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A Tale of Two McCaws

Mr. McCaw Moves to Montecito, Sycamore Canyon Closures Create More Problems, and Bob Pohl Returns to SB


On the Beat

Two McCaws: Word on the street is that billionaire Craig McCaw - ex-hubby of you know who - will be moving to Montecito in about a year. He already owns a home here, and his wife Susan will be resigning as the US Ambassador to Austria. Craig just took his company, Clearwire Corporation, public. According to the web, Clearwire is building the next generation of wireless broadband (WiMAX) networks in the U.S. and Europe. Let’s hope it does better than another of his projects; in 1994 McCaw founded XO Communications to build a state-of-the-art telecom network, By the end of 2001, the start-up found itself mired in $7 billion worth of debt. On June 17, 2002, XO filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. You don’t suppose that Craig would be interested in owning a newspaper, do you?

When Will It Open?: “I have a question I hope you can answer,” asks a reader. “When will Sycamore Canyon Road reopen? As a resident living on Westmont Road. I have waited for years for the road to reopen. The traffic, the inconvenience, the extra miles, and extra time aggravate me daily. It has become my soapbox among friends and I thought that you might be able to find some answers.”

As we enter an early, hot, and dry fire season, the lack of escape routes adds to the fire threat. Westmont College has just been approved to more than double its [student] population and the freeway expansion between Milpas and Hot Springs is in the works. The traffic is already busting at the seams and Barker Pass Road cannot support all of the traffic of construction trucks and everyone else. I have been told that city, county, and state are passing the project around. Thanks for letting me state my rant and I hope you can shed some light on who’s going to reopen a main artery for hundreds of people.”

I’m just minutes from hopping on a plane as I’m writing this and don’t have time to check around, but this might shake loose some answers. I live near Barker Pass and I’m well aware of the increased, fast traffic.

Our Pluggers: It’s been pointed out more than once that Santa Barbara readers seem to get a high percentage of suggestions in the Pluggers comic. Just the other day, Matt Reeves of Lompoc was credited with one captioned “Pluggers practice tough love.” The cartoon shows a slim wife next to her chubby mate, saying to the ice cream parlor clerk: “I’ll have a banana split and my husband will have a low-fat yogurt.”

Play’s the Thing: The Ensemble Theatre will present a staged reading of Brothers-in-Law, by Jeff Baron, on Monday, May 14 at 7 p.m. Fred, a truck driver, and his brother-in-law, a bon vivant, have never had a real conversation until they see one another at a funeral. There, family secrets are uncovered.

Pohl’s Back: Bob Pohl, former member of the Santa Barbara Board of Education, is back in town after running the Keys to Improving Education Foundation in Dayton, Ohio. He’ll be honored May 19 at the Santa Barbara Carriage and Western Museum, 4-8 p.m. So, will we be seeing Bob running for public office again?

Rape Crisis: Here’s a wonderful organization I heartily wish didn’t have a reason to exist. I’m talking about the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center. It needs money to survive, so it’s throwing its Shining Star Benefit Luncheon - sponsored by Santa Barbara Bank and Trust - on May 30 at the Four Seasons Biltmore’s Loggia Ballroom. The cost is a mere $100 a plate for a great cause. 1st District Supervisor Salud Carbajal will emcee the event. Due to be honored are Carol Mosely and the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara.

Barney Brantingham can be reached at barney@independent.com or 805-965-5205. He is a staff columnist for the Santa Barbara Independent and writes online columns on Tuesdays and Fridays and a print column on Thursdays.

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