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Posted on October 16 at 9:50 a.m.
Where are the carpenters union's sign holders when we actually need them? "Shame on San Ysidro Ranch" and other estate-owning fat cats who just eat fines as a cost of making sure they and VIP guests have a nice verdant view, even if it damages the commons. Irresponsible neighbors.
On Turning Whine into Water
Posted on October 16 at 8:48 a.m.
The more petro-dollar propaganda gets pumped out to defeat the measure, the more resounding the YES on P to protect limited Santa Barbara County water supplies for the future.
On Two Cents and More with Measure P
Posted on October 12 at 12:03 p.m.
The opponents of (the admittedly poorly crafted) Measure P, mostly the big oil industry and those who stand to benefit directly and immediately by poking a few thousand more holes and blowing high pressure steam through the north county aquifers, want us all to join them at the Chumash Casino for a big gambling party. They say, "Trust us...we understand the risks, our sophisticated technologies can manage them, and the windfall benefits of massive expansion outweigh it all. Let us buy you off. Besides, 1969 was long ago. We've got it covered,"
The public safety unions shamefully tossed their threat-to-your-safety card in the pot to hang onto benefits. The construction trades like the SRCC carpenters want their cut of building new facilities: "Shame on Measure P". The opponents have already tried to bully the county and the voters with threats of endless lawsuits along with claims that Measure P would curtail existing operations, which almost any reading, much less legal interpretation, indicates it could not.
Honestly, why should we trust the well-funded opponents more than the people who want to mitigate the risks and take a more conservative course? Developers always want to gamble the future so they can make big bucks doing what they want to now. Does it really make sense to risk the aquifers and mess up more ground to pump a little more oil here when Texas, the Dakotas, and the filthy Canadian oil sands operations are already going crazy and fouling the atmosphere? Do we have the right to play our children's cards for them and burn their resources? The tar isn't going anywhere.
Despite its linguistic flaws, implementing Measure P to put the brakes on fracking and free-for-all expansion of more high intensity extraction methods like steam and acid makes more sense than gambling on the honorable intentions of big oil to put the long-term health of Santa Barbara County ahead of their shareholders' profits. It will be complicated to work out, and probably mean some litigation; but it's time for the people to think through resource management rather than leaving it in the hands of a few self-interested operators who talk big and leave a mess behind, and out of sight.
On Dodging Measure P Oil Slicks
Posted on October 10 at 4:19 p.m.
Thanks to both of these supervisors who put the long term well-being of the county that today's children and grandchildren will inherit - aquifers, healthy environment - ahead of windfall profits the oil companies want to reap today. If it's desperately needed later, the oil won't go away and future technologies should be less harmful.
People under stress rarely accept that just because industry can do something doesn't mean it should, and Santa Barbara county is under stress. Deniers of climate change and deniers that fracking, steam injection, and acidizing for oil production are risky and ecologically destructive live in the same place - denial. No wonder the opposition has spent so much trying to hoodwink the voters into joining them using scare tactics and threats. If the "Shame On..." Carpenters Union is against it, that alone is grounds for a YES vote - on a banner.
On Wolf and Carbajal Endorse Measure P
Posted on October 9 at 12:09 p.m.
Before asking the voters for big money, SBCC needs to acknowledge the problems its growth-oriented "y'all come" approach has already caused in the neighborhood of the main campus and in I.V. Then detail a plan to fix things and act on it; show some results. Studies and task forces aren't enough; give them two years to help restore the level of civilization that the permanent residents of S.B. and I.V. deserve. Catering too much to transients - whether students, bums, or tourists - is a mistake. And frankly, a political endorsement by the current leadership of the Democratic party only reinforces an emphatic NO - not yet - vote, just like the high dollar propagandizing by oil companies against Measure P suggests a YES on that one.
On City College's Sprawling Impact
Posted on October 7 at 10:51 a.m.
Good piece. The ambitious SBCC leaders seem to envision SBWC - Santa Barbara World College. SBCC is already over-inflated, and the influx of more out of town-county-state-country students with near 0% interest in Santa Barbara, and who see the town as little more that a drunken playground for their entertainment is a serious problem. Before asking for more funding, SBCC needs to show they recognize the concerns and explain how they intend to address them. While school administrators might say that "in loco parentis" is long dead and deny responsibility for students, voters can tell them otherwise - that they do have a role in the off-campus behavior of the people participating in their programs. So long as the neighbors are miserable and I.V. is such a mess, no on Measure S.
On Don't Reward the Wayward College
Posted on October 6 at 10:26 a.m.
We attended the East Side meeting and found Ms. Johnson's presentation very informative. Behind Santa Barbara's sparkly veneer there's a lot of crumbling going on. Upkeep on some facilities hasn't been great, and some has been downright negligent. The design of others (like the police HQ) are substandard and dangerous. Streets are cracked; sidewalks are choppy. For a beach town, our beachfront services are sorely lacking. On and on.Jerry Brown's state government took away redevelopment funds that had been earmarked for local repairs to balance the books in Sacramento. That was a big hit. The council is now asking for input on how to prioritize what we can do without those funds - what to replace, what to repair, and what to defer for later. Mayor Schneider and Councilman Rowse were at the East Side meeting to gather input and respond to questions. Overall, a very useful and well-run process, but one inevitably leading to some hard choices.
On City Faces Massive Repair Backlog
Posted on October 5 at 12:11 p.m.
With the number of international travelers coming and going in student/tourist-oriented Santa Barbara, it's a matter of weeks before Ebola is here, given the present rate of spread and the lax borders. How many isolation beds are in the county? Since our city can't deal effectively with vagrants on State Street and in the parks, what are the odds of a swift and effective response to a health crisis that poses much harder human rights choices?
The fragile public health systems in West Africa were quickly overwhelmed many, many weeks ago. A 'developed world' hospital in Dallas received a traveler who was either remarkably forgetful or outright lied on screening documents to make the trip via Brussels. When he arrived at the ER, the U.S. system broke down on its first test. Do we think there won't be more desperate medical refugees doing whatever they can to get better odds of surviving? Chances of more lies? More mistakes?
Outbreaks used to be contained by geography. But with airlines connecting the globe via mega-hubs and spokes in a few hours, that defense is gone. Because of risk to the world, outbound commercial passenger flights from the Ebola zone should be curtailed, and inbound aid flights restricted to military aircraft with strict infection controls. Cleaners for those airlines which do keep going must quickly be trained to decontaminate, not just pick up trash. So far the response has been too slow, too little, and maybe too late. Maybe our Health Department is more on top of things, but the CDC and WHO reassurances are not reassuring. Until effective anti-virals are widely available or the outbreak abates, limit travel.
At this point Ebola is running wild, and now Marburg virus has hit in Uganda. Without making some tough decisions immediately, we face the prospects of a pandemic. The Obama administration and congress need to shift focus from mid east wars and squabbling about inane politics over to the battle against disease at our own too-porous borders. It's a matter of national security, too.
On Ebola Protocols Established in S.B.
Posted on October 3 at 10:17 a.m.
This happened on a warn evening when lots of A/C was running. Imagine what a serious earthquake would do to Edison's old transformers and the water supply. Every household needs to be prepared to be self-sufficient for a few days - or more.
On Massive Power Outage in Santa Barbara
Posted on September 28 at 11:38 a.m.
It's great that the Indy gave space for this important topic. It goes way beyond water districts and local politics. Our stretch of the Central Coast is heading toward a tragedy of the commons scenario if self-interest prevails under an archaic set of water laws that served in the era of 'good ole boys' but is now past. Today, the aquifers are at risk. There's not enough surface water to supply the demand, much less with climate change combined with more (over-)development. Reducing usage is only a stopgap. A major rethink is needed since the status quo is barely sustainable. Water is a common pool resource that requires a holistic approach - local, state, regional. Vote for people who can see the complexity in the big picture holistically. The time for piecemeal, disjointed, ad hoc solutions is over. Water deserves the best thinking and the best thinkers we've got.
On Goleta Water District Issues Debated