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To drill or not to drill? City council explores zoning changes at Venoco plant

By Dale Myers
The Carpinteria City Council at its Nov. 24 meeting voted unanimously to further review oil and gas development regulations and heard a lengthy yet civil debate from an overflowing crowd on whether or not to ban onshore oil drilling in the city, specifically at Venoco Inc.’s property.  Venoco, which has applied to drill at its Carpinteria Oil and Gas Processing Facility, has an existing zoning designation that allows it to drill for oil; however, a future alteration of the zoning code is possible, which if approved could re-designate land-use policy and ban drilling at the Dump Road property altogether or more closely regulate drilling projects.
Currently, land designated for Coastal Dependent Industry in Carpinteria is zoned to permit drilling for onshore oil, but the council’s decision asks city staff to review and/or recommend alterations to the types of industry that fit into the Coastal Dependent Industry category.
Linda Krop, chief counsel of the Environmental Defense Center, urged the council to not be afraid of adopting a designation that protects the public from “risky” oil and gas operations. “You (the council) have the ability to re-designate properties in the public interest,” she said. Whereas Ian Livett, local vice president of Venoco, stated that any drilling at its Carpinteria location would be on just one acre, with initially a single onshore drill. “This does not include hydraulic fracturing and never will,” said Livett. “It will provide oil needed by California and (millions) in royalties to Carpinteria and Santa Barbara County.”
Opposing any ban on drilling were many other Venoco employees and associates who stressed that the company is environmentally friendly and provides much-needed jobs in a tough economy. Ike Ikerd, General Manager of Clean Seas, a Carpinteria company that provides oil-spill response equipment, trained personnel and expertise in the planning and execution of response techniques, said, “If the council goes through with this (banning drilling), it will cost jobs, and Clean Seas will go out of business.”
Proponents of drilling also pointed out that California is the largest consumer of oil in the United States and imports more than half of it to the state, and drilling in Carpinteria could alleviate some of that burden. “California uses 1.6 million barrels of oil a day and only produces 600,000, and the environmental impact of importing this much oil is astronomical,” said Livett. “Venoco is not Big Oil. We are committed to environmental protection.”
On the opposite side of the fence are many Carpinteria residents who wish to maintain the integrity of the bluffs and insist there is no such thing as safe oil. Gail Marshall of GOO (Get Oil Out) said Carpinteria “places a high priority on the bluffs” and encouraged the council to recall the aftermath of the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill, the largest oil spill in California history. Some opponents of drilling are also indifferent to the Paredon Project’s potential for revenue. They maintained that Carpinteria garners most of its revenue from tourism and strongly urged the council to ban drilling at the site.
However, city attorneys have expressed that Carpinteria would be vulnerable to litigation following such an action. In fact, “Any action here raises the possibility of litigation,” said Deputy City Attorney Jena Shoaf.
In conclusion, Mayor Brad Stein, who reiterated that the city has never shied away from litigation, said, “We will go forward with long-term planning and Venoco will go forward with its application.”
The next City Council meeting will take place on Monday, Dec. 8, at 5:30 p.m. in the Council Chamber at City Hall, 5775 Carpinteria Ave.


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Medels take field at Mile High

Medels take field at Mile High

Rich Medel and sons Tommy and Mike enjoyed VIP treatment at the Mile High Stadium thanks to insider access through former Carpinteria resident and proud Boys & Girls Club alumnus Mario Carrera. Rich, the retired B&G Club director, recalls when Carrera accepted the 1979 award as Youth of the Year for the club. Carrera, now the Chief Executive of Revenue for Univision’s national network of Spanish radio and televisions stations, invited Rich and sons to Denver to experience game day with the Denver Broncos. They had field access before the game against the San Francisco 49ers and sat 12 rows deep on the 20 yard line when Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning broke the career touchdown record. At halftime, Rich gave a radio interview for Univision about his career with B&G Club, one of his proudest charges having been Harvard grad Carrera.

Rams relish CIF championship: Volleyball squad completes perfect season

Rams relish CIF championship: Volleyball squad completes perfect season
(Photo by Bill Swing) The Cate girls volleyball team gathered to celebrate its CIF SS Division 4A championship and its perfect season.

By Peter Dugré
The Cate School girls volleyball team locked down its biggest win of the season, a 3-1 (16-25, 25-22, 25-22, 25-18) championship triumph over Duarte High School on Nov. 22 at Cerritos College, but the journey meant more than the destination.

“We’ve been savoring every step of the way,” commented coach Greg Novak. “Winning CIF was always the goal, but this year, every match we’ve played, we’ve slowed down and enjoyed every minute. The finals were the icing on the cake, and even they went by too fast.”

Following the opening set of the finals, Cate found itself in an unfamiliar position, trailing 1-0. The Rams had not lost a regular season or playoff set, never mind match. Duarte used two big hitters, who initially carved up the Ram defense with roll shots and line shots. “They took us out of our game,” Novak said. “Some of it was nerves and some of it was a different style of play that caught us off guard.”

The second set started out much like the first—with the Rams desperately seeking answers to Duarte’s attack. Cate trailed until Duarte reached 20 points, but then the Rams stepped into the driver’s seat. A confidence-building rally turned things around. Peyton Shelburne paced the Rams with 23 kills. Delaney Mayfield had 16.

Then in the third set, the team fell behind again, when the Blue Crew, the team’s raucous supporters arrived. Buses to the game had gotten caught in traffic, leading to inferior fan support early on for the Rams. The students had been able to stream video of the match from the bus, so they were up to speed on how critical a moment the match was at, the score locked at 1-1, when they filed into the gymnasium. The Blue Crew then helped to fuel the final two sets and clinch the title.

“We were right about to make a comeback (in the third set) when the students started coming in,” Novak said.

In the final set, the Rams jumped up to a big lead right away, and it never got closer than a five-point margin. Still, commented Novak, “Those last few points take forever.” Cate girls volleyball won its first CIF championship in 23 years.

Maddie Becker had eight kills and 10 digs; Xandrine Griffin contributed eight kills and two blocks, and setter Hannah Barr recorded 5

Nimmer brings Everyone Has a Story to a screen near you

Nimmer brings Everyone Has a Story to a screen near you
Over the last year, filmmaker Larry Nimmer has pointed his camera at hundreds of individuals on his quest to record and preserve the stories that shape individuals.

By Lea Boyd
Larry Nimmer wants your story. The local filmmaker believes that everyone has something of interest in their personal history, something that an individual’s friends, family and perhaps even the rest of the world would benefit from having captured on video and made accessible on the internet. Thus, Everyone Has A Story.

Nimmer launched Everyone Has A Story early this year and has since compiled over 200 video interviews with people, mostly Carpinterians, who share bits and pieces of their lives while the camera rolls. The videos, which tend to run between 30 minutes and an hour, are then posted to everyonehasastory.org, where anyone from Aunt Hilda in Kalamazoo to a fifth-grader researching World War II history can access them.

“One thing that makes me happy is when I can give people a platform to express themselves,” Nimmer said. “People like to talk about themselves, and they feel good afterwards.”

The ubiquitous cameraman, who often goes by his Coastal View News column title “The Man on the Street,” has been eliciting self-expression for years, either with his videography work, his summer gig on the mic as “Larry-oke” or his comment-collecting for the newspaper.

His initial plans were to call the recent project Talking in the Library and to focus his camera on the patrons of the local library and their diverse stories. It evolved into Everyone Has A Story, a project unencumbered by a particular set of walls, though many of the existing videos do feature library patrons and Supervising Librarian Tara O’Reilly is the program consultant.

Anyone willing to be interviewed is invited to participate. Of particular interest, Nimmer said, are elderly folks whose stories might soon be lost, as well as those he describes as the “disenfranchised,” people who may not have other outlets for their personal histories.

Nimmer sees Carpinteria as a laboratory for the experimental project. He hopes that with the simple video recording and sharing tools that are now available, the project will be eventually implemented in other cities far and wide.

This holiday season, Nimmer hopes to collect interviews from families who want to preserve a loved one’s unique recollections and perspectives. “It’s an easy way to pass stories on to future generations, and it’s a perfect holiday gift,” he said.

There is no cost to participate, and Nimmer is willing to come to a person’s home to conduct the interview. He can also arrange for interviews to take place between family members in different locations using laptops or smartphones and online video conferencing tools. Interviewees can opt to have the video made public or unlisted.

For more information or to view any of the videos in the current collection, visit EveryoneHasaStory.org. To participate, contact Nimmer at nimmer@EveryoneHasAStory.org or phone at 708-4753.

What’s your story?
The following quotes came from videos that can be viewed by visiting EveryoneHasAStory.org and clicking on “View Highlights.”

“When that bear saw me, it came up on its hind feet and was batting at me ...”
Emily Miles

“My worst date was a Grateful Dead concert, and the guy I went with decided to throw one of my shoes at the band.”
Lisa Thomas

“I’m someone that’s at an Avocado Contest, so, I can’t be that important.”
Gilbert Gottfried

“It wasn’t a good idea to order take-out food with a monkey in the car.”
Karen Mix

“I was aghast that there was nothing to do for girls.”
Dorothy Campbell

“It was Dec. 7 and I heard an anti-aircraft shell land on the hill, over my home.”
Richard White

“She grabbed the scalpel from him, cut the balls off the dog’s corpse and threw them at the chalkboard.”
Jim Koch

“When Jack had Alzheimer’s … he got lost in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.”
Donnie Nair

“And I said to my mom, ‘Why didn’t you ever tell me my real name?’”
Beatrice Novobilsky

“And a human head rolled out onto the ground.”
Russel Ewing

“I’ve learned that however much you care, you cannot make some people love you back.”
Virginia Urbach

“No comment.” (after he was asked his advice for a good marriage)
Al Gore

“(Doc Carty) took Roger’s patio furniture and stuck it all on the roof.”
Lou Panizzon

"The Coastal View Blues"

"The Coastal View Blues"

by the Man on the Street, Larry Nimmer.

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