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Crystal Balls In Hand, Noozhawk Readers Gaze Into 2009

We asked you to look ahead and tell us what you foresee for the new year. Here's what you had to say.

We recently asked Noozhawk readers to look ahead to 2009 and give us their predictions. Here’s a sampling.

• • •

The one major problem that this and every other community should put at the top of their looming disaster list is one that no one wishes to touch. The name of this fatal third rail is population control.

Neither political, religious or environmental “leaders” are willing to come anywhere near that one. Yet, this is what all of our housing, traffic, water shortages, budget and quality of life problems are based on. Our media glorify women who have 17 children. Our government blocks all efforts at birth control, here and in foreign countries. In just my lifetime, the planet’s human load has exploded from 2 billion to almost 7 billion, and we are told it soon will hit 9 billion. But no one, including the media, is ever allowed to speak of this.

Well, lots of good luck, homo sapiens, in surviving through the next century. You’ll sure need it!

Bud Stuart DVM

• • •

I predict technical bankruptcy for both city and state, while the lawmakers continue to spend irresponsibly and focus their energy on everything but the economic health and welfare of our community.

Robert C. Meltzer

• • •

Unless we have some serious, responsible adults enter the local race for City Council and the mayor’s office, we will witness the absolute end of Santa Barbara as a historically attractive, desirable place to live.

The policies of the past eight years have been disastrous for this place, and unless there is a total change of direction, it’s over. The unexpectedly pro-growth, high-density agenda of the current office holders has completely lost sight of any charm, historic significance or relaxed way of life that so many Santa Barbara residents have struggled to preserve.

How ironic that the supposedly progressive bunch has ushered in more development than ever seen before — and said no to no one.


• • •

For those who have money, it’s a great time to buy something. Interest rates at near-record lows and prices are at an all-time low. We haven’t seen these two factors so close in 40 years.

For those who have high-interest loans and good income, credit and assets, it’s a great time to refinance.

I say, enough of this doom and gloom. Learn to dance (or take advantage) in this storm.

Eric Christianson, Solvang

• • •

I see more and more people moving out of town. Renters and low-income, once-lucky homeowners such as myself who have lost their jobs are unable to make their house payments and can’t afford to rent. At the same time, I see more efforts going into finding subsidized homes or parking spaces for those who have been living in their RVs and are considered homeless.

Change is a given, but it seems unfair that so much effort is going into finding places for those street sleepers and hustlers to stay here while doing nothing for the working but economic lower middle class.

I also forsee that the height initiative will pass, that the coming election will be a bitter watershed event, with a strong “throw the bums out” attitude.


• • •

I see a significant increase in traffic congestion as the pro-growth City Council keeps approving massive new development while decreasing the number of parking spaces, and installing “traffic calming” for the purpose of creating congestion as its way to force people out of their cars.

I see downtown’s small merchants being driven out of business because their customers go to Goleta, where they get plenty of available and convenient free parking. The reality is that people love — and need — their cars, as the perfect form of personal transportation, and will continue to use them.

The fact that the city’s transportation staff refuses to accept is that bike ridership has been down every year for the past 20 years. This is the trend. Fact: In 2008, less than 5 percent of all workers in Santa Barbara rode a bike to get to work. In 10 years, it will be 4 percent. In 20 years, it will be 3 percent. Why can’t the city staff face this reality and plan for the future reality of the car, as the overwhelming mode of transportation?

The car as the primary mode of transportation in Santa Barbara is not going to go away no matter how much the city staff wants it to. Wake up, city planning and transportation staff, and do your work right instead of trying to social engineer city residents.

We residents are paying your salary to provide for the car. So, do what we are paying you for and stop working against us. Or we residents are going to have to clean house.

Love My Car

• • •

The City Council is a disaster. An absolute disaster. In its Social Democratic efforts to provide thousands of affordable units and to find money to pay overpriced city employees, it is hellbent to destroy the Santa Barbara that it took decades of good planning to create. What is called smart growth is idiotic, and not smart at all. Talking about sprawl is even more stupid when we are already built out.

Iya Falcone and Helene Schneider (both Emma Goldmans) running for mayor? Das Williams is terming out in a few years. I am sure he may be in line for an HEW position in Fidel Castro’s government. The only one who has any sense on the council is Dale Francisco, and he is frequently ridiculed by his cohorts. What a bleak future this city has. When you haven’t got it, you begin to realize the importance of good leadership.

Earl Meyers

• • •

I foresee a school corruption scandal that rocks the nation. “Dismantling School to Prison Pipeline” ( is a focus of the ACLU, the NAACP and Marian Wright Edelman’s Children’s Defense Fund. It started here with the Truancy and Parent Accountability Program — chief of education Bill Cirone and district attorney Tom Sneddon. Start with the before-2005 SELPA Visa credit card statements.

I foresee the exposure of a school-politico-industrial complex. Robert Eringer’s El Puente articles (Santa Barbara News-Press) are a good start.

I foresee Dr. Lewis Andrews’ “America’s Second Civil War: The Public Employment Complex vs. The Taxpayer” ( School districts have full-time billing agents to “double dip” for government funds for special-education services. There’s a $32 million liability at ADMHSA because the scam was rejected. The Board of Supervisors and district attorney refuse to investigate any charges of corruption.

I foresee mobilizing Santa Barbara to restore social justice and reform education.

Have a nice uprising!

Kate Smith

• • •

I see Helene Schneider losing her bid for mayor, and I see the citizens height initiative passing by a 70 percent vote because the residents of Santa Barbara cherish the small-town character.

Height Initiative Will Pass

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