Did you know? Bonnie Donovan
“Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning.”
— Maya Angelou
What a world of cat-and-mouse and give-and-take and take-away-again. Fiesta shut down at the 11th hour. What a sucker punch to the community of Santa Barbara — Fiesta Pequeña officially closed to the public at large and Noches de Ronda completely canceled. Both are open and free events at the Santa Barbara Mission and the Santa Barbara County Courthouse, respectively.
Funny that a paid event, DIGS! (Celebración de los Dignatarios) at the Santa Barbara Zoo, remained open. And yet State Street is loaded with temporary spotlights in expectation that the Fiesta parties will still gather in restaurants and bars, while the local family events are closed.
The traditional outdoor family celebration at the Santa Barbara Mission that launch Fiesta are canceled yet the Rose Garden has ample room for people to social distance. People did come and watch Fiesta Pequeña and accurately followed signs requesting social distancing.
The County Courthouse’s Sunken Gardens — the traditional site of Noches de Ronda and its afternoon counterpart, Tardes de Ronda — certainly has enough room for social distancing.
Two weeks ago, Cottage Health reported it had only seven, hospitalized patients with COVID; last it was nine. On Wednesday, the Santa Barbara County Public Health reported a total of 52 new COVID-19 cases — 12 of them within Santa Barbara and the unincorporated area of Mission Canyon. Such few numbers can cancel Fiesta, again? Seriously?
This is nothing short of a shutdown of our historic traditions and our lives. By whom?
Dr. Anthony Fauci has said “it” is going to get “really bad.” When are we going to stand up and stop scurrying away from the big bad wolf who is huffing and puffing and trying literally to blow our house down? How bad does it have to get before we’ve had enough?
According to the Santa Barbara County Public Health Epidemiology Unit report published on Nov. 28, 2018, the overall number of deaths in the county in 2017 were 3006. That averages to approximately 8 deaths each day countywide.
Also, according to the Santa Barbara County Data Dashboard on Aug. 4, a total of 464 COVID-19 deaths have occurred in our county since reporting began. If one were to assume that reporting began in March 2020, that would amount to approximately 27 people per month who have passed away in our county — or less than one person per day. And this is countywide. So the impact to our immediate city is presumably significantly less.
For the record, Santa Barbara County reported last week of the 321 people who tested positive for COVID, 229 were unvaccinated. The remaining 92 people are fully vaccinated. Nearly one third still tested positive for Covid. As the authorities have said, COVID is here to stay.
The local flurry seems to be in perfect sync to lock down the population with fear tactics. After all, the Sept. 14 vote whether to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom flingers only weeks away. It’s the “pandemic of the unvaccinated.” Again, most everyone seems to read the same cue cards when at the microphone.
The same script, the same message, word for word touted by local hospitals and authorities, television stations, schools, right down to the chain of command from the state and the feds.
Rumor has it that in two weeks the federal government is geared to shut down the nation, once again and just before the beginning of school, before the California recall and a maneuver to mandate the doubters to get jabbed.
It appears the term vaccination has worn out its welcome. But here we are again, 17 months later logging into our computers, watching the local and national news, waiting for the next dictate, the next mandate, the latest statistics.
Does anyone remember March 2020? We were told we would be locked down for just two weeks, in order not to overwhelm the hospitals and to flatten the curve.
Think about it. At that time, we all cooperated. No cars on the streets nor people out and about.
It didn’t work.
We were all team players, we had sanitizer, the bleach wipes, the masks.
If COVID is still so dangerous that only the vaccinated are welcome at UCSB and possibly other schools, we should avoid having foreign students return from a myriad of countries. They can get back on Zoom.
If the pandemic is serious enough, that we must shut down our world, we must demand that our southern border be closed to the infiltration of the masses who are not required to be tested for COVID and who cross our borders from everywhere else – financed by the taxpayers, again.
When will we wake up and see what is happening to our land and our freedoms, in our own backyard?
Twenty years ago, a visitor was aghast at the state of Santa Barbara. “We gave our country away and will never recover.”
Again, if we don’t insist on the rule of law, standards, and decorum, we will lose them! We must make a stand to turn this around.
Calling for proof of vaccination to participate in society is akin to asking for papers during the Nazi regime and oppression — only 80 years ago. And to the Santa Barbara Unified School Board, it took 25 years to perfect the polio vaccine. Why the rush to an unknown solution?
Speaking of solutions, many in our community may have gotten the misconception that the Mission Creek Bridge had been saved. However, a showdown for the Mission Creek Bridge comes back to the Santa Barbara City Council Tuesday for its decision whether to destroy this historic bridge.
The council could and should drop the whole thing and leave it alone. But the city is being asked to review the Bridge Team’s conclusions and the Historic Landmark Commission’s input on those conclusions (HLC disagreed on all counts with the Bridge Group) and then to consider whether to further pursue funding for the project.
The “Bridge Team” consists of the paid consultants from the Wallace Group along with city of Santa Barbara staff.
Once again, city staff goes before city council, on their home turf.
All three options presented by the Bridge Team would massively remodel or demolish and replace the Mission Creek Bridge, a historic landmark, and take land from Rocky Nook Park, cut down mature trees, disturb natural habitats, suburbanize the bucolic nature of Mission Canyon and more.
Not one option to leave it as it is!
All in the name of “safety.” Yet these options do nothing to solve the places where there are fender benders at the “triangle” of the intersection of Los Olivos Street and Alameda Padre Serra and just south of Puesta del Sol, where a sharp curve exists and drivers moving too fast hit the historic “Stegosaurus” wall.
Absolutely no evidence exists of safety problems for bicyclists and pedestrians in the study area in the past 10 years or more, which we are told will be a tragedy at any moment. The Mission Canyon corridor and the bridge are at “Vision Zero” with no fatalities.
Although the pedestrian walkway attached to the bridge was repaired, the Bridge Team falsely claims this is still a problem. The actual safety record for pedestrians, bicyclists and the bridge is never discussed.
Two maintained debris basins in Mission Canyon exist, yet the Bridge Team didn’t mention those when they speculated the possibility of a debris flow. Again, no record exists of such debris flow since prehistoric times.
Why isn’t the city demanding that the Santa Barbara Mission be rebuilt to withstand a potential 7.2 magnitude earthquake and possibly save hundreds of lives versus maybe a few if the bridge fails? After all, the bridge survived the 1925 earthquake while much of the nearby mission was destroyed.
The most recent, 2021 Federal Bridge Inspection Report (released after the Bridge Team studies) identified no structural issues requiring the replacement of the bridge.
Inexpensive and simple repairs and modifications to improve access and perceived (not actual) safety issues in Mission Canyon are available without tearing down the historic bridge.
The city should not pursue further funding for the Mission Creek Bridge project to “fix” a problem that is pure speculation.
Please come and help save Mission Creek Bridge!
Attend the news conference and rally at 1 p.m. Monday at De La Guerra Plaza. The City Council meeting at 2 p.m. Tuesday will determine the fate of our precious historic Mission Creek Bridge. It can be viewed on City TV Channel 18 or streamed live at www.santabarbaraca.gov/cap.
Bonnie Donovan writes the “Did You Know?” column in conjunction with a bipartisan group of local citizens. It appears Sundays in the Voices section.