City Council: Better Call Saul

Santa Barbara’s liberal City Council voted to delay the implementation of 5G wireless service in the city in the hope they could kill it. They are doing this because they fear the “dangers” of electromagnetic radiation (aka, radio waves). Yet the overwhelming scientific opinion is that 5G radiofrequency radiation is harmless. These science-denier tin-hatters fail to understand this issue. People want 5G. Why don’t they let their constituents vote with their dollars and see if they want it.

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Bellosguardo: Santa Barbara’s White Elephant

An eccentric 104-year old woman left her $100 million Santa Barbara mansion to a foundation to “foster the arts”. Instead of benefiting many deserving existing arts organizations, her fortune will be tied up in a money pit property which will end up as a tourist attraction. The property should be sold and the income generated from its endowment used to foster local arts organizations.

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Montecito Paean

It happened here, not somewhere else. This was the shocking thing about Montecito’s tragedy. It’s easy to watch disasters unfolding elsewhere and you think, “Oh, those poor people”. We’ve lived in Montecito for 40 years so there isn’t a lot I haven’t seen on our South Coast. There have been fires and deluges and floods and wind, but no one was expecting these twin disasters. (more…)

Culture and Capitalism

A Letter From Santa Barbara

My wife and I attended the Santa Barbara’s Music Academy of the West’s Academy Festival Orchestra’s performance of Stravinsky’s Rites of Spring. We were dazzled. I am not a critic, but I thought they were spectacular. To think that a local, but famed, music organization can gather here in Santa Barbara the best and brightest young musicians from America and the world and hone them into a world-class orchestra in a matter of week is, well, world-class. (more…)

From Glut To Prosperity: The Revival of Retail

How can State Street be revived? In my last article on State Street’s retail glut, I pointed out that there are 30+ retail vacancies in the downtown State Street corridor and that Santa Barbara is following a national trend in retailing. That is, there is too much retail space, online sales are challenging retail stores, and generational spending and shopping habits have changed.

The revival of State Street lies with the City, property owners, and retailers. They have to adjust to a changed environment. This is not a transitory phenomenon; we are witnessing one of the rare times in history when there are major shifts in human economic behavior. Shopping and life-style patterns have changed and to ignore them is to see the permanent decline of State Street.

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