Too bad officials did not maintain the Highway 154 culvert near Lake Cachuma and the Whittier Fire debris field before the blockage and closure occurred as the Highway 101 alternative has been overwhelmed, leading to slower commuting times, more accidents and adverse economic consequences.

D. Agnew

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Ron Fink’s Feb. 19 column, “Applying For Grants Requires Government Specialists,” brings to mind a point that seems to be lost on just about everyone.

Mr. Fink is correct that it takes local staff to write the grant requests. And it also takes state or federal staff to receive the requests and award the grants. These public staff people aren’t free. The public employee unions love to see more public jobs like these requiring more public “servants.”

But the point that we seem to be missing is that the money for these grants isn’t free money. It is our money that has been taken from all of us by taxation and then part of it doled out in the form of “grants” after the staff bureaucracy pays for their salaries and benefits. Just think how much more of our money we would have to spend on our projects if we didn’t have to fund the bureaucracy to run the system of grants.

I realize that this grant process is too well established for us to easily undo it now. We can’t un-ring that bell. But we should realize that when we ask for this “free money” grant, it isn’t really free. It’s really a portion of our money being given back to us.

Art Thomas
Santa Barbara

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When we drill, we spill — and when we spill off our shores, it can spell disaster for the whales, otters and coral that live in our oceans.

Californians know better than most that spills can have a lasting impact on marine ecosystems and the coastal communities. That’s why it was great to see the Feb. 19 Goleta City Council resolution that will help protect California’s coastline from offshore drilling.

Not only is drilling dangerous for our ecosystem, it’s also increasingly unnecessary. Here in California we are working hard to build a cleaner, brighter future. That means powering our lives with energy from renewable sources, not dirty oil. As we move toward renewables and zero-emission transportation choices, why would we risk the health and beauty of our oceans for oil we don’t need?

Santa Barbara is sending a strong message that drilling off our coast is unacceptable. Our beaches are too valuable to our economy, marine ecology and wildlife to risk ruining with oil. Let’s hope officials in Sacramento and Washington will take note.

Joanny Leyva

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