It’s a question no one has been asking, but I will not be a candidate to succeed Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.
Interestingly, Capps’ retirement announcement was not one of our readers’ top stories this past week. For 90,630 of you, these were:
1. In Cost-Cutting Move, U.S. Postal Service Scraps Most Next-Day Local Letter Delivery
The U.S. Postal Service has rolled out its latest plan to fix its budget, which has been delivering red ink for years. What does it mean for us? Local first-class mail won’t be arriving at its destination any time as soon as it used to.
Blaming the old chestnut of declining mail volume, USPS is consolidating its processing facilities and revising its delivery standards. The result is that mail that used to take one day to process will now take at least two.
Of course, the drop in volume is real — by more than 50 percent in the last decade — and I’m as much to blame as anyone. Noozhawk does 100 percent of its customer invoicing online and snail-mails only about a dozen items each month. Were it not for Christmas cards, pretty much nothing would ever be mailed out of my home.
But delivery issues aren’t the only culprit. Ballooning employee costs sent annual USPS budget deficits to a record $16 billion in 2012, although, in fairness, the reported deficit was only $5.5 billion in 2014.
It’s way past time for Congress to get serious about privatization, open competition and entrepreneurial innovation for the nation’s second-largest civilian employer. That’s right: With a workforce of 600,000, the U.S. Postal Service trails only Walmart.
I know that some readers will try to school me on the sanctity of government-run mail, but I’m not buying it. People used to make similar claims about Fossil Media.
2. Estimated 10,000 Revelers Pack Deltopia, But Isla Vista Avoids Repeat of Last Year’s Violence
After riotous violence a year ago, this year’s Deltopia street party was a shell of previous Isla Vista bacchanalia.
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department estimated a crowd of about 10,000 hearty partiers this time, half of the 2014 attendance.
While there were still scores of alcohol-related arrests and medical calls throughout the day and night April 4, authorities said it appeared the muted atmosphere was a result of a concerted campaign to keep outsiders away.
“We’re very pleased with the lower turnout, and are hoping that it’s an indication that locals are continuing with the sentiment they had at Halloween that they are not inviting out-of-towners,” sheriff’s spokeswoman Kelly Hoover told our Lara Cooper.
3. BizHawk: On the Alley Restaurant Opening in Goleta’s Camino Real Marketplace
Since opening four years ago, On the Alley has been a real gem at the Santa Barbara Harbor, tucked away around the corner from its high-profile sister restaurant, Brophy Bros. In July, a second location is due to open in Goleta’s red-hot Camino Real Marketplace.
On the Alley will be taking over the space formerly occupied by the now-closed Gina’s Pizza, 7038 Marketplace Drive, about 10 feet from Camino Real Cinemas.
The new restaurant will mirror the seafood-infused breakfast, lunch and dinner menu of the harbor store, owner John Bennett told our Gina Potthoff.
Bennett and his mother own and operate several local restaurants, including Arch Rock, Benchmark Eatery, Brophy Bros., Farmer Boy Restaurant and The Cliff Room on the Mesa.
4. Officials Name Medical Clinic Closed For Unsafe Practices
Santa Barbara County public health authorities shut down the office of Dr. Allen Thomashefsky after an investigation allegedly found unsafe infection-control practices at his clinic, located across the street from Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.
Officials say conditions at the office, at 2320 Bath St., Suite 301, may have exposed patients to blood-borne viruses, including Hepatitis B and C, and HIV.
Thomashefsky, a sports medicine specialist who divides his time between Santa Barbara and Ashland, Ore., could not be reached for comment.
According to the county Public Health Department, an investigation was launched last month after a new case of Hepatitis C virus infection occurred in a patient with no other known risk factors.
Investigators made an unannounced site visit at Thomashefsky’s office, where they determined standard-infection control precautions were not being followed. They closed the office March 19.
“This was concerning enough for public health to take immediate measures to protect the public,” county officials said in a statement.
The word “immediate” must have an elastic definition, given that the county didn’t get around to announcing anything publicly until April 7 — three weeks later.
Now the county is trying to track down additional patients who may have visited the clinic in the last several years.
Meanwhile, a couple of readers wanted to know why Noozhawk didn’t immediately identify the clinic when one local publication apparently had.
It’s not because we were following the county’s timeline guidelines, but because we had not yet independently verified the name. Thomashefsky wasn’t talking and the county was being coy.
As soon as we confirmed the clinic, we posted the information. While we always strive to be first, it’s more important to us that we get the story correct.
5. Four Injured in Multivehicle Crash on Highway 101 in Goleta
A three-vehicle crash on Highway 101 in Goleta left four people injured the afternoon of April 4. Two of them were taken to the hospital for treatment.
Santa Barbara County Fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni said the wreck occurred about 1:30 p.m. on the northbound side of the freeway west of Fairview Avenue. The freeway closes in right there as it goes through a construction zone for the Las Vegas and San Pedro creeks flood protection project.
Minor injuries were reported, but the northbound lanes were closed for a time so emergency personnel could tend to the victims and clear the wreckage.
The California Highway Patrol is investigating the collision.
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Bill Macfadyen’s Story of the Week, from my peripatetic tour of the World Wide Web, is a fatwa we can all get behind: Turkey’s Top Religious Body Allows Use of Toilet Paper.
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I’ve had this discussion with my daughter. Language warning. But not from the discussion with my daughter.
(Fast Company video)
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— Bill Macfadyen is Noozhawk’s founder and publisher. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow him on Twitter: @noozhawk, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.