The City of Goleta continues to spend money on capital projects while it lacks the resources to maintain the infrastructure our city has.

The best of intentions can still produce horrible results. If there is not a change in direction toward fiscal responsibility, Goleta will go bankrupt or be an urban wasteland of broken streets and shabby parks, with high density housing adding to traffic congestion and a degradation to the quality of life.

At the last election, the city had a $43 million backlog in infrastructure repair. This work the city neglected during a decade of low inflation, instead spending revenue on seldom used bike lanes on outer Hollister Avenue or Calle Real near Fairview Avenue.

The city’s contractors for road maintenance told me that roadwork inflation was running 30%! As a consequence, our backlog is closer to $56 million.

Of the new sales tax increase, only $700,000 is earmarked to address this backlog.

Meanwhile, the city pursues projects that at best could be described as nice but certainly not necessary.

The San José Creek bike path has ballooned to $33 million from $27 million. Redoing parking stripes in Old Town will costs $1.2 million, and the train station was at $17 million. The Jonny D. Wallace Park splash pad is estimated to cost $1.7 million — not to mention traffic circles on Hollister Avenue at Highway 217.

What happened to the promise to fix our roads? It is time for better fiscal management or a new city council.

Richard Foster

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Every year, 19 Santa Barbara County citizens are chosen by lottery to be part of the county Grand Jury and, unfortunately, those 19 citizens eventually come to the realization that all the hours spent in meeting or investigative trips turn out to be a waste of time.

For example, the State of California demands that every grand jury MUST look over the sheriff’s shoulder and check out the county jails. Poor Sheriff Bill Brown, unfortunately, has to placate 19 angry grand jury members every year as they investigate the same problem, which is mental illness versus very few county beds for the mentally ill.

That ratio tends to show up with suicides in the jails. It’s a stalemate that produces a lot of ill will between the Sheriff’s Department and the grand jury.

This year is no exception as another blistering report has surfaced accusing the jail of everything but treason. It’s a wonder that Brown is cooperative at all because this happens every year.

I served on the grand jury years ago when pot was introduced in grande to Carpinteria and Santa Ynez. The jury was swamped with complaints and, in the end, all we asked of the Board of Supervisors who ruled over the industry was to form an ethics department.

Guess where that request landed. Yep, the nearest garbage container.

The county Grand Jury might be a good idea in Las Vegas, where the mob ruled, but it’s a waste of energy and money here in this county.

Dave Novis

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Electric bicycles are motorized vehicles and should be regulated as such. If it is OK to drive an electric bicycle on State Street in downtown Santa Barbara, are motorcycles OK?

Keith Richards
Santa Barbara

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I was shocked and saddened to read in Noozhawk about Brian Gregory’s passing (Brian Paul Gregory, Formerly of Santa Barbara, 1963-2023).

I worked with Gregory for years at Cisco. He was one of the kindest human beings I’ve ever known, not to mention the most competent IT manager ever.

What a loss, for so many.

Dale Francisco
Santa Barbara

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Thank you to Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal for his July 18 write up, “Goleta Valley South LL 10U All Stars Walk Off With Section Title.” The summary went above and beyond.

My son was thrilled to see the story. I appreciate that a local news organization will cover these often overlooked events in the life of the community. 

Jim Buckwalter

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In Frank Sanitate’s July 5 commentary, “What Peter Drucker’s Fourth-Grade Teacher Teaches Us About Teaching,” he tells a lovely story of “education made good.” But such a free-form experiment would make most administrators uncomfortable.

In the example Sanitate cites, the teacher already had an understanding administrator as she was also the principal. In his time in a standard educational setting, he must have seen how many administrators needed some form of accountability.

But such ideal classrooms exist here and there, and I worked in one from 1971 to 1973.

When I was in graduate school, I taught afternoons in a “school for gifted underachievers,” for some extra money.

This meant the school was for the unsuccessful children of high achievers as the school was a for-profit institution. All the children had failed out of at least one previous school, but all read on grade level.

That was the only admission requirement, other than the fact that their parents had to be able to afford the tuition.

And it was pretty free form. There were no grades; about three times a year every teacher had to prepare a one-page evaluation for each student in all his/her classes, and this was given to the student and parents.

So every student got five or six evaluations per evaluation period. And it was a grind for the teachers. The curriculum was anything you wanted to teach.

And it was a lot of fun. It convinced me to stay in teaching rather than pursue a career in engineering.

And it worked. Most students, 80%-plus, graduated and went to college, and most of those who went to college also graduated. It wasn’t what we taught, but the fact that we taught how to learn.

I strongly believe there will be no major shifts in public education until there are many smaller experimental/private/parochial schools that achieve success with a different learning experience.

Jack Ott
New York City

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Regarding Robert Sulnick’s July 18 commentary, “Don’t Give In to Doomism on Climate Change,” the headlines are full of reports about dangerously extreme weather events.

The climate crisis is bad, and getting worse every day. Some are saying we are doomed. As Sulnick reports, “doomism promotes the idea that the world has already succumbed to climate change and there is no way of reversing it.”

Actually, it is not too late. We already know the array of transformative policies and technologies we need to reduce our fossil fuel pollution and stabilize our climate.

Our challenge is to build the political will to act at the speed and scale necessary to preserve a livable world.

We can advocate for these systemic changes and vote for politicians who support them. It’s up to us. Don’t give up!

John Kelley
Santa Barbara

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Regarding D.C. Collier’s July 20 commentary, “Why Is There Only One Way to Heaven?,” one can only hope to arrive at heaven in the afterlife by way of the Lord Jesus.

Collier’s argument is that Adam, the first human on earth is the sole father of all humans. I did some simple math and a couple of Google searches to verify this. Adam and Eve were created on the seventh day, and installed on earth approximately 9,700 years ago, according to the holy Bible. This was the Mesolithic period, whatever that means.

My next Google search was in regard to how long “humans” have existed. Google said, “Current evidence supports modern Homo Sapiens appearing around 190,000 B.C.E. (Before Common Era — similar to Before Christ).”

So my math tells me humans were around 190,000 + 2,023(?) = 192,023. I’d like Collier to explain to me how we come up with such different numbers.

I’d also like to invite him to join me on any summer evening around 5:45 p.m. for a visit to the Vedanta Temple for its evening Vespers service, a calling to prayer and meditation. The temple brochure reads, “ALL spiritual beliefs are welcome here and we believe that all rivers lead to one ocean (all paths lead to God).

Just some shower thoughts today.

Michael Lewis
Santa Barbara

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