Post-Christmas Musings for the New Year
Things I’d like to see in the New Year (but probably won’t):
The Miramar becomes a beach park.
Downtown State Street become a car-free pedestrian mall.
The Levy time-share project become a park. (Can’t have too many.)
A city moratorium on mega-projects until it comes up with a coherent growth plan. Will the whole State Street and adjoining corridors become a solid canyon of four-story buildings? If so, let’s admit it now.
A city crackdown on creek pollution, including cement contractors who wash out their equipment into the gutters, where the pollutants flow into creeks and then the ocean.
When will someone get serious about a commuter train linking Santa Barbara to Ventura County? With the city of Goleta pushing a major research project, could that just possibly be a magnet for a flood of even more cars on the freeway? Or an excuse to cover the hills with McMansions far too expensive for the new employees? Any chance for more bikeways or is the car still king? A friend suggests a mass Earl Warren Showgrounds trade-in of SUVs for Vespas.
Then there’s the homeless, a national problem the nation finds it convenient to ignore.
Crime Story: A Santa Barbara friend who owns apartment complexes in Oxnard tells about discovering that someone had stolen a washer-drying combo from one building. A canny guy who knows his way around, he put out the word in Ventura County that he’d pay a couple of hundred dead presidents to get the units back. Soon the word came back and so did the washer-dryer. The thief, it turned out, was someone (sob!) that he trusted.
Black Bag Job: When granddaughter Natasha was a little kid, I joked with her that if she misbehaved, Santa might bring her coal instead of presents. Her reply: “What’s coal?”
Jam Session: Those wild and crazy guys who play New Orleans style jazz at The James Joyce Pub, 813 State Street, will be celebrating their eighth anniversary there Saturday night, starting at 7:30 p.m. Ulysses S. Jasz, as they call themselves, have been swinging at the James Joyce since 1998. Casey’s in Sherman Oaks is the only other venue in Southern California presenting this style of jazz on a weekly basis.
Pub owner Tommy Byrne will be providing free food Saturday night. Musicians who have played with them over the years have been invited.
Oops: In last Thursday’s column, I goofed in reporting the number of homes in Mark Lee’s project on Las Positas Road. It’s 25. I’m also informed that the person who spotted those donuts and Brian Barnwell’s thank-you note at the city planning office was not a female opponent of the St. Francis Hospital project but “a male professional who had no particular issue with the St. Francis Project but a real concern about neighborhoods and the many inappropriately cozy relationships between city staff and the government bodies.”
Come As You Want: I’m told that there is confusion among folks planning to attend the Santa Barbara Symphony’s Wild West New Year’s Eve concert (8:30-10:30) about the correct attire. Here’s the answer from Symphony sources: Come in Western duds or dressed to the nines in formal outfits — or anything in between. Mix or match, I guess.
“We’ll have hats and tiaras plus noise-blowers for everyone and balloons falling from the ceiling in celebration,” a spokeswoman told me.
More About the CAF: Michael Jaffe of the California Academy Foundation wants to clarify some things that appeared in my column about the CAF and its home raffle and the Contemporary Arts Forum (CAF), which also runs a home raffle.
“The California Academy Foundation has been in existence for about 10 years. Our use of the acronym, CAF, had absolutely nothing to do with the Contemporary Arts Forum use of the same acronym. We are a non-profit organization of parents of high school aged kids committed to supporting the Multi Media Arts and Design Academy at the Santa Barbara High School. We have about 155 students and graduate about 50 each year. Over the 10 years we’ve been in existence, every single graduate has gone on to college.
“The CAF (our foundation) also supports education in general. We have fundraising events in order to finance that support. The raffle event this year raised about $220,000 for the California Academy Foundation which has just become the lead donor with a donation of $100,000 to a capital fund drive by the Santa Barbara High School to build a new girl’s locker room, teacher’s lounge, kitchenette, and storage space for the Academy.
“Greg Goggin, who worked for the Contemporary Arts Forum, was very generous with his advice while we were researching the idea of a raffle. In exchange, we agreed not to start our raffle until theirs was over, a decision which left us with the worst time period to run a raffle — the summer. But we did it anyway out of respect for the help the Arts Forum had given us. And Greg thanked us profusely. Any charge that we tried to somehow capitalize on their name is ridiculous and grossly disrespectful of the enormous sacrifice, good will, and money that Academy parents devote to supporting not only the Multi Media Academy but also the High School.
“Words cannot express our astonishment at the disrespectful view of our Foundation expressed by others in your column. An apology would be nice.”
Another Raffle: The Contemporary Arts Forum plans to launch its fourth annual Million Dollar Home Raffle in early 2007.