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Posted on April 6 at 2:30 a.m.

I hope the Hoffmans win - big time - and stay right here. The legal doctrine of 'attractive nuisance' would seem to apply, as it does when someone fails to put a fence around their pool. Had the defendants taken reasonable steps to protect the property, as prior owners had done, there might have been no fire, the Hoffmans would not have been burned and 230 homes would still be there today. It may or may not be true - it will come out at trial - that the defendants had applied to develop the property into something commercial but were denied permission to do so by the city following which they declined to put any further money into the place.

On Judge Rules in Favor of Tea Fire Victims

Posted on April 1 at 4:01 a.m.

Kudos to you, Starshine, for letting your child go on what sounds like an amazing field trip, for managing to handle your fears and anxieties (at times, just barely, it seems) and for writing a good column about the whole thing for us to enjoy. Sure, the comment above reflects to some degree the reality that is lurking out there in the world but I for one am not allow that to rule my life or that of my child - I let him go on a cycling trip on the Great Ocean Road in Australia when he was in 7th grade, and a school trip to Italy not unlike Starshine's child, when he was in 10th grade. I have taken him to Egypt, to Paris and London and lots of other places around the world and while aware of the potential for harm to come our way, I wouldn't trade those experiences and the time shared with my son for anything. Let's not forget there is probably just as much risk in letting him leave home and go downtown or to beach (Goleta Beach yesterday!) on any given day - gang violence, car accidents, etc etc It's a crazy world out there with lots of different kinds of risks - part of growing up is learning to navigate and handle them and to enjoy life along the way.

On Flock My Life

Posted on November 19 at 2:18 a.m.

What a joke. Maybe they will explain why they couldn't get a single fire truck on to our street for hours after the Tea Fire broke out, far too late to save most homes, or why a fire truck stayed in the fire station on Stanwood at the top of the hill all night long doing nothing while homes burned.

On Firefighters Get Own Show

Posted on November 11 at 4:31 p.m.

Good there is at least one lawyer in this town willing to step up and pursue this matter - I was unable to find one. The Hoffmans suffered serious, near-fatal injuries and deserve some measure of justice, monetary and otherwise - thank goodness they survived and continue to heal.

Many people lost their homes in the Tea Fire, a fire which could have been prevented had the students or the property owners behaved responsibly. As one who lost a home in the Tea Fire, with devastating personal consequences - it is a life-altering experience, something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy - I don't much care what happens to the students (who were already spared any serious consequences when the DA failed to insist they plead guilty, even to simple misdemeanor charges) but I would like to see the property owners and their insurers required to answer in a court of law.

When the full story is known regarding the Tea Garden property and the owner's actions after their development plans were turned down, a judge or jury can decide their fate. No amount of money can undo the damage that has been done to the Hoffmans or to those of us who lost our homes (and the many things which, although just possessions, were gathered over a lifetime and integral to our lives). I for one will feel some sense that, at last, some small measure of justice has been rendered.

On Tea Fire Victims File Suit

Posted on July 30 at 3:42 a.m.

Sorry but this film doesn't come close to "analyzing the issues". I saw it at the Film Festival and head Stone afterward - hard to say which was worse. He squandered a great opportunity to interview the new leadership in Latin America and inform the American public about them (although I find the various rants here about American media to be completely overblown - I'll take the New York Times coverage of these matters any day).

Stone was completely spineless - he asked nothing but absurd softball questions and looked foolish fawning over and trying to curry favor with several of them, especially Chavez (even overlooking the laughable soccer and bike riding scenes). Had Stone taken advantage of the opportunity he was afforded, asked some of the tough questions not only about US foreign policy but about some of the actions of these leaders in their own and neighboring countries, he might have elicited some very interesting responses and had a genuine and very meaningful dialogue. Instead he simply chose to suck up and join in the usual rhetoric. Stone's entire take on the new wave of leaders in Latin America came across as naive in the extreme and frankly, insulting to the audience's intelligence.

As for his recent comments about Jews controlling the media and about putting Hitler "in perspective" which are referred to above, Stone disgraced himself and deserves all the criticism he is getting - really disappointing to hear this from someone with his experience in the industry, knowledge of history, and alleged concern about injustice and prejudice in the world.

On <em>South of the Border</em>

Posted on July 29 at 1:13 p.m.

I saw the film at the Film Festival and heard Stone - difficult to decide which was worse. The idea of interviewing the various new leaders in Latin America and informing the American public about them was worthwhile but Stone was gutless - he asked nothing but absurd softball questions and looked foolish fawning over and trying to curry favor with several of them, especially Chavez who, had he been pressed a little, might have been interesting. Stone's entire take on the new wave of leaders in Latin America came across as naive in the extreme and frankly, insulting to the audience's intelligence. His recent comments about Jews controlling the media and about putting Hitler "in perspective" were disgraceful and cause for great concern.

On Far Left and Liking It

Posted on July 7 at 5:08 a.m.

Interesting but I'll pass on that.

On Funk, Part 2

Posted on July 5 at 10:34 a.m.

Draxor's right - basically, a nation of fair-weather fans and dilettantes when it comes to soccer. Every four years there is a glimmer of interest during the World Cup but only if the US is in it.

On World Cup Santa Barbara-Style

Posted on June 30 at 6:12 a.m.

This city is desperate for money and will resort to any and every means of taking it from you, often providing nothing in return. Disgraceful.

On Dog Licenses

Posted on June 18 at 3:47 a.m.

Disappointing piece of writing, Barney - the First Amendment doesn't just protect you, a journalist. Lynn (for whom I did not vote) should not have been sacked - after 15 of service and in the middle of preparating to try a major case, no less - for what you call "popping off" or sending what might have been, at most, a catty e-mail. It is disturbing and outrageous to listen to Dudley (for whom I now regret having voted) and her hand-puppet, Bramsen, self-righteously refusing to reveal their motives and reasons for firing him and very disappointing you are not vehemently calling them to account for failing to have done so. I am with SBGuardian, silverfox and Lars on this one. Hope Lynn is either re-hired, unlikely as that may be, or that he sues the pants off these clowns and this increasingly dysfunctional and emabarassing town.

On Anatomy of the Prosecutor's Firing

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