Comments by merry1

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Posted on November 24 at 2:35 a.m.

Snugspout has it straight. One more thing, in response to "rambler": The renovation (much of it mandated retrofitting) and expansion that UCSB has been doing for the last decade and a half has not come from general funds, and such projects are planned, funded and okayed years in advance.

On UC Tuition Jumps Another 8 Percent

Posted on June 6 at 4:25 a.m.

Here's an excerpt from what GOO (Get Oil Out) has to say about why it supported the Tranquillon Ridge agreement:

One thing needs to be clear regarding the PXP Tranquillon Ridge Agreement: there is no other way under the law to shut down the existing oil platforms off of the California Coast.

It has been 41 years since Platform A spewed 3 million gallons into the ocean and onto our beaches, and yet that platform is still operating today.

The Tranquillon Ridge plan, negotiated as part of a settlement agreement, would provide the only legal and available means to put an end to existing oil drilling on and off of our coast. Without the Tranquillion Ridge agreement, the oil platforms will continue drilling indefinitely.

So can we please just stop talking about it and move on?

On Last-Minute Onslaught of Mud

Posted on June 6 at 4:16 a.m.

Epithets and slogans are useless for serious discussion. For months, Das Williams and his supporters have been working tirelessly to get out Das' positive message while at the same time Das has continued to work for this community, despite his opponent's constant attacks. With each new endorsement Das earned, her vitriol (and that of her husband, Pedro Nava--one of those "career politicians in Sacramento" she disparages in her advertising) has escalated. When her misleading ads have voters so befuddled that Das can no longer simply ignore her assaults and agrees to strike back, ONCE-- and with a sense of humor, at that--she's incensed and screams "foul"! And, of course, it's reported as though Das had been equally participating in internecine "bickering" all along. The same Jordan flacks repeat the allegations, because they know from the example of certain political operatives we all came to know from the Bush administration, that if you repeat an assertion long enough and loudly enough, people will believe that the equator is at the North Pole and that Santa Claus is the devil incarnate. If Susan Jordan really had significant accomplishments to point to, why would she have to keep trying to demonize her opponent? In this instance, she hides behind the NRDC while attacking them by attacking Das on PXP: NRDC was the chief negotiator on that agreement, also representing other groups like GOO (Get Oil Out). Ms. Jordan has made an entire campaign out of demonizing Das over a disagreement within the environmental community over what is now a moot point. She's confused voters and distracted them from seeing Das's true record and qualifications on so many issues--or looking into her lack of same. She's also forced the diversion of time and resources that could have been spent on real action, like helping NRDC, Das and others to stop Venoco's Measure J in Carpinteria. Susan only knows how to fight--and fight dirty, if this election is any indication. I want to be represented by someone who works--and works WITH others, not just against! Das does. Das Williams is truly committed to public service and he's shown it over and over again. That's why I've joined The California Democratic Party, Selma Rubin, National Organization for Women-California (and NOW rarely supports a man over a woman), NRDC (yes, that NRDC), League of Conservation Voters, Sierra Club, California Federation of Teachers, and scores of other individuals and organizations of every stripe who endorse Das Williams. There's a list and more at Take a look for yourself.

On Last-Minute Onslaught of Mud

Posted on May 1 at 4:40 a.m.

I had no beef with Venoco prior to Measure J. They've invested in community relations in many ways. But the nature of this proposal, designed to by-pass the normal processes any local business is required to go through to ensure the good of the community, the removal of many of the safeguards that were in their original project proposal, and the deceptive way they have promoted the measure to the voters have incensed me. Their letters, ads and mailers are very misleading. The latest suggest: 1. That the alternative to the proposal is "more off-shore drilling", and that President Obama has authorized more drilling off our coast. Neither is true: the limited removal of the offshore drilling ban (now under question due to the recent gulf disaster) did not include our coast, and current activity would continue in any case. 2. They claim that "teachers" are in favor of the proposal. Some think the schools would be saved by added revenues. But revenues, if any, would not materialize for many years, and there is no guarantee that the schools would see one cent. 3. They downplay the safety and environmental issues. What if there were an onshore accident like the one that just recently occurred miles off the gulf coast? How many of us who have Venoco virtually in our backyard would be harmed--including many of those school children? And the drilling is still underwater, though it originates on-land. There's no guarantee that marine life would be safe. Long before there is even a well, the construction activity directly above the seal rookery would inevitably disturb the calving or mating of the seals. The population could be virtually wiped out within a few years as a result. The City report concludes that because many of the safeguards that were in Venoco's original proposal have been stripped from Prop. J, there would be increased risks to people and environment. There are a lot of voters who imagine that this kind of "direct democracy" gives them greater power, but nothing could be further from the truth. It's another example of money talking loudly and when people realize they've been duped, it will be too late. For more information, go to: And for the City's original resolution against the plan and why (the city attorney's summary and report, etc.), check the city's website at:

On Carp Chamber of Commerce Flip-Flops Again on Measure J

Posted on June 22 at 4:18 p.m.

It's all well and good for physically healthy and able people living within walking or biking distance of most things they want/need to do to give up cars, but it simply isn't doable for the majority of us. Eliminating the need for personal cars is dearly to be wished. Simply making it more expensive or unpleasant to drive (or keeping it that way) does not accomplish this, nor will it be a strong motivator for current drivers, need aside. First off, there isn't an efficient and user-friendly rapid transit system to turn to, and because of the geographical facts of life here, such a system is impossible. Even in New York City, which is compactly designed and where the rapid transit system is one of the most efficient and affordable in the world, the streets are notoriously congested--and if you want to go from Brooklyn to the Bronx, for example, (less than 20 miles if you could go direct) it can take 2 hours and several transfers. (and, by the way, despite the visibility of oil platforms in our channel, etc., gas is already more expensive here than in most communities to the south of us.) But that's still not the whole picture. We have increased commuting longer distances in part because of a shortage of affordable housing for people who work in the area. (That doesn't explain or excuse gas-guzzling SUVs, etc., but that's a different issue.) As for alternatives, Hybrids are improving and becoming somewhat more affordable, but they are still not that much better on the freeway than many conventional cars, and plug-ins are not yet able to cover sufficient range to be very practical, nor is there the necessary improved infrastructure (e.g., rapid re-charging or battery-swap stations and large supplies of clean electricity; i.e., from alternative sources). Not everyone can afford to take on hefty car payments out of a sense of civic duty, and the tax structure actually has long favored SUV and truck buyers over buyers of fuel efficient vehicles. Even if gas were as expensive as it is in Europe, the monetary savings for commuters driving well-maintained, modest, older (paid-off) cars would not equal in the short term the added cost of buying a new car for a moderate increase in efficiency. There are no simple solutions to multi-pronged problems; if we can take the long-view and find viable solutions to some of these problems before they increase too much, so much the better. In the meantime, expanding the freeway will at least ease some of the smog-and-greenhouse-gas-producing congestion that already exists and will not, in itself be some kind of "traffic magnet".

On Wider 101, Surplus Smog?

Posted on April 28 at 11:18 p.m.

A couple of points: 1. It's not all UCSB students nor entirely UCSB students who give the school and IV it's unfortunate reputation as a "hard-core party school". While the majority of the participants at last year's event were apparently locals--at least the picture caption says so--like IV's infamous Halloweens of yore, something like Floatopia tends to attract irresponsible non-UCSB students from far and near who couldn't care less about the environment or anything/anyone else. 2. Levying extra taxes on IV residents would be most unfair to those who live in IV who do not participate in such events. For them it would be a double whammy, because they are plagued by the influx of idiots getting drunk, clogging the streets and trashing the place, and leaving a mess behind without a backward glance. Many residents are not even UCSB students and many others are considerate, mature adults who are trying to better themselves with the excellent education that UCSB can provide while also trying to work to support themselves and/or their families--in a highly over-priced locale. The ones who should be paying for services are those (including locals, of course) who use the beach for these events. Installing Port-a-potties and trash and recycling cans is a great idea, as is a strong presence of local (campus) police, as on Halloween patrols--but make the partyers pay for it. Wouldn't it be possible to charge an admission fee to cover security and clean-up--and perhaps make it higher for people who come in from elsewhere--ID required? I also agree that alcohol, beaches and crowds are a dangerous combination. There was a time when alcohol was not allowed on local beaches, and though that kind of restriction may seem excessive, it might not be a bad idea, at least for such big events. It might discourage those who come to trash the place or at least minimize the damage done and discourage future excesses. Maybe? At the very least, glass containers could be banned.

On UCSB Shoots Out Stern Email Discouraging Floatopia 2

Posted on March 23 at 4:25 a.m.

Wonderfully nostalgic, even for someone like me who only went ice skating once in my entire life. When I was about 10, I went with my sister--who's 7 years older than I-- and her boyfriend. My family came from Massachussetts the year I turned 8, so I never got to go ice skating there, but Pat even had her own skates. She and Jim (who was also from back east) held my elbows to get me started and then let me go. I just kept going around and around like the tortoise or a mechanical toy, at exactly the pace they started me on, grateful that people just stayed out of my path, since I could neither stop nor maneuver around any obstacles. I always wished that I could skate really well; I'd have loved it--except for the cold.

On The Church of Skatin: Will Santa Barbara Ever Have an Ice Rink? Gosh Darn it!

Posted on February 13 at 4:59 p.m.

Some of that "soft" rain looks more like the hard stuff--hail!

On Winterreise

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