Monday, November 12 , 2018, 5:01 pm | Fair 72º

 
 
 
 

From Our Inbox: Letters to the Editor for Week Ending Oct. 26, 2018

I like hearing about new restaurants in town, like Hook & Press Donuts (Oct. 18, “BizHawk: State Street Goes Nuts for Donuts as Mosaic 4-Shop Space Opens Downtown”).

It would be helpful if Noozhawk were to include their addresses, and maybe the cross street they are near. That would likely make it easy for the reader to picture the location and remember it, increasing the chances of a visit.

Angela Foote
Santa Barbara

                                                                 •        •        •

A couple of points jumped out at me in the Oct. 19 story, “Santa Barbara School District Set to Buy National Guard Armory for $11.6 Million”:

» “Once the deal is finalized with a vote, the district plans to embark on a master plan process, working with the community to determine the best use for the site.”

» “Given the age of the building and site issues — including soil liquefaction, lead dust and structural problems — the district will have to spend millions more before students can use the property.”

So the Santa Barbara Unified School District board has decided to spent $11.6 million of our money, plus untold millions more for remediation to purchase the unused National Guard Armory even though they have no idea what they want it for.

What we have here is a solution — a very expensive solution — in search of a problem. In my opinion, this doesn’t reflect good planning nor proper fiduciary responsibility on the part of the Santa Barbara Unified School District.

Art Thomas
Santa Barbara

                                                                 •        •        •

I think Noozhawk should sponsor a contest to guess what the next item or topic will be that the Santa Barbara City Council decides to regulate. The following are excluded because they have been or under consideration to be regulated:

» Recreational vehicles/parking

» Short-term rentals

» Food trunks

» Smoking

» Plastic straws

» Union-only local labor

» Waterfront hotels and motels

» Bar hours

It is gratifying to know that the City Council is being so diligent in regulating our lives so that we have a lot less to worry about.

Jay Smith
Santa Barbara

                                                                 •        •        •

Well now, the Santa Barbara City Council wants get rid of a beautiful park for a new police station, as reported in the Oct. 24 story, “Santa Barbara Lawn Bowls Club Pushes Back on Potential New Police Station Site.”

They need a big space, but the city just purchased the armory from the State of California, so put it there. No need to build, just remodel it. There is lots of parking for police cars and employees. And it will be up and running in no time.

Well, maybe not in our permit system.

John Sween
Santa Barbara

                                                                 •        •        •

In response to the Oct. 9 story, “Santa Barbara City Council Votes — Again — to Ban Plastic Straws,” a huge step has been made in the right direction to save wildlife. Small changes are taking place for the benefit of the planet, but this is just the beginning of a bigger movement.

We have known the harmful effects of polystyrene on marine wildlife for decades, yet we still continue to prioritize it. A single-use plastic item that is only used for five minutes should not be on the earth for more than 500 years.

Every piece of polystyrene ever manufactured continues to threaten the environment by injuring and killing birds and marine animals like sea turtles.

There are several substitutes to polystyrene already available on the market today. In fact, many restaurants and businesses have already adopted a more suitable behavior. Recyclable plastics and biodegradable utensils and cups are now being used at a much larger level.

A statewide ban on polystyrene will have a significant positive impact on marine ecosystems as well as render future generations for a cleaner planet.

Tiffany Desage
UC Santa Barbara

                                                                 •        •        •

What is going on with two redistricting proposals in Santa Barbara? Is something wrong with the existing method? Is one or both an attempt to set up gerrymandering? What are the politics of the movie producer behind Reason in Government?

Sharon Hills
Santa Barbara

                                                                 •        •        •

Did you know Santa Ynez Valley Union High School is suffering from an ongoing structural deficit? This school year, the deficit is $86,048. Projections for 2019-2020 are $659,878, and $792,131 in 2020-2021.

The school district has not backfilled certain teaching positions to address this structural deficit. There are classes with more than 30 students, including math.

Did you know that the school board recently approved spending $1.3 million on the east parking lot with district operating funds? This decision will not only strain the budget but will put the newly elected board members in an unfair and grim position if staff cuts are necessary in the future.

There will be new board members starting in December. The current board must do no harm to the already broken budget. Allow the new board to decide if a $1.3 million parking lot is more important than student programs, certificated staffing, curriculum, math, science, music and vocational classes.

Taxpayers approved a new parking lot to be paid with Measure K bond funds, not school operating funds. The operating funds should benefit the students.

I asked the board to re-vote at the next board meeting, at 5 p.m. Nov. 13. The board will hear the first interim budget presentation that includes the impact of its $1.3 million expenditure decision.

Please come to the meeting or contact board president Jan Clevenger and voice your opinion. A new parking lot, I believe, does not help educate our kids.

Michelle de Werd
Los Olivos

                                                                 •        •        •

A recent newspaper commentary calling on Montecito residents to “say no to State Water” was intriguing. Santa Barbara County voters already cast their “yes” vote in 1991, by better than a 2-to-1 margin.

Whether the California Department of Water Resources quantified how much water it sends to the southern part of California, our communities of Montecito and Summerland would have been in dire straits without the connection to the State Water Project.

The Montecito Water District had not filed a state-mandated Urban Water Management Plan since 2005; way before the drought started. The appointed incumbent, Dick Shaikewitz, stated that the then district manager was “too busy” to update the plan. (After our election to the board in November 2016, an updated Urban Water Management Plan was filed in mid-2017.)

Many people do not realize that during the height of the recent drought, 85 percent of the water delivered to Montecito and Summerland came from the MWD’s connection to the state’s Coastal Branch Aqueduct. Without this connection, our communities would have barely had enough water for sanitary purposes and cooking. The district had no plan to deal with such a drought as this one, now in its eighth year.

The Montecito Water Security Team running in the Nov. 6 election has the answers for the needs of the communities of Montecito and Summerland, and they will indeed deliver on their promises.

And, by the way, the idea that the Water Security Team wants to privatize the water and sanitary districts is a scare tactic that the good people of Montecito and Summerland have seen through. It is our privilege to fully endorse the team for their efforts and determination to do what’s right for our communities.

To the voters of Montecito and Summerland, please vote for the following team members: Ken Coates, Brian Goebel and Cori Hayman for Montecito Water District and Woody Barrett and Dana Newquist for Montecito Sanitary District.

Tobe Plough and Floyd Wicks
Montecito Water District board members
Montecito

                                                                 •        •        •

Did you know that Solvang’s tourism industry provides for more than 1,000 jobs and welcomes more than 1.5 million visitors annually who spend an average of $190 a day?

Plus, Solvang visitors generate 53 percent of the city’s general fund revenue; derived from the 12 percent hotel transient occupancy tax (known as TOT) that they pay on top of their hotel room rate. For example, a visitor staying in a $100 hotel room pays an additional $12 in TOT to the city.

When a visitor stays in a hotel, buys products and services and pays local wages — that tourism “multiplier effect” trickles down into all segments of our local economy.

Our year-round great weather, shops, restaurants, bakeries, attractions and cultural events we enjoy are highly sought-after by us locals and visitors alike. Solvang tourism is a major economic driver and contributes to our enhanced quality of life by providing more outstanding dining, shopping and recreational opportunities than our 5,909 city residents could possibly support on our own.

So, why is tourism in Solvang important to you? Bottom line, Solvang resident households could each pay an estimated $1,450 more annually in taxes if the tourism industry did not contribute revenues to the city. Loss of this large revenue source could cause the city to cut back on services such as maintenance of streets, roads and parks; public safety protection; and community services.

Frankly, tourism is the only industry in which consumers arrive, spend their money, then leave; making limited environmental impacts yet providing positive economic benefits.

The Solvang Conference & Visitors Bureau is the agency contracted by the City of Solvang to promote year-round tourism here. Let’s join together in recognizing that tourism is essential for Solvang’s continued economic vitality.

Tracy Farhad
Executive director
Solvang Conference & Visitors Bureau

                                                                 •        •        •

In 2010, having just finished eight years as Santa Barbara’s mayor, I was elected to serve on the Santa Barbara City College Board of Trustees, along with Marsha Croninger. We ran as part of a reform slate in response to policies that were supported by the then-board.

The issues that we ran on have improved greatly with a new president, new mission and vision statements, and an education masterplan. However, there are now new challenges at SBCC — challenges I don’t believe Croninger is equipped to deal with, and issues that she may have actually exacerbated.

That is why I have endorsed Darcél Elliott for SBCC trustee.

Board tensions with faculty, staff and students are at an all-time high, due largely to how they are treated by our board, including by Croninger. She stated her view on students quite clearly during a recent episode of Newsmakers with Jerry Roberts, when she said that she did not believe students to be constituents of the Board of Trustees. Her dismissive attitude diminishes and demoralizes the very population that she should be supporting and encouraging.

Croninger also is dismissive of staff time and meddles in the everyday issues that caused accreditation to take notice, a first for SBCC.

In contrast, I have known Elliott for 10 years, and ahve seen how she empowers constituencies around her. I worked with her in 2011-2012 when she helped organize my Mesa neighborhood to transfer Cliff Drive to a city street from a state highway. After 20 years of unsuccessful efforts by the neighborhood, I watched her work masterfully with the City of Santa Barbara and Caltrans to get it done in two years.

Elliott is collaborative, committed, and just the type of leader Santa Barbara City College needs at this time. I urge Area 5 residents to vote for Darcél Elliott for SBCC trustee.

Marty Blum
Santa Barbara

                                                                 •        •        •

Ethics is a one way street. But mix legality with ethics and you end up with the Los Angeles freeway system of endless exits and dead ends.

Let’s consider the promotional monies for Measure Y. The Allan Hancock College Foundation donated $49,000 to the campaign. The foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation set up to fund scholarships for Allan Hancock College students. A political campaign is hardly a scholarship.

Foundation donors should feel cheated. Their cash was meant to help a student succeed. Donor money is now funding a campaign strategist, bumper stickers, yard signs and phone bankers.

Let’s look at other Measure Y donors: Engineering firms that stand to make money on contracts, and a law firm that will make money on the inevitable lawsuits that follow most AHC construction projects. Lawsuits generated from Measure I (2006) projects gave AHC some pretty big migraines.

Is this money shell game legal? I’m not so sure. Ethical? Absolutely not.

So, I filed a complaint with the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office summarizing my concerns about how this $49,000 magically appeared in the Measure Y campaign chest.

The Measure Y team is trying to convince you, with your money, to throw more of your hard-earned dollars at vague promises.

Do we need new buildings? Sure. Every school needs new buildings. But do we know how much these projects will cost? Nope. Other than the Fine Arts building, there hasn’t been a single estimate put forward to the Board of Trustees for the lofty promises the Measure Y team guarantees.

Don’t exit the double-wide off-ramp to false promises and eternal debt. Vote NO on Measure Y and travel the narrow, one-way ethical street.

Dan Hilker
Allan Hancock College trustee
Santa Maria

                                                                 •        •        •

Let’s talk about why we need Measure E. At Lompoc’s Cabrillo High School, classrooms have rust, we have water damage to windows or ceilings, our boy’s locker room has a rat issue, which also affects our wrestling room. We just had one of our helmets chewed through just this past weekend. Add in the gopher problem where the amount of injuries over the last few years have affected our ability to prepare and keep our kids healthy.

With Arroyo Grande, Dos Pueblos and Nipomo high schools getting upgrades, and all of the Oxnard high schools getting new fields and all-weather tracks, we are falling behind just in the ability to provide the best and safest environments for our kids.

Measure E will provide the necessary repairs and funding to affect our programs, our students and our community. When you vote, think of your kids, the future and the impact this bond will have on their experience as a student in our community.

Thank you, and I hope we see your support on Nov. 6.

A.J. Pateras
Cabrillo High School varsity football head coach
Lompoc

                                                                 •        •        •

Even though my children are grown and no longer attend Lompoc Unified School District schools, I have already mailed in my Yes on Measure E2018 ballot because I know how badly our schools need it.

Many of our classrooms and schools were built well over 50 years ago, and seem better suited for a different era of education. I am proud to call Lompoc home, and want to have schools that reflect our great community.

Someone invested in me and my children when we were in school, and now it is time for us to pay it forward and invest in our students.

If we want our Lompoc graduates to succeed in college and careers, we need to ensure they have a well-rounded academic foundation in core subjects. Our current facilities are inadequate for our students’ ability to build skills. People who came before us built these schools for us and our kids, and now it’s our time to do it for generations to come.

By passing Measure E, we are not only investing in our students and schools, but also protecting the quality of life in Lompoc. Our great schools support our strong and safe community and voting Yes on Measure E is a vote for Lompoc.

Elections like this can come down to a few votes, and we need your help to keep our schools and community strong. Please vote Yes on Measure E2018 on Nov. 6.

Susanne Boyer
Vandenberg Village

                                                                 •        •        •

It looks like the 24th Congressional District election may end up a close race. That in mind, I have to say I have not been impressed with Rep. Salud Carbajal, D-Santa Barbara, and I’ll tell you why.

Carbajal is good at email blasts to constituents, but he’s not so good at communicating directly with the individuals he represents. On Dec. 31, ending his first year in office, he emailed residents of the 24th District. In that email, he listed $1,586,422.00 as “returned to Central Coast residents.” I thought: that’s funny, I’ve not seen evidence demonstrating Carbajal’s return of $1.5 million to our district.

Further, his email said, “As fire seasons in California grow longer and more devastating, I am focused on fighting for proactive mitigation strategies to protect homes and lives.” I wondered: If Rep. Carbajal is “fighting for proactive mitigation strategies,” why won’t he pressure environmentalist organizations to stop filing lawsuits that prevent the Santa Barbara County fire chief from building firebreaks in the Santa Ynez Mountains above Goleta?

And, hey, while we’re on the subject of money benefiting CA24, how about granting some of it to Santa Barbara County and the City of Goleta so they can build Fire Station 10 — which we, here in the wildlands of far western Goleta, sorely need?

Those issues in mind, a week later, on Jan. 7, I wrote Carbajal asking if he could reply with some specifics of: 1) what that $1.5 million got us and 2) his wildfire “mitigation strategies.”

I waited three weeks with no reply, so, on Jan 31, I wrote him another letter, asking the same questions and stating that I felt I deserved the respect of a reply. Carbajal never responded to either letter.

With the Thomas Fire and the disastrous Montecito flash flooding and debris flows, you’d think our representative would have been more attentive to a constituent letter about wildland fire issues. Go figure ...

Hib Halverson
Goleta

                                                                 •        •        •

Public safety is of the utmost importance in our community, and with what I’ve learned this year about Rep. Salud Carbajal’s anti-safety votes in Congress, I’m honestly worried for our safety if he is re-elected.

Every time we hear him speak, he preaches he will “work hard for our Central Coast families and our values,” but it doesn’t look like he considers our safety an important component of that promise.

It’s well documented that he voted against Kate’s Law (HR 3004), and he wouldn’t even give a straight answer to debate questions about his support of the sanctuary state.

But the vote that really threw me off the most was Carbajal’s vote against the Citizens’ Right to Know Act (HR 2152). If you’re unfamiliar with this bill, it passed the House of Representatives this year and it allows for law enforcement agencies to keep a public record of repeat violent criminals who are currently awaiting trial, so that any individual can have access to the knowledge of where these dangerous individuals are living.

Essentially, Carbajal’s vote shows that he thinks we shouldn’t have the right to know if a violent criminal awaiting trial is living right next door.

It’s clear that Carbajal isn’t fighting for our community’s safety in Washington. It’s time to replace him with someone who will put constituents before his own political gains, and that individual is Justin Fareed.

Not only is Fareed endorsed by numerous law enforcement agencies like the San Luis Obispo County Deputy Sheriff’s Association and Sheriff Ian Parkinson himself, but he also has shown by his responses in the debates that he really cares about keeping our families safe and making sure our law enforcement officers are supported in Washington.

I’ve noticed Fareed says the phrase “people over politics” a lot, but, unlike Carbajal, I can see that he actually means it.

Rebecca Gowing
Santa Maria

                                                                 •        •        •

As members of the Santa Barbara County Commission for Women, we strongly encourage all citizens to vote, but we especially implore women to exercise their hard-earned right.

When California became the 31st state in 1850, women did not have the same rights as men, including the right to vote. Around that same time, however, a women’s movement was organized across the country that published “Declaration of Rights and Sentiments” that began by stating, “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men and women are created equal ...”

By 1865, slavery and involuntary servitude were abolished in the United States, but women of all races were not considered equal under the law. Married women had no right to their property or children, they could not serve on juries, and they could not vote.

In 1870, the 15th Amendment to the Constitution was approved, which prohibited federal and state governments from denying a citizen the right to vote based on race, color or previous condition of servitude, but not on gender.

Nevertheless, brave women, known as suffragists, tirelessly protested to force the government to give women the vote. Despite a violent campaign against them, their voices were heard.

In 1911, California became one of the first states to give all citizens — men and women — the right to vote. The federal government finally ratified the 19th Amendment in 1920 giving that right to all women.

The women behind the suffragist movement knew that the only way to guarantee women the same rights as men was to first gain the right to vote.

Women’s rights are simply human rights and the way to equality and well-being for all through our democratic process. Regardless of political views, voting is essential to ensure all citizen’s choices are counted.

On Nov. 6, exercise your right. VOTE, and make your voice heard!

Santa Barbara County Commission For Women
Santa Barbara

                                                                 •        •        •

Proposition 6 on the Nov. 6 ballot would repeal SB1, a state law that now provides critical funding to repair crumbling roads and bridges as well as improve transit and active transportation infrastructure. This is accomplished by a rise in gas taxes, something that had not been done in 23 years.

Repealing SB1 would be disastrous. Thousands of road safety and bridge repair projects currently underway would come to a grinding halt; more than 6,500 transportation improvement projects in every California community would be eliminated.

Every homeowner knows that you need to keep up your house or you’ll regret it later. Our transportation system is no different.

We are seeing our roads crumble before our eyes. Some bridges have collapsed in this country, but some folks still have not learned the lesson: “A civilization that won’t maintain its infrastructure is doomed.”

Prop. 6 is also opposed by all major environmental groups, both statewide and local, including the Sierra Club, League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council and COAST (Coalition for Sustainable Transportation).

It would eliminate funding for Active Transportation, as well as intercity rail and urban transit systems, crippling our efforts to combat climate change at this critical time.

Dozens of local projects are at risk, including:

» Completion of the Highway 101 multimodal corridor

» Safe routes to schools projects in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties

» The Modoc/Las Positas roads bike path and other bicycle infrastructure

» Increased and more reliable service on the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner route

» A new train depot in Goleta

» Improved commuter bus service to Ventura County

» Clean air buses and improved service for Santa Barbara MTD

» Pedestrian safety projects on streets

It is vital that we defeat a proposition that is not only an attack on bridge and road safety but also on the environment. “Voting No on 6 is the right choice for people and the planet,” said Kathryn Philips, director of Sierra Club California. We couldn’t agree more.

Eva Inbar
Vice president, COAST (Coalition for Sustainable Transportation)
Santa Barbara

                                                                 •        •        •

A decade ago, Californians overwhelmingly voted in support of a farm animal welfare law that increased the amount of space in factory farms for egg-laying hens, pregnant pigs and baby veal calves. That Proposition 2 in 2008 was supported by 70 percent of Santa Barbara County voters and was great progress for animal welfare.

Now, Californians are poised to advance and improve on that legislation. Proposition 12 does just that by eliminating the cruelest practice on factory farms — intensive confinement. Not only would all hens, pigs and calves raised in California be provided with cage-free housing, but when Prop. 12 passes, all eggs, pork and veal sold in California would also have to come from cage-free animals, no matter where they’re raised.

In cage-free housing, hens are able to move throughout their barns, engage in normal behavior and spread their wings. Pigs and calves are no longer cramped in coffin-like crates barely larger than their own bodies, but are housed in groups where they are able to move around and socialize.

I strongly support Yes on Prop. 12 and I hope you will, too. California, let’s continue our humane progress!

Kalia Rork
Goleta

                                                                 •        •        •

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