Carpinteria warming center opens

To combat expected freezing temperatures forecast for the next several nights, a warming center for those without shelter will be open at Carpinteria Community Church, 1111 Vallecito Road, from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. each night through Jan. 15. This center is new for this season in Carpinteria and joins several warming centers across Santa Barbara County. For more information, or to help, call Maria Long and Ed Wesson, of The Warming Center Team, at 452-5466.

Burquez brothers ref CIF finals

Burquez brothers ref CIF finals
The referee crew at the Division 6 CIF SS football finals between Paraclete and Monroia high schools contained Carpinteria familiar faces Tony and Wally Burquez, who are pictured second and third from left.

After getting their humble refereeing start on the sidelines and fields of Carpinteria Boys & Girls Club sporting events, Wally and Tony Burquez have become respected referees who regularly get the call to officiate important contests. This season, Wally was the referee and Tony was the head linesman for the CIF SS Division 6 championship football game on Nov. 30. Monrovia High School defeated Paraclete High School in the game 23-7. Lifelong Carpinterians, both brothers were original members of the local Boys & Girls Club, which opened in 1967. They later refereed there before taking on higher levels of athletic contests.

Warriors over Rams

Warriors over Rams
Warrior midfielder Alexa Benitez navigates through a sea of Cate School defenders at Cate

CHS girls soccer defeats Cate 4-1

Playing a patient game and capitalizing on scoring opportunities, Carpinteria High School girls soccer defeated Cate School 4-1. The teams traded goals early on in the game to start the battle off at 1-1, but the Warriors owned the second half.

Midway through the first half, Monica Garcia scored off a Cristina Valdez pass for the Warriors. The Rams answered five minutes later with Ellen Lempres scoring an energy-boosting shot for the Rams. However, Gabi Montes De Oca hit a shot off a Kelsie Bryant pass in the final minute of the first half to put the Warriors in front 2-1.

In the second half, Bryant generated more offense for the Warriors. First, she fed Valdez, who used her head to plunge the ball into the net. Then Bryant scored one of her own with 25-yard goal after receiving a pass from Natalie Saito.

Coach Charles Bryant said, “I was pleased with all of our players today who for the most part played with a lot of composure and confidence on the ball and were able to dictate play.”

Rams coach Lisa Holmes stated that the team has played with intensity despite its winless record (0-7) against mainly upper division opponents. “We have seen some real potential from this team, some flashes of excellent soccer and some leadership from the junior class to compliment the work of the seniors,” Holmes commented. The Rams open the Condor League season at home against Thacher School on Jan. 19.

––Peter Dugré

Pool lifeguards lend a helping hand with PAL

Pool lifeguards lend a helping hand with PAL
Lifeguards at the Carpinteria community pool train on the powered assist lift, ensuring that all pool patrons have access to the facility.

Water-based activities provide low impact exercise that is important for many; unfortunately, getting in and out of a pool can be tricky. Carpinteria Community Pool just made entering the pool much easier for people with limitations to their mobility. The local facility has a powered assist lift, PAL, and a well-trained staff available for pool patrons who would prefer a little help getting in and out of the water. The $6,000 PAL was donated by the Noon Rotary Club of Carpinteria several years ago and is still hard at work.

Warriors get revenge

CHS girls basketball evens slate in victory over Cate School

By Alissa Jesle

The girls basketball crosstown match between Carpinteria High School and Cate School produced true rivalry results on Dec. 15 at Cate School. The Warriors were looking for redemption after the Rams routed them in their meeting earlier in the season, while Cate looked to put a dominant stamp on their bragging rights with a season sweep. The teams got out to a sluggish first half before ramping up the pace in a run and gun second half and a nail-biting finish that tipped, 33-32, to the Warriors.

At the 2-minute mark, the game was tied 28-28. Cate’s Grace Dickman’s pull up jumpshot put the Rams ahead by two points with 1:48 remaining. Brittany Newsome added two points with less than 1:30 to go, expanding the Rams’ late cushion to 32-28. But Cate ran into momentum-killing foul trouble near the end of the game, which the Warriors were able to ride to victory. With 40 seconds left in the game, Warrior guard Bethany Lugo put the game away with free throws and the Warriors won by a nose, 33-32.

“Carp is a second half team and we talked about it,” Dickman said. “We knew we’d have to come as strong as they would. “

“We knew if we could make our free throws, we’d be good,” added Morgan Wallace of the Warriors.

It took some time for both teams to get going. Thanks to strong defense from the Rams, the Warriors were forced to take poor shots with the shot clock winding down during a low-scoring first half. Rebounding was key for Cate and kept the Warriors at nine points for the half while the Rams generated a six-point, 15-9 advantage at the half.

Both teams came out with gusto in the second half. Warrior Elena Schneider started the shooting match with a nice jump shot. Not to be outdone, the Rams’ Mikaela Li sank a floater that wowed the crowd.

“The first half was a bit rocky for us because we were trying to feel out our new offense,” Wallace said.

Cate led at the end of three quarters, but could not hold the lead for the one that counted. Rams’ foul trouble helped the Warriors make some crucial freebies from Lugo and Erin Saito. Lugo made each of her seven free throws, which changed the momentum of the game. Lugo also split the defense and made an acrobatic lay-up to bring the Warriors within one.

Scrappy play from both teams created an exciting and intense finish with each team fighting for possession of the ball. “We just kept working as a team, chipping away at the score,” Lugo said.

Warriors win bracket at Bashore b-ball tourney

Warriors win bracket at Bashore b-ball tourney
Warrior guard Kyle Millhollin dashes to the rim in a tight loss against eventual tournament champion San Marcos High School. BILL SWING PHOTO

Determined CHS boys protect home court

By Peter Dugré

At Warrior Gym, Carpinteria High School boys basketball collected three wins in a four-day tournament between Dec. 14 and Dec. 18 to grab the consolation championship over Nordhoff High School. The Warriors found a variety of ways to come out on top—part scrappy defense, part slashing finishes and part outside touch—to make this year’s Jim Bashore Holiday Cage Classic an overall success and character builder before Frontier League play begins in the New Year. “As a team, we feel complete, and everyone feels prepared. We still have all those league games coming,” senior captain Marcus Hutchinson said after a win over Santa Ynez High School. From the point guard position, Hutchinson facilitated at times and put the offense on his back at others to earn an All-Tournament nod.

Dec. 14 - Friday’s primetime event at Carpinteria High School’s Jim Bashore Holiday Cage Classic pitted the host Warriors against formidable boys basketball opponent San Marcos High School. Favorites going in, the Royals were given a run for their money from the high-energy Warriors, who “came out and executed,” according to coach Johnny Ward. The Warriors were never down by more than six points along the way before falling behind 49-40 at the final buzzer. “We had a few too many turnovers in the end,” Ward said. Xavier DeAlba, Marcus Hutchinson and Ian Craddock scored eight points each in a balanced effort against eventual tournament champion San Marcos.

Dec. 15 – The Warriors survived round two in a tight battle against Orcutt Academy by a score of 49-47. “They played us tough,” Ward said. The Warriors were paced by Hutchinson’s 11 points and eight points each by Kyle Millhollin, Duncan Gordon and Craddock. A Millhollin fourth quarter 3-pointer helped the Warriors maintain their lead. The teams matched points in the second half after the Warriors carried a 26-24 lead into halftime.

Dec. 16 – The Warriors trailed 40-38 with 4:10 remaining in the consolation semifinal game against Santa Ynez High School before ending the game on a 13-2 run to capture a 51-42 victory. Hutchinson, who led the team with his 14-point performance, said, “It was a good team win.” He said after the Warriors gave up the lead midway through the fourth quarter “Coach (Johnny Ward) fired us up.”

Ward said, “They responded exactly how I hoped they would. We went out and took it.” He credited Hutchinson and Gordon for sealing the victory. Hutchinson scored 10 of his points in the third quarter, including two driving lay-ups on which he was fouled and converted his and-one free throws. Gordon sank all four of his fourth-quarter free throws on his way to 13 points for the game, six of which came during the deciding 13-2 run. Millhollin (six points) and Paul Cortez (five points) also hit big shots in crunch time.

Xavier DeAlba scored 10 points, picking up important buckets to get the Warriors off the starting blocks in the first and second halves.

Dec. 17 – In the consolation championship, the Warriors built a 17-point first half cushion, but Nordhoff High School came all the way back before the Warriors hung on for a 67-64 win. “We did just enough. It was a collective effort today,” Ward said. The first half surge was sparked by Hutchinson’s offensive outburst. He finished with a season-high 20 points. Also fueling the effort was Millhollin, who put up 17 points, his season high. “The offense came out ready to play and we did what we’re capable of doing,” Ward said. Craddock also hit double figures with 14 points. The win over the Rangers also provided insight into a key league opponent for the Warriors.

San Marcos defeated Santa Barbara High School 60-54 in the tournament championship.

COMB drama threatens pipeline inspection

By Lea Boyd

A critical inspection of the South Coast’s water pipeline is now underway despite fears that a closed session meeting of the Cachuma Operations and Management Board on Dec. 14 would derail plans to identify safety, reliability and capacity issues within the aging infrastructure.

Multiple sources indicate that the COMB board was considering the dismissal of the organization’s general manager, Bruce Mowry. The board took no reportable action, according to COMB President Lauren Hanson. Nonetheless, the agenda item raised much concern about maintaining a schedule to inspect the pipeline should Mowry have been fired.

“It would have most likely delayed or postponed the whole inspection,” said Carpinteria Valley Water District General Manager Charles Hamilton, “and who knows for how long.”

The conduit inspection, performed by the Bureau of Reclamation, has been postponed several times already and is over a year overdue. Constructed in the 1950s, the water system is aging, and its safety and reliability are threatened by corrosion and a long lifetime of wear and tear. Additionally, reductions in its capacity have occurred over the last several decades, and this inspection is expected to provide answers to questions of how capacity was lost and how it can be restored.

Closed session proceedings are not made public, but documents recorded during public comment indicate that Mowry could have a truncated future with COMB, an agency charged with maintaining and operating the water system that feeds Cachuma Lake water to the districts between Goleta and Carpinteria. The COMB board is made up of a representative from each member water district, including CVWD.

In an unusual turn of events, the Bureau of Reclamation, which would typically not involve itself in personnel matters at COMB, submitted a scathing letter to be read aloud prior to the closed session meeting last Friday. Regarding the agenda item labeled “Employee Discipline/Dismissal/Release,” the letter by Bureau representative Nick Zaninovich stated, “First the Bureau would like to go on record with its displeasure concerning the timing of the proposed action. It is a well-known fact that Dr. Mowry has been instrumental in the extensive planning that has occurred relative to the Tecolote Tunnel inspection that is scheduled for December 19, 2012 – only five days from now. This action has directly threatened to further delay the inspection.”

The letter went on to state, “Based upon the circumstances surrounding prior inspection postponements, one could easily perceive that the current closed session item is another attempt to delay the inspection one more time. This perception has basis due to the Board’s full knowledge of the inspection date but yet scheduling this item for consideration just days prior.”

Why COMB would consider dismissing its general manager and why it may intentionally delay the inspection is unknown. In response to CVN’s request for an interview, in a Dec. 18 email, COMB Board President Hanson stated only that, “The Bureau will be doing one of their regular inspections of the Tecolote Tunnel tomorrow, Dec. 19. COMB is happy to be assisting them.”

The Bureau’s letter went on to state that it supports a comprehensive administrative review of the COMB organization. “This action is of particular importance due to the lack of action relative to long-term outstanding Bureau recommendations, which Dr. Mowry seems committed to address,” stated Zaninovich.

Mowry was hired as the general manager of COMB when Kate Rees resigned in the midst of the controversy surrounding COMB’s attempt to secure support for its Second Barrel Project in 2011. The project, which would have cost $10 million, was to create 8,000 feet of redundant pipeline between Goleta and the south portal of the Tecolote Tunnel, which transports water from the lake. CVWD opted out of the project, citing a disproportionate advantage to Goleta Water District from the added capacity.

Ultimately, under Mowry’s leadership, COMB downsized its project to the construction of 2,000 feet of redundant pipeline—to accommodate a portion of the conduit evaluated at highest risk for failure. The Modified Upper Reach Reliability Project, cost $4.2 million and was paid for mainly through $3.2 million in Prop 50 funds.

Christmas bird counters find rare birds

Christmas bird counters find rare birds
Frank Sovich photo: From left, birders David Levasheff, Dianna Ricky, Ruth Drake, Jack Drake, Sheri Mayta and Don Ricky press pause on their bird search to snap a quick photo in Gobernador Canyon.

Clad in binoculars and bearing long lenses, over 60 people roamed Carpinteria Valley on Dec. 16 in search of bird species to add to their list for the Carpinteria Christmas Bird Count. In total the participants tallied 157 species—possibly 160, if the additional three can be verified—including some rare birds such as a burrowing owl, the now famous gray hawk, snowy plovers and black and white warblers.

Characterized by coordinator Rob Denholtz as “really successful and a great deal of fun,” this year’s count, the fourth annual in Carpinteria, attracted new birders and resulted in a list of nearly 10 more species than last year.

The continued presence of the rare gray hawk, a Latin American species never before documented in California much less Carpinteria, was credited with some of the additional buzz surrounding this year’s count. The count’s co-compiler Eric Culbertson, who initially identified the hawk locally a few weeks ago, said that the birding circle estimates approximately 500 people have ventured to the Santa Claus Lane area to see the visiting raptor. On the day of the count, Denholtz met a man who had flown in from Colorado to see the hawk.

Count participants divided the area, which approximately spans from Fernald Point to Seacliff, and from the inland side of the Santa Ynez Mountains to two miles offshore, into zones known to attract specific species. Groups were assigned to the areas, starting their count in the morning and checking in with Denholtz and Culbertson midday to report their findings and, possibly, set off again in search of additional birds.

Denholtz said that, with only one exception, all the private property owners who were approached allowed counters on their land, which helped to bring up this year’s numbers. Also, according to Culbertson, some “top-notch birders” from Ventura and Santa Barbara opted to participate in Carpinteria’s count this year due to new awareness of the area’s high diversity of bird species.

Following the all-day event, participants gathered for a group dinner in the Silver Sands mobile home park clubhouse, where they tallied the number of birds and relayed their adventures of the day.

The local count is one of hundreds that took place last weekend across the country. Results are fed to the Audubon Society, which maintains a database of each year’s documented finds.

––Lea Boyd

Council recognizes January as Business Month in Carpinteria

Council recognizes January as Business Month in Carpinteria
Mayor Brad Stein, CVCC President Lynda Lang, pictured at left, and Annual Awards Banquet Chair Karen Graf display the proclamation recognizing January 2013 as Business Month in Carpinteria.

At the Dec. 10 Carpinteria City Council meeting, newly appointed Mayor Brad Stein awarded his first proclamation, declaring January 2013 as Business Month in Carpinteria. Accepting the proclamation were Chamber of Commerce CEO Lynda Lang and Annual Awards Banquet Chair Karen Graf. During public comment, Graf invited the general public to that event, which is slated for Saturday, Jan. 26, at the Carpinteria Boys & Girls Club, 4849 Foothill Road.

Rincon teacher arrested

Rincon teacher arrested

Michael George Carey, a 41-year-old math teacher at Rincon High School, was arrested on campus for felony sexual battery and misdemeanor child molestation on Dec. 12 at 1 p.m. According to a press release from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department, the charges stem from an investigation into the inappropriate touching of a female student.

Few details are available due to the nature of the case, but Carpinteria Unified School District Superintendent Paul Cordeiro said that the investigation was prompted by an anonymous tip made on the Sheriff’s Department website. Carey has worked for the district since 2001, first at Carpinteria Middle School, then at Carpinteria High School before beginning at Rincon three years ago.

Counseling services were increased at Rincon in the days that followed the arrest. Additionally, according to Cordeiro, administrators met with students and staff to discuss the limited information made public and to encourage any students who wished to speak on the issue further to meet individually with counselors. The response, Cordeiro said, was intended to “create a sense of family (at the school) and give kids a chance to talk.”

Following his arrest, Carey was held at the Santa Barbara County Jail in lieu of $25,000 bail. He has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of this investigation.

CUSD to review security procedures

Given the tragic school shooting in Connecticut last week, the Carpinteria Unified School District will review and improve current security procedures. Superintendent Paul Cordeiro will be meeting this week with local law enforcement officials to identify ways to make its campuses as secure as possible. Superintendent Cordeiro will convene a meeting of administrators and law enforcement officials on Jan. 7 and then report to the school board at its meeting on Jan. 8. “Our campuses are an important part of the Carpinteria community,” stated Cordeiro. “They are, first and foremost, for our students but are also accessible to and used by many Carpinterians. Beyond what we currently do we want to see what more we might do to keep students, staff and volunteers safe. There are no easy answers, but there are, I’m sure, changes—some immediate—we can make to heighten security.”

CHS girls water polo falls to Pacifica

CHS girls water polo falls to Pacifica
Warrior senior Hope Grant reaches out for possession of the ball during a home loss to Pacifica High School for CHS girls water polo.

By Alissa Jesle

It was too little, too late for the Carpinteria High School girls water polo team, which found its mojo in the fourth quarter but couldn’t erase a three-goal deficit, losing 9-6 to the Pacifica High School Tritons from Oxnard on Dec. 6 at Carpinteria Community Pool.

The Warriors started slow and were in a 4-2 hole at halftime. “We needed to drive more, take more shots,” senior Maddie Brooks said. “We’re known for being a really aggressive shooting team and we need to bring that earlier in future games.”

A minute into the third quarter, the Warriors’ Hope Grant hit the net and brought Carpinteria to within one of Pacifica, 4-3.

The Warriors’ in-your-face defense hit its stride early in the third quarter, forcing the Tritons to take bad shots and overshoot the goal twice. But as the third quarter wound down, the Tritons wound up with back-to-back goals from Lizzet Sanchez, leaving the Warriors down 6-3.

A glimmer of hope came to Carpinteria when Hope Grant scored an easy goal in the final seconds of the third quarter with the Warriors down 6-4. Then with 5:48 left in the final quarter, Brooks made another of her three goals for the day, bringing the Warriors yet again to within one of the Tritons, 6-5.

The Warriors looked primed to make a fourth-quarter run, but the Tritons beat them back. Even though the Warriors’ push-and-shove defense in the last quarter of the game caused the Tritons to hurry shots that hit the goal posts twice, CHS’s newfound mojo could not outlast the clock.

With two minutes left in the game, the Tritons scored two more goals. Brooks sank one last goal for the Warriors with 58 seconds left in the game, and the Warriors fell by the final count of 9-6.

“We didn’t come out as hard as we could at all in this game. We came out at the fourth quarter, which was too late for us,” Brooks said.

With more tournaments ahead for the Warriors, Coach Bryan Swarm said he’ll use those games to “work on our transitions, work on getting shots off earlier, and starting with good team defense.”

Shirley reaches 40-year milestone at Coastal Liquors

Shirley reaches 40-year milestone at Coastal Liquors
At right, Shirley Walski, who opened Coastal Liquors with her husband in 1972, poses with her daugher, Shirley Frances McEntire, and grandson, Jacob McEntire.

Many Carpinterians can’t even remember life before Shirley. The proprietress of Coastal Liquors, Shirley Walski, has been a fixture behind the counter of the local bottle shop for four decades as of December 2012.

“I was just a pup,” Walski said of her beginnings in the liquor business. Her husband, Frank, had worked at the store for former owners Max and Lucille Weiler before he and Shirley bought the business in 1972. They took a chance on Coastal Liquors, selling their house to fund the purchase and moving into the apartment above the shop at 4860 Carpinteria Ave. Frank died in 1986, but Shirley kept the business alive.

Now, at 80 years old, Walski still shrugs off the question of when she’ll retire. Her daughter, Shirley Frances McEntire, has become “the boss,” according to Walski, but customers can still expect to see Walski’s face and hear her abundant advice when they drop by for a can of beer, a bag of chips or a handful of lottery tickets.

CHS graduate joins global clean water efforts

CHS graduate joins global clean water efforts
Gabi Garcia will arrive in Ghana this winter armed with the skills and equipment to set up clean water businesses.

By Erin Lennon

A dripping faucet is more than background noise to Carpinteria High School graduate and Massachusetts Institute of Technology sophomore Gabriela Garcia, who knows that clean water is something that many people throughout the world cannot access.

Garcia, a biological engineering major, will join 30 other Community Water Solutions fellows who will split into groups of four or five for three weeks to install sustainable water treatment businesses around Ghana. CWS establishes clean water systems throughout rural areas in developing countries using simple, affordable technologies for cleaning, delivery and storage of drinking water. The nonprofit, founded by MIT alumna Kate Clopeck, has established 40 facilities throughout the world, delivering clean water to over 22,000 people.

These sites are the essence of local business. Community users pay minimal fees, which ensure that upwards of 1,000 locals continue to receive clean water after Garcia and her colleagues jet back to their respective institutions. The resident fees cover operational costs and maintenance and pay local employees to run the business.
“We work directly with community members and teach them how to run the system, so after we leave they can supply clean water for years to come,” said Garcia.

These clean water businesses not only supply potable water but supply wages while empowering local women, according to Garcia. CWS reports that 80 women have been “empowered” by the 40 water businesses currently launched. In areas where CWS has opened businesses, women traditionally stay at home to care for the family. These businesses provide women an opportunity to earn a wage while remaining within their communities.

Garcia notes that her biological engineering focus plays a minimal role in clean water, but clean water plays a vital role in her growing interest in people and the health industry.

“My CWS fellowship will benefit me by putting things in perspective and allowing me to get out of the academic bubble and really do something selfless,” she said.

This is not Garcia’s first foray into clean water and out of the academic bubble. While water has not always been Garcia’s forte, she sees that it is becoming a theme in her experiences and her developing interests.

A summer internship at the Carpinteria Valley Water District introduced her to the importance of clean water, research and cooperation while developing her appreciation for nonprofit work. As an intern she wrote a technical paper for the CVWD board and two pieces for local readers exploring the safety of local water.

“She didn’t have experience with water, but she is a local girl with a strong background in chemistry and biology,” said Carpinteria Valley Water District General Manager Charles Hamilton. “I knew she could answer the question, is your water safe?”

Garcia has collected $1,300 in donations for project expenses and equipment. Her goal is to raise $3,000 before Christmas when she flies from the Carpinteria area back to Boston and then on to Ghana. If Garcia does not meet her fundraising goal, she can continue to collect after she returns.

“I have a short break, but it was important for me to come back and spend time with my family and the community that built me up,” she said.

Raising funds is not Garcia’s only goal. She is also spreading information and raising awareness about the need for clean water in developing countries.

Those interested in making a tax-deductible donation to Garcia’s efforts can visit, and those interested in learning more about CWS’s efforts can visit

Shark infested waters

Experts weigh in on “The Year of the Shark”
By Peter Dugré

(DEC. 13, 2012) Two incidents from among the long list of Santa Barbara County white shark encounters of 2012 evoked the words, “That scared the heck out of me,” from Peter Howorth, director of Santa Barbara Marine Mammal Center, during his Year of the Shark presentation on Dec. 7. Howorth, who hypothesized that the recent spike in activity is due to a slow rebound of the population after the 1994 ban on white shark fishing, recounted that those “scary” shark tales occurred in Carpinteria.

One took place in mid-September when Carpinteria City Lifeguards were dragging the summer swim platforms in for the season. SBMMC had earlier received a report of a bitten seal carcass drifting down the coast near Sandyland Cove, west of city beach. Personnel headed to Carpinteria City Beach and arrived just in time to notice the carcass washing ashore. Carpinteria City Lifeguard Supervisor Chuck Graham had not received the same report. Unaware of the carcass, Graham dove into the water and ran head first into a white shark’s meal, near a blood trail, no less.

Howorth considers Graham extremely lucky. White sharks often dart up from beneath their prey and land a couple of fatal bites. They then retreat until the animal dies and come back to finish the meal when the prey can’t put up a fight. If this typical feeding scenario played out, city lifeguards, particularly Graham, could have been in grave danger from a shark monitoring its meal until it was ready to finish what it started.

Then on Nov. 1, Carpinteria’s seal rookery was the white shark capital of California. According to Howorth, a NOAA scientist from Seattle was observing the seal rookery from Casitas Pier and counted six seals hauled out on the beach with bite wounds that day. Concurrent to that observation from the scientist, SBMMC representatives were at Rincon Point collecting a seventh seal, which had washed up with white shark bite wounds. What “scared the heck out” of Howorth was the presence of a surfer near the rookery. The six confirmed bitten seals was an unprecedented event.

During the presentation, which was the headlining portion of an annual fundraising night hosted by SBMMC at Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, Howorth theorized that the most plausible reason evidence of white sharks in Santa Barbara County was more abundant than ever in 2012 is that there are more white sharks. He sought to debunk beliefs that white sharks’ increased presence was due simply to more seals or other rumored causes like water temperature rise.

“There has been a local population (of harbor seals) at the rookery in Carpinteria since the late 1800s, at least. The colony has been around for quite a while,” Howorth said. He noted that seal counts conducted by Carpinteria’s Seal Watch volunteers have remained around 300 individuals at peak times since the mid 1990s. “When you say there are more seals than ever, that’s not quite true,” Howorth said, addressing some popular myths fueled by internet chatter.

The notion that Carpinteria’s seal rookery attracts white sharks, however, cannot be refuted. Pinnipeds (seals and sea lions) make up a big part of a mature white shark’s diet, making seal rookeries natural attractions to the predator. However, the increase in the white shark population is independent of the local seal rookery, Howorth said.

He believes that the white shark population boom—which cannot be backed up with a scientific count—is attributable to the 1994 enactment of a California regulation protecting white sharks. Although specifics about the reproduction of white sharks remain unknown, Howorth asserted that it takes nine to 10 years for sharks to mature to reproductive age. From there, gestation takes up to two years, scientists believe. After the parent generation reproduces, the next generation of sharks would not reach adequate size to prey on pinnipeds for another nine or 10 years. Rough math shows that it is plausible that we are just now seeing the shark population rebound due to the 1994 ban.

While pinnipeds are “the canary in the coal mine” by which the health of the population of white sharks can be judged, according to Howorth, the number of humans who have fallen victim to white shark attacks increased drastically over recent decades. Between San Simeon and the Mexican border 31 humans have been attacked by white sharks since 2000, according to the presentation. Only four were attacked between 1990 and 1999. The number of attacks on humans has spiked dramatically in the last four years, Howorth said. Of those attacked, 78 percent were paddling something, be it a surfboard, kayak or similar vessel.

The increase cannot simply be explained by more people in the water, he insisted. “I simply cannot believe we had a seven-fold increase in the last decade because more people are in the water. I just don’t buy that.”

In order to avoid shark encounters, ocean-goers should follow a couple simple safety guidelines, Howorth said. The experiences of 2012 have helped SBMMC communicate more effectively with governmental agencies and to coordinate in order to erect beach warning signs. Signs, like the ones that have been posted in Carpinteria several times this year, need to be heeded, Howorth said. Warning signs are put up only if credible white shark evidence can be verified. “We don’t want to cry wolf,” he said.

Recreational ocean users should avoid groups of pinnipeds. When a human is spotted with seals, Howorth commented, it’s “kind of like a new item in a food bowl,” and white sharks may take an investigative nibble.

Other pointers are to use the ocean with buddies, not wear flashy jewelry, avoid trailing bloody fish and to get out of the water at the first sign of sharks. “There’s no guarantee of one place being safer than another,” Howorth concluded. The best thing to do is “make good decisions based on accurate information.” This latest round of information reinforces what the evidence of more bitten pinnipeds washing up on beaches demonstrated throughout the year, the Carpinteria coast now has a heightened presence of white sharks.

New board faces CUSD highs and lows

New board faces CUSD highs and lows
Superintendent Paul Cordeiro swears in new school board member Alison Livett, left, and reelected board member Terry Hickey Banks.

By Erin Lennon

New Carpinteria Board of Education member Alison Livett joined the board for her first meeting on Dec. 10, while longtime board member Terry Hickey Banks was sworn in to begin her fifth full term on the board. The newly configured board heard a presentation on Aliso and Summerland schools’ accomplishments before diving into the ever-tightening district budget.

Many factors color a school’s performance, but success was apparent as Aliso School rose to 865 on the state’s Academic Performance Index and Summerland dropped slightly to 945, still easily exceeding the state’s desired 800 level.

Aliso and Summerland Principal Holly Minear took the opportunity to explain maintenance strategies for continued success. She reported that 63 percent of Aliso students and 84 percent of Summerland students tested at or above proficiency in English Language Arts.

To continue success, Minear’s strategy is to get people talking. She proposed increasing collaboration between teachers, instructional assistants and other staff. Technological interventions will have their role, as will enrichment programs, including art, music and theater at Summerland and extended learning time at Aliso.

Aliso students will spend 30 minutes, four times a week focused on developing vocabulary through conversation in smaller groups of peers.

“We’ve never had this dedicated time to work on oral language development,” said Minear. “We’ve had reading time, we’ve had math time, we’ve had science time, but this is a first.”

Math scores stayed consistent at both sites, with 80 percent of Aliso students and 93 percent of Summerland students testing proficient or above. Fourth- and fifth-grade teachers will transfer this success by participating in the District Math Initiative to better prepare students for algebra.

Science scores were also on the rise, with Aliso students seeing increases across the subgroups while Summerland jumped to 93 percent proficient. Minear credited the Science Matters curriculum, which uses comprehensive lessons to increase science literacy in students, as well as career exploration and afterschool enrichment. Both sites have increased discussion of college and career to connect students with curriculum, especially in science.

The board congratulated Minear and her staff. “It’s been evident for some time that what’s happening at Aliso is working,” said Banks.

When Minear finished, the board checked the proficiency of the district budget, verifying that CUSD can pay the bills this year and the next two. It won’t be an easy road, though.

CUSD is looking at a $226,415 operating deficit for the current budget, despite making over $424,000 in cuts, including five fulltime educator positions. The district has had to cut over $3 million since 2009, according to Assistant Superintendent Cindy Abbott. The budgetary deficit is estimated to surpass $1 million in 2014-2015.

“It’s simple math,” said Abbott. “We have more increases in expenditures than we have increases in revenues under the assumptions that I use.”

Those assumptions include a 1.5 to 2 percent annual increase in property taxes—the major revenue source for basic aid districts like CUSD. Abbott also foresees ongoing fair share cuts costing the district over $1.3 million in annual funding on top of continually increasing healthcare insurance premiums.

Premiums rose by 10 percent this year, stretching the budget by an additional $220,000. Abbott expects the same in 2013-2014 and an 8 percent increase the following year.

The district is also facing a reduction in select revenues. As a District of Choice, CUSD received over $111,000 this year for allowing students residing outside of the district to attend Carpinteria High School. This measure sunsets in 2017, forcing CUSD to phase out those revenues. The district also received $62,664 from a Mandated Block Grant, which ensures the district receives a percentage of what the state owes in reimbursements to the district for required activities.

“We have quite a few years of unpaid claims, and the state is required to pay those, but they haven’t done so yet,” said Abbott.

Subsequently, Abbott projects that the district’s reserve balances will drop from 14.82 percent this year to 7.75 percent in 2014-2015. The district is still solvent but not as secure as the board would like.

Despite the doom and gloom that dominates budget discussions, CUSD has received some good news recently. Proposition 30 passed on Nov. 6, saving CUSD over $1 million in cuts, and the Legislative Analyst’s Office says districts can expect higher revenues in the years ahead. However, Abbott notes that Proposition 30’s tax increases are temporary and that new funding mechanisms are also being investigated, like Weighted Student funding, which was denied earlier this year. That model would have cost CUSD $2.5 million.

“What does it mean if things are getting better in the state?” Abbott posed unanswerable questions. “How fast are they going to get better? How are we going to see revenue increases? Will we see revenue increases?”

The governor’s 2013-2014 proposed budget comes out in mid-January followed by the CUSD board’s budget study session.

The next regular school board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 8, at 5:30 p.m. in Carpinteria City Council Chambers, 5775 Carpinteria Ave.

Lieberknecht’s water days come to an end

Lieberknecht’s water days come to an end
Pictured in 1969 from Carpinteria Herald archives, Bob Lieberknecht had already served five years as CVWD general manager.

By Peter Dugré

Robert Lieberknecht, the 83-year-old outgoing Carpinteria Valley Water District director, has been involved in the circulation and delivery of local water for long enough that he knows a thing or two about pipe corrosion. “Water systems, like anything else, wear out,” he said. “Metal tries to return to the ground.”

Lieberknecht has been with CVWD, as General Manager and then Director, for 48 years. He was hired on with the district in the spring of 1964 after a career as a draftsman working on pipeline systems. In July of 1964, Lieberknecht was officially promoted to GM. On his first day, he remembers, a big water tank fell over. “It was kind of like buying a used car and having the wheels fall off.” He remained as GM for 31 years until July of 1995, but it was a short retirement from CVWD; that fall he was appointed to the board of directors. This fall he lost his bid for re-election, and Dec. 7 was his final day as probably the most influential person in the history of local water.

In 1964, the district’s population was just 6,700 people and simultaneous to Lieberknecht becoming GM, CVWD acquired the downtown business district along Linden Avenue, which had been serviced by the private Carpinteria Water Company. Also in Lieberknecht’s tenure as GM, around 40 miles of new pipeline went in along with many new wells to keep up with expansion in Carpinteria Valley.

“He was involved in a lot of the early growth of the district,” said Charles Hamilton, Lieberknecht’s successor as GM in 1995 through the present. “He knew a lot about pipes and distribution systems. He was a real nuts and bolts, hands-on type of manager.”

Under Lieberknecht’s leadership, the district’s population grew and was expected to continue to grow. In the mid-1960s, Carpinteria began receiving water from Lake Cachuma to supplement well water. The City of Carpinteria incorporated in 1965 and for a short period, Lieberknecht remembers, city leaders kicked around the idea of taking over water in an effort to make Carpinteria a full-service city, meaning it would manage water and sewage.

Drought hit in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Wells dried up. Compounded with the lack of water, Santa Barbara County projected rapid population growth throughout the South Coast. Out of desperation, CVWD devised a plan to hook into Ventura County’s Casitas Water District to avert shortages when Lake Cachuma was nearly dry. “It worked pretty well to keep people in water,” Lieberknecht said. He remembered water levels in Cachuma becoming so low that water needed to be pumped from the reservoir when gravity had done the job in the past. CVWD was in crisis mode.

In that context, Lieberknecht made the case to the public that Carpinteria needed to take part in the State Water Project. Responding to the pressing issue, 62 percent of voters approved the costly purchase of state water in 1991. “That’s why state water went over, because of drought and future demand,” Lieberknecht said. That was more than 20 years ago, and now customers are still paying for what amounts to roughly $96 million in debt for water that hindsight shows the district never needed. The rains came; the population boom did not.

Contrary to what his biggest detractors might think, Lieberknecht does not have horns. He shoulders much of the blame as a symbol for what rate payers consider to be astronomical rates and fees assessed by CVWD. The man with nearly 50 years of involvement in the district is an easy target. “I can see with increased water rates, people get upset and throw arrows at you and everything else, thinking you’re wasting money. But that’s not the case. The district has been pretty lean,” Lieberknecht said.

CVWD watchdogs have been under-whelmed by the district’s efforts to sell Carpinteria’s state water obligations, but Lieberknecht says he has been trying for many years to offload excess water to developers. “We’ve tried to find buyers. Of course, right when we tried to find buyers the economy went bad and there was no expansion,” Lieberknecht said.

He wishes his successors on the board luck in landing a big budget-impacting sale of state water but considers it a tall task. “Their campaign was they’re going to get rid of state water and lower rates. I don’t see how,” Lieberknecht said. He predicts that budget pressures—rising costs and stagnating revenues—will cause a slight uptick in rates in the coming year, with or without the last man with direct lineage to the state water purchase sitting on the board.

Although politics led to Lieberknecht’s demise as a board member, he’s still fascinated by water, its delivery and its role in the movement of populations in California. “It’s always a semi-problem when you get into a desert area and try to make things bloom,” Lieberknecht said. “Particularly in California, young people are missing the boat if they don’t get into water science.”

On losing his seat, he said, “Maybe it’s about time to turn it over to new people to keep the taps running.”

New era begins for City Council

Nomura and Shaw seated, Reddington says goodbye

By Sara Monge

(DEC. 13, 2012) There was palpable excitement in Carpinteria City Hall when the city council welcomed Wade Nomura and Fred Shaw to the dais and bid goodbye to Councilwoman Kathleen Reddington at its Dec. 10 meeting. The new council also elected Vice Mayor Brad Stein as mayor and Councilman Gregg Carty as vice mayor for the next two years.

Shaw and Nomura will fill seats vacated by Reddington, who ran for a second term but came up short of votes in the November election, and Joe Armendariz, who stepped down from his seat last summer to accept a job offer in North Santa Barbara County.

Stein said he was humbled to be nominated as the Carpinteria mayor. “This is the sixth or seventh council I’ve sat on,” he said, “… and I can honestly say it is one of the best already … because all four of you are well known in the community and have contributed so much of your time to make this community better and have done so selflessly.”

At their official seating on the council, both Nomura and Shaw expressed their love for Carpinteria. Nomura said, “I’ve been many places around the world … none more beautiful than Carpinteria, and I’m not just talking about the natural resources, but also the people.” Nomura said he expects that both on and off the dais Carpinterians will have differing opinions about the best direction for the city, but he believes the important thing is to hear from everyone and address everyone’s concerns while always considering what is best for the city.

Shaw seconded Nomura’s remarks saying, “Obviously we live in a beautiful place, (but) the people are what make this town the great place it is.” He thanked the community for putting their trust in him and vowed to do his “best to represent each and every one of you.”

Outgoing Councilwoman Reddington was thanked for her four years of service on the council. Reddington regularly clashed with other councilmembers during her term, but her colleagues expressed thanks to her, lauding what was accomplished during her tenure. Stein said, “You and I have had an interesting relationship up here, but you’ve opened my eyes to a few things and I thank you for that.” Reddington always fought for what she thought was best for the community, Stein added.

In her last speech from the dais, Reddington thanked city staff and described her time on the council as a “blessing.” She enumerated the list of things accomplished during her time, and specifically thanked her colleagues for banning single-use bags and establishing the Integrated Pest Management Board.

Reddington encouraged other strong, outspoken women to run for office and take other leadership roles, but cautioned, “just be ready to have others want you to keep quiet and get along, to be sweet and play nice, to hold your tongue and defer to the status quo. If you do that it will not serve the community’s nor the environment’s interest and your voice may never be heard. Instead, speak up. Be bold. Let them be uncomfortable. And get things done.” She added, “There is nothing more powerful than a community that is outspoken and engaged … tonight may be my last night on the council, but I’ll always be around.”

Stein and Carty also thanked Councilman Al Clark for his tenure as mayor, specifically for weathering some of the tough times. During Clark’s time as mayor he streamlined meetings, acted as a leader during tough budget cuts and the controversial passage of the single-use bag ban.

“Individual councilmembers, in and of themselves, have absolutely no more power than an ordinary citizen,” Clark said. “It’s only when we work together as five people, we have the power to make policy.” He also said of his tenure, “We’ve had interesting challenges during the past few years, but we have grown as we’ve met those challenges—and the city has grown—and we’ve accomplished a lot of good things.”

In other news, the new council got right to work hearing a report about design standards that will affect new development in the beach neighborhood south of the railroad tracks (the Spot and Silver Sands Mobile Home park excluded). Design guidelines will encourage residents to consider neighbors’ views, privacy and neighborhood aesthetic when planning development and remodels. The document touches on everything from height and architecture of residences, to fencing and landscaping. It even has suggestions about exteriors of mailboxes, especially for multiple unit developments.

Two public hearings and multiple meetings with the Architectural Review Board and Planning Commission resulted in the new document, which Clark said he wished could be “taken back 20 years before the McMansion era.” Nomura, who just left his post on the ARB to become a councilmember, said, “these policies have been sorely missed” and will “dramatically improve new development.”

The next regular Carpinteria City Council meeting will be held on Monday, Jan. 14 at 5:30 p.m. in the council chambers at city hall, 5775 Carpinteria Ave.

Nutcracker takes the stage

Nutcracker takes the stage
Bali Gutierrez is this year’s Clara in Curtis Dance Studio’s production of “The Nutcracker.”

Bali Gutierrez is ready to meet her prince, onstage that is. Gutierrez’s dancing talent and dedication won her this year’s role of Clara in Curtis Dance Studio’s “The Nutcracker,” a holiday classic that will be performed at the Carpinteria Middle School on Friday and Saturday.

“Excited,” was how Gutierrez said she felt when studio owner Bonnie Curtis asked her to dance the coveted role. Having danced with Curtis since kindergarten, Gutierrez, now a seventh-grader at Carpinteria Middle School, has several years of experience under her young belt.

The young women chosen to perform Clara for the local studio must not only be capable of impressive ballet, they must be committed enough to give up three months worth of weekends to learn the part and practice, practice, practice. According to Gutierrez, the sacrifice is well worth the honor. She looks forward to the entire production, but most anticipates her solo, an intense scene in which she searches for her nutcracker prince after he is lost in battle.

“The Nutcracker” takes the stage on Friday, Dec. 14, at 7 p.m., and on Saturday, Dec. 15, at 1 p.m. at Carpinteria Middle School, 5351 Carpinteria Ave. The performances will feature local dancers of all ages as well as special guest dancers Jack Wiley, Bernie Delgado and Marisa Delgado. For tickets and more information, call at 684-4099 or visit

Rincon High Schoolteacher arrested

Rincon High Schoolteacher arrested

According to a news release form the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office, Michael George Carey, 41 years old, of Carpinteria, and a teacher at Rincon High School in Carpinteria was arrested Wednesday, Dec. 12 at the high school for felony sexual battery and misdemeanor child molestation.

The charges stem from an investigation into the inappropriate touching of a female student. Carey is being held at the Santa Barbara County Jail in lieu of $25,000.00 bail.

Carey has also been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of this investigation.

Due to the nature of this ongoing investigation, no further information is being provided by the sheriff's office.

Taber celebrates triple digits

Taber celebrates triple digits
Carol Taber still plays her bridge hand wisely at 100 years old. On her birthday, Dec. 4, she collected the winnings ($1) from the game held the week prior at Sandpiper Mobile Home Park.

Carol Taber may be 100 now, but she’s still a force to be reckoned with at the duplicate bridge table, where she and her partner, Betty Dalberg, play every week and often win. Prior to the Dec. 4 game, bridge players and family members celebrated Taber’s 100 years with a luncheon and candle-topped cake.

Taber’s children Carol Bahr of Carpinteria, Don GerBracht of San Luis Obispo and Alan Gerbracht of Colorado, as well as her niece Susan Waite of Idaho, joined the celebration and had plans to continue the festivities with other dinners and lunches throughout the week.

“People just can’t believe she’s 100,” said Don. Though Taber uses a walker now, her mind remains sharp as a tack. Along with bridge, she enjoys music, writing letters to the editor, reading and cheering on her beloved Lakers. She was diagnosed with cancer 15 years ago, according to Don, and considered opting out of treatment due to her age and her wish to avoid chemotherapy. What she assumed was the end proved to be just another chapter in her long life.

Football players get TVL awards

Football players get TVL awards
Recognized for outstanding play in Tri-Valley League football, the following players garnered First and Second Team nods from the league, from top left, Kevin Stein, Jacob Barbere, Jonathan Esqueda, Xavier De Alba and Duncan Gordon; and from bottom left, Paul Cortez, Peter Ramos, Derrick Shirley-Moore and Ian Craddock.

Battling in the tough Tri-Valley League this season, which featured two of the top teams in CIF Southern Section Northwest Division Football, the Carpinteria High School football team (5-5) produced nine All-TVL individual award winners. Earning first team nods were Paul Cortez as an all-purpose player, running back Peter Ramos, defensive lineman Derrick Shirley-Moore and quarterback Ian Craddock. Garnering Second Team honors were linebacker Kevin Stein, outside linebacker Jacob Barbere, running back Jonathan Esqueda, offensive lineman Xavier De Alba and defensive lineman Duncan Gordon. The team finished with a 1-3 record in TVL and missed playoffs, but the league was stacked with opponents like Northwest Division semifinalist Bishop Diego High School and champion Nordhoff High School. Oak Park High School also made playoffs after defeating the Warriors, 26-21, in the final game of the season

Warriors hit the hardwood

Warriors hit the hardwood
Senior captains looking to turn things around for Warrior basketball this season are, from left, Xavier De Alba, Kyle Millhollin and Marcus Hutchinson. The trio will lead the Warriors into the home Jim Bashore Holiday Cage Classic, a buffet for basketball lovers, between Friday, Dec. 14 and Monday, Dec. 17.

2012-2013 basketball preview

Boys basketball:
An undersized Carpinteria High School boys basketball team has plans to deliver a sneak attack to Frontier League opponents this season. The Warriors return “a nice core” of players, according to third-year coach Johnny Ward, and the down year last season, which had the team looking up from last place in league, could be a weapon as this team thinks it has a shot to climb every rung of the league ladder to finish on top.

“Last year wasn’t the best year, obviously,” Ward said. “The guys are really working hard and coming out with the mindset that that’s not going to happen again ... That’s not Warrior basketball.” So far, so good. The Warriors won their season opener on Nov. 27 by a score of 49-42 against Hueneme High School.

Returning to right the ship are senior captains Marcus Hutchinson, Xavier De Alba and Kyle Millhollin, who all bring varsity experience. The offense will flow through Hutchinson, the point guard and facilitator for a team that has its share of shooters in the back court. A varsity football and baseball player, Hutchinson has proven to be a key athlete across the CHS sports spectrum. “(Hutchinson) is a great kid and a great athlete. Everything he does, he’s pretty good at,” Ward said of the player who will be charged with running the Warriors’ Princeton offense.

The backcourt also features Millhollin, Paul Cortez and Reuben Garcia, each of which has a shooting touch from the perimeter. “Our guard play is definitely our strength this year,” Ward said.

Post guys like De Alba and Duncan Gordon might give up a few inches to teams that have long centers, but both are fresh off football season and will muscle their way into position to collect rebounds and keep opponents off the blocks. “We play bigger than we are. The kids aren’t afraid to box somebody out and go make contact to get the ball,” Ward said.

Adding to the team’s athleticism this year will be junior Ian Craddock, a versatile player who led the Warriors in both points and rebounds against Hueneme, his first varsity contest. Craddock was the junior varsity MVP last season.

Ward said most impressive about the first game of the season was having three double-figure scorers, a luxury not typical on recent teams. Craddock had 14, and Hutchinson and De Alba each added 10. With veteran players who have experience running the offense, look for different players to enter the double-figure club on any given night. “The kids are looking to shoot and score. It could be a different guy each night, depending on who’s hot and who’s feeling it,” Ward said

Frontier League is very competitive this season, but Ward sees the Warriors in the mix with a handful of teams. “The league champ could be 5-3,” he said. League play begins at home against Fillmore High School on Jan. 4 at 7 p.m. The Warriors will host the annual Jim Bashore Holiday Classic on Friday, Saturday and Monday, Dec. 14, 15 and 17.

Girls basketball:
The Warrior girls basketball team will use its five experienced seniors to make noise in Frontier League this season. According to coach Dan Mercer, the team has its sights set on winning league and advancing deep into playoffs. “We’ll go as far as the seniors take us,” he stated.

Early practices have been promising on the leadership front. Mercer said captains Erin Saito, Bethany Lugo and Elena Schneider have pushed the team to excel and take pride in its conditioning. Now the challenge will be to continue the effort level and “getting everyone to buy into what we are attempting to do on a daily basis in practice and games,” Mercer stated.

The team should be able to gauge how well it has jelled following the Carpinteria/Bishop Tournament that began on Dec. 4 and ends on Dec. 8.

Player versatility will be key, as several can play multiple positions. At the guard positions, quickness will be a strength, and in the post, the team gains height and humor from Amy Davis, which will contribute to team chemistry, Mercer said.

Last season, the team finished in the middle of the pack in Frontier League with a 6-4 record. The Warriors host Fillmore High School to open league play on Jan. 8 at 7 p.m.

Faulkner interviewer returns to Cate

Faulkner interviewer returns to Cate
Simon Claxton, a 1962 Cate School graduate, meets students in a creative writing seminar taught by Brooks Hansen, pictured left.

Submitted by Cate School

In 1962, Simon Claxton was a one-year British exchange student at Cate School with an assignment to write a paper about an American author. While most his of classmates quickly claimed Hemingway or Steinbeck as their subjects, Claxton took another path and accepted a teacher’s suggestion that he profile Nobel prize-winning Southern author William Faulkner even though Claxton had not yet read any of Faulkner’s stories or novels. Just weeks later, during spring vacation, Claxton showed up on Faulkner’s doorstep in Oxford, Mississippi, where he requested, and was granted, an interview with the famously cranky and reclusive writer. Surprised, honored and feeling slightly unprepared for the task, Claxton sat down with Faulkner at his home, reading his questions and taking notes on the back of two sheets of paper on which the young student had retyped an article on Faulkner from LIFE Magazine.

This week, Claxton returned to Cate for the first time since his graduation 50 years ago and told his story to current students and faculty, which he noted stemmed from “an ordinary Cate assignment.” He recounted his solo travels from Carpinteria through Dallas, New Orleans, Memphis and Natchez, and finally to Rowan Oak, Faulkner’s crumbling estate in Oxford. Claxton read the full interview, later published in the Cate Review, in character, imitating Faulkner’s southern accent and switching to his 17-year-old British-accented voice.

He began with the well-crafted description of the aging writer he had penned in 1962.

“Faulkner is a short, small man, with, for instance, tiny feet. However though he may not be very physically big, he radiates enormous strength as a character. His face has a set serious expression, which many would call hard and cruel. He rarely smiles. His whole person is centred (sic) on the face, and especially the eyes which are steady and small and black, and terribly strong, and one feels, all-seeing.”

Faulkner, Claxton recounted, answered all of his questions, some with surprising candor, covering his writing process, his thoughts on reviews and the reception of his books, and offering advice to aspiring writers.

“Read a lot,” Faulkner told Claxton, “and of everything—fiction, biography, history, law.”

“I read all the law books of my father and grandfather. Because they were dealing with man in his human dilemma. Wherever man is involved, he becomes a victim of the writer’s will. Secondly, don’t worry about the reception of your books. Maybe one day a badly received book will be an acclaimed masterpiece.”

Faulkner died just months after the interview, rendering it nearly his last, and its content has been examined by scholars and biographers ever since. Claxton went on to study at Cambridge University and became an English teacher, working in British schools for 46 years.

Claxton closed by describing the lifelong impact of what he called a “modest drama” between a “young boy and a wise old man”: “As you can see, I was immensely privileged to be given, out of blue, a few minutes with a colossus of world literature, who reacted to my kindness and naïve and impertinent questions with the greatest kindness and patience. The wonder of it has been that I hardly knew what I was doing at the time, but the memory has grown and matured within me ever since.”

Claxton will remain in the U.S. for several weeks, delivering lectures in California, Louisiana and Texas for the English Speaking Union exchange program and ending with a talk at the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society meeting in New Orleans. He spent several days on the Cate campus, meeting with students, faculty and administrators, including visits to English and creative writing classes. 

When asked by a current faculty member if he remembered his grade for the now-historic assignment, he readily replied. “I got an 85—is that good?”

A video of Claxton’s talk is available at

November election certified

Santa Barbara County’s certification of the Nov. 6 election results confirmed the winners of local elections as last announced in Coastal View News. The provisional ballot count had yet to be completed when the county last updated its numbers on Nov. 16, which left a slim chance that the winner of Carpinteria Valley Water District’s second seat could change. However, Polly Holcombe officially claimed the seat with 29 votes over fellow slate member Shirley Johnson. Earlier results had Johnson in the lead by one vote. Carpinteria’s new board members and councilmen will take their seats in the upcoming month.

Businesses of the year nominations extended

Didn’t get a chance to nominate a beloved local business? You’re in luck. The deadline to submit nominations for this year’s small and large businesses of the year awards for the 55th Annual Community Awards Banquet has been extended from Nov. 30 to Tuesday, Dec. 11. Forms can be printed from or at the office of the Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce, 1056-B Eugenia Place. Nominations for 2012 Carpinterian of the Year and community Merit Awards are due to the chamber office by Friday, Dec. 7. The banquet is on the calendar for Saturday, Jan. 26. For more information, call 684-5479 x10.

Nomura and Shaw to join council

Incoming councilmen Wade Nomura and Fred Shaw will be seated on the Carpinteria City Council at its next meeting, scheduled for Monday, Dec. 10, at 5:30 p.m. in the council chamber at City Hall, 5775 Carpinteria Ave. Outgoing Councilwoman Kathleen Reddington will also be recognized for her four years of service to the city. The meeting’s agenda also includes a presentation on the Beach Neighborhood Design Guidelines and on the proposed approach to Beach Neighborhood Street Improvements for Dorrance Way and Third Street, including connecting streets. The Annual City Council Work Program/Strategic Planning Session will be scheduled, and a report will be made on the 2013-14 city commission and committee openings. The public is invited to attend the meeting and participate in the public comment period. The final agenda will be available on the city’s website,, on Friday, Dec. 7. For more information, call the city at 684-5405.

Sanitary District saves big with bond issuance

Though a municipal bond sale completed on Nov. 15, the Carpinteria Sanitary District took advantage of historically low interest rates and refinanced approximately $11.3 million in bond debt to achieve a savings of over $260,000 annually. Concurrently, the district issued $4.5 million in new bonds to fund the construction of two new aerobic digesters that were critically needed at the treatment plant. “The interest savings realized through this bond issuance will completely pay for the costs to construct this major facility upgrade, at least through 2025, with zero impact to the District’s existing rate structure” said Craig Murray, the district’s General Manager. “The timing was excellent and our finance team did a great job to get this bond deal done efficiently and successfully.”

Franklin Trail opening anticipated for summer 2013

The funds are in the bank and just a handful of permits stand in the way of Friends of Franklin Trail launching construction on the first phase of the long-awaited project in the Carpinteria foothills. The local group hopes to break ground in the spring and complete the first two-mile segment of trail, with 750 feet of elevation gain, by next summer. “Preliminary planning and required bureaucratic steps are taking longer than anticipated,” stated a release from the Friends. The trail’s lower reaches include the perimeter of Carpinteria High School, a segment that has led to “some tricky road easement issues,” according to the group. When those issues are resolved, the Friends will apply for a city permit. A county permit is currently under review, and access easements from Southern California Edison and a state permit will be necessary before construction gets going.

Four arrested at local pot-growing house

Four arrests were made and nearly 90 marijuana plants discovered in the search of a Carpinteria home on the morning of Nov. 30. Brian Lopez, Sr., 52; Amber Iverson, 27; Patrick Bollinger, 37; and Irene Hernandez, 49; were arrested for various drug related charges in the drug bust at 4870 Malibu Drive. Lopez alone was arrested for cultivation and possession for sales of marijuana. He, Iverson and Hernandez were arrested for possession of methamphetamines and for being under the influence of a controlled substance, and Bollinger was arrested only for being under the influence.

According to a Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department press release, the bust resulted from an on-going marijuana growing investigation. In conjunction with narcotics and criminal investigations detectives, the deputies uncovered approximately 88 live marijuana plants in various stages of growth, from seedlings to mature plants, during the search. Lt. Kelly Moore called the scene “a sophisticated growing operation in three separate locations on the property.” The investigation is on-going and will be submitted to the District Attorney for filing of charges.

Carpinteria branch spared in Santa Barbara Bank & Trust layoffs

Upon Union Bank’s acquisition of Santa Barbara Bank & Trust, which was finalized on Nov. 30, 468 positions within the Central Coast bank were eliminated. Despite rumors that the massive layoff would affect the Carpinteria branch, no pink slips were handed out at branches, and bank representative Debbie Whitely confirmed that it would be “business as usual” at the Casitas Plaza location. The layoffs were all back office positions, she said, and most were from the Goleta offices.

By merging the companies, staffing redundancies were created in the areas of operations, information technology and staff support. Employees were notified of their status last week, and 80 percent of those who were laid off will keep their positions through April. Whitely reported that Union Bank is doing everything it can to help locate work for employees who will lose their jobs. The California-wide bank currently has 175 vacant positions between Los Angeles and San Jose, which it will work to fill with Santa Barbara Bank & Trust employees.

In addition to retaining its staff, the Carpinteria branch will retain its Santa Barbara Bank & Trust signage for several months, Whitley said. The immediate benefit of the Union Bank purchase will be increased resources; for example, customers now have access to hundreds of additional ATMs.

Peace gathering turns 10

Peace gathering turns 10
The former home of Mills Drugstore has unofficially become the Peace Corner, a 10-year weekly gathering place for a group of locals campaigning for an end to U.S. involvement in military conflicts.

Recently, Carpinterian Bud Fink realized that for the last 10 years worth of Friday evenings—over 500—he and many ideologically aligned companions have had a longstanding date on the corner of Carpinteria and Linden avenues. Group members trickle in every week around 5 p.m., holding signs and offering friendly greetings to one another, and station themselves on what has become the “Peace Corner” to continue their 10-year campaign for peace.

“When we started, we didn’t think we’d be standing out here for five years, let alone 10. Yet here we are, still standing and demonstrating for peace. Hopefully, there will be a time—maybe in our great-grandchildren’s era—when we won’t have to demonstrate for world peace,” said Fink.

The first demonstration took place in October of 2002 in protest of the United States invasion of Afghanistan and the impending Iraq War. As U.S. involvement in the Middle East intensified, the group swelled to over 40 people, and at one point the corner opposite hosted an opposing group—one that defined itself as supporting American troops overseas.

Now on most Fridays a core group of six to 12 can still be found making a statement in the name of peace. Fink said that he will return weekly to protest until his country achieves peace—no U.S. involvement in any wars anywhere.

The steadfastness of the peace corner occupants has increased over the years, though their optimism may have ebbed. Fink said that despite his commitment to peace, as he watches the conflict in Syria ramp up, he feels a campaign for peace may be a “lost cause.”

––Lea Boyd

Shark event to examine encounters

Shark event to examine encounters
Peter Howorth, Santa Barbara Marine Mammal Center Photo: Evidence of white shark activity on the Santa Barbara County coastline has been plentiful throughout spring, summer and fall of 2012. Curiosity about the intensified shark activity can be quenched during a Santa Barbara Marine Mammal Center presentation on Dec. 7.

Fear and fascination were evoked when evidence of white sharks in the Santa Barbara Channel began to trickle in during the spring and early summer of 2012. Bitten seal and sea lions continued to wash onto beaches into the fall until an attack claimed the life of a surfer at Surf Beach and ultimately made the shark issue impossible to ignore. The Santa Barbara Marine Mammal Center, which has tracked and documented each encounter, will deliver scientific answers to questions about shark activity at its Year of the Shark presentation on Friday, Dec. 7, at 6 p.m. at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

According to a press release from SBMMC, the presentation aims to give a factual account of this year’s events while explaining what has changed and how the ocean can still be safely enjoyed. Ralph Collier, the chair of the Shark Research Committee and the leading authority on West Coast sharks in the United States, will be the featured guest speaker. “The white shark is the star of the show, not because of its fearsome reputation, but because it is a supremely well-adapted predator that plays a vital role in the health of the oceans,” wrote Peter Howorth, SBMMC Director, of the presentation. Tickets, which can be purchased at the museum in advance or at the door, are $20 for adults and $15 for children under 13, and the event will include a silent auction fundraiser for SBMMC.

Search Warrant Shuts Down Marijuana Operation

Carpinteria – On 11-30-2012, at approximately 0700 hours, deputies from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department served a search warrant at 4870 Malibu Drive, Carpinteria.

As a result of an on-going marijuana growing investigation a search warrant was obtained by patrol deputies. In conjunction with narcotics and criminal investigations detectives, the search warrant was served at the single family residence that was also located in close proximity to an elementary school. Located during the execution of the search warrant was; approximately 88 growing marijuana plants (in various stages of growth, from seedlings to mature plants), a sophisticated growing operation in three separate locations on the property, a small amount of suspected methamphetamines, packaged and processed marijuana, and evidence of sales of marijuana.

Four individuals were arrested at the residence and booked at the Santa Barbara County Jail for various drug related charges. Arrested at the residence were:

Brain Lopez Sr. DOB 1-22-1960
11359 H&S (Possession for Sales of Marijuana)
11358 H&S (Cultivation of Marijuana)
11550 H&S (Under the influence of a Controlled Substance)
11377 H&S (Possession of Methamphetamines)

Amber Iverson, DOB 4-1-1985
11377 H&S (Possession of Methamphetamines)
11550 H&S (Under the influence of a Controlled Substance)

Patrick Bollinger, DOB 4-27-1975
11550 H&S (Under the influence of a Controlled Substance)

Irene Hernandez, DOB 2-27-1963
11550 H&S (Under the influence of a Controlled Substance)
11377 H&S (Possession of Methamphetamines)

This investigation is on-going and will be submitted to the District Attorney for filing of charges.

Cate and CHS prepare for Crosstown Showdown II

Cate and CHS prepare for Crosstown Showdown II
Team leaders on the Carpinteria High School soccer squad for the 2012-2013 season will be from top left, Cristian Arambula and Genaro Hurtado, and from bottom left, Eduardo “Lalo” Mejia and Victor Saldaña.

High school boys soccer season has barely gotten off the ground but the anticipated Crosstown Showdown between Carpinteria High School and Cate School is already just days away. The teams will meet on Tuesday, Dec. 4, at 4:30 p.m. at CHS’s Carpinteria Valley Memorial Stadium. For the second straight year, the most deserving player on the winning squad will be recognized as Coastal View News Player of the Game and get a plaque to prove it.

Soccer season previews

Soccer season previews
CHS senior Kylie Augerot, trailed by teammate Natalie Saito, boots the ball up field during the team’s first action of the year, a 3-1 home loss against Rio Mesa High School on Nov. 20.

By Peter Dugré

Boys soccer teams visiting Carpinteria to play at either Carpinteria Valley Memorial Stadium or on the Cate School Mesa have faced near certain defeat in recent seasons. Last season the two teams combined for three losses in the 93013. One of the losses was CHS playing at Cate School, when Cate won the Crosstown Showdown by a score of 2-0 on Jan. 4. After that preseason loss inside city limits, neither of the two teams lost another game in Carpinteria and both won league titles.
Cate (20-2-1) captured a second consecutive CIF Southern Section Division 7 Championship before losing in the CIF Regional Tournament. The Warriors (15-7-1) lost in the second round in Division 4 playoffs after posting a 10-1-1 Tri-Valley League record. However, that was last season, and the two soccer programs that have raised the bar with their recent successes start at ground zero hoping that the 2012-2013 campaign will bring similar—and even greater—successes.

Warrior boys soccer:
Most notably different on the Carpinteria High School boys soccer sideline, four-year coach Daniel Torres walked away after a successful run, and first-year coach Leo Quintero will now steer the ship. Quintero said he will not implement any big changes. The team’s up-tempo style fits well with his soccer philosophy, and the most important aspect of the coaching transition has been for him to learn the boys’ personalities and see how they come together as a unit. The team has talent and confidence, he said, it’s now a matter of translating that into wins.

“They’re pretty upbeat about the season. Most guys are looking forward to competing for a CIF championship. I told them they have the ability and skills to get that far... They have the opportunity, and it’s up to them to take it,” Quintero said.

In the season’s first action, the Warriors scrimmaged Santa Barbara High School and lost 2-0. SBHS regularly plays deep into playoffs, and according to Quinteros, the Warriors outplayed the Dons for much of the match, but “failed to put the ball in the back of the net although we had numerous opportunities to do so.” The Warriors will spend the first part of the season searching for the right combination of players to generate goals.

The team’s backbone will be its defense, which returns multiple players, including senior leaders Genaro Hurtado and Eduardo “Lalo” Mejia. Both players have been roaming the back line since their sophomore seasons, when Hurtado was named to the All-CIF squad. They are joined by fellow senior Cristian Arambula. “The defense is the strongest point, I believe, we have as a team,” Quintero said. “It will be an essential part of our success this season.”

At the midfield level, senior Luca Rigonati returns following a successful junior season. The long-bodied Rigonati will look to win balls and control the flow of the game. Scoring opportunities might well begin at Rigonati’s feet before running forward through returning offensive midfielder Omar Vasquez. Vasquez played up front in his junior year, but Quintero said the senior may be shifted to midfield. Drawing the responsibility to finish the job at the net, sophomore Victor Saldaña will carry a big load. Saldaña joined varsity at the end of his freshman season, and Quintero complimented his knack for slipping shots past goalies.

The Warriors are seeking a third straight Tri-Valley League championship but must overcome stiff competition. Oaks Christian High School was the only squad to knock off the Warriors in a league contest last season, and according to Quintero, his players consider Fillmore High School to be a top TVL rival. The first home contest of the league season is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 11, at 5 p.m. versus Oak Park High School.

Beyond league play, the team has a healthy confidence, according to Quintero, and the ultimate goal for the season is “nothing short of a CIF championship,” he said.

Cate School Boys Soccer:
The bright blue on the Cate School boys soccer uniform has never had more luster. Rams soccer is fresh off of two straight CIF Division 7 championships, and even though the Rams have bumped up to Division 6, they are the favorite to win another title. The preseason CIF Division 6 poll has the Rams in the number-one slot, but a few major roster changes—most notably the loss of Ema Boateng, Gatorade National High School Player of the Year for 2011-2012—will pose new challenges for the 2012-2013 squad. Also, former assistant coach Peter Mack will take over the head coaching job from Dave Mochel.

Joining Boateng in graduation last year was four-year leading scorer Avery Schwartz, who represented the other half of the lethal offense that fueled Cate’s two titles. To compensate for the loss of firepower, senior Joshua Yaro, who was everywhere the ball was on defense last year, will move to midfield. Working in tandem with Yaro to generate goals will be returning sophomore Geoffrey Acheampong, who, like Boateng and Yaro, is from Ghana, Africa, and a product of Right to Dream soccer academy. Right to Dream trains talented youth soccer players in sport and scholastics to prepare them for placement in Western schools and the possibility of achieving their dreams.

Yaro is the team captain, and according to Mack, “Even though he’s soft spoken, (Yaro) is the heart and soul of the team.” Undoubtedly, Yaro will be the fastest player on every field he steps foot on this season. For the short term, Yaro is sidelined with an injury.

Despite the glaring loss of Boateng and Schwartz, Cate returns a healthy eight starters, including Yaro and Acheampong. The other returners are Tyler Douglas (junior), Leighton Brillo-Sonnino (junior), Matthew Firestone (junior), Patrick Thomas (sophomore), Daniel Rodriguez (sophomore), Shuta Kobayshi (junior) and Justin Kim (senior). Iman Fardghassemi (sophomore) started some last year, too. Kim and Kobayashi will also factor more greatly into the offensive. “We will still be a dangerous team in the attacking third,” Mack said.

Reflecting the ample experience and continued presence of elite players, Mack said the team’s goal is to improve on last year’s finish. Cate lost in the semifinals of the CIF Regional Tournament, and this year the team would like to not only retain its Condor League and CIF SS titles, but it also wants to compete in Regionals beyond the semifinals.

“This is a smart, gritty, confident team. And I don’t think they will allow anyone to out work them. After winning back-to-back CIF Southern Section Championships, they are well aware that they have a bulls-eye on their backs every time they take the field. But I think they are looking forward to the challenge,” Mack stated.

Following its 10-day holiday break, Cate will hit the ground running in a loaded preseason schedule against a string of teams from higher divisions. Cate opens with a match against San Marcos High School before traveling down the hill for its match with Carpinteria High School on Tuesday, Dec. 4. Then it’s on to Santa Ynez, Channel Islands, Oak Park and Pacifica high schools, all teams that the Rams will use as an early season challenge before catapulting into a playoff run.

“We have only had a handful of practices, but the strength of this team is that they’ll play like a team. There’s no question about that,” Mack stated.

Warrior girls soccer:
New coach Charles Bryant and captains Jasmine Montes De Oca and Erin Durflinger will lead Carpinteria High School girls soccer into battle against a tougher league and division this season. The Warriors move up to Tri-Valley League and into Division 3 against a whole different realm of opponents than last season’s Frontier League and Division 5 foes. TVL contains defending CIF SS champion Oaks Christian and other top 10-ranked team Santa Paula High School.

The Warriors will rely on some new and some old personnel when facing the new schedule. Durflinger, a junior, will likely play sweeper, and Montes De Oca, a senior, will make her leadership contributions either from the midfield or also on the defensive end. The back line will also contain returning senior Cristina Valdez.

Midfield will be an area of strength for the Warriors. Kelsie Bryant and Alexa Benitez return for their sophomore season and are known for their ability to get everyone involved. Charles said the Warriors fate might lie in whether the two midfielders assert themselves. Senior Kylie Augerot further fortifies the middle of the field as an outside midfielder. Receiving feeds from the midfielders on the offensive end of the field will likely be sophomore Monica Garcia who led the team in scoring in her freshman season.

Positions and personnel are still in flux due to the late start of the team. Owing to the CHS girls tennis team’s championship run, the team had barely practiced before taking the field against Rio Mesa. “We were rusty to say the least,” Charles said. “There is a lot to work on, and we have a lot of catching up to do but we will get there.”

He said the team will need to work on attacking and moving off the ball and he is hoping the team can develop a technical soundness to match the athleticism of TVL’s powerhouses.

Starting with a home rivalry match against Bishop Diego High School on Friday, Nov. 30, at 5 p.m., the team has no easy matches during its difficult season. Charles said neither he nor the team will shy away from the challenge. “My goal is to make the playoffs and not just be competitive in each match but to pull off some upsets,” Charles said.

Schools lay out plans for improvement

By Erin Lennon

While Carpinteria Family School, Canalino School and Carpinteria Middle School garnered mixed California Standards Test results, each site administrator delivered strategies for improvement in presenting annual plans for student achievement at the Nov. 27 Carpinteria Unified School District Board of Education meeting.

CFS surpassed the desired 800 mark on California’s Academic Performance Index, raising its score to 924, and meeting all federal Adequate Yearly Progress goals to keep pace with No Child Left Behind mandates. Principal Leslie Gravitz noted that her 75-student population makes site data “highly volatile.” Eighty-eight percent of students tested at or above proficiency in English Language Arts, with 85 percent in math and 100 percent in science.

Despite success, Gravitz proposed improvements, including the use of state released questions to prepare for the CST, cooperative learning in ELA and project-based learning in science along with afterschool help and increased academic aide time.

Both Canalino Principal Jeff Madrigal and CMS Principal John Merritt saw dips in API scores, with Canalino registering 784 and CMS dropping to 771. Neither met all AYP mandates; however, both presented plans to improve.

Canalino saw ELA proficiency increase in every subgroup, with 49 percent of students testing proficient. CST math scores were relatively stagnant, with proficiency down by .5 percent. Canalino’s advanced math students added 18 classmates to their ranks. The number of students testing below basic also increased, keeping proficiency around 59 percent. Third-grade ELA scores were a trouble spot. Proficiency fell to 35 percent with subgroups like English learners dropping from 25 to 17 percent proficient and Caucasian student proficiency dropping from 62 to 35 percent.

CMS ELA proficiency stayed around 50 percent, with increases in proficiency in English learner and Hispanic students. Math proficiency, however, declined in all subgroups, according to Merritt. Merritt noted socioeconomically disadvantaged students, a subgroup that has trouble on state test scores, increased to 75 percent of CMS’s student body.

Madrigal and Merritt stressed the importance of language development to boost ELA performance. Madrigal focused on structured English language development, requiring Canalino students to break into skill-level groups for daily English concentration. Staff already underwent five days of Guided Language Acquisition Design and two separate ELD trainings.

CMS is committed to helping basic students and long term English learner students, those who have been in the district since kindergarten but have not achieved proficiency in English, acquire academic language through numerous intervention programs.

Administrators proposed professional development in math and ELA to support higher CST scores. Merritt stressed the importance of peer observation and reflection for his staff’s development, specifically in math.

Canalino’s third-grade teachers, whose students saw dips in ELA scores, have agreed to observe teaching at Aliso School, followed by an observation by Aliso teachers.

“There’s something about the strategies and the practices being used at Aliso that are working, and we’re struggling at Canalino,” said boardmember Terry Hickey-Banks, who noted that Canalino teachers do not lack in talent or dedication. “Nobody can feel good about that.”

Both CMS and Canalino placed a premium on tutoring in their action plans, offering small group tutoring after school, increased use of academic aides and a staffed homework center at CMS.

“Common sense tells you, you want kids positive, and you want them feeling successful, and we’ve made some pretty significant changes this year to affect our student failure rate,” said Merritt.

CFS’s high test scores were correlated with 94 percent parent involvement, suggesting involvement reinforces the importance of school and gives students resources for success. To boost involvement, Canalino is incorporating the Canalino Family Success Chart, guiding parents in six areas they can incorporate at home to benefit their child’s academic success. These areas include high aspirations for the student’s future, parent involvement with homework and school attendance.

“No matter the expertise of the parent, everybody that we have talked to has had an aha moment,” said Madrigal.

Board President Andy Sheaffer, an outspoken advocate for increased parent involvement, suggested visiting parents at home to express the need for their involvement and using other untested, creative ways to raise participation.

Mixed testing results were not the only bittersweet development. One-term boardmember Lou Panizzon, who did not seek reelection this November, closed out another chapter in his lifetime of service to CUSD after sharing his final board communications following an earlier standing ovation at the Nov. 27 meeting.

“I would like to thank Lou for his four years on the board and his 40 years of dedication to Carpinteria as a citizen and a mentor to countless young men and women,” said Sheaffer. “He has made a difference in their lives and in the community.”

The next regular school board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 11, at 5:30 p.m. in Carpinteria City Council Chambers, 5775 Carpinteria Ave.

Gray hawk draws crowds to west end of Carpinteria

Gray hawk draws crowds to west end of Carpinteria
Liz Muraoka Photo: A young gray hawk that found itself far from home this week soars across the Carpinteria sky as dozens of bird-crazed shutterbugs snap photos and note the record sighting on their checklists.

Story By Lea Boyd

A gray hawk spotted in Carpinteria on Nov. 25 has made quite a splash among competitive birders, drawing long-lensed aficionados from all over the state to catch a peek at a species never before documented in the state of California.

“When you hear about something like this, if you can, you jump,” said Aaron Budgor. Though Budgor calls the Carpinteria Valley home, he was scanning the sky Nov. 27 in search of the gray hawk with a group of fellow birders from Pasadena, Goleta and Humboldt.

“It is really amazing this bird was found in Carpinteria,” said Liz Muraoka, an avid local birder who took the above photo of the hawk.

The bird, a young member of a species that calls Central and South Americas home, is known to breed in southern Arizona and Texas but has only been documented elsewhere in the United States, in Kansas, in 1990 and 2005. The reason for the bird’s presence in Carpinteria—over a thousand miles outside its range—will likely never be known, according to Krista Fahy, associate curator of vertebrates at Santa Barbara Museum of History. Young birds, she said, are prone to straying from their usual range. “Birds get blown off course … they can also make some bad decisions.”

Though the raptor closely resembles its local relatives, Cooper’s and sharp-shinned hawks, amateur birder Eric Culbertson of Carpinteria, who first spotted the bird hunting from a power line near Seaside Gardens on Via Real, recognized it as a potentially distinct species. He confirmed his hunch with an expert and posted it online for communities of birders in Santa Barbara County and California.

Soon after Culbertson’s first posts, people began flocking to the Santa Claus Lane/Via Real area in search of the now famous hawk. On Nov. 26, over 50 pairs of eyes were on the lookout for the gray hawk. Fahy said that if the hawk remains in the area, proof that it’s not just stopping briefly while on the move, birders from as far as Oregon and Washington will make the trip.

Tori Collender of Pasadena, who spoke to CVN while watching for the hawk on the afternoon of Nov. 27, said, “People will fly here for this bird if it’s here for a couple more days.”

Ecologically, the bird arrival is not particularly significant, Fahy said. Its presence is an anomaly, and without a mate, the chance of it establishing local population is nil. Having strayed this far from its range, the animal is unlikely to find its way home; nonetheless, people should not interfere with the bird’s chosen path, she said. The hawk could be genetically unfit, as evidenced by its foray from home, and “We do think evolution sort of knows best,” Fahy said.

Unique birds attract a unique sort of human. Avid checklist birders pursue rare species and specimens passionately, and the hobby is highly competitive for many. “It’s a combination of hunting and collecting,” said Collender.

Safety, of birds and humans, can become an issue in the pursuit of rare birds, said Fahy. Birders often spook their target, forcing the bird into traffic or away from a meal, and are known to drive erratically as they stock their quarry. People should give the hawk a wide berth and should be careful in roadways, Fahy said.

Excitement surrounding the gray hawk has surpassed other recent avian finds in Carpinteria, but Culbertson made another significant find here earlier this year with the identification of a white ibis, a species found along the Gulf and East coasts. Fahy called Culbertson a “great birder” who had had significant luck in discovering rare birds locally. She also called Carpinteria “a little gem” for birding, noting that a local tourism niche could be carved out for the popular recreational activity.

“I made a point to spend some money (in Carpinteria),” said Collender. “I always do.”

Carpinteria’s visiting gray hawk has been sighted regularly on both sides of the freeway in the area of Via Real, Santa Claus and Padaro lanes. For updates on where to look, visit

Johnson and Taff prepare to join fire board

Johnson and Taff prepare to join fire board
Chris Johnson, left, and Bill Taff claimed the two seats up for grabs on the Carpinteria-Summerland Fire District Board in the Nov. 6 election.

By Lea Boyd

In a hotter race than any in recent history, Chris Johnson and Bill Taff claimed the two seats up for grabs on the Carpinteria-Summerland Fire District Board in the Nov. 6 election. Championed by the firefighters, Taff and Johnson ran as a slate, unseating incumbent Lisa Guravitz who had the support of fellow board members and administrators. Now the new members of the board are preparing to help guide the future of the district, with their first meeting as boardmembers set for Dec. 18.

“I want to make sure the community gets the most bang for its buck,” said Taff, who worked as a firefighter for 40 years, most of them in Santa Barbara, before retiring in 2011. He and Johnson, an emergency room doctor who campaigned on his emergency medical services (EMS) pedigree, were both approached by the firefighters to run for the board.

According to Johnson, the firefighters actively sought out candidates who would provide them a “clear voice” on the board. “They felt (Taff) and I would be able to communicate their needs better to administrators,” he said.

Taff said that having worked in the field for decades, he brings an important perspective to the board—one that has been missing. “I think it was a little bit odd that of all the people on the board none have firefighting experience,” he said.

Three firefighters were laid off last year in the face of budget cuts, but the layoffs were followed by the hiring of new battalion chiefs. Taff noted that in Santa Barbara each battalion chief oversees numerous engine companies, whereas CSFD now has three battalion chiefs for only two engine companies. He says that perhaps this was the best way to spend the districts funds, but he would have seriously questioned the restructuring. “Why would you lay off the guys who actually go out and help the community?” he queried.

Johnson said that he feels Chief Mike Mingee, with the support of the board, has done a good job sticking to a tight budget during tough times, and both he and Taff insist that despite the support of the firefighters, the decisions they make on the board will be their own. Their background in EMS and firefighting, they say, will help them to bridge any divides between administrators, board members and the firefighters.

The district continues to grapple with reduced funding, which is based on property taxes, but the more immediate issue for the board will be finding the $2.5 million needed to build a new Summerland fire station to replace the too-small, too-old station that now serves the small town and surrounding areas. “The challenge is going to be finding a way to fund it and getting the community to back that,” said Johnson.

When CVN spoke to Taff after the election, he said he intended to sit down and get acquainted with Chief Mingee before pulling a seat up to the dais. Johnson said he hoped to pick Guravitz’s brain to find out if she had any goals for the district that he could help to fulfill. Both new boardmembers look forward to working with fellow decision makers Bob Duncan, Craig Price and Ben Miller. In addition to Guravitz, the new boardmembers replace Diane Brighton who did not run for re-election.

Sheriff’s Department delivers good news to council

Rite Aid denied ABC letter of support

By Sara Monge

While Carpinteria may not be Mayberry, it certainly is close as evidenced by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff Department’s Annual Report for 2011 to the city council on Nov. 26. The council was pleased to hear that despite controversial cuts made to the sheriff’s contract, the crime rate held steady with the number of crimes related to theft showing a steady downturn even as the economy continues to struggle. Councilman Brad Stein commended the department’s efforts saying, “In these days of shrinking budgets, you’ve done a great job.”

The number of violent crimes reported locally remained extremely low. Three cases of rape were documented, and the city did not see a homicide for the sixth year in a row. Although the incidence of larceny continues to decline, at 149 offenses it was by far the most frequently reported crime and the least frequently resolved—just 20 of the cases were closed. While detectives managed to clear most crimes at rates well above state and national averages—including all rape and robbery cases and most aggravated assault cases—they fell behind state averages for larceny.

However, the Sheriff’s office had warned that the elimination of a detective position in 2011 due to budget cuts would lead to such a problem. At 50 percent of its former detective staffing, the department said that the time dedicated to solving crimes would be necessarily cut in half. Spring of 2012 brought a somewhat rosier economic forecast, and the city reinstated a second part-time detective position.

Of the 72 juvenile arrests, most of which were for possessing small amounts of marijuana, 11 happened during school hours, while 36 happened outside of school days. Mayor Al Clark commented, “from the data it looks like the police are doing great even without the daytime curfew.”

While the report for 2011 looked very impressive, Lt. Kelly Moore cautioned, “We are going to have more challenges in the years to come.” He voiced concerns about the new law that shifts offenders from prison to local jails resulting in inmates being released early. The department, he said, is “already having problems with parolees.” He added that “Government (agencies) are typically a year or two behind in (economic) recovery.”

Finally, Councilman Gregg Carty asked Moore what could be done to “make patrol officers feel like our police department” and recommended a change of uniform, while Councilwoman Kathleen Reddington suggested a lapel pin. Moore explained the $15,000 price tag had deterred them from making a uniform change but added that a separate uniform could be problematic because “an officer may be in the city one day and patrolling the county the next.” However he said they are working to remedy the problem and open to exploring all options.

In other news, the council voted 4-0 against Rite-Aid’s efforts to secure a liquor license for its Linden Avenue store—the store’s third bid in five years to restore its alcohol sales. While councilmembers agreed that Rite-Aid could be trusted to sell alcohol responsibly, the store’s proximity to other alcohol vendors led the council to deny sending a letter of support to the State Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC).

Rite-Aid lost its liquor license in 2007 from its Casitas Plaza location after the store was caught selling alcohol to underage minors three times in two years. The store moved to a its new location on Linden Avenue and applied for a new liquor license in June 2008 and September 2009, but was denied both times when the city supported the Sheriff’s Department’s efforts to block the license. Since then, Rite-Aid has added ID card readers which make it extremely difficult for minors to use fake ID cards to buy alcohol. In addition, the business has worked to augment its employee training programs and penalize cashiers involved in underage alcohol sales.

Rite-Aid had requested the city issue a “Letter of Public Convenience and Necessity,” which is a requirement for selling alcohol in a space that has never held a liquor license. The alcohol license would have been transferred from the Rite-Aid store on Hollister Avenue in Goleta to the Carpinteria store.

Within Carpinteria, 44 establishments sell alchohol, and the state considers it to be “oversaturated” with liquor licenses. Silvia Echeverria, the city’s code compliance supervisor, further explained that there are three stores within five minutes walking distance from Rite-Aid which have the same permit under consideration. “The public convenience is already served in that area,” she said.

Councilwoman Kathleen Reddington commented that the city should eventually reduce, not increase, the list of vendors selling alcohol. Citing the Sheriff Department’s Annual Report for 2011, she noted that first and third on the Top 3 Charges list were related to alcohol—the first being Drunk in Public and the third being Driving Under the Influence. She also noted that possession of alcohol ranked second in charges against minors. “All three of these crimes could be reduced if we sell less liquor,” she said.

ABC has the final say on licensing, but without city support it is unlikely Rite-Aid will be awarded a permit.

The next regular Carpinteria City Council meeting will be held on Monday, Dec.10 at 5:30 p.m. in the council chambers at 5775 Carpinteria Ave.

Warrior once again

Warrior once again

Mehai finishes freshman soccer season at Westmont

By Peter Dugré

It’s not hard to spot Muhammad Mehai on a soccer field. From the bouncing pompom of curls on his head to his wild footwork and tendency to spend half the game in the air putting his forehead on the soccer ball, Mehai stands out, even if he’s doing more leaping than standing. He was a fan favorite at Carpinteria High School until graduation in 2012, and he quickly gained favor with coach Dave Wolf of Westmont College mens soccer this fall. The easiest part of transitioning from high school to college soccer for Mehai was retaining the same Warrior mascot. “I guess I’m a Warrior for life,” he said.

His first college season produced mixed results for both the team, it missed playoffs with a 5-9-1 record but gathered some meaningful wins, and Mehai, who worked his tail off to compete in a faster game against bigger players in a new position. Wolf saw talent and an impressive work ethic in Mehai from the beginning and said it’s rare for him to put full faith in freshmen. “I have a lot of respect for what he’s done,” Wolf said. “There are not a lot of people who (start) from day one. I’ve been really impressed by what he’s absorbed.”

In high school Mehai played center midfield, was an expert of winning balls for the Tri-Valley League champion CHS Warriors and was recognized as last year’s Tri-Valley League Offensive Player of the Year. At Westmont, Mehai shifted back to defense and clamped down on the right side of the back line, where Wolf said his skills in attacking the ball have been put to good use.

Wolf learned early on that Mehai was up for the collegiate challenge. In a pivotal match against Division 2 Notre Dame de Namur University, a contest that followed a demoralizing loss, a determined and tenacious Mehai led by example. “He gave the team a lift and sent the message, ‘This may only be my fifth college game, but I’ve got a lot of moxie,’” Wolf said. “Not only did he show his quality, but he showed his character.”

Both player and coach acknowledge that over the next three years a long term plan to fully tap Mehai’s potential will unfold. Mehai aims to master his defensive role and to get stronger and heavier physically in order to hold his space and become a sturdier presence when push comes to shove on the field.

Wolf said he has no doubt that Mehai will put in the necessary work. Part of the confidence comes from Wolf knowing Mehai’s high school coach, Daniel Torres, who also played at Westmont. Torres facilitated the relationship between Westmont and Mehai, and Wolf said he senses a soccer sophistication in Mehai that Torres likely imparted to him.

Mehai said playing college ball close to home has carried the benefit of him having a local following. As far as getting a starting spot in his freshman year, he said he was pleasantly surprised but not shocked because that’s what he was working for. The future, he said, looks bright. “There are a lot of positives within the squad over the coming years. We want to get into playoffs and nationals. That’s where we should be,” Mehai said.

After his first full season and hitting the ground running, Mehai said that more than anything, he is learning now that it’s still just soccer. “It’s the same thing (at Westmont),” he said. “We’re one big family. You get so close over the course of the season with teammates. Then it’s about going out on the field and fighting for one another.”

Tractor team delivers restored classics

Tractor team delivers restored classics
Carpinteria High School students, Jose L. Angeles (left) and Hector Arroyo delivered antique tractors restored in the Ag Mechanics class to local musician Roger Gilbert and his granddaughter, Jasmine Gilbert.

Following their latest feat in tractor restoration, Carpinteria High School’s Tractor Team members Jose L. Angeles and Hector Arroyo delivered restored tractors to local musician and fisherman Roger Gilbert. Gilbert’s family had previously used the now-restored orange Allis Chamers tractor to grow baby’s breath flowers many years ago, and the red International Cub was used to plow tomato fields in Oxnard at one time. The Tractor Team is part of CHS’s Agricultural Science Academy.

Officials conduct disaster drill

Officials conduct disaster drill
Public officials representing five agencies gathered in the command center at Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District and listened to a report from Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department Lieutenant Kelly Moore during an earthquake drill on Nov. 15

Carpinteria-Summerland Fire District headquarters on Eugenia Place was public official central on Nov. 15 when administrators of the City of Carpinteria, Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District, Carpinteria Valley Water District, Carpinteria Sanitary District and Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department gathered for an earthquake simulation drill. The drill gathered a brain trust of agency leaders to “get people thinking about what could happen,” according to Julie Jeakle, City of Carpinteria Emergency Services Coordinator.

As part of a countywide and statewide preparedness event, the leaders were given a specific narrative in the morning and were asked to navigate the unfamiliar territory of dealing with a natural disaster. All parties coordinated a response to a earthquake scenario with a strong quake occurring in a fault in the North Santa Barbara Channel at 5 a.m. As a result of the quake, the railroad tracks were damaged, power was lost in downtown Carpinteria and windows were smashed; Highway 101 northbound and southbound traffic was blocked at Casitas Pass Road. To deal with the scenario, first responders took to the streets and medical personnel set up at Carpinteria Middle School to deal with injuries. They also tried to find ways to get information out to the public about tsunami concerns.

Devoured dolphin likely eaten by blue sharks

Devoured dolphin likely eaten by blue sharks
dugre • CVN A long-beaked common dolphin on Mussel Shoals Beach on Nov. 15 was a meal for scavenging blue sharks, likely after the dolphin was caught in a fishing net.

By Peter Dugré

Bite marks on a 5-foot dolphin carcass that washed ashore at Mussel Shoals led beach strollers who encountered the gory body to believe it was another white shark incident. However, according to Peter Howorth of the Santa Barbara Marine Mammal Center, the death was more likely a result of a dolphin getting caught in a fishing net and then eaten by blue sharks while either still in the net or after perishing and being jettisoned. Howorth made assessments based on photographs taken by SBMMC personnel, and the dolphin was left for Channel Island Marine & Wildlife Institute.

Howorth said rope markings on the dolphin were pretty clear indication that it had been caught in a fishing net, an event that happens less often now than it did in the past. “We saw very clear impressions of what we believe to be net marks,” he said. Also, photographic evidence shows that some of the bite marks are from a blue shark, although Howorth would not completely rule out the potential that more than one type of shark bit the dolphin. Mako or white sharks also could have eaten the dolphin. “The nature of wounds we saw indicate blue sharks scavenging,” he said.

Typically a long-beaked common dolphin travels in large pods, sometimes numbering in the thousands, making them unlikely shark prey. When separated by a fishing net and injured or killed, the scavenging sharks would then have an easy meal. Howorth described a possible scenario as blue sharks trailing fishing boats and waiting for fishermen to jettison unwanted fish or marine mammals that are pulled aboard in nets. “Sharks follow boats and whatever shows up in the wake, they’re going to scavenge,” he said.

The SBMMC is planning an event on Dec. 7 at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History that will provide a scientific analysis of all the local shark events this year. Full details on the event have yet to be released but tickets will be made available to the public. Howorth said Ralph Collier “a leading authority on sharks and shark attacks on the West Coast” will make a presentation that will explain this year’s events without sensationalizing them.

CUSD high schools improve test scores

Still fall short of No Child Left Behind

By Erin Lennon

Standardized test scores are generally on the rise at Carpinteria Unified School District high schools, but they haven’t improved dramatically enough to cut it according to No Child Left Behind. At the Nov. 14 board of education meeting, principals from Carpinteria, Rincon and Foothill high schools presented action plans to improve student test performance, particularly in stubborn trouble areas.

These action plans address district schools’ performance on the 2011-2012 Academic Performance Index, which measures growth using the California Standards Test and other standardized tests, and the federal No Child Left Behind’s Adequate Yearly Progress in English language arts (ELA) and math.

Neither CHS nor RHS met the desired 800 on the API’s numeric scale or met AYP mandates. However, both schools increased their API, with CHS reaching 758 and RHS rising from 492 to 620.

To meet AYP mandates, districts are required to have nearly 92 percent of students at or above proficiency during this school year and 100 percent of students proficient by spring 2014.

The 2012 California High School Exit Exam was also discussed, and both principals shared positive data. Math results were the highest CHS has seen in years, according to CHS Principal Gerardo Cornejo, with 90 percent of test takers passing. English language arts scores also rose, with 89 percent passing, and English Language Learner scores grew drastically. Eighty-one percent of RHS test takers passed the ELA section and 69 percent passed math.

On the CST, CHS students saw an upward trend in ELA, geometry, algebra II, U.S. history and science, with drops in algebra I and modern world history.

The action plan emphasized increased utilization of Professional Learning Communities, which would assist with other objectives like revising and reviewing common and general assessments and strengthening teaching strategies. The plan also advocated using Extended Learning, a 40-minute tutoring period at the end of the day, to further identify and aid struggling students.

“We need to learn from each other,” said Cornejo. “Teaching is a very isolated profession if you choose to do that. PLCs require you to participate with your colleagues and share your knowledge.”

Staff stability affected performance on sections of the CST, administrators noted, with staff turnover being tied to drops in algebra and modern world history.

Modern world history has the “most inconsistency in teachers teaching it,” said Cornejo. U.S. history has the same teacher almost every year, he added, and scores in this area rose.

Algebra is a lingering challenge that Superintendent Paul Cordeiro called a system-wide problem, with issues reaching back to fourth and fifth grades. However, the high school and the district are working toward solutions.

“If you do not pass algebra it’s going to be very difficult for you to meet the entry requirements to go to college,” said Cornejo.

ELA CST scores were on the rise with dips in ninth-grade word analysis and vocabulary and in 10th-grade writing strategies. Scores improved in 11th grade, where EL students were the only trouble spot, said Cornejo. However, the overall number of CHS EL students testing proficient grew by 41 percent.

Increased expository reading and writing addresses ELA needs identified by CST data. Do Now activities frontload classes with language and give students necessary vocabulary and definitions to access lessons and increase English language development.

“Twenty-three percent of our students are English learners, and if we help our English learners, we’re helping our other students,” said Cornejo.

RHS Principal Kristin Mayville noted success inside and outside the classroom in her action plan. Attendance jumped to 90 percent, and the suspension rate dropped to 25 percent in 2012.

In the classroom, RHS students saw overall growth on the CST including jumps from zero to 8 percent proficient in math and from 3.8 to 10 percent proficient in ELA. Drops were seen in earth sciences, which fell from 25 percent proficient to zero and social studies, which fell to 5 percent proficient.

Mayville’s strategy for progress is to pull students from the Far Below Basic designation to basic. Students testing at the basic level in earth sciences jumped from 19 to 60 percent and from 6 to 40 percent in social studies in 2012.

“Although they didn’t get to the proficient level, it shows a very strong upward movement,” said Mayville.

Mayville’s improvement plan includes continuous checks for understanding, increased formative assessments and use of a CAL SOAP tutor, which is a local college student who works alongside teachers. RHS will also take part in the Secondary Math Initiative, collaborating with CHS on existing and future math standards. To benefit the science program and modern world history, RHS will pilot a Cyber High Curriculum to provide lectures and activities to enrich these curricula.

CHS and RHS have unique actions plans, but both encourage students to look beyond high school. CHS incorporates career track programs such as the Culinary Arts Department and the new Sports Medicine program. RHS aims to equip every student with an internship and a post secondary education plan.

“My goal is to have my students feel that they’re scholars with a plan for their education past high school,” said Mayville. “High school is a stepping stone. Moving on and taking it to the next level is what we’re always driving toward.”

The next regular school board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 27, at 5:30 p.m. in the Carpinteria City Council Chambers, 5775 Carpinteria Ave.

Warrior water polo wins one and loses one in playoffs

CIF playoffs was new territory for every player on the Carpinteria High School boys water polo team. The last time the program survived into the postseason was 2007. This year’s senior-filled Warrior squad won a wildcard home match against Pacifica High School, 15-9, on Nov. 7 but lost in round one, 19-2, at La Quinta High School on Nov. 8.

In the wildcard round, the Warriors came out fast and posted a 3-0 first quarter and climbed to 7-3 by halftime. However, Pacifica did not fold. The Tritons drew to within one at 7-6 midway through the third quarter before the Warriors found their rhythm and finished strong to seal the victory.

Cole Gill scored four goals, Ben O’Hara and Dylan Hathaway had three each, Alan Chavez and Thomas Fly each had two and Zach Clayton had one. Jacob Pate saved seven shots in goal.

The Warriors then hit the end of the line in the first round with a 19-2 loss at La Quinta. The team could not muster the same production it had during the wildcard round and was defeated by a bigger, better squad. Chavez and Clayton scored the goals for the Warriors. Despite the outcome, coach Bryan Swarm congratulated players for completing a strong season and competing to the end of the final game.

Water polo team showered with accolades

Following a third-place finish in Tri-Valley League and a playoff win, Carpinteria High School water polo players earned high honors when league awards were handed down. Senior Ben O’Hara earned TVL First Team recognition. Getting the Second Team nod were Jacob Pate and Alan Chavez, and Honorable Mention went to Dylan Hathaway and Cole Gill. Each of the players was a senior and part of the core group that spent four years together in the pool. Coach Bryan Swarm was named TVL Coach of the Year.

Cate football run ends at Mojave

A season that had towering highs ended on a lower but respectable note for Cate School 8-man football, which lost in round two of CIF 8-Man Division 1 playoffs at Mojave High School by a score of 63-21 on Nov. 9. The Rams (8-2) had knocked off otherwise undefeated Mojave (10-1) at home in September, but the improved Mojave squad beat Cate at its place.

This time around, the Rams went into battle without injured senior quarterback Kyle Mayfield, who had been the team’s primary offensive weapon when Cate scored 70 points in the first meeting. Although Cate played from behind throughout the game, senior running back Austin Gallegos punched in two touchdowns for the Rams and junior Max Vasquez got the other. Mojave has won nine straight games since losing to Cate in the first game of the second game of the season.

“We got them the first time and put 70 up on them, and they definitely remembered that,” said Ben Soto, Cate coach.

Uncharacteristically for the Rams, the team had turnover issues. “We were a step off. They were faster than us, and we picked a bad day not to tackle well or block well and we had two fumbles and an interception,” Soto said.

Although the 2012 campaign ended with a loss and an injured quarterback, Soto said there are plenty of accomplishments for the team to hang its hats on, most notably a Condor League championship. The Rams downed Thacher School to win Condor League in thrilling fashion. Both Thacher and Mojave are still in the hunt for a CIF title as the semifinals unfold. “I told the guys if they step back and look at the big picture, we had a great season,” Soto said.

Warriors win CIF Championship, first time in program history

Warriors win CIF Championship, first time in program history

By Peter Dugré

Carpinteria High School girls tennis kept rising to the occasion. In every playoff round, the competition got stiffer, but the team met the challenge. Entering the CIF Finals at the special venue Claremont Club on Nov. 9, the Warriors (25-1) faced top-seeded JW North High School (20-2) of Riverside. True, JW North has nearly 3,000 students to CHS’s under 700, but the second-seeded Warriors used team play to capture a hard-fought, 10-8 win and the first CIF championship plaque in the program’s history.

Of the successful season, coach Charles Bryant commented that the team faced new challenges compared to a year ago when it made the CIF Finals and lost. “It was different this year. We had a target on our backs. (The team) came through. Instead of bowing down, they stood up and fought.”

At the start of the championship match, the Warriors biggest star fell. Kelsie Bryant’s singles streak of 65 wins over the season’s first 24 matches ended against JW’s number-one singles player, Jasmine Almaguer. Since the usually reliable point for CHS fell on the other side of the net, Warrior number-two singles player Kassandra Ni’s opening set became all the more important. Ni posted a comeback 6-4 win, which helped the Warriors to a 4-2 first-round lead. Kelsie recovered to win her next two sets 6-0. Ni also picked up two wins overall, and also in singles, Tess Pitzer posted a convincing 6-1 victory in round one.

Rock solid number-one doubles team Erin Saito and Lesly Zapata captured a critical sweep and three points for the Warrior effort (6-3, 6-3, 6-0). “(Zapata) was as steady as I have seen her, and (Saito) was her usual outstanding self,” Charles said. Fittingly, it was Saito and Zapata who won the decisive 10th point for the Warriors.

Number two doubles team Merissa Souza and Catalina Maldonado won a key set in a back-and-forth battle against JW’s number-three tandem in round two. Solid baseline play by Souza and Maldonado’s forceful presence at the net—including a set-clinching overhead strike—gave the duo a 7-5 victory, and helped the Warriors maintain an 8-4 advantage after two rounds.

In the third doubles slot, Natalie Saito and Gabi Montes De Oca won 6-1 in the opening round. In all, the Warriors recorded five wins in both doubles and singles, exemplifying balance.

“It feels really great because we’ve been working hard all season, and we really fought for each other (in the finals). We play for each other, and I think that’s why we were able to win,” said Kelsie.

In triumph, the Warriors were showered with cheers by supporters who made the two-hour trek to Claremont. And upon returning to CHS at 11 p.m., the Warriors were met by more fans and received a hero’s welcome.

JW North finished its regular season as the first place team from the Inland Valley League. Three-of-four semifinalists in Division 5 playoffs were from that league, with the exception of CHS. The Warriors knocked off Arlington High School, the IVL runner up, in the semifinals by a score of 12-6 in Riverside on Nov. 7.

The champions will likely retain key sophomores Kelsie, Zapata, Ni and Natalie for next season. However seniors Erin, Maldonado, Pitzer and Grecia Beltran will graduate. Charles singled out Erin as an irreplaceable player for both her demeanor and leadership skills. “She is our glue,” he said.

Last season’s CIF runner up team has beenthe most successful girls tennis squad since 1977, when the Warriors had last made it into the championship round. The CIF championship marks the first title for CHS since the 2003 girls swim team won.

ConocoPhillips works to remediate bluffs oil well

ConocoPhillips works to remediate bluffs oil well

The peace of the Carpinteria Bluffs Preserve has been interrupted for the past several weeks by heavy equipment and contractors working to re-abandon an oil well originally drilled and abandoned in 1929. According to a spokesman for ConocoPhillips, the company that inherited liability for the site, workers have begun installing a series of cement plugs that will put an end to an oil seep recently detected in the area.

The project, located at the west end of the preserve, is expected to be complete by the end of December. It began with a late summer investigation of the Kitty Bailard well, which was initially dug in 1929 by Continental Oil. Though the long abandoned well never produced oil, it had provided a pathway to the surface for natural oil seeps. According to a statement from ConocoPhillips, “Like other natural seeps near Carpinteria, the oil found by the former well has low viscosity. In other words, the oil is very thick and immobile, more like tar.”

Since the conclusion of the investigation, environmental contractors working for the company have twice excavated around the wellhead, disposing of impacted soil, replacing it with clean fill and installing a new wellhead. 

“We’re happy with the progress they’re making,” said Carpinteria Director of Parks and Recreation Matt Roberts. He noted that both ConocoPhillips and the regulatory agency, California Department of Conservation, Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR), have been easy to work with throughout the process. Though ConocoPhillips acquired liability for the site without ever owning the property or conducting any operations there, Roberts said the company “stepped forward” and took full responsibility for the expensive re-abandonment and remediation effort.

The final step of the project will be the restoration of disturbed plant life. According to Roberts, the decision to start work this fall was, in part, due to its optimal timing for sowing native plant seeds just prior to winter rains. The pathway near the project site should be lined with new native grasses and wildflowers this spring, Roberts said.

––Lea Boyd

In with old, in with the new in School Board election

School board election:
In with the old, in with the new
By Lea Boyd

In the Nov. 6 election of Terry Hickey Banks and Alison Livett to the Carpinteria Unified School District Board of Education, local voters cast overwhelming support for two candidates on opposite ends of the familiarity spectrum. Banks, who boasts a 17-year tenure on the board, brings experience, continuity and local cred, while Livett, a relative newcomer to Carpinteria, campaigned on her fresh perspective and educational worldliness.

“As a new member of the Carpinteria community, I was very surprised to be elected to the second school board seat,” said Livett, who received nearly 30 percent of the votes cast in the election.

Banks spoke of a similar reaction to finding her name at the top of the four candidates, with over 33 percent of the votes. “I was surprised,” she said, “and obviously very happy.”

Though final ballots are still being tallied, Banks and Livett have been frontrunners since the earliest results were posted. As they now stand, Livett trails Banks by a few hundred votes, but has outpaced runner-up Suzie Schneider by nearly 1,000 votes and Blanca Gorman by about 1,400. Schneider and Gorman both have children in the school district and have been involved parents during their kids’ enrollment in the district.

Banks, who has successfully sailed through several past elections, said that she had worried this one might be different. She was attacked in the campaign for her support of 2010’s local oil and gas drilling initiative, Measure J, which was soundly defeated at the polls. Of her stance on the initiative, Banks said, “I don’t think it affects my decisions on the school board in any way, shape or form.”

She said that with a long tenure on the board, “the more friends and the more enemies I have.” Nonetheless, she says her actions have been consistent, and “If people have paid attention, they know who I am and what I stand for.”

Improved educational opportunities and narrowing the achievement gap at CUSD are Banks’ proudest accomplishments on the board. “You can never rest on your laurels,” she said, but during her campaign, she gathered that people are generally happy with the district’s direction. “I didn’t get the message that people expect a lot of change, just continued improvement,” she said.

Banks, who is politically conservative, said that her decisions on the board are separate from her political affiliation. She said she was “thrilled” by the passage of Proposition 30, which will save CUSD from massive budget cuts this year. “I don’t generally support tax increases, but I think this was really necessary for the schools,” she said.

Livett echoed Banks’ support of Prop 30 and noted that during her campaigning she learned about issues confronting the district beyond the financial straits faced by schools throughout the state. In recent years, the teachers union has locked horns with the school board and administrators in a series of battles over benefits and teachers’ rights, some of which have led to costly legal arbitration. The district has more work to do to bring English learners up to speed, Livett said, and local schools are plagued by “white flight,” in which more affluent families are sending their children to private schools and higher performing public schools outside CUSD. Summerland School parents are highly concerned over the state of their school, which, Livett said, is “something that the district needs to address in the relatively short term.”

Livett secured several important endorsements in her campaign, including those of First District Supervisor Salud Carbajal, former Carpinteria Mayor Dick Weinberg, Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee and the Democratic Women of Santa Barbara. She credits these as well as her qualifications—a master’s degree in teaching, a doctorate in physics and nine years experience teaching math and physics—and her promise of being a “fresh voice for parents, teachers and students” for her election win.

Banks said she looks forward to Livett joining the board and stepping into the seat now held by Lou Panizzon, who opted not to run for a second term. She added that a diverse set of perspectives on the board is critical. Livett’s years of teaching will provide an important angle, while having boardmembers like Andy Sheaffer and Grace Donnelly, who have children in the district, is also key. Of her own contribution, Banks said that among relatively new boardmembers and administrators, she can supply answers to longterm questions of how and why decisions were made. “I feel like I’m the one person who has a history of how we got to where we are,” she said.

County green lights Summerland fire station

County green lights Summerland fire station
Recently approved plans for a new Summerland fire station include a large training and emergency operations room that will also serve as a community meeting room.

The Santa Barbara County Planning Commission approved plans for a new two-story fire station on the corner of Lillie Avenue and Temple Street in Summerland at its Nov. 7 meeting. The 5,930-square-foot station, which includes an emergency operations room that would double as a community meeting room, was designed to replace the outgrown and outdated Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District station pressed between Lillie Avenue and Highway 101. “Time is of the essence with this station,” Mingee said. “It should have been replaced years ago.” Before construction can begin, however, the district must come up with a means of paying its estimated $2.5 million price tag. Fire Chief Mike Mingee said he expects the fire board to consider options for funding and make a decision early in 2013.

Venoco and employees dig deep for Hurricane Sandy relief

Venoco and employees dig deep for Hurricane Sandy relief
Local Venoco employees pitched in to raise over $3,000 toward the Hurricane Sandy relief effort, an amount that Venoco matched dollar for dollar.

Employees at Venoco donated personal funds to the American Red Cross to support victims of Hurricane Sandy, and each dollar was matched by the company. In total, a $6,600 donation was made to assist in the East Coast relief effort. Quite a few employees count New York or New Jersey as their birthplace or had family and friends affected by the disaster and wanted to help in some way. ARC Executive Director Julie McGovern said, “This donation will be used to assist those directly affected by Hurricane Sandy with their recovery. Local donations mean so much to our volunteers who commit two to three weeks of their personal time to help with disaster recovery. They see this as an investment in their efforts to help those who have suffered to reclaim their lives.”

Van Wingerden joined by newcomers on water board

By Peter Dugré

An attempt by a slate of challengers to toss out incumbents in the Carpinteria Valley Water District election was partially successful on Nov. 6, but CVWD Board President June Van Wingerden gained a reaffirming victory for another term directing the often-criticized water district. Of three candidates on the Carpinteria Water Matters slate of challengers, only Polly Holcombe appears poised to win a seat. As of Nov. 14 she led Shirley Johnson by 29 votes with a small number of provisional ballots left to be counted. In a separate election to fill a vacant seat for two years, Richard Forde beat Alexandra VanAntwerp.

A similar strategy to remake the water district board—motivated by high rates and perceived lack of transparency—was partially successful in the 2010 election. Three seats have changed hands since the push to shake up the board began.

Van Wingerden, co-owner of Ocean Breeze nursery, said the intensity of recent water district races has surprised her, and she almost walked away before the election but threw her hat in again to ensure continuity and experience on the board. “It would have been hard to have four new members running the district,” Van Wingerden said. In the 2010 election, only Director Matt Roberts regained his seat. This time around, incumbent Bob Lieberknecht, the longest serving director and former CVWD general manager for over 30 years, was ousted.

“I’m disappointed that Bob didn’t get in,” Van Wingerden said. “He just has so much knowledge. We’ll probably have to pay him as a consultant (when he’s gone). Now, we get him for free.”

Johnson said Van Wingerden’s reelection did not match the sentiment she witnessed on the streets. During the campaign, she’d found near consensus in constituents being displeased with the state of the district and high water bills.

“I think it’ll be good to have fresh views, fresh eyes,” Johnson said. At the time of the interview she led Holcombe by one vote, but now it appears her fellow slate member will be the new eyes overseeing water district operations. Johnson stressed that each of the Water Matters challengers had business experience and would focus on cutting costs and increasing efficiency.

Forde plans on bringing a new level of expertise to the water district. He is a water science professor at Ventura College and has 25 years of experience consulting agencies including NASA and the United Nations on water projects. On his victory, he said, “I think the people realize that there’ve been problems, and they can see that I’m somebody with knowledge.”

Forde was inspired to run for the water board after serving on a Santa Barbara Grand Jury in 2009 and becoming familiar with a scathing Grand Jury report about CVWD that was released in 2008. He said. “I read it and said, ‘The next time there’s an election I’m getting on this board.’” He said he plans on analyzing the district’s debt, which drives up customer’s costs, and finding ways to unburden the district. He can also apply his technical knowledge to the local water works to try and find savings, Forde said. His plan of action is twofold: increase transparency and oversee the technical side.

The new board members will join Van Wingerden, who has similar goals to the candidates trying to unseat her. She cited business aptitude as her primary strength, much like the Water Matters candidates, and she wants to find ways to cut district expenses. Her focus is on containing rising health insurance and pension costs.

Clipper to close Carpinteria office

Clipper Windpower, one of the largest employers in Carpinteria, announced to employees last week plans to close its local office at 6305 Carpinteria Ave. within the next six months. According to an employee who asked to remain unnamed, the wind energy company, which manufactures wind turbines, will retain less than 100 staff members, all of whom will be based at its Cedar Rapids, Iowa, plant.

Once a thriving company of 750 employees, Clipper has implemented multiple rounds of layoffs since it was purchased earlier this year by a private equity company. According to a Nov. 7 report in an Iowa newspaper, The Gazette, the company has stopped producing wind turbines in Cedar Rapids and is focusing on warranty service of its products.

Like several other renewable energy companies, Clipper is facing the December 2012 expiration of production tax credits for wind energy. This, and the drop in energy prices due to a boom in inexpensive natural gas production, has made business tough for Clipper and its ilk.

Many Carpinteria employees were laid off with 60-day notices and severance packages. Whether or not any local employees will be asked to relocate to Iowa is unknown. Multiple calls made by Coastal View News to Clipper spokespeople were unreturned.

This latest news comes on the heels of TE Connectivity (Tyco Electronics) announcing it will close its Carpinteria location at 550 Linden Avenue. Around 100 local jobs will be lost over the next 16 months from that closure.

Van Wingerden joined by newcomers on water board

By Peter Dugré

An attempt by a slate of challengers to toss out incumbents in the Carpinteria Valley Water District election was partially successful on Nov. 6, but CVWD Board President June Van Wingerden gained a reaffirming victory for another term directing the often-criticized water district. Of three candidates on the Carpinteria Water Matters slate of challengers, only one will win a seat—either Shirley Johnson or Polly Holcombe—but a single vote separated the two candidates, making the outcome unclear until remaining ballots are counted. In a separate election to fill a vacant seat for two years, Richard Forde beat slate-member Alexandra VanAntwerp.

A similar strategy to remake the water district board—motivated by high rates and perceived lack of transparency—was partially successful in the 2010 election. Three seats have changed hands since the push for change began.

Van Wingerden, co-owner of Ocean Breeze nursery, said the intensity of recent water district races has surprised her, and she almost walked away before the election but threw her hat in again to ensure continuity and experience on the board. “It would have been hard to have four new members running the district,” Van Wingerden said. In the 2010 election, only Director Matt Roberts regained his seat. This time around, incumbent Bob Lieberknecht, the longest serving director and former CVWD general manager for over 30 years, was ousted.

“I’m disappointed that Bob didn’t get in,” Van Wingerden said. “He just has so much knowledge. We’ll probably have to pay him as a consultant (when he’s gone). Now, we get him for free.”

Johnson said Van Wingerden’s reelection did not match the sentiment she witnessed on the streets. During the campaign, she’d found near consensus in constituents being displeased with the state of the district and high water bills.

“I think it’ll be good to have fresh views, fresh eyes,” Johnson said. And, if she remains ahead of Holcombe, she plans on directing her fresh eyes and fine-toothed comb to every check sent out from the district coffers. “I think the water district runs a tight ship in some areas, but we can do better.” Johnson stressed that each of the Water Matters challengers had business experience and would focus on cutting costs and increasing efficiency.

Forde plans on bringing a new level of expertise to the water district. He is a water science professor at Ventura College and has 25 years of experience consulting agencies including NASA and the United Nations on water projects. On his victory, he said, “I think the people realize that there’ve been problems, and they can see that I’m somebody with knowledge.”

Forde was inspired to run for the water board after serving on a Santa Barbara Grand Jury in 2009 and becoming familiar with a scathing Grand Jury report about CVWD that was released in 2008. He said. “I read it and said, ‘The next time there’s an election I’m getting on this board.’” He said he plans on analyzing the district’s debt, which drives up customer’s costs, and finding ways to unburden the district. He can also apply his technical knowledge to the local water works to try and find savings, Forde said. His plan of action is twofold: increase transparency and oversee the technical side.

The new board members will join Van Wingerden, who has similar goals to the candidates trying to unseat her. She cited business aptitude as her primary strength, much like the Water Matters candidates, and she wants to find ways to cut district expenses. Her focus is on containing rising health insurance and pension costs.

CHS tennis cruises to semis

CHS tennis cruises to semis
Bill Swing photo: Catalina Maldonado springs a spirited forehand over the net in a home quarterfinal girls tennis victory on Nov. 5.

By Peter Dugré

Warriors win 13-5 in quarterfinals:
Kelsie Bryant’s tennis game was sharp as ever in the 90-degree heat at Carpinteria High School on Nov. 5. The sophomore ace singles player swept her two sets without losing a game to set the tone in a 13-5 Warrior win over Chino High School in the CIF quarterfinal round. Holding down the Warriors’ top spot in doubles, Erin Saito and Lesly Zapata turned away a strong Chino tandem, which had not lost since September, by a 6-0 margin. Saito and Zapata won three sets to secure the Warriors’ final home match of the season. The team (22-1) now hits the road for the semifinals and potentially the finals.

In front of enthusiastic fans at the quarterfinals, the Warriors won five of the first six sets. Of the depth demonstrated in the first round, coach Charles Bryant said, “We had strong performances from a few of our usual suspects but also clutch play from a few doubles teams. We won the first round 5-1, but it easily could have been 3-3 and the whole match might have ended differently.”

Carrying their weight during a dramatic first round match were doubles tandems Catalina Maldonado/Merissa Souza and Gabi Montes De Oca/ Natalie Saito. Maldonado and Souza came from behind to win the critical first round set 7-5. Likewise, Montes De Oca and Natalie won three straight games to close out their first set 6-4.

At the number-two singles spot, Kassandra Ni continued her consistent play, lobbing relentlessly for hard fought points to go 3-0 on the day. Ni’s style of wearing down opponents with looping, accurate returns is in contrast to fellow singles player Kelsie’s sizzling shots. The players, both sophomores, demonstrate that there’s more than one way to win a tennis match. Singles player Tess Pitzer went 1-1

The Warriors, the second seed in Division 5, headed to Arlington High School in Riverside for the semifinals on Nov. 7 in a match to be played after press time. Arlington, the third seed, was the second place team in the difficult Inland Valley League, which also has top seeded JW North High School. Arlington had a 12-3 record.

Warrior tennis beats Covina in round two:
At Covina High School, the Warriors won 14-4 on Nov. 2. Using a balanced attack, the team won seven sets in both singles and doubles. Kelsie Bryant won her three sets 6-0. Ni won her two sets and only dropped one game. Also in singles, Pitzer won two out of three sets. In doubles, Erin Saito/Lesly Zapata won both of their matches and then Erin paired up with Grecia Beltran to win her last set. Catalina Maldonado/Merissa Souza went 1-1 on the day and Merissa/Emily Saito went 0-1. At number three doubles, Natalie Saito/Gabi Montes De Oca were “the team of the day,” according to coach Charles Bryant. They won all three sets but were trailing in their last set 4-1 before storming back.

Rams roll in CIF round one

Rams roll in CIF round one
Bill Swing photo: Cate School running back Austin Gallegos hurdles a defender on his way to the end zone during a playoff win over Orcutt Academy.

Mojave rematch slated in round two

By Peter Dugré

(NOV 8, 2012) Cate School 8-man football demonstrated its many dimensions when scoring seven touchdowns in round one of CIF playoffs without sidelined star quarterback and senior captain Kyle Mayfield. The Rams stampeded over at-large Orcutt Academy, 48-18, at Cate on Nov. 3 to set up a round two game at Mojave High School on the road on Nov. 9.

A mixture of runs, short passes and some trickery produced big plays for the Mayfield-less offense, and fill-in quarterback junior John Basar facilitated productive days by playmakers Max Vasquez and Austin Gallegos, who both tallied three touchdowns.

The Rams scored 28 points in the game’s first 14 minutes before Orcutt managed any. On the last of the unanswered scores, Vasquez started the drive by intercepting an Orcutt pass, and he finished it by sprinting out of the backfield around the right side on a 25-yard touchdown run, his second of the game. Gallegos had also caught one touchdown pass and run for another touchdown over the game-opening spurt.

Orcutt’s offense then spread the field and went airborne to generate a couple of big plays and a touchdown with 5:41 left in the first half. Orcutt scored again when a defender anticipated a Basar shovel pass, intercepted the ball and had a clear path to the end zone just minutes later.

Cate quickly stopped the bleeding and gained six points back when Basar found Zach Ell on a 6-yard pass to put the Rams ahead 34-12 at halftime.

Orcutt scored first in the second half and began to look like it could creep back into the ball game, narrowing the deficit to 34-18, but the Rams steadied on defense and continued to get breakaway runs and receptions out of backs Gallegos and Vasquez, who scored the final two touchdowns to seal the victory.

Heading to 8-man Division 1 quarterfinals, the Rams will match up with Mojave for the second time this season. The Rams beat Mojave 70-40 in that game, which was played at Cate on Sept. 1. Since then, Mojave has won eight straight games, including a 63-43 win over Lancaster Baptist in CIF round one. Cate has been the only team to take down Mojave this season. In the final top 10 poll of the season, Cate ranked third and Mojave ranked sixth.

Warriors fall at Oak Park, no playoffs

By Peter Dugré

A back-and-forth battle between Oak Park and Carpinteria high schools tipped to Oak Park in the fourth quarter of a 28-21 Warrior football road loss on Nov. 2. Third place in Tri-Valley League was at stake along with an at-large playoff spot, both of which went to Oak Park (5-5), while the Warriors (5-5) finished in fourth place in TVL and will not be participating in playoffs for the first time since 2009.

The Warriors entered the contest having won all four road games this season, but “missed opportunities,” according to coach Ben Hallock, gave Oak Park the advantage in a tight football game. In a seesaw affair, Oak Park scored the game’s first 13 points, followed by the Warriors scoring 14. Oak Park, however, won the fourth quarter 15-7.

Oak Park gained an early 13-0 lead, but the Warriors charged back to go up 14-13 before halftime. Running back Peter Ramos and quarterback Ian Craddock ran in the two first-half Warrior touchdowns. A Craddock-to-Ramos screen pass ate up a big chunk of field to jumpstart the offense on the team’s first scoring drive.

To open the second half, both offenses fell silent for the third quarter before Oak Park gained a 21-14 lead at the start of the fourth quarter. The Warriors answered with a scoring drive of their own. Craddock found Anthony Graham on a short scoring pass to even the score at 21-21 with five minutes remaining in the game. Oak Park quickly regained the lead to finish scoring at 28-21.

Hallock said attrition from battling Oak Park’s sizable line contributed to the Oak Park fourth-quarter scores. Warrior senior captain Derrick Shirley-Moore, who anchors the defensive front, left the game with an ankle injury, and his presence was missed, particularly on the game-winning 40-yard Oak Park touchdown run.

The Warriors, who often played from behind this season, had trouble putting together complete games. “There were times this season when we’d get on a role...” Hallock said. “But we never found the right formula to get through four quarters.” He called the 5-5 mark a respectable season and commented that he felt the team should still have gained entry into playoffs based on that record and a strong TVL that included the Northwest Division’s top two teams, Bishop Diego and Nordhoff high schools.

Valle sentenced to eight years

Valle sentenced to eight years

Carpinterian Manuel Valle will be sent to state prison for eight years for forcible rape following sentencing on Nov. 1. Valle, 70, was arrested in 2010 for the rape charge and was also convicted of sexual penetration and false imprisonment at the conclusion of his trial this October. Judge Jean Dandona issued the upper term eight-year sentence on the forcible rape charge. The sentencing could have been longer if the additional charges of sexual penetration and false imprisonment were sentenced consecutively, but the judge ordered concurrent sentences. In the same trial, Valle was prosecuted for sexual battery and assault with intent to commit rape on a second victim but a mistrial was ruled due to a hung jury. Deputy District Attorney Mary Barron, the prosecutor in the case, said those charges have been dismissed.

Election results

(NOV 8, 2012) Local election results from Santa Barbara County Elections office listed below do not include provisional ballots or vote by mail ballots that were dropped off at polling places or the elections office. For the county as a whole, there are about 10,000 uncounted provisional ballots and 43,000 uncounted vote by mail ballots. The vote by mail ballots should be counted in the next week to two weeks, and the elections office will next update results on the afternoon of Friday, Nov. 9.
State election results are from California Secretary of State and the presidential election results are from

Carpinteria City Council Two seats available, 7,149 votes
Wade Nomura 2,073 votes 29.00 %
Fred Shaw 1,813 25.36
Gregory Gandrud 1,570 21.96
Kathleen Reddington 1,124 15.72
Tom Perry 561 7.85

Carpinteria Unified School District Two seats available, 8,702 votes
Terry Hickey Banks 2,870 votes 32.98 %
Alison Jane Livett 2,640 30.34
Suzanne B. Schneider 1,747 20.08
Blanca Maldonado Gorman 1,431 16.44

Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District
Two seats available, 8,836 votes
Bill Taff 3,848 votes 43.55%
Chris Johnson 2,959 33.49
Lisa Guravitz 2,011 22.76

Carpinteria Valley Water District (Full term)
Two seats available, 8,143 votes • The second seat is too close to call
June Van Wingerden 2,368 votes 29.08 %
Shirley Johnson 2,110 25.91
Polly Holcombe 2,109 25.9
Robert R. Lieberknecht 1,540 18.91

Carpinteria Valley Water District (Partial term)
One seat for two-year term, 4,357 votes
Richard Forde 2,569 votes 58.96 %
Alexandra D. VanAntwerp 1,176 40.76

Measure E City Transient Occupancy Tax
4,157 votes • 77.6 % Yes • 22.4 No

President of the United States
Barack Obama, 303 Electoral Votes • Mitt Romney, 206 Electoral Votes

U.S. Congress 24th District
Lois Capps, 54.8% • Abel Maldonado, 45.2%

California State Senate 19th District
Hannah-Beth Jackson, 54.7% • Mike Stoker, 45.3%

State Assembly 37th District
Das Williams, 59.4 % • Rob Walter, 40.6%

State Proposition 30 Temporary Taxes to Fund Education
53.9 % Yes • 46.1% No

Community Pool launches $85,000 campaign

By Lea Boyd

(NOV 8, 2012) In the late 1980s, the Carpinteria community got behind a campaign to bring a brand new public pool to town—families cut checks, businesses agreed to sponsorships and a huge downtown thermometer showed the fundraising effort inching toward completion. From this successful campaign, the Carpinteria Community Pool was born. Now, the city’s proud pool is aging, its two-decades old technologies have become inefficient, un-green and inferior in comparison to today’s pool systems. To catch up, the city is undertaking a new campaign, one with a goal of $85,000 to replace “the old and tired pool technology with 21st century state-of-the art systems,” according to a press release.

“The pool is for everyone,” emphasized Parks and Recreation Director Matt Roberts, “We teach toddlers to swim, and we have senior aerobic classes.” All ages in between are served, as well, Roberts added, as an explanation for why the community should once again throw its support behind a campaign to improve the pool.

The sought-after upgrades will benefit pool users, city coffers and the planet. Pool blankets, which come with a $10,000 price tag, would cover the pool overnight as a means of reducing heating and maintenance costs as well as the pool’s carbon footprint. The wish list also includes solar panels at a cost of $25,000, which would reduce electrical costs and dependency on fossil fuels.

The biggest ticket item is a $50,000 ozone generator, which is touted as a highly efficient sanitizer of pool water. Harmful viruses and bacteria, such as e-coli, would be destroyed with the ozone generator more quickly and efficiently than chlorine. By installing the generator, the city could reduce its dependence on chemical inputs, which now cost between $10,000 and $12,000 annually. Chlorine would still be a necessary addition, “but we’d use a lot less,” said Roberts. The city’s news release states that the generator “eliminates the nasty chlorine by-product that irritates your eyes, dries your skin, makes your hair turn green, and prematurely wears down the fabric of your swim suit.”

The centerpiece of the 1980s campaign to construct the pool was the sale of personalized tiles, which have been featured prominently at the site ever since. Organizers had the foresight to leave room for 80 tiles in a 20th anniversary section, and this is the area that will recognize donors to the current campaign. Twenty tiles have been sold already, and Roberts hopes that selling the remaining 60 tiles for a range of dollar amounts––starting at $250––the $85,000 campaign goal will be met. Tile purchases or smaller donations come with a gift as well, stainless steel water bottles or hooded sweatshirts.

Earth Day, April 22, is the goal to complete fundraising. Roberts expects that the new equipment could be installed within six months of the campaign’s completion. For more information on the campaign or to make a donation, visit

Calling all 1963 classmates

(NOV 8, 2012) Carpinteria High School’s class of 1963 is planning a reunion for next summer, and the committee is trying to locate all fellow classmates. “It has been 50 years since we strolled the hallowed halls of Carpinteria High School, and we plan to gather once again and reminisce about those good old days,” stated Doug Treloar. Anyone who was a Warrior with the class of 1963, should contact Treloar with current contact information. He can be reached at 684-5489 or

Council to consider El Carro sidewalk project

(NOV 8, 2012) The next Carpinteria City Council meeting will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 13 at 5:30 p.m. in the council chambers at city hall, 5775 Carpinteria Ave. The council will have a full agenda for the evening, considering among other things, the authorization of the first phase of the El Carro Lane Sidewalk Maintenance In-Fill Project and to award the construction bid to Berry General Engineering and approve a project budget of $170,236. The council will consider revising the Director of Public Works job description to include duties and responsibilities of city engineer, city traffic engineer and floodplain administrator. Additionally, the City of Carpinteria Tree Advisory Board and Traffic Safety Committee will give their annual recommendations, and the council will hear the Economic Vitality Program Annual Report. The final agenda and staff reports will be available on Friday, Nov. 9 and can be accessed at

City purchases new park property

(NOV 8, 2012) The City of Carpinteria recently closed escrow on the $355,000, .69-acre Union Pacific property west of the train station. The vacant lot on 5th Street will be used for park purposes, though no decision has been made as to what type of park project should be constructed. A community garden and a skatepark will both be considered. According to Matt Roberts, Parks and Recreation Director, a pedestrian/bicycle railroad undercrossing at Holly Avenue will also be considered as a means of providing safe access to and from the beach neighborhood. The process for determining what should take place on the site has not been decided, but Roberts said that the council is likely to form an ad hoc committee to review and recommend options.

Application period opens for Community Awards Banquet

(NOV 8, 2012) With the 55th Annual Community Awards Banquet on the calendar for Saturday, Jan. 26, the Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce has opened the application window for event honorees. The 2012 Carpinterian of the Year and community Merit Awards nomination forms are due to the chamber office by Dec. 7, and those for the Small and Large Businesses of the Year are due on Nov. 30. The nominations for Junior Carpinterian of the Year are due on Nov. 26. Forms for this award are available at all Carpinteria Unified School District High School counseling offices. “This year we are offering a super opportunity for local businesses to be more highly involved in the event by offering tiered sponsorships, featuring Titanium, Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze and VIP levels,” stated chamber President/CEO Lynda Lang. Sponsors, she added, will receive more banquet recognition than they have in the past. Nomination forms and sponsorship information are available at For more information, call 684-5479 x10.

Affordable housing deadline looms

(NOV 8, 2012) The window to submit an application for the City of Carpinteria’s upcoming affordable housing lottery draws to a close on Monday, Nov. 19. Four townhomes in the new Lagunitas development off of Via Real will be sold below market value in the first lottery, the date for which has not been set. The homes are two and three-bedrooms and range in price from $274,000 to $464,800. Preference points for the lottery are awarded to applicants who reside in Carpinteria, work in Carpinteria or belong to the critical workforce. The 73-home development is being constructed in phases, and a total of 11 units will be sold at an affordable rate.

Venoco submits new drilling application

(NOV 8, 2012) Venoco, Inc. recently submitted an application with the State Lands Commission to drill for oil and gas in the Carpinteria area. According to State Lands Executive Director Curtis Fossum, the application was deemed incomplete and is therefore confidential. “(Venoco is) apparently trying to tie down a location to drill from,” said Fossum. Venoco spokesperson Steve Greig declined to comment on the company’s newest efforts to access the Paredon oil field “until we have agreements with any and all property owners.”

Venoco has not yet applied for a new drilling permit with the County of Santa Barbara, but a staff person at the county reported that he expects an application to be submitted soon. Fossum said that the paperwork for the State Lands Commission should be complete soon. The company’s application with the City of Carpinteria to drill from its Dump Road property is currently suspended. Venoco put the brakes on its original effort to access its offshore lease through extended reach drilling when the council’s favor seemed unlikely. The company then sought permission to drill through a voter initiative, Measure J, which was handily defeated in 2010. The city council has since granted Venoco extensions on its decision to reopen the application or close it entirely.

Nomura, Shaw join city council

Nomura, Shaw join city council
Pictured in the foreground, councilman elect Wade Nomura celebrates with wife Roxanne and other family members at an election night event on Nov. 6 at Bartlett and Herrington law offices.

By Lea Boyd and Peter Dugré

As results trickled in on election night, Wade Nomura and Fred Shaw quickly emerged as the top vote getters in the Carpinteria City Council race, and by the time the final tally was posted, Nomura and Shaw had secured the two available seats with 29 and 25.36 percent of the votes, respectively. Accountant and former councilman Greg Gandrud came in as runner-up with nearly 22 percent of the votes; incumbent Kathleen Reddington claimed 15.72 percent and longtime Carpinterian Tom Perry trailed with 7.85 percent.

“The support I got from the community was overwhelming,” Nomura said on the heels of his win. “The amount of confidence the voters gave me really means a lot.”

Nomura has played a prominent role in the Carpinteria community for several years, and his local visibility climbed in 2011/2012 when he served a term as Rotary District Governor and was then selected, along with his wife, Roxanne, as Carpinterian of the Year. His council campaign support came from all corners of Carpinteria, leaders of the business community, service clubs, youth organizations and current councilmembers.

Shaw, also a dedicated volunteer and familiar face among the ranks of involved community members, credited his campaign committee for carrying him across the finish line. He said door-to-door campaigning reaffirmed his desire to help shape the direction of the city. “It made me realize I’m not the only one who thinks this is the best place in the world to live,” he said of the conversations he had with constituents.

Nomura and Shaw, both even-tempered and well liked throughout the community, are likely to coalesce well with the other personalities on the council, and their swearing in on Dec. 10 should launch a more tranquil era on the governing board. For the last four years, the council dais has been contentious territory. Outspoken conservative councilman Joe Armendariz regularly clashed with the rest of the liberal-leaning council, and discord often erupted between Reddington and her neighbors on the dais despite a voting record that would indicate camaraderie.

Armendariz steered clear of the 2012 election. Following his second drunk driving accident last winter, the councilman announced that he would not seek a third term on the council. In September, he stepped down from the council citing a move to North County.

For Nomura, the campaign itself was uncharted territory. Neither he nor campaign manager Stefanie Herrington had any experience running a campaign. “We were kind of faking it,” he admitted. His expectations for a civil race were exceeded. He said “hats off” to all the candidates for running such clean campaigns.

Nomura attributes his success in the election to his objectivity, fairness and ability to listen. He promises to base his council decisions on the facts before him and without any preconceived agenda.

To give residents their fair share of influence, Nomura plans to make himself available publicly four or five times a week to chat about issues the city faces. He also hopes to raise the level of youth involvement in the community by building relationships with local schools, Boys & Girls Club and Girls Inc. and creating opportunities for kids to participate in the workings of city government, business and nonprofits. Finally, Nomura intends to engage the Hispanic community in the city decision-making process. “I want to reach out,” he said.

Shaw’s local campaign machine was headed by manager Jane Benefield and assisted by numerous volunteers. He said over the campaign he gathered feedback on several community issues and his platform of slow, controlled growth resonated well with voters. Also rent control for mobile home parks and connecting outlying areas of the city to downtown through increased shuttle service stood out among other issues that were important to Carpinteria residents. “Hopefully we can keep the town like it is. Every town can use improvements, but for the most part we need to keep it the same,” Shaw said. “I believe in this town, and I believe in what it means to live here.”

Gandrud, who served a term on the city council six years ago, wished Nomura and Shaw luck in joining the council. On his campaign that came up just short, he said, “I think it was an honor to be part of the discussion about Carpinteria’s future ... I feel like I got up to speed on the issues. Whether you win or lose, the democratic process is very important. It’s always important that you have an election, and that the community is having a dialogue.”

Early morning fire damages 8th Street apartment

A fire that broke out in an unoccupied apartment at 4780 8th Street was quickly controlled and extinguished on Oct. 29. At 6:12 a.m. that morning, a passerby noticed smoke from an upstairs window, and the Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District responded along with Montecito Fire Protection District and Ventura County Fire Department. Four engines and 15 firefighters were on scene to control the fire within minutes of arriving on scene. There were no injuries and the cause is currently under investigation.

Local voters to decide on bed tax hike

By Lea Boyd

(NOV. 1, 2012) Candidates for everything from the school board to the city council have received loads of local attention in the form of newspaper advertising, letters to the editor, a chamber of commerce forum, yard signs and an “Ask the candidates” question and answer series in CVN. What the buzz about town has excluded, however, is Carpinteria’s Measure E, a ballot item that has voters electing whether to raise the local transient occupancy tax (bed tax) from 10 to 12 percent.

Based on the City of Carpinteria’s public poll conducted last spring, the measure is a hole in one. As a general tax—one that is not dedicated to specific spending within the city budget—a simple majority is required for Measure E to pass. Among those voters polled, 62 percent said they supported the measure as a means of protecting the city from future service cuts.

If passed, the new TOT would be charged to hotel guests. For an overnight stay that costs $100, the existing tax would amount to $10, while the new tax would add $2 to the total bill. The proposed TOT would match that charged by neighboring cities such as Santa Barbara.

Facing a fourth year in which budget expenditures exceeded revenues, the Carpinteria City Council voted last summer to include the measure in this November’s General Election. By raising the rate by 2 percent, city staff estimates that the measure will generate $250,000 in added annual revenue. If passed, the measure’s windfall will benefit the general fund, but the council has specified that funds will likely support increased tourism; community service organizations such as Boys & Girls Club, Girls Inc. of Carpinteria and the Carpinteria Library; youth recreation; and law enforcement.

Former Councilman Joe Armendariz, who was on the council at the time of the discussion, cast the one nay vote in the council decision to put the measure on the ballot. He said that he would only support the measure if it were earmarked exclusively for the promotion of tourism.

Though the measure has warranted little attention during election season, it did raise some opposition during council consideration. Jim Michener of Carpinteria stated in a letter to the editor published on March 1, “The tourist dollar is badly needed by the local merchants, and placing more taxes on visitors is a very bad idea.”

The council majority, nonetheless, remained enthused about the potential to drum up new revenue for a city that has been forced to cut law enforcement, furlough employees and reduce hours at the community and city hall in the last few years. Additionally, the council has leaned on its cushiony reserves for over $1 million in budgetary patching.

At the June 11 council meeting, Councilman Gregg Carty said, “The best thing I like about this tax is that it’ll stay local.”

Nov. 6 will determine whether voters agree with the city council that tourists should shoulder the costs of added city revenues or believe a new tax will be prohibitive to Carpinteria’s tourism.

CEF awards record $40K in school grants

CEF awards record $40K in school grants
CUSD principals receive an appropriately large check from Carpinteria Education Foundation to fund everything from iPads to science programs.

By Erin Lennon

(OCT. 25, 2012) The Oct. 23 Carpinteria Unified School District Board of Education meeting’s highest note was the distribution of $40,000 worth of school site grants funded through Carpinteria Education Foundation’s annual Carp-A-Cabana event, which was held in September. Based on CUSD’s student population of 2,316, the organization determined how much to allocate per student, resulting in $9,500 for Carpinteria High School’s Hooked on Science program, $2,000 for online student packages at Rincon High School, $8,400 for televisions and iPads at Carpinteria Middle School, $1,100 for enrichment activities at Summerland School and $1,200 for Carpinteria Family School’s Project iPad among other district grants.

“We continue to be amazed that, despite the economy, we have increased our funding since 2006 at Carp-A-Cabana by about $20,000,” said CEF representative Sally Green. Despite record revenues from the annual fundraiser, CEF had to decline over $25,000 in requests from district principals.

CUSD falls short in state reading and math scores:
Superintendent Paul Cordeiro and district consultant Bob Keatinge presented the Academic Performance Index and No Child Left Behind’s Adequate Yearly Progress data, informing board members of the district’s testing improvements as well as its still-underwhelming scores in reading and algebra. Principals will present the board with more detailed information about 2011-2012 academic performances at a later date.

California’s API measures schools’ academic growth from year to year using a variety of statewide tests, with all schools reaching for 800 on a numeric scale ranging from 200 to 1,000. The federal AYP measures school and district performance based on mandated percentages of students at or above proficiency in language arts and math, measured by state test scores. Districts are required to have nearly 92 percent of students at or above proficiency during this school year and 100 percent of students reaching that threshold by spring 2014.

CUSD matched the state API of 788 and saw seven points of growth. All of CUSD’s subgroups, including the 72 percent of the student body made up of Hispanic students, obtained higher API scores than the state average, according to Keatinge.

“In every case our kids are scoring higher on the API, at composite score, not in language arts or math, but at composite score,” he said.

While Aliso, Carpinteria Family and Summerland schools surpassed the 800 bar, Canalino fell slightly to 784, CMS to 771 and CHS to 758.

CUSD met 15 of AYP’s 26 criteria, failing to attain required federal levels. NCLB required 78 percent of students to test at or above proficiency in math and language arts during the 2011-2012 school year. CUSD saw 55.5 percent of students meet that mark in language arts and 58.4 percent in math. The district’s noticeable stumbling blocks are reading and algebra, according to Cordeiro.

CUSD could pitch parcel tax:
With the Nov. 6 election quickly approaching, Assistant Superintendent Lucinda Abbott invited Managing Director of Keygent Advisors Joanne Bowes to provide board members an overview of parcel taxes and general obligation bonds as alternate revenue streams.

“If (Proposition 30) fails, we’re going to be facing additional cuts in revenues from the state close to $1 million,” said Abbott. “At that point, we may want to be talking about a parcel tax as a way to raise money in conjunction with whatever other types of budgetary cuts we need to make.”

Parcel tax and general obligation bond measures must be approved by both the district board and by two-thirds of the community’s registered voters. A parcel tax is a fixed amount per parcel of taxable property that the district can use to patch its budgetary holes. Many of these taxes are stated as an amount per square foot of property and can continue for as long as the board chooses.

Carpinteria has 6,614 parcels. A $30 annual parcel tax would bring in $98,420, and a $100 tax would amount to $661,400, according to Bowes.

G.O. bonds are taxes based on property values and are used for capital improvements. Bowes’ firm uses local values to set the tax rate, with taxpayers also paying bond debt service. Under a G.O. bond measure, the district promises to not exceed the predicted amount. If the value is exceeded, the tax assessor adjusts tax rates to pay the debt on schedule.

A parcel tax or G.O. bond could also finance the district’s “significant facility needs,” according to Abbott. The district must create a facility master plan outlining its needs and wishes before creating a resolution that would eventually head out to voters.

Carpinteria Beautiful awards Rincon garden grant:
The board heard from Rincon High School junior and grant writer Anthony Sanchez-Vega, who publicly accepted a $500 grant from Carpinteria Beautiful for the school’s gardening class. Students not only grow produce in the class but also market it. “I might not be at Rincon for very long, but I’m here to make my mark,” said Sanchez-Vega.

The next regular school board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 6, at 5:30 p.m. in Carpinteria City Council Chambers, 5775 Carpinteria Ave.

Warrior tennis captures second straight championship

Warrior tennis captures second straight championship
After another dominant Frontier League season, Warrior tennis players, pictured from left, Kelsie Bryant, Erin Saito and Lesly Zapata secured the league’s highest honors. Bryant was honored as the league’s singles MVP and Saito and Zapata received the doubles MVP award.

(OCT. 25, 2012) After wrapping up its undefeated Frontier League season with a 12-6 win over Nordhoff High School in Ojai on Oct. 17, Carpinteria High School girls tennis reasserted its supremacy with a second straight championship. The Warriors stampeded through the league schedule to finish 10-0, but also finished the season unscathed at 19-0 overall, including big wins over Oaks Christian and San Marcos High School.

Individually, Kelsie Bryant proved unstoppable again in her sophomore season. She finished the season 53-0 and won her last 25 sets without dropping a game. She continued her dominance in the Frontier League individual championship on Oct. 18, when she dispatched other league opponents and teammate Kassandra Ni, a fellow sophomore, in the championship match. The win secured Frontier League Most Valuable Player honors for Bryant, and runner-up Ni was All-League First Team.

In doubles, number-one tandem Erin Saito and Lesly Zapata suffered its first loss of the season on the last day against Nordhoff but regrouped in the league tournament to win Frontier League Doubles Most Valuable Players. The duo got revenge against Nordhoff victors Inga Parkel and Amanda Rhodes in a 6-0, 6-2 win before claiming the championship match (6-2, 6-2) against Dominique Fuentes and Zionne Lee of Santa Paula High School.

Doubles tandem Catalina Maldonado and Natalie Saito finished third in league after losing the semifinal (6-3, 6-0) to Fuentes and Lee. Maldonado and Natalie were All-League First Team.

Warriors lose 49-28 to Nordhoff, playoff hopes in jeopardy

Warriors lose 49-28 to Nordhoff, playoff hopes in jeopardy
Bill Swing photo Releasing one of his nearly 30 pass attempts, Warrior quarterback Ian Craddock compiled a strong game against Nordhoff High School on Oct. 19, but it was the mighty Rangers who heaped on the points in a 49-28 Tri-Valley League win.

By Peter Dugré

(OCT. 25, 2012) Carpinteria High School football (4-4) kept pace with top-ranked Nordhoff High School through halftime of the Homecoming game at CHS on Oct. 19. The Warriors even built a 21-14 lead midway through the third quarter, before “the wheels kind of fell off,” according to coach Ben Hallock, and the undefeated Rangers (8-0) scored five touchdowns in no time to win 49-28. The loss drops the Warriors to 0-2 in Tri-Valley League and puts the team in a must-win situation in the remaining league games in order to keep its playoff hopes alive.

“They just outplayed us in the last 18 minutes,” Hallock said.

Coming into the game as big underdogs, the Warriors bent at first, handing the Rangers a 14-0 lead in the second quarter. Then the pendulum swung in the Warriors’ direction. Warrior running back Peter Ramos crossed the goal line on a 2-yard plunge with 1:44 left in the second quarter to get the Warriors on the board. Then the Warriors quickly regained possession on the Ranger 30-yard line after recovering a fumble on the next play. The offense took care of business on a quick touchdown drive before half. Quarterback Ian Craddock slashed into the end zone on a 4-yard keeper for the touchdown, and senior running back Paul Cortez got just enough on the 2-point conversion play. Suddenly, the score was tied at 14-14 only seconds before halftime.

\The Warriors came out of the half and put together a 13-play, 93-yard touchdown drive. Ramos carried the ball into the end zone on a 4-yard burst up the middle. The underdog Warriors had grabbed the lead, 21-14, and appeared to have the wind at their backs with 6:49 left in the third quarter.

Over the next 13 minutes, the Rangers exploded for 35 points to build a 49-21 lead. During that span, the Warriors turned the ball over twice—a blocked punt and interception—and paid the price. Hallock said Nordhoff retook the momentum by answering the Warriors’ third quarter score quickly and then found ways to block the Warriors up front and break off some big chunks of yards with an arsenal of highly touted skilled players.

Craddock, who ran for 61 yards and passed for 165 on 14 completions in 27 attempts, scored the game’s final touchdown on a 31-yard run up the sideline with under two minutes left to tighten the score at 49-28. Craddock, who’s best known for his arm, ran for two touchdowns. Through the air he found receiver David Olvera for 47 yards on five passes and tight end Duncan Gordan for 32 yards on two passes. Ramos added 40 yards rushing and 41 yards receiving in his usual bruising way.

Through two and a half quarters, the Warrior defense, and big front men Derrick Shirley-Moore and Xavier De Abla, were stingy. The defense made multiple stops and Marcus Hutchinson grabbed an interception on the 1-yard line to deny the Rangers a touchdown. However, Nordhoff’s offense could not be contained for the entire four quarters.

The Warriors play next at Santa Paula High School on Friday, Oct. 26, at 7 p.m. and must win to salvage a shot at making playoffs. The team’s most difficult Tri-Valley League stretch is likely over. The Warriors lost to Bishop Diego and Nordhoff, the two top-ranked teams in Northwest Division, but there’s no easy game in a strong TVL this season. Hallock said Santa Paula (2-6, 0-3) always puts up points using varied alignments and several ball carriers. Its abysmal season record does not truly reflect its abilities, and the Warriors must take the final two games of the season one at a time.

Cate football scores 62

Sets stage for league championship
By Peter Dugré

(OCT. 25, 2012) Cate School 8-man football traveled to Cambria to play against Condor League newcomer Coast Union High School under the Friday night lights on Oct. 19. The Rams, more accustomed to Saturday afternoon games, came out firing, quickly spoiling their host’s Homecoming game en route to a 62-15 win over the fifth-ranked and previously undefeated Broncos (7-1).

The Rams scored on their first four offensive possessions. On the first play of the game, quarterback Kyle Mayfield hit Max Wankner for a 63-yard pass that advanced the Rams inside the 5-yard line. Mayfield punched it in for the first of his three touchdowns. Giving new definition to starting strong, the Rams scored 27 points in the first quarter alone.

“The entire offensive line of Chris Wilkinson, Peter Kim, Zach Ell, Thys Northup, Brewer Ballard, Christian Ondaatje and Max Wankner did a great job giving Mayfield time to throw and opening up holes for Austin Gallegos, Michael Martinez, John Basar, Nik Pajouh and Max Vasquez to run through,” stated Cate coach Ben Soto.  

Vasquez and Gallegos each scored two touchdowns in the game. And Wankner was on the receiving end of a 43-yard touchdown strike from Mayfield. Martinez also scored on the ground. Erik Lowe was 7-for-8 on extra points on the night.

Soto commented that the defense played incredibly and kept an offense with a reputation of generating a lot of points—about 60 per game—to just one touchdown. “No doubt it was a shock to Coast Union,” he commented. Coast Union scored its other touchdown on a fumble recovery and return.

The Rams improved to 6-1 overall on the season and 3-0 in Condor League. The team has won five straight dating back to a Sept. 7 loss to Joshua Springs, the number-one ranked team in 8-man Division 2. Cate now has the number three ranking in Division 1, and a home victory over Dunn School on Saturday, Oct. 27, at 2 p.m., would deliver Cate a Condor League Championship.

Dodger holds toy drive at Risdon’s 76

Dodger holds toy drive at Risdon’s 76
At a fundraising event held at Risdon’s 76 on Oct. 20, station owner Don Risdon, right, welcomes former Los Angeles Dodgers player and current coach Manny Mota to Carpinteria.

(OCT. 25, 2012) Fans were pleased to visit with and have memorabilia signed by Los Angeles Dodgers mainstay Manny Mota on Oct. 20, and Mota was satisfied himself with the steady flow of visitors he garnered at the ever-busy Risdon’s 76 station. According to station owner Don Risdon, Mota said it was one of the busiest benefits ever for the Manny Mota International Foundation, which collects toys for children. Mota was a pinch hit specialist in the 1970s, and his heroics won him legendary status with Dodgers followers. Mota remains a coach with Dodgers.

Doc Carty classic crowns volleyball champions

Doc Carty classic crowns volleyball champions
Seated in front are, from left, tournament organizer Bob Kingston and the man of honor Doc Carty, who both enjoyed the Doc Carty Classic beach volleyball tournament played by the rest of the group on Oct. 20.

(OCT. 25, 2012) In a friendly tournament played in honor of a figure instrumental to the creation of Carpinteria’s beach volleyball courts, eight teams turned out to vie for the championship in the annual Doc Carty Classic. Taking top prize on Oct. 20 were Stephen Mercer and Julian Lopez, who outplayed second-place finishers Michael Scott and Pat Kightlinger in the competitive tournament. Third place went to Johnny Brand and Quin Gonzalves.

Tournament organizer Bob Kingston said Carty and wife Daphne enjoyed the tournament, which doubled as the 70th anniversary of their first date. Doc was a longtime Carpinteria Unified School District Superintendent and spearheaded efforts to provide local volleyball courts. Players paid tribute to the couple throughout the day. Kingston said the tournament would not have been possible without new nets donated by Venoco Inc. and prizes donated by area restaurants. “This was a great local tournament to honor Doc,” Kingston said. “The players got a sense of what community is all about.”

Tony’s turns 50

Tony’s turns 50
When Tony’s pizzeria opened in 1962 it was on the other side of the street, and founder Anthony Borrello worked the kitchen while his wife, Antoinette, waited tables.

Oct. 27 celebration planned to honor milestone

By Peter Dugré

In 1962, an Italian-American man with a big personality and a big cigar in his mouth set up his family pizzeria, Tony’s, on the corner of 7th Street and Linden Avenue. For Carpinteria, tomato sauce and melted cheese on a crispy crust was a new flavor. The patriarch behind the business that would take hold for what has now been 50 years, Anthony Borrello, also gave Carpinteria a taste of a gregarious New Yorker, who according to family members would invite customers in for pizza and make them stay for a beer and hours of conversation.

“Tony always made sure you knew he was happy see you,” current restaurant manager and Tony’s granddaughter Angelina Borrello Lane stated. Customers always returned to continue the conversation with Tony.

Tony’s was established where Sly’s restaurant stands today, and after a handful of years it moved across the street to its current location, where the restaurant was built in place of a mini golf course at 699 Linden Ave. Some things have changed. Tony passed away; the menu grew beyond its streamlined Italian-American staples; and management responsibilities shifted between family members through the years. The constant in the restaurant has been generations of Borrellos and generations of loyal customers, who according to Tony’s daughter Anna de la Rosa, kept coming back to hear about the family’s stories and be part of the rich history of the restaurant.

At first Tony cooked and Antoinette “Toni” waited tables. Eventually their children, Michael, Anna, Chris, Susan and Carla, all tied up their aprons or scratched orders onto tickets at the restaurant. The popular pizzeria expanded into Santa Barbara and Goleta locations. Toni, called Grandma or Mrs. B. by most all employees and customers, did the books until two years ago when she retired after 48 years.

In the early days, Tony’s was the place to be after Friday night Carpinteria High School football games. Lines spilled out the door, smells of pizza, pasta and Italian sandwiches lured the crowd over following the final whistle at the downtown Memorial Stadium.

When Tony passed away in 1976, Toni continued to run the restaurants. Michael helped at the Carpinteria restaurant, and the other locations were sold. Eventually, Michael and his family kept the restaurant going and poured their ideas and energy into its operation. He and wife Lucy kept Tony’s conversation going with all the familiar customers, and by then their children and grandchildren. And along with keeping the books, Toni was a fixture at her table in the front of the restaurant, where she had her southwest chicken over angel hair pasta and glass of chardonnay nearly every night.

The Borrello clan grew to include 13 grandchildren, now between the ages of 18 and 35, who have all rolled up their sleeves at the restaurant. According to Anna, who now helps manage the restaurant, Tony had said, “The reason why he opened up the business is so his children would have a job.” She added, “It’s still providing jobs for the grandchildren.”

To celebrate 50 years of family, community and pizza, Tony’s will hold an anniversary celebration on Saturday, Oct. 27, from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. The party will kickoff with a Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting at 11 a.m., and the restaurant will open at 11:30 a.m. and offer a throwback menu of pizzas, pastas and sandwiches. Food prices will be 50 percent off of current prices, and raffles for customers will be held every hour. Prizes include gift certificates, T-shirts and deals.

Council candidates report on campaign spending

(OCT. 25, 2012) Carpinteria City Council candidates Wade Nomura and Fred Shaw were leading the pack in fundraising, and Nomura was the biggest spender as of the filing deadline of Oct. 1. Nomura, with several greenhouse growers in his corner, reported taking in $7,792 toward his campaign and spending $5,719 before Oct. 1. In what appears to be a tight race for two council seats, the five candidates have their final deadline for reporting before the election on Oct. 25.

Shaw had raised $7,153 before the deadline and spent $3,546. The largest contributors to his campaign were Salud Carbajal’s campaign committee, which wrote Shaw a check for $1,000, and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, which contributed $500. Most other donors contributed $200 and under.

Nomura contributed to his own campaign and received $500 each from local property manager Michael Pollard and growers Winfred Van Wingerden, Ed Van Wingerden, Rene Van Wingerden, Joe Overgaag and Myriad Flowers.

Greg Gandrud had raised the next most at $5,178, of which he reported spending $3,042. His donors were mainly small contributors of $200 and less. Pollard, who also supported Nomura, chipped in the most for Gandrud at $250.

Councilwoman Kathleen Reddington reported raising $1,270 and beginning the campaign with a cash balance of $195 in her campaign account. She spent $1,303 and was supported by $500 donations from Robert L. Lieff, a San Francisco attorney, and the Santa Ynez Band of Mission Indians. Southern California Pipe Traders District Council #16, a trade union with a Los Angeles address, donated $250 to Reddington.

Candidate Tom Perry reported only that he plans on neither raising nor spending more than $1,000 for his campaign.

Council talks trash, hears quarterly financial report

By Sara Monge

(OCT. 25, 2012) The rumble of E.J. Harrison and Sons garbage trucks will continue to be heard every Thursday throughout Carpinteria thanks to unanimous approval of a new solid waste handling contract by the Carpinteria City Council at its Oct. 22 meeting. While the new contract is similar to the current agreement, city staff negotiated for new benefits at the lowest prices in the Santa Barbara area.

Vice Mayor Brad Stein praised the family company E.J. Harrison for its “pride and innovation” adding, “20 years ago we took a chance with E.J. Harrison … and we’re still paying less than we did 20 years ago.”

The city is currently diverting 64 percent of its waste from landfills, a rate significantly higher than the state-required 50 percent. Under the new contract, 75 percent of the city’s waste will be diverted by 2020.

In November of 2011, a financial and performance audit of E.J. Harrison convinced the City Council to vote for sole-source negotiations with the waste haulers. Erin Maker, the city’s environmental coordinator, explained that new and expanded services for residents include allowing customers to upgrade from 64 to 96-gallon cans, request recycling and green waste cans for weekly pickup, a free sharps container mail-back program, free Christmas tree pick-up and two free bulky item pick-ups per year. In addition there will be two household battery recycling sites in the city.

Commercial customers will be given incentives to use recycling and green waste services, which will be less expensive than refuse rates.

While costs will not increase in the first year of the 10-year contract, the new agreement allows E.J. Harrison to later increase prices to remain profitable. A cap, however, will prevent prices from rising higher than the Consumer Price Index. Residents could see a maximum rate increase of just under $2 for a 64-gallon receptacle.

The contract also stipulates that Carpinterians continue to get a better deal than their neighboring cities, including Santa Barbara and Goleta. The city itself will benefit financially from the deal, receiving $140,000 in franchise fees and a $120,000 solid waste program fee.

The council also discussed an issue that plagues the beach areas during the summer: overflowing public garbage cans. Plans are in the works to hire a part-time seasonal worker to clean up downtown, park and beach areas to keep garbage from spilling out along the sidewalks. Trash capacity has increased as well in the problem areas. City Manager Dave Durflinger explained new roll off dumpsters have replaced cans at the end of the beach streets. Specific bins for recycling will not be added, Maker clarified, because E.J. Harrison removes recyclables from downtown garbage bins before trash is taken to the landfill.

In other news, city officials are tentatively optimistic about Carpinteria’s finances according to projections based on city revenue from July to September of this year. Sales tax revenue continues to grow steadily. Durflinger cautioned the council about getting too excited over the numbers since the recession had little impact on sales tax. The Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) or bed tax also showed modest improvements in comparison to last year. Voters will decide whether to raise the TOT in the November election.

The most recent property tax numbers will not be available until later this year. With the crash of the housing market, property tax took the biggest hit during the recession and is the main source of city income. The city is projecting little to no increase in property tax income based on real estate trends and slow construction within the city.

Finally, Durflinger lamented the city’s revenue-generating fees that are set at flat rates and not made adjustable for inflation. He explained these fees no longer cover the costs they were intended to because prices of labor and materials has increased since many were set in the 1980s and 1990s.

The council unanimously voted to file the mildly encouraging report and noted that second quarter results should give them a clearer picture of the city’s financial situation. The next regular Carpinteria City Council meeting will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 13 at 5:30 p.m. in the council chambers at city hall, 5775 Carpinteria Ave.

Changing of the Guard at Boys & Girls Club

Changing of the Guard at Boys & Girls Club
Carpinteria Boys & Girls Club Unit Director Jamie Collins aims to bring creativity and energy as the new leader of the club, all while acknowledging she has supersized shoes to fill following the retirement and long service of former Director Rich Medel.

By Kim Drain

(OCT. 17, 2012) A serendipitous turn along Jamie Collins’s career path brought her full circle back home, and right back through the doors of her old clubhouse. Collins, a born-and-bred Carpinterian, is the new Unit Director for the Boys & Girls Club of Carpinteria, a position last held by Rich Medel, who retired in August of this year after decades at the helm.

“I first met Rich when I was an Indian Cheerleader during middle school. We then re-connected when I volunteered, and eventually became a staff member, here at the Boys & Girls Club”, Collins explained. 

After graduating from Carpinteria High, Collins spent a Semester-at-Sea, then went on to graduate from University of the Pacific, majoring in Sociology and Gender Studies. “I knew I wanted to work with children, preferably in a non-profit setting”, Collins said.  “I love developing new programs for agencies to use. It’s in my DNA!”

While starting any new job and filling a predecessor’s shoes can be daunting, this one carried an especially deep legacy. Not only was Medel the founder of this particular club, he worked tirelessly over a period of 40 years to oversee its operations and ensure the kids in the community were given every possible opportunity to succeed in school, and in life.

Collins plans to use her youthful exuberance and passion for program development to inject the Boys & Girls Club with a new vibrancy and more visibility in the community. “Rich has been an invaluable mentor to me. He comes to the club almost daily to check on me and make sure the transition is going smoothly,” Collins explained. 

Collins briefly considered a career in teaching, but craved the freedom to flex her creative muscle. Working under the umbrella of the United Boys & Girls Club of Santa Barbara County offers Collins just the right amount of support, while providing each club with enough leeway to serve its own unique community.

Collins came onboard with three major goals for the club. “First and foremost, I would like to build our Board. We invite the community to become more involved with the Boys & Girls Club by becoming Community Council Members. It is so important to have input from the community to help steer our programs”, Collins explained. That goes hand in hand with her second goal of building the club’s financial foundation. Collins plans to continue the traditional fundraising events, and reach out to new donors via social media and various marketing tools. “And of course, I plan to implement new ideas and projects”, Collins emphasized.

One new program already in the works is called “Positive Sprouts”.  The club has earmarked a plot of dirt in the back yard that members will eventually remake into a viable mini-farm.  “We will take the kids through all the steps of planning a garden”, Collins said.  “The kids will learn about planting crops, nutrition, and incorporating fresh produce into a healthy diet.”

It’s a good thing Collins has an abundance of energy to devote to her new position.  But it works both ways. “The kids really energize me”, Collins added. And even though Collins has a lot of paperwork to tend to, she still makes time to drive the club’s van, making the rounds each day to pick-up her charges when school lets out. “I don’t want to be behind my desk all day”, Collins said. “I want to be on the floor, watching the kids, and seeing the progress they are making.”

Future generations of students are very fortunate to have yet another long-time local shepherding them through the trials and triumphs of being a Carpinteria youth.   And Collins is committed to doing just that.


Girls Inc. turns Taste into sizzling Chili Challenge

Girls Inc. turns Taste into sizzling Chili Challenge
Girls Inc. Chili Challenge contestant Mike Downs dares you to simmer up a better, tastier batch of chili than his signature brew.

By Lea Boyd

(OCT. 17, 2012) Initially a highly successful fundraiser for Girls Inc., the Taste for Carpinteria had grown somewhat stale in the last few years, leading organizers to toss the original recipe and come up with something they anticipate will be more palatable to attendees: the Chili Challenge.

“It’s been getting harder and harder to drag the husbands to another wine and cheese event,” said Mary Crowley, Girls Inc. of Carpinteria’s board president. “We want to keep it interesting and fresh. We want to bring in new people.”

By introducing the Chili Challenge, Girls Inc. seeks to raise funds like it did in the Taste’s glory days by raising the level of fun at the event. Contestants will be invited to “show their stuff” in the chili arena, competing for awards in vegetarian and meat categories. The hotter the competition, the better for ticket buyers, who will be encouraged to sample all the event has to offer and weigh in on their favorites for a people’s choice and best booth decoration awards.

The Carpinteria Lions Club will bring its culinary prowess to the contest, and Crowley hopes that both local Rotary clubs and the Kiwanis will step up to the challenge. The restaurant pros will be represented, and individuals whose chili recipes are perennial crowd-pleasers will take on the challenge. “We want to find out who’s the king of chili in Carpinteria,” said Crowley.

A panel of five judges, including Wade and Roxanne Nomura and Jan and Gail Persoon, will determine the prize-winners. Sponsorship opportunities are still available, Crowley said, and the fifth judge could represent the company that steps up as top sponsor.

Such a dramatic shake up of the Taste concept is a gamble. As Crowley put it, “We’re taking a risk and making a big change.” The Taste has been Girls Inc.’s biggest annual fundraiser and one of Carpinteria’s most profitable fundraisers for years, but numbers have been down recently. What was new and fresh a decade ago—inviting Carpinterians to sample the finest tidbits local menus have to offer—had lost its novelty.

The crash of the economy hasn’t helped buoy the Taste’s numbers, but more critically, it has slammed Girls Inc.’s foundation and grant support as well as individual giving. “The economy is down and sluggish, and funding for nonprofits is too, so we really do need this to be successful,” said Crowley.

To weather the storm, Girls Inc. has slimmed down its staff to the bare bones, eliminating its athletic director position last year and adding new duties to old positions in an effort to keep offering its award-winning programs focused on cultivating strong, smart and bold local girls. “They’re really necessary for kids,” said Crowley, “and we don’t want to make anymore cutbacks.”

Organizers are doing everything they can to make the Chili Challenge this season’s hottest event. The Dusty Jugz will deliver boot-stomping tunes, and local dancing queen Beth Schmohr will lead line dancing on the dance floor. The saloon will be well stocked with wine and beer by Island Brewing Company, and a tequila tasting will feature varieties of Carretera de Oro tequila. Tapas from local restaurants will be served, and the silent and live auctions will offer bargains on everything from local art to fine dining.

Advance tickets cost $50, and entry into the chili contest is $35. To purchase tickets, sign up to compete or find out more, call Girls Inc. at 684-6364 or visit

Exchange student reunites with host mom

Exchange student reunites with host mom
Martha MacGillivray, left, was recently revisited by Chantra Jayanama, who had first come to Carpinteria as an exchange student from Thailand for the 1966-67 school year, after which she graduated from Carpinteria High School and gained a Western worldview.

(OCT. 17, 2012) When Chantra “Daeng” Jayanama landed in Carpinteria for her senior year of High School in 1966, she was a quiet girl, raised in the Thai tradition to never challenge an elder and always hold her tongue. She credits the eye-opening immersion into Western culture gained through her year as an exchange student for a personal transformation that would influence the course of her life.
She entered the university in Bangkok the following year and became a leftist activist, magazine editor and television personality. Jayanama, now host of a travel television program on True Visions Cable Network in Thailand, returned to Carpinteria on Oct. 8 and reunited with her host mom, Martha MacGillivray, whom she affectionately calls mom.
Reflecting on her initial Carpinteria experience, Jayanama said, “I changed completely from being a shy person to being very outspoken.” So much so, she said, that upon returning to Thailand the following year, she was often looked at with a critical eye for “being too talkative.” “One year changed my whole life,” she said. Her current trip to the U.S. also serves her television career. She’ll be visiting Thai sections of Los Angeles and reporting back to Thailand on the lives of Thai-Americans. Jayanama’s multi-faceted career in Thailand also included an acting stint which won her a Best Leading Actress award in 1979.

CUSD reports on THRIVE

CUSD reports on THRIVE
Carpinteria Unified School District Superintendent Paul Cordeiro expounds on the bright future and attainable heights of THRIVE, the school district’s comprehensive “Cradle-to-Career” initiative, at a Community Breakfast on Oct. 16 at Carpinteria Children’s Project at Main.

(OCT. 17, 2012) In the short term, Carpinteria Unified School District has launched an expansive pre-kindergarten system to prepare students for entrance into district classrooms. In the long term, the school district’s goal is to see all of its students adequately prepared for sustainable careers. At its Community Breakfast on Oct. 16, CUSD delivered a progress report on the THRIVE Cradle-to-Career program and emphasized community involvement and accountability as keys to its systemic goals of supporting all student’s educational needs from early childhood development through high school graduation.

“This is about coming together with the Carpinteria community and looking specifically at how we can move the needle in the right direction for all children in Carpinteria,” said Michelle Robertson, THRIVE co-director, during her presentation. She added that the ultimate benchmark for THRIVE in Carpinteria will be to have students who are educated in the local school system return to fill careers in the local economy and sustain a strong Carpinteria into the future.

THRIVE, which is funded by a consortium of philanthropic organizations and grants, began three years ago, and encompasses everything from infant daycare to parent education. Fine tuning the program over its pilot years has now led to the creation of a Community Thriving Children’s Report Card to track the program’s progress through measurable indicators and the launch of a THRIVE website linked to As a result of its early childhood programs, kindergarten readiness has already increased 19 percent over three years, according to the THRIVE website. Last year, THRIVE added co-director Sally Kingston, PhD, as its Director of College Bound Programs & Instruction.

THRIVE is also underway in four other Santa Barbara County school districts and is modeled after similar, comprehensive programs throughout the country like the highly touted Harlem Children’s Zone.

Council candidates compare perspectives at chamber forum

Council candidates compare perspectives at chamber forum
The five Carpinteria City Council candidates vying to fill two seats, from left, Gregory Gandrud, Wade Nomura, Tom Perry, incumbent Kathleen Reddington and Fred Shaw, sat elbow-to-elbow to answer questions at the Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce City Council Candidates Forum on Oct. 10.

(OCT. 17, 2012) Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce hosted the one and only forum guaranteed to bring all Carpinteria City Council Candidates into the same room at the Carpinteria Council Chambers on Oct. 10. Each candidate had an opportunity to answer current and pertinent questions about Carpinteria issues posed by moderators Tom Ligare and Pat Kistler representing the CVCC, and the open event let the public see how the candidates might represent the city if voted into office. The City Council Candidates Forum can be viewed on Government Access Channel 21 Friday through Sunday, Oct. 19 through 21, at 8 p.m. It is preceded by Larry Nimmer’s Touring with the Candidates program that interviews each candidate in their hometown setting, which airs at 7 p.m. each of three evenings. Touring with the Candidates can also be view at the City of Carpinteria website,

Longtime fugitive sentence for child molestation

Longtime fugitive sentence for child molestation

(OCT. 17, 2012) Jeffrey Parish, who fled Carpinteria to Guatemala after posting bail on child molestation charges in 1994, was sentenced to 10 years and eight months in state prison on Oct. 16. Parish was found guilty of sexually abusing a 4-year-old girl. The sentence was the maximum penalty for his crime.

Train death results from man saving dog

(OCT. 17, 2012) A man struck and killed by a northbound passenger train one-half mile north of La Conchita at 2:41 p.m. on Oct. 16 was killed, according to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department. The report states that the unidentified man tried to retrieve his dog from the tracks as the train approached but was not able to get himself out of the way before being struck. The dog survived and reportedly returned to La Conchita on his own. The man’s identity was not being released and witnesses helped sheriff’s deputies determine that the incident was accidental.

Beach parking fee proposal sinks in front of Superivors

(OCT. 18, 2012) Parking shall remain free at Santa Barbara County beaches. Taking heed of the Santa Barbara County Parks Commission recommendation and massive public opposition, the Board of Supervisors on Oct. 9 unanimously turned down any parking fee system at seven county beaches. Beaches under consideration included Rincon Point, Loon Point and Summerland Beach. Pay fees could have generated between $1.5 and $2.5 million annually for the county’s tight budget. Three public forums held late last summer before the Parks Commission, which all were marked with near unanimous public opposition to fee proposals, led to a recommendation that Supervisors kill beach parking fee proposals. Supervisors also were faced with overwhelming public opposition at the Oct. 9 meeting and unanimously rejected the over one-year-old proposal.

Bag ban hits big stores

(OCT. 18, 2012) As of Monday, Oct. 22, Carpinteria’s largest retail stores will be barred from distributing disposable bags. The city’s ban on single-use bags, both paper and plastic, will take effect then, and in its first phase, six large businesses—based on both square footage and sales—will be impacted. Customers at Vons, Rite Aid, CVS, Albertsons, 7-11 and Kim’s Market will not be provided disposable bags—whether stores offer an alternative will depend on the business.

The city council passed the ordinance in March of this year, but implementation was delayed from July to October after Save the Plastic Bag coalition filed a lawsuit stating that city code could not ban bags in restaurants. The city settled that suit and rewrote its ordinance to allow plastic bags in restaurants. At the same time, it opted to hold off implementation of the ban for three months until Oct. 22.

All retailers besides restaurants of under 3,000 square feet will have to comply with the new regulation on April 11, 2013. The smaller retailers will be permitted to use paper. All stores will continue to be allowed to distribute bags in the store before the point of purchase. For instance, fruits and vegetables bags in grocery stores will still be permitted.

Carpinteria joins a host of other progressive cities banning plastic bags and has one of the more stringent regulations in banning all single-use bags at large retailers.

CUSD sells Toro Canyon property for $2.4 million

By Erin Lennon

The tightly budgeted Carpinteria Unified School District’s Board of Education began its Oct. 9 meeting with a $2.4 million bang when it accepted ERG Resources L.L.C.’s bid for the district’s property on Toro Canyon Road.

The board put the excess property up for sale on May 8, leading to a lengthy bidding process before unanimously accepting ERG’s offer (councilmember Lou Panizzon absent and councilmember Terry Hickey-Banks recusing herself from the process) on Oct. 9. Funds from the sale must benefit facility improvements, according to Assistant Superintendent Lucinda Abbott, including deferred maintenance projects, modernization and, possibly, new construction.

However, Abbott and CUSD Superintendent Paul Cordeiro will begin with a yearlong planning period during which Abbott proposed getting community and expert input on projects. CUSD had leased the agricultural property before putting it up for sale.

In a separate fund-generating event, Carpinteria community members, led by June Van Wingerden and Paul Foley, delivered the $30,000 promised to retain Holly Smith’s teaching position in Carpinteria High School’s Agriculture Sciences & Technology Academy. Smith’s position was eliminated as the district cut nearly $500,000 from its budget earlier this year. This organized effort raised the funds in two months between nearly 80 different donations, including a $5,000 donation from Santa Barbara Bank & Trust and a $3,000 donation from the local California Women for Agriculture chapter.

“(Carpinteria) is incredibly unique,” said Smith at the Oct. 9 meeting. “There’s so much opportunity to be had here because it’s such a unique agricultural place in not only the state but the world… with unlimited opportunities for the kids, if they choose to take them. That is a beautiful thing in education that we don’t’ have enough of.”

The board also heard about its youngest learners in the district’s Transitional Kindergarten program. The first year of state-mandated TK supports district students who cannot enter traditional kindergarten because their fifth birthday falls between Nov. 1 and Dec. 2. That birthday cutoff will continue to come earlier in the year, reaching Sept. 1 for the 2014-2015 school year. The state mandated that all districts provide a free TK program for students who would have entered traditional kindergarten under the previous deadline, including all students turning five between Nov. 2 and Dec. 2 for the current academic year. When fully implemented, California will have 120,000 students in TK programs, with birthdays falling between Sept. 2 and Dec. 2.

“In typical State of California fashion, they give us this unfunded mandate… without any kind of guidelines and just say, ‘make it up,’” said Carpinteria Children’s Project at Main Director Michelle Robertson.

TK, which was understood to be a three-year transitional program, is now a long-term district fixture and is believed to be cost neutral for the first 13 years. After the 13th year, it will cost the district.

“You basically have a preschool program (at the district’s) expense,” said Cordeiro.

The Carpinteria program’s 16 current students are receiving hands on, age and development-appropriate curriculum, which borrows from late preschool and early kindergarten programming, from a credentialed teacher.

An appeal process exists for excelling students who meet all requirements for kindergarten, aside from age. However, current TK teacher Gretchen Tofflemire noted the importance age plays in her classroom. Using the Kindergarten Student Entrance Profile to judge kindergarten readiness, 69 percent of CUSD’s TK students were “far from ready for regular kindergarten” according to Robertson.

However, a small minority of students showed an advanced knowledge base but were severely lacking in English Language development according to Tofflemire. TK could play an early role in language acquisition for the district’s student body, which is 36 percent English learners.

“Research shows about seven years until students become proficient in a language,” said Robertson. “If they don’t get that exposure until kindergarten, it’s really sixth or seventh grade before they can possibly become proficient…and that’s too late,” she continued, echoing an earlier point made in a presentation by District English Learner Advisory Committee’s Bob Keatinge. He said that if EL students don’t reach proficiency by fifth grade, it’s not likely they will.

The next regular school board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 23, at 5:30 p.m. in Carpinteria City Council Chambers, 5775 Carpinteria Ave.

Four affordable units offered in Lagunitas

By Lea Boyd

Applications are now being accepted in the first of two affordable housing lotteries for the Lagunitas development, meaning that by the end of the year four families should be moving in to brand new townhomes at a fraction of the market cost. The affordable housing program, adopted by the city in 2004, seeks to turn members of Carpinteria’s critical workforce, who are local renters or out-of-town commuters, into homeowners. By the time the development on Via Real is fully constructed, 11 units will be in the hands of families that may have never held a home title otherwise.

“Market prices have not been affordable for workforce earners,” said Planning Department Director Jackie Campbell. The gap between earning and owning is partially closed through the lottery, which is designed for households making 121 percent of Santa Barbara County’s median income.

Anyone who qualifies based on income can apply for the lottery, but preference points are awarded to those who live in Carpinteria, work in Carpinteria or hold critical workforce positions, such as nurses, teachers, firefighters, law enforcement or local government workers.

In the first round of the lottery, the draw for which Campbell expects will take place in mid-December, four homes are available—two 1,360-square-foot two-bedroom townhomes priced at $274,400, and two 1,868-square-foot three-bedroom townhomes, one at $332,800 and one at $464,800. The three-bedroom units are identical, but the second is one of two offered voluntarily by the developer for lower-than-market rate and higher than the designated affordable range.

According to Campbell, the market rate units in Lagunitas are selling at a fast clip, which keeps the phases of construction moving forward quickly and leads city staff to anticipate that the second round of the lottery will take place some time in 2013. That draw will include six additional affordable units—four two-bedrooms and two three-bedrooms.

Campbell described the drawings themselves as “electric.” Applicants who qualify for two or more preference point are drawn first, then drawings are held for one preference point and none, depending on the number of units available. In past drawings for affordable units in Sparrow’s Landing, Mission Terrace and Lavender Court most of the applicants are in attendance, and the audience waits on pins and needles to find out if luck is on their side. “People are excited about the opportunity,” Campbell said. “It’s emotional, too.”

The lottery has hit its target in most cases, matching qualified buyers with homes, but Lavender Court, which was finalized just as the housing market crashed, was a bust. None of the units sold, and the complex owner has since converted the five affordable units into market rate rentals, a change that involved a $571,000 payment toward the city’s affordable program. These funds will soon be used toward a down payment loan program, details of which the city is solidifying now.

Developers in Carpinteria that submit plans for residential developments of five units or more must offer affordable units under the city’s program. The code requires that 12 percent of total units be affordable.

The affordable housing program isn’t for everyone; its goal is to provide housing, not a fast return investment. As legally stipulated, homeowners in the program only continue to qualify if the affordable unit is used as a primary residence and if no other residential properties are owned. Under initial ownership, homes stay in the program for 30 years, after which time they can be sold at market value. A home that is sold prior to the 30-year term must be sold as an affordable unit, with the price set by the city using the median income-based equation.

The maximum qualifying income is adjusted to household size, and the city encourages appropriate sized households for the available units. Campbell said that unless there are special circumstances, the three-bedroom units will be sold to households of three or more.

Sept. 20 marked the opening of the Lagunitas application window, and all applications must be completed by the Nov. 19 deadline. Construction should be complete on the first round of affordable units by the end of October, and applicants will have an opportunity to tour the affordable units prior to purchase.

Though there are hundreds of names on the city’s affordable housing lottery interest list, applications for the Lagunitas units are just starting to trickle in to city hall. Campbell is confident that plenty of qualified applicants will submit their paperwork before the November deadline. “There are people I’ve talked to who are interested,” she said, “local residents who rent and who would love to own in Carp.”

Affordable housing information packets and applications are available at Carpinteria City Hall, 5775 Carpinteria Ave., or online at

City council updates floodplain codes

Discusses state park tree removal
By Sara Monge

The Carpinteria City Council is hoping 600 locals living within the federally drawn floodplain map will see a decrease in insurance bills after voting to update the municipal code on Oct. 8. The code brings the city into compliance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Floodplain Insurance Program regulations and could qualify city residents for discounts under FEMA’s Community Rating System.

Charlie Ebeling, the city’s director of public works, reported that the system might knock up to 40 percent off of flood insurance bills. Ebeling recently attended a FEMA conference to get up to speed on the regulations, which began to take shape after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. He explained FEMA’s NFIP manages potential flooding issues in three ways: backing insurance carriers, mapping and managing. Floodplain maps identify areas that could be inundated during 100-year floods.

A new digital map will be ready in December 2012. In addition to drawing floodplain borders for insurance purposes, the map will lay out plans to manage and mitigate potential problems from flooding. NFIP backs private companies who sell insurance to people who live in the floodplain.

The unanimous vote (4-0) to make the city’s municipal code compliant with NFIP will allow the city to participate in the program. Compliance with the program will include implementing new codes concerning drainage and structures for development in the floodplain zone, as well as more reporting duties for city staff. Residents should see a drop in insurance bills, better protection of their property and better recovery of losses should a flood occur. Councilman Brad Stein said, “This is a long time in coming—it’s been a long process for lots of people.”

In other news, while hearing updates on the City’s Creek Preservation Program, the council unanimously decided to rename the preservation program for its founder, local Bob Hansen. Besides keeping the city’s creeks and beaches clean, the program allows Carpinteria to garner federal and state grants for the rehabilitation of these natural resources.

In September 2005, the city adopted a Creeks Preservation Program with the goal of restoring the city’s four creeks. While there are a number of objectives the city hopes to obtain with this program, including the reintroduction of steelhead trout to Carpinteria Creek, it also is a requirement for the city as part of the Storm Water Management Plan. This year, the city has worked to eradicate invasive giant reeds (Arundo Dorax), address post construction run off concerns and remove obstructions to the Steel-Head Trout migration path. Numerous people have also volunteered throughout the year and during the September “Creek Week” to achieve the preservation program’s goals.

Mayor Al Clark moved for the Creek Preservation Program to be renamed for its founder, Bob Hansen, after City Manager Dave Durflinger suggested it to him earlier in the day. All four members of the council supported the change and Councilman Gregg Carty added that while he thought it was a fitting name, he also wanted to recognize Mo Gomez for his “incredible contribution” to the program as well.

Finally, public comments by David Allen pushed the Council to discuss partial closure of the State Park while they remove 51 non-native Eucalyptus trees and replace them with native Sycamores. Because people must walk on the beach to get around the closed area, Allen worried that people with bikes, strollers and dogs would be cut off from other parts of the city. He hoped the city could speak with State Park officials to “open it up a little” while they are not working on it. City Manager Dave Durflinger explained that he had spoken to the state park’s Rich Rozelle, who said the plan is to make closures on an interim basis. The closures will extend while the trees are being taken out this week because of safety hazards, then will be open for some time, but will be reclosed briefly during the paving portion of the project.

Councilwoman Kathleen Reddington was upset the trees were being taken down with little notice to the city and was frustrated the state park closed campgrounds during the Avocado Festival. Reddington was also skeptical the sycamores could replace the eucalyptus. “We look at liability but not joy,” she commented on the decision-making process.

Councilman Gregg Carty commented, “The issue is about public safety” and said he had known about the tree removal “months ago,” but Mayor Al Clark joked that “he didn’t know the right people” when he revealed he, like Reddington, had found out only days before the closure occurred.

The next regular Carpinteria City Council meeting will be held on Monday, October 22 at 5:30 P.M. in the Council chambers at 5775 Carpinteria Ave.

Avo growers cramped by low prices, foreign fruit

By Peter Dugré

Right around Cinco de Mayo the price growers were paid for their avocado harvests plummeted. Despite the spike in consumer demand on the Mexican holiday, supply overfed consumer needs, and market pressures over the 2012 California harvest continue to keep the price paid to growers for their fruit at about half of last year’s record rate.

“Normally 5 to 8 cents is a big price drop,” said Frank Algeria, field manager for Carpinteria’s office of Calavo, the largest packer and distributor of domestic avocados. “This year the price plunged 20 cents in two weeks in early May.” Distributors couldn’t predict the new market volatility, and growers were left guessing when they should harvest in order to fetch the best price.

Compared to last year’s about $1.60 per pound, growers can only expect about 85 cents for fruit this season. Last year yielded a historically low volume of fruit—about 150 million pounds in California—and this year growers are expecting to have harvested around 400 million pounds for the year after picking ends within the next few weeks.

The drastic dip in price can be attributed both to a larger domestic harvest than last year and to the nearly 700 million pounds of fruit harvested in Mexico. Also, fruit is imported from Chile, and for the first time this year, Peruvian avocados are coming into United States markets. Foreign competitors have much lower overhead than domestic growers.

“In past years, Mexico was fairly regimented with its harvest. If there was an over-supply and prices dropped, they’d back off. This year they kept coming strong,” Algeria said. Calavo, which has a packinghouse in Mexico, handles Mexican fruit as well as Californian.

Growers might be feeling a pinch from the drop in prices, particularly because it was not a predictable swing, but overall, foreign avocados entering the U.S. market can be viewed as a positive. Californian avocados cannot satisfy the U.S. market on their own, and the foreign fruit expands the availability of avocados through the entire year. “It’s not a negative because when they’re on the opposite side of us—when we’re not picking—that’s when their season is. It makes a year-round crop for grocery stores,” said Carpinteria grower Chuck Thompson.

Foreign harvests overlap with California’s, which can start as early as late January and run through early October. Carpinteria usually is among the last places to harvest in California, which historically meant a premium price and exclusive market window. That advantage has disappeared with prices still hanging at 88 cents a pound as of Oct. 1.
The good news, Thompson said, is that prices have likely bottomed out, and next year’s crop is expected to be massive. “I think we’re gonna stay right about there. Prices are teetering right where other countries can import fruit and make money.” Estimates have the California crop expected at over 500 million pounds next year based on how the fruit has set already. If growers continue to get a similar price with a greater yield, then the math is simple—profits go up.

However, growers and handlers never like to count their avocados before they ripen. A bad windstorm or frost could ruin a crop. Or, as was the case for Thompson’s crop this year, a hail storm two winters ago—isolated to his orchard off Highway 150—knocked much of his blooms—which would have matured this year—off the tree. His neighbors were spared. It was the first time in his 45 years of growing that hail was a factor, but it’s always something, he said.

As for the new foreign competition, Thompson said, “I don’t think there’s anything we can do about it.” About the stability of the avocado business in the long term, he added, “It’s still viable.”

Manny Valle convicted of rape

Manny Valle convicted of rape

Faces 3 to 10 years in state prison

By Peter Dugré

Carpinterian Manuel Valle, 70, was tried for a September 2010 sex crime and found guilty on three separate counts in Santa Barbara Superior Court on Sept. 27. Following a three-week trial, the jury found Valle guilty of rape, penetration by a foreign object and false imprisonment, three felonies that could send Valle to state prison for 10 years or more. Sentencing will take place on Nov. 1 and, according to assistant district attorney Mary Barron, Judge Jean Dandona will have discretion in sentencing likely between three and 10 years with mandatory time in state prison.

Valle was also tried for sexual battery and assault with intent to commit rape on a second victim. The jury found him not guilty on the sexual battery charge and was hung 8-4 in favor of not guilty on the assault charge. “We felt that both victims were credible and obviously went forward for both victims,” Barron said. “There was a greater deal of evidence in victim number one’s case. That probably factored into the jury’s decision.”

The trial also included testimony from background witnesses on prior uncharged acts of child annoyance dating back to 2006 and 2007. The witnesses were juveniles at the times of their encounters with Valle, and their testimony was admitted as evidence to demonstrate that Valle had a history of inappropriate contact with girls.

In the rape conviction, Valle was found to have assaulted his housemate. The other alleged offenses were against another acquaintance. The crime of penetration with a foreign object on the victim was committed with a finger.

Valle was taken into custody in the courtroom following the conviction and awaits sentencing without possibility of bail or probation.

Barron commented that the two-year period from arrest to conviction was not unusually long but that it’s “always a preference to get to trial more quickly.” Valle’s trial was postponed several times prior to the September hearing. Barron said, “Sex offenses have statutory priority but there were a number of defense reasons for continuance.”

Valle’s ex-wife Karen Valle was convicted this January of attempting to dissuade a witness from assisting in the prosecution of his case and was sentenced to three years probation and 180 days in county jail. She has since petitioned to delay reporting for her sentence until next year.

Valle had also been convicted of sexually disturbing the peace for making inappropriate comments to a minor in 2006, and in 2008, he was found to have violated his probation for contacting a 16-year-old girl.

United Way gets residents out for Day of Caring

United Way gets residents out for Day of Caring
Volunteers at Kinderkirk Preschool and Daycare are, from back left, Martin Gutierrez, Meghan Kildun, Sabrina Ramirez, Cassandra Dando and Diane Kildun, and from front left, Roger Bover, Walter Stetter, David Lang, Heather Lang, Mary MacDonald and Will Ayala.

Over 1,500 volunteers came together to help the Santa Barbara communities on Sept. 15 for United Way’s 21st Annual Day of Caring. The army of volunteers divided and conquered, completing projects at over 50 sites across the Tri-Counties. Projects varied between landscape work, planting, painting, habitat restoration and office work throughout Carpinteria, Santa Barbara, Goleta and Santa Ynez. According to United Way, the work that was done in just four hours translated to more than $275,000 worth of improvements to the Santa Barbara County community.

Preparedness in the Plaza prepares in Casitas Plaza

Preparedness in the Plaza prepares in Casitas Plaza
Don’t Panic! Prepare! volunteer Gayle Robinson distributes emergency preparedness kits to Carpinterians during the Sept. 22 event at Casitas Plaza.

On Sept. 22, the City of Carpinteria hosted the 1st Annual Preparedness in the Plaza event at Casitas Plaza, where approximately 1,200 residents received critical disaster preparedness information from over 28 participating local businesses, community organizations and government agencies. A number of interactive experiences were provided to those in attendance. Residents had the opportunity to learn hands-only CPR with SMART EMS, register with the Sheriff’s Department Reverse 9-1-1 emergency notification system, visit with Smokey the Bear, receive flu shots from Albertsons Savon Pharmacy and tour several response vehicles on hand from the Carpinteria-Summerland Fire District, U.S. Forest Service, American Medical Response, Sheriff’s Department and Equine Evac. Residents who attended the event also received a free starter emergency supplies kit and the City of Carpinteria Guide to Emergency Preparedness.

Within the next week or so, event attendees will receive a request to complete a survey for feedback on the event. The city anticipates using this information to improve next year’s fair. To learn more about the City of Carpinteria’s Emergency Preparedness Program, visit or call Julie Jeakle, City of Carpinteria Volunteer and Emergency Services Coordinator, at 684-5405 x401.

State Beach begins large-scale tree removal project

By Lea Boyd

By the time the chainsaw blades stop spinning at Carpinteria State Beach this month, 51 trees recognized as safety hazards will have met their maker. The project will forever change the face of the park, removing, among other specimens, the massive, nearly-century-old eucalyptus trees that line the main road through the campground east of Carpinteria Creek.

The alternative to the tree removal, State Parks Sector Supervisor Eric Hjelstrom said, would be closure of dozens of campsites, all of the sites within reach of falling branches or tree trunks. By taking out the trees, the Santa Rosa and San Miguel sections of the campground can remain fully open to visitors. “It’s something that’s been long overdue in Carpinteria,” Hjelstrom said.

Locals, however, have been blindsided by the project, which underwent an internal review and was exempt from a full CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) review due to the trees’ designation as a safety hazard. Residents, including neighbors of the park, had no idea the trees were slated for removal until the chainsaw engines started revving on the morning of Oct. 1.

The trees are a disaster waiting to happen, Hjelstrom said. Their size, age and proximity to campsites make them a major liability to the park. The eucalyptuses, in particular, are prone to dropping branches during hot spells, Hjelstrom said. Lawsuits have already arisen from limb failures, and park officials are hoping to preclude any future legal costs with the large-scale removal. Uncertain of the total cost of the project, Hjelstrom said, “I know it’s expensive, but it’s cheaper than lawsuits.”

Though the loss of the trees will dramatically change the atmosphere of the park, Hjelstrom highlighted the positives of the project. Neighbors, he said, will enjoy improved views, and the non-native eucalyptus will be replaced with native trees, such as sycamores, in the next couple years. The sidewalks and roads that have severely buckled from rising tree roots will be replaced, increasing pedestrian safety and the park’s compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The project will take place throughout the month of October, during which time all the campsites between Carpinteria Creek and Jelly Bowl will remain closed. In that one-month window, the trees will be removed and new sidewalks and paving installed.

Big fourth quarter boosts Rams at home

Big fourth quarter boosts Rams at home
Bill Swing photo: Attempting to evade a Faith Baptist defender, Cate School football player Dean Smith helps the Rams climb out from under a 14-point deficit for a 35-28 victory on Sept. 22.

By Peter Dugré

Cate School 8-man football came out on top in a back-and-forth battle against Faith Baptist School at Cate on Sept. 22. The Rams (2-1) grabbed an early lead but Faith—which always boasts a talented squad—found a way back into the game and eventually held a 14-point lead of its own before the pendulum swung back in Cate’s favor in the fourth quarter. The Rams, in what coach Ben Soto labeled “a big team win,” rallied for 21 unanswered points to produce a 35-28 victory.

“I’m very proud of the way our players responded after being down by 14 going into the final quarter. It could have been very easy for us to hang our heads and quit, but we fought back and I’m very proud...,” Soto stated.

Continuing to produce at superhuman levels, Cate’s quarterback and captain Kyle Mayfield tossed the game-winning touchdown pass to Austin Gallegos with 3 minutes left. The completion capped a 13-for-15 performance that resulted in 210 yards and two touchdowns for Mayfield. In addition to his passing, Mayfield recorded two rushing touchdowns and amassed 115 rushing yards.

Cate’s Max Vasquez sealed the victory by intercepting a pass moments after the Rams’ touchdown. It was Vasquez’s second interception of the game, a contribution to the victory called “huge” by Soto. On the defensive side of the ball, Soto also gave credit to Zach Ell, Abraham Tall and Warren Giles for pressuring the Faith quarterback and disrupting its offense.

In addition to scoring the game-winning touchdown, Gallegos totaled 134 total yards and two touchdowns. And Soto credited an over-the-shoulder catch by Max Mankner as being the play that ignited the team’s fourth-quarter comeback.

The Rams scored the game’s first 14 points, but Faith answered with 28 straight points to build a 28-14 third-quarter lead.

As the Rams jockey for position in Condor League, the team appears headed for a collision with usual rival Thacher School, which also defeated Faith by a touchdown. Currently the Rams are ranked fifth in 8-man Division I polling, and Thacher stands at number six.

The Rams host Laguna Blanca on Saturday, Sept. 29 at 3 p.m.

Cate scholars place high nationally

Cate scholars place high nationally
Honorees in this year’s National Merit Scholarship Program are Cate School students, from left, Christian Ondaatje, Sydney Read, Danielle Hanks, Alexis Hill, Susan Kim and Abhay Singh.

Cate School’s Susan Kim, a senior from Los Angeles, is a semi-finalist in the 2012-2013 National Merit Scholar Program. She is one of approximately 16,000 semifinalists from across the country who qualified based on SAT scores and will be eligible to compete for scholarship funds. The honor places her in the top 1 percent of all high school seniors. Five other Cate students were recognized as Commended Students in the program: Danielle Hanks of Porterville, Calif., Alexis Hill of Bainbridge Island, Wash., Christian Ondaatje of Los Angeles, Sydney Read of Santa Barbara and Abhay Singh of Gold River, Calif. They were in the top 2 percent of around 1.5 million students who took the PSAT in 2011.

Ag Science class restores 1940s tractor

Ag Science class restores 1940s tractor
This 9N Ford tractor was in disrepair before, from left, students Christian Romero and Juan Ortiz and their advisor Bradley Miles restored it to working order.

When the students in Carpinteria High School’s Agricultural Science Academy were given a 9N Ford tractor to restore last year, the machine was nowhere near working condition. According to program advisor Bradley Miles, “The engine was frozen solid,” and in general, “It was a very sad tractor.” In recent weeks however, the tractor was delivered to its new owner, Mark Vedder, after the students completed their restoration and resuscitation of the rare and classic piece of farm equipment. Miles said the tractor is a 1940—the first year the model was in production—and that steel rationing from World War II led to several parts, like the steering column, to be cast in aluminum. Vedder, who commissioned the students to fix the tractor, is a big supporter of the CHS ag program, Miles sai

SCE delivers $2,500 Carpinteria schools

SCE delivers $2,500 Carpinteria schools
Pictured during the presentation of a $2,500 check from Southern California Edison to Carpinteria Education Foundation are, from left, Patricia Batoli-Wible, Region Manager of SCE, Patricia Alpert, CEF Development Director and Cecilia Tavera, of SCE public affairs.

Empowering Carpinteria schools in a different way than supplying voltage to electrical outlets, Southern California Edison recently donated $2,500 to Carpinteria Education Foundation. According to CEF Development Director Patricia Alpert, the funding was awarded for CEF’s Carp-A-Cabana, Science Matters and Orchard to Ocean fundraisers. Like all funds collected by CEF, the money will be directed into Carpinteria and Summerland classrooms to assist in educating Carpinteria Unified School District students. “We feel very fortunate to have sponsors that are helping all school sites from Summerland to Carpinteria High School,” commented Alpert.

Morning Rotarians define community service

Morning Rotarians define community service
From left, Morning Rotarians Debbie Stevens, Roxanne Nomura, Steve Bunting and Victor Centina prepare dictionaries for distribution to all third graders in the Carpinteria Unified School District. 

In the nine years since the Morning Rotary Club of Carpinteria introduced its dictionary service project, the local club has distributed over 4,000 reference books and spent about $10,000 on the project. This year, as usual, the Morning Rotary gave dictionaries to all third graders at Canalino, Aliso and Summerland schools. Howard School has also benefited from this project.

Besides the dictionaries, the club has distributed English-Spanish Dictionaries and atlases to Carpinteria middle and high schools. Within the nine years, the Middle School Afterschool Reading Program was given $2,000 worth of literature books to complement its reading program. June Van Wingerden launched the program, and Steve Bunting has led this project for the past seven years. 

Noon Rotary completes Panama library

Noon Rotary completes Panama library
Rotary President-Elect Roland Rotz congratulates clubmember Pat Kistler on the completion of her Panamanian library project.

Children in the remote Panamanian village of Manglarito may not have running water or electricity, but thanks to the Rotary Club of Carpinteria, they now have a library with approximately 1,000 books. As Rotarian Pat Kistler told her fellow club members during a multimedia presentation on Sept. 6, the club’s two-year, $4,000 matching grant project has come to fruition. “Manglarito now has a free lending library, offering its residents an opportunity to read and learn about what is happening in the world beyond their village,” said Kistler.

Kistler applied for the matching grant in 2010, and the local Rotary raised its $2,000 half of the project over the last two years. The books are currently being catalogued and placed in a classroom that was converted to a library through the hard work of villagers, who painted the classroom walls, repaired the roof, added screens to the windows, placed new tile on the floor and set up the new bookshelves. Two retired American librarians, Chris Mann and Connie Hess, who live within 50 miles of the village, assisted by purchasing and delivering books as well as managing the library until villagers are trained to do so.

B&G Club sports department takes trim

By Peter Dugré

The budgetary woes of the United Boys & Girls Club of Santa Barbara County recently trickled down to the local club, leading to a cut to the athletics director position from full-time to part-time. According to the Carpinteria club’s new Unit Director, Jamie Collins, former athletics director Alan Pottkotter voluntarily stepped down due to the reduction in employment, and the club is now hiring for the part-time position.

“We are a non-profit and had budget cuts,” Collins said as explanation for the downsized position. Santa Barbara’s Westside Boys & Girls Club saw its AD position eliminated.

In a separate development, the tackle football program at the Carpinteria club has shrunk this season from its usual four teams to only one team. Only the senior division, ages 12 to 14, is fielding a team for youth tackle football, whereas there are usually enough players to field teams in divisions starting with 8-year-olds. This year not enough kids signed up to fill rosters for the younger three divisions.

Collins ventured that the lack of participation could be due to a change in the league rules. Prior to this year a formula for determining which division to place the kids in used their size as a factor, but the new rules determined placement solely by age. “There are a bunch of theories going around (to explain the lack of participation),” she said. She said emphasis in the media on the dangers of concussions in young children could play into holding young kids back from football, and feeding into that fear, the new rules to determine division placement would pair 200-pound 12-year-olds with 90-pound 12-year-olds, potentially causing mismatches. However, she pointed out, that other parts of the rules designed for safety might not have been communicated well enough. The separate flag football league has picked up some of the slack, she said.

Also, Collins hopes to grow the athletic programs to generate revenue and a need for a full-time athletic director in the future. “We need to build sports numbers up again, so we can have a reason to have a fulltime AD,” she said.

Triathlon to impact downtown traffic

The 15th Annual Carpinteria Triathlon will run, roll and swim through Carpinteria throughout the morning of Sunday, Sept. 30, impacting downtown traffic in order to make way for runners and cyclists. Beginning at 7 a.m., Linden Avenue will be closed to southbound traffic at Carpinteria Avenue. The Santa Barbara County Sheriffs Department will be directing traffic, and bicyclists will be given priority when traveling south through the Linden and Carpinteria avenues intersection. The road will re-open around 11:30 a.m. Sunday drivers should use caution when driving and try to use Casitas Pass and alternate routes. Cars will have beach access from Linden at Sandyland, Dorrance and 5th Street. All beach traffic will be directed to use Elm Street from these intersections.

School board focuses on fluency

By Erin Lennon

The Carpinteria Unified School District Governing Board took a reprieve from its budget-heavy discussions to address CUSD student proficiency in multiple subjects, especially that of the district’s English learners, at its Sept. 25 meeting.

English learners make up 36 percent of CUSD’s student body. By definition, the students are not proficient in English, speak a different language at home and have not achieved an advanced score on the California English Language Development Test. The district’s duty is to help these students reach proficiency so they can be reclassified as English speakers and function effectively without support in an English-only classroom.

If students don’t meet reclassification standards by fifth grade, according to Bob Keatinge of the District English Learners Advisory Committee, they are highly unlikely to ever meet proficiency standards. DELAC strives to reclassify 50 percent or more of district EL students by fifth grade. To do this, students must test well for two consecutive years on either the CELDT or the Language Arts section of the California Standards Test. Teachers and school personnel also have a say in reclassification to ensure student capability.

“The criteria we have is difficult enough to meet that the kids who are reclassified … do extremely well,” said Keatinge. “They stay at or above proficiency.” He noted that reading and writing are roadblocks to reclassification for many students.

DELAC’s plan is to increase the number of students reclassified in elementary school, thus decreasing the number of students still seeking proficiency in high school. EL students made up 23 percent of Carpinteria High School’s student body in 2011-2012, of which, 80 percent have been in the district since kindergarten and are not proficient. However, reclassification has been on the rise at Aliso and Canalino elementary schools.

Approximately 70 percent of the district’s EL students are progressing up one level on the CELDT per year, exceeding the federal expectation of at least 56 percent. Sixty percent of students spending five years or more in the district meet fluency standards, which also surpasses the federal requirement of 45 percent. However, state test scores from 2011 show that the district falls below expectations for EL student proficiency in the language arts and math sections.

“We’re still well below expectations (in the Language Arts section) because they want 68 percent of our kids who don’t speak English to be proficient,” said Keatinge.

To propel English language proficiency, Superintendent Paul Cordeiro and Keatinge recommended parent workshops, a systematic English Language Development Program for kindergartners through fifth-graders as well as reading intervention programs for students in elementary through high school, including non EL students. Cordeiro emphasized preschool’s importance in early literacy and language development, pointing out THRIVE Carpinteria’s efforts to improve kindergarten readiness rates and reading proficiency by third grade.

Math proficiency is problematic for students around the district, said Cordeiro, prompting a focus on developing pre-algebra skills in grades four and five. “We’ve got to make more kids successful in algebra,” he said.

The board turned to the budget when it adopted a resolution to cut a minimum of $300,000 from the 2013-2014 budget, a condition from the Santa Barbara County Education Office. That $300,000 was included in the multi-year projection submitted with the district’s adopted budget in June. Those cuts brought the 2014-2015 reserves to 3.94 percent, just surpassing the state-required 3 percent.

The next regular school board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 9, at 5:30 p.m. in Carpinteria City Council Chambers, 5775 Carpinteria Ave.

Armendariz quits council for North County job

Armendariz quits council for North County job
Carpinteria City Councilman Joe Armendariz, CVN File Photo

By Peter Dugré

Carpinteria City Councilman Joe Armendariz, who clung to his council seat amid public outcry to step down earlier this year, announced on Sept. 24 that he will walk away from the council two months shy of the end of his second term. Citing a need to relocate to North County for an undisclosed job opportunity and to be closer to his family, Armendariz resigned with what he called a “heavy heart” effective Oct. 1.

The announcement concluded a regular city council meeting that largely consisted of progress updates from city department heads. Fellow councilmembers took the opportunity to compliment Armendariz for his nearly eight years on the council. Mayor Al Clark thanked Armendariz for his service and called him “intelligent” and “creative.” Councilwoman Kathleen Reddington gave him a one-woman standing ovation.

Often the odd man out on would-be unanimous council votes, Armendariz also expressed gratitude to his colleagues. “Thank you for working with me to the best of your philosophical comfort level...,” he said. Earlier this year, the council voted to publicly censure Armendariz and to ask him to vacate his seat after Armendariz admitted that he was intoxicated when he crashed his vehicle on Highway 101 near Santa Claus Lane in December 2011. It was the second time during his tenure on the council that he crashed a car while driving drunk.

Despite being on the losing end of many policy battles and encumbered by the crimes he committed behind the wheel, Armendariz said, “Of all the things in my life, I can honestly say that serving on the city council is the most enjoyable thing I’ve ever done.” He added, “Over the last three years I’ve gone through a lot of personal issues and have taken some very, very profoundly difficult personal hits, but I’ve always suited up and showed up and always made it a priority to be here.”

Armendariz ran unsuccessfully for city council in 1998 before winning a seat in 2004 and getting reelected as the top vote getter in 2008. He spoke from his conservative soapbox on a progressive council that has passed regulations like the recent ban on single-use bags in stores, which like many other votes, was tallied at 4-1 with Armendariz as the lone dissenter.

In his final meeting, Armendariz was true to form when cautioning his fellow councilmembers to not pursue policies put forward by the “trendy left.” Speaking in reference to the city’s Community Development Department’s request that a Cal Poly grad student produce a report—for free—on the potential effects of climate change on Carpinteria, Armendariz questioned the science behind climate change and wisdom of ordering such a report. As a general guideline, he recommended, “basing decisions on good economics and sound science, not trendy politics.” He questioned whether the city should commit resources to a climate change study when “the jury is still out.”

Discussion on the topic quickly dissipated, as Armendariz found no takers in the debate, and Community Development Department Director Jackie Campbell explained that the city would welcome the free research and should climate change jeopardize coastal resources, the study could prove valuable. Armendariz’s voice will no longer remind city officials of the perspective he represents.

The council will likely leave the seat vacant for the remainder of the term until a newly elected councilperson will fill it this December. Mayor Clark and City Manager Dave Durflinger briefly discussed how to proceed and will likely report their options at the next city council meeting on Monday, Oct. 8, at 5:30 p.m., in Carpinteria City Council Chambers, 5775 Carpinteria Ave.

Carpinteria Triathlon scheduled for Sept. 30

The annual Carpinteria Triathlon, which showcases the area’s scenic treasures and generates funds for the Carpinteria Parks & Recreation Department, will cause traffic detours on the morning of Sept. 30 to accommodate the some 900 participants. All drivers are asked to use caution when near the race zone, and access to Linden Avenue will be closed at Carpinteria Avenue during the hours of the race between 7 and 11:30 a.m. Beach traffic will be rerouted down streets parallel to Linden. Registration for the triathlon, in both the full length Olympic course and shortened Sprint course, is still open and can be completed at Volunteers can also sign up to help with the execution of one of Carpinteria’s biggest annual events.

Kicking Pirate booty

Kicking Pirate booty
Team captains, from left, Derrick Shirley-Moore, Paul Cortez and Xavier De Alba admire the CHS football team’s new hardware that was earned on a 33-18 victory at Santa Ynez on Sept. 14.

Warriors draw even at 2-2 after win in S.Y.
By Peter Dugré

Defensive takeaways proved key once again for Carpinteria High School football, which used three interceptions and a fumble recovery to generate a 33-18 victory over old foe Santa Ynez High School in Santa Ynez on Sept. 14. In improving its season record to 2-2, CHS football also captured the game trophy and notched another win in the historically charged pride match to maintain the all-time series advantage at 31-27-3.

Warrior sophomore Jorge Arroyo, who intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble, said, “It feels good to come out here and get a win. I don’t think I’ve ever beaten Santa Ynez at their house.”

The Pirates (0-4) held a 12-9 first-half lead after hitting it big for a 67-yard passing touchdown to freshman Austin Vreeland and snagging a penalty-aided touchdown drive early in the second quarter. Following the 12-point burst—Santa Ynez missed both point after attempts—the Warriors took control and scored the game’s next 24 points.

The Warriors wasted no time demonstrating their tendency to use sticky fingers on defense as a primary weapon. Arroyo hauled in an interception and returned it 28 yards for a touchdown 1:30 into the game to put the Warriors up 7-0. The errant Pirate pass ricocheted off three players before opportunistic Arroyo secured the ball and sped away. The Warriors followed a six takeaway performance against Nipomo High School on Sept. 7 with the four takeaway game at Santa Ynez.

“We have to get after (the ball),” coach Ben Hallock explained of the Warriors’ reliance on feisty, ball-stealing football. “We can’t always line up toe-to-toe size-wise.” Pouncing on ball-carriers to knock balls loose and breaking on passes to grab interceptions is an important aspect of the game for the Warriors, who usually give away a few pounds to opponents.

With both offenses sputtering in the first half, the Warriors reached into their bag of tricks late in the second quarter to regain the lead. Senior captain Xavier De Alba snagged an interception and set the Warrior offense up at the Pirate 23-yard line, but a penalty and sack for a loss had the Warriors backed up at third down and 23 yards to go.

On the third-and-long play, Warrior quarterback Ian Craddock handed the ball off to running back Paul Cortez on what appeared to be a sweep. Cortez then handed the ball off for a reverse before the ball was tossed back to Craddock. With the Pirates defending the reverse, Craddock lofted a 10-yard pass to Cortez in the flat, and the speedy senior playmaker dodged one tackler before crossing the goal line for a 36-yard touchdown and a 16-12 lead.

In addition to his interception return for a touchdown, Arroyo recovered a fumble toward the end of the first half but was dragged down and denied a second touchdown at the 1-yard line. Arroyo, who’s affectionately called “Pumba” by teammates, said, “It’s so exciting. It never gets old,” of his opportunities to carry the football as a defender. He also scored a touchdown in the Nipomo game. The Warriors were unable to power the ball in to convert the fumble return into points before the half and settled for a 16-12 halftime advantage.

In the second half, the Warriors had successes in the passing game, particularly on two strikes from Craddock to senior wide receiver David Olvera. The two connected on a 6-yard touchdown pass at the 7:14 mark in the third quarter to build a 23-12 lead on Olvera’s leaping grab in the back of the end zone. Then a 12-yard pass and one-handed catch from Craddock to Olvera sparked a drive that ended with a 1-yard Cortez touchdown run to put the score at 30-12 with 1:13 left in the third quarter.

Craddock, who was perfect for the day as place kicker, hit a 30-yard field goal midway through the fourth quarter to end the scoring for the Warriors. Santa Ynez punched in a 30-yard touchdown pass in the waning minutes of the game after reserve players had taken the field.

Warrior defensive back Anthony Graham grabbed a second half interception, and defensive end Duncan Gordon made several big plays including a sack for a safety in the first quarter.

Hallock said the second straight victory was a “big win” and a “step in the right direction.”

The Warriors will continue the non-league portion of the schedule at Santa Clara High School on Friday, Sept. 21, at 7 p.m. Santa Clara is 1-2 and is coming off a 53-7 loss against high-powered Bishop Diego High School.

4-H club installs new officers

4-H club installs new officers
From left, are the new Los Padres 4-H officers Josh Kitt, secretary; Crystal Arroyo, president; Jasmyn Arroyo, reporter; Olivia Loyola, treasurer/vice president; and Analiesa Kitt, historian/vice president.

Carpinteria’s Los Padres 4-H held its first meeting of the 2012-2013 year on Sept. 4 and installed a new lineup of leaders. The new officer team is led by Crystal Arroyo at the president position, and rounded out with Olivia Loyola, Analiesa Kitt, Josh Kitt and Jasmyn Arroyo. This year’s officer team plans to get more involved in the community through citizenship projects and volunteer opportunities. Los Padres 4-H next club meeting will be held on Monday, Oct. 1, at 6:30 p.m., in Room 313 at Carpinteria Children’s Project at Main, 5201 8th Street. For more information on the Los Padres 4-H Youth Development program, visit or call 893-3409.

Chamber to host city council candidate forum

Providing voters with an opportunity to learn more about the five candidates running for two Carpinteria City Council seats, the Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce will host a non-partisan forum on Wednesday, Oct. 10, from 6 to 8 p.m. at city hall, 5775 Carpinteria Ave. The public is invited to attend the free event, in which the candidates—Greg Gandrud, Wade Nomura, Tom Perry, Fred Shaw and Kathleen Reddington—will be asked questions by CVCC Board Chair Tom Ligare in a round robin format. Each candidate will be mailed the questions prior to the forum and will be invited to make an opening statement. Refreshments will be served and attendees can meet the candidates after the formal program. To find out more, call 684-5479 x10.

Flood control district drops Toro Canyon site

On the heels of a contentious Aug. 7 meeting to consider the purchase of the Carpinteria Unified School District’s property at the base of Toro Canyon Road, the Santa Barbara County Flood Control District has withdrawn from negotiations to purchase the 9-acre parcel. According to Deputy Public Works Director Thomas Fayram, the district sent a letter of withdrawal to the school district on Aug. 22 and is now looking elsewhere for a site to store debris after major flooding events. Though Fayram declined to elaborate on why the property would not be suitable for purchase, the decision was made after several residential neighbors of the Toro Canyon site vocally objected to what they classified as a “dump” on the property.

“We want to find the property that works best for us,” Fayram said, noting that the ideal site would be in the ballpark of 5 to 10 acres. He emphasized that the district is not actively engaged in any particular property at the moment, but has several sites that it is preliminarily looking into.

Howard School turns 100

Howard School turns 100
Howard Headmaster Joel Reed speaks to the 200 attendees of the centennial party before the candles are lit on the celebratory cake.

By Lea Boyd

Hannah Howard would have loved to be at 5315 Foothill Road on Sept. 8. On that day in that location, Howard School, an institution that Hannah founded 100 years ago, celebrated its long history and ongoing success. About 200 happy children, parents, staff and alumni turned out to recognize the significant milestone and reflect on how much has changed and how much has stayed the same since Hannah opened the doors to a brand new school in 1912.

“Everyone (at Howard) has the same purpose—kids getting a great education in a really safe, loving environment,” said Howard parent Claire-Marie Ficsor.

According to Barbara Howell, whose daughter attended the school and whose granddaughter now attends, this purpose has remained constant over the course of her family’s two generations of Howard students. She described Howard as a “nice, family school,” where her daughter got a “wonderful education” and her granddaughter is following suit.

Hannah Howard launched the school at the urging of parents whose students she tutored. Her husband had an injury that kept him from working, so she tutored students initially to support her young family. Hannah’s talents as an educator gained her a following, and in 1912 she opened the doors to a tiny school in the Old Grove House in Montecito. Ten years later, the school was moved to San Ysidro Road, the site of the current Laguna Blanca Early School.

In the mid-1900s, Mr. and Mrs. Carpenter purchased Howard School and ran it as a boarding and day school for many years. When Richard and Judy Harbor bought the school in the late 1970s, they adopted the Carden philosophy and method of teaching, a program that remains in place now. As current Headmaster Joel Reed explained, the Carden curriculum educates the whole child, giving each student the tools to express his or her unique personality.

For a few years in the late 1990s, after the Harbors had sold Howard, the school’s adherence to the Carden philosophy slipped, as did the quality of education. The school lost its lease on its longtime home on San Ysidro Road, and its future looked bleak.

A group of parents rallied around their ailing school, however, relaunching it as a nonprofit organization, relocating it to Girls Inc. of Carpinteria and replacing its leadership with Headmaster Reed, who had owned a Carden school in Arizona prior to his position at Howard.

The Carpinteria location was initially considered a temporary fix for a Howard home, but 13 years later, Reed says the facility has become a comfortable fit. Howard students occupy the little campus in the morning and early afternoon, and Girls Inc.’s after-school programs begin as Howard is letting its students out.

Daily about 75 students from preschool to eighth-grade filter into Howard School for a full dose of literature, math and science as well as art, music, art appreciation, drama and technology. None of the subjects are electives; each student does it all. “It’s the student who would never, never sign up for after school drama who would benefit most from it,” said Reed.

According to Ficsor, whose son attends Howard, Reed is the heart of the little school. He is patient and caring, she said, and actively involved in each of his students’ lives.

Loyalty to Howard runs deep as evidenced by the many folks who turned out for the school’s 100th birthday party. Among those who attended were Hannah Howard’s granddaughter Anne Barnes. Attendees enjoyed a gourmet picnic lunch prepared by school supporter and Montecito Country Club chef Michael Blackwell as well as games, speeches and, of course, birthday cake.

Hannah Howard would have worn a happy smile if she’d been able to attend. She may have passed away decades ago, but her legacy is still going strong as it enters its second century.

Abbott family nabs Avofest Grand Marshall honor

Abbott family nabs Avofest Grand Marshall honor
The 2012 California Avocado Festival Grand Marshall is the Abbott family. Gathered at Abbott ranch are adult family members, from left, Whitney Abbott and husband Murray McTigue, Tessa Van der Werff, and husband Robert Abbott, and Meredith and Duncan Abbott; and children, from left, Gwen and Agatha McTigue, Edie and Bea Abbott. Not pictured are William Abbott and husband David Paige.

By Peter Dugré

This year’s California Avocado Festival Grand Marshall is multiplying, and it’s getting older and younger by the year. Rather than one local avocado grower, the Grand Poobahs of Avofest nominated the entire Duncan and Meredith Abbott family as 2012 Grand Marshall, a recognition that honors one of Carpinteria Valley’s most deeply rooted avocado growing families.

Speaking on behalf of himself and Meredith and their children William, Robert and Whitney and spouses David, Tessa and Murray and grandchildren Gwen, Edie, Agatha and Bea, Duncan said, “It’s an honor, especially looking back at the (Grand Marshalls) before us. They’ve all been very much involved in helping out Carpinteria.”

As explained by 2012 Avofest President Gregg Carty, the Grand Marshall title is bestowed on a person who is “very involved in preserving agriculture in the valley.” He said the Abbotts fit the qualifications perfectly because they’re “respected throughout the ag industry.” Most of the job of a Grand Marshall is simply to represent for a year the important role of avocado growers in the Carpinteria community. “Grand Marshalls just enjoy the festival, and the community shows respect for what they’ve done for us and the local agricultural industry,” Carty said.

And the most important part of the duty of grand marshalling the festival is setting the festivities into motion by balancing an avocado on the nose of the seal fountain on Friday afternoon of festival weekend. Duncan informed this reporter that he may snag a chunk of silly putty from one of his granddaughters to help balance the fruit on the seal’s nose.

Before Duncan took over, Abbott Ranch on Casitas Pass Road was founded by Tirey Abbott, Duncan’s father, in 1922, when Tirey was 22. He had graduated from U.C. Davis and wanted out of city life in San Francisco where he’d grown up. According to Duncan, Tirey knew immediately that the fertile Carpinteria Valley would generate a nice crop of what was then planted in walnuts. The family ranch also was planted in lima beans before becoming one of the early converts to avocados in the early 1930s when the Hass variety emerged.

Now in addition to the big Abbott Ranch of 55 acres, which has avocados and lemons, Robert farms 12 acres and Whitney has 12 with husband Murray McTigue. Duncan credits his children with injecting new energy into the family business and to adapting to a changing market. Robert is a dedicated organic farmer and is converting more and more of the big ranch from conventional to organic practices. They use mulch to fertilize the soil and have installed owl boxes to ward off rodents. “We’re kind of innovative. We try new ideas, and that whets the appetite a little bit,” Duncan said of Robert’s influence on the ranch.

William, Robert’s twin, resides in New Hampshire and although he’s not farming, his focus is on the land as an executive director of a land trust and a trained botanist.

And in addition to being connected to the land through growing trees and fruit, the Abbott family is well represented in local art galleries. Meredith, Whitney and Robert are all accomplished painters who draw inspiration from local scenery. “Art’s in the family. It’s ingrained,” Duncan said.

In emphasizing the significance of the family honor, the Abbotts contributed some input on what living among an abundant supply of avocados has meant for rearing new generations. Robert and Whitney said that they went through periods in youth where they shunned the fruit, having grown sick of endless creamy green meals, but now their palates have regained a taste for avocados. “When we were growing up these guys fed us so many avocados that we developed an aversion,” Robert said.

Meredith calls avocados the “perfect baby food” and said her grandkids love the simple snack of “wagon wheels,” avocados on Ritz crackers.

Duncan described his more unusual quick fix avocado lunch. He slices the avocado in half, tops it with ketchup, lemon juice and salt and digs in. Robert agreed that the seed cavity is a perfect container for sauce, but gave no comment on Duncan’s choice of toppings.

Reflecting on this year’s festival, Duncan said he is grateful for the honor and for having the opportunity to grow avocados in an ideal location. “There’s not a better place in the world to grow avocados,” he said.

“Appointment with Death” opens Friday at Plaza

“Appointment with Death” opens Friday at Plaza
Cade King and Melinda Yohe rehearse for the Sept. 14 debut of “Appointment with Death.”

Local mystery lovers can unravel the whodunit drama of Agatha Christie’s “Appointment with Death,” beginning Friday, Sept 14, at 8 p.m. at the Plaza Playhouse Theater, 4916 Carpinteria Ave. The city’s familiar stage will transform into the King Solomon Hotel of 1945 Jerusalem as the murder mystery unfolds. Directed by Jim Sirianni, “Appointment with Death,” runs Fridays and Saturdays, Sept. 15, Sept. 21, and Sept. 22 at 8 p.m. and Sundays, Sept. 16 and Sept. 23, at 3 p.m. Tickets are $12 for general admission and $10 for students and seniors and are available at and at Curious Cup, 929 Linden Ave. For more information, call the theater at 684-6380.

Great white attacks harbor seal

Great white attacks harbor seal
Santa Barbara Marine Mammal Center photo: This 275-pound, female harbor seal died soon after it was bitten twice by a great white shark near Sand Point.

Adds to high rate of recent shark incidents
By Lea Boyd

Following a shark attack that appears to have taken place off of Carpinteria’s Sand Point, a dead adult harbor seal was recovered near Linden Beach on Sept. 9. The culprit behind the attack, as evidenced by the bite pattern, was a 10- to 12-foot great white shark, said Santa Barbara Marine Mammal Center Director Peter Howorth. Shark-related incidents occurring in Carpinteria and throughout Santa Barbara County this year continue at a faster-than-usual clip, prompting Howorth to comment, “Something is wrong.”

Howorth, who founded the Marine Mammal Center 36 years ago, said “I look at this as the canary in the coal mine business.” He said that the unusually high rate of shark sightings and seals washing up with shark bites should give pause to anyone considering ocean recreation in areas where incidents have recently occurred. “I wouldn’t be swimming out there,” he said of the Sand Point area in the wake of last Sunday’s attack.

The driving factor behind the higher rate of shark incidents is still unknown, Howorth said. It could be a shortage of normal prey for great whites or increased competition that is putting sharks closer to humans. “Or is it just plain more sharks? We don’t know,” he said.

Last weekend’s seal attack was reported to the Marine Mammal Center by two parties who saw the bleeding seal in the water near Sand Point. The center’s volunteer, Paul Stark, followed the seal as it drifted along the coast and eventually washed into the surf at Linden. The seal had perished from two bites, one made from the rear that removed an entire tail flipper and exposed pelvic bone, and one from the side. Howorth said it is typical for great whites to injure their prey with attacks from behind and then wait until the animal dies before finishing the meal. Of the recent incident, Howorth said, “It was a very fresh attack.”

Howorth scoffed at the idea that the Carpinteria Seal Rookery has drawn a greater number of sharks to the local area. Seal counts at the rookery have remained fairly constant, at approximately 300 individuals, over the last two decades, while the number of shark-related incidents has shot up in only the last four years. The shark incident increase, he added, is a Southern California-wide phenomenon, not a local one.

Regular shark sightings and the beach area warning signs that follow have triggered significant media attention. Following an Aug. 14 shark sighting by a stand up paddler that took place off of Elm Avenue, Carpinteria Parks and Recreation Director Matt Roberts speculated that the rise in reports could be due to the increased media attention, a greater number of people using the ocean for recreation or improved beach warning postings and communication among reporting agencies.

Howorth said that accusations of recent shark sensationalism are “nonsense.” Better warning systems could lead to lives saved, he said. State, city and county governments now regularly post signs in the area of a sighting for 72 hours after the incident. Howorth equates the shark warning beach signs to highway signs warning of ice on the highway; they inform ocean-goers of the risks and allow them to proceed with caution.

Sly’s bouillabaisse claims prize

Sly’s bouillabaisse claims prize
From left, Chris Chinn, Mandy Chinn, Rose Chinn, Federico Orduña, James Sly and Annie Sly, of Sly’s Restaurant, savor the taste of victory at the Bouillabaisse Festival.

The steamy, salty, seafoody soup that chefs Federico Orduna and James Sly whipped up for this year’s Bouillabaisse Festival pleased judges’ palates and earned the restaurant third-place in the classic bouillabaisse division of the competition. Held on Aug. 26 at The Brander Vineyard, the contest benefited Hospice of Santa Barbara. Out-bouillabaissing the local restaurant were Arlington Tavern in first place and Blush in second.

Warriors stop slide, erupt for 51 points

By Peter Dugré

Midway through the second quarter at Nipomo High School on Sept. 7, Carpinteria High School football appeared destined for a third straight loss. Nipomo held a 12-3 lead and possessed the ball after intercepting a Warrior pass. Then, on a third-down-and-three play in CHS territory, the Warrior defensive line made a play that changed the complexion of the game.

Defensive ends Duncan Gordon and Jaime De Robles squeezed Nipomo’s quarterback forward, where he was swallowed by the big bodies of senior captains Derrick Shirley Moore and Xavier De Alba. Nipomo punted the ball the next play after losing yardage on the sack. Riding newfound momentum, the Warriors erupted for 48 straight points to turn a 12-3 deficit into a runaway 51-12 victory.

Most remarkable about the big turnaround, Warrior coach Ben Hallock said, was that the team clicked in every aspect of the game. Players scored points on offense, on defense and on special teams. The defense generated six turnovers, and the offense finished the job. “Fundamentally, we were a lot better than in the previous outing,” Hallock said. “That’s what we were hoping for, that some of the things we were practicing would show up on the field.”

Running back Peter Ramos rushed for over 100 yards. Running back Paul Cortez nearly reached 100 yards rushing and added a 64-yard punt return for a touchdown along with a 25-yard catch. And running back Jonathan Esqueda broke off long runs of his own.

Still, Hallock said, the team’s successes flowed from the defensive line, where the aforementioned tough guys up front were able to stop the run and apply enough pressure on the quarterback to disrupt the passing game. Defensive backs Jorge Arroyo, Ruben Garcia and Connor Kelsey each intercepted passes.

The Warriors’ record improved to 1-2 after the victory, and the team will try to carry the momentum into its next contest at Santa Ynez High School on Friday, Sept. 14, at 7 p.m. Santa Ynez has a 0-3 record.

Cate football splits first two contests

Cate football splits first two contests
Bill Swing photo: Cate School quarterback Kyle Mayfield scored nine touchdowns in a single game on Sept. 1.

By Peter Dugré

Cate School Rams football opened up the season with a home win and road loss to start the march through an onerous schedule with some promise. The Rams broke the school record for points in a game in a 70-40 home win over Mojave High School on Sept. 1. However, a trip to Joshua Springs High School on Sept. 7 was not as kind to the Rams, who fell 42-12.

Leading the way offensively for the Rams in each game has been quarterback Kyle Mayfield, who over the course of the young season has been involved in 11 of the team’s 12 touchdowns, either passing or running.

In the Mojave outburst, Mayfield was in on nine of 10 scores. In that game, the senior quarterback ran for 252 yards and passed for 218. Coach Ben Soto called it, “One of the most outstanding games turned in by any Cate football player.”

Fellow senior captain Austin Gallegos also greatly impacted the game. On defense, he blocked an extra point and intercepted a pass for a touchdown. He also caught four touchdown passes. Senior co-captain Michael Martinez also caught a touchdown pass.

Mojave had a fairly successful 11-man football program up until this season when it switched to the 8-man format. The Rams were trailing 13-8 in the second quarter before erupting for the onslaught of points.

Soto credited offensive linemen Chris Wilkinsin, Zach Ell, Peter Kim, Brewer Ballard, Thys Northup, Christian Ondaatje and Max Wankner for their roles in the high-powered offensive performance.

On Sept. 7 at Joshua Springs, the Rams ran into a more formidable opponent and lost 42-12. Joshua Springs is a defending CIF 8-man football champ. Soto noted that the team was within striking distance, only down 20-12, at the start of the fourth quarter, but Joshua Springs used a turnover and touchdown to put the game out of reach. “We played hard; we played well,” Soto said. “We need to fine tune a couple of things and make some adjustments. This game will help us down the road if we correct what we need to correct.”

Mayfield picked up two more touchdowns in the game including a 63-yard third-quarter run to tighten the score. Soto singled out Abraham Tall for relentless pursuit of the ball on defense.

The Rams match up with Faith Baptist, another strong program, on Saturday, Sept. 22, at 2 p.m. at Cate School.

9/11 not forgotten

9/11 not forgotten
Bill Swing Photo

Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District firefighter Arnie Brooks hands retired U.S. Marine Joe Lazaro his honorary firefighter helmet at the CSFPD 9/11 Memorial Service. Held at the Maple Avenue fire station, the ceremony also honored Private Hayden Lloyd of the U.S. Army as an honorary firefighter. A somber event that paid tribute to those lost in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the memorial included an invocation by Chaplain Jerry Gray, a presentation of colors, the National Anthem performed by Mandy Huffaker Chinn and a keynote address by Chaplain Charles A. Reed, Sr.

Channel Islands come to Carpinteria

Channel Islands come to Carpinteria
From left, Marla Daily, president of the Santa Cruz Island Foundation, and Marina Mardueño, office manager, look forward to meeting the public at the Sept. 20 open house in the foundation’s new Carpinteria location.

By Lea Boyd

For many Carpinterians, the California Channel Islands are merely a beautiful backdrop to their ocean view—not so for Marla Daily, president of the Santa Cruz Island Foundation. Daily has made the islands her life, and now she has relocated her “one stop shop for anything California Channel Island” from Santa Barbara to 5045 Wullbrandt Way in Carpinteria.

“I think I have the best job in the world,” said Daily, who has immersed herself in the history of the islands. She has written several books on the islands and spends her days collecting and dispersing information and artifacts related to the islands’ yesteryears. She endeavors to know about every person who lived or worked on the islands, a goal she is well on the way to achieving as evidenced by, among other items, shelves of binders representing every bald eagle collector who stepped foot on the islands.

Daily’s own history is uniquely tied to the California Channel Islands. She graduated from U.C. Santa Barbara in 1973 with a degree in cultural anthropology and was hired soon after as personal assistant to Carey Stanton, then owner of 90 percent of Santa Cruz Island. Stanton eventually deeded his island property to the Nature Conservancy, and when he died in 1987, he left Daily with a job for life at the Santa Cruz Island Foundation.

He left it in the right hands. “I’m as excited today as I was 25 years ago to learn about the California Channel Islands,” said Daily.

The foundation holds the world’s most extensive collection of photographs of the islands, many of which were used in Daily’s most recent publication, “Images of America: The California Channel Islands.” The new book is divided into eight chapters, one for each island, and showcases many photos that had never been published prior.

Anyone who wants to get involved in the foundation’s mission to preserve the islands’ history can sign up for its volunteer program. Four times a year, volunteers spend three days on Santa Cruz Island maintaining the foundation’s museums on the island.

Those who volunteer will be one-eighth of the way toward membership in the All Eight Club. To join the club, the most exclusive geographic club in the United States, one must step foot on all eight of the Channel Islands. The club’s 125 members have earned themselves a hat and flag courtesy of Santa Cruz Island Foundation

To learn more about the foundation, drop by during open office hours, Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Friday 9 a.m. to noon. Visitors can also drop by the foundation’s open house on Thursday, Sept. 20, from 3 to 5 p.m. Refreshments will be served, and Channel Islands enthusiasm will abound.

Council paves way for upcoming Avofest

By Sara Monge

The Carpinteria City Council green-lighted the 26th annual California Avocado Festival with its Sept. 10 approval of a special event permit and an estimated $17,000 city contribution to ensure that the celebration of Carpinteria’s favorite fruit goes off safely and leaves no trace. “The economic and fiscal value (of the Avocado Festival) is tremendous,” said Councilman Joe Armendariz as explanation for his support.

The city will pay a maximum of $5,000 toward law enforcement services, and the festival will cover the remaining $4,000 in anticipated police costs. Additionally, the city will foot the $5,200 bill expected for street closures and traffic control by its public works crew, as well as $6,500 for sidewalk sweeping after the event. The festival costs were already worked into the city’s budget.

This year’s festival will take place Friday, Oct. 5 through Sunday, Oct. 7. Following 2011’s successful change to an earlier opening, the Avofest will now annually kickoff at 11 a.m. on Friday.

Other changes include an expansion of the festival footprint to include the Torrey Pine property on Carpinteria Avenue. Restrooms, a shuttle drop off area and a free dog daycare for festival attendees unaware of the no pets policy will be offered at the Torrey Pine property.

Anthony Staal, Avocado Festival boardmember, told the council that the 2012 event will have more vendors and better shuttle service. He explained that the event is a major fundraiser for many local nonprofits and reported that the fee for nonprofits to participate had been reduced. Tips received by alcohol vendors will be donated toward a youth scholarship.

In other news, the council voted to endorse Proposition 37, which will appear on the November ballot and, if passed, would require that genetically modified foods be labeled as such. The council majority supported the proposition because, as City Manager Dave Durflinger explained, “It allows consumers to make informed choices about these products.”

Armendariz, who represented the lone vote against the endorsement, labeled the proposition as “trendy left” and predicted it would “cost taxpayers millions” by increasing the cost of food for its enforcement and potential lawsuits.

In March the council sent a letter to support the measure’s inclusion on the General Election ballot, and nearly 1 million voters statewide signed petitions to put the proposition up to a vote this November.

Also at its Sept. 10 meeting, the city council threw its support behind elevating Rincon Point’s status to a World Surfing Reserve (WSR). Though the title comes with no legal protections, Councilwoman Kathleen Reddington, who has spearheaded the effort to designate the local point, said it “would be an economic boon” for Carpinteria, as it would help to attract surfers from around the world to the city.

Should it become a WSR, Rincon would join only two other California beaches—Malibu and Santa Cruz—with the distinction. In order to qualify, sites must be globally significant, having both historical and environmental importance, and backed by a rich surf culture and strong community support. The honor is bestowed by the Save the Waves Coalition in partnership with the International Surfing Association. Coalition representative Will Henry explained, “Rincon point is one of the most iconic spots in California if not the world (to surf).”

Councilman Armendariz, who ultimately supported the designation, said he was concerned that it might interfere with future developments, including the resort proposed for the bluffs near Rincon. Durflinger explained that the designation could be used to lobby for new protection later but also could make the bluffs property more desirable to prospective hoteliers. “The queen of the coast deserves to be reserved,” summarized Councilman Gregg Carty, a longtime surfer.

The council voted to approve a parcel map that will split Union Pacific Railroad’s 6.58-acre lot between Holly and Olive avenues into two parcels. This step will allow the city to purchase 0.66 acres of the property. A skate park and community garden will be considered for the parcel, but the city has yet to designate its use.
The next regular Carpinteria City Council meeting will be held on Monday, Sept. 24, at 5:30 p.m. in the council chambers at city hall, 5775 Carpinteria Ave.

School board seeks savings through healthcare plans

By Erin Lennon

Ongoing negotiations between the Carpinteria Unified School District and the Carpinteria Association of United School Employees over healthcare benefits took center stage at the Sept. 11 CUSD Governing Board meeting. While district revenues have declined over the past 10 years, health insurance premiums have nearly doubled, rising by 10.5 percent this year, according to Assistant Superintendent Lucinda Abbott.

Premiums are currently $14,935 per teacher, 30 percent of an average teacher’s $50,311 salary. “It’s definitely coming at a cost to everybody,” said Abbott.

Abbott’s Sept. 11 presentation focused on a health insurance plan in which the district pays 80 percent of costs, leaving 20 percent of costs to employees. CUSD employees currently receive a fully paid Blue Cross 90 percent PPO. This change would increase a family’s out-of-pocket maximum by $1,600, rising from $2,400 to $4,000, while saving the district $250,000.

“An 80/20 plan would be absolutely disastrous as it sits right now,” said Carpinteria High School teacher Casey Roberts. “We’re not talking about reserves. (Families) don’t have any cushion. One false step, and they are insolvent.” He also noted that the $1,600 increase in out-of-pocket maximums would be nearly 3 percent of an employee’s $50,000 salary. “That’s a lot of money for us,” said Roberts.

The 80/20 plan, which CAUSE received in an Aug. 14 proposal, upset teachers who have forgone higher pay to focus on maintaining fully funded healthcare benefits, according CAUSE member Kathleen Manos. CUSD teachers receive the second lowest salary among 20 similar districts in the region, according to CAUSE records.

“This district offers one of the lowest salary schedules in the region in a community with perhaps the highest cost of living in the region,” said CHS teacher Rob Lindsay. “That’s two strikes against you. The only way that you can attract high quality people to work for you in this district and with these children is with the healthcare benefits you always offered. If you take that away, that’s strike three.”

In early June, according to CAUSE President Jay Hotchner, the union and CUSD representatives discussed potential changes to healthcare benefits as the proposed Weighted Student Funding model threatened $2.6 million in lost funding. However, when that danger passed, Hotchner says insurance was no longer up for consideration.

The district became contingency-focused two years ago to combat tight budgets, according to Hotchner. “Healthcare was one of those contingencies,” he said. Funds were funneled from a fully funded HMO to a fully paid 90/10 PPO, increasing co-pays and deductibles.

According to Abbott, if Proposition 30 fails this November, the district cannot afford the same fully paid plan and reported that the 80 percent plan would have allowed the district to continue paying the full premium.

Regardless of whether Governor Jerry Brown’s proposition passes on Nov. 6 or if the district sees the resulting $966,000 in trigger cuts, negotiations over employee healthcare benefits will continue, said Superintendent Paul Cordeiro. That came as an unwelcome surprise to union members. Insurance plans will not change for the current school year, and employees will maintain their fully funded option.

Abbott and the board defended the district’s 15.38 percent reserve funds, which CAUSE has historically asked the board to spend to avoid other district cuts. If Proposition 30 fails, the budget will be tight regardless of reducing employee health benefits. Without any cuts, Abbott projected the district being insolvent by 2014-2015. Alternatively, if the district cuts $700,000 from the budget, reserves will be reduced to under 4 percent. If Proposition 30 passes and no cuts are made, the district will have 9.90 percent in reserves come 2014-2015, enough to cover one month of district expenditures.

The board approved a resolution in support of both Proposition 30, which would avoid the January trigger cuts, and Proposition 38, which would generate $15 billion in 2013-2014. Those funds would go directly to K-12 schools, early education and state bond debts.

“Parties have to pay attention to the data, no matter how much passion they have,” said Cordeiro as he reiterated Boardmember Lou Panizzon’s call for objectivity. Speakers urged the board to be creative and perhaps “spread the pain a little,” according to CUSD employee Felicity Moore. Roberts suggested figuring the four teacher furlough days into the budget every year, a savings of over $200,000.

Negotiations will continue on Sept. 24.

The next regular school board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 25, at 5:30 p.m. in Carpinteria City Council Chambers, 5775 Carpinteria Ave.

Avofest poster relaxes into tradition

Avofest poster relaxes into tradition
Neptali Cisneros’ design stood out among the 35 submissions.

All other local produce turns green with envy as the annual California Avocado Festival approaches. AvoFest debuts its 26th event this year and is well out of its adolescence. Native Carpinterian, current graphic designer and longtime AvoFest attendee Neptali Cisneros’ victorious poster design illustrates that maturity and honors both the festival’s grand history and its small town setting. He mixes majestic fonts that seem to harken back to Hollywood’s golden age with the laid back feel of a front row, sandy seat to Carpinteria’s memorable sunset. “My main focus was to keep it simple and iconic so everyone will feel what I feel when I’m in Carpinteria: relaxed.”

Cisneros’ design stood out among the 35 submissions in the eyes of the six festival directors and will be replicated on all event memorabilia from T-shirts to posters. The local graphic designer works for some of the most familiar brands in the entertainment, production and technology industries, but he took a new direction with his AvoFest poster. “I really wanted to express how I feel about this town in the poster and, in a way, represent a bit of myself in the avocado as well.”

Cisneros’ winning design was unveiled at the 2012 California Avocado Festival Launch Party at Santa Barbara Bank & Trust on Sept. 5 accompanied by “Taste of AvoFest,” appetizers, beer and wine. This year’s festival, scheduled to take place downtown on Linden Avenue from Friday, Oct. 5 through Sunday, Oct. 7, will use Cisneros’ design to invite thousands of avocado enthusiasts into the next chapter of the California Avocado Festival.

High-flying fundraising

High-flying fundraising

Before taking the plunge in the Paddle for Daisy, a father-daughter pair passes time on the sand at Santa Claus Lane Beach. The duo joined more than 50 water men and women who paddled over two miles from Santa Claus Lane to Serena Point and back on Sept. 1 as a fundraiser for Daisy Merrick, a local girl battling a third round of cancer. Paddle participants emptied their pockets to contribute to the half-million dollar medical bills anticipated for Merrick’s current treatment. Daisy’s grandfather Al Merrick, of surfboard shaping fame, participated in the event on a stand up paddleboard. Over a dozen other paddles were held internationally at the same time, all focused on reducing the costs associated with Daisy’s recent cancer treatment. The Santa Claus Lane paddle was co-sponsored by Christian Surfers Santa Barbara, Surf Happens and Active Education Foundation.

Photo by Bill Tover

Beware of predatory plumbers

By Craig Murray, Manager, Carpinteria Sanitary District

It is a well-known fact that clogged drains and sewer backups occur right before out-of-town guests arrive, during your Super Bowl party or at some other “worst possible moment.” How you handle these events can have a huge impact on your pocketbook and your peace of mind.

While there are many honest plumbing companies out there, there are a few who are looking for opportunities to take advantage during a stressful situation. These unscrupulous plumbing contractors, often large corporate franchises whose employees work on commission, tend to overstate the magnitude of a problem and inflate the cost of repairs.

Unfortunately, many Carpinteria homeowners have been pressured into signing contracts for sewer repairs priced three or four times higher than what is reasonable. Recently, the district assisted an elderly customer who agreed to pay $13,000 to replace a short section of her sewer lateral—this repair should have cost far less than half this amount and may not have been necessary.

Sewer laterals rarely collapse entirely or are sufficiently damaged to require immediate excavation. Generally, the blockage can be removed and flow restored temporarily, giving you time to assess the problem and get multiple estimates for repairs. A red flag should go up if a contractor is pressuring you to sign a contract “right now.”

Here are some tips to consider when hiring a plumber for major sewer lateral repairs:

Call the District. District staff members cannot recommend a specific plumbing contractor but can provide assistance. We are happy to review video inspection data, repair/replacement methods and cost estimates. Also, if the problem exists within the public right-of-way, the district is responsible for required repairs.

Get References. If you don’t already have a plumbing contractor you trust, ask your friends or neighbors for a reference. While there are good plumbers who advertise in the Yellow Pages, a full-page ad or an “on-time” guarantee doesn’t always equate professional integrity.

Get Multiple Estimates. When you need a major repair, always get at least three estimates for the work. Most plumbing contractors provide free estimates in a timely manner. Some repairs can be completed using a variety of methods—be sure to compare apples to apples when reviewing quotes.

Use a Licensed Contractor. Licensed contractors must complete work in compliance with state mandated procedures designed to protect customers from shoddy workmanship and potential serious health issues resulting from improper plumbing practices. You can check out the status of any licensed plumbing company at The site includes any registered complaints and ownership details.

Get a Permit. All sewer lateral repairs (outside of the building foundation) require a permit from the district. This low cost permit will help ensure that your contractor uses the proper materials and method and performs the work properly.

The Carpinteria Sanitary District provides public sewer service to the City of Carpinteria and surrounding areas. You can reach us by phone at 684-7214 or by email at For inquiries about plumbing issues outside of regular business hours, call 451-7809.

Tyco to shut down local manufacturing

By Lea Boyd

Approximately 100 local jobs will be lost in waves over the next 16 months as Tyco Electronics carries out plans to cease manufacturing in Carpinteria by the end of 2013. Employees at the local plant, formerly Kilovac, received word last week that all production now taking place in Carpinteria will be moved to Tyco centers in Mexico, North Carolina and China, and no jobs will be automatically transferred.

Tyco, a massive corporation with over 90,000 employees around the world, will vacate most, if not all, of the 44,000 square feet of leased warehouse space at 550 Linden Ave. The decision was made in an effort to increase efficiency and improve the company’s bottom line, said company spokesman Tom Peacock. Though all of the local manufacturing jobs will be lost, a satellite office for 14 engineers and managers will be preserved in the Santa Barbara area; whether that office will remain on Linden is still to be determined, said Peacock.

Peacock said that detailed plans for closure are still being fine tuned, but the first of the company’s product lines will be moved to a different location at the end of 2012. Permanent employees will be given notice 90 days before their positions end and will receive extended benefits and severance packages based on the amount of time they spent with the company.

Employees can apply for other Tyco jobs available outside of Carpinteria, said Peacock, but they must go through the full application process.

The Carpinteria Tyco plant produces electronic relays and contactors for clients such as airplane and boat manufacturers as well as defense contractors.

“It’s really sad,” said Doug Campbell, former president of Kilovac. “This is not the end any of us wanted to see.”

Doug’s father, Foster Campbell, founded Kilovac in the 1970s. According to Doug, Foster founded the company on core values that benefited the local community and gave every employee partial ownership. When Kilovac was sold in 1995 to a larger company that planned to go public, the profits were divided among staff: one-third went to employees, one-third to managers and the last third to the owner.

Plans to go public went south, however, and Tyco stepped in to purchase the company 10 years ago. Shortly after the sale to Tyco, a handful of former Kilovac employees splintered off and launched Gigavac, another Carpinteria manufacturer of high voltage relays.

Gigavac President Mike Molyneux told Coastal View News that his company has expanded since its formation. The company now has 40 employees and recently signed a lease on a 40,000-square-foot space on Rose Avenue. Molyneux hopes to hire as many cast off Tyco employees as possible, he said, and is attempting to negotiate with Tyco to buy of one of its product groups and keep production in Carpinteria. Making the appropriate contact within the goliath company, however, has been difficult, Molyneux said.

Farmers Insurance donates big bucks to Boosters

Farmers Insurance donates big bucks to Boosters

In front of bleachers packed with Warrior fans, David Jaskolski of Farmers Insurance Group hands over a large check made out for an equally large amount to Principal Gerardo Cornejo at the Carpinteria High School football game on Aug. 31. The $2,500 check will benefit the CHS athletics department. Jaskolski’s insurance office has made a tradition of supporting local athletics.

South Torrance takes down Warriors

South Torrance takes down Warriors
Anthony Rodriguez takes the ball up field during the Warriors’ 28-20 loss last Friday. Bill Swing Photo

By Alonzo Orozco

For the second time in as many weeks, the clock ran out on the Carpinteria High School football team as the Warriors’ onside kick attempt with 34 seconds to play was recovered by South Torrance, preserving a 28-20 victory for the visiting Spartans last Friday night at Carpinteria Valley Memorial Stadium. Although Carpinteria fell for the second week in a row by a one-touchdown margin, the pace of the game was vastly different from that of the opener.

“They slowed the game down to a crawl,” said Warrior coach Ben Hallock of the opponent who consistently pounded the ball on the ground behind a physical offensive line, handing the ball frequently to hard-nosed running back Brandon Chavez. Unlike the previous game that featured both teams airing it out and lighting up the scoreboard, this contest was one where both teams jockeyed for field position, exchanging punts.

Following a field goal attempt missed by South Torrance in the opening quarter, Carpinteria quarterback Ian Craddock’s toss to tight end Anthony Garcia gave the Warriors a first and goal at the Spartan 1-yard line. Running back Peter Ramos’ 1-yard plunge into the end zone gave Carpinteria a 6-0 lead 4:14 into the game.

With the score still 6-0 heading into the second quarter, South Torrance found itself in good field position at the Carpinteria 47. Spartan tight end Kevin Heinemann’s leaping grab of quarterback Kyle Nesbit’s heave into the night was good for a first down at the Warrior 5. Nesbit then drilled a 5-yard strike to wide receiver Anthony Peters, giving South Torrance the lead at 7-6. Both teams would then exchange interceptions with Spartan Carl Kaemerle’s pick thwarting a Warrior drive deep into South Torrance territory, and then Ramos’ theft, from his defensive linebacker position, putting Carpinteria in good field position at its own 46. Two big runs ensued, the first by senior running back Paul Cortez down to the Spartan 18, and the second an 18-yard TD jaunt by Jonathan Esqueda that put the Warriors back on top 12-7 with 2:20 left until intermission. Spartan Nick Campbell’s 28-yard field goal on the last play of the half, made the score 12-10 at the break.

The Warriors began the third quarter by driving all the way down to the Spartan 25, but a holding penalty negated a big reception deep into Spartan territory. Then, South Torrance’s Jake Mandel would gather in a deflected pass, returning the interception to the Carpinteria 43. After converting a key fourth-and-one, running back Ryan Bowman burst through a huge hole, finally being knocked down at the Warrior 1. Nesbit snuck it over from there, and with the two-point conversion, the Spartans went back in front by a score of 18-12.

Deep into the fourth quarter, with the score still 18-12, Chavez sprinted 40 yards for a TD to make it a 25-12 game, and another Campbell field goal, this time from 37 yards, increased the lead to 28-12 with 2:15 left. A fine return on the kickoff by Anthony Rodriguez to the 50-yard line helped lead Carpinteria downfield for the final touchdown, a 5-yard quarterback draw by Craddock.

“We’d like to think we could be more resilient,” said Hallock of the team’s second half performance, which seemed to deteriorate after the Warriors’ first drive ended with the interception. Carpinteria goes on the road tomorrow night, Sept. 7, to take on Nipomo. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

CHS girls tennis opens with solid start

CHS girls tennis opens with solid start
Makenna Pike reaches for a high one during her first varsity match for Carpinteria High School on Aug. 28.

Aug. 28 - Opening its season with a home match that coach Charles Bryant called “a solid start,” girls tennis wiped the courts, 17-1, with the Mission Prep Royals. Reigning league doubles champions Erin Saito and Lesly Zapata managed a sweep, not dropping a single game in their three sets. At number two doubles, a much improved Catalina Maldonado won all three sets as well, two with Natalie Saito and one with Gabi Montes De Oca. Picking up another three points for the team, the number three doubles team of Emily Saito and Merissa Souza swept their sets. In singles, reigning league champion Kelsie Bryant won all three of her sets without dropping a game, while number two singles player Makenna Pike won two sets and played great, said Bryant. Number three singles player Tess Pitzer-Jelvani won both of her sets before turning over the number three title to Kassandra Ni who won her only set.  

Aug. 30 - The girls tennis team traveled to Oak Park and beat the Eagles 15-3. The 100-degree heat didn’t stop the Warriors from playing tough tennis, coach Charles Bryant reported. Number one singles player Kelsie Bryant went 3-0, beating a strong competitor in Oak Park’s number one. Singles players Kassandra Ni and Tess Pitzer both picked up two wins and suffered 6-0 losses to the Eagles’ number one player. In doubles, the number one team of Erin Saito and Lesly Zapata went 3-0, dropping only one game out of the six sets they’d played for the season. Catalina Maldonado and Natalie Saito collected two wins, and Natalie teamed up with her cousin Emily Saito to win a third set 6-1. Number three doubles team, Merissa Souza and Makenna Pike, went 2-1 on the day with their only loss from a tiebreaker.  

Department of Energy learns Albertsons-style energy efficiency

Department of Energy learns Albertsons-style energy efficiency
From left, Ahmed Jahadhmy, Carpinteria Albertsons store manager, and Dr. David Danielson, Department of Energy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, discuss the public’s response to energy efficiency improvements at the store.

Excitement over Albertsons’ new energy efficient operation has far surpassed local boundaries, resonating all the way up to the feds in Washington, D.C. On Aug. 27, U.S. Department of Energy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Dr. David Danielson visited the Carpinteria store to promote the DOE’s Better Buildings Challenge, a national leadership program to reduce energy use in private and public facilities by 20 percent by 2020.

Albertsons Carpinteria has already bested the challenge’s goal, reducing its energy consumption per square foot by 30 percent with its recent expansion and remodel. “Carpinteria is leading the charge in efficiency,” noted Danielson. “Albertsons is right at the head of the pack.”

Danielson learned about the main facets of Albertsons’ new and improved energy efficiency during a tour that culminated in a climb to the roof for a close-up look at a new refrigerator unit—the feather in the superstore’s green cap. The new unit relies on all natural refrigerants and releases none of the greenhouse gases linked to global warming.

Inside the store, Rick Crandall, Albertsons Director of Environmental Stewardship, introduced Danielson to several other energy efficient measures. LED lights reduce electrical costs and energy consumption, and skylights throughout the store allow for the LEDs to be turned off for several hours of the day. Open beverage refrigerators have curtains that are closed after hours to conserve energy, and many of the store’s refrigerated units are equipped with sliding doors so that cool air is contained. Crandall pointed out that many grocery stores have to expend extra energy by turning on heaters even on hot days to counteract the uncomfortable chill created by open refrigerators.

Though energy efficiency was the focus of the DOE’s visit, Albertsons officials took the opportunity to highlight other areas in which the store acts as an environmental leader. The store, Crandall said, is by far the “greenest” of the over 1,000 Albertsons nationwide. Other stores in the chain include one or two components on the forefront of green technology, but the Carpinteria store has combined several elements into a facility that Crandall described as a green “utopia.”

The Better Buildings Challenge endeavors to convince businesses that going green is not just good for the planet but also their bottomline. Saving energy translates into saving money, Danielson said. “We at the (DOE) say that energy efficiency is not only the low hanging fruit, but the fruit that’s sitting on the ground rotting,” he said.

Because electricity is a grocery store’s third largest expense, Crandall said, “From a business standpoint, (energy saving) is the right thing to do.”

After visiting the Carpinteria Albertsons, Danielson set off to tour two other Southern California buildings that showcase energy efficiency, a science laboratory on the University of California at Irvine campus and the La Jolla Marriot Hotel.

Cate looks to senior leadership behind pigskin

Cate looks to senior leadership behind pigskin
Bill Swing photo: Senior captains, from back left, Kyle Mayfield and Austin Gallegos, and at front Michel Martinez, will lead the charge to take the Condor League title in the Rams’ 2012 8-man season.

By Alonzo Orozco

With nine returning seniors taking the field, Cate School football fans should have plenty of reason to cheer this season up at the Mesa. “We’re excited once again to get it going,” said coach Ben Soto, who will have all his starters back in the skill positions. The lead lineup includes seniors Kyle Mayfield at quarterback, Austin Gallegos and Michael Martinez as running backs and Max Wankner at tight end. Team captains Mayfield, Gallegos and Martinez will be expected to lead on and off the field.

Replacing an experienced line may be somewhat of a challenge for the Rams, as stalwarts Jeremy Miller, Reed Jeffries and Michael Warren have now moved along. Sophomore Peter Kim, junior Zack Ell and senior Chris Wilkinson will start, and sophomores Chris Giles and Carter Minor are expected to see significant playing time. On defense, senior laden Cate will have Ell and Martinez at linebackers, Mayfield at one corner and junior Max Vasquez at the other cornerback position.

The Rams currently have 22 players at practice, and will most likely add another three when they arrive to start the school year. Coach Soto will have a new member on his staff, his son Dave, who he also once coached. He also returns the highly capable group of coaches: Richard Alvarado, Juarez Newsome and Wade Ransom.

The team has been at it for over nine days and 18 practice sessions—preparing for what looks to be a rugged schedule. The Rams open at home against Mojave, which recently dropped down from 11-man to 8-man football. Next the squad will take it on the road to Yucca Valley to play Joshua Springs, winners of three straight CIF Championships, and then will return home to face Faith Baptist of Canoga Park. In its first Condor League match up, Cate faces Laguna Blanca at home and then hosts Orcutt Academy to round out its non-league schedule.

There will be some new challenges ahead for the Rams in this year’s Condor League, as Laguna Blanca introduces new head coach and former Dos Pueblos High School football star Shane Lopes, and Cambria’s Coast Union enters the league, dropping down from its 11-man program. Although, the winner of the Cate-Thacher game has decided the championship in the past few years, Soto isn’t so sure the title will be as easy to predict this year.

“It might be us and them (Thacher), in 8-man, you don’t know who comes in. It doesn’t take very many guys to make an 8-man football team a good one,” explained Soto. “Dunn has good size, they gave us a good ball game the last game of the year,” he added.

Cate finishes out the rest of the season playing Thacher and Coast Union on the road, and then faces Dunn at home in the finale.

The Rams may also have their hands full against the likes of speedy Thacher and Joshua Springs. “In the backfield, we have better than average speed. Filling in for the mentioned seniors (who have since left the program), Max Vasquez and Dean Smith have the speed and now just need some game experience,” said Soto.

The season starts with a visit from Mojave on Saturday, Sept. 1, with the kickoff at 2 p.m. at Cate Mesa.

Warriors miss playoff payback by a touchdown

Warriors miss playoff payback by a touchdown
BILL SWING PHOTO: Junior Peter Ramos breaks a tackle in the Warriors’ season opener for a long-yardage run and a first down. Ramos later scored on a 3-yard run.

By Alonzo Orozco

Carpinteria High School football’s home opener against Templeton last Friday night, Aug. 24, bore a strong resemblance to a track meet. Both teams raced up and down the field in a wild third quarter that saw the squads deadlocked at 34 points going into the final stanza. Unfortunately, the Warriors were unable to avenge last year’s playoff loss to the visiting Eagles, falling short by a score of 49-42 in a shoot-out at Carpinteria Valley Memorial Stadium.

Both teams started sluggishly—which could be expected for an early season matchup—as penalties and turnovers dominated play for much of the first two quarters. Not surprisingly, a turnover led to the game’s first points, as Templeton’s Tyler Murphee intercepted Carpinteria quarterback Ian Craddock’s pass, taking it to the house for a 7-0 Eagle lead less than two minutes into the game. It would be the first of two interceptions for the Templeton senior who was also instrumental in the team’s passing attack. Murphee made some key receptions, one covering 71 yards on a trick play for a score as both teams combined for six touchdowns in a high-scoring third quarter.

The Warriors’ first points came on Craddock’s 20-yard field goal, making it a 7-3 game with 1:48 left in the opening quarter. On the ensuing kickoff, Carpinteria’s Jesus Zapata pounced on an Eagle fumble at the Warrior 46. Craddock then found a wide open David Olvera, connecting with the senior receiver for a 28-yard TD for a 10-7 lead. It was one of five touchdown tosses for the junior QB on the evening. Olvera would later catch a second TD in the third quarter, completing a 46-yard pass play and diving over the pylon for the score.

However, the second quarter also saw Templeton senior quarterback Alex Elterman get his team’s offense on track. Finding open receivers downfield and handing the ball off to junior RB Chris Romero, Elterman drove the Eagles down to the Warrior 3. Romero punched it in on the ground from there, putting his team up 14-10 with 3:52 left before halftime. Elterman added another one before the half, a 16-yard lob to fellow senior Tobey Isbell for a 20-10 halftime lead.

The first half proved to be a warm up for the two teams, however, and they ended up lighting up the scoreboard in the third. Carpinteria was first to score on junior Peter Ramos’ 3-yard run into the end zone, making it 20-16 with the failed 2-point conversion attempt. The Warriors regained the lead near the midway point when Craddock hit junior Jonathan Esqueda on a fly pattern for a 35-yard score to make it 28-27.

Templeton would tack on two more scores, though, building a 49-34 lead with 11:27 left to play. Carpinteria junior Ruben Garcia closed out the scoring, hauling in a 21-yard strike from Craddock with just six seconds left in the game, making the final score 49-42 with the 2-point conversion.

Although disappointed with the outcome, Warrior coach Ben Hallock was pleased with his team’s play. “We fought through the whole game,” he said. “I think we showed them we can play some.”

Carpinteria takes on South Torrance at home tomorrow night, Aug. 31, with kickoff at 7:30 p.m.

Sharkfest tests limits of local pair

Sharkfest tests limits of local pair
Tally Ryan, 16, and Marine Colonel Hobie Smith, can’t seem to wipe the grins off their faces after the completion of the Alcatraz Sharkfest on July 28.

While some Carpinterians have steered clear of salt water following recent shark sightings, Marine Colonel Hobie Smith and boy scout Taliesin “Tally” Ryan headed to one of the skarkiest regions of the world to compete in the July 28 Sharkfest, a 1.6-mile race in the frigid waters off of Alcatraz Island. The pair completed the race—Smith’s third and Ryan’s first—among a small percentage of contestants who opted to make the treacherous San Francisco Bay swim sans wetsuit.
Smith and Ryan started training over a year ago for an even loftier goal than the Sharkfest. Ryan, who aspires to become a Navy Seal, was taken under Smith’s wing last summer when the Marine volunteered to design and implement an intensive training program for the then 15-year-old. The two meet at 6 a.m. on the Carpinteria city beach every Saturday to complete calisthenics, beach runs and ocean swims.

Real Carpinteria claims first place in premiere league

Real Carpinteria claims first place in premiere league
Real Carpinteria U7 team members include, from front left, in the front row, Fidel Alanis, Raul Reyes, Ivan Perez, Alejandro Marin, Edgar Mosqueda, Omar Argueta, and from back left row, coach Beto Padilla, Norberto Rodriguez, Alex Silva, Angel Padilla, Rigo Perez, Yensen Ramirez, Diego Ramirez and Leonardo Alaniz.

The U7 Real Carpinteria boys soccer team took first place in the Oxnard Youth Premiere Soccer League 2012 summer season after winning the Aug. 25 final 3-2 in a shootout. The division hosted eight teams, coming from locales ranging from Carpinteria to Fillmore. Real Carpinteria won 11 of its 12 games, with one game ending in a draw.

District students to THRIVE while tax initiatives loom

By Erin Lennon

At the Aug. 28 Carpinteria Unified School District Governing Board meeting, the cradle-to-career student preparation perspective of THRIVE Carpinteria contrasted sharply with the immediacy of Assistant Superintendent Cindy Abbott’s presentation on the two highly influential tax initiatives set to appear on the Nov. 6 ballot.

THRIVE Carpinteria, with its collaborative of funders, is protected from CUSD’s budgetary uncertainty, and the local school and career readiness program has brought nearly $1 million into the district over the past three years from THRIVE, other funders, grants and partnerships, according to Director of College Bound Programs & Instruction Dr. Sally Kingston. THRIVE Carpinteria is one of five community collaborative projects in Santa Barbara County focused on preparing students for success in not only kindergarten but throughout school and into college and their careers.

Kingston, whose position is new to the district, plans to craft, by June 2013, a strategic plan detailing the cradle-to-career program through 2015-2016 as well as collaborate with key CUSD stakeholders, higher education, local business, community-based organizations and municipal government.

“The primary goal is for every student to leave Carpinteria Unified School District prepared to enter a college or career of his or her choice,” said Kingston.

The board permitted Kingston and Superintendent Paul Cordeiro to move forward with THRIVE Carpinteria’s messaging efforts. These efforts include a website and e-newsletter that inform residents about the program, engage the community in career readiness and provide accessible data on district success with benchmarks like kindergarten readiness and proficiency in math and reading. This plan, which also includes promotional signs, banners and flags, will be completely funded by 2011-2012 monies left over from Kingston’s position.

“I’ve told you many times what our challenges are. This is going to put it all out there,” said Cordeiro. “It’s basically an invitation to our community to raise the bar and expectations for these kids.”

As the board celebrated student readiness, Abbott dissected the formative potential of the two tax initiatives on the Nov. 6 ballot.

If enacted, Governor Jerry Brown’s Proposition 30 will prevent further cuts to public education by providing revenues to the state general fund—resulting in no additional school funding. Brown’s initiative would generate $8.5 billion in 2012-2013 and $6.5 billion annually thereafter by increasing sales tax by .25 percent through 2016 and raising personal income tax through 2018 by 3 percent for those making more than $250,000. If Proposition 30 doesn’t pass, CUSD will see a fair share trigger cut of approximately $441 per student in January.

“We’re not going to see any huge increases in funding under his proposal,” said Abbott. “Again, I emphasize that we hopefully won’t see any further cuts, though.”

Attorney Molly Munger’s Proposition 38 would generate $15 billion in 2013-2014 and $10 billion every following year by enacting an income tax increase for most taxpayers through 2024. Increases would range from .4 percent for the lowest earners up to 2.2 percent for those earning more than $2.5 million. These additional funds would go directly to school sites, amounting to about $1,000 per student, according to Abbott.

“I did the math on that, and that’s like $2.3 million a year, which is 10 percent of our operating budget, “ said Abbott. “It’s a significant amount of money.”

For the first four years under Proposition 38, 60 percent of annual revenues would go to K-12 schools, 10 percent to early childhood education and 30 percent to state bond debts. Beginning in the fifth year, K-12 schools would receive 85 percent of annual revenues while early childhood education would see 15 percent. However, Proposition 38 does not stop proposed trigger cuts, and sites wouldn’t see additional funds until the 2013-2014 fiscal year, leaving CUSD struggling with the trigger cuts.

To pass, each initiative needs over 50 percent voter approval. If both pass, the initiative with the most votes will be enacted while the other becomes void.

The school board and public employees can inform the public about the initiatives but cannot advocate for specific actions. The board can and will adopt a resolution in support of either, neither or both initiatives in September.

“I think it’s a matter of timeliness,” said Cordeiro. “It would be good to get something done by this board for the September meeting.”

The next regular school board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 11, at 5:30 p.m. in the Carpinteria City Council Chambers, 5775 Carpinteria Ave.

Fire district remembers veterans and victims of 9/11 terrorist attacks

The Carpinteria-Summerland Fire District invites readers to remember the victims of the 9-11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, Pentagon and Shanksville, Pennsylvania with a 9-11 Memorial on Tuesday, Sept. 11, beginning at 9 a.m. on the Carpinteria Fire Station’s front lawn, 911 Walnut Ave. “No matter what your politics, this is a time to honor all who were lost and all who are still in harm’s way,” said CSFD Fire Chief Mike Mingee. CSFD will also honor local veterans at the memorial by making longtime Carpinterian and former Marine Joseph Lazaro an honorary CSFD firefighter. Patriotic songs, a keynote address and refreshments will comprise the brief ceremony.

Beach fee proposal on its way out

By Lea Boyd

Despite the highly unpopular threat of pay-to-play, it appears as though for the time being beach access in Santa Barbara County will remain free. The Santa Barbara County Park Commission’s recent efforts to gauge public opinion for proposed parking fees at seven popular county beaches, including Rincon Beach, Loon Point and Lookout Park, resulted in a deluge of opposition, enough negative public feedback to prompt a unanimous Aug. 23 vote by the commission to recommend that the Board of Supervisors drop the idea altogether.

“The public spoke loudly and clearly and said our quality of life depends on free access to our beaches,” said First District Supervisor Salud Carbajal. He said that he will vote against beach fees when the issue comes to the board in October. In light of the Parks Commission’s recommendation, other county supervisors are also expected to vote down the parking fees.

If passed, the fees were anticipated to raise anywhere from $1.58 to $2.48 million annually, a significant step toward bridging the $9 to $15 million shortfall the county predicts for its 2013-2014 budget. The concept, however, was immediately met with opposition from beach users, business owners, beach neighbors and nonprofit organizations.

At the first of three public workshops held in July and August to gather input on the fees, Everett Lipman of Surfrider Foundation said, “We are going to vigorously oppose any implementation of fees … Let’s not charge working-class families making $35,000 a year in order to pave roads in Montecito.”

At the workshops, parks commissioners heard from nearly 100 members of the public on why beach parking should remain free. No one, according to Community Services Department Director Herman Parker, spoke in favor of the proposal. Additionally, an online survey garnered about 1,300 responses, of which 76 to 78 percent were opposed to the fees, Parker said.

Parker reported that most of the opposition came from people who support affordability of beach recreation as well as residents and businesses in beach neighborhoods whose streets would likely become prime parking areas for beach goers avoiding the fees.

The commission was considering several options for fees, both hourly and flat daily rates. A $100 annual pass for locals and 60 minutes of free parking were also under consideration. In addition to Carpinteria area beaches, Arroyo Burro Beach, Goleta Beach, Ocean Beach and Guadalupe Dunes Park were also targeted for the fee program.

City dismisses controversial daytime curfew

By Sara Monge

The Carpinteria City Council hit on a hot-button issue when it revisited and ultimately rejected the idea of a daytime curfew as a means of reducing truancy and lowering potential for crime by minors at its Aug. 27 meeting.

Unlike the curfew discussion that took place in 2009, this time around the council chambers were packed with residents who spoke against the curfew. And despite Carpinteria Unified School District Superintendent Paul Cordeiro’s request for the curfew as a critical tool in reducing the district’s 23 percent truancy rate, the majority of the council sided with the audience against what Mayor Al Clark described as a “blunt tool that leads to the unintentional criminalization of children.”

In late 2008, the city council, at the request of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department and CUSD, first looked into enacting a daytime curfew that would allow officers to return loitering minors to school or home and issue citations for excessive truancy. The proposed ordinance allowed for a long list of exclusions such as minors who were running emergency errands and home schooled students working on outside projects. The council surprised many when it struck down the ordinance due to a lack of support from Councilmen Al Clark and Gregg Carty and then newly-elected Councilwoman Kathleen Reddington.

The idea was recently resurrected after the Santa Barbara Grand Jury produced two reports on truancy and school district administrators and local law enforcement requested to have the matter reconsidered by the council. The curfew, its supporters argued, could complement other programs in the struggle to keep kids in school.

Carpinteria Police Chief Lt. Kelly Moore assured the council that officers would only contact minors who looked idle and would presume their innocence. Officers would question why they weren’t in school and call schools or parents to determine where the minor should be only if necessary. He explained that only the most recalcitrant of truants would be cited. City Manager Dave Durflinger added that the council could decide whether a citation would require community service or a referral to a program to help the student.

During a lengthy public comment period, a chorus of home school parents protested the curfew, citing fears that their children would be unfairly detained even if they had legitimate reasons to be outside during traditional school hours.

Carpinterian Betty Songer added to the voices of dissent saying she doesn’t “want truants to be equated with criminals” and argued that it could become a racial issue if a teen with undocumented parents ran from the police while stopped for truancy.

Carpinteria resident Royce Stauffer added his two cents on the debate. “The U.S. has 5 percent of the world’s population and 25 percent of its incarcerated population…” he said. “A new curfew establishes a new crime, and there are already too many of them.”

Clark explained that he had arrived at his position after finding research showing that chronically truant kindergartners tend to continue that trend through high school. While the curfew would target teens, “truancy needs to be stopped at younger ages,” he said.

Though outweighed by the rest of the council’s opposition to the curfew, Councilman Brad Stein said he would “stand with the local experts” in favor of the ordinance because “there should be consequences for kids, just like adults.”

In other news, the council opted for environment over economy, when voting 4-1 (Armendariz dissenting) to direct staff to spend up to $60,000 in the purchase of two hybrid vehicles to replace the existing 1997 city sedans. Parks and Recreation Director Matt Roberts explained that based on the estimated 6,000 miles per year the cars are driven, it would take 20 years of purchasing gas to recover the funds lost due to the disparity in purchase price, even when calculating for $5 per gallon. Roberts said, “The advantages of hybrids is that they leave a smaller carbon footprint, but you’ll never get your money back.”
commented that he “wants the most cost effective car due to the economy” and the current no-frills city budget, but was overruled by the other council members who were optimistic the city could come in under the $60,000 estimated by Roberts to purchase perhaps even previously owned hybrids. The current city cars will be sold at auction.

The next regular Carpinteria City Council meeting will be held on Monday, Sept. 10, at 5:30 p.m. in the council chambers at city hall, 5775 Carpinteria Ave.

Camp hosts honored for long, stellar service

Camp hosts honored for long, stellar service
From left, longtime Carpinteria State Beach Campground Hosts Nocha Burgett, Phil Weber and Mona Weber are presented with California State Park Poppy Awards by Ranger Kathy Wills.

The familiar faces of Mona and Phil Weber and Nocha Burgett have been greeting campers at Carpinteria State Beach every summer for the last 24 years, and in appreciation of their many seasons of exemplary volunteer service, the three longtime Campground Hosts were recently honored with California State Park Poppy Awards.

The trio of volunteers has become summer fixtures with their tidy campsite in the San Miguel loop of the campground. Phil, who is known as the “Park Mayor,” sells firewood from the campsite while the ladies staff the visitor center. According to Ranger Cathy Wills, Mona and Nocha keep their eyes out for campers’ safety and enjoyment, while Phil enjoys chatting with visitors about fishing, Korean War times and growing up as a twin in Kentucky. “Mona and Nocha are always in the park’s Fourth of July parade, their golf cart decorated and patriotic dress a must; with Phil directing traffic and making sure the participants are proceeding safely,” said Wills.

Senior-heavy Warrior water polo gains some swagger

Senior-heavy Warrior water polo gains some swagger
Bill Swing photo: Making a splash in the water polo preseason are CHS seniors, from back left, Cole Gill, Ben O’Hara and Dylan Hathaway, and from front left, Jacob Pate and Alan Chavez.

By Peter Dugré

Four years ago Carpinteria High School boys water polo took the pool with a lineup of five freshmen who were all wet behind the ears. The same group of players, now seniors—Jacob Pate, Alan Chavez, Ben O’Hara, Dylan Hathaway and Cole Gill—have stuck together through thick and thin, and according to coach Bryan Swarm, this could be the season that the four-year journey pays dividends for the hardworking seniors he refers to as the “core five.”

Despite the experience and continuity of the team, winning a Tri-Valley League water polo championship is still a tall task. Malibu High School and Oaks Christian High School not only trade off on league titles year in and out, both schools are regularly in the running for CIF Division 6 titles, making the TVL the toughest league in D6, according to Swarm.

Nevertheless, Swarm notes that the boys have stayed in the pool all summer long as part of the Carpinteria Aquatics Club Tritons 18U team. He said the extra development time has allowed the team’s offense to catch up to its defense. “We were one of the best defensive teams in the league last year, if not the best,” Swarm said. “Our offense was a little off last year, and that is what we have been working on.”

If the team cleans up its offense and can plug a couple of supporting underclassmen into the lineup for depth, then Swarm believes this could be the year that the TVL universe is upset. The unflinching Warriors are ready to sneak up on Malibu and O.C. and topple them to capture the elusive league crown. If that happens, it’ll be the first time CHS has ever won a water polo league championship. The team opens play at home against Buena High School on Wednesday, Sept. 5, at 3:15 p.m. The first TVL match is also at home, and it’s against Malibu on Friday, Sept. 28, at 3:15 p.m. A win on Sept. 28 would be an upper-cut to the chin of the Sharks.

CHS girls tennis sets sights on big year

CHS girls tennis sets sights on big year
Bill Swing Photo: Great things are expected from this year’s racquet-wielding seniors, from back left, Erin Saito and Catalina Maldanado, and from front left, Tess Pitzer-Jelvani and Grecia Beltran.

By Peter Dugré

In an unlikely twist of fate, last year’s Carpinteria High School girls tennis team was the most successful squad of the school year. Slipping in under the radar, the team first triumphed with a Frontier League championship before knocking off playoff opponents one by one until the CIF Division 5 championship match. In the end, the Warriors fell, 14-4, to Wilson Hacienda Heights, but runner up status was the best finish in CHS girls tennis history.

“Losing in the CIF finals last year was both heartbreaking and inspirational ...,” coach Charles Bryant stated. “This year we will have to work much harder. We will not be able to sneak up on anyone like last year, and we will have a target on our backs due to that success.”

Led by nationally ranked sophomore Kelsie Bryant, the Warriors are looking to keep pace with last season’s success. Keslie, the reigning Frontier League Singles Player of the Year, did not lose a set until the CIF semi-finals last season.

Plenty of other talent also remains intact from last season. In singles, sophomore Kassandra Ni was runner up to Kelsie in Frontier League singles last season. Charles called Ni a “tremendous fighter.” Potentially stepping into the third singles spot will be Tess Pitzer-Jelvani, who could as easily fit into doubles. Charles said that the lineup is not set in stone and the team could shift doubles tandems and singles spots.

The Warriors also carry over the Frontier League Doubles Team of the Year. Senior Erin Saito and sophomore Lesly Zapata proved better than the rest in league already last season and look to retain their supremacy. Charles called Saito “the backbone and leader of the team.” Zapata is a top competitor in numerous sports. Also returning from last season’s doubles lineup will be senior Catalina Maldonado and sophomore Natalie Saito.

Other players looking to make contributions are senior Grecia Beltran, junior Jackie Wilson, sophomores Merissa Souza, Gabi Montes De Oca, Makenna Pike, Megan Garcia, Emily Saito and Allison Wagner and freshman Madison Cleek. All players have honed their skills over hours at the Santa Barbara Polo and Racquet Club.

If the Warriors hope to repeat for a league title they will have to overcome newcomer Nordhoff High School and potential talent from Villanova, Bishop Diego and Santa Clara high schools, all of which are private schools that can land top tennis talent at any time.

To prepare the team for the potential rigors of league play, the pre-league season schedule has been stacked with teams that made it to the playoffs in Divisions 1 through 5 last season, according to Charles.

The team will jump into its season with a home match on Tuesday, Aug. 28, at 3 p.m. and an away match at Oaks Christian High School on Thursday, Aug. 30. Charles said sights are set on a repeat Frontier League Championship and a deep playoff run.

Warrior football set to avenge Templeton loss

When the Templeton High School football team visited Carpinteria Valley Memorial Stadium last fall, the Warriors were riding high on earning a home playoff game for the first time since 2003. Then a dud of a first half landed the home team on the wrong side of a 21-0 halftime score. Carpinteria High School took its shots in the second half; however, when the clock ticked down to 0:00 on the Warriors’ season, Templeton advanced to round two of the playoffs by a score of 41-28.

Circumstances dictated a quick return to Carpinteria for Templeton. The Eagles, who have an old football tradition and typically rely on big bodies and a power game, drew a repeat trip for the season opener. The game on Friday, Aug. 24, at 7:30 p.m. will allow the Warriors a shot at avenging last year’s loss in what could be a big statement to start the season.

Look for the Warriors to spread the ball around on offense with an increased share of plays through the air. On the defensive side, a majority of the Warriors’ experience comes from down linemen, who will dig in and battle against Templeton’s usually meaty boys. Game one could serve as an early test as to whether the Warriors’ tactic of fast and furious football will stand pat against an up-the-gut, ball-control team like Templeton.

Council to consider daytime curfew

The Carpinteria City Council will reexamine a potential daytime curfew for minors who should be in school at its upcoming meeting on Monday, Aug. 27, at 5:30 p.m. in the council chamber of City Hall, 5775 Carpinteria Ave. Additionally, council members will discuss the city’s quarterly investment report, ratify a resolution for Rich Medel’s retirement from the Carpinteria Boys & Girls Club, decide whether to approve a purchase of two new city vehicles and consider a resolution to change the member paid contribution, among other items on the agenda. The final meeting agenda and staff reports will be available through the city’s website,, on Friday, Aug. 24. To find out more, call the city at 684-5405.

Sanitary district bond sale reduces sewer conversion rates

As a means of reducing costs to residents involved in the septic to sewer conversion project, Carpinteria Sanitary District recently issued $5.5 million of assessment refunding bonds. According to a press release, the district successfully brought to market the non-rated tax-exempt assessment refunding bonds at interest rates comparable to investment grade municipal bonds. In a move similar to refinancing a home at lower interest rates, the district board secured over $1 million of savings for homeowners in neighborhoods participating in the sewer project, namely Sandyland Cove, Sand Point Road and Rincon Point. Residents of these neighborhoods will see a reduced assessment levy on next December’s tax bill. “This action reflects the district’s ongoing commitment to reducing costs when opportunities present themselves,” said Lin Graf, District Board President.

Septic to sewer conversion has been completed for Sandyland Cove and Sand Point Road, with construction of the Rincon Point infrastructure set to begin early next year.

Fire board opposes new state fees

At its Aug. 21 meeting, the Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District Board of Directors unanimously passed a resolution in opposition to the $150 fire fees to be assessed by the state for residents living in wildfire-prone areas. Over 600 residences in Carpinteria Valley, most of which lie north of Foothill Road and south of the U.S. Forest Service boundary, are located in State Responsibility Areas and will soon receive new bills designed to provide funding to the cash-strapped state for fire prevention services though California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE).

Local fire districts will not receive any of the estimated $125 million collected as the state struggles to fill its budget gaps,” stated a press release from the district. CSFD said the fee would be an “additional financial burden on its constituents without providing additional fire services.”

The Fire Districts Association of California has actively opposed the bill on behalf of its fire district members since the idea was presented a few years ago. “If it is the will of the state legislature to reduce the burden on the State’s General Fund for CAL FIRE costs, an alternative and more equitable mechanism is necessary,” said District Board President Craig Price.

Water board challengers form slate, hold campaign kickoff

Three Carpinteria businesswomen—Alexandra “Xy” VanAntwerp, Polly Holcombe and Shirley Johnson—have formed a slate and set their sights on the trio of seats up for election this fall on the Carpinteria Valley Water District’s Board of Directors. Giving voters an opportunity to meet the slate, a campaign kickoff party is planned for Sunday, Sept. 2, from 5 to 7 p.m. at 6621 Arozena Lane. In the election, Holcombe and Johnson will go up against longtime water board incumbents Bob Lieberknecht and June Van Wingerden, while VanAntwerp will compete with newcomer Richard Forde for a shortened, two-year term made vacant through last spring’s resignation of board member Clay Brown. According to a press release, the slate, which has called itself Carp Water Matters, advocates “affordable water rates, water conservation, reducing state water expenditures and diligent oversight of all projects, contracts and activities.” For more information call 689-9640

Shark sightings continue in local waters

By Lea Boyd

An Aug. 14 encounter between a stand up paddler and what appeared to be a great white shark has extended the local chatter about the top predator’s continued presence in Carpinteria waters. The incident, which amounted to a very near sighting, closely followed the Aug. 13 discovery of a juvenile harbor seal near the Carpinteria rookery with wounds consistent with a great white attack. Combined with several recent sightings in Santa Barbara and another wounded seal found in Carpinteria last spring, the incidents have raised the question of whether the number of sharks patrolling local shores is on the rise.

“It’s hard to statistically determine whether it’s more sharks or just more reports,” said Carpinteria Parks and Recreation Department Director Matt Roberts. He acknowledged that the number of sightings and marine mammal attacks in 2012 have been unusually high but pointed out that the trend could be due to greater access to information, increased likelihood of sightings being reported, as well as a greater number of people taking advantage of ocean recreation opportunities like stand up paddling and kayaking. “More eyes on the water,” Roberts said, would logically lead to more reports of sharks that have always called the California coast home.

Though the cause of the increased shark sightings is uncertain, fingers have been pointed at the local seal rookery and its seasonal protected status as an invitation to sharks. The number of seals documented at the rookery has risen in recent years, leading to a buzz around town that more seals have led to more sharks.

The Aug. 14 sighting occurred at around 9 a.m. about 400 feet offshore of the beach at Elm Avenue. Karin, a local woman who asked that her last name be withheld, was on a stand up paddleboard when a shark surfaced alongside her 10-foot craft. She noted the animal’s dorsal fin as well as its tail fin protruding from the water, which city lifeguard Chuck Graham said is key in distinguishing a great white shark from a dolphin. As Karin paddled east the shark approached from the opposite direction, rising to the surface slowly. “I could have put my foot out and touched his back,” she said.

No harm was done by the animal, but Karin immediately turned her board and paddled to the shore. She never looked back to see whether the shark followed or continued along its original path.

Karin estimated that the animal she saw was between 8 and 10 feet long, the size of a juvenile great white shark. A juvenile is also believed to be responsible for the local seal attack of Aug. 13. In that case, the seal died from its injuries on Aug. 16.

According to Graham, in the 35 years that he has lifeguarded and surfed in Carpinteria, he has never had a great white shark sighting, nor has he heard of a sighting that close to the city beaches.

Roberts pointed out that the flurry of area sightings may have triggered additional reports. Karin did not realize that she should report her run-in until she saw news reports of a sighting in Santa Barbara from the same day. Roberts saw an adult great white shark off of Jelly Bowl Beach about 20 years ago but never reported the sighting. Perhaps, he said, people are more likely to report incidents given the recent media attention on sightings and on the shark itself—last week was “Shark Week” on the Discovery Channel.

Roberts said that the number of shark-related incidents has certainly drawn attention but has not warranted any action beyond the necessary 72-hour posting of warning signs in the area of the sighting. “We’re watching it, but we’re not concerned yet,” he said.

Beach neighborhood guidelines promise more of the same

By Maureen Foley

Carpinterians are used to being protected from riptides, hurricanes and tsunamis by living alongside the World’s Safest Beach. Now, it looks like residents will also be safe from major changes to the look and feel of their World’s Safest Beach neighborhood. In its Draft Residential Design Guidelines for the Beach Neighborhood, reviewed at the Aug. 16 Architectural Review Board (ARB) meeting, the city used pre-established ideas from its General Plan and examined existing homes in the neighborhood to form the policy, instead of trying out new ideas, as the basis for the draft Design Guidelines.

Judging by the lack of strong public opinion on the draft guidelines at the ARB meeting, it appears that the city’s “old-is-new” approach may help the document sail through the approval process without much debate. Covering five design areas, the guidelines give recommendations on everything from the size of a house’s second story to preferred types of fencing. But the general points and suggestions tend to reflect existing standards or leave plenty of room for interpretation. Even the ARB took the new guidelines in stride, offering only minor tweaks to the language and rules.

As board member Scott Ellinwood said, after hearing the city staff presentation on the policies, “(The guidelines are) nicely done, nicely articulated.”

The guidelines were developed by city staff, the Cal Poly Design Studio and Sloan Campi, a city planning intern, after consulting the Downtown Carpinteria Vision Plan. Once the guidelines are in place, architects, designers, property owners, planning permit applicants, city staff and others can use them to make sure that new developments are consistent with the current neighborhood’s charm and style. But the guidelines will not be used to enforce a set of rules. Instead, they are “non-regulatory guiding principles,” said Campi.

The purpose of the guidelines, according to the first section of the document, is to “allow the creative process to continue while providing guidance as to the primary standards by which projects will be evaluated,” and will “augment existing standards contained in the Community Design Element of the General Plan/Coastal Land Use Plan and Carpinteria Municipal Code.”

“(They) provide guidelines in the design of new development and projects in the beach neighborhood,” said Jackie Campbell, City Community Development Director.

While the vast majority of the draft guidelines were presented without any issues, there were several areas that generated short discussions from the ARB, city staff and the public. Some areas of the guidelines that got folks talking: the lack of guidelines on view corridors, setback measurements, maximum building height size, chain-link versus non-chain-link fencing, and correct night-lighting to avoid light pollution.

Specifically, the measure of the setback between two properties, formally called the “encroachment plane” described in DG-1, was a point of contention. Some argued against the proposed 15-degree angle described in DG-1, and Ellinwood calling it “unduly restrictive.”

Also at issue was DG-7, a guideline stating that the “maximum building height for two-story structures should not exceed 26 feet.” Beach neighborhood resident Pat Henry found fault with this point.

“It’s not a landowners fault that they have to raise the floor ... for the flood plain. (DG-7 would) squish everybody down ... It’s just too much government,” Henry said.

For anyone who missed the last ARB meeting, there is still time to review the Draft Guidelines and add comments. More public testimony can be given at upcoming Planning Commission and ARB meetings. Also, people can contact Nick Bobroff, Associate Planner for the city, for copies of the Draft Guidelines or to give feedback. The Draft Guidelines are also available at the city or online, at

Juvenile great white attacks seal

Juvenile great white attacks seal
Santa Barbara Marine Mammal Center: A 5- to 6-month-old harbor seal was bitten multiple times by a juvenile great white shark and rescued by Santa Barbara Marine Mammal Center at the Carpinteria Harbor Seal Rookery on Aug. 13.

A harbor seal escaped the jaws of a juvenile great white shark and came ashore wounded near Carpinteria’s harbor seal rookery on Aug. 13. Peter Howorth of the Santa Barbara Marine Mammal Center said the seal’s wounds were being treated at the center as of Aug. 14, and it had suffered multiple bites, including a potentially life-threatening laceration to the tail that severed bones.

Following the recent seal run-in, on Aug. 14, a surfer reported a white shark sighting off of Leadbetter Point in Santa Barbara. Three other incidents involving pinnipeds, or fin-footed animals, and great whites have been confirmed since April 17 and span Santa Barbara County from Carpinteria to Guadalupe Dunes.

It’s unclear how far off shore the 40-pound, 5- to 6-month-old seal was when it encountered the shark. According to Howorth, the attack likely happened over the weekend, judging by the state of the wounds, and bite marks indicate that a juvenile shark without mature teeth was responsible. He said that the numerous reports of wounded pinnipeds—particularly in Southern California over the past four years—demonstrate that juvenile great whites have been attempting to prey on larger animals without success. More mature great whites, over 9- to 10-feet in length, typically would have less trouble devouring a harbor seal.

City of Carpinteria Parks & Recreation Director Matt Roberts said signs warning of a confirmed shark attack in the area were posted near the entrance to Jelly Bowl Beach and at the beach ramp to the east of the seal rookery. He said the warnings are standard city practice to keep the public informed.

Warrior football locks into overdrive for upcoming season

Warrior football locks into overdrive for upcoming season
Bill Swing photo: Ready to lead the 2012-2013 Warrior football team into action, elected team captains and leaders are, from top left, Ian Craddock and Paul Cortez, and from bottom left, captain Derrick Shirley-Moore, Jacob Barbieri and captain Xavier DeAlba.

By Peter Dugré

A revamped Warrior football program that is coming off consecutive playoff seasons currently is sweating out a busy practice schedule to prepare for the Aug. 24 season opener. Over the quick and grueling two-a-day practice schedule, the Carpinteria High School team aims to set a tone of fast-paced football, a strategy and philosophy it will use to wear down rivals and produce wins. According to coach Ben Hallock, small school CHS is presented with matchup issues against larger schools with larger players, but the Warrior way will be to line up with more energy and greater technical aptitude than opponents in order to seize opportunities, make plays and, if all goes well, win a Tri-Valley League championship.

“We’re not going to line up really big and roll over the top of you, but we’re going to get after you,” Hallock said. Playing consistently intense and efficient football will be the keys to success, he said. “What we do, we need to do it well and do it over and over and over again.”

Whether the high-octane strategy catches on will be up to players and their on-field leaders. Captaining this year’s team will be Derrick Shirley-Moore and Xavier DeAlba, both of whom were born Warriors and have family histories steeped in local football tradition.

The senior captains will lead from the offensive and defensive lines and are coming off solid junior seasons. Shirley-Moore and DeAlba command a corps of lineman who have varsity experience and stood shoulder-to-shoulder in the trenches last season. Jacob Barbieri, Jaime De Robles and Gordan Duncan will contribute their size and muscle to the team’s task of pushing the line of scrimmage in the Warriors’ direction.

At the offensive skill positions, the Warriors will use a number of players who “can move in open space,” according to Hallock. Feeding the ball to those players in space will be the job of junior quarterback Ian Craddock and his now veteran arm. After Craddock gained experience behind center as the starter in his sophomore season, the team will likely up its number of pass plays this season, betting on the junior’s proven athleticism.

Craddock will choose his targets between returning tight end Anthony Garcia and backs/receivers including Paul Cortez, Alex Rodriguez, Jonathan Esqueda, Reuben Garcia and Jesus Zapata. Cortez shouldered much of the load at tailback last season and looks to line up in the position again this season. The Warriors have developed a spread passing game, which allows ball carriers to work both in the backfield and stretched wide across the field.

“We are hoping (Craddock) will be able to throw the football effectively and be able to spread the ball around to a number of different people,” Hallock said. While a single lethal playmaker has yet to emerge from the numerous receivers and running backs, the Warriors’ strength will come from their ability to use many weapons and diverse plays to stay a step ahead of defenses.

Personnel behind the line on defense will most noticeably turnover from last year. Expected linebackers are Mark Razo at the inside spot and Cortez and Kevin Stein playing outside linebacker. All three spent a lot of time on the field last season. In the secondary, Jesus Zapata, Reuben Garcia, Anthony Graham, Anthony Rodriguez and Craddock are some of the names in the works of guys looking to cover opponents’ receivers this season. “The development of those guys is really key,” commented Hallock, adding that they’ve all looked good in practice.

This year’s preparation period has been shortened by CIF schedule makers and CHS’s decision to play a zero-week game. In recent years the team has taken the field for its first game during week one in early September, but this year’s opener—a home game against Templeton High School that’s a rematch from last year’s playoffs—is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 24 at 7:30 p.m. Templeton beat CHS in the first round to end the Warriors’ 2011 season. Templeton is a new addition to the regular season schedule as will be game number two, a home contest against South Torrance High School on Aug. 31.

The TVL schedule will be altered to include new addition Bishop Diego High School, upping the stakes in the annual rivalry game, which doubles as a league game at home on Oct. 5. Hallock said he expects the TVL title to come down to the last play of the last game as it has in the previous two seasons. In both of those years—the two seasons since the TVL shed powerhouse Oaks Christian High School—Nordhoff High School has won the title and the Warriors have finished second.

It’s anyone’s league at this point, commented Hallock. The Warriors will have their best shot by playing fast, physical football, a few thousand RPMs above the competition.

New names fill November ballot

By Lea Boyd

With the filing window for the November election nearly closed, several would-be city and special district leaders have thrown their hats in the ring, giving voters a choice between time-tested incumbents or fresh blood.
Two new candidates, Blanca Gorman and Alison Livett, filed papers for the Carpinteria Unified School District Governing Board’s two seats, joining long-time incumbent Terry Hickey Banks and newcomer Suzie Schneider on the ballot.
The race for two positions on the Carpinteria City Council has changed little over the last week, though the number of candidates who have officially filed paperwork grew. Of the five who pulled papers—Greg Gandrud, Wade Nomura, Tom Perry, Kathleen Reddington and Fred Shaw—only Gandrud had yet to file by press time.
Carpinteria Valley Water District seats are typically held for great lengths and go unchallenged come election season, but 2010 saw a heated race, and 2012 looks like it could be hot, too. Incumbents Robert Lieberknecht and June Van Wingerden will be up against challengers Polly Holcombe and Shirley Johnson. Meanwhile, the third available seat on the board, from which two board members resigned over the last year, is currently sought after by candidates Richard Forde and Alexandra VanAntwerp. The candidate who wins this seat will serve a shortened, two-year term.
The window to file election paperwork opened on July 16 and closed on Aug. 10, except in elections where at least one incumbent failed to file, which was the case for several local races. If a single incumbent bowed out, the deadline to submit paperwork was extended to Aug. 15. The close of the filing window took place after press time; candidates had one last day to file when Coastal View News went to print.
Updated information and further detail is available at

Carpinteria City Council
Terms ending:
Joe Armendariz
Kathleen Reddington

Wade Nomura
Tom Perry
Kathleen Reddington
Fred Shaw
Greg Gandrud (Pulled papers, not yet filed)

Carpinteria Unified School District
Terms ending:
Terry Hickey Banks
Lou Panizzon

Terry Hickey Banks
Blanca Gorman
Alison Livett
Suzie Schneider

Carpinteria Valley Water District
Terms ending:
Robert Lieberknecht
June Van Wingerden
Vacant seat (two-year term)

Polly Holcombe
Shirley Johnson
Robert Lieberknecht
June Van Wingerden
Richard Forde (candidate for two-year term)
Alexandra VanAntwerp (candidate for two-year term)

Carpinteria Sanitary District
Terms ending:
Michael Damron
Pat Horowitz
Jeff Moorhouse

Michael Damron
Jeff Moorhouse
Gerald Velasco

Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District
Terms ending:
Diane Brighton
Lisa Guravitz

Lisa Guravitz
Chris Johnson
Bill Taff

School to open amid continuing funding woes

By Erin Lennon

Less than a week before school starts, the Carpinteria Unified School District Governing Board discussed progressive curriculum, new hires and fundraising at its Aug. 14 meeting amid continued budget struggles.

CUSD may have approved its 2012-2013 district budget in June, but it’s anything but set after the state budget was adopted on June 15. If both Governor Jerry Brown’s Proposition 30 and Molly Munger’s Proposition 38 fail to pass on November ballots, CUSD will see an automatic trigger cut of $441 per student during the current school year. The cuts were originally expected to take effect during the 2013-2014 school year. CUSD learned of the change on June 29.

“This came as quite a surprise to everybody,” said Assistant Superintendent Lucinda Abbott. Abbott presented a revised budget illustrating the possible cuts at the Aug. 14 meeting along with an overview of the initiatives. The trigger cut is part of fair share cuts, which are normally assessed the following year. These cuts would take effect in January 2013 for basic aid districts—those, like CUSD, whose funding is based on local property taxes.

The additional cuts would be added to the continuing fair share cuts. CUSD would face $2,338,615 in fair share cuts in 2012-2013 and the two subsequent school years, creating district insolvency by 2014-2015 at current spending rates. To ease daunting future cuts, Abbott will begin negotiations with the Carpinteria Association of United School Employees’ bargaining unit if the tax initiatives fail. However, she reported a 54 percent approval rating for Brown’s Proposition 30.

“It’s really important for us as the leaders of this district to put forth a statement about what we need to make this a viable budget and educate the kids of this district,” said board member Lou Panizzon. “We need to inform our public (about these initiatives).”

Proposition 30 would generate between $5.4 and $8.5 billion per year by increasing sales tax by .25 percent until 2016 and raising personal income tax for high earners until 2018. Proposition 38 generates $5 billion the first year and $10 billion every following year by enacting an income tax increase for most tax payers until 2024, with increases ranging from .4 percent to 2.2 percent depending on income. Proposition 38 revenues would go directly to school sites. Abbott is less familiar with how Proposition 38 would specifically benefit CUSD, but the district’s adopted budget would stand if Proposition 30 passed. Abbott plans to do a more comprehensive overview of the initiatives.

Superintendent Paul Cordeiro announced a plethora of new hires and a push to develop a design and engineering program at Carpinteria High School despite budgetary uncertainty.

“This is a step toward a better educated workforce that’s more tuned into the economic needs that we have in this state,” he said.

Students residing in La Conchita won’t benefit from the new program under CUSD’s revised inter-district transfer policy, which bars them from transferring into the district. In 2010 the board allowed students to transfer into CUSD if they had to travel through its boundary to access their districts of residence, namely students living on Casitas Pass Road who were in the Ventura Unified School District. The US 101 widening project requires La Conchita residents to permanently travel northbound on 101 into CUSD to access their VUSD schools. The board adopted the first reading of the revision that eliminates the 2010 loophole, restricting interdistrict transfers to Casitas Pass residents only.

“It’s not in the board’s interest to become the school district for La Conchita,” said Cordeiro.

As a basic aid district, students residing in La Conchita wouldn’t generate additional revenue for CUSD but would require district resources.

The Carpinteria Education Foundation, which raises funds for CUSD schools, will host its Carp-A-Cabana fundraiser on Saturday, Sept. 8. CEF is changing its grant making pursuant to that fundraiser, according to Cordeiro. The group plans to target more school-based, comprehensive grants instead of grants for individual materials as it attempts to strategically pinpoint types of desirable support.

The next regular school board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, August 28, at 5:30 p.m. in the Carpinteria City Council Chambers, 5775 Carpinteria Ave.

Gocong tears Achilles tendon, out for season

Gocong tears Achilles tendon, out for season
Photo Courtesy of Cleveland Browns. Carpinterian Chris Gocong, pictured here playing against the Cincinnati Bengals, will be sidelined for the 2012-2013 season after suffering a torn Achilles tendon in preseason.

Carpinterians who dust of their orange and brown jerseys each September to support the NFL’s Cleveland Browns and homegrown linebacker Chris Gocong will wince when hearing that the former Carpinteria High School Warrior is out for the 2012-2013 season with a torn Achilles tendon. Gocong fell to the ground after landing while making a leaping play at practice on Aug. 4 and remained on the ground in pain, according to media reports. Last season Gocong was a key player on the Brown’s defense, logging the second most snaps on the field among all defensive personnel. He was rewarded by team management with a four-year contract worth about $16 million. Browns’ coaches have lamented the loss of their versatile linebacker who can play in all situations at each linebacker spot.

Stingray strikes set record at City Beach

Stingray strikes set record at City Beach

By Peter Dugré

Friday, July 13, was a busy day for Carpinteria City Beach lifeguards. Over a thousand competitors with Junior Lifeguard programs from throughout the region swarmed Carpinteria City Beach, and by the end of the day it was apparent that stingrays were in full force this summer. Four JGs were struck by the barbed, whipping tails of stingrays that day. To date, the tally of stings for this year has reached 21, far greater than the 14 recorded last summer, which stood as the seasonal record then.

According to City of Carpinteria lifeguards Bryan Swarm and Chuck Graham, the oddest part about this year’s barrage of stings is that strikes have been frequently occurring at the main City Beach. In years past, the vast majority of victims received bloody lacerations to their feet and ankles near Carpinteria Point, where abundant sand collects and a buffet of small sea creatures abound at the mouth of Carpinteria Salt Marsh Nature Preserve. Now, the bottom-feeding stingrays have migrated down to the main beach from their traditional territory.

“A couple of years ago, we were like don’t worry about (City Beach), just be careful at Carp Point,” Swarm said. “Now we’re getting stings everywhere.”

Carpinteria State Beach lifeguard Kevin Escalante said the Junior Lifeguard competition day was busy at the state end of the beach as well, where four separate stings were reported. Otherwise, stings have been sporadic and at an expected rate. He said stings are most common between June and September, when more people are in the water.

Although severe cases can cause infection, allergic reaction or even a barb lodged in the laceration, much of the time pain is the worst symptom. The best treatment for a typical sting is immersion in hot water for up to an hour to dilute the irritating venom that produces the telltale sting near the point of the strike. Lifeguards at city and state beaches carry both essential treatment tools—hot water and a bucket.
To avoid a sting, swimmers should enter the water doing the “stingray shuffle,” keeping their feet close together and dragging them through the sand to avoid stepping on a sand-covered stingray. Shuffling feet through the sand will more likely result in dislodging it from the sea floor, prompting it to swim away, rather than stepping on one, which can lead to a sting. Although they have a perilous name, stingrays are generally docile and strike only when provoked.

Despite an uptick in stings, lifeguards said that most cases have been mild. Very few victims have needed treatment beyond hot water. In the past, more cases were referred to the hospital for stitches or precautionary treatment for shock-like symptoms. The mildness of the strikes has led Swarm to speculate that a population boom of young, smaller stingrays may be the ones venturing to the City Beach.

SB County and angry Toro Canyon residents face off over proposed flood debris storage site

By Maureen Foley

What many Toro Canyon residents see as a trash site, Santa Barbara County sees as treasure. That sums up the difference in how the two opposing sides see the Flood Control District’s plan to turn a 9-acre parcel at 225 Toro Canyon Road currently being offered for sale by Carpinteria Unified School District into a temporary storage location for emergency creek flood debris.

On Aug. 7, representatives from the county held a public workshop to explain why the farm property is the perfect location for a much-needed site to contain the trees, sand, vegetation and more that wash up after periodic major flooding events in Eastern Montecito and Carpinteria Valley creeks.

In the meeting, Thomas Fayram, Deputy Public Works Director for the County Flood Control District, gave an overview of the project. According to a fact sheet from the workshop, “The Toro Canyon property is suitable for ... temporary storage of debris for ultimate disposal.” He also displayed a map showing how the county would add landscape screening, a setback and an entrance off Toro Canyon Road to the property.

Fayram emphasized that the county would only use the Toro Canyon site for debris storage on a part-time, temporary basis after major floods, with material stored there for a year at the most. Debris would be disposed of or ground into mulch. He estimated that the space would only be used for storing debris infrequently, as needed for emergencies. As an example, he cited 1995, 1998 and 2005 as the years during his 26-year career with Flood Control as the only times when the space would have been used. For the most part, the land will continue to be farmed.

“Our goal is to keep (the site) the way it is and to utilize the property in key emergency times. But preserve it the rest of the time,” said Fayram.

In contrast, neighbors who spoke during the hearing bemoaned the potential for falling property values, increased noise and other nuisances. They also accused the county of having a lack of transparency in the buying process and for wasting public funds.

“I’m not a NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) obstructionist, but it doesn’t make sense to pay this much for a property that will be used every five to seven years,” said Marilyn Mayer.

Approximately one dozen Toro Canyon neighborhood residents voiced their opposition to the plan. Citing concerns ranging from increased traffic in the residential neighborhood to out-of-control varmints, people expressed their outrage at the thought of turning the farmland into what they see as an industrial wasteland. No one spoke in support of proposed plan, and many referred to the project as a “dump.” But Fayram disputes the idea that the site is a waste disposal site. “A dump has a bad connotation. It means taking material and leaving it there. Stuff won’t be left there,” he said.

Fayram also countered the criticism about the parcel’s cost by emphasizing how expensive it is already to dispose of post-flood debris. He said that the cost of the property would pay for itself after one emergency storm event.

But Fayram refused to discuss specifics about the property’s cost because the county is still in a 60-day negotiation period with CUSD. However, Emily McBride, a real estate agent who represents Scott Wood, said that her client approached CUSD with an offer of $2.4 million for the property and that he is still waiting to find out if he will be the final buyer.

The property’s selling price and many of the residents’ other concerns are only theoretical at this point, because the project is far from a done deal. There are still many bureaucratic hoops that both the county and CUSD must jump through before the site can be sold and developed.

And according to CUSD Assistant Superintendent Cindy Abbott, selling the property to the county is hardly a sure thing. She said the school district must go through legal processes for selling the property, which it originally bought for a school site and is now selling to use the proceeds to improve existing schools.

“The county is interested ... But the (school) board will decide on the buyer,” Abbott said.

Additionally, the county has its own process and timeline for the project, even with the uncertainty of who the buyer will be, including a County Board of Supervisors public hearing, an environmental assessment and applying and receiving a Coastal Development Permit.

In the meantime, Fayram hopes that the facts will convince people that the project is more treasure than trash. He said, “It is our sincere goal to be a great neighbor to the community.”

City Council candidates step up

Last chance to file for local elections
By Lea Boyd

The upcoming race for two seats on the Carpinteria City Council just got hot. As the filing window draws to a close, new candidates Greg Gandrud and Wade Nomura have come out of the woodwork, joining the trio of candidates—Tom Perry, Kathleen Reddington and Fred Shaw—who made their intentions clear weeks ago.

Nomura, who serves on the Architectural Review Board, just wrapped up a year-long term as the district governor for the Rotary Club and is the 2011 Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce Carpinterian of the Year.

Gandrud held a seat on the Carpinteria City Council from 2002 to 2006, when he ran for a second term but was edged out by long-time incumbent Brad Stein. Now Gandrud serves as chairman of the Santa Barbara County Republican Party and is a Member of the Executive Committee of the California Republican Party.

A handful of candidates have also recently filed paperwork for available special district seats. Carpinteria Unified School District incumbent Lou Panizzon has yet to file, but incumbent Terry Hickey Banks and newcomer Suzie Schneider are now poised to claim the two seats up for grabs. There will be a race this November for two seats available on the board for the Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District. Three candidates have filed paperwork. Meanwhile, the Carpinteria Sanitary District’s board of directors is still short a candidate.

The window to file candidate paperwork opened on July 16 and closes on Aug. 10, except in elections where at least one incumbent fails to file. In that case, the deadline to submit paperwork is extended to Aug. 15. Forms to file for a city council seat are available at Carpinteria City Hall, and the forms for special district seats must be obtained through the Santa Barbara County Elections Office, at 4440 A Calle Real in Santa Barbara. For special districts, only candidates who have filed paperwork—not those who have only pulled papers—are noted below. Detailed information is available at

Carpinteria City Council
Terms ending
Joe Armendariz
Kathleen Reddington

Fred Shaw
Tom Perry
Greg Gandrud (Pulled papers, not yet filed)
Wade Nomura (Pulled papers, not yet filed)
Kathleen Reddington (Pulled papers, not yet filed)

Carpinteria Unified School District
Terms ending
Terry Hickey Banks
Lou Panizzon

Terry Hickey Banks
Suzie Schneider

Carpinteria Valley Water District
Terms ending
Robert Lieberknecht
June Van Wingerden
Vacant seat (two-year term)

Richard Forde (candidate for two-year term)
Robert Lieberknecht
June Van Wingerden

Carpinteria Sanitary District
Terms ending
Michael Damron
Pat Horowitz
Jeff Moorhouse

Michael Damron
Jeff Moorhouse

Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District
Terms ending
Diane Brighton
Lisa Guravitz

Lisa Guravitz
Alfred Taff
Christopher Johnson

Boys & Girls Club Director retires after four decades

Boys & Girls Club Director retires after four decades
Rich Medel, pictured with local youths, from left, Jessica Pohl, Itzel Soto and Rayshaun Moore, retired this month after nearly 40 years at the Carpinteria Boys & Girls Club.

By Erin Lennon

After nearly 40 years of providing Carpinteria youth with positive memories, role models and choices, Carpinteria Boys & Girls Club Director Richard Medel retired on Aug. 1, leaving a legacy of community building and youth empowerment.

In 1973 Medel joined the Carpinteria Boys’ Club and packed its 25 members into one room on Carpinteria Avenue. Forty years later he is handing leadership of the Boys & Girls Club, whose departments and programs now host upwards of 300 kids on an average school night, to fellow Carpinterian Jamie Collins.

A product of Carpinteria, Medel has worked in the fields, gone to the schools and was eager to return home after obtaining a bachelors degree in recreation from California State Long Beach in 1972. Following a 13-month stint as the West Side Boys Club’s athletic director, Medel got his wish and set to work developing the Carpinteria club.

“(Being from the community) was important,” said Medel. “I knew the people, the families, the schools, the ranchers, the beach… A lot of people knew me as a kid, and they came to support me.”

In 1974, the current clubhouse on Foothill Road opened the doors to its one game room, the hub of all club activities. Members finally got to stretch their legs when Medel flexed his fundraising muscles and procured $400,000 to construct the multi-use gym in 1979, the first of many additions.

The gym exemplified the power of community as parents, contractors and residents converged at the club to help with what they could. As support rolled in, Medel vowed to keep the club open to the community, and that has not changed.

“One time girls cheerleading needed funds for a trip, and (Medel) offered the club for a car wash,” said Boys & Girls Club board president Louise Cruz, who also recalls Medel digging into his own pockets for members. “Ever since then, the club sponsors car washes every year.”

Medel and his staff have worked to get the community invested in the club. A sign reading “Welcome to our club! Bienvenidos a nuestro club!” adorns the entrance. With Spanish speaking students comprising nearly 33 percent of the Carpinteria Unified School District, Medel wants to welcome everyone.

His own bilingual and bicultural background has helped him connect with a variety of people, from the affluent to the poor and even gang members, he says. Overall, his goal is to “help kids make good choices,” a need transcending social class. He notes that pushing members to make responsible, respectful decisions has helped him overcome negative public views of the club as a place for bullies or troubled youth.

“He is very strict in the club, but the kids respect him,” said Cruz, who is not alone in her praise. Positive feedback from the school district, parents and the community has humbled Medel as he readies for retirement.

“There’s good in every kid, you just have to bring it out,” said Medel.

Being good with kids doesn’t ensure the club can operate. Medel also had to learn to make the most with a tight budget. Club fundraisers and donations from businesses, foundations and the community allow for low membership fees and access to the club for all income levels.

Local connections have made all the difference in fundraising. For instance, Margaret Peggy Brown, the founder of the Monroe Foundation, asked in the 1980s what the club needed. When Medel said a childcare center, she set about funding and designing the current center. And when Venoco, Inc. wanted to support education, Medel pointed to the club’s resources center, which now wears the company name and is updated annually with Venoco funds.

“(Medel) is very good at getting us resources or whatever we need to run the club and programs … his 40 years of experience just make our jobs a lot easier,” said Program Director Kia Shih.

Over his career, Medel raised $18 million and served 30,000 Carpinteria youth through sports, recreation, arts and crafts, leadership opportunities, community service, the teen center and childcare, but members and coworkers will remember his commitment and personality.

“The (lesson) I’ve really taken from him is that what you put back into the community you’re going to take out,” said longtime member and current employee Javier Morales. “A lot of the lessons I learned, I’m still teaching the kids here today.”

Medel has not only given youth a place to go after school but has given them somewhere to belong and develop.

“You have different chapters in your life. Now, I’m at the end of this chapter, and I’ll see what I can do now,” said Medel.

The Carpinteria Boys & Girls Club will host a recognition ceremony and dinner for Medel on Saturday, Aug. 11 at the club, 4849 Foothill Road. The cost is $30 per ticket. For more information, call the club at 566-3417.

Blown fire hydrant disrupts water flow, colors water brown

A geyser sprang from an uprooted fire hydrant on Del Mar Avenue across Carpinteria Salt Marsh from Ash Avenue between 11 a.m. and noon on July 30. By the time the free flowing water was contained, pressure was depleted in residences covering most of Carpinteria on the ocean side of the freeway. And water that was still flowing had been colored brown and murky from pressure changes stirring up sediment, mainly manganese, that typically settles on the bottom of pipelines during regular water flow.

Carpinteria Valley Water District General Manager Charles Hamilton, who was making rounds by foot to area businesses to make sure that water delivery was restored in the afternoon, said that the discoloration was unsightly but not harmful. Manganese, he said, is non-toxic, and the district had tested water to ensure that residual chlorine levels remained adequate to stave off any biohazard. The precautionary measures are protocol if water disruption occurs, he added.

Question marks remain about the incident. Hamilton said it’s unknown what caused the hydrant to get knocked out of place, nor does the district know how much water was lost. About 200 customers inundated the district with calls about delivery disruption and brown water. The most unfortunate problem related to the brownish water reported by Laundromats was staining of clothing that was in the wash. Hamilton said if clear water at regular pressure is not restored then customers should phone the district at 684-2816.

Missing student traveling coast

Missing student traveling coast

David Goeser, an honors student at UCLA, went missing on July 25 in Pacific Palisades and is believed to be traveling up the coast, possibly through Carpinteria. The 22-year-old, who is 5-foot 11-inches and about 160 pounds, needs medication but apparently fled without any. After disappearing, Goeser was sighted traveling along the Pacific Coast Highway. Anyone with information into his whereabouts should contact the Los Angeles Police Department at (213) 996-1800.

Donations sought for burial costs

Vicente Castillo, the father of Carpinterians Isaac, 9, and Gabriel Castillo, 8, recently passed away, leaving insufficient funds for his burial and funeral. With the help of family friend Ralph Hernandez, the Castillo boys are attempting to raise the $10,000 necessary to lay to rest their father, who was a Santa Maria resident. Car washes and other fundraisers have garnered nearly half of the required amount, but the family is seeking contributions toward the remaining costs. Community donations can be deposited at Santa Barbara Bank & Trust into the Vicente Castillo Memorial Fund. Hernandez can be contacted with any questions at 452-0453.

Developer launches plans for bluffs resort

By Lea Boyd

If all goes according to Jack Theimer’s plans, in four years the doors will open to a 162-room hotel resort on the Carpinteria bluffs at the intersection of highways 101 and 150. Theimer, a Santa Barbara-based developer, submitted an application with the City of Carpinteria on July 20 to convert what is now 21.65 acres of dirt bike scars and patchy vegetation into a facility he describes as a price point above Fess Parker’s Double Tree and below the Four Seasons Biltmore.

Zoned by the city for a resort, the seaside property has been the target of several proposed developments, most of which were battled back by locals and none of which materialized. Theimer doesn’t want a battle. “If the site were something we’d have to fight to rezone … we wouldn’t even think about it,” he said.

At this point, plans for the $60 million project are only conceptual. They include 162 hotel rooms divided among four, two-story buildings. The largest of the buildings, “The Lodge,” includes two restaurants, 10,000 square feet of meeting space and a gift shop. A pool and day spa facilities overlook the ocean. Plans depict 90 underground parking spaces and 218 spaces in open lots, a trail network and, per city requirements, eight to ten units of workforce housing are proposed for the property.

The spacious hotel rooms, which are expected to bring in about $300 to $325 per night, would average 450 square feet with a 100 square foot deck on each. Approximately 20 percent of the accommodations will be specially designed as high-end “health and wellness” rooms with vitamin and mineral infused tap water and treated air.

Though the city has long anticipated a resort for the property and the vacant ocean perch appears to be a developer’s dream, the site comes with its fair share of complications. Two earthquake fault lines run through it, forcing Theimer and his partner on the project, Andy Norris, to maintain two 50-foot swaths without buildings that run nearly from one end of the site to the other. Other restrictions include setbacks for a seasonal wetland on the west end of the land, a maximum of 30-foot building heights and a 200-foot view corridor from Highway 150. The constraints, Theimer explained, led to plans for 162 hotel rooms rather than the 222 allowed by the zoning code.

Ecologically, the property hosts not only the wetland, but also native coastal sage scrub, loss of which will likely require mitigation. The land, however, is far from pristine. Thunderbowl race track existed on the site in the mid-1900s, and since then it has been heaped with castoff road materials from the construction of Highway 101 and torn up by trespassing offroaders.

The resort’s design has been put in the hands of native Carpinterian architect Andy Neumann, the creative force behind many local homes. Theimer said that though Neumann has never designed a resort, his “elegant and clean” architectural style will mesh well with Theimer’s vision for a contemporary look.

Detailed plans will be drawn up in the next six weeks, but Theimer anticipates low-lying buildings fronted by lots of glass that allows the “natural space to come into the rooms.” He said he is eager to break free of the restrictions that hogtie Santa Barbara developers to Spanish style architecture—“I’ve done Spanish. I’m over Spanish.”

Theimer, who developed Ennisbrook in Montecito and Stork Ranch in Goleta, emphasizes the positives the proposed resort would provide the local community. The trail network planned for the property would connect with the coastal trail that already patchily links Rincon County Park to downtown Carpinteria. Theimer points out the public parking lots on the site that allow access to the trails and the views. He envisions the 10,000 square feet of meeting space, or “gathering” space as he prefers, will be used by locals for events and that the hotel restaurants will offer a convenient option for business people in the nearby industrial park to bring clients and co-workers for lunch.

Local beaches and beautiful views are expected to draw visitors to the resort, and Theimer plans to promote the proximity to Ojai as another reason for a stay. He doesn’t anticipate the resort will attract visitors whose main destination is Santa Barbara—the local draws should be sufficient, he said.

“There are still a lot of questions,” Mayor Al Clark said of the proposal. Though he iterated that more information would be necessary before he could make any judgments, he said among his biggest concerns were the traffic generated from the resort and the preservation of public access to the “killer views” from the blufftop. Clark described Theimer as likeable and friendly and said that the developer’s apparent honesty and transparency should ease the permitting process.

Conceptual plans for the resort are tentatively scheduled for review by the city’s Architectural Review Board on Sept. 13 and by the City Council and Planning Commission in mid-October.

Public opposition marks county beach parking fee hearing Fees proposed for Rincon, Summerland beaches

By Peter Dugré

Nobody wants to pay to park at the beach. At a July 26 Santa Barbara County Park Commission hearing designed to gather public input on whether Santa Barbara County should impose parking fees at seven beaches, Park Commissioners listened to over a dozen members of the public, who all in varying degrees of outrage urged the five-member commission to ditch the pay-to-park proposal.

The meeting was the first of three ahead of an October meeting when the Board of Supervisors could ultimately decide if and how to implement beach parking fees at Rincon Beach, Loon Point, Lookout Park, Arroyo Burro Beach, Goleta Beach, Ocean Beach and Guadalupe Dunes Park. Commissioners will make a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors based on staff and public input.

Members of the public in attendance ran the gamut from representatives of Surfrider Foundation to beach lovers to Summerland downtown business owners. Access to beaches is why people choose to live in this area, argued residents, and the county should not be allowed to charge for it. Also, opposition focused on the costs disproportionately impacting impoverished families and spillover parking clogging neighborhoods surrounding beaches. Other comments took issue with revenues not being directed back toward beach maintenance; rather, the revenue stream could flow to the county’s general fund.

Representing Surfrider Foundation, Everett Lipman called the proposed fee a “beach tax” and said, “We are going to vigorously oppose any implementation of fees.” He added, “Let’s not charge working-class families making $35,000 a year in order to pave roads in Montecito.”

County staff briefed commissioners on rate structures, revenue estimates and the potential for charging for parking at all county parks versus only the beaches. Revenue estimates range between $1.58 and $2.48 million annually, and are based on the assumption that the number of vehicles at beaches will decrease by 25 percent if visitors must pay to park and also a loss of spaces due to reconfiguration. Also under consideration is a $100 annual pass for residents and 60 minutes of free parking.

Staff reported on options for both hourly charges and flat daily rates. In the hourly model, the price for parking at Rincon and Lookout Park was set at $1.50 per hour with a maximum charge of $6 per day. Loon Point would be $1 per hour and $3 maximum. Electronic meters would be installed similar to Downtown Ventura, and parking spaces would be numbered for visitors to input their space number and pay by cash or credit. A flat fee system would charge visitors between $2 and $4 per day for entry, and either program would likely be managed by a private company. The flat rate system would generate more revenue according to estimates.

Surfer and Rincon mainstay Tony DeGroot said, “Am I in favor or against this? It’s like asking am I in favor or against you chopping my left arm off.” Of the county’s need to raise revenues, he added, “I think you need to live within the budget. I know I do.”

Representing Summerland businesses, Jeff Melnik informed commissioners that parking is already cramped on Lillie Avenue and new fees at Lookout Park would only exacerbate the problem by pushing vehicles out of the park and into Summerland’s downtown.

The next public meeting of the Park Commission is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 16, at 5:30 p.m. in the Santa Barbara Planning Commission Hearing Room, 105 E. Anapamu Street, Santa Barbara. Members of the public can complete a beach parking survey at and written input can be emailed to Herman Parker of the SB County Community Services Department at

County to hear public input on beach fees

In an effort to increase revenues, the Santa Barbara County Park Commission will consider implementing parking fees at seven area beaches, including Rincon, Loon Point and Lookout Park. These fees will be discussed at a series of three upcoming meetings of the Parks Commission, where staff will present information and members of the public will be invited to provide their opinion on the matter. The first meeting will be held on Thursday, July 26, at 9:30 a.m. in the Santa Barbara Board of Supervisors Hearing Room 105 E. Anapamu Street, in Santa Barbara. The second meeting will be held on Thursday, Aug. 16, at 5:30 p.m. in the Santa Barbara Planning Commission Hearing Room, 123 E. Anapamu Street, in Santa Barbara, and the third meeting will take place on Aug. 23 in Santa Maria. A beach parking fees questionnaire is available at, and more information is available by calling 568-2467.

Home robbery suspect at large

A man who robbed a home in the 2800 block of Via Real on July 19 at 11:35 p.m. remains at large, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department. The lone suspect reportedly confronted the residents inside their home before stealing their property and fleeing the scene. Deputies responded to the home and searched surrounding streets. Two K9 units and a helicopter from the County Air Support Unit also assisted with the search. The suspect is described as a white male in dark clothes, around 5 foot 9 inches tall and 150 to 160 pounds. Anyone with information regarding the crime should call 681-4150.

SB man arrested in connection with Carpinteria fugitive

SB man arrested in connection with Carpinteria fugitive
Luis Procopio Urbina

Luis Procopio Urbina, 43, was arrested on July 17 for aiding and concealing fugitive Jeffrey Parish, a former Carpinteria resident who was wanted on child molestation charges. Parish was recently discovered living in Guatemala and taken into custody by the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office Felony Fugitive unit and the FBI. Urbina resides in Santa Barbara but is originally from Guatemala and still has family there.

The investigation revealed that from 2005 through 2011, Urbina helped Jeffrey Parish remain free by sending large amounts of money to him through another person in Guatemala via Western Union transfers. Urbina also facilitated email communications between Parish and his mother, Vivian Parish. Urbina is the primary caretaker for Vivian, who is 90 years old and resides in Santa Barbara. He was booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail with bail set at 20,000.

New movie projector, funding land at Plaza Playhouse

New movie projector, funding land at Plaza Playhouse
Delivering the Plaza Playhouse Theater’s new 81-pound film projector are, from left, Rick Villa and Mark Johnson, the general manager and technical director at Marjorie Luke Theater in Santa Barbara, the projector’s former home.

Carpinteria’s Plaza Playhouse Theater is ready to roll. In a fit of good fortune, the theater landed a steal of a deal on a top quality film projector. The Plaza had been renting a projector for its film screenings at a cost of $200 per night—an expense that consumed a purse-pinching portion of ticket proceeds. Now an anonymous donor has put up $5,000 for the purchase of a projector that formerly played films at Marjorie Luke Theater in Santa Barbara.

Fortuitous circumstances arose at a private event at the Plaza, when representatives of Marjorie Luke asked if they could help Carpinteria’s nonprofit arts venue in any way. They were informed that the Plaza was in need of a projector, and the Marjorie Luke just happened to have an extra that it could part with for $5,000—a fraction of the original $40,000 value. According to Plaza spokesperson Melinda Bie, donors eagerly fed $50 checks to the fundraising effort at the event. Then one generous donor stepped forward to cover the entire $5,000.

“I was completely overwhelmed,” Bie said. “The more I said thank you, the less adequate that seemed to sound.”

Included in the purchase of the projector is a lens capable of showing films in their widescreen versions. However, the Plaza’s screen is still not adequate to show the original widescreen format. Currently, the theater is showing a series of classic movies, including Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rear Window” on Saturday, July 28, at 8 p.m. Showing new releases is costly, and the high licensing fees for new movies contributed to Metropolitan Theaters closure of its Carpinteria location.

Additionally, the plaza recently received a $1,000 Community Arts Enrichment Grant from the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission. Even though the theater will be greatly improved by the recent donations, its wish list still includes a $15,000 retractable film screen. Theater organizers all expressed great appreciation and excitement for the future of Carpinteria’s arts venue. Details about the theater and upcoming events can be found at
- Peter Dugré

Bluffs oil seep prompts investigation

City council grants E.J. Harrison negotiation extension
By Sara Monge

A long abandoned oil well on the Carpinteria Bluffs appears to be rearing its ugly head again, and the emergence of oozing oil has prompted an investigation, the Carpinteria City Council learned at its July 23 meeting. Initially thought to be a natural occurrence, the seep is now believed to be related to the Kittie Bailard well, drilled in 1929 and “properly abandoned” according to City Planner Steve Goggia.

The investigation, which is scheduled to take place in August, will begin with on-site biological and archeological surveys and continue with the excavation of a 5 by 10-foot, fenced off area. Bill Borg of Conoco Philips told the council that the plan to investigate the abandoned well was developed in conjunction with the city, Carpinteria-Summerland Fire District and the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermic and Geothermal Resources.

While Conoco Philips stressed that it is trying to “limit the amount of activity because of the sensitive habitat,” the work is expected to take two weeks, one to excavate the area and one to complete restoration on the site. Work should begin by mid-August, after the Coastal Commission approves the permit.

In other news, the council unanimously approved a three-month extension to the city’s current Franchise Waste Agreement with E.J. Harrison and Sons, Inc. Erin Maker, the city’s environmental coordinator, explained that the temporary extension would allow city staff a “buffer” to finish negotiations on the new contract with the waste haulers.

This is the third extension on the current E.J. Harrison contract. In May 2011, the contract was extended by six months to allow the city to complete a financial and performance review of the company. It was extended a second time in January 2012 when the council authorized staff to proceed with sole-source negotiations with the company, an extension that will sunset on July 31. Maker told the council the new agreement has been drafted, but negotiations are ongoing. She said it should be finalized in September as long as no “unexpected action is taken.”

Councilwoman Kathleen Reddington reiterated her hopes that both recycling and green waste would be picked up weekly instead of bi-weekly—a proposition for which Maker revealed the city is currently negotiating. Reddington also championed composting as a new and important service being offered in other cities. Maker explained that securing a permit and hauling waste to a North County composting site makes a composting program complicated. However, she said E.J. Harrison is permitted for a small composting program and that Reddington’s request would be included in ongoing negotiations.

The next regular Carpinteria City Council meeting will be held on Monday, Aug. 27 at 5:30 p.m. in the council chambers at 5775 Carpinteria Ave.

Council to consider daytime curfew

The topic of a daytime curfew for minors will be discussed by the Carpinteria City Council at its next meeting, scheduled for Monday, July 23, at 5:30 p.m. in the council chambers at Carpinteria City Hall, 5775 Carpinteria Ave. Additional items on the agenda include the following: recognition of Community Partner Award winner Ahmed Jahadhmy, a second reading and adoption of the Single-Use Plastic Bag Ordinance Amendment and a presentation by a Conoco Phillips representative regarding remediation of the Kittie Bailard Well on the Carpinteria Bluffs. Members of the public are welcome to attend the meeting and speak briefly on topics of interest. Subject matter provided by the city are subject to change, and the final agenda and staff reports will be available on Friday, July 20 at

Though council meetings are typically held every second and fourth Monday of the month, the meeting of Aug. 13 has been canceled and the next regular meeting will be held on Aug. 27.

Road closures triggered by 101 widening

Continued Caltrans roadwork on Highway 101 between Mobile Pier Road and Casitas Pass Road will affect auto and pedestrian traffic in coming weeks. The La Conchita Pedestrian Undercrossing will be closed to beachgoers from Monday, July 16 through Friday, August 3, between the hours of 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. while work crews remove and place concrete boxes behind the k-rail on the east side of the highway. Additionally during that timeframe, workers will continue construction on the Bates Road Overcrossing, erecting falsework, placing temporary lighting and continuing the retaining wall construction.

Phone scammers pose as parking ticket collection agents

A Carpinteria woman who received a phone call on July 17 from a man representing himself as a collection agenct working on behalf of the City of Santa Barbara proved wise to listen to her gut instinct. She refused to pay for the outstanding parking ticket that the man claimed to be calling about and ultimately confirmed the call to be an attempted scam. The alleged collection agent provided the woman’s license plate number, full name and home address while explaining that she had an outstanding debt to Santa Barbara for a parking ticket. She refused to pay the fee over the phone because she did not recall receiving the ticket nor did she trust the man’s voice. The following day, the woman called the City of Santa Barbara and found that it does not employ collection agencies to secure payments for parking tickets.

Carpinteria fugitive found in Guatemala

Carpinteria fugitive found in Guatemala

Fugitive Jeffrey Reed Parish, who was wanted for the alleged molestation of a 4-year-old Carpinteria girl 18 years ago, was recently discovered in Guatemala and now is being held in Santa Barbara County Jail without bail.
According to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department, Parish was arrested in 1994 for molesting a girl who lived across the street from his Carpinteria home. He was booked into jail but fled after posting bail and writing a letter to his wife indicating that he was leaving and never returning.
Authorities initially suspected that Parish was living in Mexico, where he had been known to visit. Recent information, however, led investigators to the small town of Panajachel in Guatemala. Parish was located there living under the name “Blake” when he was arrested without incident for a felony warrant and escorted by Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Felony Fugitive Unit and FBI agents back to Santa Barbara. Prior to finding Parish, the sheriff’s department had added him to its Top 10 Most Wanted list.
The sheriff’s department believes that during Parish’s residency in Santa Barbara County in the early 1990s, he may have molested other victims before his arrest and subsequent flight. Anyone with information on other possible victims should contact the Sheriff’s Department immediately at 681-4150.

Fire at B and H Flowers causes less damage than smoke

Fire at B and H Flowers causes less damage than smoke
Photo by Jesse Groves

The massive, black plume of smoke visible from all ends of Carpinteria on the evening of July 16 was caused by a fire at B and H Flowers, 4385 Foothill Road, that resulted in minimal damage and no injuries. The cause of the fire remains unknown, but nursery owner Hans Brand reported that the blaze broke out near or within a dumpster on the nursery property.

The call came in to Carpinteria-Summerland Fire District at 6:18 p.m. when the B and H crew had finished work for the day. Brand arrived on the scene soon after the first fire truck and watched as fire crews knocked down the blaze in a matter of minutes.

Thousands of black plastic crates used to transport the nursery’s Oriental lilies burned, Brand said, which led to the dark cloud of smoke rising over town, but the nursery lost no crops or any greenhouse structures. A planting machine and two pallet jacks burned in addition to the many crates.

“The smoke was bigger than the damage,” Brand reported. “It could have been so much worse.”

A storage container of peat moss also lit on fire and smoldered into the night, Brand said, and sprinklers were used overnight to keep it from igniting.

Brand credits the responding fire crews for limiting the damage caused by the fire. “Those guys are so efficient,” said Brand. “We as Carpinterians can be really proud of our fire department.”

Albertsons prepares to unveil new superstore

Albertsons prepares to unveil new superstore

Carpinteria has watched as, over the last eight and a half months, Albertsons has doubled its square footage, added a full pharmacy, expanded its deli and bakery, added 60 new jobs and achieved Platinum Level Certification from the Environmental Protection Agency. And as of Wednesday, July 25, the moment the community has been waiting for will arrive—the long-awaited superstore will be celebrated with a grand opening.

“July 25th is a big day for us,” said Albertsons Southern California Division President Dan Sanders. “Our guests have been incredibly patient during our construction and we hope they’ll agree it was worth the wait once they see what’s new.”

A Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting will kick off the grand re-opening at 10 a.m. at the store, located at 1018 Casitas Pass Road. The party will continue on Saturday, July 28, starting at 10 a.m. with a “Customer Appreciation Day.”  Activities will feature food samplings from local growers and vendors, a sidewalk sale, hula dancers, musical entertainment, free health screenings, giveaways and prizes.

One of the most dramatic changes to the new 29,900-square-foot store is the addition of a Sav-On Pharmacy. Albertsons purchased the former Shepard’s Place Pharmacy in 2011 and has added 14 new pharmacy associates to the store. “The familiar faces that Carpinteria residents have grown to trust with their pharmacy needs will continue to serve them,” said Carpinteria Store Director Ahmed Jahadhmy. 

Another major change, though one that will be less obvious to shoppers, is the store’s new green focus. Having partnered with the U.S. Department of Energy Better Buildings Challenge program, Albertsons has committed to reducing energy use in the Carpinteria store by at least 20 percent by 2020. Some of the store’s energy saving measures include water-saving faucets and fixtures, 45 skylights that provide natural lighting and LED lighting in the produce department and in all of the frozen food cases. The store is also using green refrigeration technology, for which it was awarded the GREENCHILL Award and Platinum Level Certification from the EPA. 

Vacation rental scam strikes Carpinteria

Multiple incidents of vacation rental scams have been reported in Carpinteria in recent weeks. Advertisements for local vacation rentals on the craigslist website have resulted in payments made for stays in homes that belong to permanent residents with no intention of renting to others. According to one homeowner, a deal to illegally lease her home was nearly complete before the victim discovered that the property was not a vacation rental. In this case, the perpetrators had communicated with the victim via email and arranged to collect funds by providing bank account information for a deposit. Anyone who has knowledge of similar incidents should contact the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department at 681-4100.

Burglars target change machines

Burglars target change machines
A surveillance image from Professional Wash Center shows a thief marauding around the closed Laundromat overnight in late April.

By Peter Dugré

Businesses that run on quarters have become a favorite target in recent months for thieves who prey upon easy access money machines that are fed dollars in exchange for quarters.

At least six separate burglaries at four businesses—three Laundromats and one car wash—have been reported since April, and the business owners are hungry for an arrest.

According to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department, burglars committing the crimes have the equipment and know-how to allow them to quickly pop open the machines and score hundreds of dollars. Lieutenant Kelly Moore said the crimes are nothing new. “Unfortunately, for these kinds of businesses, it’s fairly common,” said Moore, who is chief of police services in Carpinteria.

Danny’s Deli and Car Wash on Carpinteria Avenue was robbed twice this spring, leading owner Danny Kellogg to reinforce the outdoor change dispenser, which can be accessed all day and night, with a steel lock and a welded metal bar to hold it closed. Kellogg said the burglaries occurred under the cover of darkness, and since he reinforced the lock, he’s noticed that somebody has still been tampering with it, drilling at the solid metal even though it won’t crack.

Kellogg and Eduardo Rivera, owner of Professional Wash Center on Via Real, have both captured surveillance video of a suspect at work. The grainy video reveals a profile of a hooded male, but it’s not a clear enough shot to deliver a recognizable suspect to deputies. Rivera’s laundry business was broken into overnight in April, and in addition to a coin-dispensing machine, the burglar accessed a cash register and office. In all, the burglar stole around $1,200.

Linden Laundry has been hit twice, once each in May and June, and the criminal struck during daytime hours when the business was open. Operating quickly, the burglar entered the laundry at about 10 a.m. and drilled out the lock on the coin dispenser to steal a total of $2,000 between the two instances. Owner Anh Ngo said the business is only unattended sometimes and the burglar was apparently waiting for an opportunity to strike. Coin Op Laundry in Casitas Plaza has been hit recently under similar circumstances.

The business owners all strongly believe that they were robbed by the same burglar, and Kellogg and Rivera verified their hunch by comparing surveillance footage. Moore said the evidence obtained by his detectives has not led to that conclusion, but the case remains under investigation, and officers are following various leads, including monitoring usual suspects who are repeat offenders. He commented that petty crimes usually spike in the summertime, and that in this type of crime reinforced locks can prevent access to the money and quality surveillance video can help identify perpetrators after the crime. Anyone with information that can help in the investigation should call 681-4100.

Superintendent Cordeiro emphasizes college readiness

School board reinstates ag position

By Erin Lennon

With a tight 2012-2013 district budget adopted, the Carpinteria Unified School District Governing Board got a look at changes occurring within district schools at its July 10 meeting.

Superintendent Paul Cordeiro presented a quarterly report that showed a “plateau in enrollment” and advocated revising ongoing district programs and efforts, from early childhood education through high school graduation. He also called for maximizing community engagement with the district and emphasized a focus on college readiness.

“Remember there’s a big intersect between awareness of what it means to go to college and actual academic performance, and they both have to happen in the right way to work,” said Cordeiro.

THRIVE Carpinteria, a grant-funded project focused on ensuring all area kids are kindergarten-ready and successful through third grade and beyond, will continue providing students and families with services but will incorporate a marketing component to connect the community to services and information. As part of THRIVE, new preschool classes at Canalino School and Carpinteria Children’s Project at Main will educate 48 additional students, with CCPM also hosting four AVANCE cohorts to educate both parents and children to achieve success in school.

Professional development has proven key to implementing proposed classroom changes, from math to developing language skills. With a high percentage of immigrant families and English Language Learners, developing English acquisition throughout the district was highlighted as a priority. Fourth and fifth-grade teachers will receive professional English language acquisition training that kindergarten through third-grade teachers received in years past and which will be updated. CHS will also undergo professional development in this area and will incorporate new materials.

“What does this mean in a nutshell?” asked Cordeiro. “How to multiply opportunities to apply language purposely in the classroom every day.”

On a broader front, elementary teachers will use a fully integrated instructional calendar that tells them everything they need to do and when they need to do it, according to Cordeiro. Lesson pacing, assessments and calendars will be revised at all levels based on a district analysis of the California State Standards. These revisions will influence Carpinteria High School’s Professional Learning Communities Process, a process by which teachers and administrators learn together and communicate findings and ideas.

As teachers receive ongoing development, a focus on career paths at the high school will place the Agricultural Sciences & Technology Academy, the Culinary Arts Institute and plans for a Design and Engineering Program in the limelight.

The ag program has been in the spotlight for months after ag teacher Holly Smith’s position was terminated as CUSD cut nearly $500,000 from the 2012-2013 budget. Smith was rehired at the July 10 meeting following an outpouring of public support. The district agreed to pay $35,000 of the $65,000 position, and the community has collected $19,000 toward its $30,000 share. Santa Barbara Bank & Trust has publicly agreed to donate $5,000 to the community effort, according to supporter June Van Wingerden.

The Breakfast in the Classroom program was not so fortunate. Piloted with nine Aliso School teachers from January through June, the program was meant to provide students with a nutritious breakfast to improve performance, behavior and diet and reduce the risk of obesity; however, it ate up class time. With a $14,625 grant from the California Department of Education, CUSD purchased a new refrigerator and food carts to bridge food insecurity experienced by an estimated 25 to 30 percent of local families, according to Assistant Superintendent Cindy Abbott. CUSD will return grant funds, breaking even with $7,000 in net income through the program and possibly selling the food carts to Santa Barbara Unified School District for $3,000 to $4,000, and return to serving breakfast before school.

The board approved, without public comment, a revised version of the Integrated Pest Management Program for school sites, a strategy aimed at long-term pest control using a combination of techniques. These programs have proven controversial in the past.

The revised plan bars pesticides from being sprayed on or around play areas or along adjacent fences and on trees in lawn areas. Spraying will occur in non-play areas during student-free spring, summer and winter breaks, with improved signage, and CHS and Carpinteria Middle School tracks will be closed for three days following application. Also, pesticides cannot be used within 100 feet of a school’s organic garden, meaning no spraying will be done at Summerland School as most of its grounds are within 100 feet of its organic garden. Summerland parents have volunteered to manually control weeds.

The next regular school board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 14, at 5:30 p.m. in Carpinteria City Council Chambers, 5775 Carpinteria Ave.

Council bows to plastic bag coalition

The city council approved (Armendariz dissenting) the first reading of an ordinance to amend the bag ban in Carpinteria. The council had banned all bags in large stores, and all plastic bags in small stores and restaurants until the Save the Plastic Bag Coalition brought litigation against the city contending it could not regulate what bags restaurants used. Though City Attorney Brown said they had a good case, ultimately the city decided to settle with the coalition due to, as City Manager Dave Durflinger put it, “the cost and uncertainty of litigation.”

“We’re not setting out to conquer the world, but just doing the best we can for now,” summarized Mayor Al Clark.

The amended ordinance did not sail through, however, as Reddington advocated for stricter regulations while Armendariz accused the council of “terrorizing our residents” with the ordinance. Reddington asked for a stipulation that all paper bags be made of 100 percent recycled materials so that “no virgin forests end up in the waste stream.” Meanwhile, Armendariz argued for less government interference on the public. He said that if locals really want to protect the environment, they should put it on the ballot themselves, not rely on the city to pass the regulation.

Councilmen Clark, Stein and Carty reiterated their positions that it was the duty of the city council to protect the environment as best as it can within its financial resources. The ordinance stipulates that paper bags used in small stores must be made of at least 40 percent post-consumer waste and must be 100 percent recyclable.

The ordinance will have a second reading at the next council meeting and will go into effect for large stores on Oct. 22, 2012 and for small stores on April 11, 2013.

The next regular Carpinteria City Council meeting will be held on Monday, July 23, at 5:30 p.m. in the council chambers at 5775 Carpinteria Ave.

Armendariz rails against bed tax measure

By Sara Monge

Setting the stage for the November General Election, four Carpinteria City Council members voted at a July 9 meeting to sign their names to the argument in favor of Measure E2012, which will appear on the ballot as the City Services Support Measure and will ask voters to increase Carpinteria’s bed tax. Discussion of the ballot measure and the council majority’s argument in its favor became heated when lone dissenter Councilman Joe Armendariz described the argument as “a canard.”

City officials have long sought a way to increase revenues in order to get the annual budget back in the black. The budget problems are symptomatic of soaring costs not being met by increasing revenues, and raising the bed tax would help remedy the structural deficit.

The council looked at many ways to rectify its financial state, ultimately deciding (Armendariz dissenting) at its June 11 meeting to ask voters to raise the Transient Occupancy Tax, or bed tax, as a solution that would spare locals from additional taxes. The council argued that visitors use essential services such as pavement, lights, police and parks—all of which cost more money today—yet the tax they pay to sleep in the city has not gone up since it was instituted. Should the TOT increase pass in November, the rate will rise from 10 percent to match the City of Santa Barbara rate of 12 percent.

Armendariz, who voted against placing the measure on the ballot because it was not designated specifically to fund tourism promotion, suggested at the recent meeting that Carpinteria will “lose its competitive edge” should the tax be approved. Vehemently opposed to the tax hike, he said the argument in favor of the measure was misleading. While it states it will not affect locals, he pointed out that businesses and/or families in the area who put up out-of-towners in local hotels would be subjected to the higher fees.

The rest of the council argued that the extra 50 cents to $1.50 per night people will pay on their room will not deter visitors from the attractive ocean town. They explained that locals would not shoulder the burden of the tax, which would be the case with other revenue raising options such as a parcel tax or sales tax.

The council majority also touted the flexibility of funds generated by the bed tax as a perk. By benefiting the general fund, the tax revenues could be used as the council sees fit, from paying for police, to upkeep of parks, to encouraging tourism. The council did stipulate that the money would stay local, meaning the state cannot siphon it from the city.

Councilwoman Kathleen Reddington playfully suggested the measure be titled, “Measure E—the Easy Choice.” City residents will ultimately make their choice in November.

School board cuts half million from upcoming school year

Fate of ag position to be decided July 10
By Erin Lennon

At the June 26 Carpinteria Unified School District Board of Education meeting members took strides to reinstate the second Agricultural Science Technology Academy teaching position while also adopting a highly pruned 2012-2013 budget, which may be subject to further tightening in coming months.

Though changes could still occur, the board signed off on a budget with nearly a half million dollars in cuts. The axe fell on student transportation as well as teaching positions in agriculture, physical education and social studies. Further savings were made at the lower elementary level by increasing class size from 20 to 24 for kindergarten to second grade.

CUSD Assistant Superintendent Cindy Abbott emphasized that the budget is fluid and likely to change—many current estimates will be refined throughout the summer and fall. Federal funds for school districts will not be finalized until December, and fall enrollment will impact final funding as will staffing, which is still in progress at school sites. By adopting the proposed 2012-2013 district budget, the board certified that the district could continue to meet its financial obligations for two subsequent years.

The California Sales and Income Tax Increase Initiative, a November ballot item that proposes using revenues from temporarily increased sales tax, use tax and temporarily increased income tax for high earners to secure education funding, would keep funds from being cut at the district level. California schools could face dramatic budget cuts if the initiative fails to pass. CUSD, as well as other districts in the state, would face trigger cuts—cuts that occur in the middle of the year and are necessitated by specific events. Abbott said that trigger cuts could gouge the district’s budget at a rate of between $441 and $471 per student.

Governor Jerry Brown created some budgetary flexibility in his 2012-2013 budget by allowing school districts to cut 15 days from the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 school years. A five-day reduction was previously approved, meaning CUSD could shorten its upcoming school year by 20 days if approved by the employee union, CAUSE. Abbott estimates that cutting teachers for one day saves the district $55,000; however, she is looking to avoid a shortened academic year.

“I really hope we don’t have to do that, but that’s something that looks like will be part of the budget,” said Abbott.

The need of districts to provide transitional kindergarten was written into the state budget a year ago, and that legislation has stuck, adding greater costs to individual districts. Age requirements for students entering kindergarten continues to move forward, and this fall only students born before Nov. 1 will be allowed to begin kindergarten. In 2011-2012, students turning 5 before Dec. 2 had been admitted. Districts must provide students who would have attended kindergarten under the old deadline with a TK program, a change that qualifies 16 CUSD students for such a program during the 2012-2013 school year, according to Superintendent Paul Cordeiro.

Budget projections going out two years previewed a growing annual deficit, projected at $71,852 in unrestricted funds in 2012-2013, despite $494,100 in approved cuts to the budget. The deficit is projected at $976,170 in 2013-2014 and about $1.6 million in 2014-2015 as costs are estimated to increase. Health insurance premiums grew by 9.6 percent in the proposed budget and continue at that pace. Fair share cuts, which attempt to balance cuts among schools funded by the state on a per student daily attendance basis and those funded mainly through property tax revenues, also resulted in over $1.3 million sliced from the 2012-2013 budget, with estimated fair share cuts growing to $2.3 million in the 2014-2015 budget if trigger cuts ensue.

California requires that all districts set aside 3 percent reserves in case of need, but the CUSD school board upholds a policy maintaining 10 percent reserves. In 2012-2013, the district projects $2.8 million in reserves, a 15.88 percent reserve. Some area districts have chosen to tackle current budget issues at the expense of reserves, leaning closer to the minimum percentage. Boardmember Lou Panizzon questioned how he could support such high reserves in the face of layoffs.

“(Districts with lower reserve percentages are) much closer to fiscal insolvency than this district, and they’re having to take more drastic measures as a result,” said Cordeiro who also pointed out that the district has spent from its reserves in the recent past.

To maintain its 10 percent reserve through the 2014-2015 budget, the district will have to cut $1 million in proposed expenditures. Alternatively, the 3 percent reserve required by the state would demand $300,000 in cuts for the same time period.

Despite future budget worries, the board informally agreed to supply $35,000 of the $65,000 needed to reinstate the second teaching position in the CHS ag department, leaving the community to raise $30,000.

“The minimum we can do is come up with half the salary,” said Board President Andy Sheaffer.

With $9,000 deposited and pledges that would bring their fund up to $18,000, June Van Wingerden reported that supporters had $12,000 to go. “If everybody in Carpinteria just hands me a dollar, we’ll be finished,” she said.

The ag position will be on the July 10 agenda, and the board is expected to officially agree to cover at least half the position’s cost.

The next regular school board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, July 10, at 5:30 p.m. in the Carpinteria City Council Chambers, 5775 Carpinteria Ave.

Armendariz resigns from Zona Seca board

Carpinteria City Councilman Joe Armendariz announced June 20 that he had stepped down from his position on the board of directors for Zona Seca, a Santa Barbara nonprofit working to create drug-free communities while educating residents about the perils of alcohol, drugs, violence, truancy and gang participation. “I believe my ability to provide value to the agency has reached its limit and in fact could potentially prove counterproductive to the future goals of the agency,” Armendariz wrote in a letter to the agency’s executive director and board of directors.

Armendariz was recently convicted of his second DUI offense in the last five years. The councilman crashed his vehicle along the side of Highway 101 while driving under the influence last December. Though censured by the city council and pressured by locals to resign from his council seat, Armendariz has remained on the council. He has said that he does not plan to run for election in November.

In a statement released last week regarding his resignation from Zona Seca, Armendariz said, “It has been an honor and a privilege as well as a rewarding experience for me on a very personal level participating as a member of the board of directors and as the agency’s chairman of the board these past few years.”

Council members challenge basis for Linden/Casitas project

By Lea Boyd

The basic assumptions instructing the design of the Linden Avenue and Casitas Pass Road Interchange Project were called into question by city leaders on June 25 during a special meeting of the Carpinteria City Council. Mayor Al Clark and Councilwoman Kathleen Reddington argued that the economic landscape has changed dramatically since the pre-Great Recession design of arguably the most extensive project planned for Carpinteria since Highway 101 was constructed over 50 years ago.

“If we’re using 2007 numbers, we need to go back and see how the world’s changed since 2007,” said Reddington.

The $75 million project, which is now fully funded and planned for construction between 2015 and 2018, is intended to improve traffic flow through Carpinteria. Its main elements include the replacement of the Linden Avenue and Casitas Pass Road highway overcrossings, reconfiguration of the northbound on and off ramps at Casitas Pass Road and the extension of Via Real to Casitas Pass Road and Linden Avenue.

Though the project will have extensive impacts on the city, public ire has focused mainly on the width of the proposed Casitas Pass Road overcrossing. Currently two lanes, the new bridge is designed to include five traffic lanes as well as a bike lane and sidewalk on each side. The widening is meant to alleviate peak traffic congestion, but whether five lanes are necessary to accomplish that goal has been called into question.

“I think there’s a lot of sentiment out there that five lanes is incompatible with our small town,” said Mayor Al Clark. He noted that four lanes seem to be acceptable to most of the plan’s critics.

Clark asked that the basis for the bridge design, and the rest of the project’s scope, be reexamined. The assumptions for future traffic, he said, could be significantly different today than they were just a handful of years ago. Expectations for significant development in and around Carpinteria have not come to be. Job growth, Clark went on, is much lower today than anticipated.

The mayor went on to question the impact of the accepted assumption that a much greater proportion of Santa Barbara’s workforce will come from Ventura in the future. Retiring Santa Barbara workers are expected to be replaced with Ventura County residents, due to the lower cost of housing across the county line. Clark reasoned that if that assumption holds true, the freeway would be impacted but not local roads. With Carpinterians retiring from the Santa Barbara workforce, local traffic may actually ease up, Clark said.

Measure A funds toward mass transit also received the attention of Clark and Reddington. Both members of the council said they hope the commuter rail project that is currently planned will take many cars off the roads and decrease the need for local interchanges and roadways to be altered as dramatically as the plans now on the drawing table.

In support of Mary Pat O’Connor, the one speaker who chimed in during public comment, Reddington noted that the “cloverleaf” design proposed for the Casitas Pass Road on and off ramps was too “grandiose” for Carpinteria and would have too great an impact on the environment.

The interchange project had undergone several rounds of scrutiny prior to the June 25 meeting. Caltrans originally prepared 17 alternative plans then narrowed the possibilities down to four before selecting the current plan in 2009.

An Environmental Impact Report for the project has been approved, but the City of Carpinteria will have its voice heard before plans are finalized. Caltrans must receive a Conditional Use Permit and a Coastal Development Permit through the city. Additionally, Carpinteria’s Local Coastal Plan must be amended and approved by the California Coastal Commission before the project can proceed.

A Design Review Team appointed by the City Council is meeting to examine the project and will present its recommendations at an upcoming council meeting. The council’s formal review of the project will then begin.

City settles bag ban lawsuit

By Sara Monge

The City of Carpinteria’s single-use bag ban was re-written to allow plastic bags in restaurants after the City Council voted 4-0 (Councilman Joe Armendariz absent) to settle a lawsuit that had been brought against it by Save the Plastic Bag Coalition, a group sponsored by the plastic bag industry. The lawsuit stemmed from the council’s decision to ban most disposable bags from being distributed at city businesses last March, an ordinance the bag coalition contended overreached the authority of a municipal government since restaurant food containers were already regulated by state Health and Safety Code.

While the city disagreed with the claims of the coalition, city staff stated that settling would avoid a costly court battle. City attorney Peter Brown had tried to have the court dismiss the lawsuit by arguing that retail food code did not regulate take-out bags, but in May Judge Thomas Anderle ruled that the lawsuit merited its day in court. Councilwoman Kathleen Reddington said, “It’s a shame Save the Plastic Bag Coalition has so much clout.”

Carpinteria City Manager Dave Durflinger explained that the city settled by permitting restaurants to use paper or plastic bags, and in return, the Plastic Bag Coalition will drop the suit. Another change to the ordinance is that food counters and delicatessens within large grocery stores will be treated as restaurants and allowed to use whichever type of bag they choose. The settlement also dictated that the city will cover $11,520 in legal expenses for the coalition.

The council also delayed implementation of the bag ban from July 2012 until October 2012 to allow the city to update the informational pamphlets it will send businesses explaining the ordinance. Reddington voiced hope that the ordinance would be implemented more quickly; however, Durflinger worried that the change might confuse vendors and said city staff would need more time for its outreach to allow for a smooth transition. Small businesses of fewer than 3,000 square feet will now have until April 2013 before they must adhere to the ordinance.

Mayor Al Clark asked Deputy City Attorney Beth Collins-Burgard if the city could return to its original ordinance “if the litigation climate were to change.” Collins-Burgard explained that Carpinteria is only one of two cities facing this type of litigation, and that it would take at least a year for the other lawsuit to reach an appeals court—if it even gets that far. She added that the council can always change the ordinance to reflect the original but that the settlement agreement is such that if the city changes the ordinance, the Save the Plastic Bag Coalition will file another suit. The City Council will vote on the final ordinance changes at its July 9 meeting.

In other news, the city will be looking to partner with a local church or other agency in an effort to set up a warming center for Carpinteria’s homeless during times of inclement weather. Maria Long, Coordinator for the Santa Barbara County Warming Centers, explained that the warming centers which currently operate in Santa Barbara, Goleta and Isla Vista are targeted to “help and save lives of the unsheltered homeless.” The non-profit estimates startup costs for a shelter in Carpinteria at around $22,000. Since the city is currently strapped for money itself, the council voted unanimously (Armendariz absent) to allow the mayor to sign letters pursuing a partnership which could lead to the establishment of a warming center at a church.

Long explained that warming centers have a host site, such as a church or community center, which allows their doors to be open from 6pm to 6am for nights with severe rain or when the temperatures dip below 35. A volunteer hospitality group is responsible to set up and clean up the site and groups like Doctors without Walls will often come in to administer check-ups. She explained that the numbers of homeless are growing: 2,858 people were served last year, marking a 65 percent increase over the previous year.

Reddington explained that while the $22,000 was too steep for the city, she hoped something could be done to help people in Carpinteria. While there was some dispute about whether there were 14 or 40 homeless in Carpinteria, Reddington stated, “everyone deserves a safe place to sleep that is warm.” Clark threw in cautious support saying he would like to “investigate further” to see what could be done.

The next regular Carpinteria City Council meeting will be held on Monday, July 9, at 5:30 p.m. in council chambers at 5775 Carpinteria Ave.

Five-car pileup snarls 101 traffic

Traffic on Highway 101 came to a screeching halt on the afternoon of June 15 in response to a five-car pileup that occurred at the Santa Monica Road offramp. Despite the severe damage done to several vehicles—one car ended up underneath two others—only one person involved was seriously injured. A total of four victims were transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. “Miraculously everyone was able to extract themselves from their vehicles before first responders arrived,” stated Carpinteria-Summerland Fire District Chief Mike Mingee. Local tow trucks, California Highway Patrol and Caltrans were on scene for nearly two hours after the collision, which caused traffic to back up into Ventura County and as far north as Goleta.

City officials ask Caltrans to cover foot path costs

By Peter Dugré

At a June 14 joint meeting between the City of Carpinteria Planning Commission and Council, city leaders voted to leverage their permitting authority over the Caltrans freeway-widening project into acquiring funding for pedestrian and bike paths that would connect the city to Santa Claus Lane and Rincon County Park. In a 3-1 vote, councilmember Kathleen Reddington dissenting and Joe Armendariz absent, the council authorized city staff to send a letter to Caltrans asking that the paths be included in the South Coast 101 HOV Lanes project as a way to balance the project’s impacts on the city’s coastal resources with increased coastal access routes.

The approved city letter to Caltrans focuses on the proposed freeway widening project’s impacts on wetlands. As evaluated in the Draft Environmental Impact Report, the project adds a third lane to Highway 101 northbound and southbound to be used as a carpool lane during peak hours over an 11-mile stretch between Carpinteria and Santa Barbara. Widening the freeway from four to six lanes eliminates current shoulder areas that qualify as wetlands. Scott Eades, project manager for Caltrans, commented that the areas considered wetlands are a product of freeway drainage and became wetlands only after stormwater runoff from the freeway pooled there.

In order to attain permitting for the project, the city must modify its Local Coastal Plan, and the California Coastal Commission has purview over the city’s LCP. To that end, city staff recommend that Caltrans compensate for the wetland losses by creating more wetlands than it will pave over. Some wetlands can be created along the freeway corridor, and Carpinteria Development Director Jackie Campbell said there are also opportunities to create wetlands in Carpinteria Salt Marsh Nature Park.

In addition to amendments to the LCP, the city’s letter informs Caltrans that it must acquire a Conditional Use Permit from the city, and in order for the city to issue the permit, Caltrans must satisfy the city’s wish of connecting Santa Claus Lane and Rincon Beach to the city with pedestrian paths. Projects increasing coastal trails have long been on the city’s wish list.

In presentations at the meeting, Eades and Gregg Hart, public information coordinator with Santa Barbara County Association of Governments, briefed city representatives on the proposed project, which in preliminary timelines could break ground in 2016 and be under construction until at least 2027 depending on how much of the estimated $425 million in project costs can be funded.

Hart explained the need for the project as a solution to growing traffic gridlock in the area and said that if nothing is done the 101 will be jammed around the clock by 2040. “It’s kind of a daunting thing looking ahead if we don’t do anything,” Hart said. Freeway widening is one part of the 101 in Motion project undertaken by SBCAG, which also includes exploring commuter rail and alternative transportation options.

Eades presented a slideshow of before and after images of the freeway widening project depicting options of whether to achieve freeway widening through expanding to the outside of the current roadway or into the median. The options of how to widen the freeway vary in median width and how much wetlands will be impacted on the edges of the roadway. The proposed options for adding lanes are either to build strictly in the middle, strictly on the outside or a combination of both depending on the specific stretch of freeway.

Reddington opposed the city’s letter commenting on the Draft EIR because in her opinion it did not place enough emphasis on alternative transportation nor did it ask that agencies be held to a definitive plan for developing a commuter rail between Ventura and Goleta.

In his presentation, Hart commented that implicit in the need for freeway traffic relief is the growing number of employees at Santa Barbara South Coast companies who commute from Ventura to work. SBCAG studies commissioned through 101 in Motion show that commuters from Ventura have grown in number and will continue to grow due to home prices in Ventura County averaging about half of similar homes on the South Coast of Santa Barbara County.

Reddington took issue with this assessment, asking whether money spent on a carpool lane could not be better spent on affordable housing. Reddington could not build support for her perspective among local representatives and was asked by Mayor Al Clark to keep her comments brief and more pertinent to the planning document being addressed. Taking offense to being asked to wrap up her comments, Reddington stated that she was being disrespected. She asked Hart to reiterate portions of his presentation on the potential for a commuter rail system that she missed because she arrived 30 minutes late for the meeting, and Clark told her that everyone else in the room had already heard the presentation.

Carpinteria residents who will be impacted by the installation of sound walls will be asked to vote on whether to allow Caltrans to install walls specific to their areas. Ballots will be mailed to affected residences in the near future.

The DEIR can be viewed at Carpinteria Library or online through the City of Carpinteria website. Comments on the project’s environmental impacts and mitigations will be accepted through July 9 by email at or postal mail at: Matt Fowler/ Environmental Analysis/California Department of Transportation/ 50 Higuera Street/ San Luis Obisp, CA 93401.

City Council race takes shape

By Lea Boyd

Though the ink is hardly dry on the primary election ballots, talk around town has already found its way to the November election and who will make a run for the two Carpinteria City Council seats up for grabs. Incumbent Kathleen Reddington told Coastal View News that she will throw her hat into the race, and two newcomers, Fred Shaw and Tom Perry, have already pulled papers to begin the official candidacy process through city hall.

Councilman Joe Armendariz, whose second term ends this year, declared months ago that he would not seek a third term. Armendariz did not return phone calls to confirm that he will keep his name off the upcoming ballot but has indicated at recent council meetings that the current term would be his last.

Past council hopeful Steve McWhirter remains undecided for this year’s race. McWhirter was edged out by Reddington and Armendariz in 2008 and by Gregg Carty, Al Clark and Brad Stein in 2010.

Reddington, who will seek a second term, declined to comment beyond the statement, “I’m looking forward to representing the community for another four years.”

Hoping to join like-minded councilmen Carty, Clark and Stein on the dais, Shaw pulled papers weeks ago and has already gathered a support team that includes veteran campaigners Harry and Patty Manuras, Jane Benefield and Shaw’s wife, Lisa Guravitz.

Shaw, a local resident of 14 years, has been on steering committees for Sealwatch and the Carpinteria HOST program and serves on the local Rent Control Stabilization Board. He considered running for a council seat in 2010 but felt that several candidates in the race represented a point of view similar to his own. He recently decided that, “Now is the time to step it up. I like where we live and I want to keep it that way.”

Shaw said that if elected he would keep an open mind on all issues before the council, but emphasized that he is committed to a “smart growth” approach that preserves open space and protects existing agricultural land from development.

The second candidate to pull papers, Perry, recently became active in local issues when he was appointed an alternate on the Design Review Team for the Caltrans project to improve traffic flow through Carpinteria. Perry vehemently opposes the current project design and believes that the proposed Casitas Pass bridge is far wider than necessary.

A resident of Carpinteria since 1972, Perry said that he decided to run for a seat on the council in order to start giving back to the community. He owned a local printing business for 14 years and believes that this experience would help him to act quickly and knowledgeably on the council.

The official nomination period for the city council opens on July 16. At that point, council hopefuls can begin collecting the 20 to 30 signatures of support that are required for candidacy. The Aug. 10 deadline to submit signatures will be extended to Aug. 15 if any of the incumbents do not file. Since Armendariz is unlikely to file, the extended deadline should apply.

New group makes suicide prevention its mission

Suicide is a tragic, desperate act, and one that a newly formed group, HopeNet of Carpinteria, is now working to prevent among local residents. Spurred into action by the recent suicide of a mutual friend, members of HopeNet have made it their mission to lessen the number of attempted or completed suicides in the community through information, support and advocacy.

The need for a group like HopeNet seems to be growing. Carpinteria Chief of Police Lt. Kelly Moore has noticed a possible trend in increased suicide attempts over the past few months. “It seems like I’m seeing more of them,” he said, “which is a big concern.”

The Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department does not record suicide attempts specifically; therefore, compiling the precise number of attempts is not possible with the department’s resources, Moore said. However, he noted that in the first week of June two successful suicides had taken place between Montecito and Carpinteria. He added that for every successful suicide there are often many failed attempts.

The Carpinterians behind HopeNet are committed to taking action to prevent suicide statistics from growing. In May, they met with experts in the field to determine how to proceed. With the input from a leading researcher on suicide, a psychologist and representatives from Santa Barbara County Mental Health, the Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, First District Supervisor Salud Carbajal’s office and the City of Carpinteria, the group decided to host an educational forum and have suicide prevention cards printed.

The forum is scheduled for Thursday, June 21 at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at Carpinteria City Hall, 5775 Carpinteria Ave. The event will focus on the warning signs for those at risk, how to help and what resources are available. A question and answer session will follow the presentation.

Suicide warning signs:
• Talking about wanting to die or kill one’s self
• Expressing feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
• Discussing feelings of failure/shame/self-hatred
• Showing irritability/agitation/anxiousness
• Expressing concerns about being a burden to others
• Talking about feeling trapped or being in unbearable pain
• Withdrawing or isolating from friends and family
• Changes in behavior/risky behavior/alcohol and drug abuse/poor school or work performance
• Eating and/or sleeping too little or too much
• Extreme mood swings
• Giving away possessions
• Looking for a way to kill oneself

How to help:
• Listen without judgment or criticism
• Let them know you care
• Let them know that suicidal feelings are temporary
• Take all threats seriously
• Assist them in getting professional help
• Inform family members and friends
• Ask directly about their suicidal thoughts
• Never agree to keep their suicidal thoughts to yourself
• Remove access to means of suicide

Who to call:
• Emergency: 911
• ACCESS/CARES (for adults):
(888) 868-1649
• SAFTY (for youths): (888) 334-2777
• 24/7 National Suicide Hotline:
(800) 273-TALK (8255)

School board creates flexibility in a packed budget

By Erin Lennon

The June 15 deadline for the California State Budget is coming up quickly, but questions still remain as to how decisions in Sacramento will play out in Carpinteria Unified School District. At the June 12 CUSD Board of Education meeting, board members tried to plan for flexibility in school district spending with what limited information they had.

“We might have a (state) budget by the end of the week,” said CUSD Assistant Superintendent Cindy Abbott. “State law requires that our legislators pass a budget by June 15 or they will not be paid … we don’t know quite what’s in (the budget)…”

However, Abbott received an email on June 11 from (SF)2, a coalition of California basic aid school districts—those districts whose local property taxes equal or exceed the district’s revenue limit—that showed what wouldn’t be in the budget. The Budget Assembly Committee’s report on the California State Budget didn’t contain the governor’s proposal for replacing the current funding model with the Weighted Student Funding formula. Schools will continue receiving funding the way they do under current law.

“So, it looks like everybody’s backing off from including (WSF) in the state budget,” reported Abbott. “So, that’s really good news for us.” Incorporating the WSF model at the state level, which would increase funding for disadvantaged and urban schools while decreasing funding to rural and smaller districts, would have cost CUSD $2.6 million in state funding. Though the model is unlikely to appear in the state budget, Abbott is unsure if WSF will be brought up as separate legislation or proposed in the future.

The Carpinteria High School Agricultural Sciences program was not an agenda topic at the June 12 meeting, but members of the public addressed the issue of the second ag department teaching position, a position that was slated to become a victim of budget cuts. June Van Wingerden and Sandy Weil, president of the Carpinteria chapter of California Women for Agriculture, both discussed raising community funds to share the position’s $65,000 price tag with CUSD. The position had been cut on the board’s journey to saving $500,000 for next school year.

“I have $12,000 in (private) pledges already, and I’ve only been at this like a week and a half,” said Van Wingerden. “But we need a commitment from the school board so I’m not just out there on my own,” she continued.

Without the topic on the agenda, no decisions about when funds should be raised and how much the community would need to contribute could be made. The issue will be added to a future meeting agenda.

To promote spending flexibility, the board approved moving three professional development days and one teacher workday from early in the year to June 2013. “The idea was not to spend the money (on these days) at the front of the year but to put it at the end of the year so that if we needed to we could come back to the bargaining table,” said Banks. The shift would give CUSD and the school employees’ union, CAUSE, flexibility in negotiating furlough days to save the district optimal funds.

The board voted to cancel a teacher workday scheduled for Oct. 8 and have the school year end on Friday, June 7. The furlough days would be pushed back to June 10 through 13.

“I just want to make sure it’s clear that these aren’t furlough days that affect students’ school days,” said boardmember Lou Panizzon. “Students are still going to school 180 days.”

“Our budget for next year and the coming years is really not resolved, and we are facing an uphill battle,” said board President Andy Sheaffer. “Next year’s going to be tough … and we’re going to have to make some really tough decisions.”

The next regular school board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, June 26, at 5:30 p.m. at Carpinteria City Council Chambers, 5775 Carpinteria Ave.

City council adopts budget

Bed tax measure headed for ballot
By Peter Dugré

A unanimous Carpinteria City Council voted on June 11 to adopt a budget for 2012-2013 that balances a $12.6 million total operating fund with $278,000 in reserve spending and the elimination of office hours at the Carpinteria station of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department. In other business at the meeting, the council conducted procedural votes in preparation for the November election that will consolidate city matters, including a measure to raise the hotel bed tax from 10 to 12 percent, on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Although the budget received unanimous support, Councilmember Joe Armendariz commented that his support came begrudgingly and was partially attributed to him wanting to join the consensus on his final budget decision before the end of his term. Armendariz said he was reluctant to support the budget due to his concern over the downward trend in law enforcement service levels outlined in the budget.

The sheriff’s contract remains the largest single expenditure in the city’s $7.9 million general fund and is projected to consume 42 percent or $3.3 million of the city’s discretionary spending for next fiscal year. To maintain service levels, the sheriff’s contract was scheduled to increase by nearly $500,000, so the city worked to reduce the increase by $260,000 by shuttering the administrative side of the Carpinteria sheriff’s station. Patrol and public outreach officers will remain staffed at current levels, but no receptionists will be available at the local station to interface with the public starting July 1. Administrative services will continue to be provided through headquarters in Santa Barbara.

Reserve spending written into the budget marks the fourth consecutive year that the city will run in the red. Over that time, $1.2 million in reserves have been spent, leaving the city’s reserve balance at $6.7 million. City Manager Dave Durflinger commented that revenues have not kept up with costs over the years but “eventually, hopefully, we’ll right the ship and have revenues exceeding expenditures.”

Other than at the sheriff’s office, the city made no major cuts in services for next year.

The area that city council members hope to see tax receipts grow is in the Transient Occupancy Tax paid by hotel guests spending fewer than 30 days in Carpinteria. In a 4-1 vote (Armendariz dissenting), the council finalized its previous decision to ask voters to approve a TOT increase from 10 percent to 12 percent. The 2 percent bump could generate $250,000 annually for the general fund if approved by a majority of voters in November.

Armendariz said he would rather support a TOT increase that specified the added revenues be spent on promotion of Carpinteria’s tourism industry. He argued that spending the money on luring more tourists to Carpinteria would improve the local economy and eventually lead to greater tax revenues through more tourist dollars flowing through the city. “If we direct a sizable chunk (of tax dollars) into the dynamic sectors of our economy ... the pie gets bigger, and the revenue goes up,” Armendariz commented.

Since the council voted to place the TOT increase on the ballot as a general tax, only a simple voter majority is needed to pass the measure. If the tax increase question is posed to voters as a way to fund a specific project or program, then a supermajority of over two-thirds would be needed to pass the measure. Armendariz said he preferred earmarking the money and needing the supermajority in the election process.

Mayor Al Clark commented that increasing general fund revenues will help pay for city services that maintain the city, and in turn, make Carpinteria a more attractive place for tourism. Councilmember Gregg Carty said, “The best thing I like about this tax is that it’ll stay local.”

The city council will meet in a joint session with the planning commission on Thursday, June 14, at 4 p.m. in Carpinteria City Council Chambers, 5775 Carpinteria Ave.

School district grapples with more bad news as budget deadline looms

Discussion veers toward ag teacher reinstatement options

By Peter Dugré

A budget study session held on May 30 gathered Carpinteria Unified School District Governing Board members and administrators so the decision makers could continue to remove the budgetary band aid in agonizing fashion. At this budget study session, another installment of several brainstorming meetings that have spanned the springtime in an attempt to find the least painful ways to slim down the school district’s expenditures to meet state funding cuts, board members heard Assistant Superintendent Cindy Abbott explain Governor Jerry Brown’s May Revision, an update of the governor’s budget proposal that adjusted the state’s anticipated deficit up from $9.2 to $15.7 billion for fiscal year 2012-2013.

Although budget news from the state got worse, interested parties are attempting to restore a teaching position in the Carpinteria High School Agricultural Science Department. The CHS Ag Department is slated to lose one of its two teachers next school year, and local farmers, students and teachers have rallied around the program, urging school board members to maintain the two-teacher staff and spare an award-winning department from budget cuts. A proposal to share funding for the $65,000 teaching position between the school and private fundraising was floated at the meeting, but no decision has been made. The teaching position was one of 5.3 full time equivalent positions to be laid off to achieve part of the targeted $500,000 savings for next school year. Funding for athletics and the CHS organic farm is also on the chopping block.

No budget decisions have been rendered final as of yet, but days are dwindling as the June 30 statutory deadline to submit a final budget looms. The school district operates on an estimated $17.5 million annual budget. If tax initiatives in the November General Election are not passed, an additional $968,000 in “trigger cuts” will be eliminated from the district’s budget.

Complicating matters, Governor Brown’s Revision contains a proposal for a new funding model that would completely alter how public schools receive state money known as Weighted Student Funding. According to Abbott, “There are winners and losers” in the WSF model, and Carpinteria could be a loser to the tune of $2.6 million. Urban schools with greater numbers of disadvantaged students would see funding increased if the WSF model is approved by the governor and state legislature as part of the budget, but rural and smaller districts would see a drop in state funding. Massive adjustments would have to be made if CUSD lost that funding, and CUSD board members and administrators suffering from sticker shock have sent letters to local legislators urging them to vote down the governor’s proposed funding model.

Abbott said that it is concerning that the legislature would take up the funding model decision as part of the budget process. Altering the way schools receive funding from the state should receive greater attention than would be afforded to the decision if rolled into the budget process. Impacts to schools, including Carpinteria, could be devastating, Abbott said.

Discussion on the reinstatement of an ag teacher led to consideration of splitting funding for the position. The school district, private fundraising and a union concession could account for the nearly $65,000 in salary and benefits for the teaching position. The union would have to agree to eliminate a contractual teacher work day—a day spent working on lesson plans, preparing classrooms and professional development. Abbott said the concession would save the district approximately $55,000 for one day in payroll costs.

Another area where the school district’s budget will feel a pinch is in rising healthcare premiums. According to Abbott’s report, healthcare premiums are rising by over 10 percent next school year, and the district had planned on an 8 percent rise in healthcare plans. The most popular plan in the district will cost nearly $15,000 per teacher after the increase, which in total is calculated to be nearly $250,000.

The next regular school board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, June 12, at 5:30 p.m. at Carpinteria City Council Chambers, 5775 Carpinteria Ave.

Water rates stay flat for first time in years

By Lea Boyd

The Carpinteria Valley Water District Board of Directors, often criticized for the district’s high water rates, gave preliminary support to a budget without any rate increase for the first time in at least seven years at its May 30 meeting. A complete lack of public fanfare made this meeting no less monumental.

The annual rate and budget hearing typically draws outraged customers who speak out against yet another rise in their water bills. But this year, thanks to some good luck and trimming of district fat, water charges will remain stable. Not one member of the public took the podium to chastise the district for not hearing customer pleas.

“There is no one from the public here. I think the word got out that there were not going to be any rate increases. I think the public’s really happy about that and rightfully so,” said board President June Van Wingerden.

Good luck struck the budget in the form of a billing error on the part of the Department of Water Resources for state water costs. Having been overcharged in the past, the water district will receive a one-time credit of $180,000 for 2012-2013.

The district will also save significant funds thanks to concessions made by employees. Staff members will pay into their pension plans and contribute to health care costs beginning in the next fiscal year. Van Wingerden pointed out that cutting costs was necessary to maintain a flat budget because district expenses, such as health care costs, continue to rise.

The $10.6 million budget includes significant increases to specific district costs, but these have been offset by reductions to other expenditures. Charges for the Cachuma Operations and Maintenance Board will increase by $59,300. The cost of district utilities is expected to rise by $62,900 due to increased power costs for groundwater pumping; however, more groundwater production should lead to an overall reduction in expenditures. Anticipated savings include $68,650 for water purchases and $50,009 for water treatment.

Water district customers received a notice in April indicating that rates could climb in 2012-2013 by as much as 1.8 percent. Even this worst-case scenario increase drew only seven written protests. Per Prop 218, if the district had received protests from more than half its customers, which amounts to 2,647, any proposed increase would have been halted. In years past, the district’s rate increases have drawn hundreds of protests.

In her presentation on the budget, district Assistant General Manager Norma Rosales compared local water rates to those of nearby agencies. CVWD residents in the lowest tier of water use pay $3 per unit of water, while those in Montecito pay $3.90 and those in Goleta pay $4.30. The local rate for irrigation is $1.70 per unit, while Montecito customers pay $1.76 and Goletans pay $1.16.

Board Member Matt Roberts suggested the board consider doing away with or increasing the threshold for the highest tier of water users. As a tool to encourage water conservation, customers who qualify for the highest tier by using excessive water pay the highest rate per unit. Roberts argued that the expensive rate may be discouraging customers from using water to the detriment of the district. Water sales have been low in the past few years, and the district has regularly enjoyed surplus water. By removing the high-priced tier or increasing the amount of water use that triggers top tier status, Roberts suggested that the district may benefit financially.

Final approval of the 2012-2013 budget will take place on Wednesday, June 13, at 5:30 p.m. at Carpinteria City Hall, 5775 Carpinteria Ave.

Council action keeps city ticking

By Erin Lennon

Carpinteria City Council members were in sync at their May 29 meeting as the four-person council (Vice Mayor Brad Stein absent) unanimously passed six resolutions, accepted the city’s 2011 Annual Report, authorized Mayor Al Clark to sign agreements with three engineering firms for four public projects and provided final acceptance of grading and drainage improvements at the Mission Terrace Development.

The council, with Councilwoman Kathleen Reddington absent for public hearings, passed, 3-0, four resolutions ensuring Carpinteria’s property owners and businesses see familiar street light maintenance, right-of-way improvements, the city beach berm and parking and business district enhancements extend into fiscal year 2012-2013. Assessments—charges levied for local public improvements or services—will also stay stable.

With the council’s support, most Carpinteria homeowners can expect their annual assessment for lighting, landscaping and right-of-way improvements to stay between $34 and $50. Businesses will see a $2 inflation-driven increase in their Parking and Business Improvement Area assessment, a fee that funds promotions, maintenance and revitalization efforts.

The board also extended the charge that funds the city-constructed winter sand berm meant to provide a “measure of protection to the housing front on Carpinteria City Beach,” as stated in the resolution. Councilman Gregg Carty interrupted the meeting’s quick flow with an inquiry concerning city liability for damage caused despite the berm. “Storms are storms,” responded City Manager David Durflinger. “This provides a measure of protection, but it’s not a guarantee of protection.”

City Council procedures will see change as the board unanimously voted to adopt Rosenberg’s Rules of Order, which are more informal than the currently used Robert’s Rules of Order. “For efficiency, accessibility and understandability, most cities follow an informal procedure,” said Durflinger.

An even more visible change was born as the council unanimously approved, 4-0, a resolution allowing Caltrans to proceed with its purchase of local property necessary for the Linden Avenue and Casitas Pass Road Interchange Project. This is one of four phases in improvements to the U.S. 101 corridor on the south Santa Barbara coast, according to Public Works Director Charles Ebeling. Caltrans, Carpinteria and the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments will partner to extend and connect the freeway frontage road, Via Real, to Casitas Pass Road and Linden Avenue, replacing aged bridges, improving freeway circulation by removing local trips as well as improving local bicycle and pedestrian safety.

“How can they buy property for a project that hasn’t been approved yet?” asked Mayor Al Clark. All property, a total of 28 parcels, must be purchased before the project can continue, according Ebeling.

Carpinteria’s 2011 Annual Report was also accepted at the May 29 meeting, allowing Community Development Director Jackie Campbell to submit the report to the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, which oversees implementation of the city’s General Plan and timely completion of city improvements. The document highlights the city’s progress and implementation of the general plan’s goals, policies and objectives. The 2011 report highlights the city’s construction projects, use of energy efficient lighting, environmental conservation efforts, funding and programming of affordable housing, various nature paths, freeway work with Caltrans and the single-use bag ordinance among others.

Mayor Clark was unanimously given the authority to sign agreements with professional engineering services regarding the Carpinteria Avenue/Santa Ynez Avenue Intersection Improvement Project, the Calle Ocho/ Concha Loma Drive Intersection Improvements Project, the 9th Street Pedestrian Bridge Rehabilitation Project and the Bicycle Master Plan.

An email received “at the 11th hour,” according to Clark, raised concern about the 9th Street pedestrian bridge. A resident requested that the council not replace the 9th Street bridge because of various safety concerns and possible property value loss and privacy infringement, as paraphrased by Clark. However, the bridge is being rehabilitated, not rebuilt. “We have received a $150,000 grant for this project through the Measure A program … because it was seen as an important neighborhood connector,” said Ebeling.

The next regular city council meeting will be held on Monday, June 11, at 5:30 p.m. in the council chambers, 5775 Carpinteria Ave.

Carpinteria water officials discuss potential for using reclaimed wastewater

By Erin Lennon

Following a subpar rainy season, the Santa Barbara South Coast Regional Reuse Study, which is looking at the feasibility of developing recycled water between Goleta and Carpinteria, is all the more current.

On May 24 the Carpinteria Sanitary District building was buzzing with possible reclaimed water reuse projects in Goleta, Santa Barbara, Montecito, Summerland and Carpinteria when members of the study’s planning workgroup converged to discuss the possibility of someday irrigating crops and watering fields with recycled water from the sanitary system.

The product of a $100,000 Proposition 84 planning grant from the California Department of Water Resources, the study works in conjunction with the larger Santa Barbara County Integrated Regional Water Management Program. This program mimics the state’s IRWM program by focusing on integrating water management as a collaborative effort to conserve water resources. The current study illustrates the potential for supplying recycled water to customers of southern Santa Barbara County water districts. The Carpinteria Valley Water District and Sanitary District aren’t planning any recycled water use in the near future but want to ensure the option is investigated.

“What we’ve seen in the past, economically, it’s not feasible,” said Bob McDonald, Carpinteria Valley Water District engineer. Sanitary District Manager Craig Murray later echoed that perspective. “We’re using the study to essentially wrap our arms around the potential for using recycled water in Carpineria,” said Murray.

RMC Water and Environment, a California-based environmental engineering company, which is consulting with participating cities, used land use and water use data to present recycled water reuse opportunities at the meeting, letting participating agencies decide on the feasibility of expanding or implementing the use of recycled water.

Participants agree that reclaimed water is a reliable and drought-proof supply for the Santa Barbara County South Coast, but cost, infrastructure and public perception present formidable barriers to expansion and implementation.

“You obviously can’t allocate more recycled water than you have on an average daily basis,” said RMC’s Scott Lynch. The Carpinteria Waste Water Treatment Plant sends on average 1.4 million gallons per day through secondary treatment. RMC mapped out a plan in which the Carpinteria wastewater plant could “easily max out its supplies,” according to Lynch, once a tertiary system is built. The projection pinpointed larger demands that were closer to the treatment plant, evading the many agricultural sites in west Carpinteria bordered by the foothills and the freeway.

Without tertiary treatment, Carpinteria and Montecito cannot use their treated waste water for any Title 22 authorized uses, making irrigation of crops, parks, playgrounds, school yards, varied landscaping, orchards, vineyards and many other sites beyond capability. To go forward, tertiary treatment would need to be implemented, costing between $5 and $10 million, according to Murray. Distribution piping would be another substantial cost.

Some attendees voiced concern over the short term-focus of the study and water quality, including contaminants of emerging concern such as antibiotic resistant bacteria. The proposed uses of recycled water are indirect irrigation rather than consumption. CECs do not need monitoring under this use, according to RMC. The amount of recycled water and, thus possible contaminates, getting into the basin would be negligible, according to Lynch.

As a heavily agricultural community, Carpinteria growers, with their varied crops, need varied levels of water quality. “If agencies feel they need a higher level of standard than the state (requires) we’ll (add that to the report),” said Lynch.

With Carpinteria’s mix of private well use, public service and steady water supply, the argument for recycled water gets weaker than in other areas. Carpinteria water representatives, as well as Lynch, agreed there would have to be some drastic drivers to push recycled water use beyond study.

“A farmer can produce an acre foot of water for about $80,” said McDonald. “We can’t possibly treat, build the infrastructure and deliver water at that cost.”

The workgroup will meet again on Thursday, June 21, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at a site yet to be determined. Participants will discuss project opportunities and assess conveyance and treatment needs for identified opportunities while refining costs, needs and alternatives.

CHS softball wins in quarterfinals

Advancing further into playoffs than any Carpinteria High School
softball team before it, Warrior softball won 7-3 in the CIF Division
6 quarterfinals over Yucca Valley at CHS on May 24. The Warriors fell behind twice early in the contest by scores of 1-0 and 2-1 but came back for good in the third inning after a two-run home run by Catalina Maldonado gave the Warriors a 3-2 advantage. Maldonado also pitched the complete game against a potent Yucca Valley lineup that was limited by a solid Warrior defensive effort. Tatiana Verdugo recorded three hits for the Warriors, who opened up a four-run lead in a three-run sixth inning to forge ahead 7-3. The Warriors will play in the semifinals on the road on Tuesday. Visit for a game location and time.

Sheriff’s department announces Carpinteria DUI checkpoint

As part of its “Memorial Day Weekend Holiday DUI Crackdown” the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department has announced that it will hold a DUI/drivers license checkpoint in Carpinteria on Friday, May 25, from 7 p.m. until 3 a.m. at an undisclosed location. In past years, DUI checkpoints in Carpinteria have been staged near Carpinteria Middle School on Carpinteria Avenue. “The summer months traditionally see a rise in DUI deaths and injuries,” stated Chris Murphy, Director of the California Office of Traffic Safety in a press release. The sheriff’s department is one of 12 law enforcement agencies in the county that will be on high alert over the weekend and throughout the summer as part of the federally and state funded Avoid the 12 Campaign. Drivers are urged to call 9-1-1 to report suspected drunk drivers, and anyone who consumes alcohol is encouraged to designate a sober driver.

Water district says it’s “very likely” rates will stay put

By Peter Dugré

At a May 16 board of directors meeting, Carpinteria Valley Water District Assistant General Manager Norma Rosales ventured to say that rates will “likely” remain the same next year. The announcement followed initial reports indicating that budget constraints could necessitate an up to 2 percent rate increase for some water customers, and Rosales attributed the downward adjustment for projected rates in the 2012-2013 budget to a clearer determination of next year’s costs as new information becomes available. Statutory deadlines for announcing rate increases force budget projections to be created using “worst-case scenarios,” according to Rosales, and although she stopped short of guaranteeing rates will stay the same, she said “it’s very likely” but “not definitely” that a new rate presentation at the May 30 meeting will show a balanced budget without a rate hike.

“Since the last presentation, staff has worked very diligently to propose a budget that requires no rate increases,” Rosales said. A final budget will not be adopted until June 13.

In a separate development, revenue could be generated by the sale of excess Lake Cachuma water to neighboring water districts that also use supplies from Cachuma. Santa Barbara, Goleta and Montecito are all considering purchasing portions of the 1,200 acre-feet of excess Carpinteria water for $150 per acre-foot. The excess water is available because Carpinteria has groundwater supplies and an improved infrastructure to access its groundwater, thus reducing the need for Cachuma water, commented CVWD staff. The sale price of $150 is a $50 profit over the $100 that CVWD paid for the water, and according to General Manager Charles Hamilton, the selling of the available water is all but done, pending CVWD approval.

In other news, CVWD agreed to a new contract with the workers union representing its employees and was able to achieve concessions that will save money for the district. Starting next year, employees will pay 1 percent toward their pensions and the contribution will increase by 2 percent per year until employees pay the full contribution of 7 percent in 2015, the final year of the contract. Employee contribution to health care will also increase.

Of the collective bargaining agreement, CVWD Board President June Van Wingerden said, “I want to congratulate them and us. This went very smoothly this year. It was one of the easiest negotiations we’ve had.” The contract announcement was made after a mid-meeting closed session, and no information was given about overall savings that might be generated over time as a result of the new contract.

Additionally, the board voted to issue reimbursements to 48 customers who were overcharged due to a glitch that stemmed from CVWD changing its billing software in 2008. Some customers will be reimbursed as much as $685, and a total of about $16,000 will be given to the 48 customers who have been identified as having been over billed. When software was changed, the overcharged customers’ rates were increased by default to higher tier rates that improperly reflected actual water usage.

The next CVWD Board of Directors meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, May 30, at 5:30 p.m. in Carpinteria City Council Chambers, 5775 Carpinteria Ave.

Gatorade names Cate’s Boateng the best prep soccer player in the U.S.

Gatorade names Cate’s Boateng the best prep soccer player in the U.S.
Cate School’s Ema Boateng learned on May 17 that he is the Gatorade National Boys Soccer Player of the Year, a national award he shares with former high school athletes like Kobe Bryant and Peyton Manning.

May 17, 2012, Carpinteria

By Peter Dugré

The most agile and explosive player on every high school soccer field he set foot on over the last three years, Cate School’s Ema Boateng, learned that people in pretty high places have noticed him. At a ceremony attended by former U.S. national soccer player Alexi Lalas, Boateng’s soccer skills, classroom skills and upright character were celebrated in the Cate School auditorium on May 17, where Boateng was named Gatorade National Soccer Player of the Year.

On stage with Lalas and representatives from Gatorade and ESPN, Boateng accepted his latest and greatest boys soccer prize. This time the scene was set with the trappings of a national press conference, and large images of athletes like Peyton Manning and Dwight Howard, who also have won Gatorade POY in their sports, joined Boateng on stage. According to Nancy LaRoche, the head of the selection committee for Gatorade, the award means that Boateng is better than the other 400,000 boys soccer players in the country.

Boateng was unaware that he’d been singled out before the day of the ceremony, and he found out in surprising fashion. It was class as usual on Thursday morning until a tall, athletic red-headed man, Lalas, walked in. Lalas interrupted the learning to introduce himself and let Boateng in on the news that his name was about to be on a list of athletes that includes Kobe Bryant and Derek Jeter. At the awards ceremony, Lalas commented that he had earned Gatorade State Player of the Year honors in Michigan, but the national award eluded him.

Boateng commented that he was awestruck when Lalas entered his classroom, and it was a total surprise since he was unaware he was in the running for the national award. Boateng is originally from Ghana, Africa, where he started on the long road to earning admission to a Division 1 NCAA soccer program at the Right to Dream Academy, a school that takes in Ghanaian students and trains them in academics and soccer with hopes of landing them in western schools to improve their lives.

In an emotional speech, Cate boys soccer coach Dave Mochel commented that everyone who has come to know Ema during his three years at Cate “is better off for having him in (their) lives.” On the soccer pitch, Boateng led Cate to two CIF SS Division 7 championships (2011 and 2012), and over those two seasons he also garnered Player of the Year in the division and All-State First Team honors. Over the 2011-2012 season, Boateng scored 32 goals and 19 assists. Over three seasons, Boateng had 79 goals and 49 assists. Additionally, in the classroom Boateng has a 3.75 GPA and has committed to play soccer at the University of California Santa Barbara next season.

In his address to Cate students, faculty and friends of Boateng, Lalas said that the off-the-field attributes that earned Boateng the award are as important as the soccer skills. “You’re only on the field for 90 minutes,” Lalas said. “And that 90 minutes on the field can mean everything to you, but the 90 minutes stop...ultimately the tools you get from a place like (Cate)... sustain you.”

In July, Boateng will attend another awards ceremony in Hollywood, where he’ll be in contention for the Gatorade National Athlete of the Year, from among POY winners in 12 boys sports. He’ll also attend ESPN’s ESPY awards, which is also attended by superstar athletes and entertainers.

Gearing up for a safe ride

By Erin Lennon

In middle school, freedom comes on a bike seat, and Pedal Power, a cycling education course, will graduate its first Carpinteria class on Friday, May 25 at Carpinteria Middle School with the know-how and skills to taste that freedom safely.

Pedal Power is a driver’s education-type course for bicycling, and is offered quarterly through the do-it-yourself bicycle repair shop and education center, BiCi Centro—a project of the countywide advocacy and resource organization Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition. This first Carpinteria cycling class for youth 10-years and older began on April 18 at the middle school, but Pedal Power has been teaching youth the ins and outs of bike maintenance, road rules and cycling safety in Santa Barbara and Goleta for three years, according to Pedal Power instructor Diana Blanchard.

Upon completion of the 12, 90-minute sessions, those participants without their own bikes can keep the cycles they were borrowing as well as their helmets, lock and lights. In the case of the Carpinteria class, all six participants will ride away on their refurbished BiCi Centro-donated rides.

The class’s arrival in Carpinteria is indicative of how “(Carpinteria is) becoming a more bicycle-friendly town,” Blanchard said.

Teaching kids the rules of the road and how to stay safe becomes ever more important as cycling becomes their major mode of travel. “They all know how to ride unsafely,” said fellow Carpinteria Pedal Power instructor Chris Sobell. “They’ve gotten much better.”

Each session starts with the ABCs, and Blanchard and Sobell help their students check the air in their tires, the efficacy of their brakes as well as the condition of their cranks and chains to ensure each bike is street safe. A new lesson on road signage, climbing a hill in a controlled fashion, hand signals or other tips is added to each session and then put into practice on a group ride.

The emphasis on safe, knowledgeable riding is not lost on the students, despite their eagerness to coast off of CMS grounds. When asked about his favorite part of the program, each student acknowledged increased understanding. Luis Mosqueda answered that he enjoyed “riding bikes and learning about parts of the bike,” while Neery Hernandez echoed that “learning all of the procedures for the rules of the road” was most helpful to him.

Pedal Power groups are kept to 12 students, and no experience is necessary. The $20 course is valued at $250 and is offered at Carpinteria Middle School, Goleta Valley Junior High, Fesler Junior High in Santa Maria and Santa Barbara Junior High. For more information visit or call 699-6301.

Friends of the Carpinteria Library turns 45-years young

A friendship that has a foundation that goes as far back into history as The Summer of Love will be celebrated for its milestone 45th anniversary soon. Friends of the Carpinteria Library, an organization that exists solely to support the Carpinteria Branch Library, was founded in 1967, and at an anniversary open house and celebration on Wednesday, May 23, the group will celebrate its four-and-a-half decades of ensuring that literary resources are free for public perusal. The 45th anniversary event is scheduled from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., with an open house at the FOL Used Bookstore, 5103 Carpinteria Ave., and a celebration from 4 to 5:30 p.m.

FOL began on May 23, 1967, when the first executive board met. Original board members President J.B. Popnoe, Vice President Betty Benson, Secretary Dorothy Menagon, Treasurer Karen Risdon and ex-officio member and librarian Lillie Risdon lit the FOL torch that still burns today. Assistant librarian at the time Grace Moyer is still an active member. Annual membership dues were $1 per member.

In its early days, FOL projects included hosting panels of local authors, including Ken Millar, Robert Easton, Dick Smith, Walter Tompkins and Robert Hyde. Annual Sales of donated books helped fund FOL, and in turn, the Carpinteria Branch Library.

The original bylaws state: “The purpose of this organization shall be to establish closer relations between the library and the public, and to promote knowledge of and enlarge its services and resources.”

Anyone who is interested in carrying the torch that burns to continue to shed literary light onto Carpinteria can attend the May 23 celebration.

City council to ask voters for bed tax hike

By Sara Monge

Carpinterians will decide whether or not to raise the Transient Occupancy Tax to 12 percent on the November ballot after the Carpinteria City Council voted 4-1 (Councilman Joe Armendariz dissenting) on May 14 to move forward with a ballot measure in the general election. Along with the council’s decision to seek ways to raise tax revenues, it decided to generate savings by reducing the amount to be spent next year on the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department law enforcement contract with the city. The sheriff’s contract reduction would maintain the number of patrol officers while completely eliminating administrative services, which are to be shifted to the main station in Santa Barbara.

Results from the city’s recently commissioned public opinion survey showed that the public is in favor of raising the TOT, or bed tax, by two percent to raise revenues. The survey included 300 registered voters and predicts that a ballot measure would pass with 62 percent of the vote. However, area hoteliers said they believe that tourists already pay enough for using the city’s amenities and raising the TOT will hurt the industry.

City Manager Dave Durflinger explained the need for more revenue saying that while “the city’s good (fiscal) practices have kept it afloat during the worst recession since the Great Depression,” its current situation is that of a “dripping bucket.” Raising he TOT will generate an estimated $250,000 annually.

Providing an overview of underlying budget problems, Durflinger presented council members with grim news about the city’s stagnating resources. He explained that many city fees are flat and do not keep up with inflation, and this structural deficit is the source of chronic budget issues. Other financial problems arise from the state’s habit of siphoning off city tax monies—over $4 million in the past 20 years. He said that while the city has reduced spending by almost half a million dollars through making budget changes—mainly through pay cuts, service cuts and cuts to law enforcement—these alterations are not enough to balance the budget.

Pat Kistler of the Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce urged that if the tax does go through, the city should designate some, if not all of the revenue, to promoting more tourism, which in turn would help businesses and the city. Armendariz said he would only vote to put the measure on the ballot if the whole of the money could be earmarked for the promotion of tourism.

Mayor Al Clark, who attended the meeting via teleconference, said that he believed having a beautiful, clean and safe city is what truly promotes tourism. He reasoned that since tourists use the streets, parks and public bathrooms, they should also help pay for them. Vice Mayor Brad Stein also clarified that if the city were to earmark the funds, a two-thirds majority would be needed to pass the measure. The council will cast a final vote once it sees the official ballot preparations at its June 11 meeting.

The survey also showed that the voting public was very positive toward the city’s leadership—including law enforcement—was very happy to be living in the city, and 88 percent reported getting their news about city issues from reading Coastal View News. Surveyors noted that all of these numbers were “unusually high.”

The backdrop of Durflinger’s report on the city, which is bleeding red, framed the council’s 4-1 decision (Armendariz dissenting) to eliminate the entire administrative side of law enforcement services provided in Carpinteria. Defunding three office positions at the local sheriff’s department substation will save around $260,000 but will eliminate the public interface with law enforcement as it currently stands.

Urging the city to not make the cuts, local Bob Franco said, “It’s an invaluable service to be able to talk to someone face-to-face.” Residents will now have to go to Santa Barbara for that service. Armendariz did not support the cuts and said he hoped the council would “revisit the $100K we’re going to spend on litigation with the plastic bag ban.”

The council also formed an Ad Hoc committee, with councilwoman Kathleen Reddington and Councilman Gregg Carty at the helm, to advise the council on the sheriff’s contract in the future.

The next regular Carpinteria City Council meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 29, 2012 at 5:30 p.m. in the council chambers at 5775 Carpinteria Ave.

Valle set for rape trial

Carpinterian Manuel Valle will face trial on three rape charges in Santa Barbara Superior Court on Thursday, May 17 in Department 11 before Judge Jean Dandona. Valle, 68, has been accused of forcible rape, forcible sexual penetration by foreign objects, felony false imprisonment by violence or force and sexual battery.

According to Deputy District Attorney Mary Barron, who is prosecuting the case, two victims have accused Valle of the four felonies, one victim of sexual battery and one of the other three offenses. Valle was originally arrested in October 2010, and his case has been routinely delayed while making its way through court proceedings. In an unrelated case, he had previously been convicted of sexually disturbing the peace in 2006 and sentenced to community service and three years of probation. He was later convicted of violating his probation when he contacted a 16-year-old girl on two occasions.

Since Valle’s 2010 arrest, his ex-wife Karen Valle involved herself in the case and was arrested, prosecuted and convicted for two felony counts of attempting to dissuade witnesses. In April, she was sentenced to 180 days in jail and three years of probation.

Shark attack on seal prompts warnings

A seal that died from an apparent shark attack was discovered on the beach about 500 feet east of Casitas Pier on April 23 and led to “Swim at your own risk” warning signs being posted at area beaches. A citizen reported the dead seal sighting to the City of Carpinteria on April 25, and according to City of Carpinteria Parks and Recreation Department Director Matt Roberts, the citizen reported that the seal carcass was “fairly fresh” and was not emitting an odor, which led officials to believe the shark attack was recent and warranted warnings.

“Unwritten protocol is if we think it’s something very recent and very local, we will post a couple of notifications at the nearest beach entries,” commented Roberts. Signs were posted at Tar Pits Beach and backside Rincon. Other reports of pinnipeds—seals and sea lions—washing up with shark attack wounds have been reported in the news along the Santa Barbara and Ventura coastlines over the past few weeks. Roberts said the city errs on the side of caution in situations with shark sightings or other evidence of their presence, and also commented that sharks likely feed on pinnipeds regularly; the prey don’t always wash up on shore.

Arbitration decision says teacher evaluations largely at discretion of administration

By Peter Dugré

Two interpretations of the Carpinteria Unified School District contract with its teachers were argued in front of an arbitrator late last year, and a ruling issued in March largely favored CUSD’s contention that administrators can evaluate teachers for numerous reasons at any time. Members of CAUSE (Carpinteria Association of Unified School Employees) had disputed this claim, saying that their employment contract limited formal teacher evaluations to every other year for permanent teachers and every five years for permanent teachers who have worked in the district for over 10 years. However, after reviewing California Education Code and the contract, the arbitrator, Walter F. Daugherty, ruled that as long as an administrator can identify a legitimate reason for formal evaluation, the evaluation process can commence.

The teachers union first filed a grievance with the school district in the fall of 2010 when made aware that five teachers who are considered permanent were being re-evaluated, ahead of the schedule recommended by the contract and education code for those teachers. (In the arbitration decision given to Coastal View News, teachers’ names and specifics of cases were redacted by CUSD to protect employee identities).

According to the arbitrator, the key words “at least” used in the article of the contract laying out evaluation cycles dictates a maximum amount of years between evaluations. Teachers shall be evaluated “at least” every two or five years, according to the contract.

CUSD Superintendent Paul Cordeiro considers frequent evaluations an issue of accountability. The opinion rendered by the arbitrator states that prior to Cordeiro’s hiring in 2005, teachers had expected the school district to adhere to evaluation cycles. In a recent interview with Coastal View News, Cordeiro said that before his arrival the teachers had been evaluated according to these cycles or even less frequently, and he decided to increase the frequency.

“When I got to the district in 2005, it was more than evident that we weren’t up to speed doing evaluations the way we needed to do them,” Cordeiro said. On limiting evaluations to a five-year cycle, he added, “There’s no high accountability when (teachers) are evaluated once a decade.”

While Cordeiro reads the decision as affirmation of the district’s interpretation of the contract, the teachers union and its president, Jay Hotchner, point out that part of its grievance was affirmed. The arbitrator conceded that the district needs a clear reason to conduct consecutive year evaluations of permanent employees that have surpassed two years of probationary employment. Now, two of five teachers listed in the grievance have been awarded the option to remove “off-cycle” evaluation comments from their employment histories.

Furthermore, the contract provides that the administration has the authority to act unilaterally in deciding to increase evaluation frequency. The contract item vaguely outlining an evaluation cycle stated that administrators and teachers may agree to a five-year cycle, but either side can remove consent without notifying the other side, which according to the decision, is essentially what happened when Cordeiro instructed school principals to abandon the five-year cycle.

Language in the contract protects teachers from being targeted for evaluation for “arbitrary, capricious, discriminatory” reasons or “in bad faith.” In its grievance, the teachers union contended that administrators are using the threat of frequent evaluations as a disciplinary tool rather than in the interest of improving classroom instruction. The ruling affirmed that the administration needs clear reasoning to conduct evaluations, particularly in cases where previous evaluations were satisfactory and provide a paper trail indicating prior positive performance.

The arbitrator’s ruling also stated that prior evaluation results are not the only permissible criteria when the administration decides whether to re-evaluate. Teachers can be evaluated if administrators identify and document a classroom issue that arises in the period between evaluations. Dips in state test scores are also reason enough to evaluate teaching methods.

What the contract does expressly prescribe is the evaluation process and protections for teachers along the way. Areas of evaluation are the same for every teacher to ensure consistent measures, and teachers can view and contest an evaluator’s remarks before the document enters their employment record.

“CAUSE believes a clear formal process that includes guideposts and objectives is the pathway to success,” reads a memorandum issued by teachers union attorney Jeffrey Boxer, which analyzes the arbitrator’s ruling. In the memo, which was addressed to union President Jay Hotchner, Boxer writes that the arbitrator got the decision wrong and that Cordeiro has consistently been overbearing as an administrator. “(Cordeiro) has always held that he does not respect any limitations on his ability to do what he wants, and when he wants to, when it comes to evaluation. Although this decision provides him slightly more discretion than CAUSE’s initial understanding of the contract language when it was bargained, it stops him from going that far. When essential fairness and contractual legality is implicated, CAUSE did and will continue to successfully pursue these matters.”

Both sides contend that their interests are not separate from the mission of delivering quality classroom instruction to CUSD students. Cordeiro said he wishes to achieve this by holding teachers accountable through evaluation. The teachers union wants to ensure a fair work environment for the professionals inside the classroom.

Water district admits to erroneous Lemere appointment

By Peter Dugré
With reporting by Lea Boyd

After having stuck to its guns in the aftermath of reappointing Director Fred Lemere, the Carpinteria Valley Water District admits to an error in procedure in Lemere’s March appointment. Citizen watchdogs had criticized the water board for re-seating Lemere with a 2-1 vote (Director Alonzo Orozco dissenting, Matt Roberts absent) after Lemere lost in the previous election, but the district had maintained that it was a legitimate majority vote, conducted with a seated quorum of three directors. Following weeks of public prodding, the district has now determined that a three-vote majority is legally necessary in any of its decisions, a revelation that renders Lemere’s re-instatement to the board and many votes since then illegitimate.

The group of citizens responsible for the revelation, which identifies itself as the Water Warriors, had argued that the 2-1 appointment was at least ill-advised and a slap in the face to the electorate. The Water Warriors orchestrated a campaign to unseat Lemere and other incumbents in the 2010 election and were successful in taking 2-of-3 seats. After two resignations vacated the seat he had lost at the ballot box, Lemere was reinstated by the board, and even though several members of the public found the reinstatement offensive, the water board and its attorney Roger Myers maintained that a majority of the quorum had the authority to make the appointment.

During public comment at the April 25 board meeting, however, Water Warrior Ann Bardach Lesser and former attorney Geoffrey Stearns disputed Lemere’s appointment on legal grounds. They argued that since CVWD is designated as a county district—not a city district—a three-person majority is required to pass any motion. The assertion was not addressed publicly on April 25, but CVWD has since conceded that Bardach and Stearns were accurate and the issue of Lemere’s illegitimate reinstatement will have to be sorted out at the May 2 meeting (after press time).

According to CVWD General Manager Charles Hamilton, firstly, the board will have to vote against ratifying Lemere’s appointment. Votes for which Lemere motioned or seconded a motion since his reinstatement on March 28 will likely be revisited at the board’s May 16 meeting. According to Hamilton, there were no split votes during Lemere’s three meetings that must be overturned due to having the support of fewer than three legitimate directors.

The legal window for filling the fifth seat on the water board has effectively closed. A 60-day period is outlined in the appointment process for a board to appoint its own member, and that period expired on April 9. The other option would have been for the SB County Board of Supervisors to fill the seat within 90 days of it being vacated, but that period expires on May 9, and Hamilton has indicated that it would be procedurally impossible for an appointment to be made by the board of supervisors with just over one week’s notice.

The likely result will be a four-person water board until results from the November election are certified near the end of the year.

Carpinteria Valley Water District Board of Directors met after Coastal View News went to press on Wednesday, May 2.

Bullying, drug use report presented to school board

By Peter Dugré

At its April 24 meeting, Carpinteria Unified School District Governing Board voted to reduce the number of pink slips issued from 13.6 to 5.3 equivalent teaching positions, a move that preserves music at the elementary and middle school levels but affirms staffing reductions in other areas like Carpinteria High School agriculture classes and elementary school teachers.

“Those teachers are obviously, hopefully, happy and will continue to be employed in this district,” commented Board Member Lou Panizzon. On the efforts put into finding ways to save positions, he added, “I think we’ve done a pretty good job. I wish we could have done better.” Although the longstanding goal of the school district has been to maintain 20-to-1 student-to-teacher ratios in kindergarten through third grade, staffing levels project a 24-to-1 ratio for the 2012-2013 school year.

In hearing results from the latest Safe Schools/Healthy Students Survey, the school board learned that students in 11th grade at Carpinteria High School are twice as likely to have smoked marijuana as they were to have smoked a cigarette in the 30-day period before answering the survey last fall. In addition to gauging marijuana, alcohol and tobacco use, the survey is used to monitor students’ vulnerability to bullying in local schools and their engagement at school. Results from the federal survey generally show that schools with more involved, connected students have fewer problems with bullying and better learning environments.

CUSD SS/HS Director Sharon Velarde and evaluator Mike Furlong from UCSB presented portions of the data from this year’s survey and reported no alarming changes from previous years.

Most notably, the substance use portion of the survey showed that incidences of seventh graders at Carpinteria Middle School using marijuana, alcohol and cigarettes have increased over prior years. Seventh-grade students responding in the survey indicated that 10 percent had smoked cigarettes, 15 percent smoked marijuana and 18 percent drank alcohol in the 30 days prior to taking the survey.

Furlong singled out the seventh graders’ across-the-board increases as worrisome. “Seventh graders, now there’s a cohort you’ll probably want to stay in touch with, otherwise there hasn’t been an increase,” Furlong said.

Survey results show that 23 percent of 11th graders report having smoked marijuana within 30 days of their responses, compared to just 9 percent smoking cigarettes. Furlong commented that the 23 percent is not abnormal among students statewide, and that California is the only state where more students report using marijuana than cigarettes. “We’re not any different than any other schools for marijuana use,” he commented.

Administrators and board members pondered the relevancy of medical marijuana dispensaries to the heightened marijuana-use statistic in California but stopped short of directly linking dispensaries with perceivably high marijuana smoking rates among high school students.

The survey also deals with bullying. While most students—61 percent—said they feel safe in Carpinteria schools, between 38 and 40 individuals answered that they’d been physically bullied at each of Canalino, Aliso and Carpinteria Middle schools. Of those, 20 percent said it happened every week.

In the portion of the survey that deals with “resilience and well-being” at school, which measures how connected students are to schools, students in fifth, seventh, ninth and 11th grades generally indicated that they feel teachers care for them and that their education likely matters to faculty. Over 56 percent of students at surveyed grade levels said that “teachers hold them to high expectations at school,” and over 51 percent indicated “a high level of school connectedness.”

On the school connectedness question, around 60 percent of ninth and 11th graders said they were strongly connected. The fifth grade students indicated a tighter bond with their schooling in all categories. The one question that came in low—at around 20 percent for all surveyed students—was whether students felt they have “meaningful participation at school.” Survey administrators wonder whether the question is too subjective.

The next Carpinteria Unified School District Governing Board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 8, at 5:30 p.m. at Carpinteria City Council Chambers, 5775 Carpinteria Ave.

State of Community event offers glimpse into Carpinteria’s future

By Peter Dugré

Community leaders said signs of the Great Recession linger but the worst is likely over, at the Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce 2012 State of the Community Breakfast. The annual event, held at Rincon Beach Club and Catering on April 24, gathered the Carpinteria business community and CVCC for a presentation delivered by Carpinteria Mayor Al Clark, City Manager Dave Durflinger and Santa Barbara County First District Supervisor Salud Carbajal. Each government representative was weary from years of budget cuts but delivered comments with measured optimism that the economic corner may have been turned and the recession could be put in the rear view mirror with continued focus on effective public/private partnerships in the areas of tourism promotion and careful development.

City Manger Dave Durflinger recounted major cuts made in the city’s 2011-2012 budget but highlighted that there have been slight up ticks in sales tax and transient occupancy taxes on recent receipts. Overall, he said, city revenues are still down from the high years of 2007 through 2009. Add to that rising costs, and a tight budget for next year is nearly inevitable.

Durflinger and Mayor Al Clark pointed out that the city has spent from its reserve funds for four consecutive years, totaling about $1 million, and next year it may still have to do so. Durflinger reminded the audience that cuts equalling $500,000 had already been generated through reduced employee work hours, Community Pool hours of operation, sheriff’s staffing and park and restroom maintenance in last year’s budget. “I don’t get a lot of calls from people saying we’ve noticed those cuts, so staff managed it well,” Durflinger said.

The sheriff’s department contract, which comprises 42 percent of the city’s budget, was partially restored midyear to allow for two officer positions to be reinstated of the three that had been cut.

The most important sector in the city’s economy remains tourism, Durflinger said, and as a consequence, the city incurs expenses for upkeep necessary to maintain the charm of Carpinteria. Additionally, in order to attract further tourism to Carpinteria, a $25,000 fund was granted to CVCC from the regional tourism board for a website to promote Carpinteria businesses outside of the city. The fund was generated through fees charged to hotel guest.

“We’re going to be creating a first-rate website, which is, of course, how everyone figures out where they’re going nowadays,” Durflinger said.

Also, to support and encourage greater tourism to Carpinteria, the city has been meeting with a development group that may ask city planners to approve plans for a resort on the property known as “bluffs three” or Thunderbowl at the eastern end of Carpinteria Avenue, Durflinger said. The property, which is zoned for a resort, has been targeted for development in the past, but plans have stalled before the construction phase.

In his comments, Clark pointed out that the city’s natural beauty, its small business community and the many people who volunteer are the three elements that are the “secret of Carpinteria.” The most important thing for the city to do is to remain a classic beach town, he commented. “It’s not luck,” he said, adding that it takes a lot of hard work to maintain a sleepy town.

Clark commented that city ordinances like the litter-reducing polystyrene ban at restaurants and most recently the plastic bag ban at all retailers including restaurants were moves made to ensure environmental quality into the future. “I understand and appreciate that these products offer convenience, but long-term environmental benefits outweigh short-term convenience,” Clark said.

Carbajal briefly discussed improvements to Santa Claus Lane that have been in Santa Barbara County’s planning pipeline. The improvements call for a proper railway crossing from the road to the beach, a bathroom and newly manicured sidewalks and landscaping in the business district. He also said that Carpinteria’s 4.4 percent unemployment rate is the lowest in the county and is far below the 8.9 percent countywide average. Carbajal foreshadowed another difficult year of county budget cuts, reporting the county’s $15.2 million budget shortfall, and said that 500 county employees had already been shed since 2008.

City council okays 5th Street property purchase

By Sara Monge

What’s now a weed-filled lot near Carpinteria’s train stop could soon be added to the city’s collection of parks. At its April 23 meeting, the Carpinteria City Council continued to show its dedication to giving locals and visitors places to play when it unanimously (Joe Armendariz and Brad Stein absent) authorized the purchase of the .66 acre lot located at the corner of 5th Street and Holly Avenue, which some are hoping will eventually be home to a skate park and community gardens. After negotiating with parcel-owner Union Pacific Corporation over several months, Parks and Recreation Director Matt Roberts announced the agreed-upon discounted price tag of $355,000 for the property that must be used as a park.

Locals hoping for a skate park in Carpinteria, who also originally approached the city with the idea of buying the property, voiced their enthusiastic support for the purchase. Commenting on the purchase, they said a skateboard park would help kids have an alternative to television and organized sports, which would foster creativity and free thinking. James Pike, Director of Skate Clinics in Santa Barbara, explained another potential benefit of a skateboard park to be “skate tourism” and was excited about the potential of building a “world class skateboard park” in Carpinteria.

Roberts explained the purchase is not dependent on future plans for the parcel, and therefore the sale is not contingent on outside agency (such as CEQA) approval.

The city will use $425,000 from its $791,000 Parks Acquisition Fund to purchase the land, conduct tests and pay for closing costs. Part of Union Pacific’s specification in allowing the city to purchase the property at a lower rate is that the city will agree that the property will be used for parks only, and the city will also assume any liability that is associated with the property. Roberts says that based on old photographs and records, there shouldn’t be any problems with the property. However, the city will do extensive testing to make sure the lot is free from environmental contamination before the 120-day escrow closes.

All three councilmembers supported the purchase, and Councilwoman Kathleen Reddington said she supports a skate park in the location.

In other news, the city council heard a quarterly budget report that indicated revenues have risen and the city may be closer to operating in the black. City Director of Administrative Services John Thornberry said, “We’re doing better than we planned, but still running a deficit.” He explained that both sales tax and the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT or “bed tax”) had both exceeded 2011-2012 budget year projections by $100,000, cumulatively adding an unexpected $200,000 to city revenues.

Although these numbers are still projections and final numbers will not be out until June, city staff estimates an operating deficit of $59,099 this year as opposed to the estimated $202,135 that was approved by the City Council last summer. In 2011, the City took a $169,808 loss, pulling resources from the city’s reserve for the fourth straight year.

While the numbers are looking better than last year, City Manager Dave Durflinger reminded the council it was a painful and difficult road to get even this close to having a balanced budget, including major cuts to the sheriff’s contract, city services and making city employees take furlough days and pay more for health insurance. Durflinger added that much of the city’s financial woes come from many revenue sources in the form of fees paid to the city have been flat for decades and not meeting inflationary rises in costs to providing city services.

The city also garners money from interest on investments in government bonds and treasury notes which at their peak in 2008 earned $650,000 and have fallen to $140,000 this financial year. Durflinger foresees continuing hard times for the city unless some of these problems can be addressed, allowing the city to bring in more revenue and have lower expenses.

In a rare preview, Durflinger announced that the council will discuss the results of surveys which Carpinterians participated in to determine other ways to get the city into the black including whether the voters are expected to support a potential TOT hike in the coming November election.

The next regular Carpinteria City Council meeting will be held on Monday, May 14, at 5:30 p.m. in the council chambers at 5775 Carpinteria Ave.

City files motion asking for bag ban lawsuit to be thrown out

Fighting to stop a lawsuit against the bag ban from making it to court, the City of Carpinteria fi led a motion in Santa Barbara Superior Court on April 17 stating that Save the Plastic Bag Coalition’s complaint against the bag ban is invalid. In filing the motion, known as a demurrer, the City of Carpinteria has asked that the lawsuit seeking to stop the city’s recently passed ordinance against most single-use bags be thrown out before arguments are presented to a judge.

In its lawsuit, SPBC contends that the city has stepped outside its purview by regulating carry-out bags at restaurants. State retail food codes already regulate what containers are legally required to carry food out from restaurants, and by putting forth regulations banning plastic bags in restaurants, the city has overstepped its regulatory abilities, the lawsuit argues. SPBC has stated that
carry-out food, like hot soups, poses a potential danger to the public if contained in paper bags, which can’t contain spilled liquids.

The city’s motion, however, states that the SPBC lawsuit is irrelevant because state retail food code does not address the topic of bags in restaurants. “They claim that the city can’t regulate in the area of plastic bags in restaurants because
the state has already occupied the fi eld in that area of regulation in retail food code,” City Attorney Peter Brown said in a phone interview. “We say (the bag ban) has nothing to do with retail food code.” Food code regulates in areas like kitchen standards, employee training and health and hygiene, according to Brown. In contrast, the city’s ordinance is meant to eliminate trash, protect resources and meet waste reduction standards. SPBC will have an opportunity to respond to the motion, and the city has
requested a hearing where the decision will be rendered in Santa Barbara County Superior Court Department 3 on May 15.

Water district comes under fire for Lemere appointment

By Peter Dugré

Director Fred Lemere’s first meeting as a reappointed
member of the Carpinteria Valley Water District Board
of Directors was overshadowed by intense public
scrutiny on April 11. Members of the public that had
supported the campaign to unseat Lemere and fellow
incumbents in the 2010 election contended that Lemere’s
appointment both disregarded the electorate
and was questionable due to the absence of Director
Matt Roberts during the March 28 vote—a 2-1 decision
with Director Alonzo Orozco dissenting.

Offering his opinion during public comment, Carpinteria
resident Bob Franco said, “At the last election
we voted for change, new direction and new ideas and
thought that’s what we accomplished. But an incredibly
ill-advised and ill-planned decision by two of the board
members completely changed that decision.” Franco
and a handful of other speakers asked that the board
revote with Roberts present, but the board indicated
that it will not revote. Instead, for informational purposes
at the April 25 meeting, staff will recapitulate the
appointment process and how Lemere was legitimately
reinstated as a director.

Acknowledging the public outcry, Orozco urged the
board to officially revisit the issue, if for no other reason,
to clarify what happened.

Defending her vote to reappoint Lemere, Board President
June Van Wingerden said, “I do want to remind
you that a lot of voters did vote for Fred Lemere. They
didn’t vote him out. There were a number of voters who voted for him. I think there’s some holes in some of your arguments and
partial truths, and that comes across to me
as not very genuine.” Van Wingerden also
commented that if voters are displeased
with the direction of the water board,
then they can elect new board members
in November.

Both directors who voted to appoint
Lemere—Van Wingerden and Director
Bob Liebernecht—are up for re-election in
November. Lemere’s seat will also need
to be fi lled for a shortened two-year term
in November, and he has indicated that
he will not run. Lemere and Director Jim
Drain lost their re-election bid in 2010
to Directors Alonzo Orozco and Lynn
Ducharme. Ducharme resigned during
her fi rst year in offi ce and was replaced by
Director Clay Brown, who had run with
Orozco and Ducharme as part of a slate to
unseat the incumbents. Brown resigned,
too, leaving the vacancy that Lemere has
now been appointed to fi ll.

CVWD legal counsel Roger Myers
assured members of the public that the
process of reappointing Lemere—even
with Roberts absent—was legitimate
and done according to procedures and
timelines specifi ed by law. Van Wingerden
commented that the scheduling
of the vote coincided with Roberts being
away—touring a college with his child,
according to Roberts—because there was
no meeting in which the full board would
have been available. Myers said that a
quorum of three is all that is needed to
conduct board business, including the
decision of appointing a director.
Whether or not they have legal ground
to stand on in their scrutiny of the Lemere
appointment, members of the public were
indignant at what they described as blatant
defi ance of election results by two
board members. Lemere received only
11 percent of the vote in 2010, whereas
elected board members received between
17 and 22 percent.

In her scathing public comments, Ann
Bardach said, “Clay Brown’s views and
principals and approach to Carpinteria
water were diametrically opposed to
Mr. Lemere’s, who was resoundingly
out by citizens of Carpinteria.” Further
criticizing the board and its decision, she
commented, “It feels like sort of a coup
d’état that someone who was voted off
has been reinstated without the full board

For his part, Lemere said, “I come with
no agenda to this seat, and I only want to
help. To the point that they can fi nd fault
with that, I guess, let them fi re away. I
take a little exception to some of their

Van Wingerden agreed to recapitulate
Lemere’s appointment with an informational
presentation on April 25, but said,
“We can put that on the agenda, and tell
(the public) again what the process is. As
far as I’m concerned, the issue is over.”
The CVWD Board of Directors will
convene for a closed session to conduct
labor negotiations on Wednesday, April
18, at the District Offi ce, 1301 Santa Ynez
Ave., at 5:30 p.m. The next regular meeting
is scheduled for Wednesday, April 25,
at 5:30 p.m. at Carpinteria City Council
Chambers, 5775 Carpinteria Ave.