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Posted on April 23 at 11:15 a.m.
R.J. Reynolds, the cigarette giant, is releasing a line of vaping products. Think they might just see a gateway opening up?
Although it doesn't appear (so far) that vapor is as toxic as tobacco smoke, it's just as unpleasant to be in a cloud of it. Where there's no smoking there should be no vaping, no toking, and no over-doses of perfume, for that matter. Eyes can look away and not see; noses and ears don't have that option.
On Vaping on the Rise
Posted on April 17 at 10:02 a.m.
Local sailors take precedence over invasive cruise ships operated by mega-corporations exploiting the town for a shore excursion. The reported behavior of the Coast Guard from L.A. makes the conspiracy theorists' concerns about the rise of a neo-fascist police state under the guise of defending against terrorism less than theoretical. The recent spate of police abuses and killings has been awful enough. Now "Homeland Security" - an unfortunate name to begin with - comes to mean bullies pointing loaded weapons at sailboats doing what they do every Wednesday in their own home waters? Move the obnoxious cruise ships farther offshore so they don't interfere; preferably, disinvite them altogether. And demand extensive retraining or reassignment of the USCG personnel involved in this incident.
On Coast Guard Clashes with Yachters
Posted on April 8 at 2:36 p.m.
In her opinion piece, Jacqueline Inda misses a few key points. First, the proposed BID would give Eastside businesses their own independent voice. It would not be dependent on a district politician, nor under the thumb of the 'central committee' at city hall. It would be agile and free to act as its members chose to serve their interests. A business improvement district works WITH the city, not FOR the city or under the council. Thus, the matter of at-large or by-district has little to do with the operation of a BID. This one stretches across two council districts as it is.
Second, why wait? While Ms. Inda (and sitting Councilmember Murillo) have worked hard to derail the Eastside's BID and continue to paint it as some kind of evil conspiracy facing a groundswell of opposition from business, she admits that the area needs a stronger voice and agrees with the kinds of improvements suggested in the proposal. She will find that most business license holders also agree, and the sooner the better. The District 1 representative certainly will not run the BID, so enough of waiting. Eastside businesses can be proactive without permission from either an aspiring candidate or council member.
The BID idea came out of an open community workshop last year where forming an Eastside business alliance was a top priority of participants. The Downtown, Old Town, and Tourism BIDs have worked; there's no reason the Eastside can't also do its own version, tailored to its unique character. The MCA followed through and took on the job of laying the foundation for a sustainable version. The final structure, exactly how it will be run, and just what projects the new organization will take on must be decided by the 600+ members after approval. That could take a while, so there's no point to dragging out the process for another six months while politicians campaign and figure out where to sit. That only delays needed improvements - more. A BID is not about politics; it's about helping businesses and neighborhoods.
Third, the highly vocal opponents have set up a virtual army of straw men to attack in their effort to tear the proposal down. Many are utterly false, others just silly, and most manipulative. As you'd expect, lots of ideas have been tossed around, including examples of what other BIDs have done to promote their areas as well as ideas specific to the Eastside like more automotive and construction trade events. However, it's premature to say what this Eastside BID will or won’t do at this stage. It's a blank slate that has to exist before action. Then the Eastside's business owners will decide what their BID does, nobody else. As Ms. Inda says, they do deserve the "honor and respect" to decide for themselves. Then add: "and not to be instructed, deceived, intimidated, paternalized or picketed" by people who don't give them credit for knowing what's in their best interest when given the undistorted facts. The BID belongs to the businesses.
On Business District Should Be Postponed
Posted on March 10 at 2:27 p.m.
And don't forget all the fast-food outlets and convenience stores specializing in sugary, high-carb, and now high-caffeine junk that intercept kids going to and from school. Not to mention the inexpensive this-and-that-helper meals that many folks in a hurry rely on. Packaged convenience food is rarely healthful food, but it fills you up. GM'd canola is cheap; EVOO isn't.
As has been said above so well, if the rice, beans, and corn of today were like the ancestors' versions the problem might not be so severe. If meats were grass fed on ranches rather than pumped up with hormones and antibiotics in protein factories we'd be way better off. But now the ranches are becoming vineyards and housing developments. The ag machine absorbs small farmers like tractor-driving Borg, both here and to the south.
With transnational big agriculture focused on production and the bottom line rather than health, the raw materials that go to restaurants and even into from-scratch home cooking are the front end of the problem. Government subsidies have been lobbied to support profitable over-processed and engineered stuff that's loaded with toxins rather than what human bodies need. The lower the income level, the worse the victimization.
It's time to subsidize healthful veg and meats and stop the payoffs that trickle down to the likes of Monsanto and Conagra, and from there to chemical firms and even implement manufacturers. While the pressure against change from profitable engineered food to investing in support of more natural and sustainable eating is huge, it's a big part of the cure for the diabetes epidemic. Unfortunately, the healthy eating lobby is still pretty weak compared to Big Agriculture, Inc., so consumers have to speak with their purchases, once again leaving those most at risk with the weakest voice. It's cheaper in the long run to invest in prevention early than to pay for long-term treatment later on, but that takes education and will.
On How to Reduce Latino Diabetes?
Posted on March 6 at 6:51 p.m.
They have a great staff with unusually good attitude. Too bad the corporate bigwigs were blockheads and tried to run the west coast from North Carolina warehouses. The butcher shop was excellent with hormone-free meats and nice fresh variety. Likewise the veg, bulk goods and bakery. If the local managers had been given a fair chance and a bit more power to tailor stock for their area with even more locally sourced SB county products they could have been a storefront farmers' market. It's a real shame that 50 person team can't keep going because fresh, natural, organic, and minimally processed are becoming the new norms, and they delivered good service.
On Fresh Market Closing This Month
Posted on February 9 at 2:14 p.m.
A weekly platform for disinfo queen Kathy Swift and PODER to spew forth? Yet another astonishing move by the Independent, and proof that Santa Barbara still desperately needs a respectable newspaper that the people - not just ideologically-biased factions on the extreme left or right - can rely on for honest reporting and the truth.
On The People's Voice
Posted on February 4 at 2:46 p.m.
Unfortunately, Carolee is right. This state is exporting water we don't have to China in the form of things like high-dollar almonds and even rice. It's past time to rethink what's sustainable in a drying climate, profitability aside. One gallon per nut is just that - nuts. Allowing agricultural interests - whether family farmers or mega-corporations - to pump as much groundwater as they can is as negligent as letting the oil industry inject whatever they please back down into the aquifers the state depends on. If resource management policy doesn't change soon, we'll watch a reverse Dust Bowl scenario play out.
On Drought and the Almond
Posted on January 29 at 2:12 p.m.
Unfortunately, despite great efforts by volunteers, the survey won't reveal much. That's because, as Nick suggests, getting the chronically homeless to answer over a hundred highly invasive and detailed questions truthfully, and then to give their permission to share that "confidential" data with a huge list of agencies won't be easy, coupon or not. It's something few folks would do upon being woken up or confronted by a stranger, especially anyone who is already fearful or has something to hide. If all the organizers do is count completed survey forms and report that result, it will be a tiny fraction of the actual number of people living rough around the streets, in their cars, and in RVs. Many won't even be found, and others won't answer the over-lengthy questionnaire accurately when they are. So this looks like a well-meaning academic research project, but unlikely to reflect the sad reality very well.
On Children of a Lesser Dog
Posted on January 23 at 3:29 p.m.
More proofs that a little disinformation goes a long way. First off, the BID is required to be a new independent entity, not an extension of the MCA or anything else. (BTW, the hostility expressed against that fairly young - and diverse - organization which has tried to help out, and has actually accomplished some pretty good things for the neighborhood, is pretty amazing.) Second, if the BID is smart, it will minimize its overhead so the limited funds the fees would generate can go to projects the members decide are important - maybe graffiti cleaning on non-city-owned property and/or helping work with people camping out in their parking lots and/or building a quick-reference directory to area automotive services or construction trades - but who knows? That would be up to the BID's members. The goal is to pull together to make the area's business environment healthier for both big and small. One thing the association surely wouldn't do is to waste its money renting an office when a member could get a write-off for providing a little space, and especially not paying rent for a separate community organization that doesn't even need one.
On The Eastside Assessment Reaches Beyond Milpas
Posted on January 19 at 10:30 a.m.
Very useful explanation. Thanks.
On Don't Discount Isla Vista