Really appreciate Noozhawk’s weekly COVID-19 update emails. I’ll admit I’ve not been as interested in the daily reporting now that I’m fully vaccinated so having a weekly roundup catches me up nicely. Please keep them coming!

B. McCann

•        •        •

Thank you for Richard Closson’s April 10 commentary, “Story Pole Stories Too Important for Santa Barbara to Cut Short.”

I wasn’t aware of the City of Santa Barbara’s opposition to the continued use of story poles, but I agree wholeheartedly with Closson’s contention that computerized videos are missing an important perspective, that of the “man on the street.” Literally.

Although otherwise useful, computer programs cannot replicate that view. Please do not abandon the use of story poles.

Louise Price
Santa Barbara

•        •        •

Regarding Randy Alcorn’s April 11 column, “Santa Barbara Reaching New Heights of Folly with Housing Issue,” I agree 100 percent.

We don’t have a housing shortage, but an overabundance of people. So why are we a sanctuary city, encouraging and welcoming illegal immigrants, who have little education and patience to apply for citizenship and wait, and even less money?

I endorse Randy Alcorn for mayor.

Leon “Lee” Juskalian
Santa Barbara

•        •        •

Regarding the April 14 article, “Teacher Transfers at La Patera in Goleta Spark Uproar Among Parents; New Principal Is Named,” the worst part of Superintendent Donna Lewis’ involuntary transfer of three La Patera teachers is how she couches this cruelty in good intentions.

Lewis’ hubris is believing she knows what’s best for a community without input from that community. While she cites correctly that teachers are hired by the district, not the school, she exposes a disregard for community that is not hired through human resources but developed over time by staff and teachers at each school site through trust and consistency.

And Lewis’ contradictory words about the teachers she transferred — that the change has nothing to do with their performance but that “La Patera is being positioned to be better than ever,” validates the teachers’ descriptions of being blindsided.

Lewis and school board members who fail to reach out to the community are driven by fear, insecurity and fecklessness over what they might hear from that community. Lewis revealed her disdain and disregard for the community she is hired to serve, leaving a wake of damage in her retirement.

Maggie Light

•        •        •

Since last year’s defeat of bond measure L2020, there has been a lot of action at Cold Spring School, a 182-student, single-school, basic aid district in Montecito, with class sizes of 14 students plus a teachers aid, and teacher compensation around $142,000 to $182,000, according to Transparent California.

In recent weeks, a highly rated long-term teacher was suspended without pay, while another claims she cannot work because the school environment is too depressing and stressful. Community members who ask questions of school leaders become targets, too.

One parent was hit with a request for a restraining order for asking questions. Another property owner was threatened with a cease and desist order, and others were slandered. To make an example of me and to silence the public, a district trustee filed a California Fair Political Practices Commission complaint against me and another community member that was reviewed and dismissed.

The L2020 bond request was voted down, in part, to get an accounting of how our tax dollars are spent. Bond opponents’ post-election request for a forensic audit of all school accounts, including for the two outstanding bonds on residents’ tax bills, was rejected by the five-member school board.

A petition calling for an independent forensic audit — Financial Crisis Management and Assessment, or FCMAT — was posted by Eduardo Pena. Santa Barbara County schools Superintendent Susan Salcido is on the statewide FCMAT board that meets April 21. She has authority to request that FCMAT get involved at Cold Spring School, but does she have the courage? We’ll see.

Denice Spangler Adams

•        •        •

We are entering a phase of the coronavirus pandemic in which we are dealing with the difference between what is possible and what is probable. When dealing with a U.S. population of 340 million, a lot of medical situations are possible with COVID-19, but in practice there may be very few, if any, transmissions.

Can you catch COVID-19 after vaccination and infect someone else? Possible, but extremely rare. Can students give the coronavirus to adults/teachers? Again, possible but rare. Can COVID-19 be transmitted outdoors? Unlikely.

There also is no negative feedback for our overreactions and over-protection: if we stayed underground in a fallout shelter for the last year, we are likely to think it saved us. Others might think that taking zinc or vitamin C saved them. We tend to exaggerate the effects of our actions and other personal mitigation efforts.

In actuality, about 99 percent of us survive COVID-19 because of our inherited, powerful immune system. During the 1918 flu pandemic, 97 percent to 98 percent of people survived without a vaccine or anything approaching our modern medical system.

We could call this our “species survival rate,” which is not a function of doctors, hospitals, vaccines and our personal mitigation efforts (social distancing, hand washing, masks).

The current U.S. case/fatality rate is 1.8 percent, according to Johns Hopkins University. This number will continue to decline as the pandemic burns itself out and the death rate falls but we continue to get cases.

Many experts consider 1 percet to be a good working number; that is, 99 percent of our species will survive COVID-19. Everything else we do as a species (hospitals, doctors, vaccines, masks and distance) pushes that 99 percent species survival rate a little bit higher.

Medical researchers suggest that about 80 million Americans have had COVID-19 over the last year and survived, developing natural immunity (the 99 percent). Add to that the 100 million people vaccinated as of April 1 and about 55 percent of our country has developed immunity. This should cause the death rate to continue to plummet even though we will continue to see cases. Seeing high case numbers and very few deaths is what we see with colds and the flu every year.

Victor Dominocielo
Santa Barbara

•        •        •

Mail Calls

Noozhawk welcomes and encourages expressions of all views on Santa Barbara County issues. Letters should be BRIEF — as in 200 words-BRIEF — and letters under 150 words are given priority. Each must include a valid mailing address and contact information. Pseudonyms will not be used, and repeat letters will be skipped. Letters may be edited for clarity, length and style.

With rare exceptions, this feature is published on Saturdays.

By submitting any content to Noozhawk, you warrant that the material is your original expression, free of plagiarism, and does not violate any copyright, proprietary, contract or personal right of anyone else. Noozhawk reserves, at our sole discretion, the right to choose not to publish a submission.

Click here for Noozhawk’s Terms of Use, and click here for more information about how to submit letters to the editor and other announcements, tips and stories.