Loss of Parking for Hot Springs Trail

By Montecito Journal   |   April 15, 2021

On March 31, 2021, I rode my bicycle to Riven Rock Road. Signs were placed there saying “No Parking,” threatening tickets to those who did so. I asked Gary Smart of the road crew what was going on. He told me that white lines were going to be painted on both sides of the road to restrict parking for fire safety reasons. He suggested I contact Kevin Taylor, Fire Chief for the Montecito Fire Protection District, to get more information.

I did so, and Mr. Taylor was very informative. It turns out residents of Riven Rock Road had contacted the fire department as early as March 2020. The Montecito Association was also involved. About 75% of residents had to support the concept of the lines for them to be painted on the road. The fire department wants 20 feet of clearance for fire engines. People could be ticketed for parking in the roadway over the lines, as that is a violation of the California Vehicle Code.

Near Mountain Drive, on Riven Rock Road, there’s 15 feet of space remaining when cars are parked on the side – they are only parked on one side. A fourth of a mile down, the road without any cars parked narrows to 18-and-a-half feet, giving emergency vehicles three-and-a-half more feet to maneuver. A fire engine is about eight feet wide. 

This wasn’t a mandatory program; it was up to the residents. If it had been necessary for public safety, it would have been mandatory.

I checked the area on Friday, April 2. The lines were in place, having been painted on April 1. Numerous cars were parked in the roadway over the lines on the side of the road where they always had been parked. The public didn’t know that parking was prohibited. Most people know not to park over the white lines on a busy road like East Valley Road, but don’t suspect there would be a problem on a quiet country lane. A lot of tickets may be given. If this is going to be enforced, to avoid bad feelings, there need to be “no parking” signs. 

Although trail users have been parking on Riven Rock Road for decades, public input wasn’t solicited. Where are hikers going to park? There’s limited parking in the trailhead parking lot. Some people are parking on Mountain Drive, with some cars sticking out into the road. Before long, residents of that road will demand white lines.  Already, people living there are closing off the shoulder to automobiles, with rocks being put out to the edge of the road. Signs have been put up which say, “No Parking Private Property” and “No Parking Unauthorized Vehicles Will be Towed Away.”

Is the shoulder on Mountain Drive private property? The assessor’s map used for tax purposes indicates that in the vicinity of the trailhead the county right-of-way for the road is 60 feet. The paved road itself is 26 feet wide. It’s common for residents of rural areas to infringe on the public right of way, whether it’s to put up signs, build fences or plant hedges. Signs could be put up specifying the right of way near this trailhead, including on Riven Rock Road, which the assessor’s map says is 50 feet. Then people won’t have to worry about trespassing. More of a shoulder could be created to handle the cars.

What about the roads narrower than Riven Rock in Montecito? An even-handed approach needs to be taken for all Montecito roads.

Yes, there are too many cars parked near this trailhead. Solutions are needed to lower the amount of traffic. 

Signs can be placed encouraging hikers to carpool or take bicycles. People can easily get to the trailhead with an electric bicycle. Why not encourage hikers to make a difference for the environment? Local residents can be encouraged to get out of their cars.

Bryan Rosen

Holding Out for a Hero

Oh my! Cold Spring School District definitely sounds like a bit of a mess. The Montecito Journal’s coverage of their shady finances is long overdue. 

Seems the District has finally met its match with mom Amanda Rowan – part clinical social worker, part CEO, and with a dog named Mr. Peanut Butter?!? I loved how the district’s lawyer, Gregory Rolen, tried to paint her net worth being 10x the school’s being a bad thing – more like badass

I read Rowan’s company bio – a neuroscience major at Dartmouth, a graduate degree from UCLA, plus a former foster parent. Rowan’s a self-made-social-justice-supermom. Probably the last person’s child you should decide to suspend for the first time in 10 years for a silly prank on Zoom during COVID. 

It’s clear to me that the district is hiding something big. They wouldn’t be this aggressive if they weren’t. Campus is closed so I’m not sure why any teachers feel threatened. There’s no way someone with Amanda’s professional background would be risking her livelihood threatening physical violence when she clearly has the resources to tackle them in court. 

The school’s Los Angeles-based lawyer Gregory Rolen is the only one benefiting from the district’s $100,000 legal fees. Wake up Cold Spring taxpayers, Rolen has a personal interest in stoking the flames and provoking more lawsuits. That $100,000 was made out to him on your dime. 

Finally, “Doctor” Alzina, you said in the article you “just want this to stop”? It’s not rocket science and seems easy enough – give Ms. Rowan the financial statements and bond documents every citizen is legally entitled to and pull the bogus suspension letter from her daughter’s file. Anything short of that and you clearly don’t have the “kiddos’” interest at heart and is just plain stupid. 

L. Morris 

P.S. It’s ultimately the school board who answers for these outrageous fees. How have they allowed $100,000 to be wasted on a standard public document request and the defense of a suspension for a child’s harmless albeit hilarious prank during an exceptionally difficult time for children and families?

Deeper Investigation Needed

I have just read your article about the restraining order that the Cold Spring School District filed against a parent at the school, citing e-mails and phone calls that “frightened the staff and teachers.” The story goes on to acknowledge that the temporary restraining order was denied, though it buries that point. 

Remarkably, the article names the parent, and discusses her daughter’s suspension, despite the fact that the student is in elementary school. As a former teacher and parent, I find it hard to imagine seeking a restraining order banning a parent from visiting school grounds or communicating with teachers or the principal. To pursue such a draconian order, one would expect serious misconduct. None was cited and the judge concluded the remedy was unwarranted. 

It is every parent’s right to go on campus and communicate with the school, unless she has threatened violence. The school, however, does not have a right to disclose a student’s identity or disciplinary matters regarding that student to a newspaper. This seems unwise and probably illegal to bring to the press. I would have expected this paper to use better editorial judgment.

Nonetheless, your story did cause me to look into news stories about this district and the conduct of its officials. It seems to be throwing this story out to distract from a much larger issue regarding the use of school funds beginning several years ago, and its efforts to prevent the public from viewing its financial records. 

When I worked for a public school, I was responsible for ensuring that federal funds were properly used to pay for a critical reading program. I kept every receipt, categorized copied, and it was overseen by the government and the school. I was to have this information at my fingertips in case anyone in the school or from the state administration asked to see it. Having records in order and available at all times was what made the program accountable and transparent. 

I would be asking questions myself if a school spent $100,000 on legal fees and still hadn’t provided access to the financial records. There is a larger story here, and if I wrote for the newspaper, I would be investigating it.

Kim Carr-Howard

President Biden Too Abrupt

In a previous letter, I mentioned that while I didn’t vote for Joe Biden, he would be my President and I wanted him to do well. I now have some serious reservations, here are some reasons:

The abrupt decision to halt construction of the Keystone Pipeline: Granted, this project has been controversial from its inception. However, reality is that at present we need fossil fuels to heat our homes, run our vehicles, power industry and manufacturing, provide electricity, and to create the modern hand-held devices we love so much. We are now energy independent. We need to stay that way and not provide opportunities for not-so-friendly countries to become needed energy suppliers. The solar panels that John Kerry says laid-off Keystone workers will be trained to produce require fossil fuels to produce. Biden’s Executive Order has produced heavy unemployment in the U.S. and Canada. Bottom line: The phasing out of fossil fuels is a long-term project and should be done sensibly and carefully. 

The border crisis: This is definitely a result of Biden’s Executive Order abruptness. He is the sole cause of the present mess that exists. Granted, the overall immigration situation should have been handled by Congress many years ago, but Biden took a bad situation and turned it into a massive human crisis which he is now spreading across the U.S. at a time of COVID recovery.

Communicating directly with the American people: Biden does little of this. When he does, he often appears to be reading a prepared speech from a teleprompter. 

These are three of many reservations I have about Joe Biden. He seems hell-bent on undoing things associated with Donald Trump and failing to successfully address much needed concerns and reforms. That’s my opinion. This is the America I love. You have every right to think otherwise.

Sanderson M. Smith, Ed.D.

Factual Fiscal Reality

Our nation is the greatest debtor nation in history, an out-of-control national debt of over $30 trillion. The controlling Democrat, Progressive, and Socialist members of Senate and House of Representatives continue to deficit spend. 

The first COVID-19 deficit spending added $4 trillion to our national debt. President Biden has signed a $1.9 trillion claimed coronavirus relief bill with its deficit-spending Progressive- Socialist wish list, with 91% not related to the pandemic and it increases our national debt. 

The proposed part one of Biden’s $2.25 trillion, so-called “Infrastructure and Good Paying Union Jobs Bill” is 5% Infrastructure and 95% Progressive-Socialist wish list. 

Do note that Social Security and Medicare are C.B.O. projected to become insolvent by 2035 and 2024, respectively. President Biden has no solution.

The debt and deficit spending have nation ending consequences to our survival as a nation and people. The growing national debt and its interest, defense, social security, Medicare, health care and human services, education, infrastructure projects, federal employee costs, pensions and the costs of the proposed “Green New Deal” and “Medicare for All.”

 Joe: How is the Debt going to be paid? We and our children, grandchildren and future generations demand an answer. It is time for factual and fiscal reality. 

H.T. Bryan 
Santa Barbara

Cannabis Odor Control

An open letter to Das Williams and the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors, 

I’ve lived in Carpinteria for 45 years and it’s been a wonderful, wholesome community. That feeling has changed in the last three years.

Last night while driving home on the 101 freeway around 7:15 pm, I noticed a skunky odor near the Padaro Lane off ramp. Then as I drove south a few seconds later the odor became heavy and obnoxious, and it lasted until I exited at Santa Claus. For a while, I had a really hard time breathing. It was extremely unpleasant and unsettling!

Fast forward to tonight, March 30. My adult grandchildren were at my house and they joked that I had been smoking pot because my garage and house smelled like the outside of a cannabis warehouse. My whole house reeks of the pot smell right now.

It’s really pathetic that this is still going on with no odor control in place or sympathy for the general community that has to put up with this smell. Where is my quality of life or my neighbor’s quality of life?

If any of you lived in my house, I guarantee something would be quickly adopted to contain this unpleasant odor. You wouldn’t stand for this intrusion as long as I have. You made these ordinances, now please put a policy in place for upcoming permits to make it livable for everyone.

Nanci Robertson


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