Dubuque Not Our Alma

Thursday, June 27, 2013
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For how many months have I seen the Alma del Pueblo full-page ads in the front of the Independent, with the colored sketch showing trees covering much of the roofline of the new project, but showing the beloved Arlington beyond? Surely this must have real community support, I thought.

Then, a month or so ago, I came face-to-face with the actual buildings on Victoria Street, with plaster on the walls, and was shocked to see that the carefully camouflaged roofline in the sketch resembled a five-and-dime store close by our house near Dubuque, Iowa. Both sides of the Victoria facade step up to a flat-top piece, and a warehouse space inside was just visible. The space for the trees in the sketch would be only a few feet from the building front – yet those trees were wide-branching, not skinny cypress to fit the space. Where is the tile roof, the accents, the arches, the proportions, or the symphony of form that is the Arlington?

The massing of buildings elsewhere also has nothing of the Arlington’s sensitive Spanish colonial character, and the tall, bland public-works style mosaic murals leave the west front without windows or any relief for the poor residents across the street. Who determined that this giant utilitarian piece of tilework had any connection to the Arlington, or of interest to anyone?

Yes, we should be happy construction workers have jobs, but at what cost to Santa Barbara’s tradition? Should architect Brian Cearnal be pilloried in the City Hall square for the public to administer justice? Should the Historic Landmarks Commission be dismantled and refitted with real design architects? Our Spanish colonial tradition needs to be first understood and then protected at all costs, not as a bag of cute details but as a soulful canvas for humanism and design character. George Washington Smith, where are you?

Although the Independent can use Alma Pueblo’s advertising dollars, we the readers should chastise you for not looking more into the particulars of this deception and not becoming a part of the destruction of Santa Barbara.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

huh? are you talking about the old vons building? that mosaic is near and dear to many people (actual santa barbara natives). california not living up to your baywatch dreams? let me let you in on a little secret: native santa barbarans hate you and wish you would piss off back to whatever armpit you came from, we are just too polite (observe and learn) to say it to your face. in fact, native californians hate you because your pathetic attitude is ruining our state

redbunz (anonymous profile)
June 27, 2013 at 3:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Yeah Saltzer go back to Kansas.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
June 27, 2013 at 3:42 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I just shared this on Facebook as a perfect example of out of towner whining and told all my friends to share it far and wide. You are a giant putz saltzer.

redbunz (anonymous profile)
June 27, 2013 at 8:21 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I was stoked the mosaic had been preserved and was still on display, unlike the barbarians from Dubuque who blow up Buddhas.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
June 27, 2013 at 9:56 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Mort, I apologize for some of our "love it or leave it" commentators. While they too are welcome in SB it appears that they do not like your reasonable and reasoned opinion. While I LOVE the murals AND loathe the massive scale of the project, I too was confounded by the intentionally misleading scale of the trees in the representation. One picture of the project even shows a veritable orchard across the street where the Victoria Theater stands; so much for project integrity.

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
June 28, 2013 at 6:55 a.m. (Suggest removal)

So they misrepresented the proposed landscaping and fudged the actual appearance of the buildings? Consider yourself lucky - up here in Lompoc proposed developments with 2 story buildings actually turn out to have 3 levels, publicly financed "senior apartments" somehow morph into private condos, and 15 foot wide strips of dirt that are part of the required set back are described as "ajacent parcels that may be built up in the future."

spiritwalker (anonymous profile)
July 10, 2013 at 4:56 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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