prolonged drought and filled Lake Cachuma almost overnight, reservoir levels and water supplies will remain low at least until next year.
A rolling “road-rage” incident escalated into a collision on Highway 101 in Carpinteria and ended with the arrest of two motorists.
According to the California Highway Patrol, the confrontation began about 1 p.m. March 4 when one pickup truck allegedly was following too closely behind another on the southbound freeway through Montecito.
As the vehicles neared Santa Claus Lane, several miles later, Officer Jonathan Gutierrez said one driver allegedly threw a “super-sized” soda through the open passenger window of the the other truck, hitting the passenger in the face and dumping soda all over the inside of the cab.
In retaliation, Gutierrez said, the second driver allegedly crashed the right side of his pickup into the left side of the other.
Another motorist called 9-1-1 to report the incident, which also was witnessed by CHP Coastal Division Chief Reggie Chappelle, who was in an unmarked patrol car. The first driver swerved off the freeway at the Carpinteria Avenue exit, Gutierrez said, but the second continued down the highway and eventually was pulled over by Chappelle near Mussel Shoals east of the Rincon.
After an investigation, both drivers were arrested. Gutierrez said Joseph G. Antonucci, 56, of Santa Barbara, was charged with assault with a deadly weapon for ramming the other vehicle, while Ryan Luna, 25, of Simi Valley, was charged with battery for throwing the cup. Both men were charged with vehicle-code violations. Antonucci’s bail was set at $30,000 and Luna’s at $5,000.
A 68-year-old Santa Maria bicyclist suffered major injuries when he was struck by a hit-and-run driver the night of Feb. 27.
Santa Maria police Sgt. Jesus Valle said the man was riding his bike at North Broadway and Roemer Way about 11:30 p.m. when he was hit from behind by a vehicle. Officers found the victim unresponsive when they arrived at the scene.
The man, whose identity has not been released, was transported to Marian Regional Medical Center with major injuries, and he remained in serious condition.
The cause of the collision is under investigation. Anyone with information about it is asked to call Santa Maria police at 805.928.3781 x115.
If you’ve driven past Cabrillo Business Park in Goleta recently, you’ve no doubt seen the shoe brand logos adorning the side of Deckers Outdoor Corp.’s new headquarters at the corner of Hollister Avenue and Los Carneros Road. The logos are more than decoration, however; they’re intended to beckon customers to the company’s retail store on the premises.
“Shop in the store using iPads, customize your product, order online, ship direct to your home free of charge or pick up in-store,” said Dave Powers, president of OmniChannel for Deckers. “Whatever the preference, our goal is to align our capabilities to customer demand.”
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There are two ways you can eat ice cream. Are you a Daisy or a Cooper? HT to Jonah Goldberg.
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— Bill Macfadyen is Noozhawk’s founder and publisher. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow him on Twitter: @noozhawk, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.
Double Dolphin Freed After Getting Stuck In Harbor Entrance
Sand build-up from recent storms snags 50-foot catamaran that provides coastal cruises and whale watching
The Double Dolphin got stuck while trying to sail out of the Santa Barbara Harbor on Friday, but was able to get back to its slip after unloading passengers.
Because of last weekend’s storms, the entrance is sanded in, and has a smaller channel than ever, Harbor Patrol Officer Erik Engebretson said.
It hasn't been dredged yet.
The Double Dolphin, known for coastal cruises, misjudged one of the buoys, got it caught in the prop, lost power and ran aground, he said.
Harbor Patrol boats tried to budge the boat, but ended up unloading passengers so the 50-foot catamaran could head back to the harbor.
“It’s not the best time to go, right at low tide, when the deepest amount of water we have is 5 feet at that time,” Engebretson said.
The channel has strong currents, too, which can push the boats into the buoys, he noted.
Crew members on the Double Dolphin said they have another cruise scheduled for later in the day, at higher tide.
While dredging equipment is stored locally, the city has to wait on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to do the actual dredging. The dredge is expected to get started by Saturday, according to the Harbor Patrol.
Harbor Patrol boats haven’t had to rescue anyone else this week, but have pushed or pulled a few boats that bumped the bottom, Engebretson said. Most of the larger boats aren’t going out.
There are no restrictions, but the Harbor Patrol would advise waiting for dredging unless someone absolutely has to get out. Several fishermen were going out to pick up lobster traps on Friday.
“In a perfect world we’d say no, don’t go out, better safe than sorry – but time it for high tide,” he said.
Other commercial cruise boats have been waiting for dredging. The Condor Express hasn’t gone out all week, but expects to start tours again this weekend.
Friday’s interrupted cruise was another blow to the Double Dolphin, which has had a rough week.
It was set adrift Tuesday morning, and police arrested Phillip Everett Conway, 21, for grand theft after they found him inside the boat as it floated toward the out part of the marina.
Damages were estimated at $1,000 to $3,000, according to the Santa Barbara Police Department.
Authorities say the man didn’t give a reason for untying the sailboat and may have been suffering from a mental illness.
Montecito YMCA Offering Water-Safety Program
The Montecito Family YMCA will host the 21st Annual SPLASH: Learn to Swim Week in partnership with the City of Santa Barbara on Monday, March 24, through Fridat, March 28, at Ortega Pool (640 N. Salsipuedes St.) centered in Santa Barbara’s Eastside community.
SPLASH: Learn-to-Swim Week is a water safety program offered to participants in the community who have little or no swimming ability at a reduced fee of $10 for the week. This course will introduce the aquatic environment to beginners, teach basic learn-to-swim skills, and increase water safety awareness for families.
The Y’s goal is to make everyone feel safe and comfortable in and around the water. The Y has been teaching people to swim for over a century and we are well equipped to meet this pressing community need.
Through a partnership with the city of Santa Barbara Parks and Recreation Department, the Y has been able to teach over 3,500 kids through this one week community program over the past 21 years.
Swimmers and Non-swimmers ages 5-13 are invited to participate in the week-long program of 30 minute swim and water safety lessons.
Swim lesson start times: 10 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12 p.m., 1 pm, 1:30 p.m., 2 p.m., and 2:30 p.m.
The program is offered to the entire community for a low cost of $10 for the week. Participants will need to bring a towel, suit, sunscreen, and goggles if needed.
Space is limited and registrations are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis.
You can help a child in need by donating bathing suits, towels, or goggles to Splash: Learn to Swim Week.
Items can be dropped off at the Montecito Family YMCA or at Los Banos pool.
Don Rickles Cancels Show at Chumash Resort
A night of comedy with legend Don Rickles, who was scheduled to perform at the Chumash Casino Resort on Thursday, March 13, has been canceled due to health reasons.
Rickles’ publicist has released the following statement:
“For the past few months Don Rickles has been recovering from treatment for a leg infection. Although, his continued rehabbing has been very effective, he is not quite at the 100 precent level to do his stage show. As such, it is necessary to cancel his engagement at Chumash Casino Resort.
“With apologies for any inconvenience caused by this cancellation, Mr. Rickles is looking forward to rescheduling this show and performing for his fans.”
For those who bought tickets online at chumashcasino.com, please call Club Chumash at 805.691.1996 to have the purchase amount credited back to your credit card.
If you paid cash for tickets, please return to Chumash Casino Resort to collect your refund.
Located on Highway 246 in Santa Ynez, California, the Chumash Casino Resort is an age 18-and-older venue.
Tickets for all events are available at the Chumash Casino Resort’s Club Chumash or online at www.chumashcasino.com.
Santa Barbara Airport to Close Auxiliary Parking Lot
The Santa Barbara Airport has announced that, effective April 1, the Long Term Parking Lot 2, off of Hollister Avenue and Frederick Lopez Road, will no longer be available for passenger parking.
“We have been monitoring our parking lots, and it is apparent that short term and long term parking, immediately adjacent to the terminal with a combined total of 994 parking spaces, are sufficient for our current passenger traffic,” said Hazel Johns, acting airport director.
Parking rates will remain the same, Johns said:
Long Term Parking Lot 1 at 500 Fowler Road: 0-60 minutes, $ 2; each additional hour, $ 1; maximum charge per 24-hour period, $12.
Short Term Parking Lot at 500 Fowler Road: 0-60 minutes, $ 2; each additional hour, $ 1; maximum charge per 24-hour period, $20
Santa Barbara Airport (SBA) is a self-supporting enterprise owned and operated by the City of Santa Barbara, serving over 710,000 passengers annually.
Health Officials Issue Warning About Sick Raccoons
Santa Barbara County Animal Services is recommending the community to be on high alert after identifying cases of apparent distemper in raccoons in the Santa Barbara area.
Sick raccoons have recently been found in the Eastside and Sycamore Canyon and in the area of Arroyo Burro Beach, so the outbreak is thought to be widespread.
Raccoons are susceptible to infection by both canine and feline distemper. Although they both can cause acute illness and death, they are caused by two completely different viruses.
Canine Distemper is a highly contagious disease of carnivores caused by a virus and is common when raccoon populations are large. The virus is widespread and mortality in juveniles is higher than in adults.
Feline distemper, also called feline panleukopenia, catplague, cat fever, feline agranulocytosis, and feline infectious enteritis, is an acute, highly infectious viral disease.
Canine distemper in raccoons starts slowly, initially appearing as an upper respiratory infection, with a runny nose and watery eyes developing into conjunctivitis (the most visible symptoms). As time wears on, the raccoon can develop pneumonia.
The raccoon may be thin and debilitated and have symptoms of diarrhea. In the final stage of the disease, the raccoon may begin to wander aimlessly in a circle, disoriented and unaware of its surroundings, suffer paralysis or exhibit other bizarre behavior as a result of brain damage.
Feline distemper usually begins suddenly with a high fever, followed by depression, vomiting, anorexia, diarrhea, and a profound leukopenia. The course of the disease is short, rarely lasting over one week, but mortality may reach 100% in susceptible animals.
Feline distemper virus is shed in all body secretions and excretions of affected animals. Fleas and other insects, especially flies, may play a role in transmission of the disease Warning for Pet Owners - Dog and cat owners should make sure their pets have been vaccinated for the disease.
Wildlife rehabbers should quarantine any new rehabs until they get a clean bill of health and should have the animals vaccinated against both canine and feline distemper. The cost of prevention is much cheaper than the cost of treatment so make sure your dog or cat is vaccinated today.
If you observe a sick wild animal, do not approach the animal. Contact your local animal control agency or wildlife rehabilitation facility and advise of your observations and the location of the animal.
Santa Maria Police Investigating Late-Night Shooting
Santa Maria police are investigating a shooting — possibly gang-related — that sent a man to the hospital Thursday night.
Officers responded shortly before 9 p.m. to the 1600 block of North Pine Street, where they found a 22-year-old man with a single gunshot wound, said Sgt. Jesus Valle.
The victim, whose name was not released, was transported to Marian Regional Medical Center, and was later sent home, Valle said.
The gunman had fled by the time officers arrived on scene and remained at large, Valle said.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the Santa Maria Police Department at 805.928.3781, ext. 297.
65 mph Wind Gusts Expected in Montecito Through Early Friday
Winds gusting to 65 mph were blowing through the Montecito foothills early Friday and the National Weather Service has extended a wind advisory in the area until 9 a.m.
The weather service said north to northeast winds of 25 to 35 mph should begin to diminish Friday morning across Santa Barbara County’ South Coast. In the meantime, gusts of 45 to 65 mph were expected intermittently in Montecito.
Motorists were advised to use caution while driving in and around Montecito, on Highway 154 over San Marcos Pass and on Highway 101 along the Gaviota coast.
Hazardous surf was expected to continue to pound area beaches through Saturday morning. Beaches with western exposure are likely to be hit with waves of 4 to 6 feet, and the weather service said sets as high as 8 feet were possible.
Authorities warned that the elevated surf can create dangerous rip currents as well as powerful waves that can sweep people off of rocks and jetties.
Friday’s forecast calls for sunny skies and high temperatures in the upper 60s to mid-70s. Winds of 15 to 25 mph and gusts to 35 mph are possible below canyons and passes.
Similar conditions are expected Saturday, but the weather service said Sunday is likely to be mostly cloudy with high temperatures in the low to mid-70s.
» Click here for the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Services. Click here to sign up for the OES’ messaging service. Connect with the OES on Facebook.
One Person Hurt in Multivehicle Crash in Santa Maria
One person was seriously injured Thursday night in a multivehicle accident, according to the Santa Maria Fire Department.
Emergency personnel were dispatched shortly before 7 p.m. to West Fesler and North Curryer streets, said Battalion Chief Mike Barneich.
Crews using specialized equipment worked for about 25 minutes to extricate the injured person from a severely damaged vehicle, Barneich said.
The patient, who suffered moderate injuries, was transported to Marian Regional Medical Center.
Further details on the accident were not available late Thursday night.
Joan Bolton: Water Conservation and the Drought
Local landscape experts meet to discuss ways to cut water use
They're not hitting the panic button yet, but there is an increasing sense of urgency on the part of Santa Barbara County water agencies to get out the word that the drought is serious, and that people need to start using significantly less water.
Earlier this week, water purveyors met at Chase Palm Park Center with about 30 landscape architects, designers, irrigation specialists, master gardeners, and other landscape pros to talk about the drought and explore ways to capture the public's attention.
"Obviously we had a lot of rain in recent days. But I want to make sure that people understand that we're still at only 46 percent of normal," said Len Fleckenstein, water conservation coordinator for the Santa Barbara County Water Agency.
He added, "Every day that percentage goes down, if we don't get rain."
Representatives from Carpinteria, Santa Barbara and Goleta said their water districts already have declared Stage One drought conditions, and are calling for consumers to voluntarily cut their water use by 20 percent. Mandatory restrictions of 20 percent or more could come as soon as this summer.
The trouble is, water consumption is up right now. Ironically — due to the drought — people are watering more than usual for this time of year.
"As of a week or so ago, we were at 10 percent higher than normal demand because of the increased irrigation going on," said Alison Jordan, water conservation supervisor for the city of Santa Barbara. "So we are asking for people that are irrigating to conserve more than 20 percent."
The water purveyors asked the industry folks what they were hearing from their clients. Responses ranged from "What drought?" to "Why are we hearing about this now?"
More, perhaps typical, inquiries included requests for shrinking or eliminating lawns, converting sprinklers to drip irrigation and installing new, water-conserving landscapes.
In addition, Lesley Wiscomb, a leader with the UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners program for Santa Barbara County, said her group held a waterwise workshop recently that was standing room only.
Barbara Wishingrad, a founder of Sweetwater Collaborative, said she has received many inquiries about installing greywater systems.
The conversation then shifted to what the water agencies plan to do next.
Rhonda Gutierrez, engineering technician and water conservation specialist for the Carpinteria Valley Water District, said that her agency is focusing on urging customers to conserve. The district also plans to survey customers about water use and set up a telephone and online hotline so people can anonymously report water wasters.
Madeline Ward, water resources technician for the city of Santa Barbara, said the city has doubled its ad budget, and plans to develop forums and training sessions for high water consumers, promote water conservation success stories, provide specific water conservation tips and renew efforts with local nurseries to feature waterwise plants.
Misty Williams, senior water resources analyst for the Goleta Water District, said the agency plans to develop water budgets for the district's 250 dedicated irrigation accounts, and may start up a new rebate program for waterwise landscaping and interior upgrades to residences and commercial sites.
The district expects to learn in May whether it will receive a grant to fund the program.
Before concluding the meeting, water purveyors solicited additional ideas from the landscape pros. The lengthy list that ensued included:
» Raise rates 1,000 percent.
» Create ads offering strong visuals of problems, along with practical advice.
» Convey financial incentives to the higher-ups.
» Install a submeter on every residence to show how much water is being used for various tasks.
» Host a workshop for maintenance gardeners to help them "re-skill," so that they don't lose their jobs.
» Offer a waterwise certification to add value to homes.
» Send a mailer to water users bluntly stating that we're going to run of water if we don't conserve.
» Tell users you'll reduce their water usage next year by as much as they exceed their allotment this year.
» Sign up precinct captains to conduct door-to-door campaigns to build a movement for water conservation.
» Set up a centralized calendar of water conservation workshops, events and other activities.
» Educate consumers about strategies, such as permaculture, that don't rely on irrigation.
» Start a campaign that "waterwise is beautiful."
» Replace city park turf with synthetic lawn.
» Expand access to reclaimed water.
» Sponsor pop-up advertising in grocery stores, retail stores and other public places.
» Offer a list of bomb-proof plants, showcasing one new plant each week.
» Let people know that planting natives helps sustain pollinators.
» Harvest condensation from fog.
» Hold a water festival.
» Change the theme of Earth Day.
» Educate consumers about how to convert sprinklers to drip irrigation.
» Standardize a conservation message to people who want turf, including offering information about how to better manage lawns.
» Offer instructions about how prioritize what to irrigate, including information about the economics of what to save.
County Auditor-Controller Thinks Maintenance Initiative May Not Work
The Santa Barbara County auditor-controller thinks the Board of Supervisors may not be able to comply with the terms of a proposed infrastructure-maintenance initiative if it is approved by voters.
Fourth District Supervisor Peter Adam, who was the lone vote against this year’s county budget, gathered 15,000 signatures to get Measure M on the June 3 ballot.
Measure M, or “Fix Santa Barbara County,” would require the Board of Supervisors to keep all roads, parks and public buildings in the same, or better, condition that existed at the time the ordinance is passed, but offers no funding mechanism.
It’s not a tax, but prioritizes spending differently, Adam says.
Without any new revenue, there would have to be a “major reallocation” of county spending to fulfill the ordinance, Auditor-Controller Bob Geis wrote in his fiscal-impact statement for Measure M.
It could take away money from other department such as public safety and public health.
Since many of those services are mandated, “it may not be possible for the Board of Supervisors to fund the requirements of the ordinance,” Geis wrote in his analysis.
Measure M doesn’t stop the county from finding new revenue sources, but any debt or new taxes would still have to be approved by voters – things like parcel taxes, general obligation bonds and infrastructure improvement bonds.
The county is still working on a report to outline the current condition of facilities, roads and parks, but Geis estimates that an additional $18 million-$21 million per year is needed to keep everything in the same or better condition it is now.
Roads are measured with a Pavement Condition Index and need another $9 million annually to stay at that level.
The county is trying out a new Facility Condition Index to measure parks and buildings status, and another $9 million to 12 million per year is needed to keep all of those facilities at their current levels, according to the fiscal impact statement.
Measure M already has mixed support among the Board of Supervisors, with Salud Carbajal and Doreen Farr writing the arguments against the measure for the ballot.
Adam recently made a presentation to the Santa Barbara Region Chamber of Commerce asking for its support and pointed out that the county’s 1,670 miles of roads are projected to fall back to 1989 conditions by 2020.
That’s after Measure D and Measure A, which poured millions of dollars into street repair and maintenance.
This initiative wouldn’t address the amount of deferred maintenance – fixing things that have already deteriorated – but would try to stop additional deterioration.
If the county can’t find $18 million a year to keep infrastructure from getting worse, Adam told the Chamber of Commerce, it’s not managing itself right.
The County Elections Office won’t release the official documents – including arguments and ballot language – until next week, but Geis submitted the fiscal impact statement early and made it available to the public.
BizHawk: Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. Opens Taproom in Los Olivos
New Sonos headquarters building sold, Pure Order Brewing Company coming to Santa Barbara, and Rooted Vine Tours offers door-to-door wine tours
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Beer lovers have been good to Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company since its founding in Buellton three years ago, and the rapidly growing brewery will reward its loyal followers by opening a third tasting location and expanding its headquarters.
A taproom will open in Los Olivos on Friday, about a year after the craft brewer laid roots in Santa Barbara for its second tasting location.
The new taproom at 2446 Alamo Pintado, Suite C, dubbed “The Cottage,” is smaller than Buellton and Santa Barbara taprooms, and will host a grand opening from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday with live music, barbecue and special giveaways.
Buellton’s taproom has expanded with a new second level, including a mezzanine and bar overlooking the brewing facilities, set to open this month, and the Beto’s Place restaurant slated for an April opening.
With the growth comes more sold-out Mug Club spots available at the Los Olivos and Buellton locations.
“We are thrilled to bring our beer to Los Olivos,” said Figueroa Mountain Brewing President Jaime Dietenhofer. “The tasting room at ‘The Cottage’ will be a great place for locals and visitors to enjoy craft beer made right here in the Santa Ynez Valley.”
Sonos Building Sold
The former Bekins Moving & Storage building and current Sonos research and development headquarters at 25 E. Mason St. has been sold, marking the largest transaction involving office property in Santa Barbara since 2007, according to Radius Commercial Real Estate & Investments.
Radius, which handled the sale, this week announced the purchase of the iconic Funk Zone building — listed at $21.5 million.
The buyer was not disclosed, and Sonos will continue occupying the entire building through its 10-year lease on the property.
Pure Order Brewing Opens in Santa Barbara
The brewery will feature a garden area for beer tastings and a hops yard.
Pure Order hopes to begin selling its beers all over Santa Barbara and beyond in the coming weeks, months and years.
Partners James and David Burge have reached a key milestone on the way to realizing their dream of sharing Pure Order beers with the community they love.
“It has been a sometimes frustrating but necessary journey,” said owner and brewmaster James Burge. “I am proud to say that we stuck with it and can finally see some light at the end of the tunnel.”
Rooted Vine Tours Launches Local Experience
Rooted Vine Tours, a locally owned and operated wine-tour company, is offering tours that focus on boutique, family owned and independently operated wineries.
The business provides door-to-door service from most locations in Santa Barbara, including hotels, residences, airport and train stations.
Santa Barbara wine country tours also include an educational component and passionate and knowledgeable guides.
Rooted Vine Tours was established in 2013 by Iaon Pohlit, who previously worked as a wine buyer and restaurant consultant.
“Rooted Vine Tours started out of a passion for wine and sunshine, sprinkled with a desire to share what we love about Santa Barbara County,” he said.
Two Breweries Host Women’s Brew Group
Buellton’s Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company has teamed up with Valley Brewers, a Solvang home-brew supply shop, to form a new women’s brew group called Hop Tarts, which will meet regularly for tastings, brew sessions and field trips.
The group was a collaboration of several other breweries as well, which is why the Hope Tarts first event — celebrating International Women’s Collaboration Brew Day — will be hosted Sunday with a brewing session at Pure Order Brewing Company in Santa Barbara.
Sunday’s 8-hour brew day at 410 N. Quarantina St. begins at 8 a.m., and the public is encouraged to observe the brewing process.
Any female brewer interested in joining Hop Tarts can email Kady@FigMtnBrew.com, and interested breweries and businesses that would like to host a brew day, field trip or tasting can email Sandy@ValleyBrewers.com.
David Sirota: Do Companies Have a First Amendment Right to Track You?
Do corporations have a legal right to track your car? If you think that is a purely academic question, think again. Working with groups like the American Civil Liberties Union, states are considering laws to prevent private companies from continuing to mass photograph license plates.
This is one of the backlashes to the news about mass surveillance. However, this backlash is now facing legal pushback from the corporations that take the photographs and then sell the data gleaned from the images.
In a lawsuit against the state of Utah, Digital Recognition Network Inc. and Vigilant Solutions are attempting to appropriate the ACLU’s own pro-free speech arguments for themselves. They argue that a recent Utah law banning them from using automated cameras to collect images, locations and times of license plates is a violation of their own free speech rights. Indeed, in an interview, DRN’s counsel Michael Carvin defends this practice by noting, “Everyone has a First Amendment right to take these photographs and disseminate this information."
He argues that a license plate is an inherently public piece of information.
“The only purpose of license plate information is to identify a vehicle to members of the public,” he said. “The government has no problem with people taking pictures of license plates in a particular location. But for some irrational reason it has a problem with people taking high speed photographs of those license plates.”
The analogy to an individual’s right to take photos only goes so far, though. Vigilant’s website notes that “DRN fuels a national network of more than 550 affiliates,” its tracking “technology is used in every major metropolitan area” and it “captures data on over 50 million vehicles each month.”
“This is a complicated area where we are going to need to carefully balance First Amendment rights of corporations versus individuals’ privacy rights,” ACLU attorney Catherine Crump said. “The mere fact that an individual has a First Amendment right doesn’t mean that right is unlimited. There are circumstances under which the government is free to regulate speech.”
Crump cited the Fair Credit Reporting Act and laws regulating the dissemination of health information as examples of legal privacy-related restrictions of speech rights.
“One could argue that the privacy implications of a private individual taking a picture of a public place is sufficiently less than a company collecting millions of license plate images,” Crump said. “Especially with technology becoming more widespread and databases going back in time, there may be justification for regulation.”
The Wall Street Journal reports that DRN’s own website boasted to its corporate clients that it can “combine automotive data such as where millions of people drive their cars ... with household income and other valuable information” so companies can “pinpoint consumers more effectively.” Yet, in announcing its lawsuit, DRN and Vigilant argue that their methods do not violate individual privacy because the “data collected, stored or provided to private companies (and) to law enforcement ... is anonymous, in the sense that it does not contain personally identifiable information.”
In response, Crump says: “This is the same argument that the NSA made in the face of public outcry about its collection of telephone metadata. The argument was essentially, we’re not collecting information about people, we are collecting info about telephone numbers. But every telephone number is associated with an individual, just like a license plate is.”
The courts could follow corporate personhood precedents and strengthen First Amendment protections for private firms. Alternately, the courts could more narrowly rule on whether individuals' license plate information is entitled to any minimal privacy protections.
Either way, the spat epitomizes how the collision of free speech rights, the desire for private and the expansion of data-collecting technology is raising huge questions about what is — and is not — public.
Outdoors Q&A: Why Do Commercial Lobster Fishermen Have Edge over Sport Fishermen?
Q: Why are a small number of commercial lobster fishermen allowed to use thousands of large enclosed metal traps to catch lobsters to sell for money? This doesn’t seem fair when sport fishermen who just want to catch some lobsters to eat are restricted to either open hoop nets or diving for them. It seems like commercial fishermen are allowed to compete unfairly with local sport fishermen? (Rod D.)
A: Questions regarding allocation between the commercial and recreational lobster fishing sectors is a common one, and there are reasons why the resource is shared between the two sectors in the manner that it is.
CDFW is mandated by law to allow for the sustainable use of lobster by both the commercial and recreational fishing sectors. While our laws say recreational fishermen are entitled to harvest for sport (not subsistence), commercial fishermen must make a living off the resource.
Currently, there are fewer than 195 commercial lobster operator permits in existence and there were approximately 37,000 recreational lobster report cards sold this season, according to the CDFW Marine Invertebrate Project. More than 50 of the commercial lobster operator permits are nontransferable and will cease to exist when these fishermen quit fishing.
Commercial fishermen are required to use traps with strict regulations concerning mesh size and escape ports that allow large numbers of sublegal-sized lobsters to come and go freely from traps. Recent CDFW surveys show that the recreational sector is now dominated by hoop netters, whereas it previously was dominated by divers.
Finally, there are large, productive areas that are closed to commercial lobster fishing but open to recreational lobster fishing, such as Santa Monica Bay, San Pedro Bay, San Diego Bay, the lee side of Catalina Island and many breakwaters and jetties.
Do Survival Needs Outweigh Fishing, Hunting Laws?
Q: If a person in California found himself in an emergency survival situation, and had to take California wildlife in an otherwise illegal manner to survive, do the various California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) or other laws specifically describe an exemption for such exigent circumstances? (W.B.)
A: No, there are no provisions in the Fish and Game Code or Title 14 to allow for any illegal take of fish and wildlife resources under the circumstances you describe.
Sturgeon Fishing Report Cards
Q: I bought my annual sturgeon report card this last year and was able to get out fishing a few times, but despite my good efforts, I never caught a sturgeon. Now I can’t find that report card but I have nothing to report anyway, so do I need to even worry about it? If so, and if I don’t end up finding my report card, how do I check in? (Anonymous)
A: Whether or not you fished for or caught sturgeon, all sturgeon anglers are required to return their Sturgeon Fishing Report Card or report their card data online. Although the deadline was Jan. 31, CDFW still encourages anglers to return 2013 cards by mail to the address printed on the card. Click here to submit card data online.
Since you have lost your card, you can report it as lost by submitting an affidavit. Click here for an affidavit.
Thank you for asking what you should do because any person who fails to report online or return his or her report card (any type) to CDFW by the deadline may be restricted from obtaining the same card in a subsequent license year. You could also be subject to an additional fee for the issuance of the same card in a subsequent license year.
Sturgeon Fishing Report Card data is a key part of the white sturgeon stock-assessment program and is essential for documenting accidental catch of threatened green sturgeon.
Legal Shotgun and Rifle Stocks?
Q: What kind of shotgun and rifle stocks are legal to hunt with? A friend thought my shotgun stock was illegal because it is a full stock but has a pistol grip. Is it legal to hunt with a pistol-gripped stock or thumb hole stock? (Joe L.)
A: CDFW laws do not address nor control this feature in firearms. As long as the firearms you are using are legal to use, these different stocks are also legal to use. Please check the California Penal Code for laws regarding possession and use of firearms. Click here to check with the California Bureau of Firearms in the state Attorney General’s Office.
Traffic Stop in Santa Barbara Leads to 4 Arrests on Drug Charges
Four people were arrested on drug charges Wednesday after the California Highway Patrol conducted a traffic stop involving a vehicle belonging to one of the suspects, according to the Lompoc Police Department.
The owner of the vehicle, Jesse Ybarra, 51, has been the subject of an ongoing narcotics investigation conducted by the Lompoc Police Department’s Gang & Narcotics Enforcement Team, said Sgt. Chuck Strange.
Ybarra and Catherine Ball, 27, who was driving at the time, were the only two suspects in Ybarra’s vehicle when they were pulled over at about 4 a.m. on northbound Highway 101 near the La Cumbre Road exit, Strange said.
“A search of the vehicle and occupants resulted in the seizure of narcotics, cell phones, cash and other related drug paraphernalia,” Strange said.
Ybarra and Ball were arrested on felony narcotics charges, and Ball also faces charges of driving under the influence, Strange said.
The CHP officers took both into custody and transported them to the Santa Barbara County Jail.
The other two suspects — Anthony Ybarra Sr., 49, and Anthony Ybarra Jr., 34 — were arrested after a search warrant was obtained for Ybarra’s home in Lompoc.
That search turned up more narcotics and related paraphernalia, Strange said.
They were booked on felony narcotics charges, and Anthony Ybarra Jr. also was charged with violating probation.
Overall, approximately $2,400 worth of methamphetamine, $600 of heroin, and $800 of marijuana were seized, Strange said.
Also seized in the search were digital scales, prescription drugs, cell phones, and other drug paraphernalia, Strange said.
Saturday is ‘Princess Day at Santa Barbara Zoo
Children encouraged to show support for frogs, toads and other amphibians
Little princesses are invited to don their tiaras and visit the Santa Barbara Zoo Saturday to show their support for the world’s frogs, toads, and other amphibians facing possible extinction.
Frog kissing is not required at this annual event that features real live princesses like Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, along with fairies, frogs and toads.
Princess Day will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Santa Barbara Zoo members only are allowed early admission at 9 a.m.).
Princess Day features a “Kiss a Frog” booth, plus face painting, animal encounters, music and dancing, bounce houses, games, crafts and more, all with a princess theme.
Costumes are encouraged, and boys are also welcome, be they dressed as knights, princes, cowboys, pirates or astronauts.
Cosmetologists in training at the Paul Mitchell School of Santa Barbara will be on-hand to provide free make-overs for the young princesses, including makeup, hair and nails.
“This is a fun way to talk about a serious issue,” says Santa Barbara Zoo CEO Rich Block. “The world’s amphibians are in trouble, and there are no easy answers to stem the shocking drop in their populations. Accredited zoos and aquariums are working to address the issues in the wild, and are creating temporary captive ‘lifeboats’ of some of the most threatened species.”
He adds: “Conservation isn’t only for adults. Kids, even ones in shiny, pink princess dresses, can and do make a difference.”
Since Princess Day debuted at the Santa Barbara Zoo in 2009, other zoos have picked up the “scepter” for amphibian conservation.
Variations of the Princess Day have been staged at the Georgia Aquarium, Houston Zoo, Calgary Zoo, Oregon Zoo and Knoxville Zoo.
The event is free with Zoo admission: $15 for adults, $12 for seniors aged 65 and up, $10 for children 2-12, and children under 2 free. Parking is $6.
What Do Crowns Have to Do with Frogs?
While the major culprit has historically been habitat loss and degradation, many of the declines and extinctions previously referred to as enigmatic are now being attributed to the rapidly dispersing infectious fungal disease chytridiomycosis, which is causing population and species extinctions at an alarming rate.
Managed populations and “lifeboats” of amphibians may become the only conservation hope for many species faced with imminent extinction.
Zoos and aquariums accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) are committed to ensuring the survival of all amphibian species and are already an active force in amphibian conservation.
Their “Year of the Frog” in 2008 began a campaign that continues today, with AZA providing conservation and education resources, subsidizing financial support, managing a citizen science program, and maintaining partnerships with like-minded government and nongovernment agencies to raise awareness of the amphibian crisis and promote amphibian conservation.
For more information, visit www.aza.org/amphibian-conservation/.
Third Defendant Takes Plea Deal in Ibarra Murder Case
A third defendant in the gang-related torture and slaying of a Santa Maria man has made a deal with prosecutors, entering a no-contest plea that will result in almost 10 years in prison.
Verenisa Aviles entered the plea Thursday in Superior Court in Santa Maria to kidnapping with a gang allegation, false imprisonment, and assault with force likely to commit great bodily injury in the case of Anthony Ibarra, a Santa Maria resident and fellow gang member, whose murder was detailed in a 932-page grand jury transcript that was made public last year.
Aviles will received nine years and eight months in prison when she is sentenced on May 8, said Senior Deputy District Attorney Ann Bramsen.
Two other defendants have already taken plea deals. Bramsen did not comment on whether Aviles or the two other defendants would be called to testify during a jury trial.
Pedro Torres Jr., 54, of Santa Maria, pleaded guilty in December to being an accessory after the fact to murder, and admitted to a gang enhancement, and will receive three years in prison.
Carmen Cardenas, 28, of Santa Maria, was sentenced in September to three years and four months in state prison after pleading no contest to charges of being an accessory after the fact to murder and for admitting to a gang enhancement.
The remaining defendants — Ramon Maldonado, Reyes Gonzalez, Santos Sauceda, Robert Sosa, David Maldonado, Anthony Solis, Ramon Maldonado Jr., Jason Castillo — are still in custody and awaiting trial that is tentatively set for May.
Teacher Gets Probation in Molest Case Plea Deal
A Carpinteria teacher was placed on probation — and will have to give up teaching forever — in a plea deal stemming from his arrest for allegedly molesting a 17-year-old high school student, according to the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office.
Michael George Carey, 42, pleaded guilty last week to a single misdemeanor battery charge, said Senior Deputy District Attorney Paula Waldman.
Carey was arrested at Rincon High School in December 2012 on charges of felony sexual battery and misdemeanor child molestation for allegedly inappropriately touching the female student, according to the county Sheriff's Department.
Those other charges against Carey "were dismissed at the time of sentencing because they could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt," Waldman said, adding that her office, the Sheriff's Department and the victim were all satisfied with the outcome.
Superior Court Judge William Gordon sentenced Carey to three years of probation, Waldman said.
In addition, Carey must resign from the Carpinteria Unified School District, surrender his teaching credential, and agree never to teach again.
He also was ordered to have no contact with the victim, and to "never engage in any sexual or dating relationship with a person under 18 years of age," Waldman said.
The incident occurred while Carey was employed as a teacher at Rincon, which is a continuation high school.
“Mr. Carey will never teach again; his inappropriate actions with a student ended his career as a teacher,” Waldman said. “Because we are now assured that Mr. Carey will never teach again, justice has been served and public safety concerns have been adequately addressed.”
Angel Investor Chris Felipe Gets Goleta Entrepreneurial Magnet Off the Ground
The entrepreneur's $150,000 donation kick-starts other support for the partnership designed to nurture local startups
Chris Felipe humbly embraces his role as linchpin, an essential element that guided a local concept into reality with one heck of a bargaining chip.
Having returned to the West Coast with his wife more than two years ago, the seasoned startup investor and entrepreneur hoped to financially back small, potential-packed businesses in the Santa Barbara area.
When Felipe found no such firm catering to that outlet, the Pasadena native searched on until he heard about the Goleta Entrepreneurial Magnet, a partnership of the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce, the City of Goleta and UC Santa Barbara to attract and nurture local tech startup businesses.
GEM remained mostly an idea at the time, a notion launched in 2012 but still without a small-business incubator space — or funding — and one that had only recently tapped an executive director in Doug Lynch.
Felipe, 55, decided to lead by example and agreed to fund GEM with $50,000 per year for three years.
The financial commitment allowed Lynch to approach Goleta officials with a similar proposal.
Soon after, the city, UCSB and the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce had pledged the same amount, buying GEM the time necessary to get off the ground and making way for lease of a physical space within the ATK Space Systems building at 600 Pine Ave. in Old Town Goleta.
“I think that was just enough to get them over the finish line,” Felipe told Noozhawk on a recent morning at the downtown Santa Barbara office of his CAF Holdings firm. “What I like about GEM is, in Santa Barbara, there isn’t a strong infrastructure. It’s a great program. Keep these smart, young kids here.”
Felipe is familiar with the stresses of starting one’s own business, an endeavor he took on years ago when he co-founded Sirios Capital Management, a hedge fund in Boston.
He worked for 13 years before that at a Boston mutual fund, and then sold Sirios 10 years ago to morph into a startup investor, commonly called an angel.
“I know how they’re feeling,” Felipe said, noting the stress of being responsible to investors as well as employees. “Angel investing is very, very risky, but quite rewarding if it works out.”
Majoring in economics at UCLA before obtaining a master's degree in business administration, Felipe said it’s easy for him to see “the big picture,” which, in this case, involves getting the word out about GEM to generate more backers.
Tenants are expected to move into the new incubator space in early March, and Felipe has already vowed to help fund a GEM summer accelerator program that would allow entrepreneurs to get a jump-start on starting their businesses right after graduation.
“He was there at the right time,” Lynch said of Felipe. “We used his donation to get everybody else committed. Hopefully, it’ll be a no-brainer that they’ll donate again.”
Regardless of what happens three years from now, it seems Felipe's investment in GEM has already paid off.
Santa Barbara May Raise Sewer Rates 5.5%, Trash 2%
The City of Santa Barbara's Wastewater Department wants to increase sewer rates by 5.5 percent next year to cover huge capital-improvement projects coming up.
It’s unusual to have rates increase this much, but the city is preparing for a lot more debt service, according to Finance Director Bob Samario.
Santa Barbara is going out for $35 million in State Water Resources Control Board loans to rehabilitate the secondary treatment at the El Estero Wastewater Treatment Plant and improve the anaerobic digestion process, Wastewater Department Director Christopher Toth said.
Both major projects should be finished by 2019 and won’t interrupt wastewater treatment operations, Toth said.
El Estero has been in service since the early 1980s, and the improvements will ensure the city can get another 30 to 50 years of use out of it, he said.
Upgrades will make the plant more efficient but won’t expand capacity at all.
The Wastewater Department has been increasing rates by 4 percent per year recently, so this is a significant bump.
Toth told the city Finance Committee that the long-range plan is to increase rates by 5.5 percent for the next two years and 5 percent annually after that.
Notices will go out to customers soon, and a public hearing will be held in June.
The City Council doesn’t normally weigh in on rate increases, but will discuss the sewer rates since they are increasing more than usual, Samario said.
Trash rates could be raised 2 percent this year. Santa Barbara’s contract with MarBorg Industries includes a Consumer Price Index increase every year, which is low at 0.9 percent due to the nearly stagnant economy, Samario said.
The city proposes a 0.69 percent increase to replace and maintain the 1,300 city-owned trash containers like the ones on State Street and in front of City Hall. Most of them were installed by the Redevelopment Agency, but no money was set aside to maintain or replace them.
Finance Committee members were supportive of the idea since the CPI is low this year, Samario said.
Santa Barbara County regularly raises tipping fees (for dumping trash at the landfill) but may not this year, which means that cost wouldn’t be included in rate increases next year.
Water rates are up in the air since the city isn’t sure what will happen with the drought.
City staff suggested a 3 percent rate increase, but wants to wait on a decision until the end of the rainy season.
Gerald Carpenter: UCSB Wind Ensemble Concert to Look Back on 21st Century
The vital and accomplished University Wind Ensemble, under the direction of its founder and guiding light, Paul Bambach (Adriane Hill, graduate assistant) will perform their annual Winter Concert — called “21st Century Masters” — at 8 p.m. Thursday in Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall at the UCSB Music Building.
By now, we can trust Bambach not to make us suffer for our art. The music on this program is all very attractive and listenable, even if the composers involved are serious and intelligent musicians.
They each seem to have come separately to the conclusion that if you can write music that pleases audiences, you'd be crazy not to do it, so long as the composition is also well and sincerely made.
We will be hearing: Resurgences, Opus 162 by Robert Sheldon (born in 1954); A Childhood Remembered (2013) by Rossano Galante (born in 1967); Dance Rhythms for Band, Opus 58a (1955) by Wallingford Riegger (1885-1961); Flowing Pens from Concord (2009) by Roger Cichy (born in 1956); and the Symphony for Winds No. 2 by Frank Ticheli (born in 1958).
If Ticheli remains today the most-performed band composer (always excepting John Philip Sousa), then Sheldon has to be a close second. His Resurgences makes a tuneful and engaging come-all-ye. Galante, who has a thriving career as a film composer, remembers his childhood as a having a jaunty, Virgil Thomson-like score.
Flowing Pens from Concord was commissioned by the Concord Band of Concord, Mass., for its 50th anniversary concert. It is divided into four sections, each devoted to a famous book that "flowed" from the pens of Concord authors: I. Mosses from an Old Manse (Nathaniel Hawthorne); II. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott); III. Walden (Henry David Thoreau); IV. Nature (Ralph Waldo Emerson).
Now, obviously, Riegger is not a 21st-century composer, though he is certainly a master, and his music can be quite aggressively "modern" — i.e. harsh — but the Dance Rhythms, as you will hear, fit very comfortably in with all the sweet, post-modern melody-making on the rest of the program.
Tickets to this concert are $15 for general admission and $7 for students, and they are available at the door. Please call 805.893.7001 for further information.
Dos Pueblos JV Boys Win Tennis Season Opener Over SLO
Dos Pueblos High School's boys JV tennis team burned up the courts Wednesday in their season opener against the JV San Luis Obispo Tigers in a 17-1 contest at the home courts.
Slight nerves initially hampered the players for a few games. After that, the consistency came through on all courts.
In singles, freshmen Mason Dochterman, Kellen Roberts and Chris Lane, all with their unique style of play, took charge and lost only 14 games in nine sets.
In doubles, experience and athleticism took over. Captain Ameet Braganza paired up with Ryan O’Gorman and swept, allowing only four games at line 1. At line 2, Garret Foreman and Davide Gerli split sets in their first high school match, and Roshan Naik with Eddie Park took the last set in that line. At line 3, we mixed it up. Justin Worley with new partner Jason Lee battled to snatch the 6-4 set from the Tigers, then Ryan Daniel played with Lee, then with Michael Soto, to take the two remaining sets.
We are proud to see our team show good sportsmanship. We also appreciate the immense support of parents and varsity players, and the TAs who came out to help and cheer on the team.
The JV Chargers host Bishop next Wednesday. Way to go, Chargers!
Dos Pueblos Singles
» Mason Dochterman 3-0; Kellen Roberts 3-0; Chris Lane 3-0
Dos Pueblos Doubles
» Ameet Braganza/Ryan O’Gorman 3-0; Garret Foreman/Davide Gerli 1-1; Roshan Naik/Eddie Park 1-0; Jason Lee/Justin Worley 1-0; Jason Lee/Ryan Daniel 1-0; Ryan Daniel/Michael Soto 1-0
San Luis Obispo Singles
» Sid Alwen 0-3; Cole Westwood 0-3; Cannon Fryaldenhoven 0-3
San Luis Obispo Doubles
» Evan Anselmo/Janson Fritzley 1-2; Henry Amir/Zach Wise 0-3; Alex Hasley/James Raj 0-3
— Liz Frech coaches boys’ tennis at Dos Pueblos High School.
Santa Barbara Family YMCA Offers Peabody Charter School Students Place to Play
Jeff Holbrook, physical education director for Peabody Charter School in Santa Barbara, knew he had a problem with the playground.
The school's primary bathroom that was located on the fringe of the playground was being totally rebuilt, and the construction firm had cordoned off half of the field in order to safely reach the construction site.
With 750 elementary students and one-half of the playground remaining, he knew he had to come up with another solution for recess.
Having been in a similar predicament when he worked in Palm Desert as a P.E. director, he had contacted a nearby country club and made arrangements for the students to use its facilities. After conferring with Peabody Superintendent and Principal Demian Barnett, who was completely on board, Holbrook in October contacted Vince Iuculano, assistant executive director of the Santa Barbara Family YMCA on Hitchcock Road, and asked if some arrangement could be made to provide the students with the facilities at the YMCA.
What came out of the outreach even surprised Holbrook.
Iuculano stated that the YMCA would provide as many of the activities that Peabody wanted complete with a supervising staff as well as the several professional YMCA managers that would run 45 minutes each, three days a week.
And the Y would do it for free.
All Holbrook had to do was provide the transportation for the students from the school to the YMCA, which was about a mile away.
What turned out to be a great partnership didn't begin until the first of this year for a variety of reasons. First, Hollbrook had to work out the kinks in terms of reworking the school's curriculum that included regular classes as well as the various art, music, drama and dance classes.
Then there was the matter of transporting the students to the Y via expensive school buses.
Both Holbrook and Principal Barnett came up with the idea of asking each student to come up with $15 for the five-month period. To their surprise, the money came in almost immediately with much enthusiasm. Apparently, both the parents and the students were excited by the idea.
Holbrook also solicited and got additional funds from Randy Weiss, community outreach officer for Union Bank.
It was then decided that only the fourth, fifth and sixth grades would be involved since that translated to 350 students, which was determined to be manageable.
The program started in January and will finish out in May.
At the Y, the students get to choose what they want to do given the possibilities, which are indoor basketball courts, indoor racquetball courts, swimming in the indoor pool complete with lessons if needed, and the outdoor soccer and wiffleball field. Accompanying the students each week are five to 10 parents of the Peabody students who volunteered to help maintain discipline.
To see the enthusiasm of the students when they arrive at the Y is a sight to behold. Their views of the P.E. program at the Y runs from "very cool" to "awesome" to "it's like summer camp."
Holbrook in particular is pleased because he has seen many of his students do activities that they had never done before, like swimming for the first time.
"I can't believe how this has worked out for the kids," he said, adding that he just marvels at the cooperation that has been generated by the Y and the school simply because he had a problem with a much smaller playground for this school year.
— Dave Novis is a member of the Board of Managers for the Santa Barbara Family YMCA.
Janet Garufis Donates Hair in Support of Barbara Ireland Walk for Breast Cancer Research
Janet Garufis, CEO of Montecito Bank & Trust and trustee of Sansum Clinic, donated her hair to raise awareness of the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara with Sansum Clinic’s 14th annual Barbara Ireland Walk for Breast Cancer Research that is happening Saturday, March 15 along Santa Barbara’s waterfront.
Last year, more than 400 participants joined and raised more than $66,000 for local breast cancer research.
One hundred percent of the money raised is used locally to support breast cancer research programs at the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara with Sansum Clinic. Financial support of our research program allows local physicians to participate in national research projects and brings promising new cancer treatment methods to patients in Santa Barbara.
The Cancer Center is proud to lead our community’s involvement in cancer research, keeping us on par with major academic medical facilities.
"One-third of those diagnosed with breast cancer will require chemotherapy, and of those 90 percent will lose their hair," Garufis said. "In speaking with the woman who will be weaving the wigs from hair, she shared that in 25 years of hand-making wigs, she has only seen silver hair donated twice. With breast cancer being the most common cancer treated at the Cancer Center (30 percent of all cases), and the average age of their patients being 66 years old, creating additional silver haired wigs to the center’s wig lending library will be extremely valuable to many touched by cancer in our community."
Contact the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara with Sansum Clinic to join in this fun 5/10/15k walking event with a great spa zone afterward. This is a great cause with 100 percent of the proceeds staying local.
Hair Couture Designs in Camarillo will hand-weave Garufis' hair into a wig that will be donated back to the Cancer Center and made available for patients to borrow. Ashley Lipsett at Salon Patine was the stylist.
— Jill Fonte is the director of marketing for Sansum Clinic.
Central Coast Agency Hires Broker to Find Water for Sale
To deal with Santa Barbara County’s dwindling supplies, the Central Coast Water Authority has hired a consultant to find water for sale.
The CCWA owns and operates the pipelines that deliver State Water Project water to 13 agencies in Santa Barbara County and southern San Luis Obispo County.
It’s the only organization that has the pipelines to bring water into the county, CCWA Executive Director Ray Stokes said.
Some local water agencies are looking for outside sources on their own, but the CCWA is starting a water purchase program that districts can join.
Sierra Water Group will be paid on an hourly basis as a water broker, and already has a standing contract with the City of Santa Maria.
Carpinteria, Santa Barbara, Santa Maria and Solvang have expressed interest in the program.
The CCWA wants to buy 4,000 to 5,000 acre-feet of water this year, but a recent threat to the system’s banked carryover water could make that number go way up.
Many water districts have stored or “banked” unused water in San Luis Reservoir, and CCWA regularly pumps it into Lake Cachuma so agencies can use it.
On Monday, the state Department of Water Resources warned Stokes on that it might cut deliveries by half. That would give districts less water in the bank and a bigger problem with the ongoing drought.
“That just means that we need to try and find additional water sources as soon as possible to help water agencies meet demand,” Stokes said.
Lompoc Man Accused of Attempted Murder in Stabbing
Lompoc police announced Wednesday that they've arrested a suspect who may be linked to an early morning stabbing last week that left a man with serious injuries.
Angel Ramos, 26, of Lompoc was arrested Tuesday on charges of attempted murder, participation in a criminal street gang and violation of parole, according to a statement from the Lompoc Police Department.
Ramos was booked into the Lompoc City Jail and was subsequently transported to the Santa Barbara County Jail.
The stabbing occurred Tuesday. Lompoc police received a call at 4:10 a.m. reporting that a man had been stabbed in the area of Pine Avenue and F Street.
When the officers arrived, they spoke to the adult male victim, who said he had been approached by several Hispanic adult males yelling a gang phrase and asking where the victim was from.
The victim told the suspects he was not a gang member, but the suspects reportedly attacked the victim and repeatedly hit him.
After the attack, the victim realized he had been stabbed numerous times, and had sustained approximately eight stab wounds near the back of his neck, on his neck, on the back of his head and on his hand, police said.
"The victim said that towards the end of the attack, he thought he was going to be killed," the statement said, adding that he was transported directly to Cottage Hospital because of the seriousness of his injuries.
Detectives from the Gang Narcotics Enforcement Team conducted a follow-up investigation, including a second interview of the victim, collection of physical evidence and a search of the crime scene, which led to Ramos' arrest, the statement said.
Larry Kudlow: Recalling the Days When Democrats Cut Taxes
[Noozhawk note: This column was co-authored by Brian Domitrovic, chairman of the history department at Sam Houston State University. Larry Kudlow and Domitrovic are writing a book on the JFK tax cuts, to be published by Penguin next year.]
Fifty years ago last week, on Feb. 26, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the sweeping tax cuts that had been championed by his predecessor, John F. Kennedy. The law brought the top marginal income-tax rate down to 70 percent from 91 percent and the bottom marginal rate down to 14 percent from 20 percent. The 22 rates in-between also were cut.
The tax legislation of 1964 was one of three major across-the-board income-tax cuts in the 20th century. The others took place in the 1920s, during the Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge administrations, and in 1981 and 1986 during the Ronald Reagan administration. After the Tax Reform Act of 1986, the top marginal rate was all of 28 percent. Today, it is 39.6 percent.
The 1920s, '60s and '80s were three of America's greatest decades of economic growth. Without them, growth since the inauguration of the income tax in 1913 averages less than 3 percent per year. Each of the tax-cut decades saw at least seven years of growth of 4-5 percent, along with advances in entrepreneurship, employment, living standards and wealth.
We would hardly speak of an "American century" if not for the economic expansions that came with these three historic tax cuts.
Today, tax cuts are associated with the Republican Party. Yet a half-century ago, it was the Democratic President Kennedy who said in his Dec. 14, 1962, address to the Economic Club of New York: "Our practical choice is not between a tax-cut deficit and a budgetary surplus. It is between two kinds of deficits: a chronic deficit of inertia, as the unwanted result of inadequate revenues and a restricted economy; or a temporary deficit of transition, resulting from a tax cut designed to boost the economy, increase tax revenues, and achieve — and I believe this can be done — a budget surplus. The first type of deficit is a sign of waste and weakness; the second reflects an investment in the future."
When JFK's tax legislation came before Congress, Democrats in the House voted for it 223-29 and in the Senate 56-11, while Republicans voted against it in the House 48-126 and for it in the Senate 21-10. The GOP candidate for president in 1964, Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater, voted against.
And after jacking up tax rates during World War I, the Democratic Woodrow Wilson administration proposed the tax cuts that came to pass under the guidance of Republican Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon in the 1920s. Stretching back into the 19th century, it had consistently been Democrats who had been in favor of tax reductions — and Republicans who had been in favor of high rates.
As generations of schoolchildren used to be taught, the tariff — the principal means of federal revenue before 1913 — was a Republican baby, while Democrats and other "populists" railed against this form of mass taxation and insisted that tariffs be reduced if not eliminated. Democrats of old realized that high tax rates and trade protectionism prompt exceptions and preferences to be written into the law — special deals that crony capitalists thrive on. When the income tax began to replace the tariff in 1913, little changed. High, stifling rates encourage lobbying for loopholes, special carve-outs and backroom deals. Nothing populist about that.
In the 1930s and '40s, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, a Democrat, turned the tables by jacking up marginal income-tax rates (at one point all the way to 94 percent for the very top earners), expanding the reach of the income tax into the humblest of wage earners, and withholding taxes from paychecks. Or as the authors of the textbook Federal Income Taxation put it in 1953, under FDR the income tax "changed its morning coat for overalls."
JFK understood that high tax rates, even on the rich, bring inequities into the nation's political economy that do not befit America's traditions of liberty and constitutional rule. He also understood that devaluing tax preferences, as tax cuts do, frees up capital to move to its most naturally productive purpose and spur economic growth.
Reagan had the good sense to use the JFK tax cut as a model for his own historic tax cut in 1981. It is a pity that President Barack Obama, who has unsuccessfully tried massive infusions of government money to spur growth, didn't follow JFK and Reagan's lead and make lower marginal tax rates a priority. If he had, we'd likely be in the midst of a vigorous recovery, and on our way to another decade of impressive growth.
— Larry Kudlow is economics editor at National Review Online, host of CNBC’s The Kudlow Report, and author of the daily web blog Kudlow’s Money Politic$. Click here to contact him, follow him on Twitter: @larry_kudlow, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.
Restoration Partners to Plant Thousands of Native Plants Along Refugio Creek
Local nonprofit organizations South Coast Habitat Restoration and Channel Islands Restoration, both of Carpinteria, have partnered with the California State Parks at Refugio State Beach to plant thousands of potted native plants in a combined effort to restore the native habitat alongside the mouth of Refugio Creek.
The project area is roughly 30,000 square feet on either side of Refugio Creek, and since Jan. 11 is in the process of being planted with 3,000 native container plants.
This project has been made possible with funding from The Earth Island Institute and support from the State Coastal Conservancy, the Wildlife Conservation Board, the Southern California Wetlands Recovery Project and Southern California Edison.
In May 2012, the project partners established goals to increase the habitat and ecological value of the mouth of Refugio Creek through the removal of non-native flora and planting of native flora along the banks. Non-native vegetation at the site included Fan Palms, Guadalupe Palms, Myoporum, Arundo, Black Acacia, Pampas Grass, Fennel, Castor Bean, Brazilian Pepper trees, California Pepper trees, Eucalyptus, as well as annual grasses.
Non-native trees and shrubs were removed from the site in October 2013. The non-native vegetation was mulched on site to be used around the newly installed native plants at the time of planting to help shade out weeds and maintain soil moisture. A number of existing native riparian trees, willows and cottonwoods were maintained on site.
Native flora to be planted at the site includes riparian trees and coastal scrub species. The native vegetation will provide shade for the creek and over hanging cover habitat for aquatic species as well as forage and nesting habitat for birds.
“We are proud to be part of this effort to work with our project partners to restore the creek at Refugio State Beach," said Ken Owen, director of Channel Islands Restoration. "This project will greatly enhance habitat for native plants and animals and will improve the experience for park visitors.”
Planting began on Jan. 11 with more than 50 adults and children participating — all local volunteers from Santa Barbara and Ventura counties recruited by CIR and SCHR.. Additional planting dates were held Jan. 18, Jan. 20, Jan. 25 and Feb. 15. In total, over the last two months 184 community volunteers have contributed their time to the project planting over 2,000 native plants.
“This community restoration effort has been generously supported by grant funding from the Southern California Wetlands Recovery Project, the Wildlife Conservation Board, Earth Island Institute, and Southern California Edison, and wouldn’t be possible without the support of California State Parks,” said Erin Brown, project manager of South Coast Habitat Restoration.
There is only one planting day left. We hope you will join us from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. this Saturday, March 8. Tools, gloves, water and snacks will be provided. RSVPs to the event are not required, but appreciated! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP.
— Ken Owen is the director of Channel Islands Restoration.
Ed Fuller: Real Estate Activity Remains Strong in Metro Santa Barbara
Closed and pending (under contract) single-family homes are off significantly from last year, but prices are up while inventory is relatively the same.
This February saw 52 homes sold and 73 go under contract. Last year's torrid February saw 80 homes close escrow and 121 go under contract.
The median sales price has increased only from $935,500 to $977,000, but the median price of homes going under contract has increased from $949,000 to $1,185,000.
This typically foreshadows a higher median sales price as these homes close escrow in the coming months.
The current inventory (active listings for sale) is almost unchanged at 265 homes. The time on market for sold homes has dropped from 90 days in February 2013 to 51 days this February.
What this means is that, although we don’t have the feeding frenzy we had at the beginning of last year, the market is still strong. We continue to have a shortage of lower-priced, single-family homes to sell, which is keeping the median pending price high.
For a seller, now is a good time to list as home prices may have reached a plateau. For buyers, there may be less competition at the moment, and interest rates are still very reasonable — in the low 4 percent range.
Be sure to consult with a Realtor for any of your real estate needs.
— Ed Fuller is a real estate broker with San Roque Realty Inc. and president of the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. Contact him at email@example.com or 805.687.1551. The opinions expressed are his own.
Santa Maria Council Adds E-Cigarettes to Smoking Ban
An electronic cigarette is no different than a regular cigarette, according to the Santa Maria City Council, which decided this week to extend its public-smoking ban to the relatively new devices.
The council voted unanimously Tuesday night to add e-cigarettes — battery-powered devices that provide doses of nicotine and other additives in aerosol form — to the definition of smoking in the city’s municipal code, which means no smoking the “vapes” inside public buildings or within 20 feet of them.
The change was included in an annual list of code updates that also amended speed limits on several city streets, according to city spokesman Mark van de Kamp.
Santa Maria is just the second city in Santa Barbara County to extend its public-smoking ban to e-cigarettes. Buellton has passed a similar provision.
The city joins a growing list of municipalities nationwide that have singled out e-cigarettes, including New York and Los Angeles, which just approved a ban earlier this week.
Santa Maria City Librarian Mary Housel requested the code revision after a patron came into the library while smoking an e-cigarette two months ago.
“The staff was a little unsure how to respond to it,” Housel told Noozhawk. “They are kind of a more recent phenomenon. My personal feeling was a cigarette is a cigarette whether it’s a cigarette or an e-cigarette.
"It’s helpful to have a clear decision so we can refer to it as needed.”
Several people spoke out about the move during public comment, focusing on the health benefits as opposed to conventional cigarette smoking, but the council ignored their pleas.
The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department is revising its policies related to tobacco, including e-cigarettes, said spokeswoman Susan Klein-Rothschild.
She said to expect some ordinance revisions later this spring.
Students Receive Added Incentive in Battle of the Books Competition
Nearly 200 students in fourth through sixth grades from more than 30 schools throughout the county will test their knowledge April 30 at the 13th annual Battle of the Books in the Santa Barbara County Education Office auditorium.
About 8,000 students in public schools countywide have been challenged to read as many books as possible from a pre-selected list of 30 to qualify for the event. These books will be the source of the questions and challenges that the students will face at the “battle.”
Students are encouraged to read all 30 books, but they must read at least 15 to attend the Battle of the Books. Each school can send a maximum of five students.
This year, a partnership with Granada Books, a new community bookstore in downtown Santa Barbara, has given students an added incentive: Participating students can earn certificates for free books to keep.
“This annual competition is an entertaining opportunity for students from throughout the county to come together for a friendly ‘literary battle,’ but it’s also an important reading incentive program,” said county Superintendent of Schools Bill Cirone, whose office coordinates the event.
Granada Books will offer a free book for every five books a student reads, with certification from a teacher, up to the entire 30 on the official list. That means each child could earn up to six free books.
“This is a win-win opportunity for Granada Books and our sister nonprofit, Pomegranate Arts, to give back,” said Emmett McDonough, co-owner of Granada Books. “One of our core beliefs is that by providing children with an opportunity to earn their own books to keep, we help encourage more reading, as well as the love of books.”
Many schools will have more than five children who have read multiple books, so the bookstore’s owners will offer the same incentive to students who are not chosen to attend the “battle.” South County children and parents can redeem their certificates at Granada Books, and North County families will be able to redeem theirs at a temporary “store” that Granada will set up in Santa Maria after the event.
In addition to encouraging literacy and making reading fun, the Battle of the Books rewards reading comprehension and teamwork. Two teams of six or seven students compete against each other by answering 20 comprehension questions based on the 30 books. The students must agree upon and offer their answers as a group.
All teams will compete in a round-robin tournament of four battles, and then the highest-scoring teams will take the stage for the final battle, facilitated by guest author Robin Mellom.
“When they arrive for the Battle of the Books, the students will be re-blended into teams so that no one school competes against another,” said Matt Zuchowicz, director of Educational Technology Services, the SBCEO department that conducts the event. “Regardless of who wins the final battle, every student is rewarded with certificates, and the winners receive books and T shirts. Students also have an opportunity that day to vote for a book they’d like to see on the list for next year’s event, which is a fun way to motivate and engage the young readers.”
— Dave Bemis is the communications director for the Santa Barbara County Education Office.
Cinema in Focus: ‘Son of God’
This film's explanation of Jesus' purpose? To change the world
4 Stars — Inspiring
In retelling the biblical stories, every artist must make theological as well as artistic choices. These choices reflect in part God's story, but they also reveal the hearts and thoughts of the individual storytellers. This is not only true of every sermon delivered in every church, but it is also true of every film shown in which the biblical stories are portrayed.
In Christopher Spencer's film Son of God, we experience a telling of the story of Jesus based primarily on the Gospel According to John with a hint of the Revelation of John. This particular telling is formed by Spencer as well as three writers who assist him — Richard Bedser, Colin Swash and Nic Young — and it reveals a bias towards a Roman Catholic version of Jesus' life.
Using some scenes and referring directly to the History channel's hit miniseries The Bible, the uneven telling of the tale and low-budget special effects do not lessen the amazing message of the incarnate Son of God.
Narrating the story is John, who is in exile on Patmos as the film begins with the prologue of the Gospel of John and ends with the revelation of Jesus to John with His wonderful proclamation that, "I am the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end."
Playing the part of Jesus is the appropriately named Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado, whose last name means "first-born." Perhaps the most difficult person in all of history to portray, Morgado's portrayal is one with subtle charm and powerful presence. The same is true of Roma Downey, who reveals the deep faith, knowledge and love needed to be Mary, the mother of Jesus. As both a producer of the film and a devout believer herself, it is easy to see her love for God.
Also of primary importance in the story are the apostles John (Sebastian Knapp), Peter (Darwin Shaw), Judas (Joe Wredden) and Thomas (Matthew Gravelle), with Mary Magdalene (Amber Rose Revah) representing the women who became followers of Jesus along with the men.
The conflicts in Jesus' life come from two sources, both of whom are portrayed with more depth than often seen in Christian cinema. Pilate (Greg Hicks) displays historically appropriate indifference to the lives of his subjects as the Roman governor, and the High Priest Caiaphas (Adrian Schiller) is sincere yet manipulative in his attempt to protect his religion and his nation.
There is no story that reflects the depth of the meaning of life as does the story of Jesus and His divine identity. Though the telling of His story may vary, the basic truth breaks through in ways that require a response by all who hear it. It is this response that will "change the world" as Jesus charges His disciples to do on His behalf.
» It is difficult to imagine what Mary experienced as she held Jesus in her arms at his birth as well as at His death. What do you think she thought about Jesus in the years between those two events? Why do you answer as you do?
» It is clear that the religious and political leaders conspired together to kill an innocent man. Why do you think it takes both religion and government to conspire to do something truly evil? How can we follow Jesus without the greed and corruption that turned His house into a den of thieves and without the violence and scheming that can turn a nation into a brutal destroyer?
» The warning that his wife gave Pilate about Jesus did not stop Pilate from killing Him. Why do you think Pilate did not heed the warning? Would you have listened if you had been Pilate? Why or why not?
— Cinema in Focus is a social and spiritual movie commentary. Hal Conklin is a former mayor of Santa Barbara and Denny Wayman is pastor of Free Methodist Church, 1435 Cliff Drive. For more reviews, visit www.cinemainfocus.com, or follow them on Twitter: @CinemaInFocus. The opinions expressed are their own.
Max McCumber: A Fan Without a Team
Anyone familiar with the high school sports culture in this town knows how unruly the scene can get at rivalry games involving the Royals of San Marcos, the Dons of Santa Barbara and the Chargers of Dos Pueblos. It's not quite as severe as an NCAA showdown between Duke and North Carolina in Durham or Chapel Hill, but it's up there. It's enough for county sheriff's deputies to wait outside at the San Marcos Thunderhut to prevent teenage hooliganism from erupting after basketball games.
A decade ago, as a senior at San Marcos, I was ejected from my last game in the stands before tip-off for booing the DP cheerleaders. Ex-football coach turned athletic director Bob Archer escorted me out.
Overcome with shock and dismay, I nodded and left the Thunderhut as he asked. I would write Coach Archer a letter of apology the next week, which he accepted.
School spirit was something I was obsessed with back then. I went as far as painting my face blue and red once. I was a brash 17- going on 18-year-old. What happened that night warned me to be careful with that obsession.
Since then, I've gone away to college up in San Francisco, moved back to Santa Barbara after I graduated and now work at UCSB as an office professional. The days of Max the Royal fanatic are now a lifetime ago.
It's not that I've never professed any other rooting interests. A friend sharing San Francisco Giants season tickets near home plate at AT&T Park with me made it hard not to. I was a huge Los Angeles Lakers fan growing up. Shaquille O'Neal was larger than life to me when I was 12 or 13.
To have been kicked out of that high school game wasn't the only epiphany that transformed me into the more nonpartisan observer of a sports fan I am today.
To name one film or TV program that has influenced my life the most, it has to be Ken Burns' Baseball documentary. It made me laugh and cry as it enlightened me on the national pastime. As a kid, I would check it out from the library on VHS inning by inning, multiple times. A few weeks after high school graduation, I made a pilgrimage to Cooperstown when my brother played in a PONY league tournament there. Baseball, more than any other sport, captivated me without needing a team early on, and I was just getting started.
For affordable travel thrills, summer vacations of my 20s have involved gallivanting to spots around the country on a quest to attend a game in all 30 Major League Baseball stadiums. So far, I'm almost there. I've been lucky enough to pass through the turnstile at Fenway Park, the friendly confines of Wrigley Field and Yankee Stadium, "The House that Ruth Built." I've been mooned by the Phillie Phanatic. Between innings in Milwaukee, I took in the Brewers' sausage race and sang along to the "Beer Barrel Polka." I've visited the sites where Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run in Atlanta and Pete Rose singled for hit No. 4192 in Cincinnati. Last year, I stopped at the spot where first base at Shea Stadium used to be, right next to the New York Mets' new digs, where the ball went through Bill Buckner's legs in 1986. Once I sat in the right-field bleachers of Dodger Stadium, where that surprise homer from Kirk Gibson landed in 1988.
Experiences like these instilled in me a deeper connection to baseball.
The defining moment for me may have been in 2012, when I stopped in Indianapolis for a minor league game on a detour between Cincinnati and Detroit. At picturesque Victory Field in downtown Indianapolis, Santa Barbara's own Dylan Axelrod was the starting pitcher for the visiting Charlotte Knights, the White Sox's AAA affiliate. The old Max might have thought he was an enemy because he was a Santa Barbara Don. Instead, I marveled at how, via the great game of baseball, the guy was from my hometown and we crossed paths way over there in Hoosier land.
Or it could have been my former boss, she is now retired, a loyal Dodgers fan married to a Bay Area-bred Giants fan for years. I also think back to a muggy night in St. Louis, in June 2011, when few saw the St. Loius Cardinals' dramatic World Series run that fall coming. Up in the Busch Stadium mezzanine, I chatted with a friendly face so typical of Cardinal Nation, her longtime husband sitting next to us — a Cubs fan. Baseball alone helped bring these folks together. A Yankees-Red Sox romance, though — those are probably rarer.
Sure, I've been partial to the Lakers before, but these days, as long as Staples Center tickets stay so outrageously priced, not so much. Even in the nosebleeds way above where Jack Nicholson sits is difficult for me and most other middle-class patrons to afford. I have seen NBA games in person but never in the state of California. I've had better luck in New Orleans with the then-Hornets and visiting my rabid Suns fan relatives in Phoenix.
Maybe it would be different if I were related to a player on a particular team. Even so, what if he or she transfers to another school, gets traded, released or becomes a free agent? It would be tough not to change allegiances. If I were a father, I definitely wouldn't be one of those obnoxious parents who bad mouth the opposition or harass the coach for not playing my kid.
Die-hard team fans, I do acknowledge, have more than a place in the scholastic and pro ranks. After all, teams need seas of face or belly-painted, jersey- and cap-clad faithful to survive. Heck, if you are this type of fan, I need you, because you give me something to talk about. You could be the Latin teacher from Pittsburgh ecstatic about the Pirates finally posting a winning season after 20 years of futility. Or maybe you're my great aunt in Seattle hopeful of the Mariners' chances thanks to the offseason splurge on Robinson Cano.
All I want to say is that rooting for the game objectively and still having fun is possible, too.
I like to think that the advantage of not picking sides as a fan is that you win more often. For every exhilarating photo finish, overtime, extra innings, buzzer beater, bases loaded with two outs and a full count, you win. For every March Madness, Fall Classic, Olympics, Stanley Cup or World Cup extravaganza, you win. A disadvantage is missing out on the kinship one can have with a team, win or lose. Yet, just like the bleacher bum Cub fans do, I'm always waiting until next year.
— Max McCumber is a Santa Barbara resident.