Recharging Our Dried-up System

By Montecito Journal   |   April 19, 2018

With respect to our creeks, their drainage, and the topography, there is a direct correlation with aquifer recharge. But, thus far, there seems to be an absence of discussing the overlap between recharge basin placement and debris basin placement.

Is there the possibility that these structures, by their careful placement, could be doing double duty? The system is drying down and becoming more erratic, while water is becoming yet more scarce. Possible topic for consideration, if not already being done?

Dr. Edo McGowan

(Editor’s note: The entire Central Coast has been drying out for the past 30 years. A lot of it has to do with changing weather patterns, but equally culpable has been the growth of our population and the nearly exponential surge in the drawdown and overuse of local water storage and sources of supply. That Montecito, for example, was prevented from clearing its creeks seasonally allowed the overgrowth of plants and actual trees into those now almost yearly dry stream and creek beds. Most homes pre-1920s, I understand, had systems of catch basins in which to capture and store rainwater during the winter for use in the summer. Nearly every home has a gutter system and could be hooked up to store rainfall. That would go a long way toward helping match our water desires with our water capacity.

Government has subsidized solar panels and electric cars. Why not tax deductions for installing above-ground rain barrels, either simple ones with a gravity-fed system, or more complicated and larger underground systems that require pumping? We have the know-how and the ability to create these rather basic systems. All we have to do is promote the political will to kick-start the effort. – J.B.) 

Wasting $2 Million on “Montecito Recovery Center”

There have been few to no takers in search of “recovery” help at this Santa Barbara County-sponsored and paid-for State Street “Montecito Recovery Center”

Tell us please, what elected official honestly cares about disaster victims and recovery, other than of course to get property tax money rolling in? What County supervisors other than Peter Adam raises issues of local government waste, reducing taxes, and requiring accountability? 

County Budget Hearings start next week. Immediately, let’s cut $2 million from the Recovery Center. Close down all the “Satellite Montecito Recovery Help Centers,” starting with the one in the empty arcade at 1129 State Street. 

There are two paid Montecito Recovery Wellness workers who can be seen sitting and waiting, who haven’t talked to any Montecito resident all week, or even last week, except for me and a few others who stopped to ask, “What the heck are you two doing hiding down here on State Street on the taxpayers’ payroll? Nobody’s ever around here.”

Their answer?

“Yeah, it would be better if we were across the street at La Arcada, so we could watch the turtles in the fountain.”

Montecito, taxpayers, wake up! Your, our, my only value is to write a check, which is then wasted by incapable politicians far removed from reality with little or no interest in results.

Take the $2 million, hire experienced proven insurance lawyers to give every victim three hours of County-paid legal consultation. Mental wellness will improve dramatically as uncertainty and anxiety are reduced with facts, hope, and an action plan.

Denice S. Adams

(Editor’s note: County finances would be a whole lot better off if there were more people such as yourself out analyzing the effectiveness of taxpayer-paid programs; thanks for watching out for us! – J.B.)

Junko Junket

Raleigh is an outdoor bird who often enjoys contemplating serenity and the meaning of life on Polly Frost’s dining room floor

In addition to a monthly salon gathering of humans at my home near Miramar Beach, we also hold regular salons for wild birds. Here’s Raleigh, a Buddha of a Junko who likes to sit near us on our floor. I like to think he’s contemplating the meaning of life and knows a lot more than I ever will, or maybe he just likes to come into our place and get away from the Darwinian wars of the ‘burbs.

Polly Frost

(Editor’s note: As an erstwhile participant in your monthly salon gathering, I can attest that your avian associate Raleigh is there for the conversation and camaraderie, though perhaps a little of your excellent cuisine, though I believe most of what you cook up suits us humans way better than birds; see you on an upcoming Sunday afternoon. – J.B.) 

Olmstead for Sheriff

At a time when the relationship between our public safety agencies is paramount, we need to consider who is best-suited to work cooperatively as the voice and leader of our Sheriff’s Department going forward. Sheriff Bill Brown, without a doubt, has had a long and distinguished 40-year public safety career. He deserves every personal honor he has earned. He is a fine man and has a wonderful family, and I publicly supported him in both of his previously contested elections.

However, the sheriff has since lost the support of his own rank and file, the majority of the County supervisors who will regulate the sheriff’s budget next year, our county’s firefighters, emergency managers, and so many more. 

The men and women of the Sheriff’s Department are more important than the person who holds the elected position. As a former 12-year elected sheriff and three-year appointed County Fire chief, I learned that there comes a time when change is good and necessary. I believe for the Sheriff’s Department, that time is now. 

Of the three candidates for the office of sheriff, I believe lieutenant Brian Olmstead is the best choice to lead the Department going forward. Lieutenant Olmstead is a highly experienced law enforcement professional. He is smart, well educated, and will surround himself with the best available men and women who understand the mission of the agency and the necessity to keep staffing adequate to accomplish the variety of challenges they face 24 hours a day. 

Lieutenant Olmstead has received the public support of the vast majority of the deputy sheriffs, custody deputies, and Sheriff’s and Fire Dispatcher’s Association. It should be noted that they have not opposed Sheriff Brown in either of his previous three elections. Lieutenant Olmstead is also supported by the Santa Barbara County Firefighters and Santa Maria Police Officers’ Association, and I believe you will see more public safety professionals joining his campaign very soon. These are the men and women who are the first line of contact and support during the challenges we all face on a daily basis. They know who they trust to lead them into the future, and they ask for your support now.

They, and I, ask that you vote for lieutenant Brian Olmstead for sheriff on June 5.

Jim Thomas

(Editor’s note: Mr. Thomas served as Santa Barbara County sheriff from 1990 to 2002, and was Santa Barbara County Fire chief from 1993 to1996.)

Happy Hour Get-Together

Bob Hazard‘s strong endorsement of the Santa Barbara Inn neglected to mention a very important attribute: the Happy Hour at Santa Barbara Inn is worth visiting even without a mandatory evacuation order.

J. Roger Morrison

(Editor’s note: The mixologists behind the bar at Convivo do make one fine margarita, so we are pleased to learn they go for less during Happy Hour. – J.B.)

Going, Going, Gone

I took the photo of this big ball of rebar this morning. It’s all that’s left of the house next door. 

Dan Seibert
Santa Barbara


The Montecito cleanup continues, as once-beautiful homes are razed to make room for brand-new construction
What’s left of this home is now just a pile of rebar

Death of Civil Rights

The left always lectures us on civil rights. And yet, they put the rights of illegals, terrorists, and others ahead of our rights.

Today, their civil rights issue is the Republican presidential victory. From day one, President Trump was not elected “fairly.” So, we must get rid of him. Their actions reveal that they don’t care about the rule of law, the Constitution, or the American voter. And today, we are told that attorney-client privilege must be sacrificed.

As American citizens, we must remember Democracy doesn’t die in the dark; it dies in the sunlight. It dies in hypocrisy, corruption, and contempt.

And it dies when those promising to save it break their promise.

Diana Thorn


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