Noozhawk’s Sept. 18 story, “Public Health Reports COVID-19-Related Death of Santa Maria Resident Under 30,” says “a Santa Maria resident in the 18-29 age range has passed away from the disease, the youngest to date.” According to the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, the person “had an underlying medical condition.”

It seems that the vast majority of the reported deaths include that statement about “an underlying medical condition.” Yet no information has ever been released — of which I am aware — that includes what these “underlying medical conditionx” are, other than in broad generalities.

It certainly would help the general populace to better know just who is at extreme risk if that information was included. It could be done without compromising anyone’s medical privacy since no names, etc. are ever released.

Perhaps Noozhawk could prevail upon the Public Health Department to share that critical information with us.

Addison Thompson
Santa Barbara

•        •        •

I want to thank Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen for keeping up the pressure on Santa Barbara County (and the state of California) over its mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic. His Sept. 18 column, “Santa Barbara County Test Drives Its Latest Coronavirus Tactic,” is spot on.

It’s inexcusable that the county withholds so much detail about people who have died. We NEED to know that information.

Francis Chase
Santa Barbara

•        •        •

Regarding the Sept. 12 story, “California Coastal Commission Gives Key Approval of Fire Station Project for Western Goleta,” it’s good to see the fire station on the west end of Hollister Avenue get approval — even if it did take 40 years.

About a year ago, the California Highway Patrol was trying to move to a site in that general area but did not get approval. Why not combine the two at the one location?

Carl Hopkins
Santa Barbara

•        •        •

It is a shame local news organizations cannot report the facts of a meeting objectively. I started with KTMS in 1977, and was the first woman radio reporter to be hired. Our editor would not allow any stories to be broadcast until both sides were included. No bias was allowed or the story got tossed.

What a difference 43 years makes.

Noozhawk’s account of the Sept. 17 candidates forum for the Santa Barbara Unified School District trustees race, “Bilingual Education Dominates Discussion During Forum of Santa Barbara School Board Candidates,” twisted the words of three challengers — Elrawd MacLearn, Brian Campbell and Monie de Wit — while embellishing incumbents Laura Capps, Jacqueline Reid and Wendy Sims-Moten.

One sentence was “candidate Elrawd MacLearn struck a negative tone throughout the forum, including bashing the incumbents and taking a wide swing at Adelante Charter School. ‘What is going on at Adelante is not effectively teaching the children.’ MacLearn said. ‘The board and the incumbents have renewed the charter at Adelante, even though they had decreasing scores.’”

How are facts like “not effectively teaching the children” and “decreasing scores” negative? If that is actually what is going on at Adelante, why doesn’t the school board consult with Franklin School and find out how its pods brought scores up almost 50 percent? Let’s deal with it and not squeal about it. Let’s see these literacy scores — like Cleveland School’s below 30 percent — rise to those of the successful schools in this area. Our children are depending on us.

Many thanks for the Coalition for Neighborhood Schools for hosting an unbiased forum. More than 155 people participated in the Zoom call, according to organizer Alice Post.

Mary Hudson
Santa Barbara

•        •        •

Every candidate seeking local political office deserves a fair shake from our journalists. This is especially important for nonpartisan races like school board elections. Noozhawk’s role is to allow the voters to select their choice from among the candidates through articles that inform its readership through objective reporting and presentation. It’s called Journalism.

That didn’t happen in Josh Molina’s Sept. 13 article, “Santa Barbara School Board Election a Contested Scramble with Contentious Undercurrent,” covering the seven school board candidates.

All four liberal candidates were gifted an advantage over the other three candidates. First by placement: the Democrat-endorsed newcomer was followed by the three incumbents. The majority of the article, as well, was dedicated to those four candidates.

The remaining three candidates were randomly added at the end of the article. Tossed in last minute like croutons to a salad.

Right now, your job is to allow your citizen-neighbors to make up their own minds. Save the endorsements for October when we expect our local newspapers to state their positions on the candidates and various ballot initiatives — on the opinion page. For now, trust the voter.

When you write up the article highlighting the six candidates vying for the three seats on the Santa Barbara City College Board of Trustee seats, this is how it’s done:

» List chronologically by district: Second, followed by Third, followed by Fourth

» List the two candidates in each district in alphabetical order

» Maintain an objective tone and allot the same space for each candidate

All candidates running in the local school board elections are doing so out of civic duty. Certainly it’s not for power, money,or influence. We are each working hard, pretty exhausted already, and making sacrifices from our personal lives to serve the community we care for.

ALL the candidates are entitled to equal respect from the news media.

Celeste Barber
Santa Barbara

•        •        •

The posted agenda for the Sept. 8 Santa Barbara Unified School District trustees meeting scheduled five minutes to discuss Teen Talk, demonstrating the board’s intention to vote in the program quickly and perfunctorily.

Much to the board’s surprise, however, there was once again an overwhelming opposition to Teen Talk from the community, especially from now aware and engaged Hispanic parents. More than 100 people signed up to give input on Teen Talk.

The five-minute “vote” dragged out to several hours of public comments. Dutifully, the board listened to the overwhelming objection to Teen Talk and also to many students calling in from Future Leaders of America. These students were backed by Planned Parenthood and it appears they were provided with scripts with legal citations in their support of Teen Talk.

It was again a divisive and heated topic. The correct, respectful and nonpartisan recourse for all parties concerned should have been to have a public forum as requested. As one parent said, “Divisiveness is everywhere, can we just have a forum and allow all parties to have input?”

But the board held fast to its position of no public forum because the board claimed it already had a forum done by Anne Roundy-Harter, whose farce of a report was completed in January. She did have five educational forums, but all were very poorly announced and publicized. She had only 27 responses to make her report representing 14,000 students and families in the district. To claim Roundy-Harter’s report of 27 responses is meaningful and representative of the Santa Barbara community is outrageous and laughable.

Parents and community members opposed to Teen Talk are maligned as not wanting sex education, which is false! In fact, more than one speaker made it clear that they want sex ed to be taught but do not want the Teen Talk curriculum.

In a Sept. 7 Noozhawk article, “Democrats Call Out Republicans at Santa Barbara County Labor Day Event,” Santa Barbara County Democratic Party chairwoman Gail Teton-Landis disrespectfully stated, “There’s a wide array of Trumpian Republicans and Fair Education conservatives running, and for every education seat there are folks who don’t want sex education taught … we have a lot of races to win and we must be unified.”

So are Santa Barbara school board positions being used for Democratic Party political gain?

Lastly, to address comments made against HEART: Healthy Education and Relationship Training, author Skip Hellewell said that “Any attack on the HEART as not inclusive of LGB and others is incorrect and unfounded. HEART is inclusive of all gender expressions, teaches students to be accepting and nonjudgmental, and provides information to help youth find their own way through today’s sexual maze.”

Hellewell has offered his time to teach the board about HEART curriculum, but the board could not be bothered.

In short, this school board showed up at the Sept. 8 meeting with the intent to vote in the Teen Talk curriculum regardless of what the public wanted. We need public servants who will work in the public interest, not those who act in their own interests regardless of the public interest.

Peggy Wilson
Santa Barbara

•        •        •

As long as Noozhawk does not allow comments, you are only doing half a job.

Ed Adams
Santa Barbara

•        •        •

I have recently found municipalities across the country have paid out millions of dollars to settle cases of police aggression. The courts determined the actions of specific police officers had caused unnecessary harm or death to others.

There has been no mention of the funds that were tapped to provide those judgments, however. I suggest that police retirement accounts be tapped, rather than insurance or the general budget. I see no reason why taxpayers should be forced to meet the millions required.

This action might accomplish two things: taxpayers would not be affected and police reform would be immediate. If this is not possible under current contracts, it should be in future contracts.

Edith Ogella
Santa Barbara

•        •        •

The state of California is totally out of control. The Democrats in power want all your money for more welfare votes, and expanding our massive bloated government even more.

The Democrats in power think we work for them. Vote no on Proposition 15.

Kevin O’Connor
Santa Ynez

•        •        •

An important challenge is occurring in the Lompoc mayoral race. Mayor Jenelle Osborne has served four years as a city councilwoman and two as mayor. The challenger, Victor Vega, has served six years as a councilman with two years to go in that seat.

Santa Barbara County Fourth District Supervisor Peter Adam chose not to run again, and is being succeeded by Bob Nelson, which means in 2024 Nelson would need to run again. That is when Osborne reappears. If she remains mayor from 2020 through 2024, I expect her to then run for the Fourth District seat.

This is a big deal in county politics. The Fourth District is the only conservative Republican seat. Adam is conservative, as is Nelson. The Fifth District seat in Santa Maria is occupied by a moderate Republican, and the First, Second and Third districts are all held by liberal Democrats.

Osborne is a liberal, tax-and-spend type. She favors government bureaucrats over the community’s welfare. Vega is a moderate who favors the immediate needs of the community, bringing new jobs and paying down the CalPERS debt.

Osborne supported spending the city reserve fund and insurance reserves on staff salary increases and other staff requests. Vega supported the hiring of three police officers and 1.75 parks personnel.

This race is not about personalities. Rather, do you want the city and county districts to go liberal left, or remain moderate like Lompoc, with Victor Vega?

David Grill

•        •        •

I’m conservative and primarily vote Republican. I have voted for Democrats in the past. I don’t need to totally agree with a candidate’s political views to support him or her.

I primarily look for candidates who understand how democracy works and who make some common sense. It’s my belief that individual responsibility, economic freedom and human dignity are important characteristics that distinguish democracy from other forms of government.

I readily acknowledge that modern Republican political candidates leave much to be desired, but modern Democrats are a far bigger personal concern. The source of government money is taxes. The Democrat Robin Hood-like mantra that success should be heavily taxed to redistribute wealth and that government should have greater control over individual lives will not create the fantasy-land democracy Democrats are attempting to sell to Americans.

We should encourage success, not penalize it. Successful people generate jobs for others. Large profits made by corporations allow them to expand and create more jobs. And, you could be a less-than-wealthy shareholder and share in the profits via stock dividends from successful companies.

All one has to do is look at the wealth exiting California, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York to realize the disaster of penalizing success. And, with this exit of wealth, who do you think will have their taxes increased to generate needed state revenue?

I encourage you to examine the policies and proposals of both major political parties. Make your own determination as to whether they promote individual responsibility, economic freedom and human dignity.

Republican proposals are somewhat lacking but, in my opinion, Democratic proposals don’t even come close to recognizing, encouraging or supporting individuals in our democratic society.

You don’t have to agree with me. Exercise your right to vote. Just be aware of what you are voting for.

Sanderson Smith

•        •        •

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.

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.