Friday, June 29, 2007

BlogaBarbara: The Back Story on Onnen's Absence

To truly understand my approach to Eric Onnen's absence from the last Goleta City Council meeting, one has to review what happened the week before when a vote for employee raises for City of Goleta workers took council to the midnight hour. While watching the meeting, it was clear that Onnen was keeping the meeting going unnecessarily with questions that did not pertain to government but were more suited to his extensive experience in the private sector. He brought up bonuses, for instance, which can't be given to public employees as it would be a gift of public funds. The meeting, it seemed, continued because he did not do his homework.

More at BlogaBarbara...

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Sheriff Leads Gang Crackdown - Fifteen Goleta 13 Members Arrested

SB Independent
By Martha Sadler
June 28, 2007

More than 100 officers served warrants on Goleta 13 gangmembers and associates in the first large-scale operation to be conducted by the Sheriff's Department's newly formed Gang Unit. Search warrants served at 27 locations on Thursday, June 28, mostly in Goleta, resulted in resulted in 15 arrests. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers made five of those arrests, for immigration violations. The other 10 arrestees were booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on charges ranging from parole and probation violations to narcotics and weapons possession.

Officers seized 11 guns as well as numerous knives. Stabbings and shootings have been a regular feature of Goleta gang life for many years, including the firing of gunshots into an Isla Vista home a couple of months ago, said Sheriff's spokesperson Sgt. Erik Raney. The gang unit's dramatic debut indicates that Sheriff Bill Brown is attempting to fulfill a campaign promise to quell gang activity. While dedicated anti-gang divisions of the Sheriff's department have waxed and waned throughout the years according to changing priorities and needs, Raney said, this new incarnation has more personnel and resources than previous ones. Several months of investigative work preceded Thursday's sweep, which involved 120 officers from more than a dozen law enforcement agencies in Ventura and Santa Barbara.

Sheriff’s K9 Tracks Suspect in Sexual Assault on Child

SBSO Press Release
Sheriff’s Deputies and two Sheriff’s K9’s were called into the area of Girsch Park to search for a man who allegedly attacked an eight year old girl. After several hours of searching, Sheriff’s Deputy Michael McNeil and his K9 partner “Betti” tracked the suspect to a drainage culvert near the railroad tracks on the Stoke Rd. overpass. The suspect, 38 year old Leobardo Alatorre (8-16-68) of Goleta, was arrested for kidnapping, sexual assault and public intoxication.

On Wednesday evening (6-27-07) at approximately 6:30 pm, Sheriff’s deputies responded to Girsch Park in Goleta for a report of a subject who attacked an 8 year old girl in the park. The victim explained that she was riding her bicycle around the park while her father and bother played basketball on the nearby courts. A man approached her as she was riding, and grabbed her handlebars. The suspect led the victim down a path toward a secluded area of the park where he allegedly kissed her on the mouth and ran his hand up her leg and under her shorts. During the attack, the victim repeatedly told the man to let her go. She was not released until she said she would tell her father. The suspect then fled the area on foot.

Deputies investigating the incident located the suspect’s abandoned personal belongings near where the attack occurred. Sheriff’s K9’s were able to track the suspect from the scent on the belongings. The scent led the K9 to a 4 foot in diameter drainage pipe that runs under the railroad tracks just west of the Storke Rd. overpass. 38 year old Leobardo Alatorre was found sleeping inside the drainage pipe. Further investigation placed Alatorre at the scene of the incident, leading to his arrest for kidnapping, sexual assault and public intoxication.

While random assaults of this nature are rare in Santa Barbara County, this incident serves as a reminder to all parents and guardians of young children. Be aware of your surroundings and the location of your children at all times when in public places. Teach your children how to stay safe: Teach them to always check with a parent or guardian before going anywhere; do not go out alone, always take a friend; say, “NO” if someone tries to touch them or if someone makes them feel scared and get out of the situation as quickly as possible; and always tell a parent, guardian or trusted adult of they feel scared or uncomfortable.

BlogaBarbara: Absent Eric? Goleta Budget Vote Too Important to Miss...


For a rookie councilmember, that's a really tough vote to miss -- especially when there is apparently a movement started to recall the last election.

DUI Checkpoint - City of Goleta

SBSO Press Release
The Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department will conduct a sobriety checkpoint on June 29th 2007 in the City of Goleta area. Motorists approaching the checkpoint will see informational signs advising them that a sobriety checkpoint is ahead. Once diverted into the checkpoint lane, motorists will be detained for only a few moments while deputies explain the purpose of the checkpoint and check their driver’s licenses.

Sobriety checkpoints are conducted in accordance with guidelines for checkpoint operations outlined in the Supreme Court decision, Ingersoll vs. Palmer. Traffic volume permitting, all vehicles will be checked. If traffic volume becomes too heavy, vehicles will then be checked by a pre-set standard (such as every 3rd or 5th vehicle) to ensure objectivity.

By placing checkpoints on roads with identified DUI problems and detaining drivers for a limited time we help ensure the safety of our citizens. Checkpoints tend to reduce the number of drinking drivers on our roads, even though arrest totals do not rise dramatically. A major value of these checkpoints is their psychological influence. The news media is advised well in advance whenever a checkpoint is planned since extensive publicity is also viewed as a “legal safeguard.”

The checkpoint will be operated from approximately 6:30 pm to 3:00 am. Funding for these checkpoints is provided by a grant from the California Office of Public Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Teacher Charged with Furnishing Marijuana to Student

SBSO Press Release
The Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office filed charges today (6-27-07) against a Goleta Valley Junior High School temporary teacher for allegedly furnishing a student with marijuana and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. After a month long investigation, Santa Barbara Sheriff's Detectives presented the District Attorney's office with their findings. Deputy DA Joyce Dudley filed two counts of Contributing and one count of Furnishing against 31 year old Melissa Dunning (11-25-75) after reviewing the Sheriff's Departments complaint.

The Sheriff's Department was first made aware of the allegation on May 31st, 2007. The parents of the victim, a 14 year old Goleta Valley Junior High student, picked their son up from Dunning's home on Spring St. in Santa Barbara. Dunning was reportedly tutoring the student. The victim's parents suspected that they had been smoking marijuana and reported their suspicion to the Sheriff's Department.

Detectives investigating the allegation learned that on three separate occasions, Dunning allegedly smoked marijuana with the 14 year old victim. On one of those occasions, a second 14 year old student participated. Dunning was a temporary teacher at Goleta Valley Junior High, and also worked in various capacities throughout the Santa Barbara School District.

Sheriff's Detectives would like to speak with anyone who may have more information about these allegations. Detectives would also like the cooperation of any other potential victims. Please contact the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department Detective Bureau at 681-4150.

Mother Arrested for Child Endangerment

Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the Calle Real shopping center on Tuesday afternoon (6-26-07) to check the welfare of two toddlers locked in a vehicle in front of a restaurant. A passerby observed the children, then spent approximately 15 minutes trying to find the responsible parent or guardian before calling 911. Deputies arrived at approximately 1230 and found twin boys, approximately 2 years old, locked inside the vehicle. The children were restrained in car seats and appeared to be sleeping.

Sheriff’s Deputies were able to gain access to the vehicle to check the welfare of the toddlers. They appeared lethargic and were sweating. Paramedics were called and transported the children to Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital for evaluation. Sheriff’s Deputies were on scene for approximately 30 minutes when the mother of the toddlers came back to the car with her five year old daughter. Deputies determined that the toddlers were left unattended by the mother for at least forty-five minutes. Based on the temperature both inside and outside of the car, the apparent length of time the children were left alone, and the physical condition of the children, Deputies determined that the mother placed the children in a situation that could have resulted in serious bodily injury or death, and took her into custody for violation of Penal Code section 273(a); Felony Child Endangerment.

47 year old Pamela Dillman was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail and held on $100,000 bail. Both Child Welfare Services and the children’s father were notified. The children’s father took custody of the children at the hospital after they were evaluated and released.

In a study published by the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, on average, 29 children a year die from hyperthermia nationwide. In the study, it was determined that even mild ambient temperatures can cause the interior temperature of a vehicle to reached 117°F. Regardless of the outside ambient temperature, the rate of temperature rise inside the vehicle was not significantly different. The average mean increase was 3.2°F per 5-minute interval, with 80% of the temperature rise occurring during the first 30 minutes. Cracking windows open did not decrease the rate of temperature rise in the vehicle (closed: 3.4°F per 5 minutes; opened: 3.1°F) per 5 minutes or the final maximum internal temperature.

The Sheriff’s Department urges parents and guardians to be aware of the dangers of leaving children and pets unattended in a vehicle. Leaving children unattended for even a short time can result in tragic consequences, especially in the warmer summer months.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

UCSB Selects Developer For First Phase of Faculty Housing Project

The Olson Company has been selected to be the developer for the first phase of for-sale faculty housing on the North Campus. This phase consists of 72 units.

Full Letter

Travis Armstrong vs. Kristen Amyx and the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce: Round 3

Round 3... Travis Armstrong's opinion column today: "S.B. public money goes for Goleta politicking?"

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Goleta Approves First Two-Year Budget

SB Independent
By Martha Sadler
June 26, 2007

Girsh Park founder Pat O'Malley was moved to tears, and found himself unable to finish his emotional "thank you" to the Goleta City Council and city staff, as they formally adopted the first two-year budget in the city's history on 6/25. Besides doubling its contribution to $100,000 annually, the city gave Girsh Park its own specific line item in the budget, rather than lumping it in with the larger recreation budget.

The council also approved $150,000 for a fish passage on San Jose Creek, to be added after modifications are made to prevent flooding in downtown Goleta. The city's relatively modest budget allocated expected revenues of about $30 million over the next two years, including $16 million in sales, property, and hotel bed taxes that must flow to the County of Santa Barbara as per the revenue neutrality agreement; a contract Goleta signed as a condition of its incorporation, promising that its becoming a city would not hurt the county's coffers.

Department heads also presented the council with projects they are working on for the near future. These ranged from a new park in Old Town, and a new city website, to the development of 600 residential units and 400 hotel rooms. The budget also includes cost of living increases of three percent annually for city employees, but no increase in retirement benefits. It identifies $8,000 as an unreserved fund balance for the coming fiscal year, which staff characterized as "a small cushion" and which city councilmembers worried was too small. In approving the budget, councilmember Roger Aceves challenged staff to increases revenues, suggesting business licenses as a potential source, and also recommending that staff examine strategies used by other cities. Aceves also challenged the business community to help fund city sports, arts, and music programs.

Goleta Fire Leaves Two Without A Home


Two Goleta women are without a home this morning after an overnight fire trapped them in a Mobil home. Flames broke out just after midnight on Old Mill Road in the Rancho Santa Barbara Mobile Home Park.

County Fire crews found the mobile home engulfed in flames that partly spread to other homes on both sides.

Fire crews helped the women escape before the home completely collapsed. Heat from the fire badly damaged one of the homes next door.

No no-life threatening injuries reported and Red Cross is offering assistance. Edison is inspecting nearby power lines exposed to the intense heat. The cause of the fire is under investigation. Damages total to $150,000.

KCOY (Video)

GOLETA - Two Goleta women are looking for a new place to live after their mobile home burned to the ground.

It happened early Tuesday morning on Old Mill Road near San Marcos Pass Road and Calle Real.

Police say two women were able to escape from the burning mobile home, although one was treated for minor injuries at the scene.

Fire crews say the homes on either side of the burning trailer were threatened, but were not seriously damaged.

Firefighters say the home had a working alarm.

No word on what may have caused the fire.

Habit Forming - Restaurant Chain is Cooking

Pacific Coast Business Times: Brent Reichard knows how to make a great burger. But he may know how to cook up an even better business.

Goleta OKs More Than $30M in Spending Over Two Years

Santa Barbara Newsroom
By Tom Schultz
June 26, 2007

The Goleta City Council on Monday approved more than $30 million in spending over the next two fiscal years — finalizing balanced budgets focused on growing the young municipality amid concerns about possible future deficits.

In a 4-0 vote, the council approved $15.42 million in expenditures in fiscal year 2007-08 starting next month, and another $15.74 mllion in spending in 2008-09. Revenues would outpace disbursements by just $10,000 in the first year and $16,000 during the next.

In a separate 4-0 vote, the council approved Redevelopment Agency budgets focused on cleaning up blight across Old Town that provide nearly $11 million in spending in 2007-08 and more than $3.8 million in spending in 2008-09.

"There's a lot going on here and we're very excited as we tackle the next two years," City Manager Dan Singer told councl members. He said it would make sense for the city to formally review its botttom line with the council in six months.

Councilman Roger Aceves challenged City Hall staff to keep looking for cost savings as well as new revenue streams. If city projections hold true, Goleta will be nearly $900,000 in the red by July 2010 and more than $1.2 million in the red by July 2012.

Councilman Eric Onnen, who last week sugggested the city hold the line on staff raises to create more of a financial cushion while the city is still in the black, was reportedly at home ill and did not vote.

Monday's evening session to adopt the budget followed a series of workshops that began in late May. The hearing moved quickly compared to a meeting a week earlier, when the council remained at City Hall to nearly midnight debating cost-saving strategies.

Key issues in recent weeks included: Should the Goleta forgo pay raises for City Hall staff members, for example, or perhaps promise less help by way of funding grants to outside organizations? Should the city make reigning in ongoing costs a priority, or perhaps cut one-time expenditures?

Onnen last week said he was obligated to speak out in favor of restraining ongoing costs such as salary increases.

"We've got a zero-sum budget," he said a week ago. "And we're not going to save resources to prepare for that? I think it's imprudent. . . If I was staff, I would build in some rate increases into my budget proposal as well.

"But we have flat revenues," he said. "I'm not suggesting there be no cost of living increases over the next two-year period. I'm saying we don't commit to that in this (budget). If we say we are going to wait and see, then that's what their expectation will be. We can't change it after we give it to them. That's the point."

Other council members defended the raises. The budget approved Monday retains 3 percent cost of living adjustments in each of the next two years at a cost of more than $200,000. It also keeps money flowing to outside organizations, including $200,000 over two years to Girsh Park and $40,000 over the same time period to the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce.

"The idea of not giving staff what I think of as their just reward is unconscionable, placed in the context of some of the other spending in this budget," Councilwoman Jonny Wallis said last week. "If we don't pay our staff well, we're not going to make progress as a city."

Goleta, a city of 30,000 residents, incorporated in 2002.

While overall city revenues will barely outpace spending in the next two business cycles, according to projections, City Manager Dan Singer has expressed confidence that projections gauging how much tax and fee money will hit the coffers are solid.

This comes as several council members push for new negotiations over a contract that sends half of Goleta's tax revenue to Santa Barbara County, under terms of a deal the two governments worked out upon Goleta's successful 2002 incorporation. Councilmen Onnen, Aceves and Michael Bennett promised to renegotiate the agreement to make it more favorable to the city during last fall's bruising council election campaign.

As it stands today, Goleta's new budget would provide for a variety of programs and services.

The largest expense — nearly 40 percent of all spending — would go to public safety. The city would pay the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Department more than $11 million over the next two business cycles to patrol neighborhoods.

Planning, another key function in Goleta, would account for about 13 percent of costs.

On Monday, officials took an opportunity to highlight some of the programs the new budgets will pay for.

"The numbers don't mean that much to the people watching at home, but the activities we'll be accomplishing . . . should be of interest," Mayor Jean Blois said.

Among those actiivities, the city plans to expand programing on its government access TV channel 19, redesign its Web site, further promote carpooling among its employees, continue helping to spruce up Old Town homes and businesses, add a community resource deputy to its police force, create a geographic information system for property owners, finish its first general plan, build new trails at Ellwood Mesa, open new parks, repair the Goleta library and expand street sweeping.

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Amid Concerns, Goleta Budget on the Table Tonight

Santa Barbara Newsroom
By Tom Schultz
June 25, 2007

Balanced city budgets for each of the next two fiscal years are on the table in Goleta, but officials have expressed discomfort with razor thin margins that leave little wiggle room for increased spending.

The City Council today will consider final approval of $15.42 million in expenditures in fiscal year 2007-08 and another $15.74 mllion in spending in 2008-09. Revenues would outpace disbursements by just $10,000 in the first year and $16,000 during the next.

Riled by the lack of a substantive financial cushion, council members head into tonight's meeting at City Hall on the heels of disagreement over how or whether the city might create more flexibility around its bottom line.

Last week, the debate boiled down to questions of philosophy and tack: Should the Goleta forgo pay raises for City Hall staff members, for example, or perhaps promise less help by way of funding grants to outside organizations? Should the city make reigning in ongoing costs a priority, or perhaps cut one-time expenditures?

While the city is solvent for now, it faces deficits around the end of this decade if projections hold true, Councilman Eric Onnen noted.

"We've got a zero-sum budget," Onnen said recently. "And we're not going to save resources to prepare for that? I think it's imprudent.

"When your budget gets tight, you reduce your spending. Not after you run out of money, but before," Onnen said.

Onnen backed what he acknowledged was a difficult position for a new council member — reconsidering cost of living adjustments for the City Hall staff. Other council members balked at the suggestion, and wondered whether the $203,000 in savings resulting from such a strategy would be worth it.

As it stands, the budget to be considered today retains a 3 percent cost of living adjustment for staff in each of the next two fiscal years. And the council will consider altering city retirement benefits expenditures sometime this fall.

"If I was staff, I would build in some rate increass into my budget proposal as well," Onnen said. "But we have flat revenues... I'm not suggesting there be no cost of living increases over the next two-year period. I'm saying we don't commit to that in this (budget). If we say we are going to wait and see, then that's what their expectation will be. We can't change it after we give it to them. That's the point."

Other council members appeared flabbergasted.

"I totally disagree with you on employee compensation," Councilman Roger Aceves told Onnen during a recent budget workshop, noting the city is poised to grant $200,000 to Girsh Park in the next two years and, among other donations, $40,000 to the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce. "What you are asking staff to do is basically work two years without a pay raise. That's totally inappropriate."

Without the raises, Aceves said, "We're going to have a retention issue. We're better than that."

Councilwoman Jonny Wallis was equally protective of the raises. "The idea of not giving staff what I think of as their just reward is unconscionable placed in the context of some of the other spending in this budget. If we don't pay our staff well, we're not going to make progress as a city. We're going to see attrition, which is costly. It is incredibly costly when a staff member walks away from the city. We're not going to be able to recruit in a competitive sense."

Today will be the fourth time the council takes up the budget, following recent hearings on May 21, June 4 and June 18. In addition to its primary budget, the council today considers a separate Redevelopment Agency budget focused on cleaning up blight across Old Town that would provide nearly $11 million in spending in 2007-08 and more than $3.8 million in spending in 2008-09.

While overall city revenues would barely outpace spending in the next two business cycles, City Manager Dan Singer expressed confidence that projections gauging how much tax and fee money will hit the coffers are solid.

"We feel very comfortable and confident in the revenue numbers," Singer said. Last week, he promised the council he an analysts would keep looking for additional ways to cut costs or otherwise improve the city's financial comfort level.

This comes as several council members push for new negotiations over a contract that sends half Goleta's tax revenue to Santa Barbara County, under terms of a deal the two governments worked out upon Goleta's successful 2002 incorporation. Councilmen Onnen, Aceves and Michael Bennett promised to renegotiate the agreement to make it more favorable to the city during last fall's bruising council election campaign.

As it stands today, Goleta's new budget would provide for a variety of programs and services.

The largest expense — nearly 40 percent of all spending — would go to public safety. The city would pay the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Department more than $11 million over the next two business cycles to patrol neighborhoods.

Planning, another key function in Goleta, would account for about 13 percent of costs.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Goleta Valley Voice Roundup - 6/22

Front Page:
Plans for giant house in limbo
After hours of testimony Tuesday afternoon, the county Board of Supervisors postponed a final decision on an appeal made by the Gaviota Coast Conservancy on a 13,000 square-foot home planned for a rural area along the Gaviota Coast.

News Briefs:
Going to the wall to fight graffiti
Some 36 volunteers helped turn a long, grim stretch of cinder-block fence into an attractively landscaped deterrent to graffiti.

City formally protests plan to hike water charges
The Goleta City Council put an exclamation point on its displeasure with a proposed increase in water meter fees.

Sheriff's Blotter

  • Thank you for not sniveling
  • It's the little things you notice
  • Out on a limb
  • Thieves and jerks
  • Too special to be a victim
  • Swap-meet rip off
  • Baffled shoplifter
  • Fingerprints at the scene
  • Bad tip, dude
  • Sealed with a kiss

Editorial: Noleta in the middle
What’s to become of the unincorporated area between the cities of Santa Barbara and Goleta?

Letter to the Editor: A word of thanks
Thanks to the 36 volunteers who contributed 174 service hours at the Hollister Avenue Anti-Graffiti Landscaping Project.

Balancing the schools budget
Santa Barbara School Districts have cut more than $5 million from their combined $125 million general fund annual operating budgets for 2007-08. Making budget cuts is not new to our districts. Student enrollment has been declining for a number of years and we have been paring the budgets accordingly.

Goleta Scrapbook: Next stop, hell in a hand basket
In the 1890s Goleta became a hotbed of activity, with workers descending on the Good Land to work on Southern Pacific Railroad’s coast line.

Strictly Local: MasterCare Home Cleaning System
Residential cleaning may seem a world away from the restaurant business, but Spencer Dean, proprietor of Woody’s Bodacious Barbecue in Magnolia Center for 23 years, says both businesses are all about service.

Other articles at at the Goleta Valley Voice website.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Apartments to be Converted to Affordable Housing

SB Independent
By Chris Meagher
June 22, 2007

Two 10-unit apartment buildings in Isla Vista have been secured for affordable housing. Ironically enough, the complexes are located just down the road from where low-income apartment dwellers were evicted in favor of a conversion to hike up prices last year.

The Santa Barbara County Redevelopment Agency voted last month to provide a $3.76 million loan from the county’s Housing Authority to purchase the Parkview Apartments at 6682 and 6688 Picasso Rd. The two properties were appraised in April 2007 at $1.88 million each and 6688 Picasso had been on the market since 2006 at a price of $2.1 million. The Housing Authority and Peikert Group Architects will be renovating the units. Upon completion of the renovations, the Housing Authority — which will own and manage the units — will rent them as low-income affordable apartments.

“We are very pleased to provide more affordable housing in Isla Vista,” Supervisor Brooks Firestone said in a statement. “We are continuing to see positive improvements in Isla Vista and there are more to come.”

Last fall, Conquest Student Housing, Inc. forced 55 families out of the Cedarwood Apartments at 6626 Picasso Rd. in order to create high-end student housing. The move created an uproar from UCSB students and Isla Vista residents, who held rallies and protests in support of the tenants. The actions didn’t save the resident’s spots in Cedarwood, but the circumstances did alert students and community members about laws related to landlords’ ability to remove tenants.

Plans Close For SB's First Islamic Mosque

Santa Barbara Newsroom
By Melinda Burns
June 21, 2007

Afaf Turjoman wasn’t sure what to say when her youngest daughter asked whether a mosque would ever be built -- when they’d stop having to go to a public community center for weekly prayers.

“I used to tell her, ‘Third grade, when you go to third grade, we’ll have a mosque,’” said Turjoman, a Muslim who has lived in Goleta for 30 years. “Now she’s going into fourth grade, and I don’t know what to tell her.”

The wait may soon be over for the area’s estimated 2,000 Muslims.

Plans for Santa Barbara County’s first mosque are now in the final design phase. A group of trustees for the Islamic Society of Santa Barbara will present plans to Goleta city officials and begin the public hearing phase in coming months.

The land for the mosque -- the central place of worship and community life for local Muslims -- was purchased six years ago at the corner of Los Carneros Road and Calle Real. Getting the building up has proven to be more difficult, those involved say.

Plans for the two-story worship center were stalled because of Goleta’s incorporation as a city; it has taken time for Goleta to complete citywide traffic studies and other environmental studies to approve such buildings.

It’s also taken time to raise money for the structure because Muslims are prohibited from paying interest on loans as a tenet of their faith, said Mukhtar Khan, a trustee at the Islamic Society. Most of the estimated $2 million it will cost to construct the mosque has to be raised up front or leaders have to find a donor willing to give them an interest-free loan.

This belief comes from Muslim law, known as Shariah law, developed from the teaching of Mohammad, who is viewed as the faith’s greatest prophet. The prohibition against interest is intended to keep Muslims out of the slavery of debt, followers say.

“In a Western society, it is difficult,” said Mohammed Zaman, president of the board for the Islamic Society of Santa Barbara.

American culture is in many ways built on the assumption of debt, so some Muslims do take out loans to pay for cars, homes and college tuition. There are also special financial institutions set up specifically to give loans to Muslims in a way that does not violate their beliefs.

But because the local group is building a mosque, considered a gateway to God, they want to stick as closely to religious law as possible, Zaman said. They plan to launch a formal fundraising campaign when the public hearing phase begins.

“I have been doing this for many years, and I believe that people will donate when the time comes,” said Zaman, a civil engineer. “I’ve never seen a good project stopped because of a lack of funding.”

The longer they wait, however, the more expensive the building becomes, those involved say. Back when plans were first proposed 2001, they expected the building to cost about $1 million. The price tag is skyrocketing due to inflation and increased building costs -- and they haven’t yet presented plans to city officials or heard from community members.

Most people have been supportive, Khan said. The property, about three-quarters of an acre, is surrounded by a museum to the north, open space to the west, a California Highway Patrol substation to the south and a ranch to the east.

The building is to be positioned to face northeast -- the direction toward Mecca. When Muslims recite their prayers five times a day, they face toward the Kaaba, a holy structure in Saudi Arabia they believe was built by Abraham and his son Ishmael.

Without a central mosque, local Muslims pray at home, work or in groups. There is also a small mosque in northern Goleta near the Camino Real shopping center.

The Friday prayers, which draw the largest weekly crowd, are held in the main room of the Goleta Valley Community Center. Anywhere from 20 to 75 Muslims have gathered there for the past eight years while plans for a mosque get underway.

It is difficult to estimate how many Muslims live and worship in Santa Barbara County. The population is fluid because many are students at UCSB, studying here for a few years until they move or return to their native countries.

Leaders at the Islamic Society wanted to build the mosque in Goleta near the freeway for that very reason -- to make it as easy as possible to find for out-of-towners.

“Anyone can get off the freeway and see right where we are,” said Zaman, who moved to Santa Barbara 18 years ago.

There are still some details to iron out in the design of the building, but leaders say they want the building to blend in with the architecture of Santa Barbara County. One of the designs includes a domed structure that is not unlike some of the Moorish architecture seen elsewhere in the region, said Ken Minnow, a Muslim architect who is working on the project.

“The design really fits in with the character of Santa Barbara,” he said.

Leaders say it was also important to incorporate “green building” principles into the design, such as solar panels, energy-efficient lighting and use of recycled construction materials. It may add to the cost, but officials say it is part of their faith to care for the environment.

“Our prophet tells us that we are to be stewards of natural resources, and that we will have to answer for everything we consume,” Zaman said.

Leaders also want the mosque to include classrooms for children, a prayer hall upstairs and a downstairs area for community gatherings. Outdoor parking space is also planned.

Turjoman, who has been involved in many interfaith organizations in the area, said it will be nice to be able to invite Jewish, Christian and other religious leaders to their “home.”

“People have been so generous and welcoming of us,” she said. “It would be nice to have a place to be able to welcome the community.”

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Nick Welsh Gets His Dog On

SB Independent:

OILS WELL THAT ENDS WELL: I’m flat-out jealous. Not only does Mike Brown, the CEO and reigning ├╝ber boss of the sprawling county bureaucracy, manage to walk on water, he doesn’t even get his feet wet. It just ain’t fair.

When most people get egg on their face, they have to wash it off. Not Mike Brown. He makes a meringue. And the rest of us have to eat it.

BlogaBarbara Community Post: Goleta Shows Us How

Goleta CC has approved a bond issue to help fund rental housing near Old Town...

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

County Lines: Supervisors Clash Over Large Home On Gaviota Coast

Santa Barbara Newsroom
By Melinda Burns
June 20, 2007

Plans for one of the largest homes ever proposed on the rural Gaviota coast — a 13,000 square-foot house as long as a football field —stalled Tuesday as North County supervisors reluctantly asked for more information on whether it would mar the view of the mountains.

Supervisor Joe Centeno of Santa Maria said he would have liked to vote Tuesday in favor of the home on Farren Road, but had been advised by County Counsel that further review was needed. Centeno said he didn’t know whether the county’s longstanding policy on views was meant to appease residents of Santa Barbara or drivers on Highway 101.

“I can’t imagine why people get so concerned,” he said. “Let’s let these people build their home and get on with their lives.”

The Farren Road proposal by Randall Welty and Lynn Ballantyne is the most contentious of several recent plans for large homes to be reviewed by the county for the Gaviota coast.

In all, there would be nearly 16,000 square feet of buildings at 500 Farren Road, including the barn, guest house and two garages. The main house, 300 feet long, would be located on a prominent ridgeline that can be plainly seen from Highway 101.

The plan was turned down by the county Planning and Development staff, then approved 3-2 on appeal by the county Planning Commission with some changes — most notably, a 300-foot-long berm, or earthen wall, that is designed to hide the home from the highway.

On Tuesday, county Board of Supervisors Chairman Brooks Firestone, who represents the Gaviota coast, abruptly cut short a presentation by Allen Bell, a county staff planner who was explaining that even with the berm, the home on Farren Road would violate county policy.

“How can this be an accurate description of the project?” Firestone asked.

Bell responded that according to county policy, new homes must be located “so as not to intrude into the skyline as seen from public viewing places.” There is nothing in the policy about berms, he said.

Clearly irritated, Firestone called a break, conferred with County Counsel Shane Stark, and, on reconvening, led the board into a closed session.

When the supervisors returned to the hearing room, Marc Chytilo, an attorney for the Gaviota Coast Conservancy, urged them to listen to their staff planners and overturn the commission’s decision. The staff, he said, had done its job by flagging the problems early on, giving the developers a chance to make changes.

It would be wrong to issue a permit for such a large home in a rural area of the coast, a home four times the average size in the neighborhood, Chytilo said.

“We’re not trying to penalize these applicants,” he said. “They can have their dream house by moving it.”

Chytilo warned the supervisors that the county policy on views meant what it said.

“Your interpretation of the ordinance is an invitation to developers to ‘game’ this process,” he said. “Do them the favor of showing them they have to make some compromises.”

Richard Adam, an attorney representing Welty and Ballantyne, disagreed, saying there was no reason to go through further review after more than eight months of appeals. He said the plans represented “the epitome of what is desired in Santa Barbara County,” including solar heating, solar electricity and green waste recycling. The entire south-facing side of the house is proposed to be a wall of glass.

“This is a good project that has gone through the public process and has been made better,” Adam said. “It’s taken enormous time, effort and money. I find it to be appalling.”

During his turn at the podium, Welty told the board that he and his wife had been “scandalized” by coverage of the project in the press.

“We feel we’ve been dealt with like the Duke lacrosse team,” he said, referring to the college players who were falsely accused of rape.

Joe Armendariz, executive director of the Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association, said he supported the Farren Road proposal because it would generate $100,000 yearly in property taxes for the county.

Opponents of the project on Tuesday included members of the Sierra Club, Audubon Society and Citizens Planning Association and residents of the neighboring Rancho Embarcadero housing tract. They said the proposed house was too big and would be clearly visible above the berm from a number of vantage points.

“What’s the point of ordinances if you’re not disposed to enforce them?” asked Edward Easton of the Sierra Club.

Joan Bolton of Rancho Embarcadero told the board she had helped collect 132 signatures in her canyon against the project.

With 17 acres available for the proposed house, Bolton said, "Surely there's room to build something that conforms to the county's rules. Allowing Ms. Ballantyne to bend or break the rules sets a dangerous precedent.”

The board voted 3-2 to postpone a decision, pending further review. South Coast supervisors Salud Carbajal and Janet Wolf voted against more delays, saying they had enough information to turn down the project.

“I felt the original staff report was well thought out,” Wolf said. “The issues were stated plainly.”

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Is it time to ban alcohol from Goleta Pier?

A volunteer caretaker seems to think so. "The bottom line is that most of the litter and vandalism are the direct result of unregulated drinking on the pier at night."

UCSB Students Leave Tons of Trash

KEYT (Video)

The end of the school year at UC Santa Barbara means tons of trashis being left behind by students leaving the college town of Isla Vista.

Even with extra trash pickups, there are giant piles of debris, furniture, clothing, and leftover food in front of apartment buildings.

Scavegers are picking through the trash looking for usable items.

Santa Barbara County, and the Isla Vista Recreation and Park District are stepping up cleanup efforts due to health and safety concerns.

Some of the departing students also tossed their belongings off ocean bluff balconies into the ocean.

Goleta: A Busy Day for Council

Santa Barbara Newsroom
By Tom Schultz
June 19, 2007

From new trash hauling fees to designing the very shape of their city, Goleta council members on Monday faced a busy agenda.

The council made the following key decisions:

* In a 5-o vote, the council authorized city staff members to seal a five-year deal for police services across the city of 30,000 residents.

Goleta will pay the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department more than $5.6 million in fiscal year 2007-08, under the deal.

A total of 34 deputies will patrol the city, including a newly-added community resource deputy.
"This new contract provides for increased involvement by the city in key areas," according to a city report.

These include: ensuring the city's participation in the selection and evaluation of the city's chief of police; enhancing the city's particpation in the deployment of resources; participating in the orientation of personnel assigned to Goleta; and, identification and reporting of specific performance measures and response times, according to the report.

* In a 4-0 vote, the council denied an appeal brought by the owner of Rancho Mobile Home Park , who opposed an environmental study of impacts that could result if the park is converted to resident ownership of plots.

Currently, park residents rent the spaces that their homes sit upon.

Park owner Daniel Guggenheim hopes to sell those spaces, under a proposal submitted to City Hall.

City officials say studying impacts of the proposal is necessary, largely due to the potential for displacement of residents. Councilman Roger Aceves abstained because he missed an earlier hearing on the matter, he said.

* In a 5-0 vote, the council authoriized staff members to initiate negotiations with the Towbe Group, a development company, that could result in the city contributing $6 million or more to a proposed apartment complex.

Sumida Gardens would have 200 units, including at least 30 considered affordable.

Because the project is in the Old Town redevelopment area, it is eligible for assitance from the city Redevelopment Agency.

Officials say that without the financial aid, the project would not be feasible and the potential for increasing the supply of rental housing would be lost.

* Trash hauling fees are going up.

In a 5-0 vote, the council approved a nearly 4 percent rate hike to solid waste collection costs.

This means trash bills will rise between 95 cents and $1.20 a month for residential customers of Allied Waste and Marborg Industries.

* In a 4-1 vote, the council agreed to explore the creation of a sphere of influence for the city that would include several outlying areas.

The sphere would capture Goleta Beach, neighorhoods to the immediate northeast of the city, Farren Road to the northwest of city limits and areas near Coal Oil Pier to the southwest.

Council members said they backed the designations, which if approved could lead to annexations, as a way to foster discussion about that potential with residents.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Goleta Chamber: Response to News-Press Column

Dear Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce Members:

The Chamber Board of Directors and staff have been dealing with an issue recently that I now need to bring to your attention regarding our relationship with the Santa Barbara New-Press.

My husband and I read the News-Press at home each morning before going to work. Lately there has been fewer and fewer business in Goleta stories in this paper, so there was no reason to also receive the paper in our office. Although our office used to diligently clip business and Goleta news from the paper, without any stories to save I felt it prudent to not spend money on a subscription. It was an executive decision, not a public statement.

Travis Armstrong called Friday, June 8th to ask me about the cancellation Mr. Armstrong and I have had a very productive relationship; I always considered him someone I could talk to about local Goleta issues. When he called about the subscription, I was happy to hear from him, but sorry to give him the customer feedback about why I had canceled the subscription. He was angry and very threatening. I imagine there is enormous pressure at the News-Press these days and that Mr. Armstrong is under a great deal of stress.

On Friday, Mr. Armstrong wrote an editorial questioning our volunteer Chairman of the Board. This is an unwarranted criticism as it is common for businesses and individuals to join a Chamber in communities in which they live, work, volunteer or play.

The Chamber Board of Directors has responded to Mr. Armstrong's telephone call to me by reaffirming its support of the Chamber's actions, policies and professional staff.

I look forward to my next communication with you, our membership, and getting back to the important work that is going on in the Goleta Valley, at the Chamber and in our community.

In the mean time I have flown across the country to be with my sister, who is having her first baby. If you need any assistance, please contact Anna Thomas, my administrative assistant, at

Kristen Amyx

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Goleta Valley Voice Roundup - 6/15

Front Page:
Something new in Old Town
Willow Creek Townhomes in Old Town Goleta officially opened to the public last week, becoming the first new housing development in the city since the housing moratorium several years ago.

News Briefs:
Sheriff's Blotter

  • Another youngster with some 'splainin' to do
  • The revolving door
  • In and out
  • Caught in the act
  • Bummer, dude
  • How reassuring
  • Nice try
  • Apartment trashed
  • A long walk home
  • You! In the polka-dot boxers!

In Brief
  • Burn a couch, pay big time
  • Planners deny appeal of restaurant remodel
  • City, enviros to discuss plans for creek

Council sides with mobile home residents
Despite an appeal made by David Guggenheim, owner of Rancho Mobile Home Park, tenants of the park moved a step closer last week to converting their rental spaces into for-sale units.

Mayor's Report: No rest for the city as summer rolls in
Summer is almost officially here (Thursday is Summer Equinox), college commencements continue this weekend, high school graduations are a thing of the past and elementary school students and teachers finish up the year today and start that wonderful summer vacation.

Goleta Scrapbook: When we said nuts to growing almonds
During the past 150 years, Goleta Valley has been known for its lemons, avocados, walnuts, pampas grass and vegetables, but almonds were also a cultivated crop here for a short while in the 1800s.

Strictly Local: He reigns where they learn to pour
It’s happy hour at Pacific Coast Bartending School. The lights are low, the music is loud, and owner John Rickman is calling out drinks to Kandis, his newest student.

Other articles at at the Goleta Valley Voice website.

Child playing with matches blamed for starting Goleta apartment fire

KKFX (Video)

GOLETA - A five-year-old boy playing with matches in a storage closet is being blamed for sparking Thursday's fire at an apartment complex in Goleta.

The fire -- on Linfield Place -- left 19 people without a home.

Flames destroyed one unit, burned another and filled the entire complex with smoke.

Damages are estimated at $100,000.

Nobody was hurt.

But fire investigators say it could have been deadly.

They're reminding parents to tell their children not to play with fire.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Goleta Groups Unite for Hollister Avenue Sprucing

Santa Barbara Newsroom
By Barney McManigal
June 16, 2007

Hoping to curb graffiti along Hollister Avenue, Goleta Valley residents will join forces today to plant trees and vines, and make other landscaping improvements to a wall that often serves as a “canvas” for taggers.

Members and volunteers from Goleta Valley Beautiful, Rotaract and the Coalition for Sensible Planning will meet at 9 a.m. with Supervisor Janet Wolf, who helped organize the collaborative project funded by a $10,000 grant from Homeowners Defense Fund.

The event will last into the afternoon, organizers said.

It all started when residents wanted to do something about the 900-foot stretch of barren and frequently defaced wall on the South side of Hollister between Evonshire and San Marcos Road.

Coalition for Sensible Planning member Gary Earle helped secure the grant, but when he and Goleta Valley Beautiful member Ken Knight faced red tape at the county, they called Wolf.

The first term supervisor from the 2nd district worked with county staff and helped find a landscape architect to draw up a detailed improvement plan for the site.

“It’s a wonderful example of what can happen when community members, local businesses, non-profits, volunteers and a public agency come together to make our community safer and more beautiful than ever,” said Wolf, who thanked participants.

Ms. Wolf will begin the day with a news conference at the corner of Hollister Avenue at Evonshire Road.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Travis Armstrong vs. Kristen Amyx and the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce: Round 1

Craig Smith has an update today on his story from Wednesday, June 13th, in which Travis Armstrong told Amyx "I will ruin you." Craig reports that in this morning's News-Press Armstrong appears to to be getting a start on making good on that threat.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Goleta Fire Displaces Nineteen

KEYT (Video)

Nineteen people are displaced after a fire at a Goleta apartment complex. Santa Barbara County Fire was called to the 400 block of Linfield Place just before 1pm this afternoon.

Crews were able to quickly knock down the flames in the two alarm blaze. Fortunately there were no injuries but there were frightening moments for those who live near by.

Four people live in the apartment where the fire originated. An electrician is trying to restore power to the adjoining units that would enable the remaining fifteen people to return to their homes. The cause of the fire is under investigation. The Red Cross is offering assistance to those displaced by the fire.

KEY News Reporter Michelle Cole has the story.

SB Independent
By Chris Meagher
Thursday, June 14, 2007

Twenty-seven firefighters responded to a fire which devastated an apartment in Goleta Thursday, leaving up to 19 complex residents possibly displaced for the night. Santa Barbara County fire officials are investigating the cause of the fire, which occurred around 12:35 p.m. Thursday at a six-unit apartment complex at 449 Lindfield [sic] Place.

A woman and a boy were in the apartment of origin when fire alarms sounded. The two were able to make it out safely, according to Capt. Eli Iskow. Responding firefighters — six engine companies and one truck companies’ worth — were able to douse the fire down quickly, containing the fire to the one apartment.

Other apartments in the complex suffered smoke damage, and depending on whether or not the electrical system can be rerouted, 19 people may have to sleep somewhere else Thursday night. The occupants of the original apartment and the one above are displaced. The Red Cross is assisting those who need help.

KCOY (Video)

GOLETA - 19 people are without a home Thursday night after a fire broke out an apartment building.

Firefighters say the fire started around noon at the complex in Goleta.

The fire broke out at the bottom unit.

There are six units in the whole building where eight adults and 11 children lived.

Firefighters responded quickly, so the fire damage was contained to the one unit, but the smoke from the fire affected the entire building.

Most of the neighbors will be allowed to return in the next few days, but one single mother and her children who live in the unit where the fire broke out won't be able to come home for awhile.

She was home with one kid at the time of the fire while her other two children were at school.

Some neighbors from the building and around the block were home and called 9-1-1 when they smelled the smoke.

As of now the cause of the fire is under investigation, but the woman tells us that it was most likely electrical.

Fish Are Bubbling to the Surface...

On the bridge over San Jose Creek, hundreds of silver fish are bubbling to the surface, writhing and dying.

UCSB's Long Range Development Plan

Sara De la Guerra at BlogaBarbara has a Review of UCSB's Long Range Development Plan.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Is Travis Armstrong of the SB News-Press out to ruin the Goleta Chamber?

Craig Smith has been reporting this week that News-Press editorial page editor Travis Armstrong was working the phones going after those who had cancelled their News-Press subscriptions.

More details continue to emerge regarding Travis Armstrong's recent phone calls to community organizations that have canceled their News-Press subscriptions.

At one point Armstrong told Kristen Amyx, President/CEO of the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce, "I will ruin you."

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Mixed opinions on food and service at Hollister Brewing Company

One reviewer writes: "I know. I know you are gambling going to a place that is new and I tried to make allowances. The service was indifferent and two of the three of my party were disappointed in what they had."

Another review: "As a long time Goleta resident I couldn't be happier. On behalf of Goleta I welcome Hollister Brewing Co. I've been waiting so long for a place like this."

And yet another review: "I keep dining here hoping that HBC would get their act together. Admittedly, things are better since opening week but there are still things that bother me. I ordered the burger and could not have been more disappointed."

Read more reviews on Hollister Brewing Company.

S.B. County puts most unbudgeted requests on hold

Santa Maria Times: After debating among themselves whether or not Santa Barbara County's financial future is bleak, county supervisors listened Monday to departments ask for more funding than proposed in a 2007-08 budget -- pleas that ranged from hiring extra sheriff's deputies to providing a social worker for inmates needing treatment programs after jail.

Storke Road Drive Inn to Keep Drive Up Window First Opened in '66

Santa Barbara Newsroom
By Tom Schultz
June 12, 2007

A Goleta burger joint dating to the mid 1960s can keep its drive-up window, officials said Monday night, preserving the retro feel and longtime use of the mom-and-pop eatery.

In a 5-0 vote at a meeting laced with nostalgia, the Planning Commission shot down the concerns of an adjacent property owner, who questioned during an appeal of remodel permits issued by the city whether idling cars and trucks at The Storke Road Drive Inn would increase air pollution to the detriment of nearby businesses.

Sandy Roberts, owner of a business plaza home to at least two high-tech firms, argued through a representative that the eatery at 370 Storke had shut down for more than a year from October 2005 to November 2006, which he said constituted an abandonment of the business.

If so, it would make the restaurant susceptible under city rules to losing its food service window — a feature considered a legal but non-conforming use since 1981, when Santa Barbara County began requiring conditional use permits for drive-up windows.

"We're not arguing the use of the property as a restaurant itself," planning consultant Gordon Bell told the commission on behalf of Roberts.

Restaurant owner John Price says he intends to renovate the low-slung, 1,230-square-foot Drive Inn, located across from County Fire Station No. 13. He got city permission on April 30. Roberts filed his appeal on May 8.

His intention, evident in his effort to improve the property by obtaining city permits, shows the opposite of abandonment, attorney Peter Brown told commissioners on behalf of Price.

The commissioners agreed.

"I can't see where he (Roberts) made his case," Commissioner Ken Knight said.

In defending against the appeal, Brown acknowledged that the restaurant's hours had been limited recently and said the structure was being used primarily to serve coffee when operational.

While it had an "open" sign up late Monday afternoon, nobody was working inside. The only activity on the one-acre property was at a self-service car wash to the rear of the restaurant.

The Drive Inn was known in past incarnations as "Dairy Delight" and also the "Aloha Restaurant," Brown said.

With some questioning whether the place was shut down for good, online reviews speak favorabley of the Drive Inn property and its four-decade presence in Goleta.

"It was absolutely delicious! It's always a treat to find local jewels, and I plan to be a frequent visitor," one commenter wrote on John Dickson's restaurant guide at

"The burgers were awesome. That's all I can say about that. However, you're going to have to put your own salt on the fries," wrote another contributor.

A half dozen residents spoke Monday in favor of it re-opening the Drive Inn with its drive-up feature.

"It's a gateway to our community, especially Storke Ranch," Nancy Ramirez told the commission. "I'd like to see something done."

Mark Ingalls, manager of Camino Real Marketplace across the road from the Drive Inn, spoke on behalf of the restaurant and recalled trips there from his childhood.

"I can remember a lof of ice cream cones coming out of that place," he said.

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SBSO: Isla Vista End of Year Enforcement

Santa Barbara Sheriff's Department

The week of June 11th will mark the end of the school year for many UCSB students and Isla Vista residents. It has been referred to in the past as “couch burning week” because many Isla Vista residents will bring old furniture and personal property onto the streets and set them ablaze. The end-of-year ritual of burning couches posses a serious risk to the health and safety of all Isla Vista residents. In 2005, there were 32 reported couch/furniture fires in Isla Vista, and only one arrest. In 2006, through increased enforcement and investigative efforts, there were 31 fires and 19 arrests.

The Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department has worked with the District Attorney’s Office to increase the penalties levied against those who commit these arson crimes. Penalties for individuals caught igniting a fire or adding fuel to a fire will include restitution for fire response, repair to damaged roadways and property, as well as fines and incarceration. UCSB is also imposing administrative sanctions against students who commit these crimes. Fueling a fire or adding material to an already burning fire is a misdemeanor violation of section 41800 of the Health and Safety code. Igniting a fire is considered Arson, a felony violation of section 451 of the Penal Code. In the past, subjects have been injured by the fires and personal property not intended to be burned has been damaged.

The Sheriff’s Department will work this week with the County Fire Department, County Solid Waste Management and Marborg Industries to identify combustible material and remove it prior to being ignited. The Sheriff’s Department will also increase uniformed and undercover patrols in an effort to identify and arrest individuals who commit these crimes.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Small Plane Crash At Santa Barbara Airport Causes Delays


A close call at Santa Barbara Airport Sunday as a plane skidded off the runway.
A private charter jet left the runway Sunday afternoon.
That's when the pilot realized he did not have enough speed to lift off.
The plane hit a ridge where the front wheel snapped off.
Then it skidded until coming to a rest six hundred feet past the runway.
The 15 passengers were not injured.
But, shaken from the experience.
The accident could have been worse.
A creek outside the runway had recently been filled in.
Delays are expected to affect flights through Sunday night.
That's when the plane is expected to be cleared from the runway.

Goleta Valley Voice Roundup - 6/08

Front Page:
Project BudBurst is recruiting the public to observe, record plant growth — and maybe keep an eye on climate change
Now that the scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have concluded that the warming of our globe is “unequivocal,” many have asked the question, “How are organisms and natural processes responding?”

News Briefs:
Graduation Dates
Goleta will be busting at the seams for the next couple of weekends as UCSB's commencement ceremonies will bring an estimated 35,000 people to the Santa Barbara area.

Council approves increasing creek capacity
The Goleta City Council last Monday voted unanimously to move forward with plans to increase the capacity of San Jose Creek, which runs through Goleta’s Old Town at the east end, terminating in the Goleta Slough.

Sheriff's Blotter

  • Down a peg
  • Unfulfilled contract
  • Birthday bash
  • Out in the wild
  • Quick and dirty deed
  • Thief hits the courts
  • Like a needle in a haystack

KCSB: 45 years of community radio
On Monday mornings there’s the Freak Power Ticket. Wednesday evenings they’re Speaking of Sex. The Friday Riff takes us into the end of the week, and over the weekend they have us groovin’ to rock, reggae, jazz and Indian music. And it’s all in our backyard, on KCSB.

Local Currents
  • It's a Birthday party!
  • School's out forever
  • Donate blood in G-Town
  • Congratulations graduates

Other articles at at the Goleta Valley Voice website.

UCSB Draft Environmental Impact Report for the Long Range Development Plan 2007-2025

Pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act and the California Coastal Act, this Notice is to inform public agencies and the general public that UC Santa Barbara will prepare a program-level Draft Environmental Impact Report and an amendment to the 1990 Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) for the planning horizon of 2007-2025. The 2007 LRDP will present a plan for the physical development of the UC Santa Barbara campus to accommodate an on-campus enrollment level of up to 25,000 students (based on a three-quarter average headcount), and approximately 6,400 faculty and staff. The 2007 LRDP will guide capital construction and infrastructure development to accommodate a building program for this anticipated campus growth. The plan will include land recently acquired by the University. The 2007 LRDP will provide:

• Policies and locations for future development including new academic and research facilities, student, faculty and staff housing, vehicular, bicycle, transit and pedestrian circulation routes, recreation and athletic facilities;
• Policies related to sustainability; and
• Policies for protection and enhancement of coastal resources as set forth in the California Coastal Act of 1976.

UC Santa Barbara is interested in the views of your agency as to the scope and content of the upcoming Draft Environmental Impact Report relevant to your agency's statutory responsibilities. Issues to be discussed in the Report include aesthetics, air quality, biological resources, cultural resources, geology and soils, hazards and hazardous materials, hydrology and water quality, land use and planning, noise, population and housing, public services, recreation, transportation/traffic, utilities/service systems, and mandatory findings of significance.

Copies of the Initial Study are available at the Office of Campus Planning & Design on the UC Santa Barbara campus and on the 2007 LRDP website at

The 30-day public review period will extend from Wednesday, May 23 to Thursday, June 21, 2007. The purpose of the review period is to provide the public and other government agencies an opportunity to comment on the scope of the Draft Environmental Impact Report. UC Santa Barbara will hold two public scoping meetings on Monday, June 4 at which interested parties may comment on the scope of the Draft Environmental Impact Report.

If you have questions on the Initial Study, please contact Jennifer Metz at 805-893-3820. Written comments on this Notice of Preparation and the Initial Study for the Draft Environmental Impact Report should be provided no later than Thursday, June 21, 2007 by fax to 805-893-3870 or addressed to:

Jennifer Metz, Senior Planner
UC Santa Barbara
Office of Campus Planning & Design
Santa Barbara, California 93106-1030

Housing slump may dampen budget outlook

Lompoc Record: Three days of hearings on Santa Barbara County's proposed $800-million budget for 2007-08 begin Monday, with the financial picture strong for the coming year but shakier in the future, as a slumping housing market and construction slowdown affect property-tax revenues.


The two-inch thick, 413-page document has a wealth of financial and demographic information, about not only county government but the entire Santa Barbara County region. It is available for viewing or copying online at

Saturday, June 9, 2007

On The Web: Isla Vista Weekend Getaway

Now that classes have wrapped up at UC Santa Barbara, this is the best time for a weekend getaway 90 minutes north of LA in Isla Vista.

If parties are your thing, this weekend should find Del Playa and Sabado Tarde sprinkled with farewell bashes as the kids pack up for a summer back home.

But if peace and quiet are your thing, cruise up the 101 in a week or two when pretty much everyone has cleared out leaving the sleepy college town and all its beaches available for you and yours.

And there are even pictures...

On The Web: Wastewater - Clean Water Act

Of 40 wastewater plants that discharge treated sewage into the ocean off the California coast, only four still do not meet standards required in 1977 under the federal Clean Water Act. The four are Morro Bay, San Diego, Orange County and Goleta, a town of 55,000 south of Santa Barbara. Two of those, Orange County and Goleta, already have approved upgrades.

Treating sewage more thoroughly before it is released into the ocean reduces the risk of parasites, viruses, bacteria, heavy metals and other pollutants getting into the ocean.

Goleta the Fleeceable?

"Along with the proposed contract for police services it would appear SB County and Goleta City council have driven a stake into the heart of Goleta."

The Community Post at BlogaBarbara goes on to ask, "So the question is are we better off now than we were 6 years ago or are the taxpayers getting fleeced?"

Friday, June 8, 2007

Close To Home: Arrested UCSB Student Returns

SB Independent: Yoon Choi, the UCSB student taken in by immigration agents on 5/23, returned to campus this week after posting a bond allowing her to leave the detention facility at which she was being held.

See Goleta Observer Original Post "UCSB Student Taken Away by Immigration Agents"

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Wolf Lobbies for Creek Protections

SB Independent: Second District Supervisor Janet Wolf sought to insert additional environmental protections into a flood control project slated for San Jose Creek in Goleta. Wolf insisted that the county use the $4 million it was contributing—as part of a joint operating agreement with the City of Goleta—to ensure that steelhead trout could make their way up the creek during winter storms to spawn.

Mobile Home Mogul Muzzled - Goleta City Council Demands EIR

SB Independent
By Martha Sadler
June 7, 2007

The City of Goleta stood fast against an attempted end-run around its mobile home rent control ordinances — namely Daniel Guggenheim’s bid to subdivide his Rancho Mobile Home Park and sell its 150 parcels for about $250,000 each. It is a strategy that has been used successfully by park owners throughout California, led by activist Sam Zell. Several park residents said they were pleasantly surprised to see their City Council circle the wagons around a Goleta city staff report that could spell doom for the proposed condo conversion.

Those attending the June 4 hearing were not sure if the more business-oriented council majority elected last year would defend the parks as staunchly as did Goleta’s previous council, which successfully fought Guggenheim’s attempt to vanquish the city’s rent control ordinance in the courts. Two of those new councilmembers, Eric Onnen and Michael Bennett, received considerable campaign contributions from Guggenheim before the election.

Despite threats of another lawsuit, though, the council seconded planning staff’s insistence that Guggenheim’s subdivision tract map requires an Environmental Impact Report (EIR). Clarke Fairbrother (pictured above, center, with two other company employees)— president of Newport Pacific Capital Company, Inc., which manages the Rancho Mobile Homes property on behalf of Guggenheim — told the City Council that an EIR is uncalled for because Guggenheim is proposing no physical changes to the park and that the city’s approval is therefore a simple ministerial process. An attorney for Guggenheim, Thomas Casparian, threatened to sue for “millions of dollars” if the council directed staff to proceed with an EIR. None of the two dozen other municipalities where his firm’s clients have proposed such subdivisions has required an EIR, he said, and an EIR is no place for the city to vet “social and economic issues” such as the loss of affordable housing. He called the city staff’s position “extremely novel.”

State law calls for environmental review because the project might displace affordable housing, said Goleta Planning Director Steve Chase. That would necessitate the construction of replacement housing elsewhere, said Chase, and that is an environmental effect. In addition, he said, approval of Guggenheim’s tract map would likely set a precedent so that in addition to the 150 households at the Rancho Mobile Home Park, those at Goleta’s three other rent-controlled parks would be affected.

Fairbrother claimed that there would “be no displacement.” Park residents would be offered “binding lease contracts” to stay at their current rent-controlled rates plus annual cost-of-living increases. However, for those who are willing, he said, his client is prepared to offer his tenants a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to buy the parcels under their mobile homes. Fairbrother enumerated the government subsidies that can be used to assist low-income buyers, including loans that require no payments until the land is sold.

In that case, asked Onnen, “Why avoid the EIR?” Responding to implications that the city was using the EIR simply to stall and obstruct, Onnen said, “I can assure you the [EIR] was never about derailing the process. I can assure that that was never part of the discussion in closed session.”

Bennett asked how Guggenheim could be trusted to allow people to stay in their homes at current rents, since Guggenheim will make the profits he seeks only if people purchase. “To say he’ll look after everybody seems a little disingenuous,” said Bennett. “We don’t know how many can be financed through government subsidies for low-income,” Fairbrother admitted, “but we can’t go forward without the tract map.”

Noting that there is “no hard evidence that tenants would not be displaced,” Goleta planner Patricia Miller said that the EIR would create a process for “mulling, examining, weighing, and coming up with replacement alternatives if needed.”

The City Council, with Roger Aceves absent, voted 4-1 to proceed with the EIR.

UCSB Will Graduate 4,800 Students in Eight Commencement Ceremonies

UCSB Public Affairs
June 6, 2007

(Santa Barbara, Calif.) – Approximately 4,800 graduating students will take part in one of eight official commencement ceremonies scheduled at UC Santa Barbara over eight days starting June 10 and concluding June 17. The campus's commencement exercises attract an estimated 35,000 visitors to the Santa Barbara area each year.

Close To Home: Police Investigate Alleged Thefts

Daily Nexus
By Jessica Mullen / Staff Writer
Published Thursday, June 7, 2007
Issue 137 / Volume 87

University of California Police Department officers are currently investigating the origins of several allegedly stolen items after various laptops and iPods were recently discovered in a UCSB student’s apartment.

UCSB student Marisabel Suarez was booked into Santa Barbara’s County Jail after the UCPD arrested her for alleged burglary and petty theft on May 24. Suarez, a fourth-year global studies and Spanish major, was initially spotted fleeing the UCSB Rec Cen with an allegedly stolen backpack. A subsequent search of Suarez’s Santa Ynez apartment uncovered the possessions of numerous other backpacks, in addition to laptops, iPods and other allegedly stolen articles.

UCPD Public Information Officer Matt Bowman said that while the property found in Suarez’ apartment matches those associated with ten other cases, officers are still investigating many of the other items located at the residence.

“We have quite a bit of additional property we recovered from her apartment and we are seeking victims of theft,” Bowman said. “We have make, model and serial numbers and if people can provide evidence of legitimate ownership we would be more than happy to return the property.”

According to Bowman, the arrest was a success for UCPD because he said the department was able to restore several reportedly missing items to the community.

“It was a really good arrest for us because any time we can hold some one accountable for their crimes it is great,” Bowman said. “But more important is being able to safeguard and return property to students, staff and faculty. I am glad we could help so many people out.”

Suarez is currently facing felony and misdemeanor charges.

At this time UCPD is still attempting to identify the owners of the recovered property in order to pursue additional charges in the case against Suarez. Students who were victims of a theft at UCSB are encouraged to report incidents to the UCSB Police Department at (805) 893-3446.

Close To Home: Isla Vista Project Aims to Recycle Student Furniture

Daily Nexus: Local organizers hope Isla Vista residents will donate, rather than douse, their couches this spring, as the Great Isla Vista Extravaganza Project prepares to collect furniture.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Sex Offender's First Offense Wasn't Against a Child


A registered sex offender who worked as a local Pony League Umpire has a past conviction for a violent crime.

Sheriff's Deputies arrested Manuel Jimenez last Wednesday outside his Goleta home after someone spotted him several weeks before sitting inside his car without a shirt on outside a school campus.

At first, authorities would not say what crime Jimenez committed to make him a registered sex offender. Now KEY News has learned and confirmed through the Sheriff's Department that Jimenez was convicted of burglary and rape.

Authorities also say Jimenez received permission from his Probation Officer to become a Pony League Umpire but it appears he never notified league officials about his criminal history. Pony League officials notified parents last week in a letter that Jimenez will no longer work Little League games and that Umpires will be required to have the same background check as coaches do.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

SB County Grand Jury Report: Effects of Immigration in Santa Barbara County

The 2006-2007 Santa Barbara County Grand Jury has posted its report on the Effects of Immigration in Santa Barbara County - A Balanced Assessment.

Big Box Sheriff's Substation Moves Forward in Goleta

Santa Barbara Newsroom
By Tom Schultz
June 5, 2007

The Goleta City Council on Monday backed a proposed deal that would create a new Sheriff's Department substation at Camino Real Marketplace, agreeing to give the idea final consideration later this month during a hearing on city budgets and overall law enforcement spending proposed for coming years.

In a series of 5-0 votes Monday, the council also agreed to consider the acceptance of annual donations from the bix box shopping center that would total more than half a million dollars over the next five business cycles — a proposal officials say could enhance policing citywide.

"It's such a great opportunity that we shouldn't miss out on," said Councilman Roger Aceves, a recently retired veteran Santa Barbara Police officer.

The discussion comes as the city considers a five-year budget contract with the Sheriff's Department for law enforcement services that would cost the city more than $5 million annually.

The council will consider the contract on June 18, the same day it will consider overall city budgets for the next two fiscal years.

In full, the city would take in an estimated $15.41 million and spend $15.3 million in 2007-08. The following 12-month cycle, the city would collect a projected $15.6 million and spend $15.72 million — meaning costs would exceed revenue for the first time since Goleta incorporated in 2002.

Goleta currently operates on a more than $14.3 million spending plan, with about $14.7 million in revenues.

The city has contracted with the Sheriff's Department for police services since 2002, with a minimum 33 deputies planned for under the proposed agreement — a number reflecting current staffing levels.

Under the proposed memorandum of understanding with Camino Real, the shopping center would carve an around-the-clock substation from a storefront space, providing 1,100 square feet for free to accomodate four to six deputies who would use the facility as an operations base.

Camino Real estimates the space would otherwise rent for $56,000 annually. Its deal with the city would last five years, concurrent with the proposed agreement between Goleta and the Sheriff's Department.

In addition, Camino Real would give the city more than a half-million dollars over the next five years — at an average of more than a $100,000 annually. The money, city officials say, could be used for a "community resource deputy" specifically assigned to dealing with citizens' concerns.

These duties would include: liaison activities with business owners; coordinating neighborhood watch and business watch programs; planning city and domestic violence prevention and outreach programs; and, connecting with youth and community organizations.

Recently, Councilwoman Jonny Wallis raised questions about a potential public perception that Camino Real would reduce private security and in effect buy the services of public servants under the deal.

On Monday, Wallis said she was reassured by officials who have stressed that deputies would not be required to patrol the property. Marketplace officials say they may indeed reduce private security staffing levels as a result, adding that Camino Real would benefit from a general presence of Sheriff's deputies at the shopping center but not from any formal patrols required of them.

Whether to use the donated funds for a new community resource deputy was a point of contention Monday, with Councilman Eric Onnen questioning the timing of the idea in light of Goleta's tight overall budget projections before lending his support.

At one point, Onnen suggested Goleta use the donations for some other purposes.

But moments later, Camino Real president Mark Linehan stressed that the donation was aimed at somehow enhancing law enforcement services in Goleta.

"Our donation is dependant somewhat on you guys hiring somebody," he told the council.

"We're nice people," he said. Still, "We're not here to fund your annual budget."

Key provisions of the proposed contract with the Sheriff's Department cited by city officials include: enhancing the city’s participation in the deployment of resources and orientations of new deputies; ensuring the continuance of a motorcycle traffic unit; establishing cost reimbursements for use of city-owned equipment; and, boosting the city’s participation in the selection and evaluation of the "police chief," who is typically a lieutenant appointed to the position by the sheriff.

In addition to the Goleta council, county administrators must also sign off on the contract before it is finalized.

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Goleta to Decide to Spend Five Million on Safety or the Streets


The City of Goleta is planning to spend over $5.5 million on it's front line law enforcement. The city uses the Sheriff's Department as it's police department under a contract that's expected to be reviewed later this month. Lt. Chris Pappas says by having the Sheriff's Department handle law enforcement Goleta gets all of the resources the department offers. Monday evening the city council will talk about the contract and the services it will get.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Close To Home: Local Student Held in Court for Manslaughter and Other Charges


A college student accused of killing a local doctor is behind bars in connection with another arrest.

Monday, a judge revoked bail for Heather Hulsey. The Santa Barbara City College student was arrested just last month for being drunk in public. Hulsey was already facing charges for Vehicular Manslaughter and felony hit and run. Authorities say she struck her neighbor, Dr. Ronald Schlensky with her SUV last July while she was drunk. Her defense argued today Hulsey was participating in a sober-living arrangement. Hulsey is expected back in court next week. Her bail is set for $250,000.

Board of Supervisors Meetings Now Online

SB Independent: The County of Santa Barbara now offers live video streaming and webcasting, allowing anyone with Internet access to watch the Board of Supervisors meetings online. Visitors can watch both current and archived meetings, and have access the meeting agendas and minutes. The update will also allow residents to bypass the need to wait for ordered video of meetings.

The service is being provided by Granicus Inc. , a San Francisco company which specializes in providing similar services to local governments, including the city. Eventual plans call for video streaming of all of the county’s public meetings which are normally broadcast on government access channel 20.

Agilysys Signs Definitive Agreement to Acquire InfoGenesis

BOCA RATON, Fla. – June 4, 2007 – Agilysys, Inc. (NASDAQ: AGYS), a leading provider of innovative IT solutions and hospitality software solutions, today announced it has entered a definitive agreement to acquire InfoGenesis, a privately held, independent software vendor (ISV) and solution provider to the hospitality market. Based in Santa Barbara, Calif. and at approximately $42 million in annual revenues, InfoGenesis offers enterprise-class point-of-sale (POS) solutions that provide end users a highly intuitive, secure and easy way to process customer transactions across multiple departments or locations, including comprehensive corporate and store reporting.

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