On the Beat

By Barney Brantingham

Hotel Andalucía Changing Hands: Word on the street is that the Hotel Andalucía, sporting Santa Barbara’s only hotel roof garden at Chapala and Carrillo streets, has been sold or is in the process. Buyer, according to my information, is Edward Thomas Hospitality Corp.—its current management firm—which owns sister hotels Shutters at the Beach and Casa del Mar in Santa Monica. The Andalucía opened in December 2005, but has reportedly been a disappointment. Despite persistent rumors around town, Ty Warner is not selling the Miramar, according to Greg Rice, Ty’s executive vice president. “We have had several unsolicited proposals that have given us pause,” but none have given Ty reason to accept and the long-shuttered hotel is not on the market, Rice told me.

Fly Naked? That’s Dale Lowdermilk’s tongue-in-cheek solution to the ever-increasing screening demands of flying these days. That way, there’s little chance of someone carrying a bomb in a shoe or bra. But wait! What if a suicide bomber swallows a deadly device or inserts it into an intimate orifice? Dale suggests further steps: “Mandatory full-body x-rays and pre-flight colon­oscopies for everyone.” And, I added when Dale sauntered past my house the other day, dental x-rays to make sure explosives aren’t hidden in your molars.

Dale, a former air traffic controller at Santa Barbara Airport, runs NOTSAFE (National Organization Taunting Safety and Fairness Everywhere), “the world’s most sarcastic organization,” gently lampooning regulations of all kinds. If you really want to make flying safer, he proposed, pull the wings off airliners because it would be far safer if they taxied to their destinations; we could also try “permitting only one aircraft to fly over the U.S. at a time to reduce the chance of mid-airs.”

While making the four-hour flight to Chicago last weekend, Sue and I, desperately thirsty, wondered why—now that the feds are banning water bottles—airlines don’t offer their own to passengers trapped like sardines? We had a hard time getting those tiny little cups of water from harried attendants. Why not hand bottles out at the gate?

Who Damaged Whom? If it turns out that former editor Jerry Roberts did nothing to damage the News-Press, despite Wendy McCaw’s $500,000 arbitration claim, what then? Does Roberts have a claim against her for, among other things, finding out upon his return from vacation that she’d given his job, in effect, to Opinions Page editor Travis Armstrong? And then trashed his reputation? Wacky Words: It happens every year: Planned Parenthood volunteers sorting through stuff for PP’s annual book sale came up with the weirdest titles:

I Just Had Surgery. What’s Your Excuse?; I’m OK. I’m Just Mutating ; Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun ; There’s a Raccoon in My Parka ; Frosty: A Raccoon to Remember; Algae to the Rescue! ; The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead; Plant Parenthood; This Can’t Be Tofu!; Ablaze! Spontaneous Human Combustion; Bubblemania: The Chewy History of Bubble Gum.

“I don’t know how we ended up with a raccoon in two of the titles,” observed Stefanie Sada, co-chair of the book sale, which takes place at Earl Warren Showgrounds, Sept. 22-Oct. 1, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. daily. Admission is free except for the Sept. 21 opening-night reception, which is $20 and runs from 5-8 p.m.

Lights Out: While waiting for a bus to take her to work downtown, Cheryl Johnson said she sees “more and more near-accidents” at State and Alamar. “Many have involved cell phones, mugs of hot coffee, carelessness, speeding, and often two or more of the above at the same time. Drivers,” she said, “are looking only at the color of the lights” and are not focused on anything else. “This morning was different,” Cheryl told me. “The signals were being worked on, so it was a temporary ‘boulevard’ stop for all vehicles. I noticed that there was no speeding, no horns, no cussing or gesturing. Everyone approaching the intersection actually had to look at the other drivers around them, acknowledge them, wait, and proceed. This was done in an orderly fashion. Perhaps a return to the stop signs would be a welcome change for many. Safer, for sure, and better socially as we connect with another person behind the wheel.” Thanks, Cheryl. Now if we could only get people to actually stop at stop signs on an everyday basis.

Bravo Brubeck: Dave Brubeck, whose foursome knocked ’em dead at the Lobero the other night, first played there in 1953, he told a few of us after the concert. “In 1942 I was in the Army in Death Valley.” His brother Henry, who went on to become the beloved musical director at Santa Barbara High, was playing with a Santa Barbara dance band. “He asked me to sit in.” Dave has played the Lobero so many times in recent years, “Santa Barbara feels like home. If I was smarter I’d live here.” “And richer,” someone cracked. The post-concert occasion was to name a Lobero dressing room in Dave’s honor and for the Santa Barbara Jazz Society to announce the Henry Brubeck Memorial Scholarship. George Burtness, Lobero board president, recalled studying under Henry at Santa Barbara High.

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