California Burning

By Montecito Journal   |   August 23, 2018

Everywhere you look in California, there are larger, more explosive fires. Why? As the left once again blames climate change, could there be another reason why we are seeing so many huge fires? What role have environmental activists, eco lobbyists, green NGOs, lawyers, and politicians played?

What about forest management? Forests need thinning to promote strong, disease-free growth; they need accumulated dry brush to be cleared to avoid the risk of wildfires; they need firebreaks to stop fires getting out of control; they need management burns in order to stave off the savage incendiary fury of the kind of wildfires that burn so hot they turn the entire area into a barren wasteland.

In the past, the forest industry has carried out this vital work and management. Not today. It seems “logging” became a dirty word used by environmentalists, and this crucial management came to a halt. The result, more out-of-control fires, loss of lives, loss of wildlife, and a declining logging industry.

Going forward, the Trump Administration, unlike California, seems aware of this problem and wants to deal with it. Let’s hope they find solutions.

Diana Thorn

(Editor’s note: It’s about time we California residents (along with our counterparts in Oregon and Washington) begin to rethink environmental policies. There is no way to deny the fact that detrimental, dangerous, and ultimately harmful policies – drawn up and promulgated with the best of intentions – have set the West on fire. Judicious logging, brush clearing (what did anyone think was going to happen to 65 years of dry dead chaparral piling up in the mountains behind Montecito?), creek clearing, debris removal, Swiss net placements, and other fully implemented fire-suppression and prevention techniques will forestall a repeat of the Thomas Fire and debris flow. We have probably 20 years of worry-free winters and rainy seasons ahead of us, but without proper planning, we’ll be in a similar position in 2039 that we found ourselves in during 2017/18. – J.B.)

Pleading the Fifth

When we think of the Fifth Amendment, we think of guilty parties refusing to testify and admit to their crimes. The Fifth Amendment was never designed to protect the guilty. A fair justice system starts with the awareness of a crime, and then the identification of the guilty. But our Founding Fathers observed that the British colonial government too often would identify a “guilty” party that had offended them. They would interrogate him about his finances, activities, and relationships until they could find or fabricate some crime to charge him with, and thereby silence him. The purpose of the Fifth Amendment was to say to an over-powerful government, “If you are going to fabricate a case against me, you will have to do it without my help.”

Today, we have the Mueller investigation, where the government has identified the “guilty” party (Trump), and now they are searching, searching for some crime to charge him with. It may be time for an appropriate use of that Fifth Amendment.

Guy Strickland

Montecito Salute

To my beloved communities of Montecito and Santa Barbara: a salute to your supreme goodness. Since the January 9 debris flow destroyed my home, I’ve been whipped through an illusion-shattering tornado that left me homeless to crawl over the unpredictable ground of my karma. 

In the eye of dawning wisdom, the effulgence of your boundless generosity supported me through a mystical trip deep into the heart of humility. There, sovereign joy reigns.

My gratitude wishes to cast a wide net. If I miss any of you, please accept my apologies. Fortunately, good energy reaches everyone.

In recognition: Hope 805, FEMA, Salvation Army, Red Cross, UMCOR, Direct Relief, the Jewish Federation, Wendy Foster, Precision Auto Body, United Way, Realtors’ Disaster Relief Fund, Glamour House, the Pop-Up shops, Flavor of India, Ace Home Improvement, the Vietnamese Buddhist Group, YMCA, Sheng Zhen Self-Healing Centre, and so many others. Thank you all.

Katherine L. Morrow

The Olive Mill Mess

I don’t mean to drown you with emails, but Victoria Hines (“It’s Gone on Too Long,” MJ #24/31) took the words right out of my mouth. The bottom of the road from Coast Village Road on Olive Mill where construction is still going on is a disgrace, and our cars are suffering from potholes, and trenches. How long will this mess go on?

Jean von Wittenburg

(Editor’s note: As we pointed out two weeks ago, it’s almost done and we’re sure that Mr. Price, Caltrans, and the City of Santa Barbara will do the right thing and fix the roadway as soon as construction is completed. – J.B.)

Print the Website

I read and enjoyed the story Richard Mineards wrote about the From the Fire book (“Out of the Ashes,” MJ #24/32). It’s a wonderful book and 100 percent of profits are going to a worthy cause. Unfortunately, Mr. Mineards didn’t mention their website:

If you can, please put their website address in your paper somewhere, so we can help promote them further.

Thanks for your consideration.

Thomas Tarleton

Wayward Weather Forecasts

At 3 pm on Sunday, August 3, I saw these weather forecasts for high temperatures in the next four days (Mon-Thurs) in Montecito: National Weather Service: 88, 92, 94, 87; KEYT: 90, 93, 96, 89; Weather Channel: 79, 87, 86, 83; Yahoo Weather: 78, 86, 84, 79.

I suppose weather forecasting is not an exact science, but differences as much as 12 degrees for the same day seem beyond reasonable. Each of these forecasts was labeled for Montecito, not vaguely for Santa Barbara. I thought weather forecasting in Santa Barbara had to be an easy job. I guess not.

Can one of your informed readers, or one of our local weathercasters, explain such discrepancies?

Jay Fender

(Editor’s note: Perhaps an informed reader can. We’ll see. – J.B.)

Getting MAD Works

It was late December and the Thomas Fire evacuations were in full swing. The amount of small businesses that were closing due to the length of the evacuations was causing me considerable concern as to what I what I was going to do for a summer job. In addition, I was frustrated with the lack of jobs in Santa Barbara that would allow me to apply what I’ve learned in my major: screenwriting. And, that’s when it hit me. I quickly got to work designing MAD’s first ever summer program: Through The Lens (TTL). 

As a graduate of Santa Barbara High School’s Multimedia Arts and Design Academy, I’ve always been extremely passionate about the media industry, film in particular. My goal was to get middle school students interested and engaged with film before they enter high school and potentially the MAD Academy.

Piecing together what I have learned through the MAD Academy and Loyola Marymount University’s School of Film and Television (my current school), I created a two-week curriculum that teaches middle school students (ages 11-15) the ins and outs of film production. The curriculum, taught by current MAD teacher Dean DePhillipo, begins by showing students the almost infinite amount of jobs available in the film industry. Many of my students didn’t know much existed past “director” and “cameraman”. We then introduced our first project, a scene from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. The students learned how to storyboard the scene and create a shot list.

Over the course of the next two days of camp, the students shot their scene. Every student had the opportunity to use each piece of equipment and try out each job. What we found was that students often became interested in a job that they didn’t think they would like in the beginning or a job they had never heard of. Some of our quieter students even found their voice as directors. 

After we wrapped our shoot, the students retreated to our state-of-the-art editing labs. Dean and I were extremely surprised by the enthusiasm the students had toward editing and the pace at which they picked it up was astonishing. I was so impressed. Once they finished their first project, the students repeated the process with a scene from School of Rock. The catch was this time they worked with much less instruction from Dean and myself.

On the last day of camp, the students presented their work to their parents. It was gratifying to see how proud the kids were of themselves. One student told me, “I had never tried anything different before. This camp taught me how much work goes into the films I watch, and I had never thought about that. It gave me the opportunity to try things I had never thought to try, and I’m so grateful.” Another student told me that his least favorite part of camp was leaving.

In addition to providing these kids with creative opportunity and an inside view on the MAD Academy, I was also providing them with an educational one. About two-thirds of our campers were given full scholarships from the MAD Academy. With the help of the academy, I was able to bring something to the community that changed and inspired their kids, and I hope that we can do this for many years to come.

Grace Burford
Santa Barbara

(Editor’s note: Thank you, Ms Burford… and congratulations on a job well done. – J.B.)

Saline Circumstances

I am responding to comments made in the letter to the editor by Ken Coates, July 26-August 2 edition, responding to a previous letter by Dr. Edo McGowan. Mr. Coates writes that the alternative to his proposals about recycling is to “continue to treat it [wastewater] to a lesser level and dump hundreds of thousands of gallons every day into the Pacific Ocean.” First, Secondary Treatment is not inferior to Tertiary treatment, it is different, and with a purpose.

Secondary Treatment can adjust the saline level of treated water to match the saline content of the ocean. This is what we want for our ocean outfall: compatibility with our ocean environment. Second, the Montecito Sanitary District does not “dump” its effluent into the ocean. The 1,500-foot outfall pipe has diffusers that gradually release the treated wastewater into the ocean. Tertiary treated water removes all saline content as it is meant for land use, such as irrigation. Summary: different use, different treatment.

Judith Ishkanian

(Editor’s note: Ms Ishkanian is president of the Board of Directors of the Montecito Sanitary District.)

A New Village “Star”

Katharine Kremp (left) worked on many stars and celebrities in Beverly Hills, one of them being Jane Seymour (right)

I would like to announce a new hair stylist to Dadiana Salon Montecito. Her name is Katharine Kremp and we are lucky to have her on our team of stylists. 

Dadiana Salon Montecito, located on East Valley Road (Upper Montecito Village) welcomes master hair stylist and color consultant Katharine Kremp (known as the “Hollywood Image-maker”). She is a hair-extension expert as well.

Once Katharine decided to pursue her calling as a hair designer, she found work at “Umberto,” in Beverly Hills, where her career snowballed into both film and television, working with celebrities, as well as her original clientele, whom she considers to be equally important.

Designing hair for the TV show Friends, with fashion icons such as Raquel Welch and with top celebrities, such as Tom Cruise, Jane Seymour, Genie Francis, Vince Vaughan, John Cusack, and Brad Garrett, among many others, Katharine’s experience is impressive. Having received five Emmy nominations, she is a professional “image-maker.” She knows how to communicate with her clients, and deliver extraordinary results. To Katharine, everyone who sits in her chair is a star. 

So, let me introduce her in her own words: “I am passionate about elevating others and helping them create a self-image that is consistent with their highest aspirations,” she says. “It’s never about just ‘working on another head of hair,’ it’s about seeing what’s fashionable and what is appropriate for the client. I establish solid and secure relationships with every person I work with. I am reliable, trustworthy, and professional. I have worked over the years to expand my knowledge and to educate myself on new techniques and methods of classic hairstyling, and I have excellent communication skills. To me, working is play, and the result is the prize.”

Make an appointment today to see Katharine at Dadiana Salon in Montecito. Her artistry and skills have been secret weapons on fashion pages, movie sets, and TV productions, and now you can have the same star treatment in the upper Montecito village.

Diane Meehan
Dadiana Salon Montecito

Thank You, Lynda

We are so grateful for Lynda Millner‘s columns and that she always keeps us in mind. Looking forward to working with her on another great season of events!

Caitlin O’Hara
Arts & Lectures, UCSB

The Joke’s On Us

President Trump is not given enough credit for his sense of humor. After his visit with Queen Elizabeth, he said it was the first time in 70 years that she had reviewed her honor guard, and everybody in the U.K. laughed. After Putin said he was glad Trump won, Trump said that Russia was very unhappy that he had won.

How funny is that?

Trump recently said that you needed an I.D. to buy groceries. All grocery shoppers laughed. At a recent rally, he said he drew bigger crowds than Beyoncé and Bruce Springsteen. All concert-goers laughed.

My favorite Trump joke is “And Mexico will pay for it.” It always makes me and the Mexican president laugh. And, who can forget his first joke as president, when he declared that his inauguration crowd was the largest in history, after the side-by-side pictures compared Obama’s and Trump’s crowds. This must be why Trump says, “Don’t believe what you’re seeing or reading.” Trump fact-checkers have catalogued over 4,000 false or misleading statements so far. White House stenographer Beck Dorey-Stein, privy to Oval Office conversations, recently resigned because “Trump was lying to the American people.”

And that is no joke.

John Vertas
Santa Barbara

(Editor’s note: Okay, okay, we get it; you are no fan of this president. But, really, if you are going to mention, for example Beck Dorey-Stein, you should have included the information that she was one of President Obama’s stenographers and is, like the infamous Omarosa, out to sell her book (From A Corner of the Oval: A Memoir); as for the Beyoncé reference, he was referring to Hillary’s campaign event in Cleveland, Ohio, four days before the 2016 election in which she enlisted the four-letter-word star power of Beyoncé and Jay Z to attract people to her rally. All candidate Trump had was himself and he drew the bigger crowd. The rest of it is, well, I don’t know – if one buys groceries and wishes to pay via credit card, many stores do, in fact, want to see I.D. As for Mexico “paying for” the wall, that could still happen via border-crossing charges, but we’ll see. The best and biggest lie that many of us have heard over the past 10 years is the one about keeping your doctor and saving $2,500 on health insurance. We’re still laughing over that one, but hey, anyone who can tell a good joke should be credited for the effort. – J.B.)

Trump’s Difficult World

President Trump, following biblical advice to love your enemy and turn the other cheek during his visit with the Russian leader, came under attack. After 2,000 years when someone finally tries to replace hate with forgiveness, he is met with animosity. But wait. It isn’t just the Russian policy. He faces opposition on practically everything.


Here are a few possible reasons:

Our president is not the first person to try to peacefully reform an entrenched government’s power and, yes, make life better for those who make the sacrifices to keep that government in power. Being a reformer is not without risk. 

For example, the immigration laws in place long before Donald Trump took office are suddenly his creation. A photo of a child in a cage, taken during his predecessor’s term, is blamed on President Trump. The motivation behind this deception is troubling.

Now, as he tries to remediate illegal immigration problems, the economy, and trade imbalances, he, his family, and supporters are subjected to disrespect and often vulgarity by his detractors.

Donald Trump entered the political arena in an attempt to save our country from decline. His opposition is legion. Members of the Democrat party and their minions in the courts and Justice Department have obstructed the president’s efforts at every opportunity.

And yes, some Republicans, fearing the risks of real change or afraid to take a stand on principle, will cozy up to the opposition. Nothing new there. Newspapers and television, both national international, with rare exception, daily chant the “attack Trump” mantras bereft of original thought.

This is the world Donald Trump faces while the economy, employment, and fair trade policies improve because of his leadership.

Les Conrad

(Editor’s note: Love him or hate him, President Trump has made the greatest effort of any politician in my lifetime to fulfill his campaign promises, and that’s no lie. – J.B.)

Same Old, Same Old

The GNP (Gross National Product) is the total value of all finished goods and services produced in one year. The U.S. GNP is $19 trillion. President Trump said in an interview with the Sun newspaper that “the GDP has doubled and tripled since I took over.” It was embarrassingly clear that the president was ignorant of what GNP measured, and became a laughingstock around the world.

This was just one instance in a long list of stupid statements.

In the recent NATO meeting, President Trump said Germany is getting 60-70% of its natural gas energy from Russia, when, in fact, gas makes up less than 20% of Germany’s total energy mix. This misstatement of facts is true to form.

President Trump boasted in a fundraising speech in Missouri that he made up facts about trade in a meeting with prime minister Justin Trudeau. Trump had insisted falsely to Trudeau that the United States runs a trade deficit with Canada, admitting with a smile, “I didn’t even know… I had no idea.”

In regard to Trump’s tariff policy, does anyone believe Trump knows that happened with the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act? In a meeting with Bill Gates, he asked Gates what was the difference between HIV and HPV.

For someone who doesn’t read and gets his information from watching Fox News and Twitter, no one should be surprised when people who have worked closely with Trump describe him as a moron and compulsive liar.

Albert Cumins
Santa Barbara

(Editor’s note: Sigh. We must note that when President Trump points out that Germany gets or will get “60-70% of its natural gas energy from Russia,” this was and is accurate. That natural gas only supplies “20% of Germany’s total energy mix” has no bearing on that. Don’t you guys ever get tired of reciting this crap? Just curious. – J.B.)

Coming Winter Blues

Montecito residents are in a little bit of a quandary: if you get rain, you risk more mudslides; if not, you (we) still have a drought. I read Montecito Journal on a weekly basis and have not read anything substantial that you’re preparing yourselves for another disaster. Maybe prayer may help. You reap what you sow.

Thomas Carlisle
Santa Barbara

An “El Presidenté” Gracias

Many, many thanks to you all for your past and continued support given to “Old Spanish Days Fiesta.” You provide a wonderful insight to the values, customs, and all the things we hold dear.

Herb Barthels
Santa Barbara

(Editor’s note: Mr. Barthels was 1991’s Old Spanish Days El Presidenté.)


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