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Posted on February 25 at 8:51 a.m.
Very informative piece. Thanks. As bikes get more popular, it's nice to understand the differences (and challenges) of different styles. Sounds like a fixie - as compared with the one-speeds I rode as a kid - demands quick reflexes and considerable strength to handle responsibly. Can't honestly imagine riding anything without brakes in congested areas.
On The Fixie Phenomenon
Posted on February 8 at 10:37 a.m.
Michael Rymer's film, "Face to Face," screened at the SBIFF a couple of years ago. Based on a David Williamson play, it depicts a compacted restorative justice session using the methodology Dr. David Moore and others have implemented widely in the Australian state of Victoria and in other locales, including Baltimore. The process, called "conferencing," applies when a dispute has escalated to become a conflict, even a violent one. So it works in criminal cases, but also in the workplace, in families, and even inside political organizations to bring the impacted parties to a conflict together to sort through the perspectives, explore reasoning and motives, look at consequences, and come up with a plan for resolution, follow-through, and closure. The facilitation of a conference is a readily teachable skill, and it's great to hear that Santa Barbara is looking to add this powerful option. We participated in a training with David Moore in Oz last summer and hope more people here look into it as an alternative to the traditional criminal justice solutions which so often solve nothing.
On Restorative Justice Revisited
Posted on February 6 at 1:21 p.m.
As the drought moves us closer to recycling water from the waste treatment plants for drinking, dumping drug residues and oddball gene-modifying chemicals into the sewer systems really matters. Think costs equivalent to desalination for removing those man-made pharma-pollutants because conventional filters won't. Using gray water for landscaping and irrigating foodstuffs will be - probably already is - a genetic gamble. The petro-chemical age has brought big new problems along with benefits.
On The Dog that Didn't Bark
Posted on January 11 at 9:57 a.m.
Getting back to the original topic, let it be said that proponents of the gang injunction are often too intimidated by the presence of gang members, their girlfriends, parents, boyfriends, and fans who benefit from Gangs, Inc., to attend public meetings, much less to speak up. They don't want to be targeted personally; they already feel threatened. Sometimes they're kin. And the danger is real. It takes a lot of courage - sometimes foolhardiness - to risk family and property, even life, by standing up openly against gangsters whose tactics of choice are payback, revenge, and retribution. The cops can offer them little protection, and the consequences the legal system provides are insignificant to the repeat bad guys, usually earning them status and peer respect rather than triggering guilt or reconsideration, much less empathy for victims. They're willing to do some jail time, wear a bracelet, play the probationer game, or wait out a protracted court process somebody else pays for anyway to avoid the shame of looking weak.
The injunction deprives named persons - named because of prior activities, not whimsy - from participating in further gang-oriented behavior. No shame in obeying it because it's enforced, not weakness. If they're out of the life and clean, then the restrictions with all the built-in exceptions give them a fresh chance to stay out. It's a means to break the cross-generational loop. Those who want to perpetuate the gang cycle will hate it, of course. But former gang members no longer involved should be glad to see their families safer, their kids facing less temptation, and their community not run by murderous cold-blooded mafiosi and malevolent thugs sending orders from behind porous state prison bars. Agreed that we're in a bad place even to need this, but the rights of criminals can't exceed those of victims, and citizens desiring to live peacefully within the law can't surrender to packs of animals who don't.
On Council Hears Tsunami of Criticism over Gang Injunction
Posted on January 9 at 3:22 p.m.
These are not hearings; they are ventings. The pro-gang element gets to rant and rationalize while the anti-gang group realizes there's little point to subjecting themselves to the same performance yet again. The anti-injunction forces do themselves a great disservice by appearing to intimidate and justify criminal behavior. The injunction is not a complete solution by any means, but it does demonstrate that Santa Barbara has had it with the gangsters and will not surrender the streets to thugs. At this point, if the city backs down and gives the opposition a win by withdrawing the injunction, it will be free rein for sophisticated prison-based mobs like the Mexican Mafia to step up activities. No thank you.
Posted on December 3 at 1:43 p.m.
I do wish generous souls like Mr. Simmons and Ms. Miller McCune would consider subsidizing a shelter in Montecito for a while. Why not distribute the services - and accompanying problems - more equitably? No doubt there would be many volunteers from Westmont anxious to help closer to campus, maybe to share some dorm space. The fallout from the noble Casa Esperanza experiment - those who are drawn but really don't want sobriety and/or can't handle the structure - ends up living rough on the sidewalks, around the freeway, and in the bushes. Without going into gross details, imagine the consequences given the lack of all-day public toilets, mental illness, criminal histories, and over-abundance of cheap alcohol and drugs. Isn't it about time those pleasures were shared with the green manicured lawn and twelve-foot hedge set that generously enables them from behind gates? How about it, Montecitans? Surely you've got room for a shelter in your neighborhood, too. Maybe by your school? It's real educational for the kids.
On Homeless Shelter Numbers Up
Posted on November 27 at 3:52 p.m.
Diablo Canyon is a devlish wicked problem, for sure. Equally concerning is that the dangerous phase of cleanup at Fukushima Daiichi began last week. It will continue for decades. As Nick points out, we could be seriously impacted if someone goes "oops" - or whatever the Japanese phrase is for "Crap...I just slipped up with this joystick and initiated a nuclear reaction that will contaminate the northern hemisphere so much that Chernobyl looks like an exercise and they have to evacuate California while the cloud passes." Dr. Stephen Hosea of Cottage gave a talk on nuclear risks early in November and it's been uploaded to UTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2r7v...
On Diablo Canyon: Mad Dogs and Crazy Chickens
Posted on November 2 at 4:04 p.m.
Just curious to know how many people drove their autos and trucks - some with bikes aboard - down to Cabrillo to celebrate this closure to cars. With the sidewalks, multi-use path, and Chase Palm Park all available, not sure why this gesture was necessary or particularly meaningful. The 4th of July and Farmers' Market close streets to cars, too. So? More mass transit, bike paths, and alternative means of transportation are great. But does blocking a major cross-town artery on a busy Saturday for a few booths that could have been attached to Art Walk really make that point?
On SB Open Streets: ¡Calles Vivas!
Posted on November 1 at 5:29 p.m.
Dr. Hosea's talk was an excellent introduction to this ongoing crisis. Sounds like the Cottage PR department might make it available online, a real service.
Although he offered no surprises to those already concerned with Fukushima and the nuclear problems waiting at San Onofre and Diablo Canyon, his wake-up call - aligned with the S.B. U.N. Association - alerts citizens to the potential catastrophe facing the West Coast and, by extension, the nation and the hemisphere if someone screws up in Japan.
The crisis exists now, today, not in the future. The Pacific is being contaminated with radiation from Fukushima Daiichi non-stop; it concentrates in the food chain, and nobody understands the consequences. The Japanese are building a house of sticks while the radioactive wolf is sucking in deep, deep breaths; one robotic mistake will trigger the huffing and puffing, and we'll feel the heat over here as it crumbles.
The danger escalates over the next few weeks as very risky maneuvers begin to try to clean up fuel rods in a fractured, tilting reactor structure. It's a game of nuclear pick-up-sticks which will be a 0-defect, 0-room for mistakes operation. Data suggests that parts of the plant are already doing the "China Syndrome." One bad slip could out-contaminate Chernobyl many times over. Then the film would switch to "On the Beach." Questions include: Why is the U.N. not more engaged in this threat to the global commons? Where is the "full court press" from the world's nations to help Japan? Forget saving face; radiation plumes tend to disregard nationalistic boundaries, pride and politics. Why is this not already the biggest collective engineering project in human history? Who is monitoring the situation for Santa Barbara? Is there a task force of health department, UCSB/Westmont physicists and oceanographers, and Cottage/Sansum nuclear medicine folks keeping track and preparing scenarios for a Fukushima blow-up? This is not a drill.Is the State of California acting to protect the citizens in case of another catastrophic failure to the west (or on our own coast)? Are the shut-down Feds proactively monitoring the West Coast air and waters? Who's checking - EPA, FDA, DoD, NWS, Coast Guard?Where's the public information? Hot-line? Website with monitor readings? Buoys reports? Seafood cesium levels by species and fishery? This is a "Clear and Present Danger," yet Google is the primary PIO.
While commercial interests might prefer to keep the citizens in the dark about the severity of this situation, those charged with protecting the public health need to step up immediately. We must demand that they do because no less than the viability of the West Coast is at risk.
Meanwhile stock up on potassium iodide tablets, dust off your old CDV700 from the Cold War, refresh your go bag, check the Qantas schedule, and maybe review the lyrics to 'Waltzing Matilda' just in case.
On Radioactive Fallout from Fukushima
Posted on October 29 at 11:40 a.m.
Very sad news. What a tragedy if 93.7 turns into another canned radio franchise. Why didn't the SBF do more active fund-raising and let listeners know about the dire financial situation? Many of us chip in for KCLU, etc., and would have done so for a local treasure like KDB had the message gone out more clearly. We celebrated when the SBF took it over, assuming the local foundation would have the sense to treat this asset like Dallas does their WRR heritage. But the decision to put the license on the auction block with a callous "whatever" seems irresponsible, short-sighted, lazy and backwards. One wonders which non-profits successfully lobbied the SBF to do this? Who schmoozed whom to undo classical music? What are the underlying politics? Is everything about Santa Barbara to be privatized, commercialized, and corporatized? If KDB is handed off to the highest bidder, what's next in the ongoing sell-out of what's left of the commons?
On KDB 93.7 FM on the Auction Block