Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Won't you take me to Levy Town?

The endless delays in construction of Levy Town do remind me of the "black hole" on Carrillo and Chapala that finally became the Hotel Andalucia just a few years ago. The News-Press reported today that Bill Levy promises that money for the "Dead Zone" will be in place soon but he's been saying that for a year or more.

The fate of the site of The California Hotel, former home of Rocky's, sits in the balance -- as does the face of the waterfront area. Levy says he'd be "crazy not to be nervous". Well Bill, we're nervous too.


Blogger David Pritchett said...

Let Levy leave, and redesign this site to serve the needs of the city and its residents, and NOT obscenely rich tourists who would not even pay a 12% occupancy tax to the city.

This is perhaps the most premium real estate in the city, and another year or two of planning to do it right is worth the travesty of living with the Ritz Carlton Condos for the next 75 years. Time to take back our City.

12/04/2005 1:04 PM  
Anonymous Gary said...

Developers like Levy have a very smart method to their cement-pouring madness, and Travis Armstrong points this out in his editorial today.
He also explains why places like Montecito are protected yet Noleta stays under perpetual threat, Montecito has representation in government, Noleta does not.

12/04/2005 2:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But Noleta HAS a planning commissioner....

12/04/2005 2:23 PM  
Anonymous Gary said...

Armstrong says not - nobody is listening, not the commissioner, not the supervisor.
This seems to agree with all of the other voices I've heard speak to the matter.
I even interviewed the locals.

12/04/2005 2:35 PM  
Blogger David Pritchett said...

So an entry about Levy financing now has something to do with Noleta planning and zoning? I am sure Das Williams will be blamed for something next.

12/04/2005 2:40 PM  
Anonymous Gary said...

Ah, well, I was writing about developers and what they do to get by. Thought I tied it in. Perhaps not.
No, Das is not on my list.
Just trying to be conversational here, all seems slow. I don't mean to tread heavy.

12/04/2005 2:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The city has protected itself thanks to Paul Casey. The real problem with the entire waterfront is the coastal commission and coastal plan that says the levy property must be visitor serving - not for locals. It would be great townhomes for santa barbara empty nesters freeing up family homes.

12/04/2005 2:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Find it anti-semetic to call it Levy Town. Feel as we do about Bill Levy. To many of us it is a throw back and sounds wrong - so please do not call it Levy Town again.

12/04/2005 3:02 PM  
Anonymous Gary said...

Wonder why you're nervous, Sara.

12/04/2005 3:02 PM  
Blogger David Pritchett said...

No one yet is blaming Das Williams, but someone else is playing the anti-semitic Race Card?!?

"Levy Town" was the phrase when the project was prominent years ago. La Enchilada also was a name. But it always will be Levy Town, and now also a play on the music lyric:
"won't you take me to funky town"

Look it up, home boy.

12/04/2005 3:10 PM  
Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...

VISITOR SERVING can include both beachy businesses on the bottom floor, and affordable housing on the upper floor.

Such a project would have no problem for approval at Coastal Commission. The problem is a property developer who needs to or wants to make far more profit than such a visitor-serving plan would yield.


12/04/2005 3:15 PM  
Anonymous Gary said...

I'm Italian, and I hate it when other Italians protest mafia Godfather-type movies. Makes me feel like we Italians haven't risen above that stuff. Like maybe we are such an immature culture that names really do still hurt us, and we can't take the hits every white bald male, like me, takes.

12/04/2005 3:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So because Nick Welsh used an antisemitic phase years ago, we just keep doing it?

12/04/2005 3:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ok, call me stupid, but---how is the phrase "Levy town" antisemitic; I have spent years doing social justice work and have never ever until reading this blog associated this Bill-Levy specific phrase with antisemitism---or semitism, for that matter.....

12/04/2005 3:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What concerns me regarding the "black hole" thing, is that the Levy project will turn out to be the same boring stuff.
The Andalucia is nothing more than a big white block of stucco, uninteresting architecture, nothing inviting.
Imagine more of that at the beach.

12/04/2005 4:12 PM  
Blogger john san roque said...

Two comments:

I ride a motorcycle, and one of my favorite rides is down Shoreline and Cabrillo and past the Bird Refuge. Coming down Cabrillo, you get to a point a little before State St. when the entire mountain vista opens up on your left. It's spectacular. I was thinking on a recent ride that when the development goes up, that unobstructed view that has been there for thousands of years will be gone forever. I remember one of the proponents of the Levy development saying that the project would enhance the view by "framing" the mountains. Yeah, I want a developer to improve on nature for me.

Secondly, Levy Town does sound anti-Semetic to me, reminiscent of Jesse Jackson calling NYC "hymie town" a few years back. Those of you who don't see it this way need to understand that just because YOU are not offended, that doesn't mean it's all right. It's really okay to take into account the feelings of those who might be offended. Just from this set of responses, enough people are uncomfortable with the term that it would seem to make sense to stop using it.

12/04/2005 4:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

uh. ok. it's the 'cause I said so' school of logic.

12/04/2005 4:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This would be great local housing - do not think placing affordable on some of the most expensive real estate in the nation is realistic at all, but housing for locals. I cannot see how this blocks mt. views as the Bekins building at five or six stories sits behind it and is bigger than the levy thing will ever be as well as the californian is also four or five stories and the new buildings will be only 2 or 3 stories.

Last agree with san roque on the hymie levy town thing. Let's stop.

12/04/2005 4:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It derives from Levittown:
It was William Levitt, who first applied a full panoply of assembly-line techniques to housing construction. That insight enabled him, and the many builders who copied him, to put up houses fast and cheap. Levitt's houses were so cheap (but still reasonably sturdy) that bus drivers, music teachers and boilermakers could afford them. And the first place he offered them was Levittown, N.Y., a town that is as much an achievement of its cultural moment as Venice or Jerusalem.

It’s laudatory.

To equate hymie with Levy is just plain ignorant. Is Youngs (as in Youngstown, Ohio) out next? How about Bean Town for Boston?

I demonstrated against the Nazis in Chicago, but the politically correct police are the ones that will really do us in.

12/04/2005 5:04 PM  
Anonymous Gary said...

I 110% agree with the post directly above.
It's laudatory.

12/04/2005 5:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a native on Long Island, Levittown as most of the area was home to mostly jewish families and the term Levittown became a term about a jewish town. And Levy is a jewish name and Levy Town sounds like Levittown that has been picked up by Jackson who spoke the word "hymie town" - do not like the politically correct but is clear that Levy Town is not a great statement.

12/04/2005 5:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about St. Francis affordable housing is that laudatory?

12/04/2005 5:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, we are really going to have to stretch to be insulted, aren't we? Even if we have to take something that is generally recognized as a credit to a culture and make it an insult, just so we can be insulted.

12/04/2005 5:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not sure what was a credit to a culture?

12/04/2005 9:40 PM  
Blogger David Pritchett said...

One more time, this blog posting by Sara DLG entitled "Won't you take me to Levy Town?" is completely a spoof of the song "Funky Town" per the lyrics below. Nothing more to it than that.

The political substance is about whether Santa Barbara needs the Levy project as currently planned, and will Levy really get his finances secured, which still seems unlikely, based on the elusive responses by Levy in the Newspress article.

Funky Town:
Gotta make to a town that's right for me
A town to keep me movin' keep me groovin' with some energy
Well I talk about it talk about it talk about it talk about it
Well I talk about talk abou talk about movin'
Gotta move on Gotta move on Gotta move on

Won't you take me to funky town
Won't you take me to funky town
Won't you take me to funky town
Won't you take me to funky town

12/04/2005 10:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of us thing the term levy town seems to be antisemitic yet because it reminds us of a song it is okay? Sorry not buying it. Did not know how insensitive this blog was to antisemitism. It is not poltical correctness its a reality that my people have suffered. We will not let it stand without comment. But for this blog I am done. It has always and always will feel antisemitic.

12/04/2005 10:34 PM  
Blogger David Pritchett said...

It does not REMIND of a song *Funky Town* but is a play on words of that song title. That came first. Imaginings of some kind of semetic criticism came later by the conspiracy police.

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

I heard Das Williams started it all.

12/04/2005 10:55 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

My post title was certainly a play on words to the song "Funky Town" and not some anti-semitic slur! I get the reference to Jackson's insensitive statement years ago but certainly wasn't coming from this place.

I apologize if I offended any of you but please let's not jump to conclusions...this is a Levy-specific name that has been used in the press. No harmful intent was meant.

12/04/2005 11:34 PM  
Blogger john san roque said...

It is discouraging to read some of the comments above. I said earlier that "Levy town" sounded anti-Semetic to me and also that it was "reminiscent" of the hymie town label. I didn't say anyone used the term to be anti-Semetic, but that it would be a good idea to not use it.

There are clearly people who become threatened when they think someone is denying them their rights, so let's be clear on that. It is your right to continue to use that term even though you now understand that it is offensive to some people who might see it differently from you. You can continue to think of me as politically correct and I'll continue to think of you as total jackasses.

I'm sure you are not offended by being called a jackass. To me, a jackass is a symbol of strength and perseverence. Therefore, it could not be offensive to you.

12/05/2005 7:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Am I, a non-believer, if not an atheist, offended by living in a place named Santa Barbara and founded (post Chumash) by Catholics? If I were, shouldn't I move or should I work to change the name to more reflect my preferences? And wouldn't Catholics scream discrimination, anti-Catholicism, a distinct fact from where I came from.

Levy ran and runs roughshod over people who care about the waterfront and views. I didn't even know - didn't even think about it one way or another or ANY way - he was Jewish until this stuff here. (Is he Jewish?)

He is totally identified with this project. Until it is built and has a name other than the ludicrous self-serving "Entrada" (and maybe even afterwards) it will be Levy Town to many, if not most of us here. Those who complain about the title will only reinforce it in peoples' minds.

happy to be jackass in some people's opinions, I am also happily
anonymous against PC attacks

12/05/2005 8:40 AM  
Anonymous FOH said...

Oy. I'd heard of Levittown, but Levy Town, or better yet, this post's complete title, "Won't you take me to Levy Town," made me think only of the song. It is not offensive to me, but I understand how other's can read it and reference something else, and thus take offense. But, let's not become distracted. Although we do live in a racist world, let's consider intentionality when dealing with language. If Sara De La Guerra says it's about Funky Town, it's about Funky Town, not Levittown. The title is not anti-semitic. It can be read as such, but it is not inherently so.

Now, let's get on with the issue of bad development. Bill Levy, like many other developers, cares only about profit, not about improving Santa Barbara. It would lessen the pain if he were an eccentric developer with an interest in innovative construction or interesting architecture. But, he isn't. That's the tragedy. We live in a capitalist country in which developers do most of the urban planning. We need to accept that. But, local government does have a say about what gets built. The city should have never approved La Entrada. I will forever blame the city council for ruining that part of town if the project ever gets built. I hope it never does.

12/19/2005 7:20 PM  

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