Santa Barbara: The New Monaco?

We Could Abolish the Current City Council

Principality of SB: A few of us were whooping it up wildly over non-fat, non-dairy desserts the other night when it occurred to someone that it’s high time Santa Barbara became a principality.

Like Monaco, for instance.

Look, if that sweaty, smoggy, ugly stretch east of L.A. can call itself the “Inland Empire” why can’t we be Monaco West?

I’m not advocating this, but at least re-inventing ourselves as a monarchy would protect us from people like that Riverside politician who wants to cut California up like a big sausage.

Barney Brantingham

Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone proposes to create a brand-new state from California’s 13 most Republicanized, conservative counties. He likes the name South California, although many are to the north. Santa Barbara, naturally, is not included and would be left to its own devices with L.A., San Francisco, and California’s remaining debt.

Stone is apparently upset because the Democrats are winning most of the Golden State elections. The joke going around is that if the Stone and his backers want to live in a right-wing, racist place where people with dark skins not working in the fields are liable to be arrested on sight, there’s always Arizona.

Stone’s wacky idea will no doubt sink like, well, a stone. After all, more than 200 earlier splitification attempts in state history have been shot down.

When a 1993 plan proposed cutting the state into three parts from north to south, the L.A. Times S.J. Diamond suggested the trio could be dubbed, from the top down: “Logland, Fogland, and Smogland.”

Even if Stone’s plan dies, in times like these, what’s next? Santa Barbara had better protect itself.

That’s when one of the dinner guests suggested that we become a principality. I’m not fond of being ruled by kings and queens, my family having left all that behind in England in the 1770s. But Monaco, although headed by Prince Albert II, seems to be run rather benignly by a sort of committee. It does not start wars and imposes no income taxes. If we adopted Monaco’s system or something like it, we could also abolish our City Council, which seems to be veering far off the tracks of reason.

Detaching ourselves from the state of California and declaring our independence might not be as hard as one might think. Let’s see. What nearby enclave enjoys the full freedom of sovereignty, virtually unencumbered by outside laws? Which semi-principality has become rich beyond anyone’s dreams and sees the loot pouring in daily?

Right, the Chumash.

And they seem mighty inclined to annex various pieces of land in the Santa Ynez Valley, so why not invite them to reach over the hill a few miles and embrace us?

As of now the City of Santa Barbara is being run by one man, city councilmember Dale Francisco, who by and large sets the agenda for the four-member conservative majority. He snaps his fingers and that’s that. A 4-3 vote. Sadly, as things now stand, Santa Barbara is no longer the environmental leader it became after the 1969 oil spill. We’re going in the opposite direction.

Although Monaco proper is less than a square mile, its harbor is full of yachts, the life expectancy of Monegasques is the highest in the world, almost 90 years, and it has the world’s lowest unemployment rate.

The Chumash would doubtless want to open a casino here. How about the Miramar, now in ruins? The city would have to annex it first, natch. Anyone for the Monte Carlo Casino West?

City College Brouhaha: In a long opinion piece, Peter Naylor, SBCC professor of economics and finance, let it all hang out. While taking the side of four newly elected members of the college board of trustees, he exposes dirty laundry, past and present, and puts the knock on supporters of SBCC president Andreea Serban, who in turn are attacking the new boardmembers.

It Runs in the Family: It’s a wacky, zany, wild and wooly Brit comedy I laughed my way through Saturday night at the Circle Bar B Dinner Theater, up on Refugio Road. Top loonies: David Couch and Sean O’Shea. Through September 4.

It Runs Too: As two women tried to cross Cabrillo Boulevard at East Beach at about 3 p.m. Sunday, I saw a number of motorized vehicles zip past them illegally—including an MTD shuttle.


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