Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Sunday, December 10, 2006

WWCD? What would Colin do?

This from a frequent reader -- a little long, but worth discussion:
Colin Powell wakes up every morning and goes to bed every evening realizing that his willingness to go along with the power of the President and the overstated and missing facts is costing innocent lives day after day. For a person informed in the workings of war and abuses of power from Nixon to the present, Colin Powell cannot reconcile his presentation to the UN with the remainder of his actions and his professed belief in doing what is right.

Some members of the City Council are playing a role with similar challenges.

Cottage Hospital, using political and economic power over literally hundreds, if not thousands, and with a Board of Directors selected, either with or without their knowledge, for their willingness to be part of the team controlled by Cottage's management enhanced by a formidable team of public relations operatives, provided the City Council with literally no options. You are with us or against us--at your political peril--regarding future use of the site. A fact, not disputable, is that Cottage decided, driven by management desire to maximize the financial value of its holdings, only one approach was acceptable. Facts, which usually are difficult adversaries, have been suppressed, changed, twisted and then delivered by paid emissaries seeking to improve Cottage’s holdings while demonizing St. Francis Hospital, once seen as attractive, beneficial and an historical part of the neighborhood which grew up around it. Nearly all of the governmental system saw no future in articulating against this strong wind.

Demolition of buildings and construction of new ones in their place requires relentless attacks with heavy equipment and huge dump trucks to move dangerous and dirty materials from one dirty, noisy and dusty site to another; all within the heart of the city and near playgrounds, schools and homes. Will the time period for the assault be counted in months or years? What will be the cost to neighbors who at one time chose to live near a hospital? Noise, dirty air, and traffic snarls during demolition, construction and then during operation of Cottage's project will not be limited by the representations and observations appearing in an EIR which began and ended with data gathered from sources closely and improperly tied to

City Council’s next question is: Will you be one of those council members standing next to ground breaking or ribbon cutting executives wondering how and why protection of the public health, safety, and welfare became victim to the desire for financial power? What would Colin Powell do now? Would he reply with “Yes, Sir,” or “No, Sir.”


Anonymous Storke Chase said...

Great job, Cottage. The new housing at St. Francis is good for the environment, the town, and healthcare in Santa Barbara.

Comparing St. Francis housing to the Iraq war is absurd. Just as silly as comparing anything in the U.S. to the Nazis.

Most houses built in Santa Barbara caused similar impacts... much of the downtown has been rebuilt once or twice. And the destruction of wetlands and open space in and around Santa Barbara for the existing housing has been severe.

Dense housing is simply environmentally superior to low-density housing. Period.

Hooray for Cottage.

12/10/2006 8:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, that was nice, but it I find your premise a little shaky. First of all your admiration of Mr. Powell seems to be a little misplaced IMO. But, be that as it may, you are not taking into account the financial costs of health care, which are controlled and driven by extremely poor state and federal governmental policies. I completely share your lamentations about the demise of St. Francis, but to say that Cottage is the boogieman in this situtation is a little inaccurate. While I think they do share blame, the real boogiemen are the governmental bureaucrats, trial lawyers, and greedy insurance companies who are financially in bed together, and we, the consumers take it in the shorts every time.

Ever wonder why there are no new hospitals being opened in California, only "surgi-centers"? That's because of impossibly expensive building standards imposed by the State of California because of earthquake safety. (Same applies for schools too.) While earthquake safety is important, the standards have to be reasonable in a sane cost/benefit analysis. (This is why the Santa Maria Valley has only one hospital for a community large enough for three full service hospitals.)

12/10/2006 9:07 AM  
Anonymous voice of reason said...

Storke Chase said:

"Dense housing is simply environmentally superior to low-density housing. Period."

And this is the philosophy that when followed, is driving out the peace and quiet that used to be the essence of Santa Barbara. Dear Storke, please move somewhere where this is density, and stay there. Enjoy your version of paradise; we'll stay here and keep this one intact.

12/10/2006 10:38 AM  
Anonymous emily said...

If Cottage wanted to build its housing on existing housing sites that are in disrepair, perhaps the opponents wouldn't be so upset. The fact that this particular project requires the demolition of a perfectly good buiding and an end to the medical zoning guarantees Cottage's medical monopoly forever. And that's a problem in this community--just ask any teacher whose medical premiums have just doubled--medical monopoly is the reason given. By the way, you don't see teachers lining up for subsidized housing--their resception to the notion has been quite lukewarm. One of the points we seem to be missing here is that the particular project Cottage insisted on is extremely dense and out-of-character with the surrounding neighborhood. The neighbors never said no housing, they just wanted it to be compatible--and this isn't. There was a great show on housing broadcast on public access just this morning, and one of the points made was that dense housing has to be done in cooperation with the neighbors. This wasn't. And very little creative thinking went into considering alternative uses for a very substantial building that could be of use to this community in other ways than knocking it down. Highest and best use? A City Council with some backbone could have asked demanded answers to some tougher questions.

12/10/2006 11:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you surprised that this City Council and Mayor put their political self-interests ahead of that of the community? You shouldn't be! They don't listen, and their arrogance says a lot about who they are and what they think of us. I think we are just seeing the beginning of a mess that will take a long time to fix.

12/10/2006 11:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gee, I hope you never have to remodel. How will your neighbors bear with the "relentless attacks"? "Will the time period for the assault be measured in months or years?" Although, comparing Colin Powell with this current group on Council is pretty funny. The more apt comparison is probably with the other crazies at the other end of DLG Plaza. You know Marty as Wendy, Armstrong as Nipper. Run with it, its pretty fun matching up the players.

12/10/2006 11:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see the Cottage Apologists hard at work spinning away on why this is a good thing. hmmmm

12/10/2006 12:18 PM  
Anonymous storke chase said...

If we all lived in dense housing then there would be far more open space around us, which would be inhabited by wildlife and would constitute a far more sustainable environment than we have now.

The suburbia of the South Coast is an environmental catastrophe. To get around you need autos that emit greenhouse gases that are warming the globe and melting the icecaps.

Bring this up to the rabid pro-auto suburbanites here and you get the response of `voice of reason' above... he encourages anti-global-warming types like me to move away.

And that pretty much summarizes the souring of the South Coast environmental coalition. Most members of it are totally pro-auto and pro-parking, including the Montecito money donors and Surfrider. They could care less about their own destruction of the environment, and to those who question them, it is `our way or the highway'. Well, really, `our way *and* the highway'.

I have no connection whatever to Cottage Hospital or any developer. I already own a home. And I fully believe:

Dense housing is environmentally superior. Period. Hooray for Cottage.

12/10/2006 12:42 PM  
Blogger cookie jill said...

We need to have some serious Community Discussions about where we want our city to go.

The present City Council has no real idea nor desire to do that.

12/10/2006 12:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's start a movement to reverse the ruling on this housing project! People in town are rallying about the newspaper, but are those same people willing to put up with being ignored by their own elected representatives??? I say no!! Let's create a ruckus around this thing, and give Santa Barbara some modern history to be proud of? Who's in???????

12/10/2006 2:10 PM  
Anonymous Lucas Els said...

The only "spin" here is the ridiculous Powell comparison.

I love the description of the demolition as "relentless attacks with heavy equipment". And nice try with the "financial power" bit.

Cottage is a local non-profit, and is losing money on the venture in order to help our health care workers live in the community where they work.

The reality is that a dozen or so of my neighbors (out of hundreds) selfishly fought a model project because they prefer living near a closed hospital.

Das Williams chose to pander to this selfish minority and will pay the price -- not because of "political or economic power" -- but because he is just plain wrong.

12/10/2006 3:25 PM  
Anonymous I'm just sayin..... said...

Storke Chase--nice rhetorical platitudes.

challenge: Please point to a region of the country where high density has enhanced environmental surroundings.Include a web link to that town/city/county.

Also, you say you own your home---- how many units per acre was that home built on?

12/10/2006 4:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about paying them more and let them live where the want? Why build them housing?

12/10/2006 4:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Das is toast!

12/10/2006 4:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lucas, that's a cheap shot at Das and at the neighborhood. People informed themselves and worked very hard to make the project compatible, despite overwhelming odds that included a City staff given its marching orders and a massive project that includes 35 Market Rate units--that nobody but Cottage wants. That neighborhood has long advocated the project be 100 percent workforce--and they got no help from anyone except Das. The only thing he might be wrong about is saying that Cottage doesn't run SB--when clearly it does.

12/10/2006 5:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is absurd. When people start comparing housing development to war, it's time for some serious medication.

Santa Barbara's no- growthers live in a head-in-the-sand world. Our country's population has grown by 100 million people in about the last 25-30 years. Is Santa Barbara somehow supposed to be immune? Come off it!

12/10/2006 5:32 PM  
Anonymous voice of reason said...

Here we are again--chasing the classic arguments of the pro-density crowd. Check those claims with your own common sense.

Storke Chase says:
If we all lived in dense housing then there would be far more open space around us, which would be inhabited by wildlife and would constitute a far more sustainable environment than we have now.

common sense and experience say:
Dense housing does not equal nearby open space! For one example, in Eastern Goleta Valley, we have almost ZERO parks south of the freeway (that's the coastal region!). And yet our school board is considering putting high-density on one of the last remaining large open parcels (called the Tatum property). They show little concern for the need for open space--they emphasize cramming in housing for maximum profit. The theory that density=open space doesn't work in this society. If it did, I'd be all for it, but the proof is all around us. If you want open space, plan and advocate for open space.

Storke Chase says:
The suburbia of the South Coast is an environmental catastrophe. To get around you need autos that emit greenhouse gases that are warming the globe and melting the icecaps. Bring this up to the rabid pro-auto suburbanites here and you get the response of `voice of reason' above... he encourages anti-global-warming types like me to move away.

voice of reason says:
Don't misquote me and don't misinterpret my words. I am not advocating for more cars. I am advocating for stabilizing the population on the South Coast! Cars are owned and driven by people. More people = more cars. Take a look at any high density area, such as Calle Real near 154, and you can see that high-density brings along with it plenty o'cars.

Storke Chase says:
And that pretty much summarizes the souring of the South Coast environmental coalition. Most members of it are totally pro-auto and pro-parking, including the Montecito money donors and Surfrider. They could care less about their own destruction of the environment, and to those who question them, it is `our way or the highway'. Well, really, `our way *and* the highway'.

voice of reason says:
Try speaking for yourself, and not misrepresenting others. The world would be a little better place.

Storke Chase says:
I have no connection whatever to Cottage Hospital or any developer. I already own a home.

voice of reason says:
Tell us more. How close is your home to high-density developments and busy intersections? How will the Cottage project impact you? Tatum? Hidden Valley?

12/10/2006 6:27 PM  
Anonymous swizzy said...

Is anyone interested in starting a new thread?

12/10/2006 7:08 PM  
Anonymous donaldo de santa barbara said...

1.) Sara's analogy is perfect because it is about accountability.

2.) The notion that Lucas Els makes that Das williams pandered to a selfish minority is obsurd. This is one hell of a project, in an existing neighborhood, a project like no other, and in our larger community of similar values.

Das Wiliams may pay the price politcally for his siding somehwat with the neighbors, however, I prefer elected representatives who say what is on their mind for 4 years rather than politicians who I can't figure out for 8 or 16 years.

My personal evaluation of the St Francis project is that the end result in high-denisty units is not all that bad. The means to get to the end are horrific and unecessary and Cottage should have never purchased the property to destroy. My advice to the "minority" if you still object and can stomach it, is to carefully select an attorney and real fast due to statuate.

The underlying problem is that in the early 90s the city fired the "environmental review committee" to appease developers who didn't want all those "hoops" to jump through. In the end, we now have a Project Commission rather than a Planning Commission and what is supposed to be a representative body, the council, is now a the final environmental review and unfortuantely a politcal body.

What you must realize is that were are in this anti-environmental Post-Ronald Reagan era that has since resulted in accusations of selfishness or in name calling the "naysayers" as NIMBYs.... NIMBY the new "N Word." Recall Travis Armstrong's editorial, obviously on behalf of Cottage, where he labeled the Oak Park neighbors "NIMBY's."

You should always be proud to stand up, speak to protect your neighborhood from over use and never be called selfish or worse. Montecito and Hope Ranch do this all the time and with seeming much less of a minority.

Reagan always secluded himself in exclusive environments. Don't be made to be ashamed or "selfish" for fighting for sane preservation and protection of your already dense neighborhods!

12/10/2006 8:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Council could be busier, all 31 of the potential PD recruits they have been touting failed the mandatory background check. They cannot be hired. Zero, none. No one. Not one. None of the best people are interested in working here. I don't care which side you picked on the Blum/McGrew fight, there is a real disaster brewing. Time to decide if your type of politician cuts ribbons or gets things done. Worst Council of all time. Thanks for the leadership.

12/10/2006 8:47 PM  
Anonymous storke chase said...

Hey voice of reason, zero parks south of the freeway in Eastern Goleta, huh? What do you call More Mesa exactly? A 300 acre urban basketball court? How about Goleta Beach Park? Not to mention all the land around the bike path.

Of course voice of reason, you never address the simple fact that the low density suburbia in Eastern Goleta and Montecito is an environmental catastrophe because the vast amount of car driving needed to do anything like go to the grocery store.

If you advocate for low density surburbia you simply are an advocate for global warming, pure and simple. And don't forget all the cancers and asthma cases your car exhaust causes. And how about the support of authoritarian Arab regimes who cut the hands of theives and deny women the vote that your hunger for gasoline brings?

You are also advocating a lifestyle that by its very design encourages traffic, the very thing you purport to oppose.

And let me quote your own words to me:
Dear Storke, please move somewhere where this is density, and stay there.

Actually, I live right next to a 10-story building and another 11-story building right here in good old Goleta. They are fantastic neighbors, no traffic. The densest housing complex between LA and San Francisco. A fantastic place to live... almost everyone uses their bicycles 95% of the time. Few ice-cap melting east goletan auto-enthusiasts here.

I suggest also building the Tatum property to 11 stories just like my neighbors. Build enough of them and most support businesses can be right in the complex, eliminating most traffic.

High density is environmentally superior, and the 10 and 11 story buildings right here in Goleta prove it.

12/10/2006 10:11 PM  
Anonymous storke chase said...

I'm just sayin'....

My place is in an 8-unit/acre complex.

My neighboring 10 and 11 story complexes here in Goleta, with 1300 residents and 50 units/acre is an environmental masterpiece... everybody rides bikes and takes the bus.

12/10/2006 11:37 PM  
Anonymous voice of reason said...

More Mesa is not a park, and is privately owned -- not out of the woods yets on that. But we're hoping it will be. Currently the level of usage on More Mesa is high. The bike path is a great asset to have, you're right, but it's not considered a park. Between Goleta Beach and Las Positas, there is no sizeable public park. Certainly, there is nothing near Hollister anywhere along that stretch. We can argue about the details -- "what is a park", etc. but the point is to consider that we need to "plan" our use of space better. Currently, the heavy-hitters are advocating for nothing but more and more and more housing.

Please, Storke, don't be so offended by my suggestion that you move. You seemed to want more density, so I simply suggested that you go find it. If you are happy where you are, fine. Just stop telling the rest of us that we need to be like you.

Now, you have got me on something. Where are these 10 and 11 story buildings in Goleta with no cars? Are talking about students dorms?

Not everyone is a student. Not everyone can live like you with just a bike and a bus pass. But once, again, I am not advocating cars. I am just realistic about the fact that more people = more traffic here in the old US of A. You and I can't change that by wishing.

12/11/2006 7:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Storke Chase---then I suggest you and others begin to lobby for your 10 and 11 story complexes right in the City of Goleta---with the new City Council--obviously supporters of the "dense is better" refrain---there is plenty of room to grow, so to speak.Or does your version of density not apply in the City of GOleta?

12/11/2006 8:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why stop at 10 or 11 story complexes?

Make them taller.

12/11/2006 8:27 AM  
Anonymous EIR said...

Cottage could have proposed anything they wanted (and they did), but it was up to the City's planning staff to make sure that the project received proper environmental review, per state law. Instead they found "consultants" that would produce the results they needed to push the project through. The Planning Commission didn't scrutinize the results, and neither did the City Council, and they may all ultimately pay the price in another venue where they don't set the rules that guarantee an outcome.

12/11/2006 9:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think we can do better than 50 units/acre. We need to do this in downtown Santa Barbara, even if it means using the power of eminent domain! And we need to start NOW!

12/11/2006 9:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Storke lives in the high priced ghetto of Isla Vista somewhere near FT and is holding that out as the Shangri La of green living.

Enough said...

12/11/2006 10:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

10 story complexes? Sounds more like a rat trap.

12/11/2006 11:31 AM  
Anonymous Storke Chase said...

Voice of Reason... More Mesa functions as a park, so let's be honest an include it as one. Sure it may disappear sometime in the future, but for now, it is a park, and you got that wrong in your earlier post.

Can you give me a list of heavy-hitters who advocate high-density housing on More Mesa? I know of none.
Seems to me we have really good and strong advocacy for open space where it matters along the coastal bluffs.

I'm in favor of making more open space by converting suburbia back to nature and concentrating humans in high density dwellings, where one can make the new buildings green and the services available with much less burning of fossil fuels. That is the kind of land-use planning we need around here, and I agree the past land-use planning that led to suburban places like East Goleta was defective.

I'm not offended by the comments of the pro-suburbia types who say I should move. Those comments prove how obdurate and closed-minded the pro-suburbia phony environmentalists on the South Coast are.

Sure, not everyone is a student, and south coast suburbanites are forced by the awful land use planning of the past to use their cars, warm the planet, pollute the air and make our people unhealthy, and wreak political havoc on the Mideast. Not being a student does not excuse all the horrible consequences of the suburban lifestyle.

Yes, I live in Goleta near Francisco Torres. I'd never call Francisco Torres a green shangri-la. But the simple fact is the more people there do not cause more traffic. Traffic on Storke Road (near Hollister) is not caused by housing, but by all the East Goletans and Santa Barbarans who cruise out to Costco in their Hummers to seek bargains.

In the twisted minds of pro-suburbia South Coasters, the students who live in FT and ride the bus and take their bikes must be denigrated, to eliminate their terrific devotion to the good environmental cause from influencing other South Coast planning. Again, this just proves what phonies the suburban South Coast environmentalists are.

So FT is a very strong counterexample to this absurd density-causes-traffic conjecture. BTW, have a look at the census tract data on commuting choises by East Goletans some time. >98% drive in their cars by themselves to work. And you tell me that East Goletans are not pro-car?

And you complain about lack of parks? I'm happy to defend Isla Vista on that front. A really wonderful park system, far better than anything else on the South Coast. Totally maintained without pesticides, and has been for 34 years. If East Goletans weren't so mean and selfish, they could have had something as good, but no, they are so tight with their taxes that they could never form their own park district.

12/11/2006 11:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like paradise.

12/11/2006 11:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where's the St. Francis Litigation fund, or

Not enough interest?

12/11/2006 2:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bet they are all at the ground breaking with big smiles. Which neighborhood will be next to suffer their wrath?

12/11/2006 4:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh, yeah, they'll be thinking about all the campaign contributions they'll be getting for delivering the goods. The mini-bucks given by the neighbors pale in comparison to the checks from, oh, let's say Marborg, for example...

12/11/2006 6:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Storke Chase,

I lived at Francisco Torres. Have you ever seen one of the rooms there? Should we apply the standards of a four-bed dormitory suite, a living arrangement only ever envisioned as a temporary 9-month situation, to a permanent home?

FT and the very residential culture it's been known to breed, all bike riding aside, would lead most survivors to say "Never again, thanks."

As you see it, FT is a "very strong counter example" for the traffic discussion. I say the reason is that it's two people per very small room there. Too small to live long in, for sure.

Can you name an example of a project that you view as perhaps not necessarily very strong in the qualities you seek but instead optimal and realistic?

12/11/2006 9:05 PM  
Anonymous Storke Chase said...

9:05pm... or course you'll dismiss FT without careful consideration, because it is a great counterexample, albeit imperfect, to many of the ills that detractors of dense housing falsely raise.

#1 is traffic. >85% of UCSB students have cars (I wish they didn't). And as you say, hanging around one's room at FT ain't so fun. So I'd expect a lot of driving and traffic! But FT simply does not cause traffic gridlock that anti-dense housing folks allege. In fact, FT causes almost no impact on local traffic, and it has about 900 units at 50 units/acre.

The reason? Lots of short trips on bicycles. We can do the same with residential housing too, by locating the housing near services and vice versa.

Second, anti-dense housing folks allege that dense housing reduces property values of nearby suburbia. Take a look at the housing values at Storke Ranch... they have in no way been suppressed because of the fact that Storke Ranch neighbors FT which has 50 units/acre. Another myth of the anti-dense housing folks exploded.

I'd never say FT is perfect. It was built in 1966, for goodness sakes, and is hardly green. Lots of environmental design features could be incorporated if it were built today, including mulching of waste, better insulation, solar panels, and food-growing plots instead of lawns.

When did you live in FT? The old private management was rotten (they missed Attias); since UCSB acquired the complex it is far better run.

There are lots of fantastic high-rises in the world... some in NY and San Francisco cost millions per unit to live in. The concept that dense housing is necessarily a social disaster is about as crazy as arguing for a flat earth.

Dense housing is environmentally superior. It is wonderful that St. Francis will be converted to somewhat dense housing. Hooray for this great city council!

12/12/2006 9:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We need more St. Francis projects downtown. Why not take over some of those empty buildings on State Street and make them into denser workforce housing?

12/12/2006 10:14 AM  
Anonymous fed up said...

And let's go ahead and build those two 9-story condo towers on the site of Alice Keck Park Memorial Gardens.--that's what it was really meant for. And shame on all those civic leaders and community members of the past who thought that Santa Barbara was someplace special, and tried so hard to preserve long as it has a red tile roof and faux adobe walls, build, build, build, as tall and dense as possble.

12/12/2006 11:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alice Keck could be like Centeral Park, with dense multi-level building all around. The workforce would be close to everything. I like it.

12/12/2006 12:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our City Council will ensure we get the density we NEED!

12/12/2006 12:50 PM  
Anonymous Storke Chase said...

No, 9-story towers in Park Park seems to me unnecessary.

But building St. Francis to 4 stories would be fine. Building most of the downtown to 4 stories would be fine too.

The real problem is how to remediate the surburban areas, which are environmental catostrophes, back to open space. Prop. 13 has proven we can use the property tax code to address policy goals... in the case of Prop. 13, to allow folks to stay in their home.

Here in SB County we should build on Prop. 13 to engineer in tax benefits to encourage remediation of homes in the suburban areas, in favor of dense housing in the urban areas.

Now that would make Santa Barbara County even more special.

12/12/2006 12:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

fed up get with the program:

Santa Barbara is a town in desperate need of denser housing. We've begun the process, we need to speed it up.

This is a new century, and this approach will solve many problems!

12/12/2006 1:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Condos in the park? I don't remember hearing about this. Is this part of the St. Francis project?

12/12/2006 1:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When they add the housing to the Granada Garage you will see how good this desity is.

12/12/2006 2:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Storke has the right idea, but we should be more progressive and not stop at 4 stories...

12/12/2006 4:58 PM  
Anonymous animal farm said...

Yeah, now I'm convinced. Santa Barbara should be built up as tight as possible. Every plant should be an edible vegetable--community gardens only--no frivolous private yards. Screw privacy. This is the age of terrorism--what do you need a private garden for? Every building should be at least 4 stories high, just like Storke Chase wants, because he/she must be right. The rest of you all must be selfish selfish, mean people. You just don't want to share. Throw away your cars, and act like twenty-first century Americans--!! Don't live near nature---just pack yourselves into tiny little cement forests and trust* that the government has kept some pretty greenspace way out there---just beyond the urban limit line (which by the year 2030, will be pushed as far up the mountain as we can get it, and until the mudslides scare off the developers. Then the crisis might make us have to follow a mandate to develop deeper into Gaviota. But, hey, we'll worry about that later).

12/12/2006 5:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Storke, I'm just wondering...when all those students that live in FT cells graduate, get a job and have families, will they be taking their kids to the doctor on bikes? Dropping off the family pet at doggie day care from their bikes? For that matter, dropping of the kids at school from their bikes? Will they be attending Christmas parties on Mountain Drive via pedal power? Carrying their used goods to the Unity Shoppe on their bikes? Picking up their Christmas tree and packing it home on the city bus?

Or will they just be blogging, playing video games, and living in virtual reality? Just wondering.

12/12/2006 5:39 PM  
Anonymous historocity said...

1:32; one of the most bitter land use fights in the history of the City of Santa Barbara occurred over the proposal to build two 9-story condo towers on the site where the former El Mirasol hotel stood, now the site of Alice Keck Park Memorial Gardens. The project was pushed through the system by every suit in town, including puslisher Thomas Storke and developer Jerry Beaver--with Pearl Chase and a strong group of citizens in opposition. It finally ended up in court, where the trial judge ruled the construction of those towers was so inappropriate it would "do violence to the zoning of the neighborhood." The upshot of that fight was not only that the wealthy Ms. Park anonymously purchased the land for a park, but it spurred the movement for the City's 4-story height ordinance. End of today's lesson.

12/12/2006 5:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That height limit has to go. Those were different times. We have a housing crisis because of it.

12/12/2006 6:45 PM  
Anonymous voice of reason said...


Thanks for the lesson! It's important that people don't forget the history that contributed to the Santa Barbara we know and enjoy today. I was familiar with part of the story, but not all of it. Can you tell us where this information is published?

12/12/2006 7:28 PM  
Anonymous Storke Chase said...

animal farm... guess you learned all that from the existing groupthink that has forced us into our suburban castrophe, that is causing global warming, killing our citizens with pollution, and causing political disaster in the Mideast due to the gluttony for oil. Naturally you deflect confronting the fact that the South Coast suburban lifestyle is directly responsible for all those ills.

5:39pm, lots of places in the world, from Erlangen to Amsterdam to Curitiba, Brazil have families that do all the things you say on bikes and public transportation. Of course the South Coast has been laid out to make it necessary to use cars for all those activities, and that is an environmental catastrophe, causing global warming, pollution, and worldwide political instability due to our thirst for oil.

So, when are we going to address this problem and make things better? Why not now? Let's remediate our suburban areas and systematically, over the next 50 years, move dwelling into dense islands and free up our own suburban sprawl for open space.

Oh animal farm, you really focus on the worst possible implementation of environmentally superior dense housing to denigrate it. You know darned well we can design fabulous dense dwellings with a little work.

And open space can a short walk from the dense housing, just as the Ellwood-Devereux are is a very short walk from Francisco Torres.

The full name of the downtown memorial garden is cumbersome, let's just call it Park Park.

12/12/2006 7:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Makes you wonder if this St. Francis thing will end up in court.

12/12/2006 7:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear you-know-who-you-are,

Thanks for all the really thoughtful 2 to 3 sentence anonymous postings. Great stuff.

One suggestion: if you really care about our neighborhood, spend a tenth of the time that you've spent fighting nurses on fixing your nasty parkway, and we will all live in a nicer place.

12/13/2006 1:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Storke, I'm just wondering...when all those students that live in FT cells graduate, get a job and have families, will they be taking their kids to the doctor on bikes? Dropping off the family pet at doggie day care from their bikes? For that matter, dropping of the kids at school from their bikes? Will they be attending Christmas parties on Mountain Drive via pedal power? Carrying their used goods to the Unity Shoppe on their bikes? Picking up their Christmas tree and packing it home on the city bus?

Or will they just be blogging, playing video games, and living in virtual reality? Just wondering.

12/13/2006 7:14 AM  
Anonymous Storke Chase said...

7:14am, guess you wanted to emphasize the remarks of 5:39pm of yesterday.

First of all, lots of people on the South Coast here do all the things you say on bikes right now. Good for them and shame on all the phony environmentalists who drive their Hummers to anti-growth meetings.

Second, the need for cars here is due to the catastrophic planning errors made in laying out the South Coast in a suburban fashion. Had it been laid out in a sensible fashion of pockets of high density surrounded by true, wild, open space, then one would not need to use the car so much to get around the place.

And using a car pollutes the air poisoning humans, animals and plants; drives global warming; and causes a demand for oil that fuels repression in the Mideast and other developing countries like Ecuador and Nigeria.

Lots of places in the world have redesigned themselves to make it possible for the car to be much less used, including Amsterdam and Curitiba.

Lots of phony environmentalists here on the South Coast ignore all that, and focus on fighting sensible high density development.

12/13/2006 9:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Veronica Meadows, another victory for the working class!

12/13/2006 5:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Storke - the City has some planning positions open. We need progressive thinkers like you. You'd be perfect!

12/13/2006 7:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Storke Chase,

You are full of b.s. You statement that eople are dropping off their kids at daycare on bicycles is ridiculous. Get real and stop wasting people's time.

12/13/2006 9:03 PM  
Anonymous donaldo de santa barbara said...

I think Storke Chase has valid and intersting points about developement and growth.

I do not beleive that the suburbanites living environments are to blame but rather the dependencey on the auto to transport the suburbanites everywhere is the problem. The suburbanites claim they are victims of their own seclusion. That is really weird.....

On the other hand the pro-density crowd seems to insist that High-
Density is the end all and I agree that could be true but currently most high-density dwellers seem to drive just as much as suburbanites while impacting the low-density neighborhoods with overbearing high desnsity traffic.

The problem is transportation. and just about 99% percent of both low and high density proponents are oblivious to their impacts.

In the end I hope that the South Coast can develope a "sustainable" strategy and attempt to theoretically set a populatin limit by resources...again Even though the theoretical limit is not exact, it is a bench mark.

Inclusive of a sustainable strategy should be a mechanism preserving the suburban neighborhoods by installing transit for both low and high density developements.

12/13/2006 10:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

5:11 anon---you must be kidding, unless by "working class" you mean the low-wage workers who will be servicing the market rate homeowners who will be moving to Santa Barbara to occupy these mcmansions......this is what the "housing mantra" is bringing us, folks. devastation of our environment, mega-millionaires galore with a couple of scraps thrown in for those who will water the non-native lawns.....sickening--- and Iya, Marty, Roger, Grant and Brian will have lots to be ashamed of if they live long enough to have grandkids ask---why did they build those things?

12/13/2006 10:39 PM  
Anonymous Storke Chase said...

donaldo... thanks... but the suburban sprawl we here is the least sustainable aspect of the place, certainly if you define sustainability as minimizing imported energy. That's why I think we should, on a 50-100 year timescale, arrange the remediation of our suburbia to dense urban pockets, where services are near to dwellings and the car is much less needed.

Thanks 7:40pm. 9:03pm... bike down to the Orfalea Children Center sometime between 7:30am and 10:00am... lots of kids come in on their parents' bikes. Simultaneously a lot of kids from Goleta suburbia come in their parents' giant SUVs too. In fact, kids getting hit by cars (particularly as cars back out of garages) is a major danger in suburbia; the distracted, cell-phone talking parents driving near schools and child care centers really are scary. How did we get to a society where driving kids to school, not walking with them, or letting them take the bus in junior high and high school, arise? Another source of global warming, pollution, and global political instability.

10:39am... let's plan to plow the McMansions under in 50-100 years, by greatly taxing resales while offering tax advantages for moving into sustainable, high-density housing.

12/14/2006 5:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We also need to get people to stop having children and get people to double up on the current housing. Make it so that two families buy and share a house. That would make it more affordable.

12/14/2006 8:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that having kids is the most destructive thing you can do to the environment. People should try to limit themselves to one, two at the most if they have to have them.

It would go a long way in solving this crisis we are in!

12/14/2006 11:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good news! We have the highest gas prices in the State and the City is going after businesses near upper state street. Lets hope they go after more. They are contributing to our environmental problems. Less business is better!

12/14/2006 1:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The sooner we start getting rid of the single family type dwellings, the better!

12/14/2006 2:40 PM  
Anonymous donaldo de santa barbara said...

Storke Chase and the usual contrary postings from "Voice of Reason" are typical of the problem....that is the inability to see beyond your own opinions.

I agree with the pro-low-density crowd that low-density is an ideal situation....until you add in the automobile factor.

I also agree with the high-density crowd that higher densities need not be detrimental and very beneficial when carefully located with compatible mixed uses.

The way I interpret the high-density mantra is impossible. It is as if you are saying that the entire region is a tear-down. The existing suburban neighborhoods need to stay, need protection from high density traffic as well as their own low density traffic.

It is also ridiculous for the low density suburbanites to continue proclaiming they are victims of their own seclusion and are entitled free parking everywhere they go. Most of Santa Barbara's existing neighborhoods are within a block or two of transit. Its time to save your own neihborhoods and stop being a 100% driver. (

BTW Chase...I recall several years ago a network news program aired an expose on Curitiba. The program aired a few years before a local group aired their exposed on Curitiba's developement, environmental, cultural and transportation stratagies.

The network news program was striking in its interview with the Mayor of Curitiba who explained with a thick East-European accent that the first thing he did was fire the transportation planners.

At the end of the program the Mayor got into a chaffeur driven automobile. Do you get a framiliar elitist picture of conflict there?

12/14/2006 9:50 PM  
Anonymous Storke Chase said...

Thanks Donaldo... I'm not calling for an immediate teardown of the suburban areas. But I'd like to see progress on a 50 to 100 year timescale.

I've tried to always note that the poor physical planning of the past is largely responsible for our car related woes. Although I can't help but note that suburbanites here don't try very hard to do the right thing... that is, use the car less and use alternate transportation more.

We've got to confront all the harm that our actions cause at some point, and if there is one place in the world to be blunt about it, an anonymous blog has got to be the place.

In real life we'd have to be very diplomatic, careful, and thoughtful to respect people's sensibilities and property rights. But never lose sight of the fact that massive harm is being done by our poor environmental choices in physical planning, right here at ground zero of Earth Day.

Perhaps Curitiba is imperfect. But Amsterdam is an amazing place for transportation. And why can't we do way better than both of them? Tom and Charlie Storke would have made it happen.

12/14/2006 10:56 PM  

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