Platform Holly viewed from the Ellwood Mesa.
Margaret Connell

A couple of months ago, I asked people to write to the State Lands Commission urging them to require Venoco to cease barging oil from the Ellwood Marine Terminal and instead to build an on-shore pipeline to Las Flores Canyon’s consolidated facility.

Recent events make this even more imperative. Last month, the container ship Cosco Busan hit a bridge piling in the San Francisco Bay and spilled 58,000 gallons of bunker oil into the water. The thick, leaking oil spread rapidly and close to 900 birds have been killed and 40 miles of coastline contaminated. Crab fishing in the bay was banned until last week.

Venoco's barge <em>Jovalon</em> seen off the Goleta coast.
Callie Bowdish

It’s not a stretch to imagine a similar accident happening to Venoco’s barge, Jovalon. Every 10 days or so, this single hulled, 300-foot vessel loads 55,000 barrels of oil from the Ellwood Marine Terminal (EMT) on the UCSB mesa and is then towed on the end of a 1,000-foot cable through the Santa Barbara Channel, either north to San Francisco, or south to the Port of Los Angeles.

The offshore pipeline, which carries the oil from the EMT to the barge, requires a lease from the State Lands Commission. Since 1993, Venoco has been operating on a month-to-month extension of this lease. It now has applied for a new lease that would run through 2013.

The environmental impact report on the project requires double hulling and a number of upgrades of the Jovalon within 18 months. Venoco claims that this would cost many millions of dollars. Such money surely could be better spent toward building an overland pipeline to the consolidated oil processing facility in Los Flores Canyon. The Environmental Impact Report identifies this as the environmentally superior alternative to barging.

Venoco's Ellwood Marine Terminal sits on the UCSB mesa.
Margaret Connell

The State Lands Commission hearing on this issue, originally scheduled for October 30, has been postponed to its January 2008 meeting in Los Angeles.

There is still time to let the commissioners know that the continued barging of oil by Venoco – beyond the two to three years necessary to build an onshore pipeline to the Los Flores Canyon consolidated facility – is an unacceptable risk to marine wild life, fisheries, and recreation.

You can write to the State Lands Commissioners at 100 Howe Avenue, Suite 100 S. Sacramento, CA 95825-8202. Refer to the “Venoco Ellwood Marine Terminal Lease” project.

The message is simple: Stop the barging of oil and build a pipeline NOW!

Dos Pueblos Performing Arts Center Grand Opening

Walking in through the lobby of the new Dos Pueblos Performing Arts Center to the sound of classical music from the orchestra, then into the auditorium to be greeted by the jazz band, followed by the jazz choir singing the national anthem and the antics of the improv drama group, was a reminder of the wealth of talent and enthusiasm that can be nurtured in this building. There were a lot of smiles at the opening, particularly from teachers, students, and administrators who worked so hard to make this magnificent building a reality. Here are some of the comments at the opening ceremony.

Mark Swanitz, Principal

This is a dream that is 40 years old. When he came two years ago, there was just a pile of girders on the site. Now, two years later, working with a contractor who was very understanding of the needs of the school during construction, the building is complete.

Brian Sarvis, Superintendent of the Santa Barbara School Districts

We sit in a magnificent classroom with teaching stations for drama, choral, and instrumental music and for the technical side of theater. “This is a school and community resource. Welcome to this place of learning”.

Nancy Harter, School Board President, and, earlier, leader of the campaign for the Measure V bond issue in March, 2000

“This project, above all others, caught the attention of the voters. It was the biggest selling point for the bond issue. It seemed so wrong to people that Dos Pueblos was not complete after so many years.”

Blake Bainou, Senior, Dos Pueblos High School

“How exciting it is to be in this building with its beauty and functionality.” It is one of the most technologically advanced in Santa Barbara County. Space will no longer be an issue as it has been in the old little theater. Blake has written a symphony that will be performed in the theater later this year. While extolling many aspects of the building, he pointed out that the ladies room has 11 stalls, a fact much appreciated by the females in the audience!

Carl Mayrose, Facilities and Operations Director

This building was designed for acoustics. We could all hear this in the clarity of the instruments, choral music, and spoken voices.

Les Rose, Instrumental Music Director

The jazz band has just played the first performance in this theater. This is a place for great learning and creativity.

Brian Slotnick-Lastrico, Vocal Music Director

This is a place where kids can come every day and connect with something in themselves – where kids can have pride to pursue their passion and their art in a space in this community.

Clark Sayre, Theater Arts Director

This theater is a dream come true. It is comparable to the best in any high school in the country. They will be able to do full scale musicals and bring in elementary children to get them excited about performing arts. The first musical in the theater will be next May.

Capping the event were tours of the facility conducted by drama students in character and costume.

Many retired Dos Pueblos teachers were there, including Ike Jenkins, the former choral director, who laid the foundation for today’s magnificent jazz choir.

There were also retired parents, like myself, who had attended many concerts in the older cramped facilities. One, an old friend, in the early ’70s had tried to start a PTSA fund for a performing arts center. She could hardly wait to send the program to her musical daughter. “She will be thrilled,” she said. She will join the many thrilled people who were there last Tuesday.


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