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Tuesday, December 11 , 2018, 6:57 am | Fair 42º


From Our Inbox: Letters to the Editor for Week Ending Sept. 7, 2018

Has anyone done a study of human behavior in Santa Barbara when it comes to sharing equipment such as bicycles and cars?

The car-share program is not working. What makes the City Council think a bike-share program would work? Have you asked commuters? The general Santa Barbara public? Workers in town? How about population size and demographics? Tourists get their fun, alternative wheeled transportation at their hotels or beach rentals.

I think Santa Barbara is too hilly for nonownership bicycles and the user population too small. Those who want this kind of transportation can figure out how to fund their own or a nonprofit organization can help subsidize. Why should our sidewalks be cluttered up with a private business’ bicycles that people will toss about, steal or not use?

Find parts of city parking lots for bicycle parking so they are secure — especially overnight, for instance. Of course if the cost of parking your bicycle, skateboard, scooter, etc. in a city lot is too expensive or not free, this solution will not work either. We are dealing with a population with limited income, not just the well healed “enviros” who can fund their own whatevers.

We Americans are independent. Why won’t you let us rollarblade on our public sidewalks or use a skateboard or our own scooter? We can carry these. If not allowed on the sidewalk, how about on the bicycle paths? The bike paths have to be maintained without potholes, debris or other hazards, which is a cost to government.

The City Council is squandering precious time and money trying to find a cheap imaginary solution to the whims of a few who want cars removed. Uber, Lyft and the like are cheaper for the city and faster if a person does not want to walk. The 25-cent shuttle could be a solution if it went every five minutes and to and from destinations people want or need to go. But that is an unwanted city expense.

Paulina Conn
Santa Barbara

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In response to the Sept. 7 report, “Plains All-American Found Guilty on Most Charges Related to Refugio Oil Spill,” it’s too bad that Santa Barbara County can’t see the benefit of oil production and the revenue it generates.

No, let’s get this creature that has been living underground that reached the surface and KILL it. It’s the same stuff below ground as when on the surface, People.

There is no mad scientist down there (below ground) making oil. Got it?

Forrest Libby

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I hadn’t seen Scott LaFee’s column until this morning. What a refreshing and interesting addition to Noozhawk! I hope it will be a regularly recurring feature.

Merry Schmidt
Montpelier, Vt.

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Observing the exchange regard the filtering out of conservative voices on social media, it finally dawned on me that is exactly what Noozhawk did when you eliminated story comments on Jan. 1, using the excuse that it was too hostile.

I found that commentary the most interesting part of Noozhawk, and I am sorry that you allowed politics to take it away. Another suppression of free speech of those on the right.

Jarrell Jackman
Santa Barbara

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It is important to note that someone in the Santa Ynez Valley has been circulating false information about the Santa Ynez River Water Conservation District Improvement District 1. The information provided is, unfortunately, false, contains lies and generally casts a poor light on the ID1.

The following are the facts:

» The salary of the ID1 general manager is compared to that of the Santa Barbara County sheriff. The general manager’s salary was actually arrived at by comparison to other district general managers with not dissimilar responsibilities.

» The letter says the GM has in his contract a “no-fire” clause. This is a lie. There is no such clause.

» The letter says ID1 imposed a “secret 40 percent rate hike disguised as a 10 percent revenue increase.” Not true. Five years ago, 10 acre-parcels received water for landscaping at very low agricultural rates. An inequity to regular domestic users.

» The letter says this was a “secret” rate hike. No secret. Hearings widely publicized weren’t well attended. At the last hearing, which was well attended, the rate was reduced to far less and spread over five years.

» The writer cites a grand jury report written 10 years ago that supposedly attacks the ID1. Readers can click here to access the report.

» The letter cites Assembly Bill 2686 as an effort of ID1 to “avoid oversight.” Not true. Then-Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara, wrote it and included language favoring the Chumash tribe.

The letter accuses ID1 of “filing a false police report” against a local activist. Another lie. The activist lurked outside, frightening female employees, trying to hear damning evidence of some idiotic idea of a conspiracy coming out of a closed session of the board. The Sheriff’s Department was informed and a report was filed; the activist ran off.

The letter writer is also promoting three candidates for seats on the ID1 board. I assume the objective of the letter is to provide arguments for the candidates.

Lee Rosenberg

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With Senate Bill 826 by state Sen. Hannah Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, on its way to Gov. Jerry Brown as of last week, California is poised to become the first state to require gender diversity on corporate boards. This is a triumphant step forward toward addressing the issue of gender inequality. It is no small feat that we here in Santa Barbara are on the forefront of change.

Attention surrounding gender-based issues has surged in recent years involving politics, education, sports, entertainment, faith-based communities and corporations. This rise in awareness can be attributed to social media campaigns such as #NoMore, #MeToo, #ChurchToo, #ITakeAStand and #SeeTheSigns.

In addition, the 2017 women’s marches were one of, if not the largest, protests in U.S. history, drawing crowds of more than 3 million nationwide.

What is the next step in moving this conversation forward, locally and as a culture?

What if we were to take a restorative approach to gender-based issues in our country and in our world? What if we were to allow for all affected parties to be heard, to participate in the solution, and to elevate the discussion beyond what is not working so that we may focus on what is.

What if we were to truly make this a human rights issue and not just a women’s rights issue?

Real and lasting change will not happen surrounding gender equality until everyone — including men — are at the table.

With a surge in attention surrounding this issue, there is also a great divide that has become evident within our country. An underlying current of anger and mistrust. An us versus them mentality. Where does this leave us as a country? We are a nation divided.

A restorative approach does not mean that the stories of gender-based injustices are not real, nor that the anger surrounding them is not justified. It merely asks the question: Now what?

If we were to frame this conversation from a “forgiveness first” stance, we may be able to invite men everywhere to the table so that we can discuss the issues from a place of understanding. One in which we take into account that the men who are fostering unsafe environments for women in our country, in our schools, in our workplaces and on our sports fields were all little boys once.

If we were to see them as byproducts of the culture we have fostered that makes it not only “OK” to diminish a woman’s voice, her impact and her worth, but also makes it “manly” to physically dominate a woman, what space does this open up within the conversation of gender equality?

I suggest that by framing the discussion with this mindset we would open up a seat at the table. One that is firmly rooted in compassion. One that welcomes the men in our life who show us daily that this fight is not just a woman’s fight, but rather it is a human fight.

A seat that allows for men who have seen themselves in the #MeToo posts and recognize that #TheyToo were unwilling participants in female discrimination at times in their life to stand up and say, “I’m sorry, how do we make it better?”

By joining forces on this topic, it makes it a human rights issue instead of a women’s issue, and allows for everyone to get behind the movement, elevate the discussion, and bring about real and lasting changes.

We here in Santa Barbara have the unique opportunity to frame the next stage of this conversation in a way that does not leave anyone out, but rather makes room for all voices to be heard.

UC Berkeley’s Graduate Statistics program conducted roundtable discussions surrounding gender issues on their campus with the ultimate question of how to encourage a culture of gender equality. Within these roundtable discussions, men and women discussed incidences of gender bias that had occurred on campus. These discussions were facilitated by both a male and a female to encourage participation from both interested parties.

This phenomenon moved the culture of their campus forward leaps and bounds because both sides of the discussion were able to be heard and were able to participate.

Let us continue the good work that has been done by our legislative champion, Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson. Join me in bringing roundtable discussions surrounding gender issues into our community so that we can answer the burning question resulting from the rallying call for change: #NowWhat? Who’s with me?

Alicia Journey
Santa Barbara

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