With respect to the July 17 Noozhawk Letters to the Editor questioning the placement of the July 15 story about actor Orlando Bloom’s missing dog, I have a different perspective.

In 2012, our beloved chocolate lab, Chip, went missing when we were out of state over Memorial Day. Among other efforts, we contacted Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen to ask his assistance in publicizing Chip’s disappearance. He immediately placed a large photo of Chip, with some helpful text, on the Noozhawk homepage.

I believe there was a direct correlation between our locating Chip (who recently died, so we had him for another eight years) and Noozhawk’s assistance, and we will forever be grateful. We are certainly not celebrities, and have noted other notifications of missing dogs.

Noozhawk is not the Los Angeles Times and does not intend to be. It serves our community well and recognizes its role in part as relaying local news. I applaud it for this important public service, apart from its well-deserved reputation as an outstanding local news source.

Jan Greben
Santa Barbara

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Regarding the July 20 article, “Fate of Westside Tree in Hands of Santa Barbara City Council,” the couple who bought the house knowingly bought it with the tree in front. And just because a homeowner has the finances to have the rare tree destroyed, the city entertains the idea? How many other trees are there in the same condition that the city doesn’t do anything about?

The problem is also people who have the financial capability that feel they can buy their way through our town. This is exactly what is ruining Santa Barbara. Furthermore, what will be placed in the tree’s honor? Why can’t the couple get a permit to build a sidewalk around the tree?

I am a ninth-generation Santa Barbaran. I have seen this city brought to ruin by people with financial capability who feel they can buy their way into their wishes and commands.

Christopher Garcia
Santa Barbara

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The tree on Santa Barbara’s Westside does not get water to the roots so the ground is hard for the roots to dig through hard ground.

Martha Patereau
Santa Barbara

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As a mother of three, it is so great to hear that the Goleta Union School District has some common sense with trying to reopen its schools. Especially since there have been no children hospitalized with COVID-19 at our local hospital, and the pediatric and the pediatric intensive-care units have been virtually empty all summer.

Proud of you, Goleta!

Kristy Leon

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Regarding the July 23 article, “Catalytic Converters Catching Eye of Thieves in Goleta Valley,” my catalytic converter was stolen from my Toyota Prius sometime during the night July 23 off Old Coast Highway in Santa Barbara. My friend and the tow truck guys directed me to the Noozhawk article. I hope this further informs your readers to watch out.

Adrienne Oxton
Santa Barbara

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If the 10-cent per bag recycling program is a state law, and Gov. Gavin Newsom has suspended it as we are not to bring our own bags into stores, and the City of Goleta says we are not to bring our own bags into stores, why has Goleta stated that we have to pay 10 cents to purchase a bag?

What recycling program is Goleta taking that money for? Or are they fleecing Goleta residents or the state of California? It’s hard enough to track where that money goes at the state level. I would like to see where it goes in Goleta.

Ogden Merenbach

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The economic impacts of California’s coronavirus crisis have been terribly mismanaged. Most small business will be gone, and then where do officials think the money will come from? No sales tax, no bed tax and maybe no property taxes.

And people will vote the same folks back in. Sorry, but I can’t get my thoughts around that. And they want to get rid of Proposition 13 for commercial property. If they succeed, they will go after residential property. If that happens, there will be an even greater mass exodus out of Calitaxia.

John Sween
Santa Barbara

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In his July 17 column, “Gavin Newsom Puts Most of California Back on COVID-19 Lockdown,” Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen wrote:

“So we’re just going to keep yo-yoing along into perpetuity? I think that’s lunacy. Businesses can’t operate for long with uncertainty, and the long-term economic and population health consequences of their failure will swamp the direct health impacts of COVID-19.”

Once again, Macfadyen gets the “Beacon of Reality Award.” Too bad Gov. Gavin Newsom doesn’t read his stuff.

Hib Halverson

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As an event planner in Santa Barbara, with a business that I have had for the past eight years, prior to working in the industry for the past 18 years, I am frustrated by Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen’s July 17 column. His son’s wedding at the 1880 Union Hotel in Los Alamos was in direct incompliance of Santa Barbara County’s Health Order 2020-12.5, which clearly states that wedding receptions are not allowed.

Outdoor ceremonies are allowed so long as all family units can physically distance the required six feet apart. Live music is not allowed. Although “spacing of the chairs looked like the grid of a Battleship board game” sounds in compliance, “a few dozen guests” certainly is not.

Blatant disregard to emergency county laws, along with the publishing of it, are one of the reasons why small businesses in the event industry are hurting right now, and are contributing to the delays in getting back to business for those following the government mandates.

All of my clients would love to be able to hold their weddings and events right now, but are postponing for the greater good of the community and everyone’s health.

On behalf of the entire Santa Barbara County events community, both wedding based and otherwise, who are following the government mandates in hopes of reopening our businesses.

Jill Remy
Santa Barbara

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As the editor and owner of a local wedding blog and resource dedicated to providing engaged couples resources and inspiration for planning their wedding in and around Santa Barbara, Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen’s July 17 column about his son’s wedding at the 1880 Union Hotel in Los Alamos was shocking to see.

We have been at a crossroads in our industry with clients and couples wanting to host their weddings and gatherings during a time when they are not allowed. Santa Barbara County’s Health Order 2020-12.5 clearly states that wedding receptions are not allowed.

Outdoor ceremonies are allowed so long as all family units can physically distance the required six feet apart. Live music is not allowed. Although “spacing of the chairs looked like the grid of a Battleship board game” sounds in compliance, “a few dozen guests” certainly is not.

And promotion by a leader in our community is discouraging.

Hosting these weddings with no regard to the emergency county laws, along with publication of this nature, are creating a conundrum for event and wedding business owners of not only having to make financial decisions versus health concerns for working the events, but we are experiencing a backlash from couples and clients who see these features.

It creates pressures of saying no to couples and clients who see the publications and are not understanding why some wedding professionals and venues are choosing to follow the guidelines while others do not.

Most important, unethical gatherings, such as the one published, are putting our entire industry in jeopardy by delaying the ability for us to reopen our businesses.

Clients and couples would love to hold their weddings and events right now, however they are postponing for the greater good of the community and everyone’s health.

On behalf of the entire Santa Barbara County events community, both wedding based and otherwise, who are following the government mandates in hopes of reopening our businesses.

Zohe Felici
Santa Barbara

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“How quaint; it’s just like pioneer days. Maybe for an extra 5 cents, customers can take a bath in the horse trough.”

It’s a good thing I wasn’t drinking something when I read that in Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen’s July 24 column, “Wedding Goes Head to Head with Gavin Newsom,” because I would have spewed it all over my iPad.

Thanks for the laugh.

Susan Vega
Santa Barbara

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Maria Fotopoulos’ July 23 column, “Environmentalists Abdicate Leadership in Addressing Overpopulation,” points out the lack of courage among environmental leaders in the population crisis discussion.

Every environmental stress is directly attributable to population growth.

Unfortunately, population growth is supported in government agendas by commercial interests that see it as necessary to their profits as providing both customers and labor; by employee organizations that see it as needed to shoulder the burden of retirement programs; by religious dogma that prioritizes the idea that one must live and die to be saved; by academic apologists who excuse it on behalf of agricultural populations that want more children to work their operations and provide for them in their old age; and others.

The lack of personal responsibility, selfishness, greed and cynicism in these groups is discouraging, especially when they refuse to look at the problem directly. More recycling, more green energy, more technology will not solve the problem.

Society must educate and promote a new economy with alternate values than the greed and mercantile ones of the past. There is no reason why a more equitably shared society could not provide proper care for all, especially in a reducing population.

And it is important that this message be put out by those who claim allegiance to the environment and social justice movements.

Glen Mowrer
Santa Barbara

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I was very happy to see Maria Fotopoulos’ July 23 column on overpopulation and appreciate Noozhawk for publishing it. Thank you!

James Shelton
Santa Barbara

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Maria Fotopoulos has the right idea in her July 23 column, but has not pursued it far enough to realize that the solution to overpopulation is already happening — and, happily, is unstoppable.

On every continent, women of childbearing age are having fewer children than needed for population maintenance, about 2.08 per woman, depending on infant mortality numbers.

On. Every. Continent.

On every continent except the sub-Saharan areas of Africa, that’s resulting in actual numerical population declines. In sub-Saharan Africa, the increase will go on for a few more years, since the average age of a woman in her childbearing years there is a few years younger than the similar averages on other continents. Then that area will see declines, too.

The reason? Educated women.

Forever until now, tribes and religions had one message for women: “Stay home, shut up, stay barefoot and keep getting pregnant.”

Currently, the prevailing attitude toward that set of directives — thanks to reliable birth control — is, roughly, “Screw that stuff, Cowboy! I’m gonna be a CPA” (or engineer, lawyer, surgeon, etc.).

Note that ZERO of this is happening because of laws or regulation. Given the choice of having a whole bunch of hungry kids in a dirt-floor hut or just one or two and a successful career, women freely seem to choose “B.”

The best investment anyone can make in any society is to educate girls and women. Crime goes down, pollution goes down, general health goes up, GDP goes up, military adventures go down. Not sure about box office results for action movies, though.

Wayne Norris
Santa Barbara

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Kudos to Solvang City Councilman Chris Djernaes for taking a stand against cruel and dangerous horse-drawn trolleys as reported in the July 14 article, “Solvang Trolley Gets Council OK to Continue Operating Horse-Drawn Vehicles.” It’s clear that the other council members didn’t take into account the wretched lives for the horses that are forced to pull these large and heavy rigs.

Horses are herd animals that naturally associate with large numbers of other horses, graze in meadows, trot great distances, play and court. They have needs, wants and interests that are entirely independent from what humans demand of them.

No amount of regulation can stop horses’ tendency to become frightened and bolt. Just this week, a horse was euthanized in Charleston, South Carolina, after taking off running and suffering severe injuries.

Chicago recently passed a ban on these rides, as did Montreal. Other cities have done the same.

Solvang officials had an opportunity to do the right thing and move into a more humane future. They still have time to do so.

Jennifer O’Connor,
PETA Foundation
Norfolk, Virginia

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It seems that each week’s Letters to the Editor includes one that, one way or another, says “the only data important to the pandemic are the number of deaths and not the total number of infections.” Thus, the implication is we can reopen freely and get back to the good old days and make our money.

How meaningful is data like that? That is like someone telling me that the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing was trivial since only three people died of the total of 267 injured!

We have no meaningful data published of what happened to the infected people who did not die. How many survived with serious kidney damage or neurological damage even to the point of dementia or serious lung damage or serious PTSD, and on and on? How many really made a “full recovery” and are back to their usual jovial selves?

When this “death data” started, the whole idea seemed to be we sacrifice the people 75 and older to save the economy. Then it was sacrificing the people 65 and older. Now we are down to the age group in the 40s and 50s.

Now we realistically must be concerned that we cannot save the economy at all.

Richard Coleman

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I’m saying goodbye to Noozhawk.

What choice did I have? I’m an atheist, so I’ve overlooked ignorant faith posts, but July 18 was the limit with Jim Langley’s column, “Kneeling to God Almighty at a Time of Unrest and Darkness,” and Diane Dimond’s column, “The Hypocrisy of the Black Lives Matter Movement.” People at The New York Times have been fired for publishing such drivel.

I’ve been making Paypal donations each month, but as of today I’ve canceled.

Frank Peters
Santa Barbara

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I wanted to thank columnist Diane Diamond for her courageous July 18 opinion piece on Black Lives Matter and its hypocrisy. Many of us say this and believe it in private, but are fearful of being labeled a racist or having repercussions from our employer, friends, family, etc.

I’ve tried to have logical conversations with family and friends who are diehard BLM supporters and it’s so frustrating that they want to overlook the hypocrisy and communist/Marxists divisive tactics in hopes that the orginization is doing more good than harm.

I’m trying to be courageous and shared Dimond’s column on social media. Thank you again!

Sarah Morales
Santa Barbara

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For those who may be feeling a similar sense of what is going on, as expressed in Diane Dimond’s column on Black Lives Matter, I highly recommend you watch W. Kamau Bell’s United Shades of America on CNN. The latest show was highly poignant.

Bell encourages hard conversations to reach the fundamental understandings of the inherent racism and anti-immigrantism that runs deep in American culture, doing great harm not only to those being targeted, but also deep personal harm to those of us perpetuating the harm toward others.

If we are going to begin to approach the great American ideal of forming “a more perfect union,” we must open up to what is and has been happening since this nation’s beginnings. Then begin to do the hard work to correct our ways as a society, as a people, as a nation.

Ken Tatro

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At a time when the whole country, every state and community is searching for ways to redress past actions of discrimination, it is important to begin honoring people who have fought against racial and economic discrimination. It is particularly important to honor minorities who have fought against discrimination and elevated the consciousness and conscience of the majority.

Such a person was Dolores Huerta, who, along with César Chávez, fought for farmworkers and others to get living wages, good working conditions and other advantages. Their objective was for economic security and safe working conditions for anyone working in the fields and/or in minimum-wage jobs.

I am writing this letter to support the movement to have the Santa Barbara City Council rename San Andres Street on the Westside to Calle Dolores Huerta. What an honor it would be for Santa Barbara to have streets named for these two fighters for racial and economic equality.

James Mark Hamilton
Santa Barbara

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As a gerontologist, former health-care planner, developer, administrator and as a decades-long registered No Party Preference voter, I disagree with Randy Alcorn’s July 19 column, “America Needs a Vaccine Against Stupidity.”

In fact, millions of doses are needed for experienced politicians and medical experts. Remember, less than 1 percent are critically infection affected and fewer than .006 percent have died — if, of course, any classification statistics can be trusted.

President Donald Trump is the only politician holding up the dam against disastrous tidal flood waters. STUPIDITY is losing our country, our Constitution and civilization. Locking down citizens, closing schools, destroying commerce is STUPIDITY!

Facts matter. Public health scientists failed, our Chinese-based intelligence community failed and Gov. Gavin Newsom failed to communicate what he boasts to 60 Minutes that he knew in January to the federal government to help spare our country.

Alcorn is correct by writing that we need leadership: trustworthy, informed, experienced leaders who love this country, respect our Constitution based on states’ rights, and who understand each citizen’s personal right to self-preservation! We are continuously harmed by blowin’ in the wind, ever-changing Newsom, and grandstanding, spewing egocentric New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

We are a nation of states. Trump is not a politician. Our duly elected president stood daily with our nation’s medical and public health experts while they communicated known facts to state leadership and citizens, each losing credibility over the weeks. During this critical time period when leadership was needed, Congress left town, refusing citizens’ access to Our House. Wimps.

Our top medical experts and experienced politicians failed US! I doubt a stupidity vaccination will help any of them.

Denice Spangler Adams

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The latest distraction from the mounting coronavirus death toll is the question of whether we should open schools this fall or, more exactly, whether we should “fully” open schools.

There is so much intentionally misleading babble being spewed from Washington that it is hard to focus on the real issue. From the statement that “science is on our side” to “we will not let science stand in the way” of fully opening schools, what is one to believe?

The American Pediatric Association stated the obvious that children belong in school, while tempering that goal with the statement that “we should leave it to health experts to tell us when the time is best to open up school buildings.” In other words, open schools only when it is safe to do so, and rely on the health experts to tell us when that time is. That’s a sensible approach.

Some data suggest younger children (under 9 years old) have fewer and less severe cases, and they don’t transmit the virus as readily as older children or adults. So perhaps it’s OK to open a portion of elementary schools while still maintaining appropriate safeguards.

Regardless of the extent to which schools open, we should be very clear that this will be an experiment. Our kids and our society will be the subjects of that experiment, and NO ONE knows the outcome.

Some advocates want to start the experiment and “let’s see what happens” to our kids and our society. That’s why it is particularly important for us to be certain that those who propose to experiment upon us are competent (yeah, I know), are acting in our best interests and in the best interests of our children, and are following recommendations of health experts.

Joseph Morales M.D.

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