ELDER ABUSE: When Cecilia and Bobby Sanchez faced foreclosure of their Westside Santa Barbara home, they desperately needed help.

Unfortunately, according to authorities, the woman they hired and paid $23,900 in return for her promise to help them avoid foreclosure because the lender was “predatory” didn’t lift a finger. “There is no evidence that she did anything” or made any effort to avert foreclosure during the 20 months the payments took place, a police spokesman told me.

Barney Brantingham

The Sanchez couple ended up losing their home in the 1500 block of West Valerio Street. She is said to be living on the East Coast while he is in Lompoc. Santa Barbaran Denise d’ Sant Angelo, charged with felony financial elder abuse in the case, is in the county jail in lieu of $70,000 bail, and due to be arraigned in Superior Court today, Thursday, January 7.

The case took an odd twist at a hearing Monday, January 4, when one of the victims listed in the case, Cecilia Sanchez, stood up and told Superior Court Judge Clifford Anderson, “I am not a victim.” The two women apparently became acquainted two years ago, after d’ Sant Angelo took charge of raising funds to aid three Sisters of Bethany nuns who were forced to leave their Eastside convent on short notice.

D’ Sant Angelo is also facing a February 1 trial on separate felony charges of stealing $2,800 from donations intended for the nuns.

In spite of the elder abuse charges, the two women apparently remain on good terms. As self-appointed president of Save Our Sisters, d’ Sant Angelo two years ago named Cecilia Sanchez vice president. Judge Anderson on Monday granted a request by deputy DA Brian Cota to place a temporary restraining order on d’ Sant Angelo, to keep her from communicating with and possibly influencing witnesses and victims, either directly or via third parties.

Cota said he needed the restraining order because “I’m worried” about d’ Santa Angelo’s influence on Cecilia. “Basically,” he said of the defendant, “she’s doing a confidence game.” D’ Sant Angelo’s public defender, Jeff Chambliss, in opposing the order, called Cota’s concerns “ridiculous.”

WIZARD OF MU: Well, we finally may have a clue why Santa Barbara is so different from, say, Santa Maria, Bakersfield, Kettleman City, and Boron.

It seems as though we may be receiving reverse cultural osmosis from the legendary lost civilization of Mu.

“I knew an independent contractor born here in Santa Barbara who suggested that Santa Barbara lies upon lands once part of the ancient continent of Mu,” reports Ennis Fruhauf. “He assured me that in its golden era, Mu was renowned for its superlative artistry. He also assured me that these lands would survive various continental drifts and collisions.”

The only way I can think of to prove this is to keep digging those giant holes where the Fess Parker waterfront hotel may someday rise, and on lower State Street, where an excavation waits-and waits and waits-for the La Entrada project to begin.

SEASON’S WARNING: Sign as you drive into the city parking garage on Canon Perdido Street: “Happy Holidays. Lock Your Vehicle.”

COURT WARNING: Stern sign adjacent to Santa Barbara Superior Courtroom 8: “No Food, Beverage, Gum, Pets or Smoking Within the Court Building.” Three feet away stand two huge coin machines vending chips, candy bars, chicken soup, Cokes, and juice.

FORE! COFFEE SHOP TALK: A Northern California visitor swung a club at a South Coast golf course last weekend and sent the ball flying far down the fairway. Approaching it, she was surprised to find a group of geese gathered. In their midst one of the feathered friends was stretched out, either dead or out cold, her ball next to it. But as she watched, the goose recovered, spread its wings, and flew off.

WHOLE FOODS VEGAN: John Mackey, cofounder and CEO of Whole Foods-our newest supermarket sensation on upper State-has been a vegetarian for more than 30 years and a vegan for five. A year ago, after reading The Engine 2 Diet (written by an Austin, Texas, firefighter), Mackey declared that Whole Foods should also go on a diet, focusing on healthy eating, according to an article in the current New Yorker. In the kind of foot-in-mouth event he’s famous for, he told the Wall Street Journal, “We sell a bunch of junk.” The New Yorker portrayed Mackey as a “vocal libertarian, orthodox free-marketer,” noting that the “right-wing hippie is a rare bird :”

To some, the magazine said, “Whole Foods is Whole Paycheck, an overpriced luxury for yuppie gastronomes and fussy label-readers. Or is it Holy Foods, the commercial embodiment of environmental and nutritional pieties?”

The New Yorker observed: “It has less than a one-percent share of the American grocery market, yet it has unquestionably transformed the way Americans produce, buy, and eat food.”


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