Thursday, August 14, 2008

Executives get locked up — for good


A high-ranking police official and a local religious leader were among those placed behind bars yesterday.
Fortunately, once the jailbirds raised “bail” in the form of donations to the local chapter of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, they were allowed to go free.

Hundreds of local business and community leaders took part in MDA’s annual Executive Lockup, calling friends and family from the rooftop of the Canary Hotel in search of donations to help them post bail.
Dep. Chief Rich Glaus of the Santa Barbara Police Department turned himself in to authorities yesterday morning and managed to raise $500 before being cut loose.
“That was the first time I’ve been behind bars,” he said. “…My first experience was a good one. They didn’t rough me up at all.”
It was a new experience for Holy Cross Catholic Church’s Fr. Ludo DeClippel as well, who arrived at the “jail” early yesterday afternoon.
“It was shocking for the parishioners too,” he said with a smile.
DeClippel had already raised $1,600 before his arrest and planned to call a few friends and colleagues from the rooftop holding cell to elicit more donations.
Organizers asked each felon to shoot for $2,400, enough to send four children to a weeklong camp for those with neuromuscular diseases.
Even so, jailers showed a bit of leniency when prisoners couldn’t raise the proposed bail.
“They’ll cut me a break and give me a pardon,” predicted Pat Kelly, an engineer with the city of Santa Barbara.
Sure enough, once he made a few phone calls and filled out paperwork, authorities set him free after he raised $800 — an amount organizers said will be enough to fund six support groups and two flu shots.
As jailbirds arrived at the hotel, volunteer wardens booked, sentenced and draped them in a black-and-white-striped shirt and cap for a souvenir mug shot behind bars.
Hardly the gritty and hardened interior of a jail cell, the rooftop lounge and pool area provided a posh level of comfort for prisoners as they enjoyed food and drink while making calls to potential donors.
Gwen Stauffer, executive director of Lotusland, an estate and botanic garden in the Montecito foothills, said she came with $500 already in the bag and planned to raise another $300 before posting bail.
“It’s fun and it’s for a good cause,” Stauffer said, adding that it was her first time participating in the MDA lockup.
The jailbirds were transported to and from the location in style with transportation provided by Spencer’s Limosine and Tours, Rockstar Cabs and several other limosine services.
Organizers said $45,000 had been raised prior to the event through online donations. They hoped to net more than $100,000 by the time the last prisoner was set free.
Funds will support the purchase or repair of wheelchairs, leg braces and communication devices, support groups, clinics, flu shots and research, as well as the MDA Summer Camp for children.

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