In Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina’s July 5 article, “San Marcos High Student Emerges as Leader in Quest for Racial Change, Police Reform,” student activist Talia Hamilton claims racism still exists because “parents share with their kids their beliefs before they can form their own.” Her solution is for schools “to teach kids at a younger age not to discriminate.”

Assuming those teachers don’t have agendas of their own, how will that work, exactly?

Wendy Ortega
Santa Barbara

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Student activists Talia Hamilton and Shakir Ahmad are to be commended for their organizational skills. Even though people were outraged by the murder of George Floyd and eager to march in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, what these teenagers did on such short notice was truly impressive. I applaud their passion.

Nowhere in the two stories was there any explanation about the permits required for a gathering of thousands of people when groups larger than 10 people are not allowed under coronavirus rules. Why?

B. Campbell

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I really enjoyed reading Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina’s articles on the two young activists, Talia Hamilton (“San Marcos High Student Emerges as Leader in Quest for Racial Change, Police Reform”) and Shakir Ahmad (“Teen Activist Shakir Ahmad Stands at the Forefront of Social Change in Santa Barbara”). Even though I may not totally agree with their views, I applaud them for their peaceful demonstration and organizing their followers so effectively.

Now, I believe they need to start organizing their next peaceful process. It certainly appears our local schools will not be opening totally and providing our kids with the education that all taxpayers have the right to expect and deserve for our local youth.

Their next organized effort should be to demonstrate against the almost inevitable lack of responsible action to totally reopen our local independent schools for the many kids who are being deprived of a proper education. Perhaps those in authority will listen to the voices of those most greatly affected.

Wishing Talia and Shakir and all others in this truly monumental task much success in making a difference in your educational endeavors.

Jim Langley
Santa Barbara

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There are three critical entities controlling our response to the coronavirus pandemic, and they have a difficult time understanding each other and translating each other’s information: the national news media, politicians and doctors.

The doctors give out the best medical information, the politicians have only a few tools at their disposal to deal with this medical information (e.g. lockdowns, quarantines and facemasks), and the national media do everything it can to increase its viewership by promoting the public’s perception of crisis, fear and worry.

Why is the national media bombarding us with “case numbers” and not reporting weekly deaths from COVID-19? The reason is that pandemic deaths have fallen precipitously, from a national high of over 16,000 deaths during the week of April 18 to an extremely low 229 deaths during the week of June 27.

No wonder the national media are focusing on “case numbers.” If pandemic deaths remain low, the crisis is over.

When all pandemics are evaluated and put into historical perspective, there is only one number that matters: how many people died? The national media and politicians should stop their attempts at crisis continuation and hyperbole surrounding imprecise “case numbers” and get our economy and our society back to work.

Victor Dominocielo
Santa Barbara

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After reading the 26-page Santa Barbara County Grand Jury report on the cannabis issue and the Board of Supervisors, as reported in the July 6 story, “Grand Jury Criticizes Santa Barbara County Supervisors for Cannabis Regulations,” I am angered, saddened and stunned. Clearly, money and greed were the motivating factors in most of the board’s decisions.

Their allowance of excessive licenses and acreage, the creation of an unverified affidavit system, failure to address widespread odor complaints, not recognizing the conflict between cannabis cultivation and traditional agriculture, to the repealing the environmentally superior alternative of limited cannabis development, say it all.

I live in the Carpinteria area and have witnessed the negative effects and the deterioration of the quality of life. Every day I drive home from Carpinteria, I pass one greenhouse after another. And, yes, it still smells.

As a former teacher and a parent, I am especially upset over the seemingly disregard for the health of children concerning cannabis at Carpinteria High School and Cate School. Why was a suggested one-mile buffer zone ignored? Furthermore, why was the health, safety and economic security (home values) downplayed?

Sadly, the floodgates of the cannabis industry swamped Carpinteria. Going forward, things must change. Many of the recommendations by the Santa Barbara County grand jury are a good place to start.

Also, it is time that our corrupt officials be held accountable.

Diana Thorn

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Regarding the July 3 letters to the editor, I agree with every word from Terry Valeski and disagree with every word of Richard Box. The rule-breakers are running our country and trying to run our town.

Lee Juskalian
Santa Barbara

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Adding more housing in Santa Barbara is being promoted as a way to reduce the number of commuters from northern Santa Barbara County and Ventura County. “People can’t afford to live here, so they have to commute.” (No, actually, “Wages here are too low,” but that’s the elephant in the room.)

If the goal is to make Santa Barbara look like Lower Manhattan (what I’ve called “Santa Barbara’s Manhattan Project”), please don’t insult anyone’s intelligence by pretending you’re reducing traffic. At least be honest.

What happens when the stream of bright young ASIC designers and C# programmers commuting in from northern Oxnard finally get to live close to where they work is, SOME OF THEM FORM THEIR OWN COMPANIES. And the process repeats.

The issue is the creation of more businesses. By trying to reduce the jobless rate or end commuting by creating more businesses, we actually keep the same jobless rate, but with a larger population, and increase the commuting.

Should we grow to, say, 1 million people? Hey, why not? The City of Santa Barbara’s Housing Element REQUIRES the creation of AS MUCH HOUSING AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE.

Wayne Norris
Santa Barbara

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Solvang is family-owned and operated businesses that include bakeries, restaurants, gift shops, candy stores and historic trolley rides, along with cultural museums, Mission Santa Inés and small-town holiday parades. It enjoys Solvang Festival Theater productions provided by PCPA on their outdoor stage and fundraising for local groups by nationally recognized talents.

Solvang is turkey bingo and Elks events at the Veterans’ Memorial Building. Solvang is Danish Days.

Solvang School’s children participate in sports and extra-curricular activities among other local elementary/middle schools. By the time they enter high school, most, if not known by name, at least recognize other freshmen.

Solvang is trips to Figueroa Mountain in the spring to see the poppy blooms, and in winter after a snowfall for sledding or snowball fights.

To visitors, Solvang is a weekend destination for wine tasting, pastries and good food. For others it’s a stop on the way to another destination.

Solvang is not Santa Barbara. Solvang is not Goleta. Solvang is not Thousand Oaks. Solvang is not Carmel. Solvang is not, as a proposed developer called it, “a bathroom stop.” Solvang is not an extended-stay location.

Solvang is a community dedicated to keeping traditions alive. Solvang is not a brand. Solvang is not 2.0.

Solvang is Strong.

Trent Casberg

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Ron Fink’s July 7 commentary, “Santa Barbara’s Low-Income Housing Crisis Solution: Keep Sending Them to Lompoc,” is simply wrong on the facts — none of which did he bother to share.

Lompoc has had a higher percentage of low-income residents among its population since the 1950 census (pre-Vandenberg Air Force Base) and this trend continues today. Central Coast cities such as Santa Barbara, and now to a greater extent, Santa Maria, always “export” people to surrounding areas (suburbs or more remote cities’ suburbs) because of the concentration of jobs in the central economic areas, and the improved economic feasibility to produce housing in partially vacant suburban areas.

Neither Santa Barbara nor Santa Maria have any adopted policies to “export” workers, and to the contrary, Santa Barbara has policies to include all types and income levels of housing in new developments, including mixed-use developments. Lompoc has virtually ground to a halt on new development since the 2010 recession and its long-lingering after-effects.

The City of Santa Barbara had a goal of 962 “very low-income” and 701 “low-income” units for the current eight-year planning period, in which Lompoc had a goal of 126 very low-income and 84 low-income units for the same period. Santa Barbara has achieved 293 units in these categories as of the end of 2019, 18 percent of goal, while Lompoc has produced NONE of its units, 0 percent of goal.

FACTS. Pointing fingers at others does not change the fact of irresponsibility based on ignorance that Fink and others continue to recycle.

Having helped, over 42 years, to produce the “very nice” apartments in both Lompoc (eight projects) and Santa Barbara (29 projects) that Fink mentions, as well as projects in Santa Maria, Los Alamos, Santa Ynez, Buellton, Isla Vista, Goleta and Carpinteria, I can assure you that the City of Lompoc has been more interested in recent years in exporting its low-income residents and purposefully failing to meet its responsibility to produce low-income housing, than have any of the other areas and cities listed above.

Frank Thompson
Santa Barbara

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Racial injustice, coronavirus pandemic running wild, demonstrations in our streets, a president barely acquainted with the U.S. Constitution. Yet Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen, in his June 26 column, “Rape, Kidnapping Charges Swirling Around Movie Producer David Guillod,” is still crying about the Houston Astros beating up on a woeful Los Angeles Dodgers team. Get over it.

Michael Brown

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The no trespassing signs have vanished on the Cieneguitas Cemetery chain-link fence facing Hollister Avenue near Santa Barbara (possibly removed by the members of the large homeless encampment next to the creek). However, the recognition of our Civil War soldiers is still limited. There is no indication, on Hollister, that access to the cemetery is up at Santa Barbara County Juvenile Hall.

It should also be pointed out that these were not Mexican men. They were American citizens, with a genetic link to New Spain, and Mexico. They came from families that settled Santa Barbara for Spain.

Sadly, when the new cemetery was built, only a show of moving the occupants of the graves was made. Several remains on that hill top, besides the veterans, can still be found. If it were not for the caring efforts of local amateur historians, even the veterans would have no recognition. Many of the markers were crushed. I am grateful that those veterans’ graves were restored, and honored.

No effort has been made to educate our citizens of the presence of these veterans. No plaque has been established that is easily viewed by those passing by on the street. They do, in fact, languish on that barren hill.

Edith Ogella
Santa Barbara

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