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Bill Macfadyen: Isla Vista Drug Raid Targets Alleged Home-Baked Source

NoozWeek’s Top 5 strikes the tent, finds Dario Pini’s properties repulsive, remembers the late Alan Thicke’s pitch control, and has some good news in a shocking hit-and-run case

Kicked to the curb. Click to view larger
Kicked to the curb. (Zack Warburg / Noozhawk photo)

Just as I suspected would happen, Noozhawk’s actual reporters muscled me out of the Top 5 of our most-read stories this week, and almost bumped me out of the Top 10. Either that or our readers have caught on to my fake news.

According to our Google Analytics, 102,931 people read Noozhawk this past week. Here’s my take on your top five stories:

1. 12 People Detained After Warrant Served at Suspected Isla Vista Drug House

Authorities raided an Isla Vista house suspected of being a hub for illegal drug sales, detaining a dozen people as they served a search warrant the night of Dec. 9.

Three men — two UC Santa Barbara students and a Santa Barbara City College student — were cited for various drug-related charges, Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Kelly Hoover told our Tom Bolton.

Hoover said sheriff’s deputies and UC Santa Barbara police officers served the warrant at the residence in the 6700 block of Sueno Road, near the corner of Camino Del Sur.

“One dozen people were inside the residence when law enforcement arrived,” she said. “The occupants were detained, and several were found to be in possession of controlled substances and drug paraphernalia.

“Additionally, items indicating the sale of narcotics were seized, including packaging materials, cutting agents, pay-owe sheets and cash.”

The identities of the three students have not yet been disclosed.

Tent City, by the beach. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)
Tent City, by the beach. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

2. Infestation Shuts Down Fess Parker-DoubleTree Hotel in Santa Barbara

Termites are pervasive pests with voracious appetites, and they don’t discriminate. Sooner or later, they sink their tiny teeth into just about everyone’s stuff.

There’s never a good time to fumigate, which is especially true if you’re running a 360-room hotel in one of the world’s premier tourist destinations.

But if you’ve got to tent, I suppose the quiet week before Christmas is about as good a time as any, which is why The Fess Parker along the Santa Barbara waterfront took on the appearance of a three-ring circus this week.

On Dec. 12, exterminators sealed up the 45,000-square-foot hotel at 633 E. Cabrillo Blvd., then set off the mother of all bug bombs.

Beth Olson, the hotel’s sales and marketing director, told our Brooke Holland that the place will be back in business Dec. 16.

Home, sweet home. (City of Santa Barbara photo)
Home, sweet home. (City of Santa Barbara photo)

3. City Inspections Find ‘Severely Substandard Conditions’ at Dario Pini Rental, Motel Properties

Then there’s local landlord Dario Pini. Given his long and notorious record of health-, safety- and building-code violations, maybe he considers termites to be an amenity. If he’s not charging them rent.

Last week, the City of Santa Barbara conducted three days of surprise inspections of Pini properties. Can anyone honestly be surprised by what was found?

Yeah, didn’t think so.

After serving inspection warrants and performing health-and-safety checks at 164 of Pini’s residential and motel properties last week, what wouldn’t surprise me is if those city employees were suddenly questioning their career choices.

According to the City Attorney’s Office, officials found “severely substandard living conditions” in many of the units. Among the violations were “a lack of safe and adequate heating, overcrowding and unsanitary conditions.”

For his part, Pini disputed many of the findings, calling the exercise “an incredible waste of taxpayers’ money.” He also told our Sam Goldman that the search of his own Mission Ridge Road home was a “complete invasion of my privacy.”

(MartiniShotJSK video)

4. Actor Alan Thicke, a Carpinteria Resident, Dead of Heart Attack at 69

As an actor, Alan Thicke earned fame as a beloved sit-com dad on the popular Growing Pains TV show from 1985 to 1992.

Alan Thicke made for a grand marshal at Santa Barbara’s Downtown Holiday Parade in 2014. (Fritz Olenberger file photo /
Alan Thicke made for a grand marshal at Santa Barbara’s Downtown Holiday Parade in 2014. (Fritz Olenberger file photo)

It’s a good thing he had that acclaim to fall back on when he cut several commercials for a fledgling Santa Barbara startup way back in 2007. It was a gracious act, and I’m eternally grateful for his early enthusiasm for what he liked to call “the Noozhawk.”

I’m also relieved it didn’t deter his career.

Thicke — who also was a songwriter, Emmy Awards and game show host, and genuine good guy — died Dec. 13 in Burbank, after a heart attack he suffered while playing hockey with his 19-year-old son, Carter. He was 69.

Born in Canada, Thicke lived in Carpintera with his third wife, Tanya Callau, and Carter. He frequently could be seen around the South Coast, and served as grand marshal of Santa Barbara’s 2014 Downtown Holiday Parade.

Thanks to my friends, Jack Kimball, a video producer and director, and Chris Donahue, Noozhawk’s first sales representative, Thicke volunteered to tape several promotional ads for us. The series of TV commercials included a spot featuring the late Larry Crandell, as well as the original Noozhawk logo.

The commercial we used is featured above, but my favorite — and Thicke’s — is the one below.

In addition to Tanya and Carter, Thicke is survived by two older sons, Brennan and Robin. Funeral services are pending.

R.I.P. Alan. And thank you.

(MartiniShotJSK video)

5. Montecito Man Charged With Felony DUI, Hit-Run in Collision That Put Pedestrian in Coma

The Montecito resident arrested as a suspect in the Dec. 2 hit-and-run that put a Santa Barbara City College student in a coma has been charged with felony driving under the influence and hit-and-run causing great bodily injury.

So Isaac Vincent Vega can speak up, to plead not guilty.
So Isaac Vincent Vega can speak up, to plead not guilty. (Santa Barbara County Jail photo)

Isaac Vincent Vega, 21, was arrested five days after he allegedly ran over 23-year-old Drew Daly near Toma Restaurant Bar at 324 W. Cabrillo Blvd. — and allegedly left him lying in the street with life-threatening injuries.

A passerby discovered the victim around 4:15 a.m, nearly two hours after the collision.

Daly remains in Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with severe brain trauma and other injuries, but his family told our Brooke Holland on Dec. 15 that he had emerged from the coma.

“He is awake, focusing his eyes, he can recognize people and got his breathing tube out,” said his sister, Leah Daly. “He is working with physical therapy, speech therapy and making progress every day.

“He is still weak, but doing better than anyone would have expected.”

Vega apparently wasn’t man enough to report the incident, but a concerned citizen heeded the request for help from Santa Barbara police and turned him in.

After nearly two weeks, hit-and-run victim Drew Daly is out of a coma.
After nearly two weeks, hit-and-run victim Drew Daly is out of a coma.  (Facebook photo)

He was taken into custody at the Santa Barbara harbor on Dec. 7, and his SUV — a white 1999 Honda CRV — was seized at his residence.

The District Attorney’s Office charged Vega with felony DUI causing great bodily injury, specifically a coma, while out on bail on an open felony case, which refers to an alleged Sept. 16 robbery of a Vons supermarket.

He also was charged with felony hit-and-run causing great bodily injury or death, with the same enhancements.

Vega, who is represented by Deputy Public Defender Rachel Solomon, made an appearance in Superior Court on Dec. 9 but his arraignment was continued until Dec. 14, when he pleaded not guilty.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Lee Carter said he is due back in court on Jan. 11.

Leah Daly said the family has been overwhelmed by the community’s support.

“It ... blew my mind to see people cared and reach out,” she said. “It shows what a community can do, so quickly. My brother loves Santa Barbara.”

Daly, who is from Rancho Palos Verdes, is studying public health at SBCC and works as a bartender at Bacara Resort & Spa in Goleta.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help pay for his considerable medical and rehabilitation expenses. Click here to make an online donation.

                                                                 •        •        •

Last Year on Noozhawk

What was our most-read story this time last year? Santa Barbara Police Arrest 4 Bakersfield Men in Lower State Street Melee.

                                                                 •        •        •

Bill Macfadyen’s Story of the Week

While many celebrities are reneging on their promises to move to neighboring Canada, one of the world’s biggest and most enduring celebrities quickly and efficiently just raised millions of dollars for her own neighbors: Dolly Parton’s Telethon Raised ‘Millions’ for Tennessee Wildfire Victims.

                                                                 •        •        •

Watch It

The best defense is a good offense, right? Something tells me this kangaroo will be better prepared for the rematch, though. HT to our Tom Bolton for the punch line.

(ViralHog 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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