(If you have something you think Montecito should know about, or wish to respond to something you read in the Journal, we want to hear from you. Please send all such correspondence to: Montecito Journal, Letters to the Editor, 1122 Coast Village Circle, Montecito, CA. 93108. You can also FAX such mail to: (805) 969-6654, or E-mail to tim@montecitojournal.net)

Protecting Local Institutions

Regarding the issues with corporate coffee houses refusing to stock Montecito Journal, the bigger problem on Coast Village Road is the rapidly escalating rents.

Only corporate owners can pay these high rents and little by little it drives out the little guy. The beauty salon I used to go to has had its rent raised to over $5700 a month. Every time a building has a new owner, the rents go up.

The same thing has been happening on State Street. Corporate owners want their presence in our retail market and if they lose money here they will make up for it elsewhere.

A survey of Coast Village rents would be an eye opener. The handwriting is on the wall. How soon will the Gap be here?

Donnie Nair

Carpinteria

(Publisher’s Note: We agree, but demand drives these markets. The Santa Barbara area, and particularly Montecito, has always been a difficult retail environment for individual merchants. Let’s hope local landlords, in the cause of enlightened self-interest, seek local entrepreneurs as lessees in Montecito, but if they don’t it will be up to us as consumers to determine whether corporate clients win or lose. – TLB)

Refuting Resources

I read with interest David Baskett’s reply to my recent article on ethanol (montecitojournal.net/archive/13/27/1195/), and would like to make a few remarks.

In his letter, Mr. Baskett states that “one gallon of gasoline takes two gallons of oil.” I have heard this statement before, but to imply that it takes two gallons of crude oil to make a gallon of gasoline is inaccurate. Here are the facts. To produce one unit of gasoline energy requires:

• 0.05 units of energy to find, produce and transport the crude oil

• 0.17 units of energy to refine the crude oil into gasoline and transport it

• 0.03 units of energy to generate the electricity required.

Combined, it takes 0.25 units of energy input to make one unit of gasoline energy- or, on the same basis, 0.25 gallons of crude oil to make one gallon of gasoline. This is eight times more efficient than what Mr. Baskett claims.

Regarding soil management, Mr. Baskett’s statement that “with good, advanced farming practices, soil is replenished and nourished…” understates the environmental consequences related to industrial-scale agriculture. Soil is depleted by farming. For example, half of the top 14 inches of topsoil in Iowa are now gone. Of course, the soil can be actively managed by chemical means to keep it viable, but this has other consequences, including the runoff of agricultural chemicals into groundwater and other watersheds. Runoff from Midwest corn and wheat fields discharges up to 10,000 tons per day of nitrates into the Gulf of Mexico. This chemical runoff has led to increasingly large hypoxic zones where the Mississippi river discharges into the Gulf of Mexico. In 2002, this zone was over 5,000 square miles in extent. The recent Santa Barbara bird refuge algae bloom is an example of what happens in an active hypoxic zone.

On the issue of water, ethanol manufacture invariably results in a large flow of waste material containing water, sugars, enzymes, yeast cell fragments, proteins, and alcohol.

Although estimates of this waste stream vary, a conservative value is 10 gallons of wastewater flow produced for each gallon of ethanol made. The concentrated waste stream must be treated in a facility similar to a municipal sewage treatment plant. Using these numbers, a 100-million-gallon-per-year ethanol plant will produce 1 billion gallons per year of wastewater. Correcting for the fact that ethanol plant waste is 5 to 10 times more concentrated than municipal waste, this is equivalent to 5 to 10 billion gallons per year of municipal waste, which is indeed the quantity produced by a medium-sized city.

Although ethanol is a legitimate transportation fuel, the label “renewable” is a misnomer.

This is because large amounts of crude oil, natural gas, coal, fertilizers and water enter into its manufacture, to the point that it requires more energy to make the ethanol than the fuel itself contains. In addition, the environmental consequences of soil erosion and chemical runoff due to the obligatory industrial-scale agriculture are significant. I continue to believe that a more effective solution to our fuel concerns is for us to drive smaller cars, carpool, and invest in public transportation.

Bill Korchinski

Montecito

Essence of a Master Class

In Response to “Anatomy of a Master Class” by Steven Libowitz (montecitojournal.net/archive/13/26/1187/):

On behalf of my fellow members of the Women's Auxiliary of the Music Academy of the West, I want to thank Montecito Journal for its ongoing support of M.A.W.'s programs. Steven Libowitz's article captures the spirit and flavor of the classes, instructors, and students. If I had never attended a Master Class, I would race right over after finishing that lovely article.

Santa Barbara is so fortunate to have the M.A.W. right here in Montecito, and M.A.W. is fortunate to have the support of the Montecito Journal.

Thank you so much for the cover story, and for your ongoing efforts to make the public aware of the Music Academy of the West.

Sincerely,

Pat Andersons

M.A.W. Women's Auxiliary

(Editor’s note: Wow; when such grace and generosity is tendered in the form of a letter to the editor, it is easy to see why the Music Academy of the West is regarded as one of the great resources of this most resourceful community! Thank you. – TLB)

Leave Our Market Alone!

I just returned from doing a little afternoon shopping at Montecito Village Grocery and grabbed a copy of your weekly on the way out. At last! Something we agree upon! Your response to the Montecito neighbor who wants to see that great little market become more "upscale" was right on (montecitojournal.net/archive/13/27/1195/). We don't need a new "specialty store". We like our little store and their wonderful, friendly staff just as it is.

If this neighbor is in such need of an "upscale" shopping experience, he/she should either drive across town to the Mesa and prepare to pay exorbitant prices or return from whence they came. Leave our market alone!

A Content Montecito Neighbor

Not Bigger, Only Better

I couldn’t agree more with “Montecito neighbor” that the market needs updating, cleaning, modernization, fresher and better produce, and keep the meat market which is great.

As to the editorial comment, it doesn’t mean it has to go big box or huge chain. Everyone loves the small market and it could stay that way but turn it around, clean it up and offer more gourmet items. Remember the great Jurgensen’s market we used to have? No one is asking for bigger, only better!

Another Montecito Neighbor

(Ed. note: Yes, we remember Jurgensen’s – where Longs is now – but we also remember it went out of business. Jurgensen’s offered home delivery and other personal services, but there’s only so much a small food market can offer on the slim margins it must contend with. The Colville family market (where SBB&T is now in the upper village) was so successful that it once operated a small fleet of delivery trucks in order to service the great estates, but it too succumbed. In both cases, the times and customer needs changed. Most of us are content, perhaps even pleased, that the Borgatello family continues to offer good quality produce (not great maybe, but good enough), superior meat, and other staples, at reasonable prices. – TLB)