We always enjoy Karen Telleen-Lawton’s columns in Noozhawk, and her thoughtful clear writing covering a broad range of subjects.

Her March 14 column, “Amazing Antarctic Adventure,” was particularly compelling as so few of us will ever be able to take such a faraway voyage. What a thrill that Sir Ernest Shackleton’s long lost ship was finally discovered during her visit!

Telleen-Lawton’s care for the planet and its survival comes across poignantly when she tells of actually watching one “berg” fall away into the sea or the warming that caused the weather to rarely be below freezing, making it much easier to explore.

One doesn’t usually think of an association between the Serengeti and Antartica, yet as she writes of the spectacular abundance of wildlife and that wonderful photo of the penguins, I could not help but hope we will take more seriously the role we humans play on this remarkable planet.

Josie Martin
Santa Barbara

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In the March 15 article, “Santa Barbara School Board Talks Racism in Schools, Reimagining Campus Law Enforcement,” school board member Kate Ford is quoted as saying, “This town is full of racists.”

So, Noozhawk readers are to take Ford’s word that a vast majority of people living within the Santa Barbara Unified School District’s boundaries are racists? What evidence does she have to support that claim?

What possesses a member of the school board to characterize most of the people living in the district as racists? Is Ford’s view also that of the entire school board?

While I vehemently disagree with Ford’s statement, I’m not fool enough to believe racism doesn’t exist in our K-12 schools. Yes, SBUSD needs to address that, but our town is “full of racists?” I think not.

Hopefully, voters will remember Ford’s ridiculous, unfounded statement next time they go to the polls to elect school board members. I know I will.

Hib Halverson

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As a resident of Santa Barbara’s Hope neighborhood, and frequent Whole Foods and Chase Bank patron, I am shocked that the Chick-fil-A fiasco has been allowed to go on this long. Once the traffic light on Hitchcock Way turned green, but we couldn’t get onto State Street with a stranded car caught midstream.

As a former real estate broker in retail with a master’s of urban planning, I see only one solution, with no study required: Follow the lead of Sprouts Farmers Market. When the lines grew astronomically, they opened a second store on Milpas Street.

Chick-fil-A needs to follow suit and half its patrons will migrate east.

Lee Juskalian
Santa Barbara

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Regarding the March 15 article, “Santa Maria Council Chooses Election Map with Minimal Change to Districts,” the City Council does not listen to the people.

Everyone who spoke to the council on the creation of new voting districts supported a change to four clear quadrants, so we could easily know our district and council member.

Mayor Alice Patino and Councilwoman Etta Waterfield voted “no.” Patino asked what would happen if the council made no changes to district maps. Legal counsel said what everyone else knew, that the city would be breaking state law. A clueless mayor serves no one well.

Patino and Waterfield demand the status quo. In creating new districts, the council had an opportunity to right the wrong they did in creating the current districts. Back then, the council broke state law to ensure that members would be safe in the districts where they lived.

This created the “Waterfield Worm” that weaves from the far south to the far northwest, a district that is heavily conservative just like Waterfield. Because of their recent vote against four clear quadrants, the “Waterfield Worm” lives on.

Does Waterfield even live in her district, anymore? I wish Noozhawk would investigate that so we know if she should be voting at all.

Why ask for input and listen to public comment at City Council meetings if you have already made up your minds? Anyone who has ever addressed the council knows that democracy is dead in Santa Maria. Council leadership has killed it, and we have allowed them to do it.

Gale McNeeley
Santa Maria

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Regarding the March 8 article, “Santa Barbara County Supervisors Deny ExxonMobil Oil Trucking Proposal in Split Vote,” that debate turned into a predictable kabuki dance.

The vote got me wondering what fossil fuel project would ever meet with Democrats’ approval? While the ExxonMobil project is a drop in the bucket and thus a symbolic vote, it does speak to strident resistance of Democrats to create a balanced energy policy. The same mindset is apparent nationally as President Joe Biden pleads to purchase petroleum from sanctioned and alienated countries instead of advocating for U.S. energy companies to increase production.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has resulted in a new Cold War. Henceforth, Congress will take a more assertive role in managing the nation’s needs in energy and security. I urge the county Board of Supervisors, when considering any energy project, to put the welfare of the community and country ahead of partisan politics.

Allan Green
Santa Ynez

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Emergencies don’t take vacations. They don’t even take off nights and weekends.

But no matter when they strike, the compassionate actions of American Red Cross volunteers, blood donors and community partners help ensure that families and individuals never face crises alone.

The Red Cross mission wouldn’t be possible without these community heroes, and we are proud to honor their dedication in March during our annual Red Cross Month celebration.

Already in 2022, our local disaster teams have responded to 35 home fires, providing emergency assistance to more than 135 Central Coast residents whose lives have been impacted by those devastating occurrences.

We’ve seen Red Crossers step in to provide shelter when wildfires strike our community, deploy nationally when the need is called and provide emergency communications to military families.

On behalf of those we serve, we thank everyone who makes our lifesaving work possible on the Pacific Coast, across the country and around the world.

You can join in their commitment during our Red Cross Month celebration by visiting redcross.org to make a financial donation, schedule an appointment to give blood or platelets, become a Red Cross volunteer or take a class to learn lifesaving skills like CPR and first aid.

With a donation on March 23, you’ll also be part of our annual Giving Day campaign to help provide shelter, food, relief items, emotional support and other assistance for people affected by disasters big and small.

Tony Briggs
American Red Cross regional CEO

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