County 1-21

In light of the continued downpours, Santa Barbara School District officials announced this week that police and fire authorities will decide if an emergency situation exists, and that parents can count on school employees to announce if children need to be picked up. Officials pointed out that schools, which are essential service structures like police and fire stations, are built to a higher standard than most other buildings.


Several days of rain this week has led to increased water levels in area reservoirs, said water agency administrators. Jameson Lake, which serves the Montecito Water District, is 20 feet below its capacity, as is Lake Cachuma, the South Coast’s main water supply. The level of the City of Santa Barbara’s Gibraltar Reservoir is two feet from capacity, although the water is currently too muddy from runoff to be used.


The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors this week unanimously approved a study examining the feasibility of restoring 12,241 acre feet per year of State Water Project allotment to county water agencies. Voters elected to relinquish it in 1981, but water managers contend that restoration—which will cost $17 million and require a bond issue by the Central Coast Water Authority—is a crucial part of water supply reliability.


The Santa Barbara Board of Supervisors decided to move forward on an ordinance that would restrict the use of alcohol at Sandyland Cove unless a permit is obtained. The area being addressed is located between the western portion of Carpinteria, next to the Salt Marsh, and Santa Claus Lane to the east of Padaro Lane. Law enforcement responded to 310 calls in the past year to this neighborhood concerning noise, drug use, public drunkenness, and suspicious persons.


Several hundred South Coast residents braved bad weather to march from De la Guerra Plaza to the Arlington Theatre to commemorate a celebration of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. On hand were political luminaries from the South Coast such as Congressmember Lois Capps, Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider, and County Supervisor Salud Carbajal. Members of the stagehands union, which is now on strike at the Arlington over wage cuts and other related issues, did not picket in deference to the event’s spirit. Nonetheless certain political candidates—Das Williams and Susan Jordan—did not go inside the theater in deference to the striking workers.


Despite opposition from many development and business representatives, Santa Barbara County’s fees for getting through the land development permitting process will be increasing come March 20 by 17 percent, from $152 to $182 an hour. The increase comes because of increased county employee salary, retirement, and health insurance costs. Opponents of the increase argued that developers shouldn’t be responsible for offsetting the increased costs, especially in tough economic times.


Actor and longtime Santa Barbara resident Jeff Bridges won the Golden Globe award for best actor for his role as a down-on-his luck country singer in the movie Crazy Heart. The film reportedly opens in Santa Barbara this week.

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