The airport noise complaints that dominated recent Noozhawk articles about the update to the Santa Barbara Airport Master Plan point out that perhaps the airport staff needs to do a lot more to educate the public about the airport and the rules that govern its operation.

Among other comments, I noted the quote from one resident who stated, “We got to get better pilots in here, better airlines, and not so many, either” — which reflects a serious misunderstanding on his part.

The Santa Barbara Airport doesn’t control the hiring of the pilots flying in here nor can the airport refuse to support any particular airline or private jet. The pilots are licensed under very tight scrutiny by the federal government and are hired and trained by their employers, the various airlines, corporations and private owners.

Further, under federal laws, the airport must serve all air traffic and airlines within reasonable safety limits. 

The airport control tower and en route flight control are staffed by the federal government (Federal Aviation Administration) as is the security checkpoints in the terminal (Transportation Security Administration). Neither of these is under the control of the local airport.

Another frequent misconception is that the airport controls the flight schedules. In fact, the airlines make their schedules to satisfy the demands of their travelers and the federal government (FAA) controls the use of the airspace.

If the airport didn’t upgrade the facilities, the experience for travelers would be less safe and less convenient.

And the airport can’t shut down at various operating hours to satisfy our desires as long as we accept FAA funding for airport projects.

Another resident is quoted as saying that she can hear the planes “warming up in the morning.” That is very strange since jets don’t start their engines until just prior to taxiing for takeoff; in other words they don’t “warm up.” Airplanes start, taxi and take off with as little delay as possible.

I recently read a complaint that the airport had lengthened the runway and that attracted larger jets. In fact, the Santa Barbara Airport runways have not be lengthened for many, many years. The main runway remains at 6,052 feet long.

In the interest of helping the general public understand the rules under which the airport must operate, perhaps Noozhawk could publish an in-depth interview with the airport staff.  

And perhaps the airport staff can make more of an effort to keep their neighbors and the general public better informed of the facts.

Addison Thompson
Santa Barbara

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Regarding Kim Bean’s April 21 letter to the editor, it is interesting that the Bakersfield resident thinks that her ability (right?) to come to Santa Barbara to party outweighs the concerns (rights?) of those who live here.

Short-term rentals degrade the quality of life for the neighbors of the STR. Zoning for hotels and other transient accommodations exists for a reason and that is quality of life for the locals.

Bean also states that “most” short-term rentals are single rooms with a bath and no kitchen, which is the usual specious argument that it is helping people stay in their homes. There are far more “whole house” rentals than single rooms in Santa Barbara.

Marine Terrace and the other Mesa neighborhoods that fall under the California Coastal Commission’s (ridiculous) ruling that short-term rentals must be allowed within a mile of the coast in order to “preserve access to the coast” have seen skyrocketing housing prices, evicted long-term renters and neighborhoods ruined by people who come to Santa Barbara to party.

For those of you who care about quality of life, good schools and neighbors you know, any action that limits short-term rentals is a step in the right direction.

Ami Kearns
Santa Barbara

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Regarding the April 26 article, “County Planning Commission Denies Plains All American Project to Install Safety Valves to Refugio Pipeline,” ExxonMobil has asked Santa Barbara County to allow it to reopen a 123-mile-long pipeline that caused the 142,000-gallon Refugio spill in 2015.

The pipe is more than 30 years old, is eight years older now than when it caused that great destruction, and has not been fully inspected and repaired in all this time.

Rather than spend the money to repair the old pipeline, ExxonMobil proposes to install valves that would supposedly limit future spills to manageable levels.

That massive spill has done more than enough damage in our county. There are still countless clumps of tar below the sand’s surface. Will my wife and I ever again be able to walk on Refugio Beach without getting it on our feet?

The long list of ExxonMobil’s calamitous accidents will continue to grow, wherever it operates and regardless of its assurances and claims of engineering advances and safe operating practices.

For decades ExxonMobil has found ways to avoid responsibility for full clean-up and restoration. And, recovery is never complete.

The county Planning Commission should consider the values of the Gaviota Coast Plan and ExxonMobil’s historic record. Otherwise, the next ruinous local spill is surely only a matter of time.

Seth Steiner
Los Alamos

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I am canceling my spring vacation and staying right here near Soxtonocmu, or Grass Mountain, or any of the superbly described wonders by our resident-poet, Dan McCaslin, in his April 21 column, “Grass Mountain Display and Return to Rattlesnake Canyon Wilderness Park.”

I will contemplate the local “merry sounds of the creeks” right here by Montecito’s Sinaloa Bridge that is pulsing with the wild nasturtium’s colors.

Anytime one quotes Plato, Blake or Schiller, and Annie Dillard, as I might, one must tread very carefully.

McCaslin’s joyous ode enticed me to stay home with such stunning descriptions of the local blooms, the greens, and the willowy lupines, purple wonders practically begging to be admired. Our recent trip to the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden not only had a meadow blooming superbly, but smiles breaking out on every face I encountered.

But, today, I am abandonning all housework and road-hiking down to Rattle Snake Canyon for my wintry “soul to grow wings.”

Josie Levy Martin

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Regarding Joyce Dudley’s April 14 essay, “Kindness Is Key Ingredient to True Success,” I recommend that you repost her article on Father’s Day, June 28.

Dudley has been an inspiring member of the Santa Barbara community for many years, and the secret to her success when she was Santa Barbara County district attorney is her core of kindness.

The fact that she takes inspiration for that from the relationship with her father is a good reminder everywhere to be active and intentional about the important values we teach to our children. I hope they all grow up with the kindness and commitment that Dudley has shown.

Paul Sargent
Santa Barbara

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Regarding the April 15 article, “California Bill Would Mandate HPV Vaccine for Incoming College Students,” I was disappointed to see such a one-sided article about the pending legislation that would make the HPV vaccine mandatory for college students under age 26. 

The KFF Health News reporter highlighted one case of a woman, diagnosed with cervical cancer, who will be inoculating her 10 year old daughter, touting “This is the only vaccine that prevents cancer,” which is not true.

What the article failed to mention are the more than 8,000 reported side effects from this vaccine or the roughly 80 cases that are working their way through our court system due to side effects suffered by girls who took the vaccine.

Side effects can range from swelling at the injection site, fainting, rashes, serious gastrointestinal issues, seizures, coma, blood clots, Bell’s palsy and death.

The article didn’t mention that Merck’s clinical trials were conducted on girls age 15 and up, yet they are now recommending this vaccine for girls age 9 and up.

As of Feb. 14, 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that there have been 51 reports of deaths among females who received the HPV vaccine. A total of 32 of these death reports have been confirmed, meaning that a doctor has reviewed the report and any associated records.

There have been two reports of deaths among males who were injected with Gardasil.

Gardasil targets only two of the 40 high-risk types of HPV. The article didn’t mention cases in which women have had all three of the required HPV injections, yet went on to develop cervical cancer.

Parents need both sides of an issue in order to make an informed decision. The KFF Health News article fell far short of that requirement.

Stefanie Hassett

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Regarding Fred Berge’s April 21 letter to the editor questioning Jim Langley’s continued proselytizing in Noozhawk.

Langley’s OPINIONS are not news and they are incorrect or at best misleading. I do not need a “broken and contrite” heart to find Jesus. Such “advice” is disconcerting and reflects poorly on the news actually reported by Noozhawk.

If Noozhawk desires to publish religious opinions or beliefs, it should identify them as such and present a variety of religious views.

Jim Britsch
Santa Barbara

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Regarding Frank Sanitate’s April 15 commentary, “Do Billionaires Get Their Money’s Worth from the Forbes List?” I think the headline should have been: “Do Our Children in Need Get Their Money’s Worth from the Forbes List of Billionaires?”

At least a few of the billionaires could take on a more direct, targeted, specific action. Of the 2,640 billionaires, 770 of them live in the United States. Do they realize that many of our country’s children go to bed hungry?

We now have the list. Let’s use it to remind them! Let’s ask our billionaires to commit to never allowing one American child to go without food! That would be a straightforward and awesome project. I’m surprised it’s not being done.

This would also be a model for the other 1,870 billionaires in the world. How could they say no????

Marianne Crane
Cambridge, Massachusetts

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