••• “Hayes Commercial Group reported in its end-of-year report that there are 31 retail properties for sale on the South Coast. […] Storefront retail vacancy between the 400 and 1300 blocks of State Street is at an ‘unprecedented’ 15.5% [….] At its core, the 800 to 1000 blocks, the storefront vacancy rate is 30.9%.” In the same Noozhawk article: “The former Staples Building, 410 State St. [above], was leased to Reality Church for one year.”
••• At a meeting of the county Board of Supervisors, Public Health Director Van Do-Reynoso said, “We have vaccinated roughly 64.2 percent of the 75+ in our county. We are nearing the state where we are comfortable exploring with our community health-care providers moving on to the next phase [65 and up]. That is a conversation that we are having this week.” —Independent
••• “Art aficionados, activists, artists and community members spoke before the Santa Barbara Historic Landmarks Commission on Wednesday and called on the city to preserve 18 murals at Ortega Park. […] The commission, after more than two hours of discussion, opted to ‘indefinitely continue’ the proposal. That will give staff time to do community outreach and consider whether Ortega Park itself should be considered a structure of merit.” I wonder whether the community around that park wouldn’t rather have the new-and-improved park, renovated at a cost of $14 million, sooner than later. Commissioner Michael Drury, however, said this: “I think the idea of an expansive park with all these wonderful amenities in it should take second place to these murals, which are part of a cultural community.” This is why you can’t have nice things, Santa Barbara. —Noozhawk
••• “Eric Friedman, SB City Council member for District 5 [the far west side of the city], confirmed in a new interview that he’ll seek a second term this year—but confounded local conventional wisdom by foregoing an opportunity to endorse the re-election bid of Mayor Cathy Murillo, a longtime ally.” —Newsmakers
••• From an Independent preview of today’s Santa Barbara City Council meeting: “For years, the intersection of State and Las Positas has posed one of the more perplexing real estate questions in town. What is happening, people have asked, with the old abandoned Army Reserve property there and why doesn’t someone do something? […] The federal government—which owns the land—wants to transfer title to the American Indian Health Clinic, which has been providing services down State Street for a few eons now. The plan is that American Indian would take over the property and run a much bigger clinic there. For this to happen, the council would have to allow a general plan change for the land, which is currently designated for housing.”
••• “A group of locals came together to create a charter school, the proposed Thoreau Community School. […] ‘The school addresses the needs of children who need community-oriented, outdoor learning,’ said Marianne D’Emidio Caston, president of the Thoreau Board of Directors. […] A typical school day for students involves outdoor learning and play through real-life nature exploration on field trips and a school garden that they can grow their own food in.” —Independent
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