Things tend to drag in January; Christmas has gone, it's not quite spring, and the world is recharging while it has the chance.
But there was plenty zip to a January 29 meeting of the Santa Barbara Sister Cities Board, where a vote taken by one of its sub-committees earlier that month was written into the record.
This set in motion the severing of a special 17-year relationship between the Californian city and a small Kerry town; within three months, Santa Barbara's ties with Dingle would unravel, officially at least.
"The committee voted last night to recommend to Council and the Mayor to dissolve the Santa Barbara Dingle Sister City relationship," Pat Fallin stated. "We have requested numerous times in the past year to bring it [Dingle] in to compliance with the new guidelines adopted in 2019.
"Our delegation that visited in 2018 did not feel all that welcome. Many of the people they spoke with weren't even aware of Santa Barbara and Dingle being Sister Cities.
"The Sister City was founded in 2003 and there have been a couple of exchanges but very little reciprocity. The committee in Dingle is one couple and no other engagement with other members of the public or at the local government level."
Santa Barbara was now looking towards another "more viable" Irish Sister City.
On April 7, a city council resolution stated "there have been minimal educational or cultural exchanges" between the two Sisters. "There have been no official visitors from the City of Dingle to the City of Santa Barbara" or vice versa in recent years, it added. The mayor received authority to dissolve the relationship.
It would be an embarrassment for any town or city, but for a town that spins gold from tourism - much of it driven by US visitors - it's mortifying.
Or it would be, at least, if the claims levelled against Dingle fared well under scrutiny.
"The committee had no inkling this [dissolution] was on the cards," Dingle-Santa Barbara Sister City Committee Secretary and Community Chair Máiréad de Staic tells The Kerryman. "They haven't contacted us in relation to that before, during, or after the process," she claimed.
She and husband Brian are the "one couple" the Santa Barbara side referred to as being the entire Dingle committee. She says the board actually has six members - as well as some 30 representatives of different organisations - and that's far from being the sole point she contradicts.
Having looked through material from both sides of the Atlantic, The Kerryman is aware of at least 12 delegations between the two sister cities, whether official or unofficial, since 2003. Almost half of these were educational or cultural delegations, and some were documented on these pages or in Santa Barbara local media.
One Santa Barbaran source observed that 12 visits isn't a lot relative to others - Santa Barbara also has sisters in Mexico, Greece, Japan, Philippines, and China - but to call it 'minimal' seems tough.
And to say there have been no recent visits between the two Sisters is untrue - unless one applies a very harsh definition of the word 'recent'.
Then-mayor Helene Schneider and seven others formed a delegation to Kerry in 2017; a group also visited in 2018; and in 2019 a Bank of Montecito group travelling the west of Ireland included Dingle on its tour.
A 13-strong business delegation representing Dingle visited Santa Barbara in 2015, while Dingle International Film Festival showcased at the Santa Barbara equivalent in 2016 and made a presentation to the family of Gregory Peck, relatives of Lios Póil's Tomás Ághas. Most recently, Máiréad, Brian, and their son, Dara, visited in 2018 after mudslides devastated Santa Barbara.
Ms de Staic claims the Dingle side knew nothing of moves to dissolve the relationship until contacted by Raidió na Gaeltachta last month. Following that, the Dingle side countered what had been stated by Pat Fallin in an e-mail seen by The Kerryman.
They hit back at claims they were requested "numerous times in the past year" to adhere to new guidelines: "This has never been discussed or mentioned to anyone in Dingle save one email at the end of 2019 and a passing comment by Gil Garcia during their visitation…This [the email] was answered by Máiréad de Staic the same day. However, her e-mail was neither responded to or even acknowledged", they claimed.
They questioned how the 2018 delegation to Dingle "did not feel all that welcome": "This is an inexplicable statement…Upon their arrival in Dingle they were greeted by some 40 different organisations, clubs, businesses, schools, etc."
They attached what appears to be a Santa Barbara report, which wrote of this "amazing meeting with community members representing eclectic organizations, festivals, businesses, politics, authors, artists, craftsepeople & educators!"
Dingle responded to a statement that "They have resisted expanding [the Sister City relationship] to the larger County of Kerry": "This was only brought up to us just once - rather abruptly and without any context - in the middle of the large Dingle reception," they claimed.
"The gist of this proposal is to make the entire County of Kerry the sister city instead of Dingle, for reasons that were never explained clarified or even followed up upon".
On that point, Ms de Staic tells The Kerryman that "There isn't a city of Kerry. When they mentioned it to the people in Tralee, they got the same reply: it couldn't be done, it isn't a city, it's a number of big towns. And the Sister City relationship with Dingle was working perfectly well."
"The decision to challenge this decision originated in Santa Barbara," Ms de Staic says of what's to come next.
"We've been contacted by members and friends in Santa Barbara. On their instructions, letters were sent to the Mayor of Santa Barbara and City Council."
E-mails were also sent recently to journalists and political figures on both sides of the Atlantic. Former Mayor Schneider, now a board member of Sister Cities International, is among these recipients.
On Thursday last, May 14, The Kerryman sent a set of queries to four separate e-mail addresses listed as Santa Barbara Sister Cities Board contacts. The following day, we sent the same queries to Pat Fallin. None of the five parties has responded yet.
There's irony in all this: President Eishenhower created the Sister Cities movement in 1956 as a means of bringing communities worldwide closer together.
Now it seems a town and city already eight time-zones apart are drifting still further from one another.