On the Beat

By Barney Brantingham

Hotel Andalucía Changing Hands: Word on the
street is that the Hotel Andalucía, sporting Santa Barbara’s only
hotel roof garden at Chapala and Carrillo streets, has been sold or
is in the process. Buyer, according to my information, is Edward
Thomas Hospitality Corp.—its current management firm—which owns
sister hotels Shutters at the Beach and Casa del Mar in Santa
Monica. The Andalucía opened in December 2005, but has reportedly
been a disappointment. Despite persistent rumors around town, Ty
Warner is not selling the Miramar, according to Greg Rice, Ty’s
executive vice president. “We have had several unsolicited
proposals that have given us pause,” but none have given Ty reason
to accept and the long-shuttered hotel is not on the market, Rice
told me.

Fly Naked? That’s Dale Lowdermilk’s
tongue-in-cheek solution to the ever-increasing screening demands
of flying these days. That way, there’s little chance of someone
carrying a bomb in a shoe or bra. But wait! What if a suicide
bomber swallows a deadly device or inserts it into an intimate
orifice? Dale suggests further steps: “Mandatory full-body x-rays
and pre-flight colon­oscopies for everyone.” And, I added when Dale
sauntered past my house the other day, dental x-rays to make sure
explosives aren’t hidden in your molars.

Dale, a former air traffic controller at Santa Barbara Airport,
runs NOTSAFE (National Organization Taunting Safety and Fairness
Everywhere), “the world’s most sarcastic organization,” gently
lampooning regulations of all kinds. If you really want to make
flying safer, he proposed, pull the wings off airliners because it
would be far safer if they taxied to their destinations; we could
also try “permitting only one aircraft to fly over the U.S. at a
time to reduce the chance of mid-airs.”

While making the four-hour flight to Chicago last weekend, Sue
and I, desperately thirsty, wondered why—now that the feds are
banning water bottles—airlines don’t offer their own to passengers
trapped like sardines? We had a hard time getting those tiny little
cups of water from harried attendants. Why not hand bottles out at
the gate?

Who Damaged Whom? If it turns out that former
editor Jerry Roberts did nothing to damage the News-Press, despite
Wendy McCaw’s $500,000 arbitration claim, what then? Does Roberts
have a claim against her for, among other things, finding out upon
his return from vacation that she’d given his job, in effect, to
Opinions Page editor Travis Armstrong? And then trashed his
reputation? Wacky Words: It happens every year: Planned Parenthood
volunteers sorting through stuff for PP’s annual book sale came up
with the weirdest titles:

I Just Had Surgery. What’s Your Excuse?; I’m OK. I’m Just
Mutating ; Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun ; There’s a Raccoon
in My Parka ; Frosty: A Raccoon to Remember; Algae to the Rescue! ;
The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living
Dead; Plant Parenthood; This Can’t Be Tofu!; Ablaze! Spontaneous
Human Combustion; Bubblemania: The Chewy History of Bubble
Gum.

“I don’t know how we ended up with a raccoon in two of the
titles,” observed Stefanie Sada, co-chair of the book sale, which
takes place at Earl Warren Showgrounds, Sept. 22-Oct. 1, 10 a.m.-8
p.m. daily. Admission is free except for the Sept. 21 opening-night
reception, which is $20 and runs from 5-8 p.m.

Lights Out: While waiting for a bus to take her
to work downtown, Cheryl Johnson said she sees “more and more
near-accidents” at State and Alamar. “Many have involved cell
phones, mugs of hot coffee, carelessness, speeding, and often two
or more of the above at the same time. Drivers,” she said, “are
looking only at the color of the lights” and are not focused on
anything else. “This morning was different,” Cheryl told me. “The
signals were being worked on, so it was a temporary ‘boulevard’
stop for all vehicles. I noticed that there was no speeding, no
horns, no cussing or gesturing. Everyone approaching the
intersection actually had to look at the other drivers around them,
acknowledge them, wait, and proceed. This was done in an orderly
fashion. Perhaps a return to the stop signs would be a welcome
change for many. Safer, for sure, and better socially as we connect
with another person behind the wheel.” Thanks, Cheryl. Now if we
could only get people to actually stop at stop signs on an everyday
basis.

Bravo Brubeck: Dave Brubeck, whose foursome
knocked ’em dead at the Lobero the other night, first played there
in 1953, he told a few of us after the concert. “In 1942 I was in
the Army in Death Valley.” His brother Henry, who went on to become
the beloved musical director at Santa Barbara High, was playing
with a Santa Barbara dance band. “He asked me to sit in.” Dave has
played the Lobero so many times in recent years, “Santa Barbara
feels like home. If I was smarter I’d live here.” “And richer,”
someone cracked. The post-concert occasion was to name a Lobero
dressing room in Dave’s honor and for the Santa Barbara Jazz
Society to announce the Henry Brubeck Memorial Scholarship. George
Burtness, Lobero board president, recalled studying under Henry at
Santa Barbara High.

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