Regarding the March 1 article, “Santa Barbara Council Gives Chick-fil-A 90 Days to Fix Traffic Issues at State Street Restaurant,” it appears the majority of the City Council is prepared to declare the restaurant a “public nuisance.”

Several council members would have liked to do so immediately, without legal notice to the business. Such an action would undoubtedly lead to legal action against the City of Santa Barbara, with taxpayers being on the hook for potentially large damage payments. This would not be the first time that current council members’ disregard for the law would lead to lawsuits the city loses.

Some questions:

Is this really about the public nuisance of traffic backups due to the popularity of the Chick-fil-A drive-through? I drive that section of State Street frequently and only occasionally see the restaurant’s traffic backed up into the street. What other reasons could council members possibly have to punish one of the most successful franchises in town?

Chick-fil-A ranks at the top for employee satisfaction. How will the City Council explain the loss of their jobs to the employees laid off because the city has suddenly reduced restaurant volume? Are we really at a point where the City Council can punish a business for being TOO successful?

If the council decides to sanction Chick-fil-A for doing too much business, what is to keep them from similarly punishing any other business in town. Maybe certain Funk Zone businesses operating unpermitted valet parking services that block and restrict traffic flow in that congested area? Or will they be spared? And if so, why?

Perhaps the City Council can spend a few hundred thousand dollars on a study to determine exactly how much business volume is appropriate for the private sector on a case by case basis. This City Council seems to consider a busy restaurant a “public nuisance” but is totally fine with allowing unchecked vagrancy, drug use, urination, defecation and camping all over the Downtown stretch of State Street.

And forgive me for noticing the spectacular irony of this City Council preparing to punish a business for being so busy their customers restrict the flow of traffic, when most of those same council members, with virtually no public works planning, have shut down ALL traffic for 10 blocks of the same street downtown. Is this not hilarious?

The city’s message to businesses: “We get to decide who wins and who loses, chumps. And don’t you forget it.”

K.W. Boss
Santa Barbara

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Regarding conservative political activist Cory Hayman’s Feb. 23 anti-mask mandate diatribe, “Santa Barbara County Schools Must End Forced Masking of Children,” her piece incorrectly describes articles in The Atlantic and The Wall Street Journal and misstates findings by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It’s unfortunate that most of her submission comprised a smart alecky right-wing political attack on Gov. Gavin Newsom and celebrated those MAGA extremists who put children in COVID-19 danger by refusing to follow science.

To quote President John Adams, “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”

Eileen White Read

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Nick Savage’s Feb. 25 letter to the editor sure didn’t age well. On the same day that it was published, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention all but dropped its mask guidelines for most Americans. That was followed by California announcing an end to its mask mandates in schools. I read all about it in Noozhawk.

The funniest thing was Savage’s complaint that Noozhawk would not print his comments. I also read them … in Noozhawk.

Dan González
Santa Barbara

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I hate to break it to Cori Hayman — and Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen who obviously agrees with her — but their opposition to mask mandates is extremely short-sighted and dangerous. The COVID-19 pandemic is in a periodic lull, but it is far from over.

Unvaccinated children, their teachers, the immunocompromised and millions of other people are still very much in danger from exposure. But they seem to be of no concern to the selfish, anti-science zealots who think THEIR “rights” outweigh the risks to our most vulnerable citizens.

This rush to eliminate mask mandates is careless and dangerous. The science is clear that these mandates save lives.

R. Rothschild
Santa Barbara

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I had to laugh at Veronique de Rugy’s Feb. 25 commentary, “Will a Post-COVID-19 Government Be Held Accountable?,” but all was explained when I looked at her right-wing credentials, writing for Reason magazine, the Washington Examiner and National Review.

I give her credit only for voicing the unscientific opinion of many Americans who do not deal well with areas of gray. They expect science to provide firm answers for everything when proper research often raises more questions than it answers. Such has been the case with COVID-19 research.

Government advice on best practice has been a day-by-day process in an attempt to provide us with the latest information against a worldwide scourge. Monday morning quarterbacks — de Rugy included — will always have better perspective than the players on the field, in the moment.

Although she focuses on the current Democratic federal administration, I hope de Rugy will extend her demands for accountability to Republican-only legislatures that have badly misplayed their hands. Looking at per capita COVID-19 death rates, 12 of the top 15 are Republican-only.

For states with the highest per capita total COVID-19 case rates, 13 of the worst 15 are Republican-only. And the 15 states with the poorest rates of COVID-19 vaccination? All 15 are led by Republican-only legislatures.

Comedian George Carlin said, “Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.” There’s lots of room for improvement.

Richard Closson
Santa Barbara

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Plastic is extremely abundant in today’s world and is used in a massive amount of everyday items and products, yet it is also one of the most environmentally harmful items out there as it cannot be easily destroyed by natural processes.

Being nonbiodegradable, it cannot be decomposed in the wild and its abundant use inevitably leads to a large amount of waste going into the environment, contaminating the oceans, water and soil, where it directly impacts local produce and potentially threatens the resources we consume.

Even though a large part of the public may be aware of the adverse effects of plastic pollution, addressing such issues on an individual level can be challenging because of the overwhelming prevalence of plastic in our society. As a result, change must also come on a systemic level.

We at UC Santa Barbara CALPIRG fully support the effort of Assembly Bill 2026 in banning single-use plastic packaging. We believe that society as a whole should realign itself to lessen its current overreliance on plastic, thus encouraging the shift toward alternative, more environmentally friendly options.

Eddie Chan
UC Santa Barbara

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