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Comments by sbbulldog

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Posted on September 5 at 3:03 p.m.

I'm sad to see it close but I know that Jason will surface again (as has Charlie) because they have talent in the kitchen. Restaurants have a tough time in SB. Many diners are cheap and costs are high. Many well heeled folks love food and cooking, others have staff. They dine and entertain at home.

It takes time to make a go of it and one year is not enough. Anyone investing in a restaurant should plan on a longer ramp up, deep pockets, and eagle eyes. I'm not a big Lucky's fan but it took years to get its mojo.

BTW, never met any rude waitstaff at Anchor.

On Anchor's Away?

Posted on July 31 at 9:39 a.m.

It's a disease. She deserves compassion and help. The circumstances do not outweigh the problem. I hope that she gets the help she needs to start a new life.

On Paula Lopez Arrested

Posted on January 11 at 3:46 p.m.

Don't you just love that we have a casino that draws folks at midnight? I love to gamble but I'm not a patron of the Chumash Casino. I don't know that it has generated extra crime but I also suspect that it has produced many hard luck stories and worse.

On Coroner Releases Toxicology Results in Highway 154 Deaths

Posted on October 28 at 10:30 p.m.

Amazing production, just moving and disturbing but so well orchestrated that it flew by in a moment. Kudos to director Katie Laris, a formidable talent harnessing an excellent cast.

On <em>August: Osage County</em> at SBCC’s Garvin Theatre

Posted on July 16 at 9:14 p.m.

The kind of person who does not know how to manage a dog and, quite likely, has a dog that has bitten before and fears responsibility. The kind that gives dogs, and dog owners, a bad rap.

On Police Need Help Identifying Dog Owner

Posted on January 24 at 9:51 p.m.

He wasn't found guilty, he did save the public money, and I'm pretty damn sure that he committed the crimes he was accused of. What makes some people able to commit such heinous crimes? Sad for all.

On Mammoth Man Accused of Sex Crimes Commits Suicide

Posted on January 31 at 1:56 p.m.

First of all, I am a real estate broker, but I'm not a fan of every practitioner. I have had no dealings with Jason, but my spouse found him very helpful years ago, trying to find a commercial kitchen.

Real estate law is based on the writing and acknowledgement of contracts. I do find it hard to believe that even a novice business person would spend substantial sums based on verbal representations. Fools and their money kind of thing.

Many things are said in the course of negotiations, but only what has been agreed to in writing means anything, the intent is to avoid misunderstanding. If the building owners had suffered rent loss at the hands of the former MP owner, it would seem basic that they would want to avoid a repeat.

While not everyone working in the real estate biz has a heart of gold or is even competent, there are many very knowledgeable, honest, and hardworking professionals out there. Before there were Tech millionaires, real estate was one of the few ways that an average person could become wealthy. Naturally there are some creeps and charlatans, just as there are bad judges, doctors, or plumbers.

If the new MP owner has a legal leg to stand on, they will likely prevail. Sounds like the Corporate parent will try to iron out the differences and the restaurant will reopen, or else the experts have decided that they just can't succeed in this environment. Business isn't always fair or even ethical, but I'm not convinced that anyone cheated anyone else in this case.

On Where Now to Fondue?

Posted on February 18 at 8:48 p.m.

I've only been involved in real estate for 25+ years, part of that in commercial, so take what I say with a grain of salt.

First, the world turns, the world changes and sadly, unless folks are organized, owners call the tune.

Some owners have owned for a long time and have room for flexibility. That doesn't mean that they are going to be more sympathetic, just that they have greater ability to indulge their generous side. Others stuck their necks out and paid a high price (whether as individuals or a partnership) and really need to get a certain rate, or default on their representations or obligations.

Markets are not really controllable. Experienced folks can make conservative plans that enable them to ride out tough times. This is truly biblical: seven fat years, seven lean years. Unfortunately, a lot of compensation plans favor risk: if it works out the owner/syndicator makes out like a bandit. If not, well, it's the market, who knew? In many cases, they played with OPM: other people's money. Little personal downside, lotsa upside.

It's not a public utility. That said, I'm truly in favor of preserving our local flavor. I urge others to support local business. I have a bias against chains. They can sell stuff at bargain prices by exploiting tax laws, foreign labor, and economies of scale. But they rarely provide jobs that would enable an employee to afford to raise a family in SB.

The economic downturn was long overdue. We were engaged in an unsustainable shell game that was fueled largely by an administration beholden to business interests. The federal gov created favorable conditions for greed and profit to pump up a material addicted populace. Now the chickens come to roost.

It's not entirely a bad thing to have a down cycle. Relationship will be the buzz word of the near future. The natural environment will have a better chance with a reduction in consumption. We will become more globally attuned by necessity. We will learn how satisfying it is to help others and put our own woes in perspective.

No one interviewed has a real depth of experience. Each has a clear agenda and it's not to preserve a local business base, it's to satisfy the needs and desires of their clients. As it should be.

If you want positive change, vote with your choices, support your friends and neighbors, and look for the good. It's there and that's really what's special about our home. We are lucky, indeed.

Just be careful. We are a little Galapagos. There are more aggressive, more acquisitive folks from the larger world that would chew us up and spit us out. Look them in the eye, ask the tough questions, and check the bona fides. The world is yours to create.

On The Retail Detail

Posted on August 26 at 8:14 a.m.

I am writing to you at the request of Caruso Affiliated because their mailing piece asked me to write my Supervisor and the Montecito Planning Commission. The mailer is called A Campaign of Misinformation. And that's exactly what this has been.

The mailer says the Caruso plan has fewer rooms than the approved Schrager Plan and the same number of restaurant seats, ballroom capacity, and spa guests." The whole truth? Obviously not. The Schrager buildings totaled about 132,000 square feet. The Caruso plan is a full 30% larger.

The mailer says, "The MWD has confirmed repeatedly in letters and at public hearings that they will have enough water and will serve the Miramar." This defies reality. There is a water shortage-and we're told that it will get worse.

The mailing piece repeatedly uses words like "restore" and "renew" when the proposal is to "scrape" and "reconfigure" the land. Words like "charm" and "history" are meant to mislead. There is no respect here for us or for our history.

The mailer asks the community "to take a stand and help clean up The Miramar." Isn't it duplicitous to let a resource rot and then fire up the community to help clean it up?

We hope the Montecito Planning Commission will guide the developer to create a plan that works in harmony with its environment. Please don't bury it under landfill! It's not too late to correct the miscues that got us to this spot.

Keep in mind that Mr. Caruso did his due diligence before buying this project. He knows the score. But if he meant to twist the rules for his benefit, he underestimated the love and dedication of an enlightened, local community.

Don't reject this project. Adjust it.

On Caruso's Miramar: What Now?

Posted on August 7 at 9:57 p.m.

Pretend that your neighbor bought a dumpy house on a lot zoned for single-family. Then they applied to turn it into a fourplex, with two parking spaces. Would you object?

Too often, we expect the government to jump in and enforce the laws. But sometimes the property owner knows how to work the system, planting innuendo and propaganda until otherwise intelligent, well-meaning folks believe that the propaganda is equal to the rules.

Now the owner says, well, this house is an eyesore. If you don't allow me some modifications, I can't make enough money to justify cleaning it up.

Sound familiar? Offenders often take the offense in order to defend their mis-judgements. Just blame everyone else.

Mr. Caruso is a very intelligent man. He knew that he was making a gamble and must have felt that the return was worth the risk.

Fortunately, the "canaries in the coal mine" sounded an alarm and presented facts instead of "enough is enough, we want a cocktail, now!"

The Montecito Planning Commission showed deliberate judgement in upholding the thrust of the Montecito Plan. There are plenty of places where development is easier but the environment is crappier.

Take your pick. I love Santa Barbara and Montecito.

On The End of Caruso's Miramar?

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