Santa Barbara-Goleta, Tuesday, July 07, 2015

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Candidates for 24th Congressional District Seat Pulling in Big Fundraising Numbers

By | Published on 07/06/2015


Even though the election isn't until next year, candidates for California's 24th Congressional District seat are already pulling in big dollars as part of their fundraising efforts.

Rep. Lois Capps, who has held the seat since 1998, announced last year than she would not seek re-election when her term expires in 2016, prompting several high-profile candidates to jump into the race.

Though the official campaign reports detailing how much has been raised by each candidate aren't due until July 15, several issued statements on Monday talking about how much money they've raised so far.

At the top of the list was Salud Carbajal, Santa Barbara County First District supervisor, who announced he had raised more than $620,000 in his bid for Capps' seat.

Carbajal has been endorsed by Capps, and said Monday he was "humbled" by the support his campaign has seen thus far.

“In Congress, I will work every day to build an economy where all of our hardworking families have an opportunity to get ahead," the supervisor said in a statement on Monday.

Carbajal has served on Santa Barbara County's Board of Supervisors since 2004.

Battling Carbajal for the seat is Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider, who announced that her campaign has raised more than $225,000 so far in her bid for the seat.

Schneider called her campaign "citizen powered and citizen energized," and thanked her supporters, the majority of whom are women, she said, for their enthusiasm during the early stage of the campaign.

Schneider has served on Santa Barbara's City Council since 2003 and was elected mayor in 2009.

Republican contender for the seat is state Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian of the 35th District, which includes San Luis Obispo County and northern Santa Barbara County.

Numbers from Achadjian's effort were not available Monday, and Republican candidate Justin Fareed and Democrat William Ostrander did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Noozhawk about their campaign fundraising numbers to date.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Santa Barbara Eateries Get Cookin’ in Nontraditional Kitchen Space at Showgrounds

By | Published on 07/06/2015


Freeman’s Flying Chicken, Nite Bite and others feel right at home in leased commercial space at the Earl Warren Showgrounds

There was a day last month when Freeman’s Flying Chicken actually ran out of chicken.

The relatively new Santa Barbara eatery is tucked away down Gate C of the Earl Warren Showgrounds and not used to being bombarded with customers, but owner Paul Freeman recalled the story recently with a laugh.

Hundreds of horse show attendees took advantage of Freeman’s special breakfast and lunch menu — the one cooked up when the showgrounds awarded the standalone eatery an exclusive catering contract to this summer’s equestrian events.

Hungry patrons also embraced the regular menu, which offers takeout or delivery rotisserie chicken dinners for busy families looking for an alternative to pizza. 

Growing a business can be tough, but leasing space at the Earl Warren Showgrounds helps take the pressure off Freeman’s seven-month-old business.

“It’s a slow process to build regular, repeat clientele,” he told Noozhawk. “We’re relying on people to know about us. It’s growing”

He’s renting commercial space from the state-owned arena at 3400 Calle Real — just off Las Positas Road — along with four other less traditional local food purveyors.

On the north side of the showgrounds from Freeman’s, Nite Bite and Nimita’s Cuisine share a commercial kitchen.

They rarely see each other, however, since Nite Bite delivers comfort food from 8 p.m. till late and Nimita’s caters or operates its food truck during the day.

Nearby, Georgia’s Smokehouse stores its two food trucks near a separate kitchen.

“It’s a good arrangement,” said showgrounds deputy manager Pat Cary, noting the property has four commercial kitchens and also leases space to a caterer called Locally Grown Kids. “It works out good for us. They do have to share (kitchens) when events come in.”

Sharing isn’t ideal but the low rent is well worth adapting, said Carlos Lomeli, a Santa Barbara native who founded Nite Bite two years ago.

He scoured local commercial kitchens after graduating from Santa Barbara City College’s culinary program to find the perfect place to craft late-night food, including burritos, macaroni and cheese and burgers — even selling Rori’s Creamery ice cream by the pint.

The showgrounds is a funky spot, but the location is centralized, near Highway 101 ramps.

Besides, renting is cheaper than buying and involves less commitment, Lomeli said.

“It’s not your standard location for food establishments, but all the businesses … are a little bit different,” he said. “Nite Bite is unique because we deliver until 3 a.m. We manage. It’s not your standard concept.”

Nimita’s Cuisine has also had to bunk up with visiting vendors, but owner Nimita Dhirajlal said the space is large enough for four caterers to share.

Dhirajlal, who’s also a local therapist, started her catering business in 2010, first renting kitchen space in Goleta before moving to the showgrounds more than a year ago.

“We specialize in local organic foods with an Indian twist,” she said. “The whole purpose of cooking has come from supporting the local farmers. I decided I wanted to support our community. I live on Las Positas, so it’s very easy for me to get to the kitchen.”

Nimita’s Cuisine also has a food truck with a soon-to-be set traveling schedule, said Dhirajlal, who would be open to catering showgrounds events in the future.

Brian Parks wanted to open a restaurant, but his wife wasn’t on board, so he launched Georgia’s Smokehouse food truck instead.

The compromise let Parks, former executive chef at Canary Hotel, move into a fully-equipped kitchen to save on upfront costs for a business catering to Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

The showgrounds is also a health department-approved storage location for food trucks, providing an area to dump waste and a place to plug in and recharge batteries powering lights, exhaust fans and a refrigerator.

“When we first started, we did share a kitchen with two other companies,” Parks said. “For startup companies, it’s a great first rental kitchen.”

Unlike his counterparts, Freeman must balance out the fact that his business has no street traffic — something the horse shows seems to help with.

In addition to catering, he’s brainstorming ways to expand the business this winter after the final show in October.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Lompoc Police Arrest Transient as Suspect in String of Commercial Burglaries

By | Published on 07/06/2015


Angel Govea

A transient from Santa Maria has been arrested after allegedly admitting to committing three commercial burglaries in Lompoc.

Lompoc Police Department detectives investigated burglaries of local businesses — Kimberly Nails, Washtime Laundry and PJ’s Deli — in recent months.

Shoes autographed by NBA star Kobe Bryant and stolen from P.J.’s Deli were found last month, leading to the arrest of two adults for possession of stolen property plus a third person on a drug-related charge in early June.

Detectives ultimately identified a possible burglary suspect, 33-year-old Angel Govea, who was arrested by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department on July 3 for outstanding warrants.

Police Cpl. Scott Morgan interviewed the suspect, who reportedly admitted to three commercial burglaries.

“Unfortunately, a majority of the stolen items, mostly cash, were not recovered,” police said.

Govea was booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail and held in lieu of $60,000 bail.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Audit Notes Santa Maria Police Department Has ‘Significantly Improved,’ Should ‘Fine-Tune’ Reviews

By | Published on 07/06/2015


An independent audit of the Santa Maria Police Department determined the agency has “significantly improved” the quality of internal investigations but should take additional steps to “fine-tune” reviews surrounding use of force and misconduct cases.

The OIR Group made the new recommendations while reviewing the progress of the Police Department’s implementation of 57 systemic suggestions initially submitted after a series of officer-involved shootings and a near in-custody death in 2011 and 2012 “rocked” the agency.

The Santa Maria City Council will hear about a nine-page addendum to the initial report on the audit during a meeting starting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in Council Chambers at City Hall, at the corner of Cook Street and Broadway.

After receiving the 2014 findings, the City Council requested that the OIR Group revisit the department and review the status of implementation of the recommendations. 

Additionally, City Manager Rick Haydon asked the OIR Group to conduct a “mini audit” of recent use of force and internal investigations.

“In addition to reviewing the status, progress, and implementation of OIR Group’s systemic recommendations, we were provided a small sample of force and internal affairs investigations for review. Our general findings stemming from that review was that SMPD had significantly improved the quality of investigations of force incidents and allegations of misconduct,” wrote Michael Gennaco, an attorney with OIR Group, which provides oversight and evaluates law enforcement agencies.

The reviewers made several specific observations and crafted three new systemic recommendations for the Police Department to implement.

The Police Department should consider using mediation as a less formal process to resolve low-level citizen complaints, typically those involving officers’ comments perceived as rude, offensive or less than professional, Gennaco advised

“Mediation can be a beneficial process to both the officer and the citizen and can lead to results more beneficial to police-citizen relations than relying entirely on the formal investigation process,” the report notes.

Additionally, stun gun data should be downloaded during use of force investigations, since the information can be helpful to assess whether an officer properly used force, Gennaco added.

During those investigations, supervisors’ interviews with the subject should be conducted when the person is coherent, the report said. In one instance, the supervisor’s interview was hampered because the subject was under the influence and unable to provide a coherent account.

The auditors suggested the Police Department should adopt protocols instructing supervisors to conduct a follow-up interview if the first attempt was hampered by the subject’s physical condition. 

“The issues identified herein should be understood by the reader as recommendations designed to fine-tune a healthy internal investigative regime devised by the leadership of Santa Maria’s Police Department,” Gennaco said. 

Other observations noted supervisors now travel to the location to conduct use of force investigations. However, an officer who was late in reporting a use of force that occurred outside the city limits hampered the investigation into that incident, a matter that should be addressed, the report said.

In another instance, the department’s investigation didn’t review whether a person had been stopped and cited only after complaining the officer used profanity in telling the citizen to turn down a radio.

The auditors noted one “particularly commendable investigative task” by a supervisor who obtained a video from a use of force incident captured on a camera maintained by another law enforcement agency.

For the most part, officers provide more detailed information in their reports about the suspect activity that prompted the use of the force, Guanaco said. However, one officer’s use of the term “Thai clench” instead should spell out the actions used to subdue the subject.

The Santa Maria Police Department has declined to implement some of the initial recommendations. 

One involved tracking any charges sought against a subject in a use of force case. Police officials said the charges seldom have a relationship to the reason an officer used force.

Gennaco said other agencies have sought charges for interfering with or obstructing a law enforcement officer or assault on a peace officer, charges that have been abused to “justify” an the force used by the officer.

“In the recent past, those law enforcement agencies that have been seen to have overused these charges have been subjected to federal inquiry for potential violations of the Constitution and/or subjected to successful litigation after the obstruction charges have been dismissed or have resulted in an acquittal against the citizen,” Gennaco said. “For these reasons, it is important in our view to ensure that SMPD not fall victim to the same overuse of these charges when force is used.”

Regarding concerns the recommendation would require significant resources, the OIR Group said it would involve a database search with a negligible time commitment.

The auditors also suggested the Police Department enter into a formal agreement with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department to handle critical incident investigations or criminal allegations against officers. 

The Police Department says this agreement is unnecessary, but Gennaco urged officials to revisit this recommendation.

“Other law enforcement agencies have learned the unfortunate way when there has been uncertainty about whether to call another agency for assistance and whether the agency was willing to assume responsibility, usually at 2:00 in the morning where decisions end up being made on the fly and are less likely to be well considered,” the auditors said. “To the degree that such scenarios are discussed prior to an incident occurring, there is greater likelihood that the investigation will be handled smoothly and without potential disruption to the integrity of the investigation as a result of any uncertainty about which agency will handle the matter.”

Even if the department doesn’t set up protocols with the Sheriff’s Department or District Attorney’s Office, it should still spell out the procedure for SMPD supervisors.

“Without the development of  such guidelines, supervisors may be required to make irreversible ad hoc decisions in the field that will not be pre-informed by the wisdom and leadership of SMPD command staff,” the report notes.

Many of the OIR Group’s initial recommendations were already being implemented due to significant reforms implemented with the arrival of Chief Ralph Martin following the fatal shooting of Albert Covarrubias Jr. in January 2012.

“The fact that OIR Group has now been commissioned to return to examine the status of force and internal investigations is a testament to a Department oriented towards transparency and a City interested in ensuring real and lasting reform," Gennaco said in the report.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Olives Are in Theodora Stephan’s Blood at Global Gardens

By | Published on 07/06/2015


Her Greek heritage comes into play at her farm and tasting room in Los Olivos

Growing up in a Greek family, Theodora Stephan spent most of her childhood at gatherings surrounded by family and food.

So it’s only fitting she became an olive farmer in the town of Los Olivos, meaning "the olives," and is celebrating 15 years with her brand, Global Gardens.

“I grew up in the Greek tradition where we were always at parties and eating Greek food. I quite possibly have olive oil running through my blood,” Stephan laughed.

She was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio, and went to school to be a graphic designer. She worked at an advertising agency, and when she was 25 made her first visit to California. 

“Whenever I got in trouble when I was a kid, I would yell at my mom I was running away to California," she said. "It was crazy but I felt like I should be here.” 

Stephan began coming to California often when she landed Universal Studios for a client in the early 1990s, and frequently would rent a car and take weekend trips to different towns.

The first time Stephan came to Los Olivos, her car ran out of gas and she had to be pushed to the gas station on Grand Avenue. As she filled up, she grabbed a local real estate magazine and knew she had found her home.

She bought a ranch in Los Alamos in 1996, and commuted from Los Angeles until she sold her advertising firm in 2001. 

Stephan decided she wanted to have an olive farm, and in 1997 planted 2,000 olive trees, 500 of those being Koroneiki trees from Greece.

The olive tree was so important, it even has its own creation myth.

According to Greek mythology, it was a gift from the goddess Athena. In order to win the patronage of Athens, she thrust her lance into the soil and turned it into an olive tree as  a gift to mankind.

“The first time I went to Greece, I was shocked at how similar the terrain and climate was to Los Olivos,” she said. 

These trees are so hearty and tough they can withstand extremes of both heat and cold, which is perfect especially in times of drought such as now, Stephan added.  

Global Gardens in Los Olivos offers a variety of products tied to its olive farms. (Raiza Georgi / Noozhawk photo)

Olive trees begin blooming in the spring; this year was rare because some of Stephan’s trees started in February.

It doesn’t take much water to sustain healthy olive trees — roughly six gallons per week — and she stops watering them during autumn so they set their fruit. 

Olive trees can be fickle, and while it typically takes around 10 years to garner a nice yield of olives, some trees can produce 100 pounds while others less than 20. Stephan said it takes about 40 pounds of fruit to make a gallon of olive oil. 

In 2005, she found her current location in Los Olivos and moved with her two daughters, Anita and Sunita. She still harvests the ranch in Los Alamos along with other olive orchards encompassing 10,000 trees per year and about 10 varietals, all by hand. 

“Harvest days are always my favorite because the trees give off this pheromone that to me is intoxicating, and maybe it’s my Greek background, but I love every minute of it,” she said. 

Stephan picks the trees after wine grape harvest because she uses the same crews. She has a stone press that comes to which ever orchard she is harvesting so she presses the fruit straight after it’s picked. 

“I have the luxury now to harvest by varietal as opposed to when I first started all at once because I didn’t have a lot of trees then,” Stephan said. 

Only her Olio Nuovo olive oil is bottled straight away while the other flavors and blends she offers age until the next spring.

Stephan prides herself that her extra virgin olive oil tests far below the maximum acidity of .08 percent — resulting around .025 percent. 

Stephan constructed a tasting facility on her property in Los Olivos where visitors can sample her different flavors of olive oils, vinegars and other products she offers made from olive oil such as soap, shampoo and lotions. 

“I love supporting local businesses and Theo’s olive oils make great hostess gifts," said Brenda Clausen of Tustin, Ca. "Even though I don’t live here anymore, I always make it a point to stop by when I am in town.” 

Stephan visits local schools to tell children about how to grow an olive tree. She also has informational videos of her harvest on her website as well as a cookbook using her products and recipes. 

“I am all for educating people about olives and olive oils. I am currently getting a permaculture certificate, and I plan on hosting cooking classes,” she said. 

For more information on Global Gardens log onto, or visit the tasting facility Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 2450 Alamo Pintado Ave. in Los Olivos.

— Raiza Giorgi is a Noozhawk contributing writer from the Santa Ynez Valley. She can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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State Public Health Department Issues Warning About Seafood with Toxins in Santa Barbara County

By | Published on 07/06/2015


A state agency is warning consumers to stay away from certain seafood caught in Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz and Monterey counties — varieties with higher levels of a naturally occurring toxin.

The California Department of Public Health updated an earlier warning late last week urging consumers to stay away from eating recreationally harvested mussels and clams, commercially or recreationally caught anchovy and sardines, and commercially or recreationally caught crabs.

The latest warning does not extend to commercially sold clams, mussels, scallops or oysters from approved sources, which are monitored more closely.

So far, no related illnesses have been reported.

The agency first detected dangerous levels of domoic acid in samples of some recreationally caught mussels and clams in early June, which at that time included the internal organs of scallops and the internal organs of commercially or recreationally harvested anchovy, crabs and sardines.

“Domoic acid accumulation in seafood is a natural occurrence that is related to a ‘bloom’ of a particular single-celled plant,” the state agency said in a statement. “The conditions that support the growth of this plant are impossible to predict.”

A state public health spokesperson couldn’t say whether the bloom was related to the algal phenomenon seen in the Santa Barbara Channel in early June.

Extra caution comes as local waters continue recovering from a recently lifted ban on fishing related to the May 19 oil spill off the Gaviota Coast.

That closure, which was lifted last week, prohibited commercial and recreational fishing and taking shellfish between Gaviota State Park and Coal Oil Point in Goleta.

Santa Barbara Harbor Operations Manager Mick Kronman said a notice about the warning would be posted at the harbor, but he didn’t expect it to have much impact locally, since these notices go up occasionally.

“The biggest problem is usually for animals who eat those animals,” Kronman said.

Officials were less worried about most commercial fare because California law allows only state-certified commercial shellfish harvesters or dealers to sell seafood. Those entities are subject to frequent mandatory testing for toxins.

The California Department of Public Health will continue efforts to collect a variety of shellfish and crab samples from the three counties to monitor the level of domoic acid in seafood.

Symptoms of domoic acid poisoning can occur within 30 minutes to 24 hours after eating toxic seafood, the state agency said.

“In mild cases, symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache and dizziness. These symptoms disappear within several days. In severe cases, the victim may experience trouble breathing, confusion, disorientation, cardiovascular instability, seizures, excessive bronchial secretions, permanent loss of short-term memory, coma or death.”

For updated information about shellfish poisoning and quarantines, call the California Department of Public Health’s toll-free Shellfish Information Line at 800.553.4133.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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UCSB’s Kjeld Janssen Pushing Boundaries of Emerging Lab-on-a-Chip Technology

By | Published on 07/06/2015


The postage stamp-sized square of fused silica Kjeld Janssen is holding may not look like a whole lot to the untrained eye, but inside the clear chip lies the potential to improve how medicine and medical research is done.

“If you can integrate and automate an analysis technique into a chip, it opens doors to great applications,” said Janssen, a postdoctoral researcher in the Sumita Pennathur Lab at UC Santa Barbara.

With only a minimal amount of human plasma, the Omnisense nanofluidic chip he is developing is the heart of a device that can assist in the swift and accurate diagnosis of bacterial or viral infection in less time than it would take conventional tests — and it would cost less as well.

The portability of the technology could be used to enable clinical services and quick on-site screening, particularly in remote areas where people don’t have access to a full medical lab, as well as data gathering for clinical trials or epidemiological studies. 

For the impact his project will have in the field of translational medicine, the postdoctoral scholar has been awarded the 2015 Lindros Award from the UCSB Translational Medical Research Laboratory (TMRL).

“It’s very awesome,” Janssen, a recent transplant from the Netherlands, said of the award. It feels like a recognition of his effort, including late-night and after-hours work, and of his students — which is especially gratifying and motivating, he added. The $10,000 grant provided by the award will be used in direct support of the development of the Omnisense lab-on-a-chip.

“The promise and delivery of high-throughput, real-time, multiplexable detection of viruses and bacteria is one of the most sought-after technologies and methodologies in all of medicine,” said Dr. Scott Hammond, executive director of TMRL. “Working with the Pennathur Lab, Kjeld Janssen’s research is intended to bring real-time detection to the world of medicine.”

This technology, said Hammond, allows for the identification of specific DNA markers in an advanced microfluidic device. “Further, so compelling is this research that UCSF, as a part of their partnership with the TMRL, is directly collaborating on this project in order to provide human physiological samples and access to their world-leading standard of practice,” he said.

Janssen, who received his doctoral degree from Leiden University, is no stranger to the sensing of the very small. As part of his work getting his master’s degree  — which he received from the University of Nijmegen in the Netherlands — he did internships in the country and in France on detecting neurotransmitter secretion from single neurons. For his postdoctoral work, he studied the downscaling of bioanalytical techniques to the nanoscale, taking what would normally require tubes or vials of plasma down to technology that would require less than a single drop. He worked more than two years in industry, developing lab-on-a-chip technology for Medimate B.V., before crossing the Atlantic to land in Pennathur’s lab.

At UCSB, Janssen’s focus is currently on developing a nucleic acid amplification test on a chip, technology that could, in real time, sense for DNA-based markers in human samples. According to him, the analysis technique to be used in the nanofluidic chip — loop-mediated isothermal amplification — is particularly well-suited for a low-cost device he has planned for this technology.

“It’s simple,” he said, explaining that the chip would need less energy and that obtaining results would require fewer steps than other methods.

The benefits in this technology could lead to its deployment of this technology in remote areas of the world and in developing countries, where the local health care infrastructure might not be able to support the level of research or medicine necessary to monitor or treat patients. Efforts to study and combat highly infectious diseases, including Hepatitis C, SARS or MERS, could also benefit from the user-friendly chip and its rapid results.

“His award is truly helping our lab become translational,” said UCSB mechanical engineering professor Sumita Pennathur. “It’s a big step forward in terms of bringing out nanofluidic technology to real biomedical applications of disease diagnosis. I'm so excited for him!”

— Sonia Fernandez represents the UCSB Office of Public Affairs and Communications.


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CERT Volunteers to Be Recognized for Efforts During Refugio Oil Spill Response

By | Published on 07/06/2015


The Santa Barbara County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Committee and California Volunteers will be recognizing CERT volunteers that assisted in the Refugio oil spill.

The event will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, July 10 at the Goleta Valley Community Center, 5679 Hollister Ave.

Between May 21 and June 5, CERT volunteers gave of their time conducting traffic control at Refugio and El Captain state beaches, posting fishery and beach closure signs, utilized in the county’s Emergency Operation Center and were instrumental in the oiled beach cleanup and much more. This was the first time in Santa Barbara County history that CERTs were used for this type of incident.

Also, on Memorial Day, more than 30 CERTs attended a four-hour class on setting up a volunteer response center and then attended another four hours in health and safety training, while another 20 CERTs were added in the next week to assist with registration and oiled beach cleanup. CERT volunteers came from throughout the county, including Santa Maria, Lompoc, Goleta, UCSB, Santa Barbara City, Carpinteria, Solvang and Buellton.

The CERT teams contributed over 500 hours of volunteer time to the Refugio oil spill incident.

There will be light snacks following the ceremony. Please RSVP to Yolanda McGlinchey at 805.564.5711 or [email protected].

Please come and help us recognize the tremendous amount of time, effort and expertise these CERT volunteers gave to our community.

— Yolanda McGlinchey is the emergency services manager for the City of Santa Barbara.


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County Supervisors Hearing to Relocate Due to Electrical Issue

By | Published on 07/06/2015


Due to an electrical issue with the elevators in the County Administration Building, Tuesday's Board of Supervisors hearing will be held in the Santa Barbara County Planning Commission Hearing Room.

The Planning Commission Hearing Room is located on the first floor of the County Engineering Building, 123 E. Anapamu St. in Santa Barbara.

The County Engineering Building and the County Administration Building share the same lobby with an accessible entrance on Anacapa Street.

Remote testimony will be available at the Joseph Centeno Betteravia Government Administration Building, 511 E. Lakeside Pkwy. in Santa Maria, and the Board of Supervisors Hearing Room in the County Administration Building.

— Lael Wageneck is a public engagement coordinator for the Santa Barbara County CEO's Office.


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Rotary Club of Montecito Plays a Part in 20th Anniversary of Village 4th of July

By | Published on 07/06/2015


The Rotary Club of Montecito generously participated in the 20th anniversary of the Village 4th of July in Montecito.

Four Rotary members portrayed our Founding Fathers: Conner Rehage (John Hancock), president Marc Fleischman (Thomas Jefferson), Harlan Green (Benjamin Franklin) and John Glanville (John Adams). They re-enacted the signing of the Declaration of Independence, making history come alive for children attending the event.

About 3,000 people were in attendance, learning about Rotary Club and its service to the local community and the world.

Alicia St. John, chairwoman of the Village 4th of July, and new member of Rotary International, gave her heartfelt thanks to the men of Rotary for their devotion to Montecito's longstanding tradition of the Village 4th of July.

Also on loan from Santa Barbara's 76 Foundation were 50 Irish drummers, visiting from Dublin, Ireland, The Dublin All Stars Marching Band. Paul Lamberton, director of the Spirit of '76 Foundation, made the connection to St. John, creating an amazing cross-cultural opportunity. Gary Smith, the music director from Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and singer for the Los Angeles Lakers, sang the national anthem. Rooster Siple's Dixie-land Jazz Band set the mood for Montecito's nostalgic parade and fete, that is the heart of Americana. The Village 4th of July could not have been more beautiful.

"Montecito's Village 4th of July gives our community, and especially Montecito's children, the opportunity to experience Independence Day the way it was, heart-warming, neighborly and patriotic," St. John said. "The event involves the whole community in a fun, local celebration that brings together our families and friends. The Village 4th of July is sponsored by the Montecito Association, the Montecito Community Foundation and sponsors like you."

— Alicia St. John is chairwoman of the 20th anniversary of the Village 4th of July.


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New Book by UCSB’s Mario García Explores Chicano Civil Rights Struggle in L.A. in 1960s, ‘70s

By | Published on 07/06/2015


The Chicano movement of the late 1960s and 1970s was the largest and most widespread civil rights and empowerment movement by Mexican-Americans in U.S. history. But without strong and dedicated leadership, it might not have happened.

Mario García

A new book by UC Santa Barbara Chicano civil rights scholar Mario García provides a rare glimpse into the lives and struggles of three key activists, exploring how their leadership affected the movement in Los Angeles, and how the movement impacted them.

The Chicano Generation: Testimonios of the Movement (UC Press, 2015) illuminates the lives of Raul Ruiz, Gloria Arellanes and Rosalio Muñoz. García highlights their family histories and widely divergent backgrounds; the events surrounding their growing consciousness as Chicanos; the sexism encountered by Arellanes; and the aftermath of their political histories.

“Raul Ruiz represents a type of Renaissance activist in that he was involved in many of the community struggles of that era,” said García, a professor of Chicana and Chicano studies and of history.

Among those struggles were the 1968 blowouts, or walkouts, in the East Los Angeles schools; the Chicano anti-war movement; political campaigns for La Raza Unida Party; and Ruiz’s role as publisher and editor of La Raza magazine, which García described as the most influential publication of the movement.

“Gloria Arellanes epitomizes the important role of women in the movement," García said. "She was the sole minister of the militant Brown Berets and she led the fight against sexism within the Berets and organized Beret women to become the day-to-day backbone of the group, especially in the administration of the Beret Free Clinic.”

Rosalio Muñoz, García went on, was “without question the key leader of the Chicano anti-Vietnam War effort.

Weaving the Chicano movement against a backdrop of historic Mexican-American activism from the 1930s to the 1960s and the contemporary black power and black civil rights movement, García contextualizes the activism of the Chicano generation in Los Angeles.

Four main themes run through the book, all coming back to the idea of leadership. “Leadership does not evolve out of thin air but has much to do with early family socialization and coming-of-age experiences, and that is true of these three activists,” García commented. “That’s one of the main themes in the book.”

Other particularly important points are the long-term commitment Ruiz, Arellanes and Muñoz made to the struggle for civil rights and social justice for Chicanos; the concept that leadership necessitates courage to stand out and inspire others to press for their rights; and the belief that the Chicano movement is an important part of the country’s civil rights history in the country and laid the foundation for contemporary Latino power.

“I hope the oral histories — or ‘testimonios’ — of these three activists will inspire and educate a younger generation today to pick up the challenge of improving conditions and opportunities for Chicanos and Latinos — both men and women — and other Americans who wish to expand democracy,” García said. “The struggle continues.”

— Andrea Estrada represents the UCSB Office of Public Affairs and Communications.


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Buellton Businesses Shelter in Place After Gas Leak

By | Published on 07/06/2015


A gas leak, that has now been shut off, was reported in Buellton Monday morning after construction crews hit a line while doing construction in the area, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

As a result, McMurray Road was closed from Highway 246 to Damassa Road while fire crews waited for officials from the Gas Company to arrive and shut off the leak, County Fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni said. 

Three businesses in the area — Taco Bell, Motel 6 and the USA Gas Station — were not evacuated but told to shelter in place.

The leak was reported at 10:50 a.m. Monday after a backhoe doing construction in the area hit a main gas line, Zaniboni said.

The size of the gas line is unknown at this time.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Laurie Jervis: Rosé Wines Ideal Match for Summer Salads, Spicy Foods or Poolside Sipping

By | Published on 07/06/2015


Summertime is here, and with it backyard barbecues, warm evenings at the beach and plenty of rosé wines.

While most winemakers release their rosés during the winter months, these wines’ claim to fame is warm weather, which in our region begins with spring. By summer, rosés’ popularity is in full swing.

And these “pinks” do pack palate-pleasing power: The demand for rosés continues to soar, and winemakers across the entire Central Coast and state have met the challenge. My best guesstimate is that two-thirds of Santa Barbara County’s producers now craft pink wines. And the buying public snaps up every case, meaning small-case production of good rosés sell out by summertime.

At the recent California State Fair Wine Competition, Gold Hill Vineyard’s 2014 Barbera Rosé, El Dorado, was awarded Double Gold and “Best of Show Pink.”

Producers utilize a wide variety of red wine grapes in their rosés, among them grenache, pinot noir, mourvedre, syrah and tempranillo. Looking over my notes, I see a trend: I favor rosés made at least in part with grenache.

Lompoc winemaker Kyle Knapp has made five vintages for his own Press Gang Cellars. His 2014 rosé is 100 percent grenache sourced from a Ballard Canyon vineyard and named for his wife, Savannah Rhea. Knapp explained why he, too, favors grenache when it comes to making pink wines.

“In my opinion, grenache has all the characteristics I look for in a rosé — texture, aromatics, juiciness, finish and acid,” he said. In general terms, he views grenache as a workhorse of sorts. “It makes a great base to build on with mourvedre, syrah and other Rhone grapes.”

I began sampling rosé wines for this column about two months ago, and have discovered several new treasures — and new vintages of old favorites. As I did in June 2014 with my Noozhawk “Wine Country” column, I’ve compiled a list of my preferences from Santa Barbara County winemakers.

Verdad rose
The Verdad 2014 Rosé is a blend of grenache and syrah, and the one that introduced me to quality pink wine back in 2009. (Laurie Jervis / Noozhawk photo)

For the record, I tasted 15 rosés. If time weren’t a factor, I’d be sampling still — but deadlines are deadlines. There are at least 10 other rosés I hoped to try, but time ran out.

Remember, gentle reader: My palate differs from your palate. What I prefer, you may not.

With that in mind, here are my picks of the crop of 2014 rosés, in no particular order:

» 2014 Tribute to Grace Rosé of Grenache: I tasted this beauty during the “Under One Roof” event at Andrew Murray Vineyards in May. This wine is the palest pink in tone and pure elegance on the palate. Angela Osborne is turning heads with her grenache-only label, with a fleet of vineyard-designate wines, and this wine will surely fuel her success. From the Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyard, located in the Cuyama Valley at 3,200 feet above sea level.

» 2014 Dreamcote Syr-acha Rosé (Grenache and Syrah): Another pale pink rosé sure to entice your friends to linger poolside. This is a fun wine, with a rush of strawberry banana tones. I had the honor of following this wine from the vineyard to bottle with owners/winemakers Anna Clifford and Brit Zotovich.

» 2014 Press Gang Cellars Savannah Rhea Rosé: This all-grenache beauty has an overtone of peaches.

» 2014 Alta Maria Pinot Noir Rosé: Grapes for this come from 40-year-old Rancho Viñedo (Santa Maria) estate vines that are dedicated to the production of rosé. Of all the rosés I sampled, this one offered the prettiest nose, with what I noted was a “whisper” of grapefruit.

beans bacon
The grapes used in most rosés are picked early, meaning their levels are high and their sugars lower. Rosés pair well with spicy foods such as beans with bacon, Thai or Mexican dishes. (Laurie Jervis / Noozhawk photo)

» 2014 Samsara Grenache Rosé: Concentration of blood orange and minerals. Lovely.

» 2014 Longoria “Pink” Cuvee June: Winemaker Rick Longoria names his rosés after his granddaughter, June Olivia. This vintage is 50-50 blend of Tempranillo and grenache. Super balanced with an understated spicy backbone.

» 2014 Verdad Rosé: My introduction to quality rosés came via this wine, Louisa Sawyer Lindquist’s grenache-based beauty, back in 2009 when I worked in the Qupe/Verdad/Ethan tasting room in Los Olivos. This vintage is 29 percent syrah and 71 grenache, and it still sets the standard for what I seek in rosés.

» 2014 Transcendence Rosé: This 100 percent grenache rosé hails from the Vogelzang Vineyard in the Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara AVA. In two words: Watermelon. Yum.  

» 2014 Dragonette Cellars Rosé, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara: Another of my favorites, this wine is mostly grenache and mourvedre with a smidge of syrah, and mostly from vines at Vogelzang Vineyard also groomed specifically for rosés. Heads-up: Almost or completely sold out.

» 2014 Presqu’ile Rosé of Pinot Noir: This bright wine is very pretty, with notes of guava and strawberry, and was ideal with food. The wine is produced from a block that was planted in 2001 and is devoted to rosés.

» 2014 Andrew Murray Esperance Rosé: Another lovely match for food with some spice, in my case, ground turkey sautéed with cumin and on a bed of arugula and broccoli and carrot slaw. This vintage is listed on Murray’s website as nearly 100 percent cinsault.

» 2014 Carhartt “Chase the Blues Away” Rosé: A blend of select red grape varietals, with the result being light in the mouth and full of summer-ripened peach flavors. Hands-down favorite at a recent picnic with my friends.

And: Other perennial pink favorites of mine that I’ve noted in previous years but simply ran out of time to pursue this year, are those by A-non-ah-mus, Buttonwood, Blair Fox Cellars (which makes a still and sparkling rosé), Hitching Post, Kaena and Riverbench.

— Laurie Jervis blogs about wine at, tweets at @lauriejervis and can be reached via [email protected]. The opinions expressed are her own.


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Two-Day Chip Seal Project on Highways 192, 144 Begins Wednesday

By | Published on 07/06/2015


A two-day chip seal project on Highways 192 and 144 will begin this Wednesday, July 8.

Motorists can expect one-way reversing traffic control in the following locations from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.:

» Highway 144 from Alameda Padre Serra to the junction of Highways 144/192.

» Highway 192 from Mission Canyon Road East to the 700 block of Mountain Drive.

» Highway 192 from Stanwood Drive to Orizaba Road.

Motorists can expect delays not to exceed 10 minutes. This chip seal project is designed to prolong the life of the roadway.

This road work will be performed by the Caltrans maintenance team in Santa Barbara.

Caltrans reminds motorists to move over and slow down when driving through highway construction zones.

For more information on this project and for traffic updates on other Caltrans projects in Santa Barbara County, residents may call the District 5 toll free number at 805.568.0858 or click here.

— Jim Shivers is a public information officer for Caltrans.


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CHP Pursues Skateboarding Ban on Steep Santa Barbara County Roads

By | Published on 07/05/2015


Citing safety of skateboarders and motorists, county staff recommends Board of Supervisors OK ordinance restricting 3 roadways

The California Highway Patrol is asking Santa Barbara County supervisors to ban skateboards on county roads with steep grades — including Gibraltar Road — after several skateboarders have crashed into vehicles recently.

The Board of Supervisors will consider the request during Tuesday’s meeting. 

CHP Capt. M.D. D’Arelli said last year that officers had responded to an injury traffic collision on San Marcos Road where two young men had struck a vehicle while skateboarding. One of the men had his front teeth knocked out in the wreck.

“It was by chance this collision did not end in an even worse tragedy,”​ D’Arelli wrote in a letter to Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr, whose district includes the roads in the proposed ban.

More crashes have occurred since, including a collision in early June when 27-year-old Tara Tate struck a pickup truck head-on while she skateboarded down Gibraltar near East Camino Cielo. She was hospitalized with critical injuries.

Numerous videos are posted online of Santa Barbara’s skateboarding culture, including people riding down local mountain roads at high speeds. (Scroll down the page for one video.)

County staff are recommending a ban on skateboarding for three roads with steep grades, where they say excessive speeds make it inherently dangerous since skateboards don’t have brakes and skateboarders can be traveling at 30 mph or more.

The restrictions would apply to San Marcos Road, 600 feet north of Via Parva, north of the bridge to Highway 154.

Painted Cave Road between East Camino Cielo and Highway 154 also would be off-limits as would Gibraltar Road in the unincorporated section of the county between Santa Barbara city limits and East Camino Cielo.

According to county staff, motorists aren’t expecting skateboarders to come around curves, many of them blind corners, and they may not see the skateboarders at all if riders are in a low or prone position. County officials also noted that skateboarders often will cut the curves in the roadway to maximize their speed, causing them to ride on the wrong side of the roadway into oncoming traffic.

The California Vehicle Code allows local agencies to adopt rules and regulations that could restrict individuals from riding skateboards on highways, roadways and sidewalks. Similar ordinances have been adopted in municipalities across southern California.

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors will consider skateboard bans on steep roadways, including sections of Gibraltar, Painted Cave and San Marcos roads. (Santa Barbara County map)
The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors will consider skateboard bans on steep roadways, including sections of Gibraltar, Painted Cave and San Marcos roads. (Santa Barbara County map)

“Public Works has studied the issue and determined that skateboarding on open roadways with steep grades is not an intended use of the roadway and can be hazardous to public health and the safety of its user,” D’Arelli’s letter states.

Increasing education about the dangers as well as ramping up enforcement would be key, along with the signs, D’Arelli said.

Under the proposed measure, signs would be posted on each road notifying the public that skateboarding is prohibited. If approved, the signs — which would cost the county $1,200 — would be installed within four months of the vote.

Tom Flinchbaugh, a downhill skater who is friends with Tate, said he’s been skating downhill himself for four years and has never had an accident.

“The same goes for many of the other skaters who ride the above-mentioned roads every day,” he said, adding that accidents happen with bicycles and cars on the three roads and “no one talks of banning them.”

“I think this ban comes not from our sport being unsafe but from a general lack of knowledge about us,” he told Noozhawk. “There is a preconceived notion that we are out of control and have no methods of stopping or braking. This is untrue.”

Flinchbaugh, who owns Santa Gnarbara Skate Media and Events and organizes slide clinics for novices and downhill races for highly skilled performers, said skateboarders can slow down and maneuver as efficiently as any cyclist.

He maintains that more education is needed so everyone will share the road.

“The only time a CHP officer actually observed us, he followed us down San Marcos Road on his motorcycle while we skated,” he said. “At the bottom, he said we were in no way obstructing traffic, breaking traffic laws or seemed out of control.

“He told us to be safe and that we could keep skating. I think if more people would give us a chance like that, this stigma wouldn’t exist.”

If approved Tuesday, the county ordinance would take effect in 30 days.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

(SantaGnarbara video)


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Thinking Globally and Acting Locally, Dedicated Group Works Toward Isla Vista Governance

By | Published on 07/05/2015


Students, homeowners jockey for influence in under-funded, overcrowded community as authorization bill moves through Legislature

Every Tuesday evening this year, a few dozen people, mainly students and homeowners, have been making history, drafting new ways to make their fractured community whole.

They meet in what used to be the Isla Vista clinic, and for now, they’re focused on Assembly Bill 3, introduced by Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Carpinteria, to allow a vote of the people on a community services district with taxation powers. Many of the long-timers don’t like the plan, but they want to be heard, so they’re helping to shape the legislation line by line.

More than a year after the tragic events of May 23, 2014, when six UC Santa Barbara students were murdered in Isla Vista by a deranged college dropout, there’s momentum for change in the area — a rare chance to “sequester a lot of power,” as a student put it, in the perennially under-funded and overcrowded community.

“It’s a magic moment, but it’s not going to be magic much longer,” said Tom Dixon, a longtime Isla Vista homeowner who has appeared with his wife, Sue, and Williams in a promotional video about AB3.

The bill has been passed out of the Assembly and will be taken up by the state Senate Governance and Finance Committee at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday. Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, the committee chairman, plans to visit Isla Vista on July 22.

“Isla Vista is a unique community, and I want to see for myself how the people there might be affected by this program,” Hertzberg said.

If AB3 is approved by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown this fall, Isla Vistans could be voting on a new community services district board as early as June, followed by a vote on a utility user tax in November 2016.

Other initiatives are moving forward, too.

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors on June 10 approved $483,000 to refurbish the former church building next to the clinic as a community center — the largest county contribution in recent years toward a cherished Isla Vista dream.

And in response to heavy lobbying by the Associated Students of UCSB, the supervisors approved hiring a new sheriff’s deputy as a liaison between the community and the Isla Vista Foot Patrol.

Meanwhile, The Fund for Santa Barbara, a nonprofit community foundation, has launched an independent study on the financial feasibility of three governance options for Isla Vista: cityhood, a community services district and a municipal advisory council. The $65,000 study will be performed by Economic & Planning Systems Inc., a California land economics consulting firm, under the supervision of a community oversight committee.

The study is being paid for by The Fund for Santa Barbara; UCSB; Santa Barbara City College; the County of Santa Barbara; Jay Freeman, an Isla Vista business owner; Lanny Ebenstein, director emeritus of the Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association; and crowdfunding. A draft is expected to be ready for public review in early September.

“The Fund looks at this as a unique opportunity to bring people together and to offer objective fiscal information,” said Nancy Weiss, associate director of The Fund for Santa Barbara. “Our goal is for a safer and healthier Isla Vista.”

That’s what everyone wants, but the young and old don’t always see eye to eye. Who should run Isla Vista? The students, who are temporary residents, but make up the majority of the population? Or the handful of homeowners and renters who have spent a lifetime in the community?

(Kristin Jackson graphic)
(Kristin Jackson graphic)

Sometimes, on Tuesdays, their frustration is palpable, as in this exchange:

Homeowner: “The university wants us to pay out for the problems they have created ... You guys have to really consider why there are a whole lot of people your parents’ age who have been trying to get self-government for 25 years. You are going to create laws and you’ll be gone in a couple of years, and we’ll be here, paying the taxes and holding the bag. You’re handing a gift to the county and UCSB, and I haven’t seen any action from them. It’s shocking to me.”

Student: “We’re the ones being assaulted, and beat on by the police, and paying too much for an education that should be free and that you enjoyed. These issues cannot be resolved by the university or the county, because they don’t have the money. If you want the status quo, then say that. I have yet to hear another option that will change things.”

The numbers are on the students’ side. Of 15,000 Isla Vistans, 12,800 are student renters — potential voters who might be expected to support a utility tax that they share with their landlords, if they thought that the services provided under AB3 — potentially a parking program, planning commission, community center, tenant mediation board, municipal advisory council, enhanced policing and graffiti abatement — would improve their quality of life.

The new board would propose the tax rate. Preliminary estimates of the funding that could be generated by, say, a 6 percent tax on water, gas, trash, electricity, cable TV and Internet services range from $2 million to $3 million.

But the homeowners don’t want more taxation, even with representation. Together with some longtime renters, a group of them presented a letter to the Assembly in April, urging a “no” vote on AB3.

Among the 47 signers were some residents who have put in years of service on the Isla Vista Recreation & Park District board, which manages a $1.4 million budget, including more than $800,000 in transient-occupancy taxes.

Some of them have been in Isla Vista so long, they have witnessed the community’s three failed attempts to become a city, and the demise of the Isla Vista Community Council, the organization that gave birth to the park district in 1972. The county and UCSB pulled the plug on their funding for the council in the early 1980s.

The Isla Vista Property Owners Association, representing the outside investors who own most of Isla Vista, also is opposed to AB3, and, like the homeowners, wants the Local Area Formation Commission (LAFCO) to decide on the proposed services district. Under AB3, LAFCO would review the feasibility study and make a recommendation, but the voters would have the final say.

Chuck Eckert, a spokesman for the Property Owners Association, has warned that new taxes would raise housing costs.

“It’s too bad that a small group of very active, primarily students who have a transient stake in IV have successfully manipulated several bodies to support AB3,” he said.

If the community services district board is approved, the long-timers have made it clear they’ll run candidates for it.

As designed by the Tuesday evening group, the board would be made up of seven voting members: one appointed member each from the county and UCSB, and five elected Isla Vistans.

It was the students who argued in favor of bringing the county and UCSB to the table with full voting power, in order, they said, to make these institutions more accountable.

(Kristin Jackson graphic)
(Kristin Jackson graphic)

In a rare public comment one Tuesday evening, attending as an observer, George Thurlow, special assistant to UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang on Isla Vista, told the group, “If you want to engage the university in changing the culture out here and investing in the community, you have to treat them as a partner and not as an enemy.”

Thurlow has said it would set a precedent for UCSB to be included within the district boundaries, and Yang is to meet this month with representatives from Williams’ office to discuss the matter.

Future discussions return to the thorny question of where to draw the boundaries for the proposed district. There is little consensus about who should vote and pay the new tax. Should freshmen in campus dorms be included? What about graduate students in the UCSB apartments on El Colegio Road?

At Tuesday meetings, the homeowners have largely favored leaving out the UCSB campus, saying that only the residents of Isla Vista proper should vote.

But the students have noted that freshmen who live in campus dorms may move to Isla Vista as sophomores, juniors or seniors. The students have said they don’t want to repeat the example of the City of Goleta, which left out Isla Vista — with LAFCO’s blessings — when it incorporated in 2002.

“We’re here because other entities have distrusted us,” said Cameron Schunk, a graduating senior who has since been hired by Williams as a field representative. “Do we want to build a government on distrust? You can’t disenfranchise a population based on age.

“On behalf of all the students, I would like to say, ‘We don’t want to control all of Isla Vista.’”

No matter what happens, there is a sense on Tuesday evenings that now is the time for Isla Vistans to take charge of their own destiny.

“Let’s keep up the motivation to stay involved,” Jeremy Roark, a UCSB psychologist and an advocate for the Isla Vista community center, urged the group. “This room cannot ever go empty.”

 – Melinda Burns is a Noozhawk contributing writer

(Kristin Jackson graphic)
(Kristin Jackson graphic)


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Ann Bramsen, California’s Top Prosecutor, Keeps Focus on Justice and Community Safety

By | Published on 07/05/2015


Peers recognize Santa Barbara County’s senior deputy district attorney for success in battle against street gangs, including two back-to-back major trials

For almost a year, a pair of criminal cases involving nearly two dozen defendants linked to Santa Barbara County gangs — including top-ranking members — all-but-consumed Senior Deputy District Attorney Ann Bramsen’s life.

Bramsen, recently named California Prosecutor of the Year, this spring wrapped up a months-long trial that culminated with convictions of five men charged with murder in connection with the 2013 death of Anthony Ibarra, a 28-year-old Santa Maria man. Six other defendants took pleas.

And just before that trial, she led the prosecution of a torture-kidnapping case of a top Santa Barbara gang member convicted last year in a Lompoc crime. That case also ended with multiple guilty verdicts or pleas.

“Those two cases were remarkable, both in the number of defendants and in the significant scope and volume of evidence and witnesses,” Bramsen told Noozhawk.

“I think that each one individually was unusual, and to have them come together like they did was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

Bramsen will receive her award Thursday at the California District Attorneys Association annual conference in Napa, becoming the first Santa Barbara County prosecutor to win the honor.

“Ann’s focus has always been public safety,” District Attorney Joyce Dudley told Noozhawk. “She is incensed by violence in any form but especially gang violence.

“Her well thought-out plan has always been to surgically remove the ‘shot callers’ (gang leaders) in the hopes that the gangs will cease to exist and our youth will be left with a safe environment where they can flourish.”

She said Bramsen’s record deserves to be recognized.

“Her unparalleled success, along with the fact that she is the ultimate team player, both within our office as well as with all of our law enforcement colleagues, are among the many reasons I nominated her as Prosecutor of the Year,” Dudley said.

Bramsen earned her undergraduate degree at UC Santa Barbara in 1996 and went on to Pepperdine University Law School, graduating in 1999.

An uncle who worked as a prosecutor in Los Angeles influenced her career choice, she said, recalling how much he loved his job.

She interned with the District Attorney’s Office while in college, and was hired 15 years ago after passing the California Bar Exam.

In law school, Bramsen enjoyed research and writing, but she knew she wanted to do more than push papers.

“I didn’t want to be just a lawyer,” she said. “I definitely wanted to be a prosecutor. I loved the idea of justice and being able to do the right thing for the right reason.

“And I love the courtroom. I’m definitely a trial lawyer.”

Since joining the DA’s Santa Maria office, Bramsen has prosecuted some of the North County’s most notorious gang members, including Raymond Macias, head of the Sureños gang in the county. Macias was the top defendant in a gang-related torture-kidnapping case from Lompoc.

“In my opinion, his conviction sends a message to gangs throughout the county, and makes all of our communities safer by taking several violent gang members off the street,” she said.

Bramsen did a stint in management of the DA’s wide-ranging operation, including serving as interim district attorney when Dudley’s elected predecessor, Christie Stanley, died in office. After five years in management, Bramsen headed back to the courtroom.

“I really missed the ability to make a difference by handling an individual case to bring justice to a victim’s family,” she said. “To be in the courtroom — that’s why I became lawyer.”

Bramsen previously handled sexual abuse and domestic violence cases, but lately has focused on prosecuting the county’s top gang leaders.

Gang cases are particularly challenging as witnesses often are extremely reluctant to testify for fear of reprisal.

“I also find that, in our community, that’s one of the most violent crimes that we face and one of the biggest problems for society,” Bramsen said. “So I feel like I can make the biggest difference by handling the violent gang cases.”

With a half-dozen defendants going to trial in the Ibarra torture-murder case, Bramsen was faced with a host of new challenges and experiences. The six were among 11 linked to the killing of the low-level gang associate at a West Donovan Road house in March 2013. Five of the defendants were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

It’s believed to the largest and longest multidefendant case tried Santa Barbara County.

Bramsen, the case’s lone prosecutor, had to be prepared to face off against six experienced and top defense attorneys — each with a different courtroom personality and strategy.

She put in “countless hours” to make sure justice was done for the victim and his family.

Bramsen said she intends to continue prosecuting criminals.

“It’s what makes me like getting up in the morning,” she said. “It’s what makes me love coming to work. I’m lucky to work with amazing people and great police departments and have a lot of support.

“I just hope to continue to be able to bring justice to victims of crime and to help to make our community safer.”

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Susan Estrich: GOP Presidential Candidates Stoke Hatred, Instead of Love of Country

By | Published on 07/05/2015


As a kid, the Fourth of July was always my favorite holiday: the bike parade with the crepe paper so carefully threaded through the spokes, the afternoon of running and jumping contests where everyone won something, and, of course, the highlight, getting the old ratty beach blanket from my father’s trunk and watching the fireworks.

I didn’t know much about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, but I loved that red, white and blue finale. Who couldn’t love America?

Well, quite a few people, as it turns out.

When I watch them chant on television and burn our leaders in effigy, my outrage is almost matched by my disbelief. People living lives of poverty and illness, mothers sending their children on rickety boats — we are not doing this to them. Our country would never do this. Save our lives so we can raise our children to hate you? That cannot be right.

Our country is not perfect, but it is nowhere near the disaster the latest round of Republican would-be presidents would have you believe.

I worked for the last guy who thought you could win with a strong and positive campaign, and he ended up a gifted professor, among other things, but not president.

So as many times as President Ronald Reagan used to recite the commandment about Republicans attacking each other, know that they will. And be certain, before it’s over, candidates on both sides will be accusing each other of attacking their patriotism, even as they mouth the words “we all love America.”

If we all love America so much — and I believe, you have to believe, that most Americans do — then how about our candidates show it in this campaign?

The First Amendment protects the right of citizens to say almost anything they want about our country, but it doesn’t condone such attacks.

It is only that the alternative of government control of free expression is so much worse, a point that any random five minutes of the evening news would confirm.

It’s all just rhetoric, some of my friends say, part of the language of politics, the “red meat” that gets the crowd going. But in the years I’ve been doing this, the red meat has turned almost entirely negative — it’s people shouting “no,” with “yes, we can” an almost nostalgic memory.

The number of candidates only increases the risk of an ugly American campaign, in which those who do not love our country will find plenty of tinder for their fires.

After all, with so many candidates that I’ve stopped counting, how do you stand out? Say something nice about one of your opponents? No. Say something positive and unifying? No. Go after President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton? Sure, but that’s already started to sound old.

It is easy to blur the line between criticizing our leaders and criticizing our country, between recognizing all of the important challenges we face and providing fodder for those who would damn our country. And there is no easier attack line, when you’re on the defense, than accusing the other person of challenging your patriotism so that everyone’s patriotism is tainted.

But this seems an especially important year for the crowd of candidates to stay away from attacks on patriotism. We have been through tough times. No one in a position of leadership can fairly claim to be totally free of responsibility. Things went wrong.

But we are still the greatest country on the face of the Earth, and if we — and our candidates — don’t shout that from the rafters, the haters surely will not.

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.


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Randy Alcorn: U.S. Constitution Preferable to Scripture’s Selective Interpretation

By | Published on 07/05/2015


The U.S. Supreme Court, the officiating crew in America’s bruising game of political rugby, made a game-changing call ruling that same-sex couples have the right to marry.

The fans in blue and waving rainbow banners went crazy with jubilation. The fans in red and thumping their Bibles in bitter, petulant, protest howled, “Terrible call.”

Always adding an element of entertainment to America’s otherwise tedious left/right politics are those folks who will let go of rationality to grasp onto religious beliefs.

Frantic fundamentalist Christians fear that the same-sex marriage ruling is the harbinger of doom for their entire value system — a system that they contend underpins American civilization. Some of them vow to defy constitutional laws that they decide conflict with the Bible.

These devout dissidents fret that the nation is turning away from God and that same-sex marriage is ushering in the Sodom and Gomorrahization of America. They prophesize that same-sex marriage will precipitate permissive wickedness and perversion, including polygamous marriage.

To these alarmed Christians, I quote the eminent Bugs Bunny, “Unlax Doc.” Gay marriage isn’t going to bring down the republic or incite any god to inflict its wrath on the nation.

First of all, God is an idea not yet found to exist outside the human mind. As such, the nature of God is as good or as bad as the human imagination makes it, and is subject to all the foibles and fears, virtues and courage of humankind.

The former attributes are on full display by those outraged Christians overreacting to the gay marriage ruling, while the latter attributes are visible in the admirable reaction by noble Christians following the racist murders of church-goers in Charleston, S.C.

If the goal is to have a moral society with liberty and justice for all, which guiding document is preferable, the U.S. Constitution or the Bible?

Keep in mind that both are subject to interpretation. So, with each, who decides what is noncompliant behavior?

The Supreme Court ultimately settles questions of meaning, intent and compliance of and with the Constitution, but, who does that with the Bible? Well, just about anyone, but mostly clerics.

The Constitution, while not always perfectly definite, is concise, credible and coherent. It was written 226 years ago by authors whose identities, motivations, views and character are known. The Constitution allows for change through amendments.

The Bible, a ponderous work written in pieces over centuries of past millennia by numerous mostly unknown authors, is contradictory, credulous and confusing. It was filtered through at least three translations from its original Hebrew and Aramaic, and cobbled together by a group of self-interested Roman elites who wanted to ensure that it would be a document that affirmed their power and privilege.

And, even though written during the Bronze and Iron Ages, it has no mechanism for amendment.

But, with its many nooks and crannies of connotation to explore and rediscover, the Bible is conducive to convenient interpretations and selective emphasis.

For example, the Bible condemns divorce, yet Christians who fervently oppose gay marriage based on Biblical condemnations of homosexuality haven’t denounced divorce with the equivalent righteous indignation. While they vow to defy law allowing gay marriage, they don’t make much of a fuss about laws allowing no-fault divorce. Where is their outrage and defiance?

But, maybe they aren’t prejudiced hypocrites; maybe it’s just a matter of interpretation.

And yet, why do these homophobic Christians chide that gay marriage will lead to polygamous marriage? Where does the Bible condemn polygamy? In fact, it appears to condone it in the same Old Testament that pious Christians quote to condemn same-sex marriage.

Maybe it’s a matter of interpretation — or maybe it’s a matter of selective scriptural application that supports personal prejudices.

If it’s selective piety, then let’s select Romans 13:1-6:

“Every person must submit to the supreme authorities. There is no authority but by act of God, and the existing authorities are instituted by him; consequently anyone who rebels against authority is resisting a divine institution ...”

This bit of Biblical scripture goes on to say that government is God’s agent working for the good of the people and that those who resist it will suffer God’s punishment.

So, there you go, right from the word of God. You Christians vowing to disobey secular law rather than compromise your Christian values have a convenient way out. The word of God tells you not to rebel against government authority.

Or, maybe it’s just all a matter of interpretation.

If it is, the Constitution is a far superior choice than is scripture, if only because interpretations of the Constitution derive from a rational, disciplined, deliberative, judicial process rather than priests examining the entrails of ancient scriptures and pontificating on their meaning.

— Randy Alcorn is a Santa Barbara political observer. Contact him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.


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Two-Alarm Fire Damages Garage at Goleta Home

By | Published on 07/04/2015


Firefighters keep flames from main house on San Patricio Drive

A garage was severely damaged by fire Saturday night at a house in Goleta, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

The two-alarm blaze broke out at about 9:40 p.m. in the 5400 block of San Patricio Drive, off North Kellogg Avenue north of Cathedral Oaks Road, fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni said.

He said crews arrived to find the garage engulfed in flames and needed about 20 minutes to knock down the fire.

No one was at home at the time, and firefighters were able to keep the flames from spreading to the rest of the house, he said, adding that the residence sustained minor smoke damage.

No injuries were reported, and the cause of the blaze remained under investigation.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Retired Santa Maria-Bonita Schools Chief Phil Alvarado Proudly Leaves Legacy of ‘Core Values’

By | Published on 07/04/2015


After 38-year career that has ‘absolutely flown by,’ Santa Maria native plans to continue serving community he loves

After 38 years with the Santa Maria-Bonita School District, Superintendent Phil Alvarado recently marked his final last day of school as his retirement date loomed.

In a short span, he attended graduations for pre-schoolers, sixth-graders, junior high students and new teachers, covering key education milestones for 4-year-olds through adults.

“One of the things that is most surprising to me was how the message to all of those groups is the same, regardless of how old you are,” said Alvarado, who attended his district’s graduations and provided the keynote speech for the newly credentialed and master’s degree recipients from the Cal Poly School of Education.

“In its barest sense, as I shared with the graduates from Poly, ‘work hard and you’ll be noticed’ is something that I so firmly believe in,” he told Noozhawk. “The second one is, love what you’re doing. And the third one is, give back to your community.”

Alvarado announced earlier this year that he would retire June 30. In the ensuing months, he was showered with accolades, including receiving honors from the teachers’ and classified employees’ unions, a resolution from the Santa Maria City Council and many more.

“These last two months in particular have been extremely emotional,” he said during the June 2 City Council meeting. “You come to a point where every day is your last day of doing something. I don’t know if anything will top this.”

At the meeting, Alvarado hailed the strong relationship that the district and the city have had over the years.

“Phil looks at issues and challenges as problems that can be overcome and opportunities and possibilities ...,” said City Manager Rick Haydon, noting the school district and city have worked together on numerous projects.

“I think the school district, the teachers and the students have been blessed over the last several years with a man of his integrity at the helm.”

Alvarado’s final school board meeting brought more honors, including a top leadership award presented by several principals from the district’s managers’ group.

According to Alvarado, his years working for the district — including as an instructional aide, a teacher and administrator — have “absolutely flown by.”

After all these years and job promotions, he said, he thinks his legacy is that he has not forgotten his core values, and the biggest compliment is that has remained the same person regardless of what title he held.

“I’m a real simple guy, a simple guy grounded in some basic common sense values that have always worked,” Alvarado said.

Now that he’s retired, he said he plans to do “a little bit of everything.”

“The first on the agenda is to re-acquaint myself with relaxation and playing,” he said, pointing out that he had been a manager for 31 years since becoming a principal at a young age. “It’s just learning how to slow down a little bit.”

A native of Santa Maria, Alvarado has deep roots in the valley, and intends to remain in the community, where he will stay active helping nonprofit organizations. He has been very involved in Gen-Span Foundation, Fighting Back Santa Maria Valley and Cruzin’ for Life, among others.

His connection to Santa Maria-Bonita schools began before he received his first paycheck since he attended the local schools as a student.

He met his wife, Cindy, while he was in eighth grade and she was a seventh-grader at El Camino Junior High School. They have been married 35 years. They have two daughters, Amanda and Alicia, and a grandchild.

Alvarado intended to pursue a career in photography and was set to attend Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara.

But after working as an instructional aide, a teacher — Ken Milo, who went on serve on the school board — suggested Alvarado would have a great career in education if his original pursuit didn’t work out.

Milo was the first of many mentors Alvarado had in his career.

“As I told the Poly graduates just the other day, others will recognize potential that you have before you do,” Alvarado said.

He said the time is right for retirement since it comes after district voters passed a school bond and the district’s 20th campus is ready to open in the fall.

“I’m the kind of person who could work forever,” Alvarado said. “I love this job. I love this district, and it’s just been absolutely the most incredible journey that I think anyone in this profession could ask for.”

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Diane Dimond: Time for VA to Wake Up, Pay Up for Veterans Exposed to Agent Orange

By | Published on 07/04/2015


Isn’t it ironic?

In the 1970s, Vietnam veterans returned from an unpopular war to society’s scorn and cries of “Baby killer!”

Over the decades, we began to understand they had been brave and selfless and we learned to treat all returning vets — wounded or not — with understanding and support as they make the transition back into society.

Ironically, we never went back to fully support the Vietnam-era vets who taught us the valuable lesson of honoring our warriors.

Last week I wrote about the injustice I believe has been done to Vietnam veterans who served in out-of-theater places, such as Guam and Okinawa, and who suffer from diseases known to have been caused by exposure to Agent Orange. Veterans Affairs loopholes have been invoked to deny them special AO benefits.

I also mentioned briefly the 200,000 “Blue Water" vets who served on U.S. Navy vessels off the coast of Vietnam. I should have said more about them but space was limited.

Their warships, floating off the Vietnamese coast, sucked up AO contamination from seawater. The deadly toxin infiltrated their shipboard water purification and ventilation systems. They lived with it every day.

Because so many Vietnam vets contracted AO-related diseases, Congress passed the Agent Orange Act of 1991. It clearly stated that any veteran who served in the Vietnam Theater from 1962 to 1975 — ashore or afloat — would be eligible for service connected medical treatment and disability benefits if they suffered from one of the 14 diseases connected to Agent Orange.

Suddenly, in 2002, the VA changed the rules and declared that only those who had “boots on the ground” or served in the “Brown Water Navy” (those who patrolled close to shore) would get the special AO benefits.

Since last week my mailbox has seen a steady stream of correspondence from veterans, their families and concerned citizens who are devastated watching their friends spend their last days fighting the VA for benefits unfairly denied.

Bruce Tomlinson of Albuquerque quit school at 17 to join the Navy. He wrote to tell me that after his longstanding claim for AO benefits was denied he filed an appeal. Three years later he’s still waiting for an answer.

“When I ask my attorney every other month the status of her correspondence and/or my claim status with the VA, she tells me the same thing that I heard in boot camp, ‘Hurry up and just wait,’” Tomlinson said.

Virginia Compton expressed outrage in her correspondence with me: “My brother-in-law, Lt. Col. John B. King, was a fighter pilot during the Vietnam War and was exposed to Agent Orange. It took him on Dec. 22, 2006. The Air Force refused to acknowledge the cause of death as being from Agent Orange. His death certificate states he died from complications from pneumonia. RIP ... .”

A fellow named Schlaff73 wrote to ask me: “Why do we send billions of dollars to countries (sic) who burn our flag, etc., but we turn our backs on the guys who risked their lives?”

I don’t have an answer to that question. But I’m sure things could change if Washington got a conscience.

Congress currently has two bills pending (H.R. 969 in the House of Representatives and S. 681 in the Senate) to re-establish the original intent of the 1991 act. But many believe that since it was Veterans Affairs that suspended the benefits in 2002, the current secretary of the VA, Bob McDonald, could unilaterally go back to the original coverage.

I recently watched a CBS 60 Minutes segment featuring “Secretary Bob,” as he likes to be called. His chin quivered and his voice caught when he was asked what he felt he owed veterans.

“This is very personal,” he said, “because I served with a lot of these guys.” As he struggled to keep composed he spoke of the enduring relationships he had made during his five years in the Army, where he rose to the rank of captain.

“Their life is relying on yours,” he said. “That’s the kind of relationships you create. That’s the kind of relationships that drive me to do this.”

Time to step up to the plate, Bob. I know you inherited the mess that is today’s VA, with its failed hospital and health-care system. But the U.S. military sprayed more than 20 million gallons of Agent Orange in Vietnam, transporting it through bases on Guam, Okinawa and others — and it’s time for the VA to wake up and pay up.

End our collective guilt over how Vietnam era vets have been treated — once and for all.

Diane Dimond is the author of Be Careful Who You Love: Inside the Michael Jackson Case. Contact her at [email protected], follow her on Twitter: @DiDimond, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.


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Mark Shields: Donald Trump’s Anti-Immigrant Rants in the ‘American’ Tradition

By | Published on 07/04/2015


Lately, blows have been dealt to the conventional wisdom surrounding billionaire and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

First, the smart money told us that Trump just enjoyed all the media attention a potential White House run brought his way, that he would never actually become a real candidate.

Then after Trump’s rambling announcement speech on June 16, the smart money had a fresh analysis: All this media coverage, the savvy Donald shrewdly calculated, was just more free publicity to boost the ratings of his TV shows and to burnish the Trump brand.

Wrong. In the first three weeks following his formal entry into the 2016 race (that’s when he infamously stereotyped Mexicans who immigrate to the United States: “They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists and some, I assume, are good people”), both Univision and NBC told Trump that because of those remarks the Miss USA pageant, which he partly owns, would be knocked off the air.

Then Macy’s, apparently having taken more than two weeks to read the transcript, announced that it was “disappointed and distressed by recent remarks about immigrants from Mexico” and would no longer sell Trump’s line of clothing.

This campaign, up to now, has been nothing but damaging to the Trump name and bottom line.

Still, let us be fair to Trump. Offensive, stupid and hateful as his words may be, he sounds an anti-immigrant theme that has a long and ugly tradition in American politics.

In the middle of the 19th century, when Catholics from famine-plagued Ireland and Germany came to this then-overwhelmingly Protestant country, they encountered suspicion, bigotry and violence. It was President John Adams who earlier had written, “A free government and the Roman Catholic religion can never exist together in any nation or country.”

Catholic churches and convents were burned in Boston and Philadelphia. The nativist American, or “Know Nothing,” party in 1854 won smashing election victories in Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland and New England, especially Massachusetts, where the Know-Nothings won every statewide office, including the governorship and both houses of the Legislature. Seventy-five members of Congress won on the anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant ticket.

Italian immigrants were even more unwelcome when they arrived later in the 19th century. So, too, were arrivals from elsewhere in eastern and southern Europe. Working-class and lower-class Americans felt threatened economically by the newcomers. But, beginning around the turn of the century, the intolerance leveled against Jews from Poland and Russia was especially brutal.

By 1920, bigots, many of whom were well educated and socially prominent, could quote the report from a State Department office that categorized the 120,000 Jews who had entered the country as “twisted,” “​unassimilable,” “filthy” and “un-American.” By then, the American Legion opposed all immigration to the United States, purportedly because it was the “source of radicalism.”

We now know how wrong all those loud voices of exclusion were. We know and cherish the magnificent tapestry all the people from everywhere have created in these United States.

Let us honor those who dared to stand up for the oppressed outsiders, these scared newcomers who dared to travel across the ocean or the continent to a place they had never been, to live among people they had never met, to speak a language, in many cases, they had never heard.

Donald Trump, please meet America.

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.


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Santa Ynez Valley Gives ‘Star-Spangled Salute’ with 4th of July Parade

By | Published on 07/04/2015


Annual Solvang procession tops a wide range of patriotic North County concerts, picnics and fireworks shows

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

Local residents and tourists alike filled the sidewalks of downtown Solvang for the Santa Ynez Valley’s annual parade celebrating the Fourth of July.

With patriotism on full display, dancing horses, vintage cars and bicyclists were some of the hundreds of participants in the procession that lasted for more than an hour Saturday.

This year’s theme was “Star-Spangled Salute” as the parade traveled along Mission and Copenhagen drives.

Lompoc resident Elaine Huggins said her family first attended the parade in 2000.

“We’ve been coming every year since then,” she said. “Because it’s like everybody’s hometown.”

Huggins was decked out in red, white and blue attire for the day, and had arrived early to stake out a shady spot along Copenhagen Drive.

“It’s like the whole community comes together,” she added.

The Solvang Rotary Club organized the parade, which was followed by a barbecue and concert in Solvang Park.

Later Saturday, the Rotary Club of Santa Ynez Valley hosted the 21st Annual Solvang Independence Day Festival & Fireworks Show at Mission Santa Inés.

The event included food and game booths along with a beer and wine garden and kids’ activities, including bounce houses, slides and face painting.

Musicians also provided live entertainment, starting at 5 p.m.

In Lompoc on Saturday, a group of children on bikes traveled from the Veterans Memorial Building to Centennial Park, where patriotic music played.

The Lompoc Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee sponsored the bicycle parade.

The City of Lompoc’s F​ourth of July Spectacular at Lompoc High School’s Huyck Stadium included entertainment and food, leading up to the fireworks show at dusk.

Prior to  the start of Santa Maria’s annual community fireworks show, Unfinished Business, a local rock ’n’ roll band, performed at Santa Maria Fairpark. People were encouraged to bring picnics to sit on a lawn and watch the fireworks set off from a nearby location.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Santa Barbara Shows Its Colors for 4th of July Parade, and Then the Fireworks Start

By | Published on 07/04/2015


Annual Spirit of ’76 Foundation parade delights thousands, but even more spectators crowd waterfront for fireworks show

From the marina, Santa Barbara's Fourth of July fireworks were works of art. (Ronald Williams photo)
From the marina, Santa Barbara's Fourth of July fireworks were works of art. (Ronald Williams photo)

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

The festive Fourth of July parade that worked its way through the heart of downtown Santa Barbara on Saturday entertained thousands of spectators.

The procession had a little bit of everything, including those in colonial garb firing antique muskets to a Santa Barbara city council member twirling a baton with flourish as she walked the route.

Many packed in to line State Street from Micheltorena to Cota streets on Saturday afternoon, waving flags and cheering for the 53rd annual parade, sponsored by the Spirit of ’76 Foundation. The nonprofit organization works to promote the values extolled by America’s founding fathers.

“This day is about everyone coming together,” said Crystal Carlston, who was standing at State Street and Canon Perdido, emceeing the event.

Leading up to the parade’s start, Carlston posed trivia questions to those nearby, from the historical — how many signers were on the Declaration of Independence (56) — to the silly — how many hot dogs Americans will eat on the Fourth of July (an estimated 150 million).

Spirit of ’76 Foundation president Paul Lamberton said the holiday symbolizes when a revolution of ideas took place.

“Through the leadership of our founding fathers, the 13 original colonies became one nation through a system of laws based on a Bill of Rights,” he said, adding that “no other nation on this planet empowers its citizens the enjoyment of clearly defined inalienable rights.”

The parade brought dignitaries; car clubs like the Santa Barbara Model A Club; re-enactment groups like the Santa Barbara Colonials and Morgen’s Riflemen; and many other civic and community organization to downtown Santa Barbara to celebrate the holiday.

On Saturday night, the skies above the Santa Barbara waterfront and Girsh Park in Goleta erupted in multicolor explosions, to the delight of tens of thousands of spectators amassed for the annual fireworks shows.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Overnight Fire Causes $150,000 in Damage at Downtown Santa Barbara Stores

By | Published on 07/04/2015


Blaze traced to storage shed behind Namaste and Rooms & Garden in 900 block of State Street

[Scroll down to see video of the fire]

Aggressive action by firefighters early Saturday helped keep a downtown Santa Barbara structure fire from becoming a major conflagration.

Crews were called out at about 1 a.m., and upon arrival found heavy smoke and embers coming from the roof of a building in the 900 block of State Street, Santa Barbara Fire Battalion Chief Mike De Ponce.

He said the blaze began in a storage area in a courtyard behind the building, and firefighters pulled hose lines through adjacent stores at 922 and 924 State Street to quickly attack the fire.

Namaste, a clothing store, is at 922 State St. and Rooms & Gardens, a furnishing business, is at 924.

Flames had begun extending into second-floor offices above the stores, but crews were able to keep them from the attic and roof areas, heading off what could have become a major fire.

“Had it continued into that space, it really would have done some significant damage to that building,” De Ponce said.

He said the storage space, which was destroyed, was filled with clothing and other items that were very flammable.

Firefighters hose down the rear of a building in the 900 block of State Street after a fire broke out early Saturday in downtown Santa Barbara. (Urban Hikers photo)
Firefighters hose down the rear of a building in the 900 block of State Street after a fire broke out early Saturday in downtown Santa Barbara. (Urban Hikers photo)

Damage to the structure and contents was estimated at $150,000.

The building was unoccupied at the time of the fire, and no injuries were reported.

Cause of the fire remained under investigation Saturday, De Ponce said.

There were reports of fireworks in the area shortly before the blaze, De Ponce said, but investigators think witnesses may actually have been seeing embers from the fire.

Electricity was shut off to several buildings in the area, and Southern California Edison crews were on the scene Saturday morning, working to restore power.

Traffic on State and Carrillo streets was restricted due to fire and utility vehicles, but De Ponce said crews hoped to be out of the way before the start of the Spirit of ’76 Parade, scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. and run from Micheltorena Street down State Street to Cota Street.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

(Noozhawk video)


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Santa Barbara Tax and Accounting Services Establishes Itself as Local Business Leader

By | Published on 07/04/2015


Santa Barbara Tax and Accounting Services is sharing its growth and establishment as a local business services leader in Santa Barbara. Founder Jeff Restivo has utilized his more than eight years experience as a Certified Public Accountant to drive the company forward.

Launched in 2010, Santa Barbara Tax and Accounting Services, 420 E. Carillo St. in Santa Barbara, is a full-service accounting firm specializing in small business and individual tax preparation, QuickBooks, business and financial consulting, and support for launching a business.

Restivo has been a serving the Santa Barbara area as a public accountant for more than 10 years. Prior to launching Santa Barbara Tax and Accounting Services, he practiced at two of Santa Barbara’s largest CPA firms.

Restivo also has a background in investments from his years serving a local boutique investment firm by preparing detailed financial models and forecasts for private companies.

Santa Barbara Tax and Accounting Services is dedicated to helping individuals and small businesses with tax preparation. The company prides itself on building personal relationships with clients to provide the highest level of service and improve the Santa Barbara community as a whole.

Click here for more information about Santa Barbara Tax and Accounting Services, or call 805.284.1905.


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Cuyama Crash Victim Flown to Santa Barbara Hospital

By | Published on 07/03/2015


A woman was airlifted to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital Friday night after being critically injured in a vehicle accident in the Cuyama Valley.

Emergency crews responded at about 9:20 p.m. to the crash on Highway 166 near Cottonwood Canyon Road, according to Capt. Dave Zaniboni of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

The vehicle went off the side of the road and started a small vegetation fire, Zaniboni said.

The female driver suffered major injuries, and was taken by Calstar medical helicopter to the hospital. Her name and details on her condition were not available.

The vegetation fire “was pretty much out” by the time firefighters arrived on scene, Zaniboni said.

Additional details were not available Friday night.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Housing Construction Booming at UCSB in Wake of Record-Breaking Applicant Pool

By | Published on 07/03/2015


The university's long-range development plan is to increase the number of students housed on campus, with one complex slated to open in the fall

UCSB announced earlier this week that more freshmen applied to the school than ever before in its history, and construction is ongoing as the university works to build housing for many of those students.

Part of the university's long-range development plan is to increase the number of students housed on campus over the next decade. To do that, a flurry of construction is taking place, with one complex on track to open to students next school year.

UCSB spokesman George Foulsham said that one of the projects, the Sierra Madre housing complex, is "moving along nicely" and that move-in is still scheduled for September.

That housing project is located at Storke Road near UCSB's West Campus Apartments and will provide housing for 515 students.  

Last summer, a fire broke out on the property, damaging some the framing of the complex as well as a construction trailer and an abandoned building from the former Ocean Meadows Golf Course. The project is on track to be completed in the fall, however.

The project will contain 115 apartments, with double occupancy 3-bedroom, 2-bedroom and single rooms. Thirty-six remaining units will be leased to UCSB faculty and staff families.

The complex will also have a central common areas for study as well as administrative offices, recreation and fitness rooms, and a market.

Currently, four of the six residential buildings have all of the windows, siding and stucco completed, and work is beginning on the other two.

A larger project that will house more than 1,000 students is also under way near the Santa Catalina Residence Halls at Storke and El Colegio roads.

The San Joaquin Apartments and Portola Dining Commons project started in early January, and would provide 178 apartments for 1,003 students, live-in staff as well as four faculty-in-residence apartments.

Four villages of three-story apartments and community buildings are slated for the empty parking lot to the north, as well as two six-story towers along Storke Road.

A central plaza will unite the buildings, and dining commons will rebuilt along El Colegio Road.

Concrete was poured last month for the six-story tower on the corner of Storke Road, and the university said that residential facilities will start taking shape this summer.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Emergency Permit Issued to Energy Company to Contain Onshore Orcutt Oil Seep

By | Published on 07/03/2015


Santa Barbara County supervisors will be briefed Tuesday on an emergency permit given last month to an Orcutt oil production facility after containment measures were needed for an oil seep in the area.

The Pacific Coast Energy Company operates 96 oil wells two miles south of Orcutt, near Santa Maria, that use cyclic steam injection to extract oil from sandstone formations in the area.

The company also operates an oil and gas processing and separation facility.

A county board letter stated that the project site has historically had many oil seeps, and that the shallow sandstone contains considerable heavy oil which can create seeps that reach the ground's surface. 

If the seeps are not contained, they can cause considerable environmental damage, according to the county. 

On May 29, the company discovered an oil seep at its Orcutt Hill property and the county gave verbal authorization two days later for the company to install a seep can to contain the oil.

An emergency permit was issued two weeks later, and notice was mailed to surrounding property owners. A company representative could not immediately be reached for comment.

The company is required to immediately respond to any seeps, and does this by installing the seep can, which is made of corrugated metal pipe about two feet across, which is inserted into the ground to collect the seeping oil. 

Santa Barbara County recently issued an emergency permit for another seep can to contain onshore oil seepage at the Orcutt Hill facility. (Pacific Coast Energy Company photo)

Oil that is collected is pumped out with a vacuum truck or taken to an existing producing well.

In the last seven years, 97 seep cans have been installed at the site via emergency permits from the county. About half of them are still actively collecting oil.  

The seeps seem to be occurring less frequently as time goes on, county documents state.

One reason for that could be the company developing practices with oversight by the California Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources, or DOGGR, 

"Further, in order to promote early detection of future seeps, PCEC has in place an electronic ground monitoring system and conducts frequent inspections of the project area," county documents state. 

Glenn Russell, director of the county's planning and development department, said the company is not using hydraulic fracking, but uses steam injection to heat up sub-surface oil so it can be extracted from the ground.

"Seeps can be natural, but it's likely that shallow steaming is enhancing the seeps," Russell said. 

"This is nothing new," he said, saying the frequency of the seeps has slowed.

Pacific Coast Energy Company's Orcutt Hill facility is under review to expand the operation and add more wells, according to the county. (Pacific Coast Energy Company photo)

Russell said he wasn't sure how big the latest seep was. County documents do not list a gallon amount but say that 180 square-feet of vegetation was removed in the process.

"They vary in size — some are very small, and some are larger," he said.

The fact that the seep was noticed 10 days after the Refugio Oil Spill was "completely unrelated," Russell said.

Since the permit has already been issued, Tuesday's item will be a report to the Board of Supervisors, not a decision-making item.

The company is currently pursuing a permit for an expansion of its operation, and is seeking to install more wells, Russell said. That project is currently under review, including an environmental impact report. 

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Over Chumash Casino Expansion

By | Published on 07/03/2015


A U.S. District Court judge has thrown out the lawsuit filed by a Santa Ynez Valley group that sought to prevent the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians from expanding the casino on its reservation.

Judge R. Gary Klausner granted the tribe’s request to dismiss the case on Thursday, saying the court did not have jurisdiction because of tribal sovereign immunity, and due to a failure by Save the Valley LLC to show a necessary and indispensable party.

Santa Barbara attorney Matthew Clarke of Christman, Kelley & Clarke, PC filed the lawsuit on behalf of Save the Valley on April 3, requesting a permanent injunction for construction at the Chumash Casino Resort, located on the tribe’s federally recognized reservation at 3400 E. Highway 246 in Santa Ynez.

The Chumash tribe has begun work to add 215 hotel rooms, 584 parking spaces, gaming floor space and other improvements to ease overcrowding at the 190,000-square-foot complex.

The existing hotel has 106 guest rooms and 17 luxury suites.

Save the Valley and other reservation neighbors — along with the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors — have shared concerns about the project's impact to air quality, aesthetics, water supply, law-enforcement resources and more.

Because the tribe doesn’t have to adhere to the county planning process, however, tribal leaders were able to self-certify the project’s environmental evaluation last fall, including refutes to concerns and some concessions — like buying a taller ladder truck so fire crews can get to a new 12-story tower.

The Chumash also will fund more firefighting support and renewed a contract to pay the salaries of some Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies.

The expansion is expected to be completed in 2016, according to Tribal Chairman Vincent Armenta, who was named in the lawsuit along with the tribe and four tribal business committee members.

The judge concluded that sovereign immunity extended to tribal officers as well, dismissing a case seeking declaratory judgment.

“This was yet another frivolous lawsuit brought on by the local tribal opponents,” Armenta said in a statement. “Unfortunately, a small group of anti-tribal folks in the community have made it their mission in life to oppose our tribe on everything we do.

“The Save the Valley lawsuit was based on an intentional misreading of the 1935 deed to the U.S. Government, which specifically says the property that the tribe occupies is deeded for the purpose of an ‘Indian Reservation.’

"Tribal opponents have continually claimed that the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians is not a tribe and the Santa Ynez Reservation is not a reservation. However, significant historical documentation exists to prove otherwise.”

A Santa Maria judge dismissed another Save the Valley lawsuit in late 2014 for the same reason.

That suit accused the Chumash of violating the state’s Williamson Act because the tribe hadn’t yet signed a contract to enjoy tax breaks on the Camp 4 property the tribe is trying to place into federal trust.

In the most recent complaint, Save the Valley argued that the Catholic Church originally owned the reservation land, and that the tribe and government had no right to it. It also alleges the expansion violates state and local ordinances already governing the parcel.

Clarke lamented that the judge didn’t apply a state law that would allow a court to decide property rights of Indian tribes in spite of sovereignty.

“The Chumash have escaped reaching the merits of the federal lawsuit filed by Save the Valley, LLC, based on their claim of tribal sovereign immunity,” he said in a statement. “The Court did not decide the critical question raised by the lawsuit — was a Federal Indian Reservation ever established in Santa Ynez?

"In discussing the facts, the federal court did not agree with the Chumash that the land became a reservation in 1906, but agreed with Save the Valley about a 1906 legal restriction to ‘domestic use.’ Domestic use, of course, means household or family use, not commercial.

"This restriction obviously prohibits a 12-story casino and hotel, and explains why the Chumash want to avoid the real issues. To this day, the Chumash can produce no document showing the creation of their reservation. The public should challenge the Chumash to produce such a document.  

 “Save the Valley, LLC is resolved to reach the merits of the dispute with the Chumash.”

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Judy Crowell: 9/11 Memorial Serves as a Reflection of the Spirit of America

By | Published on 07/03/2015


The New York City shrine is both serene and gut-wrenching, and should be experienced by all

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

Every American should visit the 9/11 Memorial, this hallowed ground, this remembrance of unbearable sorrow, haunting bravery and the indomitable spirit of our country.

It's a tall order to capture in a monument of this magnitude, but Israeli architects Michael Arad and Peter Walker, among 5,201 entrants from 63 countries, did just that, winning the design competition in 2004. Twin pools, each about an acre in size, are set 30 feet deep in the “footprints” of the downed towers. Enormous waterfalls, ringed by bronze railing upon which the names of every victim is inscribed, fall into nothingness, symbolizing the loss of life.

It is called “Reflecting Absence,” and coming upon it, one is staggered at its significance. Each name has a story. Alejandro Castano was 35 years old and making a delivery to a brokerage firm on the 97th floor of the South Tower. He is one of 2,983 innocent victims. Dedicated on the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the memorial opened to the public on Sept. 12, 2011.

The museum dedication took place on May 14, 2014, and opened on May 21, 2014. Within three months, more than 1 million visitors had been through its doors. I highly recommend ordering tickets online and trying for the earliest time in the morning when crowds are lighter.

Coming upon the “Victims’ Quilt” is just one of many exhibits at which you’ll want to linger. Designed by Wisconsin quilt maker Connie Daniel and completed by hundreds of people across America, this 60-foot-long quilt is a stunning tribute to the victims and heroes of that infamous day. Around the corner you’ll come upon pictures of all the victims along with recordings of survivors and first responders, a cavernous hall of people of every walk of life and nationality.

The “Survivor Stairs,” which carried many to safety, was the first artifact to be moved into the museum. Clearly marked with warnings is the section set aside for the fate of the “jumpers,” those who chose to die jumping from top floors. Rescue workers have created a monument of art with inscriptions and mementoes placed on the 36-foot-tall column, the last column to be removed from the South Tower and fittingly called "The Last Column."

The smashed and twisted front of the fire engine from Ladder Company #3 is a knee-buckling reminder of the crew of 11 who helped so many people escape from the North Tower. All 11 crew members paid the ultimate price.

For me, one of the most evocative exhibits was created by artist Spencer Finch, titled “Trying to remember the color of the sky on that September morning.” There are 2,983 square tiles, one for each victim and each in a different shade of blue, and can be seen from many vantage points of the underground museum. Forged in steel, the quote from Virgil, “No day shall erase you from the memory of time,” speaks volumes and instills in all who come the vow never to forget.

It is a shrine of awe, vastness, serenity and gut-wrenching sights. It should be experienced by all. In the Victims’ Quilt is a poem by Marigrace Iodice titled, “The Day My Lady Cried”:

“I saw My Lady, her torch held high, watching planes fall from the sky.
Miles away a terrorist attack, clutching her heart, holding her plaque.
Her world ripped apart, her heart also stopped.
She saw her children fall and die. This day I saw My Lady cry.”

— Judy Crowell is a Noozhawk contributing writer, author, freelance travel writer and Santa Barbara resident. She can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). The opinions expressed are her own.


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Joe Conason: Newly Released Emails Reveal the Hillary Clinton You (Still) Don’t Know

By | Published on 07/03/2015


With the release of the first batch of the thousands of emails that Hillary Clinton turned over to the State Department, what has America learned about the former secretary of state and current presidential candidate?

Nothing sufficiently voyeuristic to titillate journalists ever on the hunt for Clinton "scandals" — but just a few things that voters might be learning for the first time, if all they know about her is what the mainstream media always tells them.

According to The New York Times — a "liberal" newspaper that no longer attempts to conceal its longstanding animus against the Clintons — the initial batch of 3,000-plus emails is striking in its "banality," because so many of the messages from her early months as the nation's third-ranking official deal with daily problems like scheduling, fax machines and snow days at Foggy Bottom. Seeking to embarrass her, the Times account leads with her apparent concern over possible press comment on a joint interview with her most notorious predecessor.

Evidently she fretted, for a few minutes at least, that her "distant" relationship with President Barack Obama might be compared invidiously to former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger's leech-like fastening upon his old boss, Richard M. Nixon.

"In thinking about the Kissinger interview, the only issue I think that might be raised is that I see POTUS at least once a week while K saw Nixon every day," Clinton noted in an email to aides, using the abbreviation for president of the United States. "Of course, if I were dealing w that POTUS I'd probably camp in his office to prevent him from doing something problematic."

Like so many of the worries dredged up in her old emails, that fleeting anxiety has faded into oblivion. As for her weightier decisions, declares the Times, those must have been discussed and debated on the telephone rather than via email, where she seemed "acutely aware that anything she wrote could someday be read by a wider audience." (A strange observation in a newspaper where the working assumption is that she schemed to conceal all her emails from public scrutiny forever, but never mind.)

Still, if the released emails offer no hint of scandal or slander to titillate the Washington press corps, they cannot be said to offer no insight into America's best-known female leader. While the Times grudgingly concedes that these messages reveal "hints of personality," Time magazine found a woman in full — someone whose very existence may surprise voters who have grown accustomed to reading about the secretive, imperious, self-centered figure so often caricatured in American media over the past 25 years.

Time tells us that the "complex portrait" of Clinton shows "a management style that is efficient under pressure and reflective in the late hours of the day," with "bursts of thinking" that sometimes erupted during "sleepless nights circling the globe." Nothing new there, perhaps; everyone knows that she is sharp, thoughtful, and driven to get stuff done. But Time describes her with adjectives rarely used in conventional profiles: "humble," "self-deprecating," "concerned," "generous" and "one of the best bosses" that members of her staff have ever had.

Humble? She usually went out of her way to meet with friends and colleagues, rather than insisting they come to her. Self-deprecating? She joked constantly about herself and her foibles. Concerned? She repeatedly sought ways to help a young girl she had met in Yemen — and she admonished John Podesta, an old friend who now serves as her campaign chair, to "wear socks to bed to keep your feet warm." Generous? She often expressed gratitude to staff and kept close track of births, illnesses and other milestones affecting friends, acquaintances and employees.

Does any of that sound familiar? Not unless you've spoken with people who know Clinton well. The point isn't that she is any kind of paragon. These exchanges with her staff show she knows herself better than that. She is a human being, whose friends and former staffers might also mention her flashes of temper, her wariness toward the press, her efforts to protect her privacy that can sometimes seem secretive.

The question is whether major media outlets, often hostile and suspicious of her, can yet draw a fuller portrait of a candidate who is so well-known; a candidate whose true character, in all its complexity, has been obscured by slanted, negative coverage for so many years; and a candidate who, despite those persistent distortions, may yet make history next year.

Joe Conason is editor in chief of Click here to contact him, follow him on Twitter: @JoeConason, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.


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Letter to the Editor: Be Proud to Fly the American Flag

By | Published on 07/03/2015


How do we show our love for America on July 4? One way is to fly the American flag.

Then, too, Americans need to stand up for what is right and not let anyone take it away.

Don't be ashamed of our country or our flag. Government is the problem. Enough is enough.

We need to fight, protect and defend our traditions and our way of life.

Fly the flag and love our country on Saturday.

Don Thorn


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Captain’s Log: Fishing Ban Lifted, Seafood Deemed Safe in Wake of Refugio Oil Spill

By | Published on 07/03/2015


We needed some good news, and we got some great news. The California Department of Fish & Wildlife lifted the post-Refugio oil spill emergency fishing closure in Santa Barbara County on Monday, following official notification from the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment that there is no longer a human health threat present in finfish and shellfish from oil chemicals in the incident.

Now we can get back to fishing, both recreationally and commercially in the 138-square-mile area from Canada de Alegeria (between Gaviota and Hollister Ranch) at the western edge to near Coal Oil Point at the eastern edge. Marine protected areas in this area remain in effect, but the rest of the area is again open to fishing.

“We are so glad to announce some good news that is a step towards recovering from this tragic oil spill,” said Charlton Bonham, CDFW director. “Fishing may resume!”

It was quite a process that our agencies went through to determine that our seafood is safe. Scientists from OEHHA and CDFW, with the assistance of local commercial fishermen, collected a broader range of finfish, shellfish, kelp and invertebrates to evaluate the exposure of these fisheries to oil chemicals. Finfish species sampled included sand dab, barred surf perch, kelp rockfish, black and yellow rockfish, vermillion rockfish, bocaccio rockfish, grass rockfish and mackerel. Invertebrates sampled included red sea urchin, mussels, warty sea cucumber, giant red cucumber, brown rock crab, yellow rock crab, sheep crab, ridgeback prawn and spiny lobster.

OEHHA worked with laboratories to turn sample results around as quickly as possible. Recreational angling and commercial fishing leadership in the Santa Barbara area asked CDFW for the broader sampling and faster turnaround on results.

“Getting sustainable Santa Barbara seafood back in the market was important,” said Thomas Cullen, administrator for the Office of Spill Prevention and Response. “Combined with the reopening of El Capitan State Beach, this is great news for the Santa Barbara area.”

While fishing may resume, OEHHA reminds the public that the annual quarantine of sport-harvesting mussels is currently in effect to protect the public from paralytic shellfish poisoning and domoic acid poisoning. This is an annual closure, having nothing to do with the oil spill, but the timing this year is beneficial.

Ending the emergency fishing closure is timed well, and the angling public appreciates the diligent and rapid work by our agencies to make sure our seafood is safe and to get that huge area open to us. Squid spawns are occurring and the quality of fishing in that area is so good that there are few California coastal areas that can compete.

For one thing, fisherfolk who target truly big white seabass prefer this area to spots at the Channel Islands. That happy situation is due to the white seabass hatchery/rearing/releasing program that anglers supported for so many years. Many of those fish are now big adults and they grew up on the coast so they stay on the coast. Other fishing options in that area include halibut, yellowtail, lingcod and rockfish. Surf fishers like that area for halibut, surf perch, cabezon and rockfish.

We needed this emergency closure to end before our busy fishing season ended.

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit to learn more about the organization and how you can help. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.


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Art Garfunkel Spends an ‘Intimate Evening at the Lobero’

By | Published on 07/03/2015


Simon & Garfunkel created some of the soundtrack of my childhood. I only found out at the last minute that Art Garfunkel was going to give an "Intimate Evening at the Lobero" on June 20 in Santa Barbara, and I was thrilled to get the last VIP seat.

He sat in a narrow spotlight in almost total darkness.

I had seen in the news lately that the two had traded barbs publicly, so I was happy that Garfunkel said only kind words about his creative musical partner, Paul Simon.

Garfunkel had lost his voice several years ago, but seemed to be mostly recovered.

I realized in listening to his performance that I must not be as big of a fan as I had thought. I recognized a few big hits, but many others were unfamiliar and some I have to say I was not so fond of. He seems to be in a sentimental and somewhat religious stage of life.

But it was certainly worth it to hear the songs I loved and to hear some of his "intimate" patter with us.

He had taken the time to write an imaginary letter to his younger self. His main message: Be kind and value love.

Here are some of the songs he played:

» April Come She Will
» The Boxer
» Perfect Moment
» A Heart in New York
» A Poem on the Underground Wall
» Scarborough Fair (including a verse about scarlet battalions that I didn't remember)
» Homeward Bound
» 99 Miles from LA (he noted he was singing this about 99 miles from LA)
» Real Emotional Girl (by Randy Newman, who he says is one of his favorite musicians)
» For Emily
» Sound of Silence
» Kathy's Song
» Bridge Over Troubled Water

Robert Bernstein, a local photographer and frequent Noozhawk contributor, is a member of the Sierra Club Santa Barbara Group executive committee. The opinions expressed are his own.


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Client Adviser Geoff Gaggs Marks 15 Years at Mission Wealth

By | Published on 07/03/2015


Geoff Gaggs

Mission Wealth is proud to announce that client adviser Geoff Gaggs is celebrating his 15th year with the firm in July.

Gaggs, who is a principal with Mission Wealth, has been with the company since 2000. Mission Wealth was formed in February 2000.

A native of Santa Barbara, Gaggs has contributed his skill, energy and loyalty to the company over the years as it has become a nationally recognized firm that manages over $1.3 billion in assets for hundreds of clients across the nation.

Mission Wealth CEO and co-founder Seth Streeter said, “Geoff’s dedication to his clients and the firm has been an anchor to Mission Wealth’s continued success.”

Gaggs earned a bachelor of science degree in business finance from California State University-Northridge. In 1999, he earned his CFP designation and in 2005 completed a master of science degree in financial planning with honors.

Over the years, Gaggs has contributed to the firm’s Investment and Executive Committees, well as being a past member and board member of the Estate Planning Council of Ventura County and Toastmasters International.

Gaggs has also been quoted in various publications such as Money Magazine and has been seen on ABC affiliate KEYT Television.

Gaggs presently lives in Ventura with his wife and two sons and loves being an active dad by helping as a volunteer coach and playing any sport under the sun with his family.

— Renee Hennessee is a marketing coordinator for Mission Wealth.


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Goleta Education Foundation Lemon Run on Track to Return Sept. 20

By | Published on 07/03/2015


The Goleta Education Foundation’s race is on Sunday, Sept. 20.

The Goleta Education Foundation Lemon Run has more choices for runners and walkers this year, including competitive 10k and 5k races and a kids 1k race. Runners and walkers will start and finish at Goleta Beach, and will travel along the Obern Trail.

Log on to to register for the race.

Runners are encouraged to wear their corporate, school or club T-shirts to highlight your participation and support of Goleta Education Foundation and your pride in Goleta!

This event will attract both serious and casual runners and walkers. The Goleta Education Foundation Lemon Run is the first event of Lemon Locals week in Goleta. This week of activities is designed to show pride in Goleta — and the quality of life residents, businesses and students in the Goleta Valley enjoy — and will kick off with the Goleta Education Foundation Lemon Run and end with the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Lemon Festival.

Proceeds from the Goleta Education Foundation Lemon Run will benefit the elementary students in the nine schools in the Goleta Valley.

Click here for more information about the Goleta Education Foundation, Lemon Run sponsorship and details.

This is the 10th year the race has been held in Goleta. After a one-year hiatus, the Board of Directors is happy to have the race back for fun, competition and support for Goleta Union School District students.

The Goleta Education Foundation is dedicated to engaging the community to invest in and enhance an excellent education for all students attending schools in the Goleta Union School District.

— Lisa Rivas is board president for the Goleta Education Foundation.


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Bill Macfadyen: Burton Mesa Brush Fire a Timely Reminder of Vulnerability

By | Published on 07/03/2015


NoozWeek’s Top 5 includes a wedding ring, a fire truck, purse snatching and Taco Bell. Meanwhile, puppy brutality ‘punishment’: Judge for yourself.

Happy Independence Day! If you’re Greek, go ahead and drop the “In.”

There were 94,896 people who read​ Noozhawk this past week. Here are your top stories:

1. Burton Mesa Fire Near Lompoc Held to 320 Acres

A brush fire that ignited near La Purisima Mission State Historic Park the afternoon of June 29 quickly grew to 320 acres before favorable weather conditions helped firefighters gain control.

The wildfire was fueled by heavy brush and oak forest in the Burton Mesa Ecological Preserve, roughly four miles northeast of Lompoc.

Of course, given California’s chronic drought and the fact that it’s summer, the entire state is a tinderbox waiting for a match.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. In spite of persistent speculation, authorities say fireworks do not appear to be to blame.

Anyone with information about the blaze is asked to call the Santa Barbara County Fire Department tip line at 805.686.5074.

Although as many as 1,200 structures were threatened in the vicinity of Cebada Canyon, none was burned. And within about 36 hours of the fire’s start, all evacuations had been lifted and roads were reopened.

One firefighter was hospitalized with a leg injury, according to fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni.​

At the blaze’s peak, about 600 firefighters were involved in the battle. Initial firefighting costs were north of $650,000, Zaniboni told our Janene Scully.

Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.

2. Woman’s Lost Wedding Ring Found on UCSB Campus​

We know Noozhawk readers are the best. Now, a Half Moon Bay woman knows it, too.

A lost-and-found ring sparkles brightest. (Applewhite family photo)
A lost-and-found ring sparkles brightest. (Applewhite family photo)

Juliette Applewhite was in town a couple of weeks ago for her daughter’s graduation from UC Santa Barbara. Somewhere during her visit, she lost her wedding ring.

Despondent, she contacted Noozhawk for help. News editor Giana Magnoli proposed an article to our reporters, and Gina Potthoff said “I do.” Her actual words were “I’ll do it,” but I’m telling the story.

On June 24, we posted Gina’s report about the missing white gold band lined with diamonds and sapphires, the ring Applewhite’s husband proposed to her with 30 years ago.

Almost immediately, several of our readers contacted Applewhite and volunteered to help with her search from here.

Two days later, however, she got a call she never really expected to receive.

On the phone was Cara O’Callaghan, a UCSB Recreation Center employee who had read Gina’s story and then happened upon the ring in a campus parking lot.

“She’s amazing,” Applewhite told Gina. “She’s my new best friend.”

O’Callaghan refused the $5,000 reward that had been posted.

“She didn’t want the money,” an incredulous Applewhite said. “She even offered to ship it.”​

Applewhite said she would do something special for O’Callaghan regardless.

And so will Noozhawk: Cara, when you read this, please email me at [email protected] so we can treat you to dinner.

Thank you for making Santa Barbara — and Noozhawk readers — look good.

Bad Fortune, meet Good Fortune. (Jon Shafer photo)
Bad Fortune, meet Good Fortune. (Jon Shafer photo)

3. Driver Hits Fire Engine After Suffering Heart Attack Near La Cumbre Plaza

A Santa Barbara motorist tooling around in his Porsche convertible took a turn for the worse the morning of June 27, plowing his car into a Santa Barbara County fire truck. The collision may have saved his life.

According to Santa Barbara Fire Battalion Chief Mike De Ponce, the Porsche driver apparently suffered a heart attack as he was turning west onto State Street from northbound Hope Avenue near La Cumbre Plaza.

The man passed out and his car drove head-on into a sedan waiting to turn north onto Hope from eastbound State, then hit the fire truck, which also was waiting at the light.

Fortunately for the driver, the fire truck was loaded with people trained for just such emergencies. They sprang into action.

After the county firefighters stabilized him, the man was taken by American Medical Response ambulance to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. His identity and details about his condition were not disclosed.

There were no other injuries in the crash, which is under investigation by Santa Barbara police.

Attention, shoppers: These are bad eggs. (Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department photo)
Attention, shoppers: These are bad eggs. (Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department photo)

4. Public’s Help Sought Identifying Theft Suspects Who Targeted, Distracted Elderly Victims

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department is warning that brazen grifters are driving local shoppers to distraction. So let you buyers beware.

According to sheriff’s spokeswoman Kelly Hoover, Ralphs grocery store surveillance video shows two suspects entering the market at 5170 Hollister Ave. in Goleta’s​ Magnolia Shopping Center, on the afternoon of June 22.

Once inside, she said, they trolled the aisles until they made their mark, a 77-year-old woman whose purse was sitting on top of her shopping cart. As one of the suspects, both women, engaged the shopper in conversation, her companion lifted her wallet from the purse, Hoover said.

Two miles away and 20 minutes later, Hoover said, a third suspect was caught on video at Walgreens, 5900 Calle Real, using the victim’s credit card. She said the woman was able to buy a $500 gift card and some other items before a second similar purchase was declined.

All three suspects got away.

An additional investigation is under way in two separate distraction cases, both involving a Hispanic man who allegedly stole purses after using a water bottle ruse to distract his victims — both women, one 82 and the other 78.

Authorities are investigating the crimes of burglary, grand theft person, conspiracy and credit card fraud. Anyone with information is asked to call detectives at 805.681.4101​.​

Live Más, pero ​todavía no. (VMI Architecture rendering)
Live Más, pero ​todavía no. (VMI Architecture rendering)

5. Taco Bell Runs Into Goleta Challenge as Design Board Puts Off Approval of New Plan

The Taco Bell at 140 N. Fairview Ave. in Goleta is about as nondescript a building as I can come up with. I know this because, as often as I’ve driven up and down the street, I’ve never noticed it. I guess I always look west.

Apparently I’m not the only one.

“If you took away the Taco Bell sign you probably wouldn’t even know it was a Taco Bell,” admitted Hugh Murphy, president, CEO and principal architect of VMI Architecture in San Rafael.

Oh, wait. He’s actually talking about the rendering of the new Taco Bell building planned for the site. Now I’m even more confused.

Apparently I’m not the only one.

As our Josh Molina first reported, the property owner wants to demolish the current building and replace it with a taller, bulkier structure on a slightly smaller footprint.

The parking lot also would be reconfigured to move away from the angled spaces that give the appearance of a one-way entrance instead of an entrance and an exit. 

The proposal failed to impress the city’s Design Review Committee, however. With committee chairman Carl Schneider abstaining, the six other panel members voted to postpone for a month.

“As a whole, I am not a big fan of the architecture,” Schneider said. “I am certainly not against tearing the existing one down and rebuilding it.”

                                                                 •        •        •

Bill Macfadyen’s Story of the Week, from my peripatetic tour of the World Wide Web: When Was the Fourth of July First Celebrated? Not a trick question.​

                                                                 •        •        •

Earlier this week, Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Brian Hill sentenced Duanying Chen, 20, of Santa Barbara, in a heinous case of felony animal cruelty and human assault.

Over the objections of the District Attorney’s Office, which argued for ... actual punishment, Hill sent the smug sadist off to the county kennel for only 365 days — just about the least he could do that didn’t involve a pat on the head, a belly rub and some scratching behind Chen’s ears.

I share the revulsion that many of you have.

Chen’s four-legged victim, a defenseless, 5-month-old Doberman pinscher puppy that suffered unimaginable torture, could not be saved and had to be euthanized.

Occasionally, however, acts of such depravity don’t end so tragically. HT to my friend, Deborah Barnes, for sharing this timely video. Tissues recommended.

(Hope for Paws video)

                                                                  •        •        •

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— Bill Macfadyen is Noozhawk’s founder and publisher. Contact him at [email protected], follow him on Twitter: @noozhawk, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.


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Jeff Moehlis: Alt-Rockers Cracker to Show Country Side at SLO Brew

By | Published on 07/03/2015


David Lowery is the singer and co-founder of the alt-rock band Cracker, whose well-known early 1990s songs include "Teen Angst (What the World Needs Now)," "Low" and "Euro-Trash Girl." In 2014, the band released its ninth studio album, Berkeley to Bakersfield, with the Berkeley disc featuring the band's original lineup for the first time in ages and drawing on their punk rock influences, and the Bakersfield disc in a California country vein. Lowery is also a founding and continuous member of the eclectic alternative rock band Camper Van Beethoven.

Lowery talked to Noozhawk about the upcoming Cracker concert on Monday, July 6 at SLO Brew in San Luis Obispo. Tickets are available by clicking here.

Click here for the full interview, in which Lowery talks more about the new album, his math/computer background, and his and Taylor Swift's efforts to help artists receive fair compensation in the changing technological world.

                                                                        •        •

Jeff Moehlis: What can people look forward to at the upcoming show?

David Lowery: Well, we have a new album out. It's called Berkeley to Bakersfield. We played a lot of it when we were in Santa Barbara back in December. We're probably going to be playing a fair amount off of that album, as well as songs from our previous albums. We're not a band that doesn't play the hits. We play the hits. You know, we try to play something off of every one of our albums. We don't always do it, but we generally do, and then play some new stuff.

This is the bigger lineup. This is the Bakersfield lineup, the full country lineup, although we don't just play country, we also play rock in this. This is actually the lineup that we recorded the Bakersfield disc with, which we didn't have the last time we played on the West Coast.

JM: Back in that era when "Low" was a hit, in the early to mid-'90s, what was the good, the bad and the ugly about the alt-rock world?

DL: The facial hair [laughs].

JM: Is that good, bad or ugly? [laughs]

DL: Ugly! That's the ugly! That's the stuff that you look back on and go, "Ooo ... the 90's ... Oooo ... Why did we do that with our beards?" Like a little soul patch.

It was a good time, though, in the sense that there were a lot of bands that came out that didn't really sound like things that had come before them, and ended up getting pushed by the music business in general. You know, we can make fun of the '90s and the Grunge sound, but it was actually fairly diverse. I mean, on one hand you have stuff like Hootie & the Blowfish, or Counting Crows doing their neo-classical rock. And, you know, on the other hand you have experiments gone bad, with rap metal and stuff like that.

Rock radio really was playing a great diversity of stuff. I don't know if it was all good. I don't know if you can even really judge it now. I find myself sometimes hearing a band from the '90s, a song that I really couldn't stand, and going, "Wait a minute, this is actually pretty clever" [laughs]. Or listening to something from that time that I thought was really cool, and going, "God, this is actually really terrible. How could I like this?" So there was a diversity.

The good thing was there was a great diversity of sound and style from that time. I don't know if we see as much today, on popular radio. Obviously there's the wide open Internet. In some ways there's never been a better time for a music fan because there's an unbelievable variety of stuff out there to listen to. But as far as mainstream culture goes, I think it was a little broader then than it is now.

JM: What are your plans, musical or otherwise, for the near future? Do you have any albums in the works?

DL: I think we've got about 50 or 60 more shows on this album, including going back to Europe again. We just went over and did one summer festival in Spain. By the way, for whatever reason, the place on Earth where Cracker has always been the most popular is Spain. I don't know how that worked — a very eclectic, strange rock music culture they have over there, in particular the festival in the Basque region. So anyway, we just went over there and did that festival.

That was the only thing that we were doing. We'll probably go back in the late fall and do a few more shows over there. So we'll wind this down just after the new year, and probably start working on another record.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention this. Sharknado 3 comes out in July. I'm actually really proud of this, because Camper loved B horror movies and monster movies and bad flicks and all that stuff.

We have two new tracks in the Sharknado 3 movie. Don't expect high art. Think the first album. The director's very cool, very much more of a Comic Con kind of person than you would think. And they're coordinating it with an anti-finning campaign, sort of a Save the Sharks campaign. So I should mention that — two new Camper songs on the Sharknado 3 soundtrack.

— 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, The opinions expressed are his own.


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Harry McMahon, Gamble Parks Join Cottage Health System Board

By | Published on 07/03/2015


Harry McMahon

Gamble Parks

Gamble Parks and Harry McMahon have joined the volunteer Board of Directors of Cottage Health System.

Parks is an attorney specializing in estate planning and administration with Fell, Marking, Abkin, Montgomery, Granet & Raney LLP in Santa Barbara.

Born in Charlotte, N.C., Parks earned her bachelor of arts degree as well as her juris doctor degree from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va.

Parks also serves as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) and serves on the Board of Directors for the Music Academy of the West, Dog Adoption & Welfare Group (DAWG) and Santa Barbara Hospice Foundation.

She and her husband, Gary Douville, have one son.

McMahon is the former executive vice chairman of Bank of America Merrill Lynch and served on the Global Corporate & Investment Banking Leadership Committee. He was with   Merrill Lynch since 1983.

He received his bachelor of arts degree from Claremont McKenna College and his MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

McMahon also serves as chairman of the Board of Trustees for Claremont McKenna College, and serves on the Board of Advisors of the Henry R. Kravis Leadership Institute.

He and his wife, Jacquie, have four children.

— Maria Zate is a spokeswoman for Cottage Health System.


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Lompoc Woman Killed, 8-Year-Old Girl Severely Injured in Highway 1 Crash

By | Published on 07/03/2015


Driver Manuel Santos of Lompoc, who suffered major injuries, arrested on DUI, manslaughter charges

The July 4 holiday weekend got off to a grim start early Friday when a 22-year-old Lompoc woman was killed and an 8-year-old girl was critically injured in a suspected DUI collision on Highway 1 south of Lompoc.

Three other people were seriously hurt in the crash, which occurred at about 1:20 a.m. on Highway 1 at Jalama Road, according to Capt. Dave Zaniboni of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

The accident occurred when a 2005 Toyota Corolla that was northbound on Highway 1 drifted off the right side of the roadway, where it struck an asphalt drainage culvert, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The Corolla continued along the dirt shoulder and struck a large bolder, which caused it to become airborne and slam into a power pole, the CHP said.

The Corolla then spun back into the traffic lanes, where is was struck by a 1997 Toyota Avalon that also was northbound on Highway 1.

The 22-year-old Lompoc woman, whose name was withheld pending notification of relatives, was sitting in the Corolla's front passenger seat, and suffered blunt-force injuries, the CHP said.

She was declared dead at the scene.

The young girl, who was sitting in the right rear seat, was not wearing a seatbelt, and suffered major injuries when she was ejected from the vehicle, the CHP said.

Her injuries were considered to be life-threatening, the CHP said, but her name and details on her injuries were not available.

The Corolla's driver, Manuel Santos, 29, of Lompoc, suffered major injuries, and was taken by AMR ambulance to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, the CHP said.

Santos also allegedly was drunk, and was arrested on suspicion of felony DUI and vehicular manslaughter, and will be booked into Santa Barbara County Jail once he is released from the hospital, the CHP said.

The driver of the Avalon, Matthew Woodman, 23, of Lompoc, and his passenger, Mia Rodierda-Wallo, 20, of Lompoc, sustained moderate injuries, and were taken by ambulance to Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria.

Highway 1 was closed in both directions for a time, but subsequently reopened with lane controls by the CHP, which was investigating the accident.

Check back with Noozhawk for updates to this story.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Santa Barbara County Workforce Investment Board Has a New Name

By | Published on 07/03/2015


Beginning Wednesday, and in accordance with federal law, the Santa Barbara County Workforce Investment Board has a new name: the Santa Barbara County Workforce Development Board.

This change is brought about because July 1 was the implementation date for the new Federal Workforce Innovation & Opportunities Act, which replaces the Workforce Investment Act of 1998.

The new WIOA in part creates new membership guidelines for the local countywide workforce board that must partner with the county Board of Supervisors in the local implementation and administration of the national, publicly-funded workforce system.

“Although the official implementation date is July 1, 2015,” said Raymond McDonald, the Workforce Board executive director, “the federal timeline allows for various implementation benchmarks over the next 18 to 24 months, with complete implementation by July 1, 2017.”

Besides a new name, the federal legislation requires a smaller, more flexible workforce board — as well as enhanced participation by key industry sector leaders on the new board. The county Board of Supervisors is the appointing authority for Workforce Development Board members, following strict federal and state guidelines; and the initial appointments to the workforce board is anticipated in late July.

The County Executive Office is working with the Workforce Board executive director in overseeing the nomination and recommendation process.


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Autopsy Concludes Cody West’s Death in Goleta Culvert Was Accidental

By | Published on 07/02/2015


After a week-long search, body of 22-year-old was discovered May 1 under his car below Los Carneros Road

A 22-year-old Goleta man whose body was found underneath his car in a concrete culvert in May died in a freak accident, according to an autopsy report released Thursday by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.

The body of Cody West, who had been the subject of an intensive week-long search, was discovered the morning of May 1 in the drainage culvert running underneath Los Carneros Road, between Highway 101 and Calle Real in Goleta.

Blunt-force injuries were listed as the cause of death in the coroner’s report, which indicates West suffered multiple injuries, including “severe head trauma.”

From the time he was found, there were questions about how West’s car, which showed signs of damage, ended up in the culvert with West pinned underneath.

The coroner’s report states that the accident occurred as West was attempting to push his 1999 Audi A4 Quatro sedan, which was off the street and above the culvert.

“He somehow placed himself behind the vehicle and was forced off the roadway, falling from the downward sloping greenbelt and landing in the bottom of the drainage canal,” according to the report.

West’s car left the roadway as well, falling into the culvert and landing on top of him, the report states.

“This conclusion was arrived at after careful consideration and review of the evidence at the scene,” the report said, adding that investigators had conducted several re-enactments.

The autopsy report does not indicate how the car came to be above the culvert.

After West disappeared, his family and friends organized a systematic search of where he might have gone after leaving a party near Lake Los Carneros on April 26.

The Sheriff’s Department assisted in the extensive, multiday hunt, and the county’s Air Support Unit helicopter had conducted aerial searches for several days, as well.

West’s car and body were discovered by a volunteer searcher.

Officials say West was last seen alive in the early morning hours of April 26, leaving a party on Avenida Gorrion east of Lake Los Carneros Park​, officials said. He was found about a mile away.

A toxicology report revealed that alcohol as well as prescription drugs and metabolites of cocaine were present in West’s bloodstream at the time of his death, but does not address whether the substances were a factor in the accident.

The report also details interviews conducted with both of West’s parents.

West’s father, David, told the investigator that his son had been seen last at 3:30 a.m. April 26, when he told friends he was going to take a cab or an Uber to get home.

“It is believed that the decedent drove away from the party in his vehicle,” the report states.

West’s mother also told investigators that her son had been in good spirits and was very excited about his newly purchased car, but that he had had some problems with the car’s clutch and had to pay $2,000 to have it repaired.

“She explained that he did not have a lot of experience driving the stick shift car,” the report states. “(Cody West) had owned the car approximately two weeks, and the car was in the shop for the majority of the time he owned it.”

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Driver Injured After Vehicle Lands in Ditch Along Harris Grade Road

By | Published on 07/02/2015


One person was injured Thursday evening after a single-vehicle accident on Harris Grade Road between the Santa Maria and Lompoc valleys.

The accident was reported at 6:20 p.m. near the first curve on Harris Grade Road after turning off Highway 135, according to emergency dispatch reports from the California Highway Patrol. 

A red Nissan sedan ended up in a ditch and reportedly was smoking. 

While the driver was able to get out of the vehicle, an ambulance was requested and CalStar was dispatched to the scene. 

Check back with Noozhawk for updates as they become available.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Students Get ‘Up Close and Musical’ During Program Presented by Montecito Bank & Trust, Partners

By | Published on 07/02/2015


Montecito Bank & Trust teamed up with the Music Academy of the West and the United Way of Santa Barbara County for the fourth straight year to host 270 local children for a unique musical outreach program titled “Up Close and Musical,” featuring the Music Academy’s Festival Orchestra, led by special guest conductor Christopher Rountree.

The United Way’s Fun in the Sun program participants from Aliso Elementary, Franklin Elementary, El Camino Elementary, Santa Ynez Elementary and La Cumbre Junior High arrived at the Music Academy’s Miraflores campus for outdoor activities, including musical chairs with live music, face painting, arts and crafts and a photo booth.

The outdoor activities were a precursor to the entertainment inside Hahn Hall, where the children enjoyed Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony, Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and Tom Johnson’s Narayana’s Cows.

Rountree led the Festival Orchestra in the performance, and engaged in lively discussions with the kids about the connection between music and everyday life, tying into the theme of this year’s program, The Nature of Music. Rountree also showed the audience how the orchestra could work together to create natural sounds, like wind, raindrops, and thunderstorms.

Scott Reed, Music Academy of the West president and CEO, said, “This is such a great opportunity to bring local kids in to learn more about music, learn that music is part of their everyday lives, and it’s so wonderful for our fellows who participate in the program to understand why giving back to communities is so important. This year we’re representing 13 different states and seven different countries, and we hope each one of our fellows will take this great program and produce it their own communities so kids around the world can enjoy music and make it part of their everyday lives.”

Paul Didier, president and CEO of the United Way of Santa Barbara County, had similar thoughts about giving kids the opportunity to experience music in new ways.

“These children don’t have any exposure to this kind of music and how it can reaffirm the positive parts of your life, or even become a possible career path," he said. "To find out that there are all of these resources in their hometown at the Music Academy is pretty powerful.”

Up Close Musical
Fun in the Sun students battle it out in the final stages of musical chairs. (Clint Weisman photo)

Montecito Bank & Trust became the Music Academy’s Festival Corporate Season Sponsor during its 65th anniversary celebration in 2012, and it was then that the idea of creating the concerts for children was imagined by Janet Garufis, president and CEO of Montecito Bank & Trust, and Reed. The collaboration between these organizations continues to grow, and this particular event has quickly blossomed into a highly-anticipated tradition.

“When we started this partnership four years ago, and the bank became the Festival Corporate Season Sponsor, the Music Academy offered us an opportunity to provide a musical experience for our customers," Garufis said. "After thinking about it, we decided we wanted to make the Music Academy available to people who otherwise wouldn’t even know it was here, and that’s why we invited kids from Fun in the Sun and other community programs to come experience music. It’s extraordinary how it has evolved since we started this adventure in 2012. The Music Academy’s commitment to outreach and to bringing music alive for children in our community is wonderful to see and it’s my expectation that this program will continue to get better every year.”

Rountree is artistic director, conductor and founder of the experimental classical ensemble “wild Up,” a 24-piece orchestra that blends new music, classical repertoire, performance art and pop. Known for his lively conducting style, he has been praised by the Los Angeles Times for his “infectious enthusiasm” and The New York Times for his “elegant clarity.”

Founded in 1947, the Music Academy of the West is among the nation’s preeminent summer schools and festivals for gifted young classical musicians. The academy provides these promising musicians with the opportunity for advanced study and frequent performance under the guidance of internationally renowned faculty artists, guest conductors, and soloists. Academy alumni are members of major symphony orchestras, chamber orchestras, ensembles, opera companies, and university and conservatory faculties throughout the world. Many enjoy careers as prominent solo artists. Based in Santa Barbara, the Music Academy of the West presents more than 200 public events annually, including performances by faculty, visiting artists, and Fellows; masterclasses; orchestra and chamber music concerts; and fully staged opera. For more information, visit

Montecito Bank & Trust received a 2014 designation of a Super Premier Performing Bank by The Findley Reports, an independent service which rates the annual financial performance of California banks. The Findley Reports has designated Montecito Bank & Trust as a Premier Performing or Super Premier Performing bank 29 times in its 40-year history.

Montecito Bank & Trust, an S Corporation, is the oldest and largest locally-owned community bank in the tri-counties. Founded in 1975, with branch offices located in Santa Barbara, Goleta, Solvang, Montecito, Carpinteria, Ventura and Westlake Village, and a Financial Services Center in Camarillo, the bank offers a variety of competitive deposit and lending solutions for businesses and consumers, including business loans and lines of credit; commercial real estate finance; SBA loans; consumer loans; credit cards; merchant services; and online services, including mobile banking and cash management. Its Wealth Management Division provides full investment management as well as trust services for all branch office markets.

— Andy Silverman is a communication specialist for Montecito Bank & Trust.


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Santa Maria Man Arrested After Fleeing in Stolen Car

By | Published on 07/02/2015


Tyler Hugh Gentry

A Santa Maria man with a handgun was arrested after fleeing — first in a vehicle and later on foot — from officers Thursday afternoon.

Santa Maria police said they were called to the Holiday Motel at 605 S. Broadway regarding a report of a man with a gun, Sgt. Jesse Silva said.

Upon arriving, officers attempted to talk to a man sitting in the driver’s seat of a silver 2000 Honda sedan.

The man, Tyler Hugh Gentry, 19,  put the car in reverse and drove over a flower bed and concrete curb before fleeting north on Broadway, Silva added.

Officers attempted to catch up to Gentry, who later ran away from the vehicle in the 200 block of North McClelland Street, Silva added.

After setting up a perimeter, police searched and found Gentry a short time later. 

He had a .22-caliber handgun in his possession and officers learned he was driving a stolen vehicle, police said.

Gentry was booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail on suspicion of vehicle theft.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Falcon Rocket Mishap Delays SpaceX Launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base

By | Published on 07/02/2015


The Jason-3 satellite involves an international mission to monitor sea level

The planned Falcon 9 rocket launch scheduled from Vandenberg Air Force Base this summer is in limbo after another NASA mission ended in failure following liftoff from Florida.

The Jason-3 satellite to continue measurements of the height of the ocean surface had been scheduled for Aug. 8 from Space Launch Complex-4 on South Base.

However, another Space Exploration Technologies Corp. Falcon 9 rocket experienced a failure minutes after blastoff Sunday from Cape Canaveral.

“The unmanned SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch mishap to resupply the International Space Station has impacted the projected launch date for the Jason-3 mission,” National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officials said.

Jason-3 is the fourth in U.S.-European series of satellite missions that measure sea levels around the globe.

In addition to NASA, the global partnership includes the French space agency, Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES) and the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT).

“While the incident review team looks into the cause of the mishap, NOAA and NASA are working with the European partners, CNES and EUMETSAT, to determine the next steps toward a new target launch date for Jason-3,” NASA officials said.

The Falcon rocket failure in Florida came 10 days after Jason-3 traveled from France to Vandenberg for final pre-launch preparations in anticipation of an Aug. 8 liftoff.

That trip had been delayed after engineers located contamination in one of the four thrusters on the spacecraft during testing, Jason-3 officials said. Crews replaced the problem thruster and conducted an investigation into how the contamination occurred. 

The contamination prompted officials to delay the launch from the once-planned July 22 departure. 

The Falcon rocket failure occurred during the Commercial Resupply Services 7 (CRS-7) mission to deliver cargo to the International Space Station.

“Following a nominal liftoff, Falcon 9 experienced a problem shortly before first stage shutdown, resulting in loss of mission,” SpaceX officials said in a written statement. “Preliminary analysis suggests the vehicle experienced an overpressure event in the upper stage liquid oxygen tank approximately 139 seconds into flight.” 

However, telemetry data indicated the first stage flight was normal and that the unmanned Dragon spacecraft remained healthy “for some period of time following separation,” SpaceX added.

While disappointed in the loss, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said astronauts remain safe and have sufficient supplies.

“We will work closely with SpaceX to understand what happened, fix the problem and return to flight,” Bolden said. “The commercial cargo program was designed to accommodate loss of cargo vehicles. We will continue operation of the station in a safe and effective way as we continue to use it as our test bed for preparing for longer duration missions farther into the solar system.”

SpaceX has demonstrated “extraordinary capabilities” in its first six cargo resupply missions to the space station, Bolden said, expressing confidence in the company’s ability to replicate the success.

“We will work with and support SpaceX to assess what happened, understand the specifics of the failure and correct it to move forward,” Bolden added. “This is a reminder that spaceflight is an incredible challenge, but we learn from each success and each setback.”

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Outdoors Q&A: Is a Fish Caught on Another Angler’s Line Legal to Keep?

By | Published on 07/02/2015


Q: I am hoping you can resolve a question that came up in one of our recent fishing club meetings.

On a recent trip to Lake Isabella, I caught a very nice rainbow trout (18 inches long!). The way it was caught is the subject of debate within our club.

I was fishing on a pontoon boat and when I landed the fish, it wasn’t on my hook. Apparently, the fish had been hooked by someone else previously and broke off. I don’t know who or when, but when I reeled the fish in it had a couple of feet of the previous fishing line, with a hook and split shot still attached to it. The previous angler’s hook was still hooked into the fish’s mouth. Somehow the split shot and old line became tangled in my tackle. The fish was landed after a brief fight, netted and added to my bag limit.

The question is: Is this considered a legally caught fish? We await your response. (Luiz D.)

A: No fish may be retained that did not voluntarily take the bait or lure into its mouth (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 2.00(c)). Although you accidentally snagged the broken off line from a previous angler, you may have saved that fish from an otherwise slow death. If that old line had instead gotten hung up on a rock or bush, preventing the fish from freely moving around, the fish could have died of a lack of gill movement or starvation. Since your fish had taken an angler’s bait or lure into its mouth, it was legal to keep. The intention of angling is that the fish take a hook in its mouth, and this was accomplished.

If you had instead snagged this fish by impaling or attempting to impale it in any part of its body other than the mouth by use of a hook, hooks, gaff, or other mechanical implements, this would have been illegal (CCR Title 14, section 2.00(b)). This does not include the lawful use of a gaff to land the fish.

Which Firearms and Ammo Can Be Used for Night Hunting?

Q: I am having trouble finding a specific section related to which firearms you are allowed to hunt with at night. Word of mouth has always been that only rimfire rifles and shotguns may be used at night. I know that in other states you can use a regular centerfire rifle so I am wondering if we can also use them here. If not, are we only allowed rimfire and shotguns? Also, are there any exceptions for mounting a flashlight to a gun? (Taylor F.)

A: If you are in an area where night hunting is legal, you may only take nongame mammals and furbearers. Night hunting is restricted to the method of take allowed for these animals (under CCR Title 14, section 475). You are not restricted related to the use of rimfire, centerfire, or shotgun, except you may only use and possess non lead ammunition in the condor zone and while hunting on all state-owned lands.

For regulations on the use of lights, please check the California Mammal Hunting Regulations booklet (CCR Title 14, section 264 on page 18 and Fish and Game Code, section 2005 on page 20).

Why Is Abalone Season Closing During July?

Q: Just curious, why is abalone season closed in July? (Ashton H.)

A: The July break in abalone season was instituted to help conserve the resource. Originally, a two-month summer closure was proposed for the recreational abalone season, but it was reduced to one month — July — to avoid the possible negative economic impacts on North Coast areas that rely on tourism. Because weather and ocean conditions are usually better in July, and many people take vacations and visit the North Coast at that time, July was chosen as the summer month to give abalone a “break” from the heavy take that occurs during the summer. This measure is to help California’s red abalone population remain a healthy resource.

Where’s the Best Beach to Watch a Grunion Run?

Q: Where is the best beach to take my son to in Southern California to see the grunion? I realize it’s a bit of a guess but I would really like him to see them. Do you have any educated guesses? (Jeffrey D.H.)

A: You are correct that it really is anyone’s guess where grunion will run ashore since just about any sandy beach in Southern California is fair game to the grunion! But, for a list of known grunion beaches, please visit our Amazing Grunion web page at (look under Best Locations). Best of luck! I hope you and your son are able to see a grunion run!

— Carrie Wilson is a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish & Wildlife. She can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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More Travelers Expected to Hit Roadways, Skies for Fourth of July Weekend

By | Published on 07/02/2015


More people are expected to travel the roads and skies this Fourth of July weekend than since 2007.

The number of folks journeying from home over the long holiday weekend is expected to increase slightly — less than 1 percent — to 41.9 million nationwide, according to a Triple A traveler forecast.

Nearly 80 percent of Southern Californians will drive to their destinations, equating to 2.4 million people, the report said.

The Santa Barbara Airport is on the ready, however, since another 355,000 of those residents are expected to venture by air — an increase of 1.4 percent from 2014.

Passengers started departing for long weekend getaways on Wednesday, said airport director Hazel Johns, who expected most travelers to return to Santa Barbara on Monday or Tuesday.

Seattle and Portland are two popular destinations, Johns said, noting those Alaska Airlines flights were over 90 percent full, which is “very high.”

The boost could help the Santa Barbara Airport, which saw two airlines pull flights from its terminal during the past year.

“We’re closing the gap from the loss of Americans’ flights to L.A. and Frontier Airlines,” Johns said. “We’re still down overall.”

She encouraged passengers to leave fireworks at home and to arrive 90 minutes before departure to find parking, check luggage and go through security. Johns also plugged a new Thanks Again program, where passengers sign up for free and accrue points or dollars by flying out of Santa Barbara and several other airports.

Since so many Southern California residents are expected to drive to destinations over the Independence Day holiday, the California Highway Patrol and local law enforcement agencies will be out in full force to reduce roadway deaths and to prevent injuries.

An Independence Day Maximum Enforcement Period begins at 6 p.m. Friday and continues through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, according to the CHP.

All available officers will be deployed, targeting enforcement on occupant restraints, speed violations and those driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

According to CHP data, 32 people were killed statewide during Fourth of July weekend last year — 70 percent of those killed were not wearing a seatbelt — and more than 1,300 were arrested for DUI.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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George Runner: Attempts to Change California’s Proposition 13 Are Misguided

By | Published on 07/02/2015


There’s been no shortage of attempts in recent years in the state Legislature to overhaul Proposition 13 — California’s landmark initiative protecting homeowners and small-business owners from out-of-control property taxes.

George Runner
George Runner

Multiple bills have taken aim at the proposition, but the most popular among these bills pushes the so-called “split roll” property tax, which would eliminate Prop. 13 protections for job creators but leave them in place for homeowners. This split roll idea is especially favored by lawmakers who are eager to bring more money into state coffers.

Given that California has the highest poverty rate in the nation, it seems a bit out of touch, if not downright greedy, for lawmakers to focus on funding government instead of making sure there are economic opportunities for everyone.

A recent study from Pepperdine University shows that split roll would increase property taxes on businesses by an estimated $6 billion. But the same study also shows that split roll could trigger the loss of nearly 400,000 jobs and cost California’s economy a total of $71.8 billion in output within the first five years.

That $71.8 billion loss would cause some serious harm to our fragile economy. Companies seeking to grow and add new jobs need a stable tax base. Why re-impose such financial instability at such a volatile time for our state?

Supporters of split roll often point to the “lost revenue” they claim has been caused by Prop. 13. That’s a misleading argument. Yes, property taxes are a major source of state revenue, but Prop. 13 opponents won’t tell you that even with taxpayer protections, actual property tax revenue has grown steadily since voters approved Prop. 13 in 1978.

For the fiscal year of 2014-15, property taxes accounted for $52 billion in revenue. That’s up from $34.2 billion for the fiscal year of 2004-05. Prop. 13 is not starving government.

Opponents of Prop. 13 put too much focus on large corporations that maintain property in California. They say these corporations unduly benefit from Prop. 13’s protections. However, the simple truth of the matter is that if split roll were to pass, it’s the smaller businesses in your community that would be hit the hardest.

And despite public opinion polls that suggest there’s a willingness to tweak Prop. 13, a recent Public Policy Institute of California poll shows support has dwindled for making changes to the law. Today, 50 percent of likely voters say they favor split roll taxes, while 44 percent say they oppose. That’s down from 60 percent of likely voters in 2012.

Let’s not forget the reason why Prop. 13 passed in the first place: In the 1970s, county governments up and down the state routinely raised property tax rates, in many cases forcing families, especially those on fixed incomes, out of their homes. Left with no other alternative, Californians overwhelmingly passed Prop 13.

There is a valid point to be made for closing a loophole related to Proposition 13. Today, a few bad actors purposefully manipulate the change of ownership paperwork when buying and selling properties in order to escape property tax reassessments. I’m open to closing that loophole, and so is the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.

But there’s no reason to gut Prop. 13’s tax protections for homeowners and businesses alike, and usher in massive, job-killing property tax increases. It’s clear that most Californians agree.

The business owners and homeowners I hear from every day want, and deserve, stability and certainty in our tax code. Given their contributions to California’s economy, that’s the least we can do.

George Runner represents more than 9 million Californians as a taxpayer advocate and elected member of the California Board of Equalization. The opinions expressed are his own.


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Goleta City Leaders Making the Move to Protect, Identify Historic Buildings

By | Published on 07/02/2015


More than a decade after becoming a city, Goleta plans to create a Historic Preservation Ordinance and appoint a Historic Landmarks Commission

Thirteen years after Goleta became a city, the City Council wants to create a Historic Preservation Ordinance to protect old buildings and appoint a Historic Landmarks Commission. 

Goleta currently has a list of Santa Barbara County-designated landmarks, but it lacks any formal process for designating new properties, or enforcement measures to stop builders from altering any of the county-designated landmarks.

With development projects happening on seemingly every street corner and developers building restaurants, hotels and apartments at a rapid-fire pace, Goleta is looking to get a historic preservation ordinance on the books to catch up with the flurry of change swarming the city. 

"I am real concerned if someone comes in with a demolition permit because I have a feeling it will be authorized and it would be gone and that will be a mistake," Councilman Michael Bennett said.

The Goleta City Council tackled the subject at this week's meeting and voted 4-0, with Jim Farr absent, to direct its ordinance committee to develop a Historic Preservation Ordinance.

Bennett initially wanted Goleta to adopt the county's historic preservation ordinance so that Goleta would have something in place immediately. He noted that Goleta still doesn't have a zoning ordinance on the books.

"We don't move quickly," Bennett said. "I wish to move quickly."

But other council members, and Planning Director Jennifer Carman, wanted to start from zero.

"I have waited too long for this and I don't want to just throw some ordinance in that hasn't been reviewed by our staff or legal counsel," Councilman Roger Aceves said. "We need to adopt one that works for Goleta and we ought to do it right."

Goleta has a list of 46 "historic resources." Places on the list include The Timbers Restaurant Building, built in the 1940s; Stow House, built in 1872; Goleta Valley Community Center, built in 1927; Goleta Bakery, built in 1932; and Santa Cruz Market, formerly an airplane hangar, built in 1939.

Any building over 50 years old is considered a potentially historic building. 

Councilman Tony Vallejo said the city needs to move fast because "people are doing things," especially in Old Town Goleta.

"I am concerned about work being done to historic structures," Vallejo said. 

Council members and staff weren't on the same page for creating a commission to review historic processes. 

"The commission idea, I would fear after the ordinance is in place, they would meet very rarely," Carman said. "I wouldn't want to see, and maybe I am just thinking this out too far, we're planners, that's what we do, a frustrated commission that doesn't have enough to do."

Members of the council disagreed. 

"I think the commission is an important part of it," Mayor Paula Perotte said. 

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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California National Organization for Women Backs Schneider for Congress

By | Published on 07/02/2015


On the heels of earning a formidable endorsement from Feminist Majority Executive Director Katherine Spillar earlier this week, on Thursday National Organization for Women (NOW) California Chapter President Patricia Bellasalma endorsed Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider for California’s 24th Congressional District seat.

In announcing her support, Bellasalma released the following statement:

“I am pleased to endorse Helene Schneider for Congress. As a leader in the gender equity movement, I am confident that Helene will be a force in Washington on behalf of all women and girls. Through her work at Planned Parenthood and on the Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee, Helene has demonstrated her commitment to important causes like equal pay for equal work, choice, and a range of other women’s equity issues. She has my enthusiastic support.”

Responding to news of the endorsement, Schneider stated:

“It’s a real honor to have the support of California NOW President Patricia Bellasalma. She’s been a tireless advocate for the feminist movement, gender equity, and protecting the rights of women and girls both in California and throughout our nation. I am excited to be partnering closely with her in my campaign and beyond.”

Earlier this week, Spillar released the following statement:

“In the most advanced nation on the planet, it's unfathomable that our U.S. Congress is comprised of a mere 19 percent women. Not only do we need more women in office, but we need more experienced, battle tested, visionary and highly capable women. That's precisely why I'm endorsing Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider for Congressional District 24. As mayor and as a local leader in the women's right's movement, she's built up a long record of advocacy and deliverables for her constituents. I know she'll make an outstanding representative in Congress.”

Additionally, Schneider has earned the backing of several local women leaders, including the following Past Presidents of the Santa Barbara Women's Political Committee:

» Santa Barbara Women's Political Committee Past President Sharon Hoshida

» Santa Barbara Women's Political Committee Past President Lois Phillips

» Santa Barbara Women's Political Committee Past President Alissa Hummer

» Santa Barbara Women's Political Committee Past President and City of Goleta Mayor Margaret Connell (retired)

» Santa Barbara Women's Political Committee Past President Jane Gray

Schneider’s campaign has been amassing a wide-ranging list of significant supporters from women, education, environmental, gun violence prevention, LGBTQ, working people, and small business leaders as well as local elected officials and key organizations, including the following:

» Women’s Political Committee

» League of Humane Voters California Chapter

» Congresswoman Diane Watson (retired)

» CALIFORNIA LIST founder and President Bettina Duval

» California Board of Equalization Chairman Jerome Horton

» California State Assemblyman Richard Bloom, former CA Coastal Commissioner

» City of Ventura Mayor Cheryl Heitmann

» City of Goleta Mayor Paula Perotte

» Hope School District Board of Trustees Member Kristi Newton

» City of Santa Barbara City Council Member Harwood "Bendy" White

» City of Ventura City Council Member Carl E. Morehouse

» Santa Barbara Unified School District Board President H. Edward Heron 

» Environmental Defense Center Founder Marc McGinnes

» Central Coast Water Quality Control Board Member (retired) and Santa Barbara City Planning Commissioner Michael Jordan

» Santa Barbara City Housing Authority Commissioner (retired) and board member with Coalition Against Gun Violence Christine Silverstein

» Santa Barbara City Housing Authority Commissioner Catherine Woodford

» Santa Barbara City Housing Authority Commissioner Don Olsen

» Santa Barbara City Council Member Grant House (retired)

» Founder of The Key Class John Daly

» Santa Barbara City Planning Commissioner Bruce Bartlett (retired)

» Santa Barbara City Parks & Recreation Commissioner Lesley Wiscomb

» Pacific Pride Foundation former Executive Director David Selberg

» Small-business owner: Studio One Hair Designs, LGBTQ advocate Robert Johns

» LGBTQ community activist Steve Warner

» LGBTQ supporter and owner of Jill’s Place, Jill Shalhoob

» International Union of Operating Engineers (I.U.O.E.) Local 501

» International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 36

» International Association of Heat & Frost Insulators, Fire Stoppers and Allied Workers Local 5

Schneider was elected to her second term as Santa Barbara’s mayor in November 2013. She has served at Santa Barbara City Hall since January 2004, winning her first election as City Council member in 2003 and first election as mayor in 2009.

Schneider serves in leadership roles on a number of regional-wide policy issues, such as transportation, air quality, solid waste, public education, youth violence prevention and homelessness. She represents the City of Santa Barbara on the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments, Air Pollution Control District, Multi-Jurisdictional Solid Waste Task Force, Partners in Education, the South Coast Task Force on Youth Gangs and the Central Coast Collaborative on Homelessness. She is the immediate past-president of the League of California Cities Channel Counties Division.

Prior to elected office, Mayor Schneider spent 11 years in human resources management at Planned Parenthood of Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo Counties.

For more information, visit


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Letter to the Editor: Get Real About Renewable Energy

By | Published on 07/02/2015


In his excessively long-winded critique of my article about the misleading junk county Supervisors Salud Carbajal and Janet Wolf have laid on us, Irv Beiman fails, as they do, to name any renewable energy sources except solar.

He pounds his chest about solar on his house. I have it, too. It works fine. However, it cost $80,000 to buy and install. I wonder how many families are capable of that kind of expense in their budgets? True, you can put down around 20 percent and pay off the rest, but the payoff is still roughly equivalent to the average PG&E bill that most folks pay. In the best of circumstances, in about three years, you might break even with your PG&E bill. However, you still have to pay off the balance of 80 percent. Oh, and by the way, Beiman mentions that he has storage batteries. I would ask at what cost to buy and install. I guess he needs them because the sun just doesn't shine all the time.

Beiman also lapses into some bull about my being in the past, etc. I would warrant that I have a lot more knowledge about renewable energy than he apparently does. I would love to stop oil production ASAP. But there is nothing to replace it.

In years to come it is my fervent hope that Beiman and others like him who would try to get rid of oil now with promises of renewable energy sources are not honest. I absolutely favor renewables. Just tell me what they are, their present state, their distribution system, their cost, etc.

I am very aware that most oil companies are researching renewable energy sourcing while producing what Beiman doesn't want to acknowledge: There just is not a feasible energy source available today to replace oil. These companies want nothing more than to be in the forefront of profitable renewable energy.

I will join with him and any others who are willing to put their shoulders to the wheel and subsidize technology innovation that will replace oil. So, join up, Beiman, and try to get real.

Oh, and by the way, address the thesis of my article and don't burden readers with a lot of political rhetoric.

Lee Rosenberg


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Morgen Benevedo Promoted to Multifamily Housing Development Director at Peoples’ Self-Help Housing

By | Published on 07/02/2015


Morgen Benevedo
Morgen Benevedo

Morgen Benevedo has been promoted from project manager to director of multifamily housing development at Peoples’ Self-Help Housing, a nonprofit affordable housing and services provider headquartered in San Luis Obispo.

He has worked in the department since 2013 and contributed greatly to its successes.

Prior to joining PSHH, Benevedo was program manager at a major aerospace company. His past experience also includes land use planning as an assistant planner and clerk at two Central Coast municipalities.

He holds a Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification from the Project Management Institute.

Benevedo earned a bachelor of arts degree in political science from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of La Verne.

He enjoys playing the guitar and reading nonfiction.

“We are very pleased to promote Morgen Benevedo to his new position,” said John Fowler, president/CEO of Peoples’ Self-Help Housing. “He brings a lot of knowledge, enthusiasm and experience to the complex world of developing and financing affordable multifamily housing.”

— Angel Pacheco is a publicist representing Peoples’ Self-Help Housing.


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UCSB Collaborates with Santa Barbara County to Digitize Historical Records of Board of Supervisors

By | Published on 07/02/2015


In an effort to expand public access to government records, and to preserve an extensive survey of local history, UC Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara County have joined forces to digitize and archive 127 years worth of legislative records.

From construction of the now-iconic county courthouse to the purchase of the beloved County Bowl, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors debated and decided many of the matters that made the seaside city what it is today. Each and every one of their discussions was recorded — first by hand, later by typewriter — and saved in minute books of board meetings from the first recorded day of county history, November 18, 1850, into early April 1977, when archiving moved to microfiche.

A unique partnership between UCSB and the county will soon see those historical volumes — all 215 of them, some 90,000 pages in total — available and searchable both online and in person. Once restored and digitized, the books will be transferred to the campus, where they will reside in UCSB Library’s Special Research Collections.

“This is a great county and UCSB community project that shows all the potential for these kinds of cooperative ventures in terms of preserving history and making it more accessible,” said John Majewski, UCSB’s interim dean of humanities and fine arts and a professor of history. “And it’s using the expertise of the university in ways that allow people to better understand the history of where they live. I think it’s exciting.”

A selection of the books is now available for a first-ever public viewing as part of a new exhibition at the Channing Peake Gallery inside the Santa Barbara County Administration Building, 105 East Anapamu Street, through September 18. An opening reception for that show, ‘For the People, By the People: Government at Work in Santa Barbara,’ will be held July 2, from 5 to 8 p.m.

“It is critically important that we invest in the preservation of these unique and fragile records which document the history of our county from its very beginning,” said Third District County Supervisor Doreen Farr, a collaborator on the effort. “I am hopeful that this exhibition and corresponding restoration project will enable the public to make new discoveries about Santa Barbara County’s rich local history.”

The project was launched more than a year ago by Mike Allen, clerk of the board for the county, when he approached UCSB historians about a potential collaboration. The endeavor has since tapped scholars and students alike, in the departments of history and of art history, Majewski said, for their knowledge about the value of such records and the best way to display them for viewing.

Also actively involved from the beginning, the UCSB Library will house the original bound volumes in a state-of-the-art storage system for special research collections. The books will be available for the public to view when the library’s new building formally opens in 2016.

“It’s a wonderful example of a partnership among public institutions,” University Librarian Denise Stephens said of the project. “The UCSB Library is honored to bring its expertise to a partnership that ensures the persistence of these original documents and their accessibility to taxpayers and researchers in the years to come.”

For UCSB, the archive effort will also be an especially huge boon to research and teaching, according to Majewski, himself a scholar of 19th-century U.S. history with an emphasis on political economy.

“These kinds of sources are gold mines,” he said. “These books lead you to names of movers and shakers at the time, what the political environment was, where the debates were. Looking at them you begin to realize that decisions that were made in 1850, maybe for somewhat random reasons, actually played huge role in future development of the community. For researchers, sources like these are really, really important.

“And it’s going to be great for students,” he continued of the collection that will ultimately reside on campus. “For undergraduates who are learning the ropes of what it means to be a historian, what it means to be a researcher, to have all these volumes and all this information and see how to make use of it and connect it with other sources of evidence is a really exciting opportunity.”

Providing a unique and invaluable window into the past of the Santa Barbara community, the books are the sole record of the county’s legislative history. They offer a wealth of information about the formation and growth of the county, detailing its political climate as well as developments in architecture, education, infrastructure, land use, public health, policies and more.

Recognition of the records’ historical significance, as well as of public interest in the documents and the physical fragility of the aging volumes themselves is what inspired the county to engage UCSB in executing a plan to restore, digitize and archive the books.

The campus is grateful for the opportunity.

“With this kind of historical source I think this partnership is unique, which is what made it so exciting and why we were so eager and enthusiastic to partner with the county,” Majewksi said. “The history department benefits, the humanities and fine arts benefit, the library benefits and the county benefits. It just made a lot of sense. We’re delighted that the county reached out because we can show the community this is the value of having a major research university in the area. These types of partnerships are possible and they can really do great things.”

— Shelly Leachman represents the UCSB Office of Public Affairs and Communications.


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Public Assistance Requested in Goleta Traffic Collision Investigation

By | Published on 07/02/2015


One person suffered major injuries, another suffered minor injuries from a two-vehicle collision in Goleta at the intersection of Patterson Avenue and Overpass Road Tuesday afternoon. (Mike Eliason / Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo)

The Santa Barbara County Goleta Traffic Unit is requesting public assistance for a traffic collision that occurred Tuesday at approximately 3:30 p.m. on South Patterson Avenue and Overpass Road.  

A silver Volvo SUV was traveling southbound on Patterson Avenue when it struck the driver side of a silver Mercedes traveling eastbound to northbound from Overpass Road onto Patterson Avenue.  

The force of the collision caused the Mercedes to spin counterclockwise coming to rest in the intersection blocking the southbound lane of Patterson Avenue.  

The female driver of the Mercedes had to be extricated from the car due to the heavy damage to the driver’s side area. She was transported to a local hospital with severe injuries and is recovering at this time.

The driver of the Volvo sustained minor injuries and was treated at the scene and released.

The Goleta Traffic Unit is requesting anyone who witnessed the collision to call Deputy Green at 805.961.7518.

— Kelly Hoover is a public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department


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After Historic Marriage Equality Ruling, This Year’s Pacific Pride Festival Has Much to Celebrate

By | Published on 07/02/2015


Come out and celebrate the recent historic Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality at Pacific Pride Foundation’s annual Pacific Pride Festival on July 11 from noon to 7 p.m. at De la Guerra Plaza in downtown Santa Barbara.

Belinda Carlisle, leader singer of The Go-Go’s, will be the headliner of this year's Pacific Pride Festival.

This year’s festival will provide the community with an opportunity to come together and celebrate the country’s momentous marriage equality victory while enjoying an afternoon of performances by talented musicians and entertainers.

“After years of hard work, we are thrilled to be celebrating this historic victory,” Jackie VanLingen, events manager at the Pacific Pride Foundation, said about the recent marriage equality ruling, “This year’s Pacific Pride Festival is going to be extra special as we come together as a community and recognize what we have collectively accomplished.”

This year’s Pacific Pride Festival will be featuring Belinda Carlisle, lead singer of the world renowned band The Go-Go’s known for its hits “Our Lips Are Sealed” and “We Got the Beat,” as its esteemed headliner for the event. Carlisle will also be taking the stage later in the event to perform her own live music.

The event will also feature performances by Rupaul’s Drag Race contestants and Laganja Estranja and Mariah Balenciaga, local talent Tina Schlieske & the Gracedland Exiles with Sister Laura, international pop sensation JCarson, legendary drag diva Tommi Rose and many more.

The Pacific Pride Festival aims to create a safe, welcoming environment to unite and celebrate the beautifully diverse LGBTQ community and its allies. The mission is to build community, foster visibility, and celebrate sexual and gender diversity while raising funds for LGBTQ and HIV programs and services in Santa Barbara County.

The event is free admission and will be have food, wine and beer available for purchase. Guests are encouraged to attend and show their pride while enjoying an array of vendors and a spectacular entertainment lineup.

Sponsorships are available for those who would like to support Pacific Pride Foundation and its vital programs and services for the LGBTQ and HIV communities.

For more information, click here or contact VanLingen at [email protected] or 805.963.3636 x111.

— Lauren Gunther is a publicist representing the Pacific Pride Foundation.


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UCSB Offers Admissions to More Than 29,000 for Fall 2015

By | Published on 07/02/2015


UC Santa Barbara has offered a place in its fall 2015 entering class to a total of 23,074 high school seniors. The prospective UCSB freshmen were selected from a total of 70,474 freshman applicants — the largest applicant pool in UCSB history. The campus expects its fall 2015 entering freshman class to number about 4,380.

The unprecedented academic qualifications and diversity of applicants made fall 2015 admissions the most selective in campus history.

With a top 10 ranking, 11 national centers and institutes, and more than 100 research units, UCSB offers unparalleled learning opportunities for undergraduate students. The world-class faculty includes six Nobel laureates, two Academy and Emmy Award winners, and a Millennium Technology Prize recipient.

Of the applicants admitted to UCSB, the average high school GPA is an all-time high of 4.19, and the average total score achieved on the required SAT is 1975 out of a possible 2400. In addition, of all applicants admitted, 24 percent identify themselves as members of a racial or ethnic minority group. (Individual applicants are not identified to the campuses by race or ethnicity until after admission decisions are made.)

Admission to UCSB continues to be competitive. This year, just over 32 percent were offered a place in next fall’s entering class, down from 36 percent last year.

Based on preliminary admissions data, of the 14,801 students seeking to transfer to UC Santa Barbara, 6,571 California community college students have been offered a spot. The number of transfer applications increased this year by 615, or 4.3 percent. All UC undergraduate campuses except Merced saw an increase in transfer applications.

UCSB acceptance letters were sent in mid-March, and applicants were able to check their admission status via a protected website. Freshman applicants accepted by any UC campus had until May 1 to submit a Statement of Intent to Register.

Led by Chancellor Henry T. Yang, UCSB officials and faculty and staff members have been working diligently to ensure that the class enrolled this fall is the campus’s most talented and diverse ever. In March, Yang served as the host of well-attended California receptions in Los Angeles and San Jose for high-achieving applicants. At these events, volunteers from the UCSB campus — faculty and staff members, as well as alumni and students — met with applicants and their family members to answer questions about UCSB academic programs, student life, financial aid and other topics. Receptions were also hosted at several locations outside of California.

“The admissions office staff reviewed more than 85,000 applications from highly qualified students so selection was extremely competitive,” said Lisa Przekop, director of admissions at UCSB. “In terms of grade-point-average and test scores, the admitted students are the highest-achieving in UCSB’s history. We look forward to welcoming our new freshman and transfer students to campus in the fall and are confident they will make significant contributions to our community of student scholars.”

The UC system received a record 193,873 applications for fall 2015 — 158,146 from freshman applicants and 35,727 from transfer applicants. All nine undergraduate campuses experienced increases in freshman applicants.

The 2015 freshman enrollment target of 4,380 is slightly lower than last year’s target of 4,550. The smaller target is related to an increased undergraduate retention rate. For the same reason, the 2015 enrollment target for new transfer students remains steady at 1,550.

Of all applicants admitted, 81 percent, or 24,406, are California residents. Among those California students, members of underrepresented minority groups (African-American, American Indian and Chicano and Latino students) totaled 6,737 or 29 percent.

— Andrea Estrada represents the UCSB Office of Public Affairs and Communications.


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Robert Perry: A Call to Arms for Local Renewable Energy

By | Published on 07/02/2015


California now faces a critical juncture in energy policy: The state’s energy infrastructure is well beyond its projected useful life, and many older plants are scheduled to be shuttered in the near future. The resulting energy vacuum presents an incredible opportunity to transition our infrastructure to a distributed system where renewable energy is generated, stored and distributed within community microgrids that are no longer reliant on an antiquated and vulnerable network of long-distance transmission lines.

This vulnerability is especially true for South Santa Barbara County, which receives most of its energy via a single transmission line.

State regulators are acutely aware of the coming power vacuum, and a wide slate of policy hearings are under way to not only overhaul the state’s energy infrastructure, but do so in a manner that will enable the state to reach its accelerating greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets. Regrettably, a disconnect exists between policy and development that threatens to adversely impact how energy will be developed in the Santa Barbara area.

While policy hearings aggressively push to develop more renewable energy, current plans by utilities are almost exclusively limited to building natural gas turbines. Unfortunately, in a world where the threats from climate change expand exponentially, we do not have the luxury to engage in timid incrementalism and must push the industry to act boldly.

In researching the transition to a 100 percent renewable energy economy, it is apparent that the problem must be addressed from a variety of perspectives. First, various technologies must be implemented that enable the collection, storage, and distribution of renewable energy. Second, financing resources must be secured to manufacture and install the needed infrastructure. Third, political leaders must be willing to place a high value and priority on developing distributed renewable energy. And finally, an active majority of citizens must demand that government and business leaders act quickly to replace fossil fuel energy with renewable sources.

It’s no coincidence that social activism falls last on the list as it is the least developed variable in the equation. Technologies exist to create a renewable energy infrastructure, as well as numerous methods to finance energy development, and political leadership throughout California has placed a high priority on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The supreme irony is that social will is the most powerful and transformative agent, and can vastly accelerate the overall pace of transition. THAT is where we ALL come into the picture.

California energy policy is generally formed in secluded hearing rooms, where the process occurs largely “out of sight, out of mind” to the general public. Such is the case in the current proceeding before the Public Utilities Commission to approve energy development for south Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, where the World Business Academy is participating as an intervening party and is advocating for local renewable energy development.

However, as part of this proceeding, a Public Participation Hearing has been scheduled for 6 p.m. July 15 at the Oxnard Performing Arts Center. This event will be the only opportunity for the public to directly voice its opposition to state regulators on a proposed development that will haunt us for decades to come. To encourage attendance, the World Business Academy is chartering buses to transport concerned citizens to this hearing. Those interested in attending can reserve a seat online by clicking here or by calling 805.892.4600.

The perception of public sentiment by state regulators will largely be shaped by what transpires at this public hearing. If a large, passionate and coordinated block of opposition is present at the hearing, the adverse consequences from disregarding public sentiment will be recognized and be carefully considered when a proposed decision is issued to the commission.

Right now, committing to ride to Oxnard for this July 15 hearing is the single greatest act to support local development of renewable energy. As in 1969, when Santa Barbara’s passionate response to the oil spill ignited the environmental movement, we face an historic opportunity to tip the scales toward a renewable energy revolution. The only question is whether on July 16, enough concerned citizens can honestly say they helped transform an opportunity into reality.

— Robert Perry is the project manager and director of energy research at the nonprofit World Business Academy in Santa Barbara.


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Bacara Resort & Spa Names Vincent Lesage as Executive Chef

By | Published on 07/02/2015


Chef Vincent Lesage

Bacara Resort & Spa in Santa Barbara is pleased to announce the appointment of Vincent Lesage as executive chef.

“Chef Lesage’s impressive career includes three-star Michelin restaurants in Paris as well as experience at some of the world’s most luxurious hotels,” said Kathleen Cochran, managing director of Bacara Resort & Spa. “We are thrilled to share in his expertise as we reinvent our culinary program.”

After graduating from the Institut Paul Bocuse in Ecully, France, Lesage trained at some of the world’s most celebrated establishments, including The Ritz Paris, the Michelin three-star restaurant, L’Astrance, and Michelin three-star restaurant, Bras.

Most recently, Lesage served as executive chef of Balboa Bay Resort in Newport Beach, where he opened two of the city’s only waterfront restaurants, Waterline and A&O Kitchen + Bar. Prior to that, he served as executive sous chef at St. Regis Monarch Beach, managing a culinary team of more than 60.

Today, as executive chef of Bacara’s renowned culinary program, Lesage will oversee the resort’s six dining experiences, including a new signature restaurant opening spring 2016.

When asked about his vision for Bacara, Lesage said, “I approach every outlet as its own distinct concept. From a healthy breakfast at Spa Café to a casual family meal at The Bistro, each experience is unique, and each experience is exceptional.”

When Lesage is not in the kitchen, he enjoys spending time with his family and exploring Santa Barbara’s museums.

— Anne Elcon is the marketing director for Bacara Resort & Spa.


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Rep. Xavier Becerra Endorses Salud Carbajal for Congress

By | Published on 07/02/2015


In strong show of support, Rep. Xavier Becerra endorsed Salud Carbajal for Congress.

Becerra joins Rep. Lois Capps in headlining a growing list of more than 100 elected officials, business and community leaders who have endorsed Carbajal for Congress. Capps recently announced her endorsement of Carbajal after announcing earlier this year that she would not be seeking re-election.

“Salud Carbajal has brought Democrats and Republicans together to solve problems in Santa Barbara County,” Becerra said. “We need more of that kind of leadership in Washington and that’s why I’m proud to endorse Salud.

Becerra is chairman of the House Democratic Caucus and the highest-ranking Latino Democrat in the House of Representatives.

“It is truly an honor to receive the endorsement of Congressman Xavier Becerra,” Carbajal said. “I have long admired the work he has done to increase opportunities for middle-class families and working to strengthen Social Security and Medicare for our seniors. I look forward to working with him on these issues in Congress.”

Other community leaders already endorsing Carbajal for Congress include:

» Congresswoman Lois Capps
» California Secretary of State Alex Padilla
» Former Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell
» Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley
» San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Bruce Gibson
» Santa Barbara County Supervisor Janet Wolf
» Ventura County Supervisors Steve Bennett, Kathy Long and John Zaragoza
» San Luis Obispo Mayor Jan Marx and Councilmembers Carlyn Christianson, Dan Rivoire and John Ashbaugh

Carbajal was raised in Oxnard and graduated from UCSB, the first in his family to go to college. He went on to serve eight years in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves. He was elected to the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors in 2004, where he’s established a track record of bringing people together to get results for the Central Coast.

He’s running for Congress to continue fighting for opportunity for middle-class families and to protect the special quality of life we enjoy here on the Central Coast.

He lives in Santa Barbara with his wife, Gina, and son, Michael.

— Cory Black is a publicist representing the Salud Carbajal for Congress Campaign.


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890 Glen Annie Road, Goleta 93117

By | Published on 07/01/2015


One of a kind, rarely available! This unique property consisting of 1½ acres of land is located in Glen Annie Canyon, surrounded by large ranches, rolling hills and gorgeous mountain views.

The current owners have completely remodeled the main residence to include a Thermador, six-burner gas range, stainless-steel appliances, custom cabinets, walnut floors, vaulted ceilings, skylights, Pella windows and doors, and much more.

They have taken advantage of the outdoor space to add countless amenities, which include:

The living area of the main house opens to a large, private patio with an outdoor kitchen that includes a commercial barbecue, refrigerator, sink, ample seating and a flat-screen TV with surround sound.

The studio has its own deck, as does the Avion trailer, which is completely refurbished and serves as a great guest house. The property has approximately 40 avocado trees, 14 citrus and various other trees. Horseshoe pits, RV parking, dog run and chicken coop also are available. The property is also zoned for horses.

» A creekside studio completely separate from the main house which has maple wood floors, a flat screen TV, and vaulted ceilings.

» The guest cottage is actually a perfectly restored 34-foot Avion travel trailer that includes a kitchen and bath.

» There is a mature orchard with avocado, orange, grapefruit and Meyer lemon trees. There are approximately 40 avocado trees and 14 citrus trees.

» Ample parking allows for more than one recreation vehicle just outside the gates to the grounds.

This property offers the ultimate in peace and serenity yet it is minutes from the best that Goleta has to offer. Bacara Resort & Spa, Sandpiper Golf Course, Camino Real Marketplace, local beaches, UC Santa Barbara, Dos Pueblos High School and Glen Annie Golf Course are all practically next door.

Click here for more information about this property.

List Price $1,695,000

Gay Milligin
Keller Williams, Santa Barbara
[email protected]
BRE License #00683306

(Holly McCord Duncan​ / Keller Williams photo)
(Holly McCord Duncan​ / Keller Williams photo)


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14200 Calle Real, Gaviota 93117

By | Published on 07/01/2015


Villa della Costa overlooks Santa Barbara’s Gaviota coast and its vast panorama of spectacular untouched seaside landscape with breathtaking 360-degree views of the mountains, pastoral countryside, Pacific Ocean and Channel Islands.

The estate was conceived to reflect a passion for privacy, quality and the ever-inspiring drama of this remarkable setting. Newly built and completed in 2014, by architect J.M. Sewall & Associates with interior finishes designed by Mark Weaver & Associates and built by Kitchell, a luxury estate builder, the result is a perfect fusion of early California style with today’s demand for modern technology, convenience and comfort.

Surrounded by large coastal ranch properties, all 106 acres were hand-picked for optimum privacy and views, an ultimate hideaway.

The ultra-high-quality residence was designed as a sprawling single-level floor plan reflecting the rural ranch ambience of its surroundings.   Offering multiple areas for entertaining, the large-scale, well-proportioned rooms incorporate the awe-inspiring, expansive coastal setting.  Interiors are enhanced by custom hand-hewn walnut floors, steel windows and doors with bronze screens, Sun Valley bronze door hardware, and antiqued ceiling beams throughout.

New, high-quality concrete masonry and steel construction, antique roof tiles from Spain and Portugal, wine cellar and abundant private water add to its spectacular appeal.

Click here for more information about this property.

Randy Solakian
Coldwell Banker Previews International
[email protected]
BRE License #00622258

Deanna Solakian
Coldwell Banker Previews International
[email protected]
BRE License #01895788


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1420 East Valley Road, Montecito 93108

By | Published on 07/01/2015


Montecito’s best location at top of quiet country lane near Upper Village, schools, shops and restaurants, Bertram Goodhue’s “La Cabana” circa 1916 recently enlarged with respect to stone walls, brick and ironwork, thick adobe walls, old world charm and patina. Light and bright through-out, savory privacy, three-car garage, mature trees, recently built pool, outdoor fireplace and barbecue terrace. Mountain views.

Click here for more information about this property.

List Price $6,750,000

Randy Solakian
Coldwell Banker Previews International
[email protected]
BRE License #00622258

Deanna Solakian
Coldwell Banker Previews International
[email protected]
BRE License #01895788


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Dry Conditions, Mesa Fire Spark Officials’ Concerns About Use of Fireworks

By | Published on 07/01/2015


Only safe and sane versions are allowed in Santa Maria, Lompoc and Guadalupe while all types are banned throughout the rest of Santa Barbara County

The Mesa Fire near Lompoc has reignited concerns about the use of safe and sane fireworks for the Fourth of July, with officials reminding residents to use extreme precaution amid the very dry conditions and only in the three North County cities that allow sales.

For the third year, booths are set up at strategic locations and sales began at noon Sunday in Lompoc, one of three North County cities to allow the sale and use of safe and sane fireworks. In Santa Maria, 25 nonprofit groups are selling safe and sane fireworks from booths set up in the city, continuing sales that have gone on for more than a decade. Guadalupe also allows them to be sold and used.

The state-certified safe and sane fireworks are those that don’t fly or explode. 

Santa Barbara County’s other cities plus unincorporated areas, such as Orcutt, still prohibit all types of fireworks, according to Capt. David Zaniboni of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

“People need to understand the safe and sane fireworks are only allowed in the cities that they're sold," Zaniboni said.

While fireworks are not suspected of sparking the Mesa Fire, the area’s extremely dry vegetation and severe drought have renewed concerns about whether even safe and sane fireworks should be allowed locally. The Lompoc council reaffirmed its support in January despite fierce objections from the city’s fire and police chiefs.

As flames consumed dry vegetation, people on Lompoc-centric social media sites post critical comments regarding allowing the sale and use of safe and sane fireworks in the city.

“The Mesa incident is a very graphic example of just how dry the brush is, how quickly a fire can spread,” said Chief Kirk Latipow of the Lompoc Fire Department. “As we move into the Fourth of July, it’s our hope that folks, if they feel compelled they have to celebrate with fireworks, that they use the ‘safe and sane’ ones that are sold at stands in communities where they are legal.”

He also encouraged residents to discharge and discard of the fireworks per the manufacturers’ instructions.

People should not risk a chance of a wildfire by igniting any fireworks near brush, even those labeled safe and sane, he said.

“You can take a ‘safe and sane’ firework and set it in the brush and it will ignite a fire,” he said.

Latipow noted that improper disposal of fireworks sparked a blaze that damaged two north Merced homes recently. One of the homes belonged to an on-duty firefighter, according to the Merced Sun-Star article, which said investigators blamed the blaze on teenagers who discarded smoldering fireworks in a trash bin, leading to the fire.

Other tips include having water — a garden hose and a bucket — handy, lighting one firework at a time and never giving fireworks to small children. A dud firework should not be relit; instead wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water. 

“Whenever you’re using a firework or anything else that produces sparks and heat, there’s always going to be a danger,” Latipow said.

While the three cities allow the use of safe and sane fireworks, the rules are different. In Santa Maria, the fireworks can be used anytime during the sales period, which ends at noon July 5.

However, Lompoc only allows safe and sane fireworks use between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. on the Fourth of July. Sales end at 9 p.m. that day.

Despite the fire in the hills above Lompoc, customers were still buying Monday night from a booth near the Haggen grocery store.

Members of the First Apostolic Church of Lompoc in the Vons parking lot reported terrific sales as of Tuesday.

“The goal was to beat the prior day’s total and we definitely did that yesterday,” Heidi Clark said Tuesday while sitting near the church’s booth in the prime location. 

In addition to fireworks, the church set up another table selling other patriotic items under a nearby canopy, creating a colorful sight aimed at attracting drivers of vehicles traveling on H Street.

Root beer floats also will be added to the inventory so the underage kids can help in the fundraising, Clark said.

The church is a returning seller, one of a few to apply.

“I think people got discouraged. It is a lot of work,” Clark added.

Fireworks help the church pay for assorted causes such as supporting overseas missions. 

“This year we’re really hoping for a great turnout on the Fourth since the community show is that day,” Clark added.

While safe and sane fireworks are allowed, Lompoc and Santa Maria are plagued by illegal fireworks in the weeks around the Fourth of July, with unauthorized use leading to colorful displays and loud booms.

“It’s out of control,” Latipow said. “Myself and my colleagues agree it’s out of control. Until we can get control of the shipments at our borders, and not just our land border but our ports, we will continue to have this problem.”

He added that firefighting leaders appeal annually to people not to risk purchasing or discharging illegal fireworks.

“You have a certain level of risk with the ‘safe and sane.’ They’ve been regulated to a point to minimize the risk, but when you go with the illegal ones — the ones that explode, the ones that shoot in the air — that risk is out of sight.”

Santa Maria has set up a hotline at 805.925.0951 x3473 to report illegal fireworks sales, possession and use. Callers can remain anonymous. The line is checked weekdays. Anyone who sees something that could endanger a life should call 9-1-1.

Knowing that fireworks can cause dogs to run away in fear, Santa Barbara County Animal Services will open its shelters in the Santa Barbara area, Lompoc and Santa Maria Valley from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, July 5 for redemption of pets only.

Fourth of July is a day more pets go missing than any other day of the year, Animals Services representatives said on the agency’s Facebook page. 

Instead of taking dogs to fireworks shows, they should be kept at home with the windows closed and shades drawn. Turn on some music to help hide the sounds of the fireworks.

Some residents with extremely anxious dogs have to get vet-issued sedatives to help their pets survive the season.

County Fire Department officials are urging people to enjoy public displays of fireworks planned by local communities. 

“People just really need to leave the fireworks to the professionals," Zaniboni said. "It's really dangerous. They can cause injuries. They can cause fires. We're in an area that is so prone to fire after four years of drought, it's really scary to think about using fireworks."

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Fireworks Ruled Out as Cause of Lompoc’s Mesa Fire; Crews Fully Contain 320-Acre Blaze

By | Published on 07/01/2015


The Mesa Fire near Lompoc is fully contained, with a small crew of 40 expected to remain at the site Thursday to complete mop-up chores as investigators try to pinpoint the cause.

The investigation into how the 320-acre fire started is continuing, but Santa Barbara County Fire Department Capt. Dave Zaniboni said fireworks weren’t involved.

“I was told it was not fireworks," Zaniboni said. "They're not releasing any information about the cause."

The fire ignited Monday afternoon near the Mission Hills Community Services District's water treatment plant and flames raced eastward, threatening hundreds of residences in the area and leading to evacuations for hundreds of people.

The morning after the fire started, Santa Barbara County authorities sought information about the possible sighting of one or two people, reportedly young males, in the area at the time.

The Fire Department Tip Line can be reached by calling 805.686.5074.

By midday Wednesday, firefighters declared the blaze 95 percent surrounded with full containment expected by 6 p.m. as crews spent the day reinforcing containment lines, checking for hot spots and patrolling the fire.

The cost of fighting the fire has climbed to $650,000, Zaniboni added.

One firefighter suffered a leg injury. No structures were damaged or destroyed.

The force had dropped to 180 people Wednesday and firefighters were continuing to demobilize, according to Zaniboni.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Jeff Moehlis: The Adolescents and The Weirdos to Invade Velvet Jones

By | Published on 07/01/2015


Bassist Steve Soto talks to Noozhawk about his punk rock past

Released in 1981 and clocking in at under a half-hour, the debut album by The Adolescents — affectionately known as The Blue Album — helped to lay the groundwork for the emerging Southern California hard-core and skate punk scene. The teenage band that recorded The Blue Album didn't stay together for long, but their influence was felt strongly in SoCal and beyond.

Several reunions and albums followed, and although their ages are no longer in the adolescent range, The Adolescents continue to record and tour, with an upcoming show at Velvet Jones on Thursday, July 9. Tickets are available by clicking here.

Today's band includes original singer Tony Cadena and bassist Steve Soto, who answered Noozhawk's questions by email. Also on the program is L.A. punk rock pioneers The Weirdos.

                                                                        •        •

Jeff Moehlis: Back in the late 1970s/early '80s, were you a fan of The Weirdos, who will also be performing at the upcoming show?

Steve Soto: Yes, we were all big fans of The Weirdos. It is a big honor for us to have them on the tour.

JM: Before forming The Adolescents, you were in the original lineup of Agent Orange. What are some of your memories of that time?

SS: I was 14, and it was my first band. We played a few parties then started playing Hollywood. I played on "Bloodstains" ...  It was a blast but I wanted to write and be in a band with two guitarists, and we went our separate ways. ...  I think Mike [Palm] is awesome and love that Agent Orange is still out there doing it!

JM: The first Adolescents album is almost 35 years old. What are your reflections on that album?

SS: I've said this before: The album was not dated. It's about teenage alienation from the viewpoint of the teenager, so it means just as much to a disenfranchised kid today as it did in 1981.

JM: How did you know that Tony Cadena was the right singer for The Adolescents?

SS: Instinct. ... I just knew.

JM: Why did The Adolescents break up in 1981?

SS: We were kids. ... It all happened fast and then it imploded — 16 months from start to finish.

JM: What was the good, the bad and the ugly about the early SoCal punk and hard-core scenes?

SS: The good was the music, most of which still holds up. The bad was the drug and alcohol abuse that took many of our scene way too soon. And the violence was the ugly.

JM: What advice would you give to an aspiring musician?

SS: Don't give up if you feel it in your heart. Fight to make it happen.

JM: What are your plans, musical or otherwise, for the near future?

SS: We are gonna start on a new record in the fall after we finish our summer tour with The Weirdos, and go to South America in August.

JM: Do you want to set the record straight on anything related to The Adolescents, or otherwise?

SS: We don't hate children. [JM: The first song on The Blue Album is called "I Hate Children."]

JM: Where are you responding from?

SS: Somewhere in Connecticut.

— 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, The opinions expressed are his own.


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Union Bank Gives $10,000 to Peoples’ Self-Help Housing in Honor of Its 45th Anniversary

By | Published on 07/01/2015


Union Bank recently presented Peoples’ Self-Help Housing with a $10,000 check in recognition of the award-winning nonprofit’s 45th anniversary in 2015.

Founded in San Luis Obispo in 1970, Peoples’ Self-Help Housing has over the years expanded to Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, with more than 1,100 self-help homes completed and nearly 1,600 rental units developed. PSHH has been working to provide affordable housing and programs leading to self-sufficiency for low-income families, seniors and other special needs groups.

“Peoples’ Self-Help Housing was founded with a mission to provide affordable housing and programs to those most vulnerable in our communities, the working poor, seniors, veterans and people with disabilities," PSHH CEO/President John Fowler said. "It is community partners like Union Bank that have allowed us to fulfill this mission for 45 years and counting.”

PSHH kicked off its 45th anniversary year on April 23 with a luncheon at the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo. The festivities continue through Nov. 13 with the PSHH 45th Anniversary Gala Dinner & Auction, the Central Coast Taste of Hope, at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum.

Click here for more information.

— Angel Pacheco is a publicist representing Peoples’ Self-Help Housing.


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Crews Douse Fire Along Bike Path Near Goleta

By | Published on 07/01/2015


Cause of small blaze adjacent to Maria Ygnacio Creek remains under investigation

Firefighters made quick work of a small vegetation fire that broke out Wednesday afternoon along a bike path near Goleta, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

The blaze was reported shortly after 3:30 p.m. along the bike path, which runs along Maria Ygnacio Creek and behind some apartments and offices in the 100 block of South Patterson Avenue.

Two engine companies were able to quickly douse the flames, which were burning in grass and light brush, said fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni.

The fire charred an area roughly 50 by 100 feet, Zaniboni said.

No structures were damaged and no injuries were reported.

Cause of the fire remained under investigation.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Water-Quality Warning Issued for Leadbetter Beach

By | Published on 07/01/2015


Santa Barbara County's Public Health Department issued a warning Wednesday about bacteria levels that exceeded state standards at Leadbetter Beach in Santa Barbara, but no closure is planned.

The warning was issued after Willie Brummett, who conducts ocean water-testing at each local beach weekly for the county's environmental health services office, went out on Monday to test local waters. He tests water samples for three types of fecal indicator bacteria, including E. coli and enterococcus.

On Monday, he found that the level of enterococcus bacteria "was a little bit high for state standards," but not alarmingly high, since the standard is a fairly low bar, he said.

The source more than likely was bird feces or decaying seaweed or kelp, and Brummett said he observed "quite a bit of kelp in the surf zone," which can produce bacteria.

The department does not plan to close the beach, but Brummett encouraged swimmers to stay away from the storm drain, which is near Shoreline Cafe and the beach's bathrooms.

"It's a kind of 'go in the water at your own risk' thing," he said, adding that knowing what he knows after the testing, "I would swim."

More information on local ocean water quality can be found by clicking here.

The results are also updated weekly on the Ocean Water Quality Hotline at 805.681.4949.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Letter to the Editor: Preventing Underage Drinking, Drug Use Needs to Be Community Effort

By | Published on 07/01/2015


As a teenager, I have noticed that there is a new drug and alcohol trend among my peers. That trend is underage drinking and drug use on party buses.

I know these bus companies market themselves to adults; however, teens are able to reserve and rent a bus for their celebration.

I was surprised by what my peers were doing, specifically the amount of alcohol they were consuming. However, what shocked me the most was that the bus companies were allowing teenagers to rent their buses and to use drugs and alcohol on board. This violates a public utilities code, in that they’re allowing minors to consume alcohol and drugs.

If a minor is caught consuming alcohol on a charter bus, the driver must cancel the trip and contact all proper authorities; however, bus companies weren’t following the proper protocol. As a company they have a responsibility in preventing alcohol and drug use by minors. Also the bus drivers, as adults, have a responsibility to speak up and prevent underage drinking.

I would like to mention that I’m a student leader through Friday Night Live, a prevention program through the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse. I brought up this issue to our club advisor and he brought it to the attention of the Fighting Back Steering Committee. On April 20, local law enforcement, the superintendent of the Santa Barbara Unified School District, a representative of the Public Utilities Commission office and representatives from the bus companies met and spoke about PUC codes. The attendees also discussed ways they can prevent youth from consuming alcohol on their buses.

I believe this meeting was a wake-up call to all of the bus companies. We hope that bus companies realize that preventing underage drinking and drug use is not up to one agency or program but a team effort among the whole community.

I would like to thank you for covering this issue and for your efforts in informing our community about this trend. I believe that with the help of the community we can make our town a healthier and safer place for all youth.

Marina Morales
Santa Barbara


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Jim Hightower: What Moved Marriage Equality from Taboo to Justice?

By | Published on 07/01/2015


From 1956 until 2010, CBS television's daytime lineup included America's longest-running soap opera: As the World Turns. But times change, and now a real-life human drama of profound importance has debuted in America: "As the Generations Turn."

It's the inspiring story of our society's continuing struggle to evolve toward dignity and mutual respect ... as well as love. The moment came on June 26, 2015, when Justice Anthony Kennedy proclaimed from the ornate chamber of the Supreme Court: "The right to marry is a fundamental right inherent in the liberty of the person, and under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the 14th Amendment couples of the same sex may not be deprived of that right and that liberty."

Kennedy and Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor voted to make this higher level of inclusiveness the law of the land, but they are not the producers of it. Indeed, while the court's ruling debuts a new day, it is the culmination of generations of painful struggle by brave gay and lesbian activists and advocates. And it is particularly the product of a defiant and determined LGBTQ movement for equality that arose from the brutal police riot at the Stonewall Inn in New York on June 28, 1969.

This democratic evolution from rank inequality literally came out of America's closet, rising through only a few neighborhoods at first, but then entering the consciousness of today's youth. Rejecting the shibboleths, ignorance, fears and bigotry that previously permitted such intolerable discrimination, young people have, in a remarkably short amount of time, created a generational shift in the nation's consciousness.

The true Supremes are the people themselves, and it's their awakening enlightenment that has transformed marriage equality from taboo to simple justice.

It is unfortunately true, however, that not everyone has evolved on the issue of equality in our Land of the Free. The Supreme Court's ruling that states can no longer ban same-sex marriage has set off a cacophony of howling hyperbole by the GOP's far-out presidential wannabes.

"I will not acquiesce to an imperial court," blustered Fox News political huckster Mike Huckabee. "Resist and reject judicial tyranny," he bellowed. Huck even couched his cry for continued discrimination against gay people by likening it to Abe Lincoln's principled refusal to honor the court's 1857 ruling that African-Americans could not be citizens. Sure, Mike, you're a modern-day Lincoln — except that he was opposing discrimination, while you're demanding that government enforce it!

Then came the wild hair of the GOP's presidential menagerie, Donnie Trump, trumpeting his keen insight that the court's gay marriage decision is Jeb Bush's fault. Really. The Donald explained that Jeb's brother George appointed Chief Justice John Roberts to the court, so ... there you have it. Shhhh — let's not spoil Trump's hallucination by telling him that Roberts actually voted against letting gays marry.

Now on to Scott Walker, widely touted by the GOP's billionaires as the "serious" contender. Yet, he is seriously pushing a constitutional amendment to allow states to keep prohibiting same-sex marriages. "No one wants to live in a country where the government coerces people to act in opposition to their conscience," said Walker, apparently oblivious to the fact that state governments have long been coercing LGBTQ people to do exactly that. And now Walker is promising, if elected, to coerce them right back into a life of unconscionable injustice.

Every one of the 13 Republican presidential candidates is marching backward into the bigoted past, piously thumbing their noses not only at millions of gays and lesbians and their families, but also at the ever-growing majority of Americans — especially young people — who support marriage equality.

Jim Hightower is a national radio commentator, writer, public speaker and author of Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow. Click here to contact him, follow him on Twitter: @JimHightower, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.


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‘Self Defense Dating’ the Topic of Santa Barbara Matchmaking Event

By | Published on 07/01/2015


“Self Defense Dating” is the topic of an event from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. July 17 at Santa Barbara Women’s Self Defense, 517 De la Vina St., in conjunction with the launch of Santa Barbara Matchmaking’s new Social Club Calendar.

SB Matchmaking
Lisa Darsonval-Amador, left, and Tami Finseth.

This event is for single men and women to help them protect themselves on a date.

“This is something we are doing for the community, not just for ourselves,” said SB Women’s Self Defense owner Teri Coffee-McDuffie, who will also announce the start of a nonprofit group to provide self-defense training for those in the community who need it the most.

Last month, SB Matchmaking started offering a free trial of its new online Social Club Calendar listing to help Central Coast adults find the best cultural, dating and social events in the area along with many other benefits. The color-coded Social Club Calendar includes monthly listings available only to SB Matchmaking’s growing number of members.

To get the free trial, singles should go to and use the promo code “TRIAL” to sign up. (Social Club Memberships start at just $9.95 per month!) Members of the new Social Club will have knowledge of the best events to attend and meet other singles, be exposed to some great new and off the radar date spots, get expert answers to their dating questions from the matchmakers, Lisa and Tami, as well as receive great offers from local businesses exclusively for SB Matchmaking members. "You won't want to miss out!" Three local companies will be featured each month through the Social Club to help singles have a great date experiences. This month, along with SB Women’s Self Defense, Zaca Mesa Wines and Shanna Spencer Style are featured.

SB Matchmaking is a discreet, upscale company for successful, commitment-minded singles who want to find their soul mates. SB Matchmaking has experienced significant growth this year with the addition of local matchmaker, dating coach and image consultant Tami Finseth. Lisa and Tami also have a team of three amazing interns that bring enthusiasm, creativity and new ideas with them! The company offers matchmaking, date coaching, image consulting as well as hosting many events through out the year! Santa Barbara Matchmaking is happy to have created many successful matches including marriages and even a baby.

This year Lisa Darsonval-Amador, founder of Santa Barbara Matchmaking, was honored as a finalist in the 2015 Spirit of Entrepreneurship competition, which recognizes top women business owners on the South Coast. 

Santa Barbara Matchmaking has been featured on KEYT News, TVSB, “The Dr. Laura Ciel Show” and several other media outlets.

To learn more about this event or if you'd like to have Matchmakers Lisa and Tami host one of your events, contact Lisa Darsonval-Amador at 805.669.5650 or [email protected]  and Tami Finseth at 805.765.1621 or [email protected].

— Tami Finseth represents Santa Barbara Matchmaking.


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Santa Barbara Recycled Water Plant Project Delayed Due to Design Mistake

By | Published on 07/01/2015


Santa Barbara’s recycled water-treatment plant refurbishing project will take months longer, and more money, than expected due to a design mistake, so recycled-water customers will continue using potable supplies throughout the hot, dry summer months.

The recycled water facility at the El Estero Wastewater Treatment Plant was built in 1989 and has been undergoing a major rehabilitation and replacement project since June 2014.

It was expected to be producing recycled water again by now, but completion has been pushed to October, according to Public Works Department staff.

Since the plant went offline, recycled-water customers including parks and schools, have been using the same potable water from Lake Cachuma and groundwater wells that residential and commercial customers use.

The city started the recycled-water facility project before it upgraded the wastewater treatment plant itself, meaning the recycled-water plant would be receiving a different water quality before and after the other project is finished, Public Works Director Rebecca Bjork said.

Usually the city would have waited to do the wastewater treatment project first, but the city wanted to get the recycled-water plant running as soon as possible due to the drought, she told the City Council.

The design firm, CDM Smith, used the wrong water-quality information in the plan’s specifications, so the wrong filtration membranes were purchased, city staff said.

The extra time and funding, which the City Council approved Tuesday, will be used to get the correct membranes installed.

City Attorney Ariel Calonne said the city expects to recover the extra funding, maybe through an insurance claim.

Council members approved another $1.3 million to get the project completed, including increased contract amounts with construction firm Schock Contracting Corp., MNS Engineers construction management, and Dudek for environmental monitoring.

That brings the total project cost to an estimated $13.6 million.

Noozhawk news editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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UCSB Marine Biologists Clarify How Specialized Cells in Squid Skin Control Animal’s Coloration

By | Published on 07/01/2015


Perhaps not the brightest of cephalopods, the California market squid (Doryteuthis opalescens) has amazing light-manipulating abilities. While this species shares the gift of camouflage with most other cuttlefish, octopus and squid in the cephalopod family, it is also capable of activating, shuttering and directing its own iridescence in multiple ways.

Lead author Daniel DeMartini. (Sonia Fernandez / UCSB photo)

New research conducted in the UC Santa Barbara lab of Daniel Morse, professor emeritus in the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, demonstrates that the squid’s ability to “tune” its colors is correlated with the presence of specific sequences of reflectins, proteins unique to the light-sensing tissue of cephalopods. The findings appear in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

While the diverse optical behaviors of cephalopod tissues have been attributed to reflectins for almost a decade, this work shows for the first time how reflectin protein subtype structure, localization, distribution and relative abundance correlate with the squid’s optical output. Building on the lab’s previous work, the new research details the mechanisms of the animal’s tunable (adaptive) and nontunable (static) iridocytes. Specialized cells in squid skin, iridocytes — also known as iridophores — produce color via Bragg reflection, by which light is reflected in a very regular and predictable manner.

“The discovery reported in this paper reveals the subtlety and power of the reflectin proteins to fine-tune the colors of living cells with a beauty that reminds us of paintings by Monet,” said Morse, who is a co-author on the paper.

In previous papers, the researchers demonstrated that the neurotransmitter acetylcholine triggers reflectin proteins to condense and expand deep pleats in the cell membrane through the chemical switch of phosphorylation — a process that turns protein enzymes on and off, altering their function and activity. This in turn tunes the brightness and color of the reflected light so that these layers or lamellae operate as a tunable Bragg reflector.

The newly published research characterizes the mechanistic action of iridocytes by characterizing their reflectin proteins. “It’s a very complicated system,” said lead author Daniel DeMartini, who conducted this research as a graduate student and is now a postdoc in another lab at UCSB. The results suggest that distinctive reflectin subtypes have different roles.

“We found three major types of reflectins — A1 and A2, B and C — which in various combinations determine slightly different iridocyte function,” he explained. “A-type reflectins are found in static iridocytes; B are enriched in fully tunable ones, which contain A as well. We also found reflectin C, a new type that is probably important for anchoring proteins to membranes.”

Reflectin C is found in both static and tunable iridocytes; however, their amount varies. DeMartini noted that because static iridocytes look thicker than the dynamic ones, their potential for increased membrane interface may require larger amounts of reflectin C. Location — responsive iridocytes are located on the squid’s back with more passive ones on its underside — may also be a factor, one that requires further exploration to fully understand.

“Our new work into the cellular mechanisms of squid iridescence allows us to refine experiment design for reflectin-based adaptive photonic structures,” DeMartini said. “In the future, this could be very useful for creating synthetic optical materials that — like squid skin — can be tuned.”

Other members of the UCSB team include Michi Izumi, Aaron T. Weaver and Erica Pandolfi. This work was supported by grants from the Office of Naval Research via a Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative award and the Army Research Office.

— Julie Cohen represents the UCSB Office of Public Affairs and Communications.


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Goleta Officials Ask for More Liquor License Oversight

By | Published on 07/01/2015


All proposed license changes will go before the City Council on its consent agenda

The Goleta City Council voted Tuesday to assume more control over businesses that propose to alter liquor licenses and the types of alcohol they sell.

Officials unanimously approved a resolution directing staff to bring all future proposed liquor license changes before the full council on its meeting consent agenda. That way, officials can either pull the item for discussion or approve without asking questions.

The action specifically applies to cases when the Goleta City Council is tasked with determining whether the issuance of a certain license serves as a public convenience or necessity or if it creates an undue concentration of liquor licenses.

In all cases, however, the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control has final say over issuing permits.

City staff urged council members to pass an accompanying resolution letting the city manager and staff continue to recommend if certain conditions should be placed on license issuance — a task where the city typically has just 30 days to respond and one the council isn’t currently involved in.

As of now, Goleta’s neighborhood services and public safety department reviews all ABC license applications and makes recommendations to council if the state agency is concerned about the concentration of places selling alcoholic beverages.

Council members agreed to the stipulation, acknowledging the short time frame made staff better suited for coming up with conditions, such as limiting hours or requiring security for certain events where alcohol would be served.

“I think it’s great,” Councilman Michael Bennett said.

The council asked to have this particular discussion in May when officials recommended ABC approve a request from the owner of the Fuel Depot at 180 N. Fairview Ave. who wanted to sell liquor in addition to beer and wine — the first Goleta gas station to do so.

The power to review ABC licenses used to reside with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department until 2011, when Goleta officials delegated that authority to the city manager, said Jaime Valdez, the city’s economic development coordinator.

“It varies,” he said of how often the city sees ABC change applications. “It may be months in between. We could have two in one month.”

Valdez suggested council could also consider adopting a land-use permit requirement in city zoning code for selling alcohol, but Councilman Roger Aceves said he was concerned that option went too far.

The resolution passed 4-0, with Mayor Pro Tem Jim Farr absent.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Cinema in Focus: ‘Inside Out’

By | Published on 07/01/2015


3 Stars — Wholesome

Animating the personified emotions within each of us is creative genius. Although far more complex than any simple structure could explain, each of us has a range of internal emotions that seem to govern our responses to the external world. Often surprising even ourselves by how we react, we sometimes feel as though “that wasn’t me!” Nevertheless, we know that whatever caused us to react in that way was in fact a part of us and has been developed from our first moment of life.

Written and directed by the team of Pete Docter and Ronaldo Del Carmen, with assistance from Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley, Amy Poehler and Bill Hader, Inside Out continues the proven genius of Docter. Having written Up, Toy Story 1 and 2, Monsters Inc. and WALL-E, Docter is a master storyteller. Combining this with the creative artistic touch of Del Carmen, who collaborated on Up and worked on such films as Ratatouille, Brave and The Prince of Egypt, we have a winning duo.

In this animated tale, we meet the emotion Joy (Poehler), the executive emotion for the newly born Riley (Kaitlyn Dias). As the primary emotion in this little girl’s life, Joy is soon joined by four other subordinate emotions of Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Hader), Anger (Lewis Black) and Disgust (Mindy Kaling).

Her mother (Diane Lane) and father (Kyle MacLachlan) also have these same five emotions, although in her mother Sadness is primary and Anger is primary in her father. An added benefit during the credits is a short explanation of the executive emotion in others within the tale.

The primary action occurs when Riley’s idyllic, joy-dominated world is changed when her parents move her from Minnesota to San Francisco at age 11. In this moment, when location is so important to a person’s developing identity, Riley’s Sadness becomes overactive in her interior world where Joy and happiness had reigned. It is this journey toward understanding the important place of Sadness within Riley’s emotional life that allows us to understand the importance of all of our emotions in the creation of a fully developed and meaningful life.

In the process of this developing story, Riley is “upgraded” from a simple internal control panel to a multi-user expanded version that allows all five emotions to be interactive in each moment and memory. Riley not only has a new capacity with which to deal with her family’s change in exterior location but also in finding more complexity in her internal world as well.  That change from hierarchical to the complex equality of emotions is a message that is helpful for all of us as we learn to accept the importance of all the emotional responses we may have in life.

A fun, creative and insightful film, we recommend Inside Out to older kids as well as adults.


» When Riley discovers a larger world full of fear and disappointment, she discovers that her singular dependence on Joy and happiness is not enough to guide her in life. When she comes to experience the blending of Joy and Sadness, we realize this little girl has begun to grow up. What is your executive, primary, default emotional response to life? How do you as an adult modulate that with your other emotions?

» The depiction of memories as balls that are color-coded to their emotionally charged experience and then deposited into long-term memory and culled by a team that discards the ones that fade because they are no longer important to Riley is a fairly accurate description of the way we understand the brain. Have you found your brain “forgetting” memories of the past? How does this film’s depiction of emotions and the process of storing memories help you understand yourself better?

» When we come of age, there is a theory called “Childhood Amnesia” that we have a cleansing of older memories of early childhood. However, a child during childhood is found to be able to remember events as well as an adult. Does this help you trust the memories of a child? 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, or follow them on Twitter: @CinemaInFocus. The opinions expressed are their own.


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Rona Barrett: Ding Dong! The Witch Is ... Me

By | Published on 07/01/2015


All in good time, my pretty, all in good time.

Remember when Dorothy faces The Wicked Witch in The Wizard of Oz? Well, that’s exactly how I felt when I finally got up the courage to ask my boss if I could take a day off.

By the way, I am my own boss –– my own Wicked Witch.

I pleaded with the Wicked Witch in me, “I need to take some Fridays off. I’m tired and under a lot of pressure.”

Demanding that I sit down for a spell, the Wicked Witch became unhitched.

“You call that long? Why, you’ve just begun! Starting construction of the Golden Inn & Village is just the beginning! There’s still so much to do! You’ve got to raise more funds for senior programs, and so affordable assisted living and memory care will become a reality in our community. And you want a day off?”

What I’m feeling, and you, too– – if you can relate to my lament –– is experienced by many general good-deed-doers, anyone who cares about caring for others more than we do ourselves.

Call it “burnout” or “compassion fatigue,” it’s common and renders us “inoperative” –– a clinician’s term for a mix of moderate depression, mild anxiety, emotional and physical exhaustion, and disrupted private lives.

I’m not a therapist or clinician, just Rona the meek and mild. So I’ll just call it the “enough is NEVER enough” syndrome.

Not at all trying to equate what I’m going through with the movie Schindler’s List, but that heart-wrenching “I could have done more” final scene continues to haunt me. But I do take comfort when his assistant quotes from the Talmud: “Whoever saves one life saves the world entire.”

But honestly, for my own sanity, I needed some time off.

So I dumped a bucket of water on the Wicked Witch and turned to my other inner voice: Glinda the Good Witch.

“Glinda,” I asked, “if happy little bluebirds can fly on Fridays, why oh why, can’t I?”

Glinda soothed, “You should Rona. You’re the boss.”

I said, “But I have such guilty feelings. So many people depend on me.”

Glinda crooned, “Well, if you want to stay depend-ABLE, you must take some time off.”

I mused, “There are a few friends I really want to see, but I feel so guilty leaving the office.”

She gently admonished, “How guilty will you feel if you don’t take time to see them?”

“But then a senior told me, ‘Rona, in two years I’ll have absolutely no money and no place to live.’”

Understanding she said, “But you’ve got to think about yourself once in awhile.”

So I decided. All in good time isn’t good enough. I am clicking my heels three times and taking a Friday off ... or two ... or three to take care of myself.

Glinda smiled serenely, “You’ve always had the power, my dear.”

So let the joyous news be spread, the Wicked Old Witch at last is dead –– until Monday, that is.

Until next time ... keep thinking the good thoughts.

— For more than 30 years, Rona Barrett was a pioneering entertainment reporter, commentator and producer. Since 2000, she has focused her attention and career on the growing crisis of housing and support for our aging population. She is the founder and CEO of the Rona Barrett Foundation, the catalyst behind Santa Ynez Valley’s first affordable senior housing, the Golden Inn & Village. Contact her at [email protected]. The opinions expressed are her own.


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Best Friends Animal Society, Santa Ynez Valley Humane Society Help Declare Inde-Pet-Dence

By | Published on 07/01/2015


Food. Fireworks. Fun. That’s the scenario for millions of people who celebrate U.S. Independence Day on July 4, one of the year’s liveliest holidays.

Unfortunately, for pets that get frightened during the festivities, it can be anything but a celebration. Driven by a fearful reaction to fireworks and other loud sights and sounds, dogs and cats that flee from their homes often end up in municipal animal shelters.

"Nationwide, July 4 weekend is the busiest shelter intake time of the year. So, while many of us are celebrating a holiday, the shelters will be flooded with pets, many of which will never find their way home,” said Gregory Castle, chief executive officer of Best Friends Animal Society. “In order to avoid this heartbreaking scenario, we encourage owners to make the holiday as safe as possible for their pets.”

The Best Friends Animal Society offers the following tips to help keep your pets safe over the holiday weekend:

» Bring all pets indoors whenever neighborhood fireworks displays are likely. Secure dogs in a room and play music or turn on the television to drown out the frightening sounds.

» Keep pets away from lit fireworks at all times, including your own backyard, as some will chase after the bright moving objects and are at risk to be burned or blinded in the process.

» Ensure that pets are wearing current identification tags.

» For the ultimate identification protection, all pets should be microchipped so that they can scanned at an animal shelter or veterinary office.

» If your pet does go missing over the holiday, check with local animal shelters immediately. Go to the shelter in person to identify your pet, rather than calling or emailing the shelter, as staff may not be able to respond in a timely enough fashion to ensure your pet’s safety.

To maximize lifesaving efforts in July, the Best Friends Animal Society and the Santa Ynez Valley Humane Society are offering $25 “Celebrate Freedom” adoptions. All adult cats and all dogs heavier than 40 pounds will qualify for the $25 promotion throughout the entire month of July.

“The Santa Ynez Valley Humane Society is thrilled to be a part of this celebration to help find homeless pets forever families in this critical time,” said Emily Grossheider, executive director at the Santa Ynez Valley Humane Society, “We have dozens of animals patiently waiting-and we know we have the community dedicated to finding them homes!”

The Santa Ynez Valley Humane Society is a participating member of the No More Homeless Pets Network, a program of Best Friends Animal Society that offers help and support to animal rescue groups that save lives in their communities. The Santa Ynez Valley Humane Society is the valley’s only animal shelter that provides pet adoptions, low-cost spay and neuter, clinic services, and more. The SYVHS hopes to see the day where all animals have healthy and happy homes. For more information, please “Like” your Humane Society on Facebook by clicking here.

“Adoption isn’t just the most humane option when adding a four-legged member to your family, it’s convenient and cost-effective, too,” Castle said. “Our hope is that potential adopters will band together with The Santa Ynez Valley Humane Society to declare this Fourth as Inde-Pet-Dence Day for shelter pets in their community.”

— Emily Grossheider is executive director of the Santa Ynez Valley Humane Society.


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Hospice of Santa Barbara Using Cutting-Edge Therapy Proven Effective for Veterans with PTSD

By | Published on 07/01/2015


Whenever possible, Hospice of Santa Barbara utilizes the most effective therapies to help their clients and patients through the difficult and painful experiences that come with grief and loss. One new treatment that a number of Hospice of Santa Barbara counselors use is EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), a short-term treatment modality utilizing eye movement to process trauma.

This therapy has proven especially effective for veterans who return from duty with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Trauma gets stored in a part of the brain (the hippocampus) with all the original raw and vivid imagery sensations and thoughts. During EMDR, this material gets re-processed and stored in to different “files” of the brain, allowing the client to become more objective about the trauma. Clients come to a place of being able to remember the trauma without being flooded by painful and disturbing images and sensations.

This technique is completely non-invasive and involves something called dual stimulation using bilateral eye movements, tones or taps. During the reprocessing phases, the client recalls past memories, present triggers, or anticipated future experiences while simultaneously focusing on a set of external stimulus. During that time, clients generally experience the emergence of insight, changes in memories, or new more positive associations.

Several Hospice of Santa Barbara counselors have been trained and certified in EMDR and are using it with their clients with great effectiveness. Clients often report feeling comforted and relieved in a way that talk therapy alone is unable to do.

“This added tool does not take away or replace the need for counseling, but it can complement it,” said David Selberg, CEO of Hospice of Santa Barbara “The need for sharing grief in ‘talk’ therapy and group settings is still very essential to our work but we strongly believe that other therapies can often assist in the process.”

Hospice of Santa Barbara “volunteers” its free professional counseling and care management services to children and adults every month who are experiencing the impact of a life-threatening illness, or grieving the death of a loved one. Hospice of Santa Barbara is also present on local high school campuses to work with children and teens who are grieving the loss of a loved one.

For more information about Hospice of Santa Barbara, including volunteer opportunities, call 805.563.8820 or click here.

— Lauren Gunther is a publicist representing Hospice of Santa Barbara.


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Santa Barbara Rolls Out New Bike Station Near Transit Center

By | Published on 07/01/2015


bike station
The new Bike Station in Parking Lot 3 next to the Transit Center in Santa Barbara can hold a couple of dozen bicycles on vertical-rack hooks, and includes a few small amenities such as a bicycle pump and USB chargers. (Robert Bernstein / Noozhawk photo)

A new Bike Station near the Transit Center in Santa Barbara officially opened on Tuesday to encourage bus and bike commuting.

Click here for more photos from the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

And now the back story ...

About 20 years ago, our company moved downtown and I began commuting by bus and bicycle from Goleta. It was a little over a mile ride from the Transit Center to our business on Montecito Street.

At that time, I rented space from a friend with a business near the Transit Center to stash my bicycle each night after work. At the same time, I began working with the City of Santa Barbara to get secure bicycle parking so that others could do the same commute.

It was a very long and winding road! The first success was getting a handful of bicycle storage lockers in Parking Lot 3 next to the Transit Center.

Many years later, in 2006, a Bike Station was opened as part of the Granada Garage project. That provided secure bicycle parking mostly for county employees near the county building. Still, there was no mass secure bicycle storage near the Transit Center.

Until now! A small Bike Station has opened in Parking Lot 3 next to the Transit Center. It can hold a couple of dozen bicycles on vertical-rack hooks. It also has a few small amenities, including a bicycle pump and USB chargers, and some more bits coming soon.

On Tuesday morning, Mayor Helene Schneider cut the ribbon for the official opening. On hand for the occasion were a number of Santa Barbara city staff and elected officials. In addition to Mayor Schneider were City Council members Gregg Hart, Cathy Murillo and Bendy White.

Also in attendance were city transportation manager Browning Allen, principal transportation planner Rob Dayton, SBCAG transportation planner Anne Jensen, transportation project planner Jessica Grant, parking superintendent Victor Garza, parking supervisor Dion Tait and parking resource specialist Sarah Clark, as well as members of the City Circulation Committee and SBBIKE, and Bike Station vice president Todd Boulanger, who came in from Portland.

The goal of the project is to encourage people who drive to Santa Barbara to do a bus/bike commute instead. Click here to sign up.

Robert Bernstein, a local photographer and frequent Noozhawk contributor, is a member of the Sierra Club Santa Barbara Group executive committee. The opinions expressed are his own.


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Letter to the Editor: Future of Energy Requires Forward-Thinking, Strategic Approach

By | Published on 07/01/2015


This is a reply to Lee Rosenberg. I won't argue history with Lee. He has a mind for recall of intricate details, but my impression is that he misses the strategic point by taking issue with all the details. Possibly the strategic risk issue was not made very clearly in the article he refers to.

I attended the World Business Academy (WBA) and CCE panel discussion at the Santa Barbara Library in late May. I was impressed with that as well as the WBA kickoff event several weeks earlier. This is a forward-thinking, strategic approach toward becoming more independent of centralized power companies and centralized distribution systems. What may not be well known is that long-distance centralized distribution systems are VERY inefficient and lose considerable power along the way. Decentralized micro grids offer a much better option.

The strategic issue for Santa Barbara as a circumscribed community unto itself is the perilous journey over mountain terrain that the primary transmission line travels, along with the deteriorated footings for those transmission towers. This exposes Santa Barbara to what appears to be an unacceptable risk of losing primary power source for weeks or longer because of the difficult terrain that repair vehicles and equipment would have to traverse.

Lee questions the facts about the history, but says little about the rationale for renewable energy, other than his one sentence comment: "Please acknowledge that currently available renewables on a large scale are not feasible and that oil (I agree we have to get rid of it someday) cannot be replaced now." This fails to acknowledge the capacity of solar panels to provide more than enough energy to power a home or small service business, with battery backup. I have solar panels on my roof in Santa Ynez Valley and have paid NOTHING to PG&E for power in the last 12 months. I provide PG&E power during the middle of the day, and they provide power at night, unless I use my battery backup.

Further, Lee says nothing about the harmful, toxic and polluting effects of oil, other than we need to replace it someday. That day is here, and there are many organizations working to achieve that all over the country — WBA and CCE among them in Santa Barbara.

Lee adds this comment: "I note that you have endorsed an expense with taxpayer money to do yet another feasibility study to determine what we already know." I wonder what it is that we already know? Do we know the cost of increased health problems to Santa Barbara city and county? We do know there are more and more studies being published that clearly indicate oil production is a major health hazard. Careful ongoing information gathering in Santa Barbara County has clarified where the oil wells are and the path of the pipelines through the entire county. While that seems to be in the less wealthy sections of Santa Barbara County, with wells often hidden from view, this is no longer acceptable. Three generations of families have lived with Big Oil in the county and the toxic effects of their production systems. There is an end coming to that toxic poisoning of this county.

Lee doesn't question the current state of affairs and writes essentially for NO CHANGE. This is not unusual for a person who has a penchant for looking backward into history, rather than forward into efforts to create a BETTER FUTURE than the one we collectively face.

It is not OK, in my value system, for Lee to unfairly criticize the two supervisors who actually dare to vote against Big Oil in this county. He has obfuscated the critical strategic issues, which are risk to health and risk of losing power, and he has failed to recognize what is needed for a better future.

The entire world is facing huge changes because of the release of Greenhouse Gases [GHGs] AND the release of stored deposits of methane from melting permafrost and methyl hydrate release from Arctic and Greenland ocean waters. The standard multiplier for methane reported in the public media is that a molecule of methane has 20x the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of a molecule of carbon dioxide [CO2]. What is not reported, however, is that the reference period for that multiplier is a hundred years! When you reduce the reference period to 20 years that multiplier increases to a range from 70x - 120x, depending on the source used. Now, reduce the reference period to a range from a few days to a few years, and the multiplier can go to 1,000. 

Wake up, Lee! If you have children and grandchildren, you are not taking care of their future by sticking with traditional antiquated centralized power distribution systems that rely on fossil fuels for energy. Looking to the past for answers will no longer work in a world that is heading for serious challenge, with pieces of it already present, e.g. the drought.

Do NOT rely on the predictions made by the UN's Intergovernmental panel on Climate Change. That was as much a political document as a scientific one, because every single word had to be agreed to by every single country participating. The 2007 4th Assessment report used linear rather than nonlinear projections and did NOT include methane at all! Every climate scientist (or at least the 97 percent who are not funded by Big Oil) knows that as the oceans and atmosphere warm, climate change and global warming will accelerate. Warming begets even more warming. So the only rational scientific approach for the statistical models is nonlinear projections. That means the curve goes up, Lee, and things happen faster and faster. 

And do not try to further obfuscate the issue by claiming there has been no warming. The extra heat has gone into the ocean, and that is hypothesized to help account for the rapidly increasing release of methane from Arctic waters. The Gulf Stream is warmer now, warming Arctic waters, triggering the release of huge amounts of methane, one of the most dangerous greenhouse gases.

The only sensible, rational, intelligent and strategic approach worth considering is to do the feasibility study for Santa Barbara with solar as one of the primary sources of renewable energy. We must begin making positive, aggressive change now, before our children's future is lost. Challenging the credibility of these two supervisors is simply not appropriate, when the two supervisors who support Big Oil say nothing about the health effects of the toxic environment their voters are exposed to. Instead, Big Oil buys votes by inviting local voters to "focus groups" where they receive over a $100 for participation and sign legal nondisclosure agreements so they can't talk about what was presented to them.

It is time that good-hearted and well-intentioned people of Santa Barbara County awaken to the truth of what is going on here. This truth is coming out for all to see, hear and know. The truth can no longer be hidden in an era of great risk and the need for strategic change.

Irv Beiman
Santa Ynez


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Free Farmers Market Coupon Books Available for Low-Income Seniors

By | Published on 07/01/2015


The Area Agency on Aging is pleased to announce the availability of a $20 coupon booklet for low-income senior citizens for the purchase of fruits and vegetables at certified farmers markets in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties.

"The Area Agency on Aging has established nine sites for the distribution of the free senior farmers market coupons thanks to the cooperation of our local certified markets," said Amy Mallett, chair of the Area Agency on Aging Advisory Council. "Seniors interested in applying for the Senior Farmers Market coupons should attend the distribution site nearest them. A schedule of the distribution sites is below."

The Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program is a 100 percent federally funded program which provides low-income seniors with check booklets that can be used to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables at Certified Farmers’ Markets. The program is administered nationally by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Services Agency, and in California, by the California Department of Food and Agriculture. In 2015, CDFA is providing seniors with almost $890,000 in check booklets to redeem at WIC authorized CFMs.

“CDFA partners with California’s Area Agencies on Aging to distribute the SFMNP check booklets, which include 10 checks redeemable for $2 each,” Mallett said. “The AAAs serve this purpose well because they administer several senior programs on a local level.

"At the check distribution sites, seniors that meet the age and low income eligibility requirements receive one $20 check booklet a year and nutrition education information. Fruits and vegetables are an important component of a healthy diet. I hope seniors will avail themselves of these coupons and enhance their diet with fruits and vegetables with these free coupons."

The distribution sites include:

San Luis Obispo County

» Arroyo Grande Certified Farmers Market — Wednesday, Aug. 19, 8:30 to 11 a.m., Smart & Final, 1464 E. Grand Ave

» Atascadero Certified Farmers Market — Wednesday, Aug. 12, 3 to 6 p.m., Albertsons parking lot

» Baywood/Los Osos Certified Farmers Market — Monday, Aug. 24, 2 to 4:30 p.m., Santa Maria Street between Second and Third, Baywood

» Paso Robles Certified Farmers Market — Tuesday, Aug. 11, 3 to 6 p.m., 11th and Spring streets, Paso Robles

» SLO Saturday Morning Certified Farmers Market — Saturday, Aug. 29, 8 to 10:30 a.m., World Market parking lot, 25 Madonna Road

Santa Barbara County

» Downtown Santa Barbara City Farmers Market — Saturday, July 25, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., corner of Santa Barbara and Cota streets

» Lompoc Certified Farmers Market — Friday, July 31, 2 to 6 p.m., Oceano and I streets

» Goleta, Camino Real Farmers Market — Sunday, July 12, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., 7004 MarketPlace Drive

» Santa Maria Certified Farmers Market — Wednesday, July 29, noon to 4 p.m., Broadway and Main in Mervyns shopping parking lot

For more information, please call Joyce Ellen Lippman, executive director, at 805.925.9554, 805.965.3288, 805.541.0384 or 800.510.2020.

— Joyce Ellen Lippman is director of the Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens-Area Agency on Aging.


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Stomp Your Feet and Swing to the Beat with Count Basie Orchestra at Granada Theatre

By | Published on 07/01/2015


The Granada Theatre will be swingin' with one of the most iconic names in jazz history, the Count Basie Orchestra live, at 4 p.m. Sunday, July 19.

This year marks the 80th anniversary of the Kansas City swing band that was and still is an American institution. This special concert is presented by the Granada Theatre Concert Series and sponsored by Montecito Bank & Trust.

William "Count Basie" (1904-1984) started his orchestra in Kansas City in 1935, and developed with meticulous detail one of the greatest jazz orchestras in music history that continues to perform sold-out concerts all over the world. Count Basie was able to attract many of the greatest instrumentalists and vocalists in jazz to be a part of his orchestra, including Billie Holiday, Lester Young, Sweets Edison, Joe Jones, Joe Williams, Snooky Young, Frank Foster, Thad Jones, Frank Wess and Clark Terry, among many others.

Basie died in 1984, but the band plays on under the direction of Scotty Barnhart, with four musicians who played with Basie performing in the band. The Count Basie Orchestra continues Basie's legacy of stomping and shouting the blues with precision and irresistible swing beat. The Count Basie Orchestra has won every respected jazz poll in the world at least once, and has 18 Grammy Awards, the most for any orchestra.

Don't miss "The Most Explosive Force in Jazz" for one night only at the Granada Theatre. Tickets range in price from $28 to $70, and are available through the Granada Theatre's box office. Click here to purchase online or call the box office at 805.899.2222. 

For all sponsorship opportunities, please contact Kristi Newton, director of development, by phone at 805.451.2932 or via email at [email protected].

— Sydney Gardner is a publicist representing the Granada Theatre.


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Rogers, Sheffield & Campbell Law Firm Names New Partners, Associate Attorney

By | Published on 07/01/2015


Rogers, Sheffield & Campbell LLP of Santa Barbara is pleased to announce that Braden Leck and Daniel David have become partners of the firm and Bradley Hollister has become an associate attorney at the firm.

Leck earned his law degree from the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law after graduating with Honors from UC Santa Barbara.

Prior to joining the firm last year, Leck was a partner of the Santa Barbara firm of Seed Mackall LLP. He began his legal career in Los Angeles at the international firm of Latham & Watkins. Leck’s legal practice is focused on real estate and business transactions, estate planning and trust administration.

David earned his law degree from the University of California at Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall) after graduating with High Honors, and receiving a master of science degree in environmental science from the University of Virginia.

Prior to joining the firm, David was Of Counsel with the Santa Barbara firm of Price, Postel & Parma LLP.  He began his legal career in Los Angeles at the international firm of Loeb and Loeb. His legal practice is focused on advanced estate and gift tax planning, wealth preservation, trust and estate administration, business formations, business succession planning and business transactions.

Hollister recently earned his law degree from the Santa Barbara College of the Law while working as a full-time paralegal at the firm.

Hollister graduated from Kaplan University after serving in the U.S. Marine Corps infantry, earning the Navy Achievement Medal with “V” for Combat Valor during Operation Iraqi Freedom. His legal practice is focused on business, real estate, estate planning and general legal matters.

Rogers, Sheffield & Campbell LLP is located at 427 E. Carrillo St. For more information, call 805.963.9721 or click here.


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All Evacuations Lifted, Roads Reopened with Burton Mesa Fire Near Containment

By | Published on 06/30/2015


HEET volunteers quickly mobilized to provide shelter for livestock at the Santa Maria rodeo grounds after Monday's blaze broke out near Lompoc

With the Mesa Fire near Lompoc almost contained, the alpacas, miniature donkeys and pot-bellied pigs Tuesday returned home from their temporary shelter at the Santa Maria rodeo grounds.

The fire that began Monday afternoon near La Purisima Mission State Historic Park was 85 percent contained as of Tuesday afternoon, according to Capt. Dave Zaniboni of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

The blaze charred 320 acres in the Burton Mesa Preserve, and despite threatening 1,200 structures, none were damaged. All evacuations were lifted Tuesday and roads reopened.

At the fire’s peak, authorities ordered hundreds of residents in Cebada Canyon, along Tularosa Road and in Gypsy Canyon to evacuate as the blaze raced through the dry chaparral. 

The orders also meant the rural residents of homes sitting on sprawling parcels with horses and other livestock had to get their animals to safety, prompting the Horse Emergency Evacuation Team (HEET) volunteers to mobilize.

“As soon as we got our call, our volunteers were just ready to take in whatever we needed,” Tina Tonascia from Elks Recreation Inc. said.

The Santa Maria Elks/Unocal Event Center is a designated shelter for large animals during incidents like the Mesa Fire. The Santa Maria Fairpark also may be used, depending on availability.

“It was an unexpectedly eventful Monday,” Tonascia said.

HEET volunteer Bob Taylor of Orcutt spearheaded getting the rodeo grounds open for Mesa Fire evacuees.

The organization works to provide a place for people to keep their animals during an evacuation. 

Mesa Fire
Three alpacas take refuge from the Mesa Fire near Lompoc by sheltering at the Santa Maria Elks/Unocal Event Center in the Santa Maria Valley. (Contributed photo)

“Our responsibility is to get the animals out, but don’t put ourselves in danger,” said Taylor, who also belongs to the Elks.

Many rural residents won’t leave their property unless they know their animals have safe place to go, Taylor said. 

“If you don’t have a place to go with your livestock you really don’t want to evacuate,” he said, adding that others are not equipped to undertake the evacuation themselves. “By giving them an opportunity that one, we will haul out for you, and two, you can haul to us, then we give you the confidence you can get your own life out of the area.”

The Santa Maria Elks volunteers had feed and water in place for the four-legged evacuees, who were calm despite the new surroundings.

For instance, the alpacas — Tonascia described them as precious and darling — were “munching away,” she said.

“It was neat we were able to do that for the community,” Tonascia added. 

While the Mesa Fire sparked near the historic La Purisima Mission, the staff and animals sheltered in place.

“We were completely safe,” State Park Ranger Scott Anderson said.

Hikers were told to leave Monday, but allowed in Tuesday although some trails were still closed due to the firefighting activity.

“Our animals and structures are all safe,” Anderson said Tuesday.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, and the Fire Department on Tuesday sought information about one or two individuals — most likely juveniles — who were on a hiking trail behind the water treatment plant at the time the fire started, Zaniboni said. Anyone with information can contact the Santa Barbara County Fire Department Tip Line at 805.686.5074.

The cost of the firefighting battle reached $650,000 as of midday Tuesday, Zaniboni said. 

Unlike the clouds of billowing smoke seen Monday afternoon from the hills above Lompoc, the fire generated little smoke on Tuesday. Crews continued to mop-up, reinforce containment lines, check for hot spots and patrol the fire, Zaniboni said. 

Firefighting resources were demobilized and made available for response within the Santa Barbara County Operational Area. 

From a peak of 600 personnel, the firefighting force had dropped to approximately 230 on Tuesday afternoon, Zaniboni added.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Southern Santa Barbara County Fishery Closures Lifted After Refugio Oil Spill

By | Published on 06/30/2015


Commercial and recreational fishing and shellfish take are allowed again in the 138-square-mile area off the Gaviota Coast after officials declare no health threat

Fishing areas have reopened along the Santa Barbara County coastline for the first time in six weeks, since the May 19 oil spill off of Refugio State Beach prompted the closure prohibiting commercial and recreational fishing and shellfish take between Gaviota State Park and Coal Oil Point in Goleta.

The California Department of Fish & Wildlife lifted the fishing closure Monday, effectively reopening coastal waters used by many fisherman to catch spiny lobster, rockfish, shellfish and more.

The reopening comes after the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment stated there is no longer a human health threat present in finfish and shellfish from oil chemicals in the Refugio Beach Oil Spill incident.

"Fishing may resume in the 138-square-mile area from Canada de Alegeria at the western edge to Coal Oil Point at the eastern edge in accordance with state and federal ocean fishing regulations," a statement from Unified Command said Tuesday.

The U.S. Coast Guard lifted the marine safety exclusion zone on June 19, the statement said.

Down at the Santa Barbara Harbor, fisherman Matt Liso was working to unload large black and red striped sheepshead fish into a bin for buyers. Liso's crew had caught the fish near the western end of Santa Cruz Island and does not fish in the areas that had been closed.  

Many of the boats owned by nearshore fisherman were docked and vacant at the harbor on Tuesday afternoon and it was unclear if any had been out that day.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Santa Barbara Harbormaster Mick Kronman said he'd only spoken with one fisherman who was headed out to the reopened fisheries. Kronman wasn't aware of exactly what business impacts fishermen had felt since the closure.

At least one lawsuit has been filed against the company responsible for the crude oil spill, Plains All American Pipeline, by a local fisherman for business losses he's sustained in the time that he was unable to fish in those coastal waters.

Sea urchin diver and nearshore fisherman Stace Cheverez filed a class action lawsuit last month, stating that the fishery closures where Cheverez fished for rockfish had caused him losses, and that the spill "translated to profound economic impacts."

Plains is still operating a claims phone hotline for anyone with personal or business losses due to the oil spill and can be reached at 866.753.3619.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Student Injured in Isla Vista Rampage Suing Sheriff’s Department, UCSB and Gunman’s Parents

By | Published on 06/30/2015


A UC Santa Barbara student who was seriously injured last year when a gunman terrorized the streets of Isla Vista on a murderous spree is suing Santa Barbara County, the Sheriff’s Department, UCSB and the shooter’s parents — alleging negligence and false imprisonment after authorities mistakenly placed the student in handcuffs.

Los Angeles attorney Brian Kabateck filed the civil lawsuit in L.A. Superior Court last week on behalf of Keith Cheung, who was among the 14 people injured on the night of May 23, 2014, when 22-year-old Elliot Rodger went on a stabbing and shooting rampage around Isla Vista.

Six UCSB students were killed before Rodger turned the gun on himself.

The lawsuit alleges that Rodger’s L.A.-based parents, Peter and Li Chin Rodger, knew about their son’s “dangerous propensities and desire to cause injury to himself and others” but failed to prevent or mitigate dangers even though a simple online search would reveal videos of Rodger spouting hateful and misogynistic diatribes, mainly against women who had rejected him over the years.

Civil rights violations came into play at the end of Rodger’s rampage, when sheriff’s deputies mistakenly thought Cheung was a second perpetrator of the crimes.

Cheung was riding his bicycle back to his home on Del Playa from his job as a lifeguard at the UCSB Recreation Center when Rodger sped up in his black BMW and struck him from behind, flipping Cheung into the air and through the windshield.

After Rodger crashed his BMW and took his own life, Cheung was ejected from the windshield. 

“Despite his injuries, Cheung was handcuffed by local authorities prior to being transported to the hospital in violation of his constitutional rights,” the lawsuit alleges.

In its own lengthy report released in February, the Sheriff’s Department admitted Cheung was put in handcuffs “for no more than three to five minutes” before law enforcement realized he had been attacked by the suspect.

Cheung’s attorney told Noozhawk that the Sheriff’s Department wrongfully accused and then dragged his client off the car, invading his personal space in unlawful detainment.

The county and UCSB are named in the lawsuit, Kabateck said, because officers from the Sheriff’s Department and UCSB Police responded to the welfare check in April 2014, failing to identify Rodger as a threat or to locate his guns and many rounds of ammunition.

The complaint alleges the Sheriff’s Department ignored earlier signs of Rodger’s aggression toward others, including an instance when deputies responded to the Capri Apartments where he lived with two students who would become his first victims.

Rodger accused his roommate, Cheng Yuan “James” Hong, of stealing candles, which the Sheriff’s Department report later points out was done because Rodger kept hiding his roommates' pots and pans. He didn’t like the smell of their cooking.

Rodger stabbed Hong and Weihan “David” Wang to death before his shooting rampage began, along with their friend, George Chen.

Deputies made contact with Rodger another time in July 2013 after he attended a party in Isla Vista and started an altercation when no one would talk to him. Rodger was injured when he fell from a 10-foot ledge at the party — a fact that deputies and his parents should’ve seen as a warning sign, the lawsuit alleges.

Proper training and protocols could’ve prevented the tragedy, the complaint states.

UCSB spokesman George Foulsham said the university doesn’t comment on pending litigation, and an attorney for Rodger's parents could not be reached.

The county hadn’t been served with the complaint as of Tuesday, so county counsel Michael Ghizzoni and Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said they also had no comment at this time.

The lawsuit demands a jury trial and monetary compensation for damages and attorney’s fees incurred.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Plane Lands On Belly at Santa Maria Airport

By | Published on 06/30/2015


No injuries are reported after the pilot apparently fails to lower the landing gear

A pilot escaped without injuries Tuesday afternoon when his single-engine airplane landed on its belly at the Santa Maria Public Airport.

The Beechcraft Bonanza touched down at 3:10 p.m. after the pilot, whose name was not released, forgot to lower the landing gear, according to Ric Tokopah, airport maintenance and operations manager.

The Santa Maria Fire Department responded to the incident as a precaution, but no fire occurred.

The incident closed the airport's main runway for approximately an hour while firefighters and airport officials dealt with the aircraft.

A large crane and flatbed truck were brought onto the airfield to remove the plane.

David Alberti was watching the arrivals and departures on Tuesday afternoon while listening to the air traffic control tower radio traffic.

The Orcutt resident said he noticed immediately that the Beechcraft Bonanza's landing gear was not lowered.

"Next thing, you know he just bellied that thing," Alberti said. "Fortunately, it came to almost where he is right now. He didn't hardly skid at all."

The air traffic control officer immediately advised other arriving aircraft to go around, Alberti said.

Other small private planes were able to use the alternate runway to land and take off from the airport until the wreckage was removed. 

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Santa Barbara Council Agrees to Loan $1 Million to Low-Income Senior Housing Project

By | Published on 06/30/2015


The city's Ordinance Committee also votes to delay action on regulating news racks

The Santa Barbara City Council agreed to loan the Grace Village senior affordable housing project $1 million on Tuesday to help the Housing Authority achieve more than $8 million in tax equity credits.

Santa Barbara's Housing Authority wants to build 57 one-bedroom affordable apartments for seniors, with rents ranging from $400 to $900 per month.

The $1 million will help the Housing Authority qualify for $8.6 million in tax credits to fund the project. The vote was unanimous, 6-0, with Councilman Randy Rowse absent.

The entire project is expected to cost $16.3 million.

"The individuals we intend to serve is a market in high demand," said Skip Szymanski, deputy executive director of the Housing Authority. "Seniors in this income range are just growing. It is a large population of our homeless as well."

Santa Barbara mirrors the rest of the nation with a dramatic rise in its aging baby boomer population. The number of people 50 years old and older increased by 35 million from 1990 to 2010, Housing Authority Deputy Executive Director Rob Fredericks said. By 2030, the number of people 65 and older will reach 71.5 million, Fredericks said. 

More than 2,000 seniors are currently on the waitlist for subsidized senior housing in Santa Barbara.

The project is located at 3869 State St., near Panera Cafe. Grace Lutheran Church donated the land to the Housing Authority, at an estimated worth of $3 million, and the building will be demolished to build the senior housing. The church held its final service in February of this year. 

If the Housing Authority can secure the tax credits, it hopes to begin construction later this year, followed by an estimated 14-month construction schedule. The loan would be paid back over 30 years, at three percent interest.

In other city news, the Ordinance Committee voted Tuesday to delay action on regulating news racks. Santa Barbara wants to charge annual fees and require rack owners to maintain or upgrade their racks.

Representatives from the Santa Barbara News-Press and the Santa Barbara Independent raised concerns about the public works director holding the power to review racks and decide whether to remove them from the streets, among other concerns. 

"It seems obvious that this needs to go back for some review and coordination with the stakeholders," Ordinance Committee chair Cathy Murillo said. 

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Warm Temperatures to Continue in Santa Barbara County

By | Published on 06/30/2015


Warm temperatures and sunny skies are expected to continue in Santa Barbara County this week, and the summer weather will continue in the run-up to the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

On Wednesday, temperatures are expected to be around 80 degrees in coastal areas, with temperatures 10 to 20 degrees hotter inland, according to Bonnie Bartling, a weather specialist at the National Weather Service Office in Oxnard.

Nighttime lows this week will hover in the 60s.

There's a possibility of isolated thunderstorms farther south in the Los Angeles area due to monsoonal influence and storms from Tucson and San Diego, but it's unlikely that any of those showers will reach Santa Barbara County, Bartling said.

More likely, the storms' impact will mean that temperatures may be a couple of degrees cooler as the week goes on, possibly dipping into the 70s toward the weekend, she said. The forecast also shows the potential for some low clouds and fog in the mornings later this week. 

The weather is expected to be warm and sunny for the Fourth of July holiday, with temperatures in the 70s and clear skies.

A low pressure system this weekend will bring a marine layer, most likely in the early mornings, and that system will last until Tuesday but no rain is expected, Bartling said.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Santa Barbara Man Sentenced to Jail, Probation in Animal-Cruelty Case

By | Published on 06/30/2015


A Santa Barbara man will spend a year in jail and five years on probation after pleading guilty to felony animal cruelty and assault charges, which involved abusing his girlfriend and her puppy, which later had to be euthanized.

Duanying Chen

Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Brian Hill handed down Duanying Chen’s sentence this week over objections from Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley, who said Tuesday that her office didn’t offer a plea bargain in the case.

Chen pleaded guilty as charged on May 19 to four felony counts and one misdemeanor count, including two felony charges of animal cruelty, felony assault by force likely to produce great bodily injury, witness dissuasion and violating a court order.

Dudley said Chen also admitted a special allegation of personally using a deadly weapon — a utility lighter — to burn his girlfriend’s Doberman pinscher puppy.

Chen was remanded into custody at the County Jail, where he will serve 365 days in addition to completing a one year batterer’s intervention program, paying restitution to the veterinary clinic for treatment of the puppy, and adhering to an order to not have contact with any animal, Dudley said.

“Chen is not allowed to have in his possession or care any animal for a period of 10 years,” she said in a statement. “The prosecutor for the District Attorney’s Office argued for the maximum sentence in this case of seven years, six months (in) state prison.”

The charges stem from May 14, 2014, when Santa Barbara police responded to a local veterinary clinic, where personnel treated the 5-month-old male puppy for broken bones, significant infections and burns over 80 percent of his body, Dudley said.

“Davey was humanely euthanized while surrounded by the veterinary staff who spent weeks attempting to rehabilitate him,” she said. 

Police determined that Chen had tortured the puppy and also assaulted his girlfriend weeks earlier, strangling her until she nearly lost consciousness after a heated argument.

Sgt. Riley Harwood said Chen told his girlfriend that the puppy had been injured in a fall from the top of a ping pong table. He was arrested and taken to the County Jail.

“After his arrest, Chen attempted to have his girlfriend fabricate and destroy evidence in an effort to thwart the criminal prosecution,” Dudley said. “This was an outrageous act of a coward who brutalized a vulnerable woman and a helpless animal. I can only hope his time in jail will help him understand just how despicable his criminal actions were.”

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Tips for Making Water Go Further in the Garden

By | Published on 06/30/2015


In typical years, summer heat means daily watering, but with tough California water restrictions in place homeowners have to find creative ways to make less water go further in their gardens, says Agromin, an Oxnard-based manufacturer of earth-friendly compost products made from organic material collected from more than 50 California cities including those in Santa Barbara County.

» Apply biochar to your landscape: Biochar is an all-natural charcoal-like substance that improves moisture and nutrient retention in soil while providing a habitat for beneficial soil microorganisms. Look for lawn and garden care products at your local nursery that contain a blend of soil amendments and biochar. Apply the mixture to your landscape. Since biochar holds in moisture, lawns can go longer between waterings.

» Reduce the size of your lawn: A lawn does not have to dominate a front or backyard. Reduce its size and ring the remaining grass with drought-tolerant plants. These plants not only take less water, but also need less maintenance than the once-a-week mowing that lawns require.

» Change your watering schedule: Many cities only allow watering two or three days a week on specific days. Check with your city for restrictions and schedules. Fines can run as high as $500 after previous warnings and violations. When using automatic sprinklers, set timers to run on between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m. to cut down on daytime evaporation. Make sure water is absorbed into the soil and not spraying sidewalks. If allowed, water lawns for 15 minutes at a time.

» Use drip irrigation: You will use less water and water more deeply by using drip irrigation or other water-conserving methods for plants, trees and shrubs. Apply enough water to soak 6 to 8 inches into the soil.

» Expand areas of mulch: Mulch requires no water, yet it can make a garden area look full and well manicured. Intersperse large areas of mulch with drought tolerant shrubs and plants. While these plants are often slow growing initially, once established, they will grow quickly and fill out the space. If your yard already contains mulch, it may be time to add another layer. Mulch consists of various sizes of chopped wood, usually made from recycled trees and other wood materials so it naturally thins over time. Ideally, plants and trees should have about three inches of mulch around their base. When the mulch compresses to about two inches, add another layer. Mulch will retain water--a critical advantage during the year's hottest months--and keeps roots cool even during the heat of the day.

» Pick vegetables often: Pick ripe vegetables even if you do not plan to use them immediately. Vegetables that are not harvested soon enough will produce a chemical that inhibits further blossoming. Inspect plants at least every other day during the summer. This is especially true for beans, cucumbers, eggplants, squashes and tomatoes.

» Water established grapes and berries: Established grape and berry vines and trees require surprisingly little water. Water deeply once a week until fruit is harvested. After harvest, water once or twice a month.

» Pick red chili peppers: When chili peppers turn from green to red, they can be picked and dried for cooking. Once picked, dry them thoroughly in the sun until they become brittle. Store the dried peppers in moisture-proof containers.

Click here for more gardening tips.

— Diane Zakian Rumbaugh is a publicist representing Agromin.


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White House Conference on Aging Scheduled for July 13

By | Published on 06/30/2015


The White House Conference on Aging, a decennial event, has been confirmed for Monday, July 13.

This conference will include an event in Washington, D.C., with limited attendance and "watch" sites throughout the nation.

“Three ‘watch’ sites are planned for the Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties area,” said Amy Mallett, chair of the Area Agency on Aging Advisory Council. “These ‘watch’ sites will be livestreamed and provide an opportunity to share our ideas and inputs as well as promote local conversation about the issues of aging.

“Cosponsoring these ‘watch’ sites are the Santa Barbara Foundation, Santa Barbara County and San Luis Obispo County departments of Social Services. In preparation for the White House Conference on Aging we held a local public forum to gather inputs. These inputs were sent to the White House Conference on Aging and a short report was prepared.

“These ‘watch’ sites are open to all interested persons. Bring your ideas to improve the quality of life for older adults. The WHCOA has identified four common themes: Retirement Security, Healthy Aging, Long Term services and supports and Elder Justice. Based on the local public forum we added a fifth theme of Family Caregiver.”

“This AAA urges that the WHCOA strongly advocate for the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act,” said Joyce Ellen Lippman, Area Agency on Aging director. “The Older Americans Act is the foundation of home- and community-based services that facilitate aging-in-place. The act hasn’t been reauthorized in a timely fashion and a bill (S.192) is now in the Senate to accomplish reauthorization.”

Three local "watch" sites will be held beginning at 8 a.m. at:

» San Luis Obispo City — County Department of Social Services, 3433 S. Higuera St., Room 101

» Santa Barbara City — Santa Barbara Foundation, 1111 Chapala St., Suite 200

» Santa Maria — Area Agency on Aging, 528 S. Broadway

“Join us for the entire day or several hours,” Mallett said. “Come share in the conversation with local colleagues.”

For more information, contact Lippman at 805.925.9555 or 800.510.2020.

— Joyce Ellen Lippman is director of the Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens-Area Agency on Aging.


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James Lokey Appointed to Community West Bancshares Board of Directors

By | Published on 06/30/2015


Community West Bancshares, the parent company of Community West Bank, announced Tuesday that James Lokey has been appointed to its Board of Directors and to the Board of Directors of Community West Bank, the company’s wholly owned subsidiary.

“James is exceedingly well known and highly respected,” said William Peeples, chairman of the board. “He will be a tremendous asset to our board as we continue our expansion into the San Luis Obispo County community. We look forward to the addition of his valuable insight and experience.”

Lokey has more than 42 years of bank management experience, including chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Mission Community Bancorp (2010-14); president of Rabobank, N.A. (2007-09); president and chief executive officer of Mid-State Bank & Trust (2000-07); president and chief executive officer of Downey Savings (1997-98); executive vice president of First Interstate Bank/Wells Fargo Bank (1973-96) and past chairman of California Bankers Association.

He has significant ties in the communities of the Central Coast, including serving as a member of the President’s Cabinet at Cal Poly State University in San Luis Obispo; a director of Cal Poly Corporation and chairman of its investment committee; and director of French Hospital Medical Center.

Since retiring in 2014, Lokey has been active as a consultant and featured speaker regarding director education, enterprise risk management and mergers and acquisitions.

— Jennifer Goddard Combs is a publicist representing Community West Bank.


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Woman Suffers Major Injuries in Two-Vehicle Collision in Goleta

By | Published on 06/30/2015


Second driver has minor injuries after accident at Patterson Avenue and Overpass Road

A woman was transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with major injuries after a two-vehicle collision in Goleta Tuesday afternoon, authorities said. 

The Santa Barbara County Fire Department and Sheriff’s Department responded to the injury accident at Patterson Avenue and Overpass Road around 3:30 p.m. and found a Volvo SUV had hit a Mercedes sedan on the driver’s side.

Fire crews had to extricate the driver of the Mercedes, who was taken to the hospital with major injuries, County Fire public information officer Mike Eliason said.

The woman’s dog in the backseat appeared unhurt and was taken from the scene by County Animal Control, he said.

The driver of the other vehicle reportedly had minor injuries, Eliason said.

The Sheriff’s Department is investigating the collision and AMR ambulances also responded to the scene. 

Noozhawk news editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Statewide Paid Sick Leave Law Takes Effect Wednesday

By | Published on 06/30/2015


A new paid sick leave law takes effect Wednesday, mandating nearly all California employers to pay for workers to be off sick.

AB 1522, commonly called the Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act of 2014, guarantees that any employee who works in the state for 30 days or more within a year from the start of employment the right to accrue paid sick leave effective July 1.

The law applies to full-time, part-time and temporary or seasonal employees, who will earn at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked.

Accrual begins on the first day of employment or July 1, whichever is later.

The new law gives a minimum of 24 hours, or three paid sick days, per year to almost all workers, according to the California Department of Industrial Relations.

Paid sick leave can accrue from year to year, but employers can cap a second-year limit at 48 hours, or six days, per year, the department stipulated.

Each boss determines whether paid leave carries over.

“Depending on the way your company’s sick leave policy is structured, accrued paid sick leave carries over to the following year,” said Douglas Large, a partner with Santa Barbara-based law firm Buynak, Fauver, Archbald & Spray LLP.

Large’s firm sent a notice to local residents letting them know about the law and explaining that paid sick leave can be used after the 90th day of employment,

With an estimated 60 percent of California employees already getting some type of paid sick leave, the law firm estimated AB 1522 could cause anyone with employees working more than 30 hours a week to take a “long, hard look at their existing policies on paid time off.”

Small-business owners are not exempt from the law.

Employees covered in collective bargaining agreements, in-home support service providers and certain air carrier employees are not covered by the new legislation.

Per requirements, employers must display posters with the new rules, provide individual notification to workers of sick leave rights and keep record of how many sick days employees accrue over the first three years.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Michael Barone: Supreme Court Lets Obama Administration Have Its Say with Laws

By | Published on 06/30/2015


For most people, words mean what they say. But not necessarily for a majority of Supreme Court justices in two important decisions handed down Thursday.

In the most prominent, King v. Burwell, Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for a 6-3 majority, ruled that the words "established by the state" mean "established by the state or the federal government."

In a second decision, Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for a 5-4 majority, ruled that the omission in the 1968 Fair Housing Act of words banning acts that have a disparate impact on people of different races didn't matter. The plaintiff could bring a lawsuit anyway.

Both cases were victories for the Obama administration and for the proposition that the executive branch can rewrite laws to say what they want them to say.

The results are particularly striking, since neither case was a challenge based on the Constitution. They simply required the court to interpret the words of a statute — words that can be changed by an act of Congress.

But waiting around for Congress to act is not the modus operandi of the second-term Barack Obama presidency. Results are what the president wants, and if the plain meaning of words has to be ignored — well, the Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland provides guidance on that.

A contrary decision in King v. Burwell would certainly have had some unpleasant consequences, as the chief justice noted. Obamacare, as passed by Congress, provided for insurance subsidies only in states that established their own health exchanges. It specifically did not authorize subsidies in states that took the other option of using an exchange set up by the federal government.

Obamacare fans dismiss this as a drafting error, an unexplainable glitch. But it's very much in line with the way Congress has drafted numerous statutes. Under settled constitutional law, Congress can't require state governments to do things. But it can provide money on the condition the states do what it wants.

And since the 1930s, the states have usually accepted such bargains. That's how, for example, we had a 55 mph speed limit for several years and have now a 21-year-old drinking age. If you don't accept those conditions, you don't get federal highway (and mass transit and bike path) money.

But much to the surprise of Obamacare's framers, notably MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, 36 states declined to establish their own health exchanges. So if the Supreme Court interpreted the words "established by the state" to mean "established by the state," some 6 million people would have lost their health insurance subsidies.

Obama rightly pointed out that in that case, Congress could restore the subsidies by adding four words — "or the federal government" — to the statute. But a Republican-majority Congress would insist on other changes, though Republicans don't seem to have reached consensus on exactly what.

That could have meant a year-long battle between a statute-writing Congress and a veto-wielding president. The court's decision spares them that battle.

The chief justice's King v. Burwell decision was crisply written and assertive. Justice Kennedy's Inclusive Communities decision, in contrast, was almost apologetic. The issue was not whether the Fair Housing Act prohibits intentional discrimination — everyone agrees that it does. The issue was whether the fact that more monies go to heavily black (or white or Hispanic) neighborhoods than to others — "disparate impact" — was enough to trigger a lawsuit.

The Obama administration has scrambled to keep this issue away from the court, lest it frustrate HUD's program to "diversify" affluent neighborhoods with low-income housing.

Justice Kennedy allowed that but said it didn't justify imposing racial quotas or preferences. But those are empty words. Universities aren't supposed to employ quotas in admissions, but they do. HUD will happily do the same.

These two decisions expanding the power of the executive branch exasperated Republicans. But they also raise issues that hurt Democrats.

One is Obamacare, which continues to be unpopular. Republican presidential candidates will be called on to propose alternatives.

The other is HUD's fair housing initiative. A Rasmussen poll released Thursday had 83 percent of likely voters saying, "It is not the government's job to diversify neighborhoods in America so that people of different income levels live together."

The court may let the executive say that words don't mean what they say. But the voters can install a new executive.

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.


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Letter to the Editor: Correcting Supervisors Carbajal, Wolf on Renewable Energy

By | Published on 06/30/2015


Dear Supervisors Janet Wolf and Salud Carbajal,

In your letter published in the Santa Barbara News-Press on June 28, you fail to address a critical core question: What are the oft-mentioned “renewables” to which you refer? Are they wind, solar, nuclear, hydroelectric, etc.?

You have also arrogated to Santa Barbara virtual authorship of the Clean Air and Water Acts, the California Coastal Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (wow!) and the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA was formed by Richard Nixon in 1970) — all supposedly as a result of the 1969 Gaviota oil spill. In fact, the California Coastal Commission was formed as a result of a controversy surrounding the development of Sea Ranch in Sonoma County, not Santa Barbara.

To put the record straight, the birth of our water acts occurred in the 1880s and 1890s when Congress directed the USAC to stop dumping and filling in of the nation’s harbors. Elements of these actions can be found in similar legislation today. In 1912, 1924, 1948, 1965 and 1972, legislation was enacted that furthered the purpose of the initial water acts. These, as you can see and with the exception of one, preceded 1969.

Claims you have made against oil are repudiated as follows: First, natural seeps account for 62 percent of annual releases, 4 percent from oil transportation and 1 percent from oil consumption. Neither the 1969 nor the current Refugio spills even rank in the national surveys of spills, leaks and dumps over the last 50 years.

Due to the inevitable necessity of oil and its byproducts, it is statistically predictable that certain spills will take place.

It is further well known that although the seeps release large volumes of oil each year, the surrounding ecosystem adapts and even thrives because the rate of release is very slow.

Since your article contains so many acronyms (CAW, CCA, EPA, CCE, PG&E, SCE and IOU) one is easily confused as to what is the source of your authority.

But let’s concentrate on the CCE idea and what you mean by “renewables.” This is a central question. Without clarification, you invalidate your theory about the benefits to consumers. So, I wonder why, throughout a rather confusing aggregation of justifications for the CCE, you never define the core source of renewable energy. The word “renewable” is simply not enough to gull readers into thinking their energy costs will drop and their communities will become energy utopias.

Or, was this a political statement to reassure voters in 2016 that at least one of you seeking a congressional seat was deeply concerned about energy resources?

Please acknowledge that currently available renewables on a large scale are not feasible and that oil (I agree we have to get rid of it someday) cannot be replaced now.

Speaking of feasible, I note that you have endorsed an expense with taxpayer money to do yet another feasibility study to determine what we already know. There are also hints that other studies, departments, agencies might be created. Please obtain Chinese grants for these dead-ends and not use taxpayer dollars.

You, Supervisor Carbajal, “serve” on 16 governmental and nongovernmental boards. If you are really active, spur action and take a leading role as a board member should, when do you have time for the county’s business or renewable energy sources that might even serve the nation? Or are your board positions chair-warmers? Or gradually developed credentials for your congressional bid?

Be honest and accurate with your facts and advice to constituencies.

Lee Rosenberg


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