Monday, October 15 , 2018, 9:21 am | Fair 62º


From Our Inbox: Letters to the Editor for Week Ending June 29, 2018

As a recently returned native, I have never been to such a sweet parade as Saturday’s Santa Barbara Summer Solstice Celebration. The outpouring of love from the participants was palpable; the intention to give joy and share celebration; the sense of of a community having their day.

I had never liked parades before. Thank you, Santa Barbara!

Inga Frick
Santa Barbara

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If the City of Santa Barbara would block off State Street similar to Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade and allow some street vendors and more sidewalk dining, maybe bigger retailers would rent space.

Landlords need to get real with rents; $3 to $4 dollars a square foot plus triple-net is too hard, along with city parking fees. And the city’s permitting process is antiquated and slow.

Best of luck.

John Sween
Santa Barbara

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I just thought I would take a moment to tell you that I respect and agree with your decision to cease allowing story comments on Noozhawk. It is a shame that cowards write comments that are so screwed up when all of us know they lack the balls to sign their name to them.

Keep on reporting the local news. I appreciate your efforts.

David Kea
Santa Maria

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I am distressed to see the large number of column inches devoted daily to traffic accidents and the like in Noozhawk’s A.M. Report. That is my one and only complaint after all these years of reading Noozhawk every day. Pretty amazing, eh?

I would like to suggest that you replace all reporting of traffic accidents with a few inches of good news, good neighborly events, great acts by children and teachers and young people, and happy, positive things in our community.


Margo Barbakow

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Despite what is said by Scott Pruitt, the Environmental Protection Agency’s administrator under President Donald Trump, and by Mike Stoker, the regional EPA administrator and a former spokesman for Greka Energy, it is important to keep in mind that the Casmalia toxic waste site will not and cannot be cleaned up in five years. The groundwater will be contaminated for 100 to 1,000-plus years.

The EPA’s own documents describing the cleanup say, “Many contaminants have been trapped within very fine-grained claystone and will continue to be slowly released to groundwater for hundreds to thousands of years. Cleanup alternatives focus on containing contamination rather than completely removing it.”

Even the more aggressive cleanup options that the EPA rejected because of the higher cost would leave the groundwater polluted for at least a century.

It is also important to keep in mind the taxpayer funding involved in the $60 million cleanup effort and how easy it is for companies to walk away after contaminating the groundwater. Casmalia’s prior owners, Hunter Resources and Ken Hunter Jr., paid just $7 million after extensive legal battles and went on to continue their oil operations in the county.

According to a history of California oil, “PetroRock (Energy) currently operates some of the legacy assets acquired by Ken Sr. and Jr., and has established substantial new production since 2011 in the Cat Canyon oilfield near Santa Maria.”[3]

PetroRock is one of three oil companies with applications currently pending to collectively drill more than 750 high-intensity steam injection wells through the Santa Maria groundwater aquifer. Unlike Casmalia, the Santa Maria groundwater aquifer is the primary source of agricultural and drinking water for the greater Santa Maria area.

At a time when EPA oversight of the clean drinking water act is extraordinarily weak and oil production in the United States is already at an all-time high, it would be a poor choice to risk sacrificing our irreplaceable groundwater resources by approving oil expansion projects.

We could end up with a Superfund site much worse than Casmalia and, in hindsight, wonder why we didn’t learn from our past.

Katie Davis

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Once again, Ron Fink presents a viewpoint based on commonly accepted mythology that fits his stereotyped “problems” and “causes.”

This time, in his June 26 homily, he says that “drug and alcohol abuse is a significant problem” in the United States. This is true. But he then claims the problem continues to get worse, which is not true. Next, he attributes this putative abuse to the alleged growth of the homeless population. Also untrue. The first claim is definitely provably false and the second is more of an excuse and an avoidance than fact.

Alcohol has a long history in this country. The Mayflower carried over more beer than water. By 1830 the per capita consumption of alcohol in the United States was reported as 7.1 gallons each year! Apple orchards were extensively cultivated almost solely to produce fermented cider, which was the most common booze of the 19th century. Prohibition was a direct response to the “epidemic” of “dipsomania” in the nation.

By contrast, the present population of the nation consumes around 2.1 gallons of alcohol a year. So blaming homelessness on “substance abuse” seems more like a way of avoiding responsibility for doing something about the problem.

Homelessness is a result of a society with growing inequity. Homelessness waxes and wanes but is always with us and poverty is more to blame for it than booze. Providing housing is the most effective way to reduce homelessness. But this simple solution is resisted by those who fear the homeless, who don’t want the homeless to live near them and who don’t want homeless housing (be it a shelter or low-income rooming space) in their neighborhood. They secretly justify this by claiming threat to their persons and threats to their property values.

Affordable housing is converted to tourist rentals and expensive condominiums are built to capture the profits they offer rather than encouraging such spaces be protected for the poor and even for the indigent. But these hypocrites will not admit to these less than admirable motivations. Instead, they put the blame on the people most in need of help. Just like Fink, they attribute moral failure to the homeless. To them, the homeless are not the “deserving poor” they often offer to help, but the weak willed and selfish and pampered. (Really, does he have ANY evidence to support the claim that the homeless were given participation medals more often than the successful people he so admires?)

So Fink will almost certainly continue to give excuse and rationalize, but it would be refreshing if he took a little time to look at the real world and do as our most revered moral leaders have long advised: Love your neighbor as yourself, welcome the stranger to your home, avoid judgment without knowing what the circumstances of others’ lives really are. And stop fanning the flames of intolerance.

Glen Mowrer
Santa Barbara

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