EDITORIAL by James Buckley

Time (and Tim) Gallops Along

When this paper began, 11 years ago next month, my daughter Lily was barely 10 years old; son Tim was 14. Lily turned 21 on July 31 and Tim, at the age of 24, took over the publishing operations of Montecito Journal – although he is in Montreal as of this writing. He turns 25 on August 24. Lest they think he isn’t up to the job, I’ve been quick to remind people of other 24-year-olds who’ve made good, including Orson Welles, who wrote, starred in, and directed “Citizen Kane” at the ripe old age of... 24. In 1900, at the age of 24, Thomas M. Storke purchased the Santa Barbara Independent (through a couple of sales and transformations, it would eventually become the Santa Barbara News-Press). MJ Managing Editor Guillaume Doane, by the way, just turned 24. Christian Maurer, half of our layout and design team, turned 25 last week. Other noteworthy 24-year-olds include Bret Harte, who wrote his first bestseller at that age, and Levi Strauss, who began his jeans empire at 24. Back in the newspaper world, Horace Greeley was 24 when he founded The New Yorker (and later, the New York Tribune); 24-year-old Joseph Pulitzer became publisher of the St. Louis Post (later the Post-Dispatch); and lastly, at the age of 24, William Randolph Hearst (aka “Citizen Kane”) took over the San Francisco Examiner from his father. So, good luck to Lily as she enters extended adulthood and good luck to Tim; he’s in fine company!

Speaking Of Time Galloping Along

A new spate of comings and goings is about to overtake our village. Not only has our daily read, the Santa Barbara News-Press, stumbled in its drive to become more local – though we expect it to fully recover and prosper – but also the Upper Village gas station has closed and is awaiting a new operator or whatever; the Montecito Pet Shop is moving to the Mesa, as is the pet salon next door to it. C’mon, these are Montecito institutions. One might wonder what is going on, but we can only marvel that the free market’s “creative destruction” is taking place in what seems double time. Read Guillaume Doane’s full report on page 30.

Time Rolls Along On Measure D

One of the original reasons for passing Measure D in 1989 was to “improve interchanges and widen to six lanes between San Ysidro Road and Ventura County Line.” That portion of the plan was discarded after much public discussion and resistance, but a newly released Grand Jury Report claims that all the funds garnered from Measure D were used in accordance with that original plan. Using Caltrans’s most recent estimate, it is expected to cost $47.11 million to widen 101 from Milpas to Hot Springs Road, scheduled to begin next year (2007) and to take four years to complete. I believe that is no more than a two-mile stretch, putting the per-mile cost of widening at something close to $24 million. If the proposed widening were to continue to the Ventura County line, some 13 miles from Milpas Street, at $24 million a mile (assuming no delays or cost overruns – a big assumption), that adds up to $312 million and would pretty much eat up a good portion of every dollar collected by the half-cent sales tax. There’s something fishy in the water here.

SBCAG (Santa Barbara County Association of Governments) has financed 12 of the original 15 Expenditure Plan projects via the use of bonds, rather than spending the money as it came in, claiming it actually saved the county money. We can’t figure out how adding 5 to 6% on the cost of a program saves anybody any money, except for the bond issuers and the banks, but we’re not government workers and aren’t privy to their collective wisdom.

Measure D expires on March 31, 2010. SBCAG members have voted unanimously to back a 30-year and .25% increase in the tax in a proposition that will make its first appearance on the ballot on November 7. It will need two-thirds approval, which it is unlikely to get, meaning that Caltrans, SBCAG, and most of Santa Barbara County officialdom will put on a series of dog, pony, and juggling exhibitions afterwards to prove how valuable, how efficient, how needed these funds are.

We suggest voting against the reauthorization of Measure D, for two reasons: 1) it would be nice to actually see the sales tax go down to 7.25% rather than up (again) to 8%; and 2) because Caltrans is waiting to see whether this proposal will fly before allocating money (actually, before issuing more bonds against the new revenue source) to close the Cabrillo southbound onramp and to make other equally destructive “improvements.” If you think Coast Village Road has become impossible to traverse, wait until that southbound onramp is closed and traffic continues south and east through Coast Village Road before entering 101 at Olive Mill.

Twenty-four-year-old Timothy Lennon Buckley will be back next issue.