Comments by valleyfarmer

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Posted on February 27 at 1:18 p.m.

Anyone have contacts with the Nature Conservancy? Their motto used to be "we protect land the old fashioned way: we buy it."

On 'Mythical Being' Wants Naples

Posted on December 14 at 2:13 p.m.

Above comments express concern about spending public funds on preschool education. Though this article is about private funds, you might be interested in a cost-benefit analysis of pre-school education from RAND.

“a one-year high-quality universal preschool program in California is estimated to generate about $7,000 in net present value benefits per child for California society (public and private sectors) using a 3 percent discount rate. This equals a return of $2.62 for every dollar invested, or an annual rate of return of about 10 percent over a 60-year horizon. Assuming a 70 percent participation rate in the universal preschool program, each annual cohort of California children served generates $2.7 billion in net present value benefits to California (using a 3 percent discount rate). . . . Broader benefits from investing in a universal preschool program include near-term labor force benefits for California businesses in terms of labor force recruitment, participation rates, and workforce performance.”

On Early Ed Gets $3.5 Million

Posted on November 13 at 8:53 a.m.

I'm ready to concede - yes to Mission County.

But only as long as the Santa Ynez Valley stays within Santa Barbara County.

Santa Barbara County can go west to Lompoc and north to Los Alamos. Split Los Padres. Mission gets the oil, the strawberries, Lompoc, Guadalupe, Santa Maria, and Orcutt. Santa Barbara gets the city of SB, UCSB, and wine country. Everyone will be happier.

Of course, the subsequent lack of land use planning in Mission will kill us all, but at least we could die more peacefully.

On Measure P Postmortem

Posted on September 11 at 10:37 a.m.

It’s time to acknowledge that damming the Santa Ynez River and sending its water to the South Coast was a mistake. The South Coast of Santa Barbara County is wonderful: temperate, beautiful, on the ocean, a little slice of heaven. But it doesn’t have a lot of water. Rather than using all sorts of human-made structures that manipulate and destroy natural processes, the South Coast should bite the bullet and put in desalination plants. If you want to live in this place of great beauty, pay for it.

On Beneath the Valley of the Dogs

Posted on August 5 at 4:59 p.m.

More important than party rankings is academic rankings.

US News ranks UCSB #11 among public universities for undergraduate education.
Among graduate schools, it ranks UCSB’s Physics Department #10, Chemical Engineering #8, and Materials Engineering #2.

On UCSB Number 3

Posted on July 29 at 5:17 p.m.

A quick google scholar search nets the following research:

“An overview of the environmental risks posed by neonicotinoid insecticides,” Journal of Applied Ecology 2013
Concentrations of neonicotinoids in nectar and pollen in crops are sufficient to impact colony reproduction in bumblebees.
Consumption of small numbers of dressed seeds offers a route to direct mortality in birds and mammals.
Current use of neonicotinoids is likely to be impacting on a broad range of non-target taxa including pollinators and soil and aquatic invertebrates and hence threatens a range of ecosystem services.”

“Combined pesticide exposure severely affects individual- and colony-level traits in bees” Nature 2012:
“chronic exposure of bumblebees to two pesticides (neonicotinoid and pyrethroid) at concentrations that could approximate field-level exposure impairs natural foraging behaviour and increases worker mortality leading to significant reductions in brood development and colony success.”

“Declines in insectivorous birds are associated with high neonicotinoid concentrations” Nature 2014
“Our results suggest that the impact of neonicotinoids on the natural environment is even more substantial than has recently been reported and is reminiscent of the effects of persistent insecticides in the past. Future legislation should take into account the potential cascading effects of neonicotinoids on ecosystems.”

On The Fight for the Bees

Posted on July 9 at 11:35 a.m.

I am not a prohibitionist. Quite the contrary: I drink lots of wine. But I cannot abide misleading arguments.

The article says: “Countywide there are 128,995 parcels; 94.5 percent of them would not, under the proposed RWO, be allowed public visitation” (i.e., winetasting and commercial events). That’s 7,095 parcels that WOULD be allowed public visitation. Napa County has 497 wineries and Sonoma County has 416. The RWO then provides the opportunity for SB County to have 14 times more wineries than Napa and 17 times more than Sonoma. Hardly damaging to the economics of the wine industry; but definitely damaging to the the Santa Ynez Valley.

The piece says the RWO will limit wineries having charitable events, but also notes “Vineyards, or any other ag landholder in the county with no winery operation, can hold unlimited charitable events.” So, limitations on wineries won’t harm local charities: they can have as many events as they need on lots of farms, estates, and vineyards.

Mr. Rankin’s vision of unlimited winery development will support tourists and investors to the detriment of residents and local farmers.

On Back Door Prohibition

Posted on July 5 at 1:43 p.m.

Check out "accessory structures" permitted in Portland:

here's the zoning ordinance:

On Santa Barbara's Recovery Blues

Posted on January 29 at 5:57 p.m.

1: the merger of Santa Maria Energy and Hyde Park Acquisition infusing $40 million into SMEnergy was covered in the Pacific Coast Business Times on December 5, 2013. Com'on, guys. That's almost a month ago. You are a news outlet. Get Google Alerts!!!!

2: The Pacific Coast Business Times states: "Santa Maria Energy's contentious project to drill 136 new oil wells in North Santa Barbara County received approval from the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors last month. The Supervisors imposed strict limits on the project's carbon emissions, essentially implementing a 10,000 ton per year cap and requiring the company to buy carbon credits if it goes over that limit.
But the carbon cap does not seem to have deterred investors." major emphasis on last sentence

that's the story. wake up!!!! All the brouhaha about the BoS killing jobs in Santa Maria is simply silly. Santa Maria Energy has not be deterred or detracted from by the carbon cap. Trivial. Not game changing. Tell the story!!!!1

On Santa Maria Energy Merger Could Raise $40 Million

Posted on December 9 at 9:08 a.m.

Let’s look at Supervisor Adam’s examples of “radical” “elitist” decisions made on 3-2 votes of the Board of Supervisors.

First, Santa Maria Energy. The Board’s air quality restrictions were clearly not “crippling” and will not cause a loss of jobs or tax revenue. According to an article in Pacific Coast Business Times: “But the carbon cap does not seem to have deterred investors. On Dec. 4, Hyde Park Acquisition Corp. II announced it would merge with Santa Maria Energy, pumping at least $40 million into the surviving parent firm, Santa Maria Energy Corp., which is expected to trade on the NASDAQ Capital Market.” Hyde Park offered the following statement: “the oil resources owned by [Santa Maria Energy] together with its track record . . . in Northern Santa Barbara County provide Hyde Park shareholders with an investment with considerable upside potential.”

Next, the Gaviota Plan. Most of the speakers at the hearing focused on two issues: incentives and initiation by minute order (details not really worth going into). Supervisor Farr moved to proceed with the Plan with some specific changes, among which were including an evaluation of the incentives designed by the GavPAC and initiation by minute order.

Supervisor Farr did not address other concerns brought up by members of the public, leaving many disappointed (some distraught). While a good number (perhaps most) people in the audience supported Supervisor Adam’s motion to send the Plan back to the GavPAC (a very expensive option for the County to undertake having already spent $3 mil on the Plan), the sense in the audience was one of relief that incentives and minute order were included.

Hyperbole is a useful literary device, but not really helpful if you want to work for the betterment of a County. Indeed, the use of hyperbole creates arguments that are “radical” and undermines the ability of leaders in North and South County to work together toward goals that will benefit the people of Santa Barbara County as a whole.

The “north-south divide” in Santa Barbara County is not an ideological one; it is a socio-economic one. Let’s have a discussion about educational opportunity instead of a deceptive diatribe about devaluation of private property. That would be infinitely more useful to the vast majority of residents of North and South County alike.

Supervisor Adam is loud and clear in his final paragraph: He is supporting a challenger for the 3rd district. Fine. Let’s just hope future endorsements will be more rational and less theatrical.

On A Dispatch from the Colonies

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