The Diane Schuler of Southern California—alive, unarrested, and uninterrogated

Shrewsbury writes:

I recall that you were perplexed and disturbed [see this and this] by that incident in which the Long Island woman drove several miles the wrong way on some freeway upstate, resulting in a horrific crash and eight fatalities, and I thought that it would be of interest to you to learn that this week a similar thing happened around here in God-forsaken Santa Barbara.

Details in the press have been strangely sketchy (for a change), but apparently around dawn yesterday a middle-aged Verizon employee drove his Verizon truck down an exit ramp onto the northbound 101 in Goleta, and proceeded to drive the wrong way several miles southbound toward Santa Barbara before causing a seven-car collision, with the death of another driver. The maniac Verizon guy, Mark Selander by name, is now in hospital in Santa Barbara.

The story has been unaccountably dropped from local media; Google News shows only one brief notice of the incident in the last 15 hours. The only word on what caused Selander to be driving south on the northbound 101 was this, from an amateurish local paper distributed free:

The cause of the accident remained under investigation, though [Captain] Sgobba alluded to the possibility that Selander, who sustained minor injuries, was suffering from a medical condition at the time of the crash. When contacted at the scene, he said the man was “disoriented and confused” and did not know what had transpired. As of yesterday afternoon, Selander had not been arrested or cited.

The case is the more interesting of course because here the driver survived and either he or his doctors should presumably be able to shed some light on what caused him to be driving 70 mph in the wrong direction. Whether the retarded media get around to reporting it is another matter.

- end of initial entry -

Rick Darby replies to Shrewsbury:

What makes you say “God-forsaken Santa Barbara”? If you said, “God-forsaken California” I might agree (although it would be truer to say that California has forsaken God), but Santa Barbara has always seemed very lovely to me. Horrifying traffic accidents can take place anywhere.

Still, if you really can’t wait to split, and have a house you’d let go very cheaply, please get in touch.

Hannon writes:

With regard to Rick Darby’s comments, Santa Barbara is one of THE liberal bastions in the state, in spite of any underlying plurality. The city is Earth Day embodied for many any real, unadulterated hippies still exist in a few enclaves. It is a beautiful place to be sure, where almost every home is the picture of perfect masonry or Victorian woodcraft, replete with well-kept gardens with fascinating flora and often splendid stonework. Cosmetically it is spellbinding.

There is also a considerable, relatively quiet conservative faction (in the generic sense), as one would expect in an established and privileged community. But the reality for most is that well-paying jobs are scarce, leading to a significant population of young transient laborers who might do well to find a room in someone’s house for $600/month. Last I heard the median price of a home was about $800,000, which is sustained by a broad market value more than the well-known extremes. In other words, you would not expect to pay much less than that; the bottom is probably around 700K even in the current economy.

Gangs from Los Angeles in recent years have made a hitherto unknown presence there now. Santa Barbara is also much more frenetic than it used to be, with a higher population—even though growth is essentially impossible in the City itself—with younger generations replacing what used to be key demographics of professional adults and elderly retirees. I suppose it is still true what they say: it is a place for the newly wed and the nearly dead.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 25, 2009 02:35 PM | Send

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