Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Time to Act is NOW

A lot is happening this week. Tough to keep up, but we'll try. This is the week to get mobilized and moving. If you haven't been to a hearing, written to council, or the media, this is the week to do it.

If you don't act, it may be too late.

Here's what's happening this week:

1. Nov 4, 2009: Hearing on 302 E Haley, 9:00 AM Gephard Room, 630 Garden St. Timothy Cooney is opening this one, oh he that used to run that awful bar on Anacapa and Haley (now EOS). Now he wants to sell pot. Do leopards change their spots? Businesses along Haley are encouraged to come out and stop yet another pot shop from entrenching into the Marijuana Mile in Santa Barbara. We've asked the city to get a legal opinion from the city attorney that they are truly on solid legal ground in continuing to approve dispensaries. Why? Because it looks like at the state level, dispensaries engaging in over the counter sales are illegal. So why is our city continuing to approve these? Lawsuits could be brewing on the horizon. Citizens in Los Angeles sued the city for allowing drug dealing via dispensaries in their neighborhoods. Take note, Santa Barbara.

2. Nov 5, 2009: Hearing on dispensary at 2 W Mission, 1:30 PM Planning Commission. City Hall, Council Chambers. This is a cluster-f*@k. The Staff Hearing Officer approved the permit, and no one filed an appeal to Planning Commission. So it looked like the way was clear. That is, until the County spotted this. Turns out there is a school at 7 E Mission for older kids with disabilities. The County Education Office notified the city, and now they want to revoke the permit. The dispensary is fighting back using, of all things, zoning laws saying there can't be a school there, and it's not really a school. Never mind the fact that it's been there for ages. We lost this before with Girls Inc and the dispensary at 631 Olive. The city attorney said the Girls, Inc couldn't be considered an educational facility, a ridiculous piece of legal advice if ever there was one. Let's see what they come up with on this one...

3. Sign this petition against dispensaries in Santa Barbara: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/notodispensaries/index.html. It will take you all of one minute.

4. Join this group: http://groups.google.com/group/sb-against-dispensaries. We'll keep you posted on all the goings-on, and we have a lot of good information about this movement.

5. Write to your council members. Addresses:

Remember, if you don't act, you are sending the tacit message that you are ok with dispensaries overrunning our city. Most people get mad when a dispensary parks next to their home, child's school, or business. If everyone waits until one moves in next door, it will be too late.
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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hearing coming up for 302 E Haley

A hearing is coming up for a dispensary proposed at 302 E Haley. The dispensary is Aloha Spirt Organic Consumables, Inc. Does that sound like a patient care group to you? No. These folks are planning to sell pot recreationally, and they're going in the Marijuana Mile, a swath of Haley and Gutierrez where there are 7 existing and proposed dispensaries. Businesses already trying to make a living there will be thrilled, I am sure.

If you care about your city and neighborhoods, please come to the hearing and speak out. If no one says anything, then everyone believes pot shops are ok, and when the armed robberies and kids smoking out back starts going down, you can't complain. It will be too late. They're easier to prevent than they are to unseat once they've moved in. 336 Anacapa is illegally operating, and it's been there ages, and no one is shutting it down. See what I mean? Once they get in, they never leave.

Stop the madness now!
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Saturday, October 24, 2009


Don't know if you have noticed, but some neighborhood plants have been removed from some our planting beds--A beautiful mature agave atenatua and a new zealand flax were taken last weekend. This is truly sad, since it was a neighborhood effort to buy, plant, and keep the plants for the benefit and aesthetics of West Downtown. Please keep alert!
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Friday, October 23, 2009

The Marijuana Mile March

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'MARIJUANA MILE' MARCH : Protesters decry proliferation of pot dispensaries; demand tighter controls

Above, protesters march down Gutierrez Street in an area they call the Marijuana Mile because of its concentration of pot dispensaries, many of them operating outside the city's ordinance governing such facilities. Below, children lead the march along Anacapa Street. At bottom, mayoral candidate Dale Francisco speaks at a rally after the march.

October 11, 2009 6:43 AM

One of the most contentious issues in Santa Barbara was brought to the forefront on Saturday with a march across downtown to protest the proliferation of marijuana dispensaries in the city.

Organizers and politicians gathered to express their outrage over what they see as a lack of enforcement which has had negative consequences in Santa Barbara.

About 45 people gathered at Ortega Park for a march through what they called the marijuana mile, a group of about 10 dispensaries that are within a few blocks of each other. A major point of contention is that these dispensaries, which some argue are so densely clustered as to instigate crime in the area, are also very close to centers where young children gather. Santa Barbara Junior High School and Girls Inc. are just outside the mandatory 500 foot distance, but close enough to be affected, protesters said.

According to the downtown organizations that sponsored the march, a primary problem has been the proliferation of dispensaries that are out of compliance with the city's dispensary ordinance. The regulations, which put limits on dispensaries, do not apply to those dispensaries that had already received business permits when the ordinance took effect and are already operating in the city, they said, which means that some dispensaries are closer than 500 feet apart. Those dispensaries are being given a certain amount of time to conform to those regulations or lose their licenses.

Brian Sarvis, the superintendent of the Santa Barbara School Districts, said that the dispensaries have been a major problem for schools and have resulted in increased drug use among students. "I voted for medical marijuana, and I assumed that people would be able to go to the pharmacy and get their prescription, like any other prescription," he said. "It has really spiraled out of control. Many of our students have come to school high, or with marijuana. When we ask them about it, they pull out a card and say, 'Hey, it's all right.' "

Once students turn 18 years old -- almost half of all high school seniors -- they are eligible to go to doctor and get a prescription for medical marijuana, he said. From that point, they register with health services, and receive a card in the mail. Dr. Sarvis said it has been remarkably easy to get a prescription, and said that kids can often get an appointment from the dispensary with a doctor in a parking lot.

"It's out of control. The faucet has been opened, and it is so easy to get it. Kids tell me you can just go in and buy a prescription." He added that many who are caught say it is so easy, you might as well sell it from vending machines.

Some in the community have said that crime has increased since dispensaries have been in the area. "We're engaged in an entire cultural shift in the downtown area, and it's to bring in unwanted impacts," said one resident who declined to be identified for fear of reprisals. "Santa Barbara is becoming ground zero in the South Coast for marijuana dispensaries, because all other cities have banned them. It's really getting crazy."

The resident said that most of the dispensaries are now illegal, since the attorney general of California had recently declared that dispensaries must now be collectives and not for profit, and that dispensaries in the area are for-profit businesses. Downtown groups are also trying to change the local ordinance by extending the distance between dispensaries from 500 feet to one mile, and to closely monitor where the marijuana comes from in the first place, which the resident said is not being regulated right now.

"I just love our downtown. I love living downtown, and it's already unfriendly," the resident said. "It's changed so much over the last few years. Proliferation of dispensaries is not the model."

Three mayoral candidates were on hand to give their perspective on the problem.

"There are three problems," said Councilwoman Helene Schneider. "One, is the proliferation of illegal dispensaries that needs to be shut down right now. Two, we need a cap. Three is the proximity to schools. When we voted for it, I imagined this would apply to schools and areas where young people gather," she said, which would include centers like Girls Inc.

Currently, Ms. Schneider said there are two dispensaries which are illegally operating without permits, and three dispensaries which are legally non-conforming, meaning that they received a business license before the city passed an ordinance. The city is actively cracking down on illegal dispensaries, she said. "They should be shut down, either through criminal citations or zoning ordinances. They should be shut down and the city is working on this," she said.

California laws have outlawed marijuana dispensed at pharmacies, and the cities are left to determine how they would like to regulate their own dispensaries, she said. Since the legalization of medical marijuana in the late 1990s, the state has designated a "care-giver" to dispense it, although this does not have to be a dispensary.

Councilman Dale Francisco, who is also running for mayor, agreed that the dispensaries need to be more tightly regulated. "We've got a lot of illegal ones, that's a huge problem, but I think we have a problem with the ordinance itself," he said, adding that it has increased the city's problem with illegal use as well. "I am fine with providing medical marijuana for patients in a safe, legal way. That's what compassionate use is all about. The problem is the whole dispensary idea. This was never a part of state law, and the courts are saying the cities have the right to outlaw dispensaries."

Mr. Francisco said he wanted the city to adopt a cooperative approach for dispensing marijuana, in which members of the collective act as their own caregivers by growing and consuming the marijuana themselves without profit, similar to what is happening in Los Angeles. If the city cannot create an ordinance for using collectives, he said he would prefer to see dispensaries outlawed all together.

The councilman is also on the ordinance committee, which has set a 16-month timeline for legally non-conforming dispensaries to comply with guidelines, which might involve some of them having to relocate or risk being shut down. He said the committee is looking at narrowing this timeline even further. "Obviously, this is very controversial. This isn't settled by any means," Mr. Francisco said. "As a city councilmember, I have been getting so much e-mail on this. This is obviously an important issue for us."

Bob Hansen, another mayoral candidate, was on hand to voice his support of the dispensaries, although he still backs more regulations. "I think the (allowable) number shouldn't be so high, and I think there should be a two week limit (for visits)," he said. A cap should be set at around 10, not 25, and a lottery system may be able to determine who will be allowed to open a dispensary while they are being closely monitored, he said. "In America, you should be able to go to your doctor and get it, if you're not selling it or doing it too much."

He also shared concerns about the dispensary pot falling into the hands of children. "You do have to be careful about it. We should n our kids about it. When I was younger, I did smoke it and get lackadaisical. We really need to teach our kids how to make good choices," he said.

Becky's letter to the Newspress - GREAT JOB

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Letters: Voice outrage over medical pot shops

October 23, 2009 7:22 AM

This is re: the Oct. 14 front-page article "Bad vibes?" It is good to read and to believe that others also are outraged by things that might potentially harm our youth. In this case, the fear of "electromagnetic waves" from a proposed cell antenna near Montecito School.

Another issue Santa Barbara residents should be outraged about is the proliferation of cannabis dispensaries in our city. Many people have voiced their concerns at City Hall meetings, including our school superintendent, a junior high principal, Housing Authority officials, Girls, Inc. director, and many professionals in the field of drug addiction and rehabilitation.

Our city officials seemingly had such a nonchalant attitude on this matter that a group of citizens from the Eastside and Westside banded together to protect our children and neighborhoods by appealing permits issued to the dispensary entrepreneurs. The residents worked on revisions to the Marijuana Dispensary Ordinance and submitted them to the Ordinance Committee.

The dispensaries' applicants/owners are in it for the monetary, not the compassion. Why are so many interested in opening dispensaries in our city? Money. Dispensaries are being opened in our neighborhoods near our schools, parks, day care centers, etc. If they are to dispense medicinal cannabis, why not have them in the Cottage Hospital and/or Sansum Clinic areas? Surely, there are vacant offices there.

My hope is to have zero in our city. However, city officials have opened the floodgates while other cities along the coast said no. Another hope is that more local residents become outraged about the marijuana dispensaries that are popping up all over our city. Years ago, we were in denial about gangs in Santa Barbara and look what happened. Let's not be in denial about the cannabis dispensaries .

Thursday, October 8, 2009

How many dispensaries does it take to serve compassionate intent?

How many dispensaries does it take to
serve compassionate intent?

Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in Santa Barbara
• Marijuana dispensaries are locating close to schools and after-school
facilities, and the city is allowing this.
• Kids in schools are getting high on ‘medical’ marijuana.
• Neighborhoods are being overrun with dispensaries.
• Nothing in state law mentions dispensaries. There are plenty of ways
for the seriously ill to get medical marijuana without having dispensaries.
• Goleta, Ventura, Carpentaria have banned dispensaries. Los Angeles is
in the process of declaring their dispensaries illegal, and shutting them all
• Our city council has made the decision to allow dispensaries, but how
many???? We’d like the city council to make a different decision.
Did we really want to be a city of pot shops?
If you are concerned about too many pot
shops in our beautiful city, come join the
city-wide march. Be heard!
10:00 AM
Saturday October 10, 2009
Ortega Park
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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Medical-Marijuana Dispensary at Paseo Chapala Wins Conditional Approval

Medical-Marijuana Dispensary at Paseo Chapala Wins Conditional Approval

The city's staff hearing officer requires The Farmacy to hire an additional guard or put in security cameras, among other conditions
Read More Here.

By  | Published on 10.07.2009

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Daily Sound ? Police blotter ? September 29

Daily Sound ? Police blotter ? September 29

Shared via AddThis

Medical marijuana laws get continued scrutiny

Medical marijuana laws get continued scrutiny

By ERIC LINDBERG — Sept. 30, 2009

During their second attempt to beef up laws that regulate medical marijuana dispensaries, Santa Barbara city leaders listened through another lengthy session of public input before making decisions on several of many issues that have cropped up due to the proliferation of pot shops.

Along with agreeing that a cap on the number of dispensaries allowed to operate in the city would be appropriate, members of the ordinance committee moved toward requiring dispensaries that had been grandfathered in under the current ordinance to conform with the regulations within a shorter, six-month period.

However, time ran out before the committee could address other potential changes to laws concerning pot shops. Some community members have asked for stricter security, an increased buffer zone around schools and parks, and a moratorium on new dispensaries, citing an increase in crime and negative neighborhood impacts.

Others have urged city officials to protect access to medical marijuana for those who legitimately use the drug to treat chronic pain and other ailments.

At least 15 dispensaries exist in the city, ranging from several that have been approved by city officials but haven’t opened yet to others that are operating illegally. City leaders noted that it is unclear if the current regulations are sufficient, as many of the pot shops are operating outside the law.

“Our entire experience is with illegal dispensaries and ones that are currently non-conforming,” Councilmember Das Williams said, arguing that the city needs to speed up the process to get all dispensaries operating under the current rules. “That’s the only way we can even tell if our regulation is good or bad.”

That discussion spawned a proposal to shorten the period of time for non-conforming dispensaries to get in step with the rules, and the committee ultimately agreed to recommend that the full council drop that timeframe down from 18 months to six months.

“Since we did try to craft a rational ordinance and since we are trying to make more changes to that ordinance to make it better, I think it’s a reasonable change to reduce the amount of time the existing nonconforming dispensaries have to come into conformance,” Councilmember Dale Francisco said.

The committee also agreed that placing a cap on the overall number of dispensaries citywide is a good idea and agreed that it would be making a recommendation along those lines in the future, although the specifics of that plan will likely be ironed out when the discussion continues in the coming weeks.

“We do want a cap,” Williams said, adding, “We may want to parcel that out geographically.”

Responding to concerns expressed by residents of the lower Eastside community, where several dispensaries have sprung up along Milpas and Haley streets, he said a reasonable cap would certainly prevent any more pot shops from opening along the Milpas Street corridor.

But for many who spoke during the public comment period, including Superintendent Brian Sarvis of the Santa Barbara School Districts, there are already too many dispensaries in that area.

“We would prefer that you shut down the Milpas corridor altogether,” Sarvis said, describing how a student told him recently, “This stuff is becoming so easy to get we might as well put it in our vending machines.”

After continuing the hearing to a later date — which had yet to be determined — Williams warned those in attendance that public comment would likely be limited in the future unless geared toward a specific part of the ordinance up for discussion.

“If we spend the whole meeting listening to your concerns, we can’t do anything to strengthen the regulations,” he said.

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Monday, August 24, 2009


Saturday August 29, 2009 
9:00 AM: Clean-up 
12:00 PM: BBQ
Home base for clean-up is 404 De La Vina St.Clean-up supplies can be picked up there and cook-out will be held at 12:00 PM. Bring something for the grill and / or something to share. Let’s clean up our neighborhood together! 
Questions? Email: lsbyrne@cox.net or christinapizarro@msn.com 
or call (805) 896-3180

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Brownie's Public Phones Removed

Don't know if anyone noticed, but the the public phones located on the Haley side of Brownie's Market have been removed. The reason? Some say it a sign of the times--The phone company who owns the phones is no longer making a profit, since most users usually buy a calling card and dial an 1-800 number to connect to their destination. As a result, there is no need for coins, hence reducing the phone company's profit by large margins. 
Readily available cells phones and plans (monthly, pay as you go, pre-paid, and affordable international plans) have also decreased the need for a traditional pay phone. Callers can easily reach their destination from affordable mobile phones. 
However, some say that there has been pressure to remove the phones from the local neighbors who were concerned about the illegal activity taking place at or around the phones. Drinking and some "suspicious" gatherings were constant activities at that location. Whatever the reason may be, the phones are gone for now

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Oxnard limits liquor licenses to reduce crime

Ventura County Star
Oxnard limits liquor licenses to reduce crime
By Scott Hadly. Sunday, June 28, 2009
Website link for Ventura Star access:
Or see the PDF file I made for this detailed news article, via this link.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Update on Cottage Grove

This morning's update:

It seems all the residents are indeed being evicted from the Cottage Grove house. Chuck reports that Pini came and talked with him last night, offering him a $750 room for rent on San Pasqual if he'd leave the $700 room on Cottage Grove.

Such a deal...

The plan, according to Pini, is to renovate (slightly) the house, and rent it to a family on July 1. Here's hoping for some great new neighbors, though with Pini as (slum)landlord, nothing's certain.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

What's up with the Cottage Grove dump?

Oh, that dreaded Cottage Grove house. You know the one, on the corner of De La Vina and Cottage Grove. Tenants moving in and out at such a pace you never hardly see the same guys twice. Loads of people crammed into a decent-sized house, which is falling into disrepair. Some times I'd walk the dog by and see men in various stages of intoxication sitting on the steps, hanging out in the yard, boring their eyes into women who pass by.

In short, not the kind of property one wants to have in the neighborhood.

Recently, two new tenants moved in, Chuck and Renee. I met Renee when she crashed an informal gathering in my driveway. I politely talked to her, let her know that I was going in to open a bottle of wine, and that I'd prefer she not be there when I came back out. I've been otherwise friendly to Chuck and Renee, even after the police came to interrupt their domestic disturbance, and they got back together 5 minutes later.

If we want to win our case with the police that we need better patrols and more beats on the street, domestic disturbances where the participants immediately get back together is not the way to get to their hearts.

Last Friday, I saw several tenants hustling out of that house. It appears that our notorious neighborhood slumlord, Dario Pini, oh he of the 'hey I'm housing all these illegal immigrants in rundown homes, solving the city's housing shortage' fame. Doncha' just love criminal capitalism of the Pini brand? Makes the Republicans look like a bunch of silly Catholic schoolgirls in comparison, yes?

So, apparently everyone's been evicted out of the Cottage Grove slum, and Chuck has decided that he wants to stay there...alone. He has a few receipts from paying the rent, though he has no rental agreement or contract.

For some reason, there is now a guy harrassing Chuck on the premises named Alejandro. He breaks in, crawls in through windows, and kicks down doors. Now who is Alejandro? According to Chuck, this is Pini's property manager. And he's threatening Chuck that he needs to leave NOW.

I haven't looked into rental laws in California, but it seems to me that it might be a wee bit harder to evict a tenant than Alejandro and Pini seem to believe. Not that I am all that fond of Chuck, but he actually has cleaned up the property quite a bit, and that's always a good thing. It occurs to me that we could maybe use this situation to draw attention to the wonderful slumlord problem in our neighborhood, and give Pini more of the negative publicity he loves so much. And while we're at it, what would the mayoral candidates and city council wannabes have to say about this kind of thing? Do they have any plans for affordable housing so that illegal immigrants can find a cheap place to live without bringing down a neighborhood like ours? Do they have plans to deal with Pini's multiple violations? Would they look at the house at the corner of Bath and Haley which is being ripped apart while renters are still living in it?

We spend a lot of newsprint and webspace on building heights. Yet there is this whole underground economy of slumlord and illegal immigrants receiving no attention at all, though they are contributing to the denigration of a neighborhood.

Seems to me that someone's missing the boat here.

On the plus side, at least I don't get maddogged when I walk by the Cottage Grove house anymore. I guess that's progress.

Friday, June 19, 2009

When Taggers Aren't that Bright

Commentary: When Taggers Aren’t That Bright

If they're going to take the risk of vandalizing property, why not say something meaningful?

City-owned property at the corner of De La Vina and Haley streets was tagged overnight Wednesday
City-owned property at the corner of De La Vina and Haley streets was tagged overnight Wednesday. (Sharon Byrne photo)

By  | Published on 06.18.2009

I live in that famed part of city called “West Downtown,” where the neighborhood is coming together to fight big-city urban issues in the small-town enclave of Santa Barbara. Thursday morning, while walking the dog, I noticed that city-owned property at the corner of De La Vina and Haley streets had been tagged overnight. I had walked the dog past that same spot about 11 p.m. Wednesday night, and the tag wasn’t there, so it was a late-night tag.

First, I dislike the term “tagging.” Tagging is a subset of graffiti, where the tagger develops a unique — usually unreadable — signature for his or her work. Lately, we seem to see less graffiti and a whole lot more indistinguishable scribbles as tags. But my issue with the moniker tagging is that it seems like a fun description for what is essentially defacing public buildings. Why not call it defacing or vandalizing, rather than tagging? Tagging seems so much more friendly and fun and far less irritating than the straight-out defacement it is.

When passing by the numerous tags in my neighborhood, I often wonder why the author, if so intent on making his or her mark on a wall, couldn’t have at least said something of importance? Graffiti has long been with us, as even Roman, Pompeiian and Greek ruins contained scratchings that advertised brothels or condemned bad tavern owners. The 20th-century graffiti around the world often spoke out against oppression, racism and political issues.

I understand that youths want to make their mark and have their dissidence felt by the blind masses, so to speak. If you’re going to take all the risk of writing on walls, hang yourself over bypasses and possibly get arrested, why not use the opportunity to say something a bit more profound than the unreadable gibberish that shows up?

I don’t want to get Santa Barbarans up in arms, as we all dislike graffiti in our fair city. I am not throwing down a challenge to taggers to come up with clever catchphrases to paint all over our city in a sort of graffiti version of “American Idol.” But, hey, if they’re going take all this risk and make all this effort, why not at least do something with some intelligence and thought behind it? Why not provoke some insight into our political and cultural woes as a nation, a state and a city?

The overnight tagger thought he or she was indeed making such a profound statement. Unfortunately, because of poor planning, the majority of the message is lost behind a bush on the sidewalk. Those driving by won’t get the gist of it at all. Since the tagger used the entire side of a house to paint the message, he or she obviously intended a billboard effect. But what is seen is meaningless scrawls that dissolve into ... shrubbery. 

Instead of being annoyed that we had been tagged — or defaced — yet again, I found myself laughing over the tagger’s silly mistake.

This is probably not the reaction they were looking for, but if you’re going to do something, at least try to do it well. If you’re going to mark up our neighborhood, be prepared, as an urban artiste wannabe, to have your work admired or scorned in equal measure, especially if you’re not smart enough to plan it out properly.

— Sharon Byrne represents the West Downtown Neighborhood Group.

»  wrote on 06.19.09 @ 08:28 AM

A tagger’s “silly mistake”!?  When a new City ordinance requires property owners to clean up graffiti within three days that is perpetrated by others against them, it is not a silly, harmless prank.  It is an act of defacing, and sometimes permanently damaging, private property.  Also, the police told me that often the taggers start out by “practicing” and get bolder from there.  There should be a swift and effective message sent that graffiti and taggers will not be tolerated in our community.

»  wrote on 06.19.09 @ 09:08 AM

I have to say that on the “upper” westside, above Harding School, there have been some odd graffiti incidents. One that was tagged on the smallest horizontal piece of wood on a For Sale sign in front of a Valerio home, and the other ridiculously tagged hedge on a corner lot across the street from the childcare facility at Harding School. I have pix of both because they were stretching the concept.

»  wrote on 06.19.09 @ 09:18 AM

Sharon, At least it is a step up from gang markings, though just as distructive.

»  wrote on 06.19.09 @ 11:34 AM

My house got damaged by these attacks. I cannot fix the permanent dage done. This is no different than if someone dents your car. The city and the police need to crack down on this criminal behavior.

»  wrote on 06.19.09 @ 12:20 PM


The silly mistake was in the tagger’s poor placement of the graffiti so that most of ‘the message’ dissolves behind the shrub. I actually dislike tagging, for the reasons I stated above. I would really prefer it if people didn’t, though I have seen some excellent protest forms of graffiti in other cities throughout the world. I am actually insulting the intelligence of the tagger in this article for his poor placement skills, not condoning tagging in general.


»  wrote on 06.19.09 @ 01:33 PM

I hope this incident shows up in the city’s crime stats, and on brownies’ cameras!

»  wrote on 06.19.09 @ 02:39 PM

This tag was obviousy done by someone,probably a kid, wanting to be ‘in’ the tagger\banger club but too fearful of the law to be caught.  So the tagging ‘behind the bush’ (so to speak) just indicates a real scardy cat. So, annoying as it is you have to have some compassion for this wanna-be a gangster who probably just wants creds so the other kids stop stealing his lunch money at the bus stop.  Speaking of why they don’t write anything meaningful - these kids have no idea who che guevarra is even when they are wearing the t-shirt.

»  wrote on 06.19.09 @ 04:14 PM

This particular tag read “Welcome to Hell” along with the numbers “666” I don’t think this has any gang related ties. Probably just some drunks coming from downtown or maybe we have devil worshippers now?

Who knows? That city owned building is so run down it almost invites vandalism. Since it’s a city owned property will the city be responsible for cleaning it up w/in 3 days? God only knows they haven’t taken care of that property or the trees or plantings around it. It’s so overgrown with plants, dwarf palms, etc… You can’t even see past the sidewalk when walking down De La Vina towards Haley!

Of course you can’t see the tagging from the street the bush on Haley is so overgrown it’s disgusting!

The city not only needs to clean up the graffiti on their building they also need to cut down the overgrown trees, plants, bushes, etc… The whole property is a site for sore eyes and it’s owned by the city!

Shame on them and shame on the people who defaced that side of the building!

»  wrote on 06.19.09 @ 06:15 PM

Lots of people make speculations as to the motives behind graffiti and also hold stereotypes of those who practice it. If you are interested in this issue/debate/practice I highly recommend you find a copy of the movie “Bomb It” (to ‘bomb’ is to paint multiple pieces in an area, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graffiti_terminology). You can find it on Netflix or, um, online perhaps.

“Bomb It” is a documentary that features both graffiti artists as well as their critics, including George Keller, the author of the Broken Window theory. Check out http://bombit-themovie.com/ for a trailer. After watching this you will be more informed about this public debate.

»  wrote on 06.19.09 @ 06:41 PM

yes, if they had as much talent in “tagging” as you do in the writing of this article...we might be reading something of importance or at least thought provoking. 
Keep up the good work Sharon, I like your hearing your voice!

»  wrote on 06.19.09 @ 11:22 PM

Sharon, great work and a cool pic of the” not so bright” vandalism. The city ought to keep their properties and exemplary levels, not allowing them to become a public nuisance. The out of control 6-8 foot overgrown weeds could have acted as a barrier for the not so bright vandals. The property is dark and abandoned. There is also graffiti on the creek bank--This has been there for over two years, despite our numerous calls to various city departments. One department says it’s the city graffiti crew’s problem, they say it’s the creeks, others say it’s streets. We await a full clean up on the premises. Let’s keep it nice SB! Thank you for your great work Sharon!


»  wrote on 06.19.09 @ 11:27 PM

Stricter penalties please. These vandals are costing us taxpayers and residents too much money. It’s unfair. Has anyone seen the freeways these days? It’s so darn horrible! Shame shame

»  wrote on 06.20.09 @ 11:20 AM

I totally agree with your statement that “my issue with the moniker tagging is that it seems like a fun description for what is essentially defacing public buildings. Why not call it defacing or vandalizing, rather than tagging? Tagging seems so much more friendly and fun and far less irritating than the straight-out defacement it is.”

By getting the press and the public to use terms like “tagging,” we soften the impact of what is criminal behavior. There has been a lot of politically-correct “new speak” introduced into our common language in the past few years with the intent of making criminal actions and criminals seem less criminal - for example terrorists are now “insurgents,” illegal aliens are now “undocumented workers,” etc.

It’s about time that the public and the news media started using accurate descriptors for the behaviors involved. It is all too easy to change the meaning of the concept being communicated if we change the words used to describe the concept…

»  wrote on 06.20.09 @ 06:21 PM

One of the first things Rudy Giuliani did as mayor of supposedly ‘unmanageable’ New York City was to crack down on grafitti and squeegee men (aka aggressive panhandlers) on the theory, now fully proven over the past 15 years), that sending a tough message on small crimes will make criminals think again before committing bigger ones. Now yes, I know that the looney lefties in SB would never approve of an idea that came from (gasp) a Republican, but the facts are incontrovertible:  after Mayor Dinkins declared NYC impossible to clean up, Giuliani won in a landslide (in a Democratic city) and proceeded to clean NYC up.  Less graffiti, less panhandling, steadily decreasing crime rates.  It can be done.  And not by punishing the victims of the crime as our brilliant City Council has decreed.

»  wrote on 06.21.09 @ 03:29 PM

This is a great article, so many good points made. Tagging has just gotten completely pointless, and so surprisingly expected and trite (i mean ‘666’, come on, what’s next, an anarchist symbol?), which is completely contrary to the definition of graffiti. I was riding the subway in nyc and caught a quick glance of a tag deep in the subway. I had to laugh, this kid risked his life, got deep into the subway, just to put up a tag nobody pays any mind to because everyone expects it to be there. Nothing unique, just like some decorative subway motif. 
Graffiti should be taken on a case by case basis. I mean, there’s good graffiti that definitely improves and adds character to a (public) area (just look at the LA river), and something like this, which is just straight up vandalism. If tagging and graffiti were treated like that, kids would make more of an effort to add meaning and skill to their art.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Lighthouse Fraud Case

Ongoing fraud investigation at the Lighthouse located at 231 West Haley. The founder and President, Mr. Hartman currently bring investigated. The case is taking place in Ventura. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Double Stabbing in West Downtown

Two people were stabbed during a fight in Santa Barbara Monday night. It happened just before 9:00 p.m. on the 100 block of W. Ortega.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Responsible Landlords

This Seattle model should become an example for City of Santa Barbara. Their concept is outstanding, as they are many steps ahead of us. 
There are several sections within this org that fits and matches our "unique"' situation in the West Downtown Neighborhood and throughout the city. More importantly, they offer solutions and crime prevention strategies to improve conditions.  
Responsible "landlording" is essential, as the tenants they choose significantly influences the neighborhood. Too often, landlords, like employers do not properly screen tenants--this overlooked action can, and more often that not, creates challenging situations for the neighborhood. Careful and proper screening prospective tenants protects landlords, tenants, and the ultimately the neighborhood!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Local "Landlord" Dario Pini Denied a Restraining Order

Go to fullsize imageRead Independent Article Here.
FYI: Dario Pini also owns the Parker Way Plaza Building, where the alleged extortion at knife point incident occurred last Monday. Current tenant, Sacred Mountain Cannabis Dispensary located in Lower West Downtown Neighborhood, has been a topic of concern for many residents in the area since there has been an alarming increase of criminal activity taking place in or around the dispensary. Loitering, public drug sales, public inebriation, and now extortion at knife point further weakens the West Downtown Neighborhood. 
Read at extortion at knife point Article Here.

Oh yes: Last weekend's drunken brawl and car crash disturbance took place at 204 Cottage Grove--Another infamous Dario Pini property. 

Spilled Milk at Brownie's Market

Three SBPD Vehicles responded to an early morning call placed from a Local Liquor Store known as Brownies Market (located on the corner of Haley and De La Vina) after a customer spilled some milk on the premises. The SBPD arrived immediately, since the attendant claimed that the customer had brandished a knife. Upon careful review of various surveillance cameras, no weapon was ever brandished at that location. Calling 911 for spilled milk is a waste of city resources; falsifying and/or amplifying statements, is a crime. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Extortion Scam Revolving Around Marijuana Dispensary

Extortion Scam Revolving Around Marijuana Dispensary

April 28, 2009 08:44 PM

April 28, 2009 09:56 PM

Tharon Weighill
Tharon Weighill
Scott Weighill
Scott Weighill


SANTA MARIA - Officers in Santa Barbara have arrested two men accused of extortion.

Police say 45 year old Tharon Weighill and 43 year old Scott Weighill held a 34 year old man captive in a back room of the Sacred Mountain Medical Marijuana Dispensary on Parker way.

The victim is a part owner of the business and his partner, Tharon Weighill, was trying to force him to sign over his share of the business at knife point.

Scott Weighill kept watch as the victim was being threatened.

Both men were booked into jail on charges of conspiracy, extortion and robbery.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Greening West Downtown Parkways

Perhaps we can adopt this method throughout the green challenged areas in West Downtown and Santa Barbara. i.e. 403 De La Vina, Haley corridor, etc. 
Greening the parkways will contribute to more community interaction, cooperation, and decreased litter production.

Are there city programs/grants to green parkways? Or...,Is private money the way to go? 

Friday, April 17, 2009

Rogue Shopping Carts

More stolen shopping carts thrown around (Kingston, Ontario) by believeandmakeadifference.
Oh those Abandoned Shopping Carts that line our sidewalks, smash beautiful parkways, side walls, and occasionally skate up and down traffic is our topic today. 
Yes, you know what I'm referring to: urban blight.
We  all see them. But, do we all call the Abandoned Shopping Cart Hotline? 1-800-252-4613 and wait for the 1.5 minute message to play all the way through? (No, there is no way to by-pass this message). Once you describe the location and the cart's owner (Ralphs, Vons, Longs etc.) you can sit back and enjoy the view from your front porch for at least two days, before they are picked up, or another metal or plastic beauty makes its debut. 
Now wait here. SB Municipal Code (SBMMC 10.56) states that removing shopping carts from stores is illegal (without owner's permission), and therefore a misdemeanor. 

CA State Law States: The unauthorized removal of a shopping cart from a store parking lot is a violation of State law. (California Business and Professions Code, Section 22435). 

Officers rarely cite those who are in possession, and one even went as far as interpreting the municipal ordinance by stating that was "not illegal" or a "big deal". In fact, it was "okay", "as long as they pushed it up onto the sidewalk for pickup". What!? 
Well, here's the problem: Shopping carts end up abandoned around our homes, sidewalks, and  streets further contributing to urban blight. 
Now, isn't up to city council to pass laws/city ordinances and the city police force to enforce the rules/laws? (not to interpret them like the  officer--let's leave that up to the courts).
Well, let's really get this good old fashioned system rolling. If the laws were enforced more frequently, people would be reluctant to remove private property for the fear of being cited. 
Now SB, let's get tough and re-enforce the law like  OceansideSan Francisco, Fresno, and Madison Heights etc. Let's keep Santa Barbara beautiful! 
Oh, one more thing: It's not very green either. Abandoned Shopping carts get filled with refuse, needles, and other debris that end up in our streets, and ultimately flows to the ocean. Oh yes, I have seen some in our creeks! Good Grief!

Here's an alternative (see below): Longs, Home Improvement carries them for $20. Let's encourage our stores to post signs with strict rules clearly stating the consequences of shopping cart removal from store premises. Any other suggestions/solutions?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Taking Back you Neighborhood

Call Dispatch to report Crime. *897-2410-Program this # to your phone!

BTW: Calls made to 911 from your cell go immediately go to CHP, then to the dispatch center after 4-5 minutes.
Ask for a case #. If there is no case #, there is/was no "incident".

If crime has a strong grip on a neighborhood, it's hard to take the first steps toward reclaiming your streets. People are afraid that if they act, criminals will take revenge. You can counter this fear, and protect each other, by working closely with police and organizing group activities — there's safety in numbers. 
SBPD Dispatch: 897-2410
You may remain anonymous! 
-National Crime Council