I want to thank Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen for his Jan. 29 column, “Santa Barbara Murder Arrests Clouded by Lack of Transparency.”

Rob Gutierrez and I worked together many years ago, and I was informed by another former co-worker last week that he had been murdered. We searched online for information but only found his GoFundMe page. When we searched again on Jan. 20, there were numerous Santa Barbara stories about his murder.

Noozhawk and other news outlets are reporting that he was ambushed by Santa Barbara gang members at the wharf, but I don’t understand why it took so long for such a heinous crime to be reported.

Thanks to Macfadyen, I now know that they were trying to but that the Santa Barbara Police Department was not cooperating. Given Santa Barbara’s dependency on tourism, that seems highly suspicious and is very concerning.

Are the police trying to protect Santa Barbara’s tourism business or its people? Surely, the police can do both.

Pat Johnson
Thousand Oaks

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I suppose it rarely occurs to news reporters that law enforcement may have a valid reason to delay offering every detail of an investigation to the “public” and thereby to the perpetrators as well.

As in the multiple murders in Idaho, the news media bashed the Moscow police, the FBI and other agencies for not being “more forthcoming.”

Instead, they were trying not to alert the suspect before accumulating sufficient evidence to produce the strongest case for conviction.

While I have great appreciation for the role of the news media, and little if any training in judicial proceedings, I do see a pattern throughout media — social and otherwise — to be first to “break the story” with little regard to the consequences.

Keep up the good work in keeping the public informed, but inferring that not getting every detail as fast as your reporters might like means that the police or District Attorney’s Office are not being “transparent” is misleading and potentially harmful to having justice served.

Loretta Redd
Santa Barbara

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The alleged gang murder of Rob Gutierrez should be concerning to every Santa Barbara resident. What happened to him could have just as easily happened to any one of us. My heart goes out to his wife and daughters.

But the response of the Santa Barbara Police Department is just as concerning to me. Not only did this murder go mostly unreported, it seems as if the police believe the only way to SOLVE crimes is to do so in complete secrecy.

My question is what are the police doing to PREVENT crimes like this murder? I trust Noozhawk to get that answer.

S. Peña
Santa Barbara

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As a 10-year Los Alamos homeowner, I oppose the Legacy Estates Village Square project. This project was approved, with its environmental impact report, in 2005.  Much has changed since then.

Droughts, combined with increased housing and agricultural water usage, have left us with a declining water table and dried up wells. 59 new homes will create a 10% to 12% increase in the housing and population of Los Alamos, and with that, more water usage.

Countywide flooding has shown us what too much rain in too short a time can do. Montecito has been devastated by incredible flooding and debris flows.

Too much water heading down a canyon road can be disastrous, even at the base of the canyon. The eastern edge of this project is 200 yards from the end of Drum Canyon Road.

The Village Square Project is a house of cards, built on a foundation laid in 2005, a very different time. Please call on your Santa Barbara County supervisor to have a new environmental impact report done.

Jim Albertson
Los Alamos

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Don’t let what is happening to the residents of Los Alamos happen to you. A development in Los Alamos is underway that will increase the population of our tiny town by 10% to 20% with NO concessions for improving the infrastructure.

Can you imagine what would happen if one developer planned on increasing the population of Montecito by 800 to 1,600 people? Probably, not what is happening to us in Los Alamos.

Being unincorporated has left us at the mercy of Legacy Estates and the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors, making decisions based on a 17-year-old environmental impact report.

According to the EIR, “The project site is not located near … steep slopes subject to mudflows, therefore these geological phenomena would not occur.”

The determination in the report contradicts the findings of the county’s own Flood Control & Water Conservation District and Water Agency.

A copy of the report was included in the EIR and stated, “Both the Solomon and Purisima Hills soil profile consists of relatively shallow, heavy texture soils with generally low permeability. The low soil permeability and steep (45% to 50%) slopes combine to promote very rapid flash flooding conditions within the canyons and at the mouths of canyons where they discharge into the Los Alamos Valley … potential flood hazard is such that it must be addressed from a public safety perspective within the urban areas of Los Alamos.”

This is only one of the unmitigable issues identified in the 17-year-old EIR. A subsequent EIR under CEQA 15162 (3)(a) calls for a subsequent EIR if the project will have one or more significant effects not discussed in the previous EIR.

Legacy Homes LLC omitted the county’s flood hazard findings. The Save Los Alamos coalition’s calls for a subsequent EIR have fallen on deaf ears.

Los Alamos is a cautionary tale. INCORPORATE!

Christine Adams
Los Alamos

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Continued education and understanding of cultural groups are needed across our community.

Last month, anti-semitic fliers were dispersed across Santa Barbara’s Mesa neighborhood on the first day of Hanukkah. This was a coordinated effort that is compounded by the horrific displays of anti-semitism across the country.

Like many, we were disheartened, frustrated and ready to support our community members. Thank you to the courageous leadership of the Jewish community, in particular Dan Meisel, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League Santa Barbara Tri-Counties, for helping us all find ways to do better.

In the vein of education and understanding, Santa Barbara County Supervisors Laura Capps and Joan Hartmann have collaborated on a resolution for Holocaust Memorial Day on Jan. 27.

The resolution honors the anniversary of the allied liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi concentration and death camp.

Within the resolution, we remind our community about the history, facts and devastation of the Holocaust; the state-sponsored, systemic persecution; and the annihilation of European Jewish peoples by Nazi Germany and its collaborators between 1933 and 1945.

The victims of this devastation included 6 million Jewish people, including children. Additional victims of the holocaust included Ashkenazy and Sephardic Jewish communities, Roma peoples, people with disabilities, Polish peoples; LGBTQ+ individuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Soviet prisoners of war, political dissidents, journalists and judges.

All of these groups suffered grievous oppression and death under Nazi tyranny.

When anti-semitic fliers are dispersed, we take them seriously. When continued hate incidents occur in our schools, we take them seriously.

Our community will not be defined by the actions of a few. Rather, we are a community defined by our stance against anti-semitism, hatred and violent acts against ALL of our vibrant communities.

Our offices will continue to support and collaborate with our cultural communities with education, understanding and inclusion. We challenge our community members to take a stand, reach out in support and work together to build a region where all can thrive.

Laura Capps
Santa Barbara County Second District supervisor

Joan Hartmann
Santa Barbara County Third District supervisor

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