Question: Does Santa Barbara County First District Supervisor Das Williams want a solution to the parking problems at the Hot Springs Trailhead in Montecito, or does he just want to grandstand? In the May 4 Noozhawk story, “Tensions Flare Over Chronic Parking Pressures at Montecito’s Hot Springs Trailhead,” he seems to be attributing the worst of motives to his constituents.

My elderly in-laws live near the Hot Springs Trailhead, and in my experience, they and their neighbors are frustrated, even angry, but no one is advocating for violence. To insinuate otherwise is disturbing for an elected official.

B. Taylor
Santa Barbara

•        •        •

Regarding Wayne Mellinger’s May 2 commentary, “The Criminalization of Homelessness Is Morally Wrong,” I agree there should be supportive services and programs for the truly homeless, which is why my family supports the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission, Path Santa Barbara and our church. We are fortunate to have many other worthwhile nonprofit organizations in our community.

But Mellinger goes further, implying that anti-vagrancy laws are somehow unfair and that downtown businesses that are protecting their property are wrong. I could not disagree more!

I have two children who worked in downtown Santa Barbara, one of them a teenage daughter who twice was accosted by homeless men who exposed themselves and was repeatedly badgered for money. I feared for her safety after dark. When my son was in high school, he was working at a Lower State Street restaurant when a homeless man barged in, demanded free food and then began throwing furniture around.

I consider these incidents unfair to the public/community and morally wrong. Why is it always the law-abiding public that bears 100% of the burden, though? Until the social justice advocates for these types of homeless people recognize that these are legitimate problems, the public will continue to make the very assumptions that Mellinger complains about.

Theresa Smith
Santa Barbara

•        •        •

Thanks to Robert Sulnick for pointing out in his May 3 commentary, “With Oceans Rising, ‘Adaptations’ Are Not a Solution,” that actions to adapt to sea-level rise (such as adding sand to beaches, building sea walls, or relocating coastal homes and infrastructure) will not stop the sea from rising.

Coastal communities are flooding because heat-trapping emissions from burning coal, oil and gas are heating our planet, melting polar ice and thermally expanding sea water. The only way to protect coastal communities like ours is to support congressional action to drastically reduce emissions, phase out fossil fuels and make the transition to clean energy.

No other action stops the sea from rising.

Sulnick also reminds us that climate change is a global problem that requires a global solution. Regardless of what actions Santa Barbara may take to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, if the rest of the world carries on burning fossil fuels, climate catastrophes, including sea rise, will continue unabated.

To achieve a global solution, economists have long advocated for establishing an increasing price on carbon pollution with a carbon adjustment at our borders. This policy would protect U.S. businesses when exporting to nations without a price on carbon and require all nations, including China, to pay the U.S. price on the carbon content of their imports, thus incentivizing them all to adopt similar policies.

In recent weeks it has been especially encouraging to see Republicans and Democrats discussing border carbon adjustments. Our top two trading partners, the European Union and Canada, are already moving forward with carbon prices and border carbon adjustments of their own. If the United States doesn’t adopt similar policies, American exports to those nations will be charged a carbon tariff. The United States should not miss this opportunity to take global leadership in making the transition to a clean energy future. These policies should be included in “Build Back Better” legislation.

Bob Taylor

•        •        •

I plan to vote to re-elect Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown on June 7.

Brown has the experience, leadership, professionalism and integrity that we need during these uncertain times. He has served Santa Barbara County with distinction.

Due to Brown’s expertise and diligence, he was able to obtain an $80 million grant to get the new North County jail built, which also brought jobs and an improved economy to our county. Whenever there is an emergency in our county, you can find Brown there, providing the leadership and experience necessary to address that crisis. He knows what to do.

Brown is well respected by his peers both at the state and national level, having been elected president of the California State Sheriffs’ Association and vice president of the Major County Sheriffs of America. He will become president of that organization in two years; as president, he will be working with Congress.

Brown has been endorsed by more than 1,000 people throughout the county and state. Please join me and vote to re-elect Brown on June 7.

Alice Milligan
Retired Lompoc Unified School District associate superintendent

•        •        •

Why would anyone looking at the facts vote for the incumbent Santa Barbara County superintendent of schools. In her 15 years at the County Education Office, she has NOT improved the academic outcomes for our children under her leadership. The incumbent is failing students, their families and the community. She keeps on using the same methods, methodologies and ideologies that clearly are not working, yet she expects your vote.

Only 34% of students in the county are proficient in math, and only 47% are proficient in English. Those are failing grades for anyone, much less the incumbent schools superintendent.

The incumbent says she has years of experience, but does her experience generate any positive educational results? Just look at the 102 students under her direct care at the county Board of Education. Their results have steadily declined under her tenure, to a point so low that that it cannot possibly get any lower.

None of the 102 students under her direct care are proficient in English. None of the 102 students under her direct care are proficient in math. Zero. From a taxpayer’s perspective, she has failed in her fiduciary duty. At a moral level, it is far worse. Without real skills, these students don’t stand a chance in our increasingly competitive and challenging world.

I will vote for Christy Lozano for county schools superintendent. She has the grit, energy and determination to turn our County Education Office around.

I’ve known Lozano personally. She is well equipped to meet all the challenges of the job and heal the wounds and divisions in our schools. She understands that the children have been put in the crosshairs of educational divisiveness, both locally and nationally. This is truly a tragedy that must be overcome and will only be overcome by taking politics out of the classroom.

Lozano has the moral strength, good character, affability and vision to lead. Nothing is more important to the future of our county and our country than raising up and fully preparing the next generation of young people with the skills and character to succeed.

Peggy Wilson
Santa Barbara

•        •        •

As an educator and school leader in Santa Barbara, I support Santa Barbara County schools Superintendent Susan Salcido.

I first met Salcido when I moved to Santa Barbara in 2019. She invited me to speak with her because she wanted to get to know me as a person, not just as an administrator. I was immediately drawn to her enthusiasm and warmth.

Since then, she has always supported me as an educator and school leader. I know that she genuinely cares about all students in the county because she has shown me how much she wanted me to succeed by taking the time to mentor me despite her busy schedule. I know that everyone who meets her can see how competent and compassionate she truly is!

Since then, I have met Salcido several times at a variety of events. Each time, I learned from her professionalism, intelligence and poise. I cannot think of a better person to be the county schools superintendent. She definitely has the experience and expertise. But most important, she has the heart and patience for the job.

I would encourage the community to vote for Susan Salcido, who will continue to do an outstanding job!

Kip Glazer
Santa Barbara educator and school leader

•        •        •

As the Santa Barbara County 2018 Teacher of the Year, I was able to witness first-hand the transition of county schools Superintendent Bill Cirone’s retirement, and the seamless takeover of Susan Salcido as his successor. She took her new position seriously from the moment she took office.

Salcido makes it a priority to visit school sites in our county and has visited my classroom often, even after my term ended. Each visit comes with animated conversations with students and genuine curiosity about what they are learning.

She collaborates with teachers and asks questions about what’s working as well as any struggles we face. Additionally, I see her at many County Education Office functions, such as Battle of the Books, county Spelling Bees, technology symposiums and other meetings. She is always gracious and inquisitive about my students, school district, and even my family.

As many in education know, dealing with COVID-19 over the past few years has been difficult. Through the many changes and updates that schools were facing, Salcido was always available and supportive of decisions school were making to fit their needs.

As a fifth-grade teacher at Oak Valley Elementary School, I firmly believe that Salcido has the experience and dedication to lead our schools. Please join me in voting for her on June 7.

Jennifer Cline

•        •        •

On June 7 there is a choice to make. Educator Christy Lozano is running for Santa Barbara County schools Superintendent. She will remove the race training and inappropriate sex and gender training currently in our schools. And Lozano will reinstate basic learning into our school system, which has now sunk to 49th lowest in the nation.

Lozano is running against the incumbent who caused all this damage to our schools. On June 7 vote Christy Lozano in. For the children.

Thomas Cole

•        •        •

I am writing in support of Susan Salcido’s re-election campaign for Santa Barbara County schools superintendent.

As the assistant director of a small local preschool, I have relied on Salcido’s expertise for the success of our school. During her time on our preschool board, she helped create an equal pay scale to make sure all staff are fairly paid. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she was our go-to information source for any rules and regulations we didn’t understand. Without her, I am positive that our journey of reopening would have been far more difficult.

To this day, Salcido is always available to answer any and all questions we have, no matter how busy she is. Specifically, she has been a tremendous help navigating how best to assist some of our children who have special education needs. Her knowledge and willingness to go the extra mile are evident in the success of the students she is able to support.

As a parent to three small children who have just entered the public school system, I am relieved to have Salcido as a resource. She has proven herself to be more than capable of continuing her role as superintendent.

Allison Wilcoxon

•        •        •

I support Christy Lozano for Santa Barbara County schools superintendent. She is a longtime teacher and is in the classroom with our children. She knows what is needed to help them with education and provide our children with the tools they need for success.

In addition, Lozano has the gumption to stand up for what is right despite the consequences to herself — as evidenced by her going on national TV to expose the racial injustices in our schools. She is a person who puts children’s needs above hers, and this is exactly what we need for our children!

The incumbents have a failing track record long before COVID-19. Per EdSource, “California has the lowest literacy rate of any state” and “recent research shows that even high-performing California students score lower on standardized tests than their counterparts in better performing states.”

70% of Hispanic children can’t read and write at grade level, meaning 70% of Hispanic children do not have what they need to succeed. They can’t get into our own Santa Barbara City College!

Do you think Santa Barbara children are given the tools they need to go on to be teachers, doctors, lawyers, tech wizards, etc.? Ask the Santa Barbara Unified School District how many children go on to higher learning, college, trade schools, etc. When you do, you’ll know why our children cannot get jobs paying enough for them to stay here in Santa Barbara. You’ll know why so many cannot afford to live here where they grew up.

Between failed academics and their flagrant disregard for children’s safety, every incumbent elected school official should be fired. Vote for people who truly care about children’s health and futures. Vote for people whose actions show they care about children.

Brian Campbell
Santa Barbara

•        •        •

Those of us who live in Santa Barbara County should be extremely proud to call Susan Salcido our schools superintendent. Salcido is the finest educator I’ve ever known. Prior to my retirement, I was an assistant superintendent at the County Education Office and worked closely with her for more than 10 years. My experience with her was extraordinary.

Salcido is extremely intelligent and considered in her approach, an exceptional problem solver, an excellent communicator and, most important, a leader whose decisions are keenly focused on improving the lives of the children and families she serves. She is the type of leader who works in partnership with others — she rolls up her sleeves and does the hard work.

Salcido is humble to the core, and performs her responsibilities with grace, kindness and compassion.

The position of county schools superintendent is enormous, and Salcido’s highly successful district and county office leadership experience have uniquely prepared her for the rigors of the position. It is for good reason that she has earned the deep and abiding respect of educators across the county and throughout California.

I have tremendous respect and admiration for Salcido, and I wholeheartedly support her re-election.

Kathy Hollis
Santa Barbara

•        •        •

When it comes time to vote for Santa Barbara County schools superintendent, I will NOT be voting for Susan Salcido.

Salcido is well aware that there have been a number of questions and concerns about what happened to the Cold Spring School District’s Measure C Bond money. Many of us have written to her, begging her to do her job and order a full forensic accounting of the monies.

Instead of requesting a free, independent, state-run Fiscal Crisis & Management Assistance Team forensic audit to get to the truth and end the conflict, Salcido has refused, claiming “there is no evidence of fraud.”

Apparently, she is fine with millions of dollars of bond money being spent ILLEGALLY without a required Independent Oversight Committee. She’s also fine with the fact that Cold Spring School Superintendent Amy Alzinl claimed falsely that a committee existed when it didn’t.

I myself requested all documents related to the spending of Measure C money, and what the district turned over was dismal and lacks the original contractor bids and invoices standard in these situations. Moreover, $80,000 was spent on architectural plans for an administration building that was not on the bond measure.

But the icing on the cake is that Salcido was honored by Alzina and the Cold Spring School district (the first time in district history that such recognition was given!) in April 2021, around the time that many district residents were requesting the independent FCMAT forensic audit.

I have a simple question for Salcido: If the district is innocent, why would it oppose a forensic audit? If I hadn’t done anything wrong, I would welcome independent verification.

Salcido doesn’t deserve another term because she has failed to serve us in this term.

Don Miller

•        •        •

I remember my first day as a student at Dos Pueblos High School, which was also Susan Salcido’s first day teaching there. I was definitely nervous going into high school but as soon as I walked into class, she was there. If she was nervous, too, it didn’t show.

As my first English teacher and as my tennis coach, Salcido impacted my life more than any other teacher.

On that first day, I immediately felt welcomed by her and felt a connection due to our shared Asian descent. I struggled in English class due to comprehension issues and focus, but I kept trying and she never once doubted or gave up on me.

By my senior year I was doing a lot better, thanks to her earlier help. Then on April 16, my father passed away. After a few weeks, I was automatically signed off as graduated with the option to still walk with my graduating class. I didn’t want to go back to school, as my world was turned upside down, but I did. Salcido welcomed me back to her 12th-grade English class.

I am so grateful to her, and I will always remember her and cherish her for being my teacher.

Please vote to re-elect Susan Salcido for Santa Barbara County schools superintendent. We need more educators like her!

Jonathan Shaw

•        •        •

Be part of history! Vote Christy Lozano for Santa Barbara County schools superintendent. For the first time in more than 35 years, we finally get to vote to decide who will oversee the turnaround of our failed public schools. Countywide, Salcido has proven she cannot do the work required of a superintendent. Lozano can and will get the job done!

Voters, parents and taxpayers are disregarded by Salcido. She even ignores voter decisions and taxpayers, as evidenced at Cold Spring School in Montecito, where she circumvented voters who rejected the L2020 bond.

Voters wanted a forensic audit of expenditures from an earlier approved bond. Salcido refused the audit, and instead authorized release of remaining Measure C bond funds rather than audit past expenditures as per the district vote. The vote was to not approve another taxpayer-funded bond to build until AFTER a forensic audit, but Salcido decided otherwise.

Make your vote matter. Vote Christy Lozano for the school leadership change desperately needed in our county.

Denice Spangler Adams

•        •        •

I strongly support the re-election of Susan Salcido as Santa Barbara County schools superintendent. She has earned broad-based support and trust throughout the county and has a five-year, proven track record of success overseeing a $100 million budget, serving 20 school districts and 70,000 students.

As the recently retired program manager/executive director of the Children’s Creative Project for 44 years under the County Education Office, I urge everyone to vote for Salcido. Continuing support from her and the County Education Office for the Children’s Creative Project has enabled the program’s arts education services to grow from serving one school in the 1970s to more than 100 schools and 50,000 students with visual and performing arts instruction and performances.

This support also was instrumental to the creation of the I Madonnari Italian Street Painting Festival in 1987. Children’s Creative Project will present its 36th annual I Madonnari Festival during the Memorial Day weekend at the Santa Barbara Mission to raise funds for its arts education programs serving schools.

As superintendent, Salcido’s leadership exemplifies excellent creative problem-solving skills, collaboration, forward thinking, listening and guidance to consistently improve for all students: academic education, social and emotional well-being, health and safety.

For all students countywide, Salcido has expertly managed one of the most challenging times for public education. Now it is critical to have an experienced, intelligent, calm and resourceful leader. Vote to re-elect Susan Salcido for county schools superintendent.

Kathy Koury
Santa Barbara

•        •        •

I remember how happy I was when I first got accepted to UC Santa Barbara, but the impact of rising tuition costs has dampened my excitement. In particular, I found it frustrating to have to buy textbooks I’d only ever use for a single quarter.

The price of textbooks has been increasing at 812% the rate of inflation since 1980, and it’s only getting worse. Right now, the price for a single textbook ranges from around $200 to $400, and most students find themselves buying multiple textbooks throughout the year.

Resourceful students can find ways to circumvent these fees, but the publishers are catching on, forcing us to pay hundreds of dollars for temporary access codes and class subscriptions. If UCSB switched to open source textbooks, it would not only reduce fees; it would help professors tailor their class materials in an easily accessible way.

Garrett Wu

•        •        •

As a second-year UCSB student, I have suffered with the exorbitant price of textbooks for far too long and would like for this issue to end as soon as possible.

Textbook costs have increased at 812% the rate of inflation since 1980. As college students, we struggle to make ends meet juggling our studies, extracurriculars and jobs while having a full course load. Rent and personal costs are often not included in this tuition cost, then on top of that, are the textbooks that can cost anywhere from $200-$400 on average. These costs have forced students to borrow from their peers, or find used books sales.

We can fix this problem with open source textbooks, which are free to read and cheap to print, and this can happen by developing programs like those that already exist in universities like UMass that partner with professors to make the transition from expensive textbooks to open source.

I, like many other students, have struggled to afford college, and every dollar we can save is another dollar we can put toward our futures.

Mia Roque

•        •        •

The underside of my desk, which is typically reserved as legroom, is slowly being devoured by an ever-growing, makeshift library of textbooks I’ve barely used. It’s only my first year at UCSB, but I dread to think of the dozens of textbooks I will have to buy and barely use over the next few years of my college career.

Textbooks tend to cost students anywhere from $1,000-1,200 a year. Of course, students will always find a way to make it work: used books, library copies, group collaborations or less-than-legal alternatives. The point is we shouldn’t have to.

We need open textbooks. They’re free to read, cheap to print and still of high quality. Open textbooks increase student performance and completion in the classroom, which is not surprising since the educational materials are actually accessible. They work for the CSUs and schools like UMass or Salem State, why not the UCs?

We need more of these grant programs and support systems to help professors make the transition to open source textbooks. Everyone deserves to have a good education; textbook prices are an unnecessary barrier. The bottom line is that education should not be a luxury.

Chloe Hsieh

•        •        •

Mail Calls

Noozhawk welcomes and encourages expressions of all views on Santa Barbara County issues. Letters should be BRIEF — as in 200 words-BRIEF — and letters under 150 words are given priority. Each must include a valid mailing address and contact information. Pseudonyms will not be used, and repeat letters will be skipped. Letters may be edited for clarity, length and style.

With rare exceptions, this feature is published on Saturdays.

By submitting any content to Noozhawk, you warrant that the material is your original expression, free of plagiarism, and does not violate any copyright, proprietary, contract or personal right of anyone else. Noozhawk reserves, at our sole discretion, the right to choose not to publish a submission.

Click here for Noozhawk’s Terms of Use, and click here for more information about how to submit letters to the editor and other announcements, tips and stories.