Letters for Dec. 13, 2012

Scapegoating the boys
By Pat Horwitz

After listening to Kathleen Reddington’s rather lengthy dissertation at her last City Council meeting, I felt compelled to speak up.

I have watched Kathleen over the last four years show up to meetings without understanding the issues, speaking over other councilmembers, not following the rules of Roberts for public meetings and then over and over again blaming her inadequacies on the men not wanting to hear from a woman. This is just ridiculous.

Donna Jordan effectively served our city for 16 years, at times as the only woman on the council; Diane Brighton and Lisa Guravitz served on the fire board with three men; June Van Wingerden is the only woman on the water board, and I have just retired after 15 years as the only woman on the sanitary district board. Not one of us has said we could not accomplish something because we were outnumbered by the men.

Women need to have reasonable voices, and we do bring a new perspective to problem solving. This is done through leadership skills, not entitlement because of our sex. In my opinion, Kathleen’s statements last night just turned the clock back on the leaps and bounds women have made over the years, and I am outraged at her arrogant blaming of the men on the board for her lack of respect, articulation and leadership skills.

Letters for Dec. 6, 2012

Bravo to “A Christmas Carol”
By Jill Hampton

I just spent a terrific afternoon watching the wonderful performance of “A Christmas Carol” at the Plaza Playhouse Theater. We are so fortunate to have such a fantastic community theater in our little town.

Director Asa Olsson has put together such a great cast with period costumes and a marvelous set. I loved seeing my friends and neighbors brilliantly playing their parts like true professionals, and all are volunteers!

If you have not been, you must go this coming weekend. It is such a delightful way to start the holiday season. I was applauding every scene and constantly shouting “Bravo.” This is a performance that is perfect for the entire family and such fun. You will love it.

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Letters for Nov. 8, 2012

THE SYSTEM IS BROKEN:
By Nita Abbott

Why are we still using the Electoral College system? That worked in the horse and buggy era, but we have instant communication now. It would be quick and easy to vote that way. One would just need to provide full legal name, birthdate, Social Security number and signature. It seems this would identify any voter.

With this system, everyone could have an equal vote and the decision wouldn’t be announced before some states even had a chance to vote. The popular vote seems more fair anyway, as there are more than seven states in the United States!

Now some personal ideas: A president would get one six-year term. This would allow him/her to do what is best for the entire country instead of favors for special groups in order to help achieve a second term. Also, I’d like to limit campaigning to six months, preferably three.

It has been a long, tiring, expensive campaign for everyone. In four years, I hope it can be shorter and simpler.

GREETINGS FROM RHODE ISLAND:
I’m writing to you to say hello from the smallest state in the union, Rhode Island. I am a seventh-grade student at Goff Junior High School in Pawtucket, R.I. For my geography class, we are working on a semester-long project in which we are responsible for creating an oral, written and poster project on a particular U.S. state. I chose to do my report on California. Could you please publish this letter in your paper so that your readers could help me on my project?

Thank you for your time. Also, it would help if I had information about California or even pictures from California.

Trevor W.
724 Newport Avenue
Pawtucket, R.I., 02861

Letters for Oct. 25, 2012

NO BUTTS, NO BAGS, NO SENSE:
By John Hadidian
Thank goodness our elected officials now have those dangerous minority nicotine addicts in the ghetto. There is nothing more dangerous than the ire of a former smoker catching a waft of the scent of burning tobacco. The legal use of a taxable product in all open environments must be eliminated by threatening fine and ultimately jail for failing to pay the fine; the perfect supplement to existing litter laws.

Thank goodness our elected officials have replaced single use plastic bags weighing 4 grams with their reusable counter parts weighing 88 to 115 grams. We can get to the 7,000 grams of product packaging in my four reusable bags at a later date. In the meantime, just let me purchase that eighth reusable bag because I left another one in my other car. I know, “Feel globally and react locally.”

It was about time we eliminated all unenlightened choices from the last remaining 35 percent of those reckless decisions to reuse single use bags to pack lunches, wet clothes, and line trashcans before we tried to get recycling them to go above the 50 percent. Education is so inefficient when you have mission oriented public servant benefactors.

CARFREE IS NOT A BAN:
By Lynda Lang
Since the Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce’s City Council Candidates’ Forum included a question about turning Carpinteria into a Car-FREE city, many people have begun talking about what the term means. I thought some clarification might help quiet some of the buzz about folks not being able to have cars in Carpinteria.

“Car-FREE Carpinteria” does not mean we will not be able to have cars in Carpinteria! Car-FREE in many California cities and towns, including the City of Santa Barbara, means that people have an option to arrive and enjoy their visit by taking Amtrak or an MTD bus to town. Once here, visitors would take the Seaside Shuttle to their hotel destination, out to shop, to local restaurants and/or to rent a bike and pedal around town.

Of course there is always that great walk out on the beach, on the beautiful bluffs or up and down the sidewalks of our quaint town to get the full feeling of how friendly Carpinteria is. Plus, did you know that Car-FREE towns offer great incentives for visitors to leave their vehicle at home and spend less time trying to negotiate traffic and find parking? Wow! Now that’s what I call a vacation.

I invite you to go to SantaBarbaracarfree.org, to check out discounts offered to travel on Amtrak and other offers for those special visitors who leave their car at home.

It’s the hope of the City of Carpinteria and the Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce, that the routing of the Seaside Shuttle could someday include the Carpinteria Amtrak Platform parking lot and the various local hotels on a regular basis (and maybe someday even more area). By closing this service gap, Carpinteria could, also be one of the towns offering all the incentives to visitors who come to town Car-FREE.

GO WITH GURAVITZ:
By Bob Duncan
I would like to say a few words regarding the forthcoming selection of directors for the Carpinteria Summerland Fire District. In my 10 years as a director, I have been pleased to work with talented and devoted public servants whose sole purpose has been to run an extremely well organized and efficient fire district.

Incumbent Lisa Guravitz has been an outstanding board member, contributing new ideas and energy to our group, and I am pleased to recommend that you vote for her this November.

TAFF AND JOHNSON WILL BRING KNOW-HOW:
By Kelley Baker
Whether it is 3 p.m. or 3 a.m., and regardless of the situation, if you are in need of help your local firefighters will come to your aid. For more than 75 years, the firefighters of Carpinteria-Summerland Fire have been answering the call of those in need. Now we are asking for your help by electing Bill Taff and Chris Johnson to the Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Board. What do these candidates bring to the fire board? Knowledge and experience.

Bill Taff is a retired firefighter who served with the Santa Barbara City Fire Department for almost 40 years, most of which as a fire captain. With decades of experience under his belt he knows first hand what your firefighters face as emergency responders and will ensure that the agency is striving to meet its service obligation to the community.

Chris Johnson is an emergency room physician with local roots. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from USCB, proceeded to medical school and then finished his training in emergency medicine at USC Medical Center. He is currently acting Medical Director of the Emergency Department at CMH in Ventura and is also completing his last year as the Chair of Medicine for the hospital.

Because of their diverse backgrounds in fire and EMS, these candidates understand what is required for us to get the job done safely and effectively. We feel these candidates will bolster the Fire Board with an element of hands-on expertise, and with their knowledge-based oversight they will undoubtedly prove to enhance the performance of the agency. In closing, please consider helping us by electing these well-qualified candidates, and in due course we feel we will be able to better help you when you are in a time of need.

PROVEN LEADERSHIP A MUST ON FIRE BOARD:
By Craig Price
Since her arrival on the Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District board four years ago, Lisa Guravitz has exemplified the kind of leadership that our community expects and needs. The district has managed to avoid the upheaval and controversy that has marked some local agencies. I attribute this in large part to the leadership and fiscal responsibility exhibited by Chief Mike Mingee, backed by a like-minded board working together on behalf of local residents.

As a fellow fire board member, I have seen Lisa’s thoughtful, sensible approach to solving many tough issues. Like virtually all public agencies, we are beset with health insurance, workers compensation and pension costs that increase faster than revenues. Lisa has demonstrated strong leadership in dealing with these tough issues through her balanced approach to maintaining needed reserves for continued fiscal solvency, providing local residents with a very high level of emergency service and serving the needs of our dedicated firefighters and other staff.

Lisa’s many other important contributions include being the driving force behind obtaining Green Business certification for our administrative headquarters, the first public agency in the county to be so recognized. Lisa has also been a central figure in planning for much needed improvements at both fire stations.

With your support of her candidacy for re-election, I look forward to continuing serving alongside Lisa in the coming years.

STOKER’S OUR MAN:
By June Van Wingerden
We voters in Carpinteria have a rare opportunity to vote for a resident of Carpinteria for state senate. Mike Stoker has the experience and knowledge to be a great senator. Many of us remember Mike when he was on the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors. Mike was a great supervisor. He did not make government his career. Mike has worked in private industry and knows what the crushing government regulations are doing to local business. Mike is a smart guy and lives here. Vote for Mike Stoker for state senate.

PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE ON THE CITY COUNCIL:
By Megan Coates
I am the manager of Silver Sands Village, a mobile home park near the Carpinteria Salt Marsh. When I was first hired, I was overwhelmed by some operations within the park. Fred Shaw was the assistant manager at the time and he was invaluable as a teacher and coach. People skills are really important when dealing with neighbors who are 3-feet from each other. At the time, managing repairs and occasional emergencies were extremely challenging to me. Fred, who was assistant manger for 10 years, knew how to deal with all the varied personalities occupying our park, where the water lines were and which ones were in need of babying, how the pool operated and all the issues related to running a park.

I am still impressed by the patience he offered me and the evenhanded manner with which he solved park issues (often flared tempers at unexpected events). I know that Fred is also a member of the Mobilehome Rent Stabilization Board, which is so important to Carpinteria. Many of my friends live in mobile homes and fear sudden, excessive rent increases will compel them to move.

I am voting for Fred because I see him as a judicious and caring person capable of solving problems both large and small.

J ISN’T THE ONLY ISSUE OUT THERE:
By Rosalyn Kohute
This letter is in response to last week’s “Measure J supporters unfit for office” editorial. Regardless of how one voted on Measure J, as a 28-year member of this community, it is a fact that we have more than only one issue facing our political future. To be so fixated as to say that upstanding citizens of Carpinteria “should be unelectable” is an insult to all voters who still believe in the democratic process.

NEW BLOOD NEEDED ON THE SCHOOL BOARD:
By Melanie Macaluso
At the core of our democracy, we have a citizen legislature that is periodically replaced through elections. Our founding fathers referred to this as “rotation in office.” They believed that the best government is one where citizens serve a term or two and then return to the private sector to become, once again, one of the “governed” rather than a “governor.” Nobody should serve multiple terms in the same office, no matter how well meaning they are. To do so invites stagnation, mediocrity and the creation of an office-holding elite.

This year, two seats are open on the Carpinteria Unified School District school board, and four candidates are vying for them. Of the four, three are entirely new and one has served multiple terms already. Terry Banks has been a CUSD trustee since 1996. In Mr. Pulido’s letter to the editor last week, he lauded Mrs. Banks’ experience on the school board and asked us to re-elect her for another four years. I don’t think that’s right. We all have a stake in public education, and one person should not sit in a school board seat endlessly. We need to keep fresh ideas and energy coming. Mrs. Banks has served a 16-year term. She’s had her chance to provide input, and I think it’s time for her to rotate out and make room for the next contributors.

I think Alison Livett (masters in education, taught math and physics, volunteer tutor) and Blanca Gorman (BA in accounting, parent volunteer in the classroom, bilingual) are great candidates for CUSD School Board. They are smart and capable and will keep the school board fresh, inviting and forward-looking. I urge you to vote Livett and Gorman for CUSD school board.

HOLCOMBE IS THE WHOLE PACKAGE:
By Adrian Butash
Polly Holcombe will make a first class CVWD board member. She has excellent credentials and a passion for evaluating and implementing the best plans for our water needs. I have known Polly five years and observed her activities as a trusted board member at our Santa Barbara Polo Club condos where she served two years as president of our 138 unit complex—in addition to fulfilling her regular management jobs with Fortune 500 corporations.

Our CVWD is burdened with deep and unique problems that are completely out of ratio for such a small town. How can we re-elect the same people who have served for decades? Some say these ladies are inexperienced and are trying to take the current board members’ jobs away. 

Importantly, these are elected positions. These positions belong to the community, and we must install competent and qualified individuals to oversee the intelligent management of our water, which includes electing new officers when necessary. 

Polly’s specific experience in key business areas such as HR, project management, budgeting, contracts, negotiations, disaster recovery and working with diverse competing interests is important experience for solving the enormous problems facing the water board. She maintains a quick wit under pressure, something she will need in this role.

Polly has clearly communicated her immediate goals with respect to finances, processes, environmental impact, state water and morale. Her resourcefulness, execution and positive approach to any challenge—which I have seen in action and have full confidence in—calls me to urge the rest of the community to elect Polly Holcombe as CVWD Board member. If anyone can clean up our water issues, she can. 

FORDE-ING THE STORMY WATERS:
By Claudia Gottstein
It’s election time, and we are seeing lots of political campaign letters to CVN again. Nothing wrong with that; it saves the cost for an ad and incites the public discussion. What bothers me, though, is when false or misleading statements are made to influence Carpinterian voters in a way that shows under-appreciation of their intelligence (sound familiar?). Let’s take John Schmidhauser’s letter as an example (CVN, October 4). Schmidhauser is an official supporter of Van Antwerp. Van Antwerp’s only challenger for the 2 year term seat is Richard Forde. A nice trick to disguise the strength of Forde and the weakness of VanAntwerp is to say, “All are well educated. … VanAntwerp … (had a career in) business and management … Forde in education and consulting.”

What’s not mentioned is that VanAntwerp founded a software company, while Forde has 25 years of experience in the water business, working for a municipal drinking water plant, as the owner of a water consulting company and as a water science professor. Schmidhauser quotes Forde, taken out of context, on the State Water Project. All candidates say that the state contracts have to be renegotiated. Schmidhauser insinuates that Forde has a different opinion. Not true.  

Lastly, to mix in a weak candidate with others is another nice twist. Note that half of the supporting organizations in the Holcombe campaign flyer do not endorse VanAntwerp. In fact, the Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee specifically supports Forde. If a women’s political organization supports a male candidate over a female candidate, that’s a statement all by itself. In summary, fresh faces on the water board are a good idea. There are two choices for the short-term seat. Forde is clearly the better qualified candidate.

RIP REPUBLICAN PARTY:
By Mike Rupert
It’s time to say goodbye to the Republican Party. An immovable base which has turned

Mitt Romney’s head in every direction but forward is on the last legs of a movement largely controlled by older—and very angry—white men. The party is now defined by its permanent obstructionism, providing no solutions to an ever changing landscape, slowly being swallowed up by the winds around it. 

The pathetic attempt to disenfranchise some through voter ID laws along with its inability to compromise with anyone beyond the radical right, exposes not simply strategy by the GOP, but a fear of anything grounded in the malleable, of the evolution of progressive dialogue and thought.

Conservatism is rooted in fear of change for the comfort of “what is,” rather than the honest and studious, “what could be.” To the GOP, Obama is simply the head of that storm—representational of “the other”—more specifically, of America’s changing demographics that, according to some, will turn red-leaning states like Texas, into swing states, within four to eight years.

Come rain or shine in November, the GOP is sinking, showing no desire to adjust. And, after Mitt Romney loses in his quest for the presidency, apparently the only thing on the horizon for this flailing GOP are those dark, “ominous” individuals gradually, and beautifully, helping to move this courageous country of ours inextricably and forever forward. 

RIGHT WING RIDICULOUSNESS:
By Virginia Mariposa
In response to Diana Thorn’s letter of Oct. 18, public sector jobs were only a small percentage of the recent employment gain. The Bureau of Labor Statistics guards its reports like Fort Knox guards its gold. This is a typical Republican response to any fact that makes President Obama look good. They’re like a parent who tells a child that he/she is doing poorly even if the child brings home straight A’s.

In the last month of George Bush’s presidency, 818,000 jobs were lost. The U.S. economy was an open wound that no doctor could staunch. We were in freefall. Barack Obama has worked diligently to create a slow but steady job gain since he took office and bailed out GM, thus saving the employment of nearly a million people not to mention salvaging our car industry. He would have created many more had the Tea Party and the rest of the Republican party not filibustered his every job bill.

What are Ms. Thorn’s sources for unemployment? Are they credible? And what does “black unemployment” have to do with it? She didn’t mention any other ethnic group. Unless you enjoy black people’s pain, I don’t understand her motive. Black unemployment, as we know, is due to fewer educational and financial options for our African-American population, which has raised itself out of slavery with almost no helping hand until the Civil Rights Movement occurred. Enough said.

Letters for Oct. 18, 2012

TORO SALE PROCEEDS BELONG TO SUMMERLAND:
By  Carole Anne Demachkie                   
Carpinteria Unified School District just announced the $2.4 million sale of a property on Toro Canyon Road. The history is relevant.

Summerland School was founded in 1890. When it merged with Carpinteria schools in the 1960s to form the CUSD, Summerland School District consisted of a single building on Valencia Avenue and an undeveloped property on Whitney Avenue. It was debt free. Soon after, the building on Valencia was deemed unsafe. A citizens advisory committee was formed to find a suitable site to build a new school. This committee convinced the Fleischmann family to donate property on Lambert Road. CUSD accepted the gift, but did nothing with it. They placed a “temporary” building on the Valencia site, and put permanent Summerland School plans on hold for about 25 years.

In the 1990s, the school board traded the Fleischmann property, and some cash, for the Toro property with the intention of finally building a new school for Summerland. Unfortunately, the school board either did not conduct due diligence, or ignored the fact that the Toro parcel was not legally suitable for a school. The project failed. A second “temporary” structure was placed on the Valencia site, and permanent Summerland School plans were once again placed on hold.

It’s been 50 years, two properties, two temporary structures and a sizeable bond measure (mostly spent on CMS), since Summerland was promised a new school. In this time, kitchens, Ag buildings, stadiums, playgrounds, libraries, computer labs and more have been provided to Carpinteria schools. Summerland School remains “temporary” and doesn’t meet most basic standards set forth for elementary school facilities by the California Department of Education. It is unconscionable for CUSD to contemplate any other use of the funds from the sale of the Toro Property without first meeting its commitment to Summerland School.  

EXPERIENCE EARNS SCHOOL BOARD ENDORSEMENTS:
By Alex Pulido, PhD
Terry Hickey Banks has the expertise and proven effectiveness as a school board member and has been in this role for many years. In addition to being a board member, she has also served on many parent and community organizations and has had too many successes to mention. I was privileged to serve with Terry as a school board member for eight years, and I have firsthand knowledge of her effectiveness in her service to our community. Carpinteria Schools have made many positive gains because of her leadership, and we should continue her participation on our school board. In these critical times, especially with the economy, we need someone with experience and the wisdom Terry possesses.

My other choice is Suzie Cordero Schneider, who also has proven her outstanding leadership and experience in our school system. She has also participated in many parent and community organizations, often serving as the president of these organizations. She comes from a family of school supporters including her husband and father who served as athletic coaches for many years.

Both Terry and Suzie’s children have attended Carpinteria Schools and therefore they have the inside knowledge of our educational system. In summary, with these two candidates we have the leadership and knowledge and the passion to serve the kids in our community. I strongly urge you to vote for these two candidates for the Carpinteria Unified School District Board of Education.

MEASURE J ATTACKED LOCAL GOVERNMENT:
By Marta Sprigg
In response to last week’s letter “Bad Taste, Bad Politics.” With all due respect to letter writer Mr. Lou Panizzon, I believe that those in favor of Measure J, The Paredon Oil and Gas Development Initiative, were endorsing an attack on the foundations of local government. That was precisely the measure’s intent. I think it’s informative and fair for voters to be reminded of a candidate’s position on previous local issues.

MEASURE J SUPPORTERS UNFIT FOR OFFICE:
By ROyce Stauffer
Measure J, aka The Paredon Oil and Gas Development Initiative, not only allowed oil drilling near city hall but was an attack on the authority of local government. Current candidates who publicly supported Measure J should not be a part of a local government whose authority they do not believe in. The following four candidates who publicly supported Measure J should be unelectable in Carpinteria: Carpinteria Valley Water District Board of Directors, June Van Wingerden and Robert Liberknecht; Carpinteria Unified School District Board of Education, Terry Hickey Banks; Carpinteria City Council, Gregory Gandrud.

WADE IS ON THE WAY:
By Ray Cole
One candidate for the Carpinteria City Council race stands above the rest. 

Only Wade Namura has this unique combination of dignity, tolerance, understanding and sheer love of the community.  

Over many years Wade has served on the Architectural Review Board, served in Rotary, and contributed to so many community efforts to improve the quality of life we all enjoy.  

Who better now to bring some integrity and common sense to the Council? Other candidates talk a lot of serving the community interests. Only Wade has demonstrated the ability to deliver results with his enduring efforts to make Carpinteria a better place.  Without controversy. Without rancor. Without fanfare. And on time.

Wade’s efforts in guiding the development of Tomol Park helped to qualify him for Carpinterian of the Year. Now the totality of his contributions qualifies him for a place on the City Council.

Wade Namura deserves our vote. We deserve someone with his qualities.

SHAW DEMONSTRATES COUNCIL QUALITY:
By Dave Moore
Fred Shaw’s recent performance at the Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce’s City Council Candidate Forum was remarkable, and this, it should be noted, wasn’t just one “great game” for Fred. He brings his best every time he’s recruited to portray his vision for Carpinteria, be it a campaign kickoff event, a neighborhood meet the candidate gathering or the candidates’ forum. His explanations are consistently informative, focused and concise.

And then there’s his winning personality, sense of humor and sincere interest in the opinions of others, characteristics one would definitely want to incorporate into the building of the perfect councilmember.

Fred’s contributions as a councilmember would be significant. Letting him get away in November when we go to the polls would be a huge mistake.

EXPERIENCED GANDRUD UNDERSTANDS AND ARTICULATES ISSUES:
By Jim Michener
I had the pleasure of attending the Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce-sponsored Carpinteria City Council Forum on Oct. 10. The forum gave each of the candidates the opportunity to express his or her views on important issues pertaining to the community. Since all of the candidates had advance knowledge of what questions were going to be asked, I was surprised, that with the exception of Greg Gandrud, most of the answers given by the other candidates were not definitive and left a large portion of the audience unsure of where they stood.

For example, the bed tax issue was addressed head on by Mr. Gandrud, who felt that in these hard economic times, it was not a good idea to increase the bed tax from 10 to 12 percent. While the other candidates stated that it was only a two percent increase, Gandrud rightly pointed out that it was actually a 20 percent increase. In the past ten years, the City of Carpinteria has taken in over 12 million in bed tax revenue; none of which appears to have gone towards promoting tourism in our great little town. In all fairness, Tom Perry, one of the other candidates, did let everyone know where he stood on bed tax increase by stating “no new taxes.”

As a former council member, Gandrud is very familiar with the inner workings of city government. With his 30 years of experience advising small businesses and individuals on financial matters, he can “follow the money” to ensure that our tax dollars are being spent the way that they were intended. Based on his knowledge, and his willingness to answer every question in a concise, right to the point manner, I feel that Gandrud is a perfect choice to be one of our next city council members.

AVOFEST ORGANIZERS EXECUTE TOP-NOTCH FESTIVAL:
By Harry Manuras
It is important to recognize how much work went into the creation, execution and completion of the California Avocado Festival. The Avofest Board and its many volunteers are to be commended for their most generous contributions to the community in providing an event that offered three days of entertainment and variety, as well as visibility for many local nonprofits, all in keeping with the character of Carpinteria.

FORMER FIRE CHIEF VOUCHES FOR GURAVITZ:
By Doug Qualls
I feel compelled to express my thoughts on the upcoming election of Board Members for the Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District.  My perspective is that of a retired fire chief who served 33 years with another Southern California fire district that shares similar service demands and challenges to that of CSFPD.  

Several years ago I purchased my retirement home in Carpinteria. Since that time, I have monitored with interest how the current fire board has dealt with the various fiscal challenges facing the fire district. I have been impressed by the quality of decisions which have been made by the current board to maintain the current level of public safety.

From my perspective, the current board has acted appropriately and with the best interest of all citizens of our community.  

In tough fiscal times it takes experience and proven leadership to see that our tax dollars are being used responsibly. The experience and abilities of Lisa Guravitz, the current vice-president of the CSFPD, has earned her the endorsement of the other four directors on the fireboard. I would encourage voters to insist on maintaining quality public safety and fair representation for all Carpinteria citizens by supporting Lisa Guravitz for fire board.

WATER MATTERS SLATE WIPES THE SLATE CLEAN:
By Terry Oltman
Having lived in Carpinteria for 27 years, I fully understand the frustration our community has with our present Carpinteria Valley Water District Board of Directors. State water, questionable management and obviously outrageous water rates are something we are all affected by whether we are growers, residents or retirees. The politics of state water and water resources in Carpinteria have to be addressed by a new set of eyes. Whether you are a Republican or Democrat this issue is not a political one. I fully endorse Polly Holcombe, Shirley Johnson and Alexandra VanAntwerp and thank these three individuals for agreeing to use their multiple business experiences to help us resolve the issues before us.

Rather than blame the present members of the board, we should move forward and thank these three women. Their expertise and know-how will change the outlook and functioning of the board and solve these issues and renew our trust. Their decisions will guide our community through necessary change and restoration of the water board. Let’s take a step forward and elect these three women who will resolve this painful and divisive community issue.

WATER BOARD NEEDS NEW BLOOD:
By Carolee Krieger
As a concerned neighbor in Montecito very familiar with our region’s water issues, I urge you to vote for Polly Holcombe, Shirley Johnson and Alexandra Van Antwerp (known as CarpWaterMatters) for Carpinteria Valley Water District’s Board of Directors. They are qualified businesswomen, capable of making sound decisions and have worked diligently these past few months to convince the community we need a change with forward thinking individuals. Your water rates depend on sound fiscal oversight. These women care deeply and will work to keep your rates down.

This is such a critical time for water, and what happens in Carpinteria impacts the nearby communities. A big thanks to you three ladies for running. It is imperative we bring fresh energy to the CVWD board.

OBAMA’S POLICIES IMPROVED ECONOMY:               
By Robert Baruch
PolitiFact, a non-partisan fact checking organization, recently issued this conclusion based on a report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics; “A search of the job figures from July 2008 through January 2009 shows the country lost 3.47 million jobs during that time. When President Obama took office in January 2009, the country had already lost 818,000 jobs from the prior month.”

Mitt Romney’s plan (what little he has divulged) offers nothing more than a return to the failed Bush administration policies which led us to the edge of this fiscal cliff ... more tax cuts for the wealthy, an increased military budget, and a propensity for sending other families’ husbands, wives, and children to fight in wars of his choosing. Yet, he offers no clue as to how he can do this and reduce the deficit or make the world a safer place.

President Obama, on the other hand, saved more than one million jobs in the auto and related industries (Congressional Budget Office, December, 2009). The economy has added 4.6 million jobs during 30 consecutive months of slow, but steady job growth and the unemployment rate of 7.8 percent is the lowest since February, 2009 (Bureau of Labor Statistics). He fulfilled a promise by his predecessor, George W. Bush, and brought our troops home from Iraq. And, under his command, Osama bin Laden and many other terrorist leaders have been eliminated.

Stay the course.

UNEMPLOYMENT TOO LOW TO BE TRUE:
By Diana Thorne
Have a disastrous debate, no problem. Release a misleading jobs report.

On Oct. 5, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced a revised jobs report for July and August, an increase of 114,000 jobs in September and a drop of unemployment from 8.1 percent to 7.8 percent. Perfect timing.

Why did unemployment drop so drastically? By statistical revision.

Suddenly discovered new jobs (mostly state and government) appeared, and 600,000 new part-time jobs were taken by people who lost their unemployment benefits. Jobs in the private sector noticeably declined. The drop was not due to fundamental change in the market, according to Peter Morici, a business professor at the University of Maryland.

Today our economy is bleak and stagnant. Fewer jobs were created in September than August; and fewer jobs in August than July; 600,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost since Obama took office; the real unemployment is 11 percent (people who have dropped out of the workforce are not counted); 47 million people are dependent on food stamp; nearly 1 in 6 live in poverty; black unemployment is 13.4 percent.

America, our economy is not getting better. Obama’s socialistic agenda of  more taxes, excessive regulations and government control of industries is a failure. Unfortunately, he wants to continue down this same road in the future. The only good solutions to a recession are new pro-growth policies and real full time jobs, especially in the private sector. Don’t be fooled by the recent misleading report.

Letters for Oct. 11, 2012

CHOOSING THE HIGH ROAD:
By Debbie Murphy
Last Thursday when I opened Coastal View News, I was confused by a political ad. It took me a while to understand the message. Then on closer inspection, I discovered that my name had been used in the ad. Though I had given permission for my name to be used in 2010 in an endorsement ad, I had not given permission for my name to be run in this ad. Initially I was upset. I couldn’t figure out why the sponsor and supporters of the ad were still angry about an election they won two years ago. Then, I realized that I had no interest in remaining upset or holding grudges or living in the past. I am sorry that there is ever anger in our community over the personal choices we make to support or not support any political position. I choose not to be upset. I was reminded of the Rotary Four Way Test: “In all things we say and do: Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?” I choose to build our community. Thank you for reminding me of my commitment to always live by the Four Way Test. I encourage others to do the same.

A MOBILE HOME ADVOCATE TO THE CORE:
By Catherine Decker
Because I have been a mobile home owner in three different parks in Carpinteria, I clearly understand the value of rent control for residents in mobile homes. Living in a mobile home park offers great advantages, including low yard and building maintenance, communal spirit, low cost living and almost no darn housework.

Fred Shaw is a member of the Mobile Home Rent Stabilization Board for the City of Carpinteria, which oversees any rent increases over the permitted inflationary standard. An absentee landlord has introduced usury increases recently and the park residents are entangled in a costly lawsuit. However, the city has participated in three lawsuits against the owners to maintain affordable rents with success. The city recently supported state law that allowed legal fee reimbursement for mobile home park residents embroiled in these lawsuits, which passed.

Thank goodness we have such a board.

Fred Shaw is also a mobile home owner but is fortunate enough to live in a resident-owned park. Clearly he has not forgotten about those who do not.

I am voting for Fred Shaw because he not only cares about the entire community but also takes action to prove it.

MEASURE J SUPPORTERS WERE NO FOOLS:
By Linda Graham
I felt the need to express another view after seeing the Royce Stauffer-backed ad that had crossed out names of candidates running for various community seats because of their support of Measure J in 2010. That measure offered our community a source of revenue in very hard times.

I chose to vote for the measure knowing Venoco has been very involved and generous to our city through philanthropic gifts to the Boys & Girls Club, Girls Inc. of Carpinteria, schools and many others. I believe the company also knows that safety is the only way to have the citizen’s trust.

I also remember being assured by the city in 2010 that its reserves were more than adequate, and we need not worry about revenue from Measure J. Now they are asking for our vote to raise bed taxes to pay for basic services.

So I ask you, who were the people insightful enough to look into our future long term? Maybe they lost that vote, but I trust our community to them now and support them for having our interests at heart.

MEASURE J STILL MATTERS:
By Bruce Aiches
It was only two years ago, 2010, that Measure J, the referendum placed on the ballot by an oil company, was soundly defeated by 70 percent of the voters who took to the streets in protest, despite the oil company’s six-figure PR campaign to “sell” the drilling of 35 oil wells from the Carpinteria bluffs through the water basin. It was only two years ago that Carpinteria Valley Water District Boardmembers June Van Wingerden and Robert Lieberknecht actually came out publicly in an oil company advertisement in favor of drilling for oil through our Carpinteria water basin.

This is why I am relieved and happy that my friend, Shirley Johnson, is running on the slate of Carp Water Matters to replace these incumbents in the upcoming election. I find Shirley to be a person committed to working for positive change, and she doesn’t quit half way through. Shirley was there with me and many other Carpinterians working to stop Measure J. Shirley attended a presentation at the water board offices, with a handful of other concerned Carpinteria citizens when the water board hosted a lecture by a drilling expert of exactly what the practice of fracking for oil was; essentially causing mini earthquakes in the rock structure by forcing mass quantities of water into the earth and following that up with a sludge chemical cocktail of unknown makeup in order to let the petroleum flow out.

It is my sincere wish that Shirley Johnson will get elected along with Polly Holcombe and Alexandra VanAntwerp on the Carp Matters Slate so I’ll sleep just a little better at night, knowing our precious groundwater resources are no longer in the hands of the incumbents who were, and as far as I know still are, pro drilling on the bluffs.

BAD TASTE, BAD POLITICS:
By Lou Panizzon
Royce Stauffer and others who sponsored the ad in last week’s Coastal View News connecting a person’s position on Measure J to current local water and school board elections need to know that many deemed their ad mean spirited, negative and uncalled for in discussing local issues.

How anyone can claim that taking a position on a political issue is an “attack on the foundations of local government,” is beyond my understanding. To all who were involved with the aforementioned ad, please read the Constitution of the United States, and pay particular attention to the Bill of Rights.

To discuss and debate issues relative to our community, let’s be informative, considerate and respectful. In a democracy we should all enjoy the right to agree to disagree.

GANDRUD, A LIFESAVER AND NUMBERS MAN:
By Shirley Randall
In 2006, I worked for Gandrud Financial Services during “tax season” as a receptionist. Last year I was hit by a motorist and landed in the hospital and then in a nursing home. Unfortunately, due to complications, my medical situation took a turn for the very worse, and I was at death’s door.

When Gregory Gandrud learned that I had no family in California and only friends to rely on, he visited frequently and took a very active interest in my medical situation. It is because of his diligence in advocating for me that I was finally able to get the medical care that I needed and that the insurance company finally covered my bills. Because of his character and kindness, I’m alive today.

Character counts. Carpinteria will be very fortunate to have Greg on the City Council once again. And with his financial background, we will have someone who will advocate for us taxpayers and make sure that pensions and budgets are well-balanced.

POLITICAL AD OUT OF ORDER:
By DOug & DOnna Treloar
Wow, Carpinteria has succumbed to dirty politics. The negative ad that appeared in last week’s Coastal View News was below the belt and completely out of order for our friendly community we are all so proud to live in.

Shame on the people who placed the ad, shame on the CVN for running such a mean-spirited ad, and shame on anyone in the community who lets this ad influence their vote.

Isn’t it shocking that someone is demonized for expressing their opinion, a right that is guaranteed under the Constitution? Isn’t it shocking that expressing that opinion, that has nothing to do with our school board, can be used against a woman who has given so much to this community? Isn’t it shocking that names of highly respected Carpinterians can be used in a negative ad without their permission? Isn’t it shocking that the CVN would stoop to running any ad for the money?

TWO SCHOOL CANDIDATES STAND OUT:
By Dick Weinberg
While reading the Coastal View “Ask The Candidates” page for the School District, I was struck with the thought that there are four attractive and intelligent ladies who are willing to run for a public office that is very important to Carpinteria’s children and Carpinteria’s future. Schools are in trouble all over the country because of the poor economy and funding shortages from the state.

I wondered how our citizens will decide which candidate to vote for. Will they base their choice on popularity, friendship or qualifications of each candidate. In a small town like ours, it is tough to be objective when you know almost everybody and don’t want to disappoint anyone.

With so much at stake, I am going to make my choice based on qualifications. Therefore, one of my choices is Alison Livett, who is relatively new to Carpinteria but has outstanding credentials. To name a few, she has a masters in education, doctorate in physics, taught math and physics, tutors kids at Chapel Court, strong communication and listening skills, and she believes in an organization that lets administrators manage, teachers teach and students learn.

My other choice goes to Blanca Maldonado Gorman, who is a former teacher and financial adviser with a bachelors degree in business administration and accounting. She is bilingual and will serve as a bridge between parents and CUSD to promote parental involvement in the public schools system to make our schools the best they can be.

In my humble opinion, both of these ladies will augment the current CUSD Board and provide the best chance for our school system to survive and conquer the fiscal challenges ahead of us. Please vote for the most qualified candidates to guide Carpinteria’s future during these troubling times.

WATER RATE CORRECTIONS MIGHT FLY WITH NEW BAORDMEMBERS:
By Richard Regis
Since 1996 with the approval of importing state water into Carpinteria, I have attempted to make the residential water rates fair by proposing to the Carpinteria Valley Water District board a series of proposals. The rates are unfair because they impose fixed charges for capital improvements and state water costs, which at the present time is $42.11, on all users regardless of the amount of water they use. This is especially unfair to low income consumers who are below the median water usage. My last proposal, made on Jan. 16, 2011, would have substantially reduced the water bills of approximately 1,500 residential families. This proposal is revenue neutral, meaning that the district would not lose any revenue by adopting it.

Needless to say, after 16 years of attempting to correct this disparity, none of the boards, including the present incumbents, have even wanted to discuss my proposals much less adopt them. We obviously need a change in the board membership, and I advocate the slate of new candidates for this election—Polly Holcombe, Shirley Johnson and Alexandra VanAntwerp—hoping for a change in direction.

FERAL CATS ARE CREATURES TOO:
By David Morris
In honor of National Feral Cat Day on Oct. 16, I’d like Carpinterians to know that Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) for feral cats is a win for the cats and their human neighbors. TNR improves the lives of the cats and calms the neighbors. The traditional method of catch and kill is cruel, endless and costly.
Catalyst for Cats, Inc. is dedicated to helping stray and feral cats. Founded in 1990, the organization’s primary goal is to prevent the suffering of cats, and its main strategy is the reduction and control of feral cat populations within Santa Barbara County through TNR and feeding programs.
TNR makes feral cats healthier and ends the breeding cycle, which means no more kittens. It also ends a lot of common behaviors associated with outdoor cats. Yowling, fighting, spraying and roaming—all of these mating behaviors stop once a cat is neutered.

A managed TNR program, with a set feeding area and schedule, further discourages roaming. Simple home remedies—citrus peels, decorative rocks or chicken wire—deter cats from digging in gardens. There are also useful commercial products available at most pet shops that humanely deter cats from areas like gardens and porches.

Outdoor cats have been part of our landscape for thousands of years and always will be. Compassionate and effective solutions to help cats and communities coexist peacefully are readily available. Visit catalystforcats.org for information. Call us to help with a feral cat situation before another litter of unwanted kittens is born.

Letters for Oct. 4, 2012

CHOOSE SCHNEIDER FOR SCHOOL BOARD:
By Paul A. Pettine III
Our schools are facing very difficult times, and the upcoming school board election will be very important for years to come. Our school board members need to be concerned with Carpinteria’s students and children first and foremost. It is essential that we elect school board candidates that have proven their commitment for many years to Carpinteria schools, its students, children, teachers and Carpinteria. Suzie Schneider is such a candidate.

Suzie Schneider has been a quiet, selfless volunteer and worker at all levels in Carpinteria’s school community. For years she served as a member and president of the Canalino, Aliso and Main Elementary Schools Parent Support Groups (PSG), as president for the Carpinteria Middle School PSG, and as a member of the Carpinteria High School PSG. She served on the CHS After Prom Committee, providing a safe environment after prom for our students and as the Senior Class Parent Coordinator. She was the Team Parent for the Warrior football, girls basketball and softball teams. She is a CHS Boosters Club and Warrior cheer volunteer and provided parent support for CHS Muses and ASB. She is a fundraiser for our schools at all levels. Suzie Schneider knows our schools!

Suzie’s is also an involved community volunteer at the Carpinteria Boys & Girls Club as a coach and cheer coordinator, as a coach and boardmember of the Carpinteria Valley Girls Softball League and has been very involved in the Boys Little League. She was a Lou Grant Parent-Child Workshop Boardmember and involved with the Chamber of Commerce’s Ambassador Program.

It is that type of dedication and commitment that our schools need during these difficult time. Our students, schools and traditions will be best served with Suzie Schneider as a CUSD school board trustee.

GUESS WHO:
By Marilyn A. Fendrick
What do you call a City Council candidate who for years has volunteered for Carpinteria organizations that support the environment, local businesses, public health and safety, rent control for seniors, city beautification and public events? And what do you call a man who shows up, on time, studies the facts, listens carefully and questions respectfully?

You call him Fred Shaw, a man for all reasons.

A VOTE FOR FRED:
By Martha Macgillivray
I am proud to support Fred Shaw as a new councilmember. He’s proven to be a diligent and consistent supporter of many important efforts which improve and protect Carpinteria.

We remember when our community was presented with the Measure J initiative. This ballot Initiative, also known as Paredon, would have permitted installation of a 175-foot oil derrick and slant drilling on Venoco property near the ecologically sensitive bluffs and dangerously near a prime residential neighborhood. I was a firm no vote on Measure J as were over 70 percent of my fellow Carpinterians. Fred, as an organizer against Measure J, worked to protect our community from that looming threat, recognizing the potential hazards to the quality of our air, water, seal rookery and land values.

Similarly Fred Shaw has indicated that he will seek a thorough review and measured response to the new Carone proposal for slant drilling from oil platform Hogan nearest to our shore.

In this effort as well as his work with a variety of other groups, he has proven his understanding and ability to work toward protecting our special quality of life here as well as a healthy business climate for our entire community.

I support Fred Shaw and his view to keep Carpinteria healthy, clean and beautiful.

TIME FOR WATER INCUMBENTS TO GO:
By Amrita M. Salm
Carpinterians have complained about the cost and burden of the State Water Project for years. One might well ask, who sold it to Carpinteria. The answer is Bob Lieberknecht, one of the two incumbents, who was the district manager at the time and who zealously campaigned for it. Carp’s residents were told, sometimes on CVWD’s letterhead, that if we didn’t vote for state water, the world of Carpinteria would just about come to an end in a bone-dry drought! 

After 20 years with him on the board, we have $90 million of debt. Now he tells us he wants to sell half the state water (“Ask the candidates,” CVN, Sept. 27). Do you believe his promises?

Who nominated Fred Lemere, who received the fewest votes in the previous election, to fill the vacancy on the CVWD Board when there were numerous qualified applicants? It was June VanWingerden. Did she know it was illegal to appoint someone without a board majority? Surely she knew that it went against the will of Carpinteria’s voters.

Do you trust these incumbents to sell half of our state water when they have done nothing constructive about it in the last 20 years?

Vote for leadership, integrity and managerial experience instead. Cast your votes for three dynamic professionals who have the business acumen and experience to provide the leadership CVWD needs. Vote for Polly Holcombe, Shirley Johnson and Alexandra VanAntwerp and be assured of real stewardship, proper review of all legal contracts so suing their own attorneys won’t be necessary (Price, Postel & Parma lawsuit costs in 2011-12 were $68,000) or giving approvals to project that are unwarranted and astronomically priced. Costs and consequences will always come before self-interest for Polly, Shirley and Alexandra.

TAKE STOCK IN WATER SLATE:
By John Schmidhauser
Long-time incumbents Robert Leiberknecht, Sr., and June Van Wingerden are challenged by Polly Holcombe and Shirley Johnson for the full term seats, while Richard Forde and Alexandra VanAntwerp compete for the short-term vacancy on the Carpinteria Valley Water District Board of Directors. The incumbents contributed to the very serious problems ratepayers now confront. Where do the challengers stand on the issues? And what are their qualifications? All are well educated. Holcombe, Johnson and VanAntwerp had very significant business and management careers, as did Forde in education and consulting. However, there are fundamental differences between him and the other challengers on state water, and possibly on other issues because of lack of clarity in some of his answers. For example, he is unclear on infrastructure repairs but seems to mean privatization. Most importantly, Forde answered Coastal View News’ state water question (“Ask the Candidates,” Sept. 27) by claiming that “like an insurance policy, you pay on it and might never need it, but if you do, its there.”

Unfortunately, this has never been true regarding state water. California’s Third District Court of Appeal, in rejecting pro-development amendments to the State Water Project (2000), stated unequivocally: ”Paper water always was an illusion. ’Entitlements’ is a misnomer, for contractors surely cannot be entitled to water nature refuses to provide or the body politic refuses to harvest, store, or deliver.” The incumbents now want to sell state water “rights.” They have told us little about the conflict of interest issue with their law firm in the news months ago just as they failed to be straight with the community on the Rancho Monte Alegre tank issue in 2005. Change is long overdue. Please elect Holcombe, Johnson and Van Antwerp.

HEALTH CARE WARNING:
By Steve Close
I purchased Anthem High Deductible Plan F as my Medicare supplement plan for 2012. At the time of purchase, an insurance broker said the deductible was $2,000, and I assumed that would be my maximum exposure for medical costs. Wrong. I have since found out that some medical expenses are not covered by Medicare or supplemental insurance, and that some of those out of pocket expenses don’t count towards the deductible. For example a $3,300 cat scan was only partially covered by Medicare and not covered at all by Anthem. Not only did I have to pay a sizable difference, but the amount I paid was not applied toward my $2,000 Anthem deductible. Bottom line: I pay for Medicare and supplemental insurance, but I still have, apparently, unlimited liability. Other insurance companies may engage in similar fine print deception.

Meanwhile, people with no insurance can walk into an emergency room and get free health care. 

Anyone else tired of being chump?

On another Medicare matter, I received two bills, months apart, from a prosthetic supplier for the same service. While I was only required to pay once, I notified Anthem of the double bills. I recently received notice that the supplier was being requested to repay close to $2,000 to Medicare for overpayment.

Assuming this was an honest mistake that may have been eventually corrected, how many such mistakes go uncorrected, at taxpayers expense?

In the four years I’ve been a Medicare beneficiary, I’ve seen my costs go up and benefits go down every year. Which leads me to proclaim the following self evident truth: the longer a government program exists, the worse it gets.

Letters for Sept. 27, 2012

TRAINING FOR CARPINTERIA CHARM:
By Mike and Diane Wondolowski
We are somewhat new to Carpinteria—we’ve only lived here 12 years. So sometimes we get another lesson about what it means to be a Carpinterian.

One recent summer afternoon, we were at a gathering in the Concha Loma neighborhood at a house that backs up to the train tracks. At the event were a number of long-time Carpinterians. (It might not be polite to say just how long!) During the event, a passenger train went by. Just as we were getting annoyed by the noise, we noticed that many of the long-timers paused, turned to the train, smiled and waved to the passengers. As we saw the smiles and waves they got back, it dawned on us that even though those visitors were literally just passing through town, they got a hint of our small-town charm. We can imagine that tiny experience being a part of someone’s impression of our warm, friendly and proud community.

If that’s how we greet strangers, of course it says a lot about how we (should) act toward our neighbors. And it gives us one more reminder about our responsibilities to preserve and protect everything that is special about Carpinteria.

WATER INCUMBENTS DO IT BEST:
By Jeannette Williamson
Please vote for the Carpinteria Valley Water District incumbents, June VanWingerden and Bob Lieberknecht. I live in Carpinteria and enjoy using water. I garden, drink tap water, occasionally wash my sidewalks and I like taking long showers. I think I get value for my water bill each month. I appreciate that I am not rationed by a poor supply. The current water district directors and the directors of the past have worked to make certain we have good quality water when we want it. I think we should thank them for doing the work necessary to keep the district in good repair.

STRONG OF MIND, STRONG OF BODY:
By Sandra Periera
The first time I met Fred Shaw was at a Carpinteria Chamber mixer about three or four years ago. I asked for a glass of wine, and as he was pouring it in my glass I thought what a nice man he was; I felt an instant connection.

A year later, Fred’s wife, Lisa Guravitz, became a client in my partner’s and my local fitness studio, Personal Strength. Getting to know Lisa was the icing on the cake; she fit right in. A few months later Fred joined her, and they started doing group exercise sessions together. The more I learned about Fred, the more I liked him. There is not one person that doesn’t say what a great guy Fred is when I mention his name. Every time Fred comes to work out, we talk about local issues. It is obvious that Fred is very well informed, as he is always able to answer my questions about various city matters.

When I was told that Fred was running for city council, I began thinking about all his activities. He wakes up around 5:30 a.m. to go swimming, and he is one of few men his age to play basketball with men half of his age and younger. When he is working out and I challenge him by increasing the weight load, he responds with grace, “okey, dokey,” and displays an amazing natural strength. He never backs away from a challenge. He is always on time, consistent, pleasant and very easy to be around.
In the end, I have to go back to the first impression I had of Fred Shaw, what a nice man he is, and what an asset he would be for the Carpinteria City Council.

OUR GUY GREG:
By John Culbertson
I was pleased to see that Greg Gandrud is running for Carpinteria City Council. Greg has a direct, business-like approach, sense of courtesy and concern for the community that can serve us well. He is experienced in government and earns his living as a small business owner in our town. Having Greg on our council will bring much needed balance to council discussions and lead to outcomes and decisions that take into consideration the community as a whole.

FIRE INSPECTION REVISITED:
By Susan Willis
In response to Fire Chief Mike Mingee’s letter to the editor last week (“Safety relies on inspections,” Sept. 20), and the encouragement of many members of our community, some facts need to be clarified.

On Sept. 6, Fire Captain Jay Erwin and his three assistants came into my store, Susan Willis Ltd. I was informed their visit was to perform a safety inspection. When I questioned the need for a large fire truck and four firefighters to perform the task, they said it was a new policy. They also made it very clear that I would be billed for the inspection.

I requested the name and phone number of their chief. Upon their departure, I left a lengthy message for the chief on his answering machine and requested a response. He didn’t respond. However, a week after my letter was published in the Coastal View News, he dropped by my store and said the policy had been changed and there would no longer be a fee for inspection of non hazardous businesses.

I would like to express my appreciation to Captain Jay Erwin and his men for their professionalism, dedication and concern for the businesses in our town.

SHARK BAIT:
By Mike Downs
When we maintain, promote and protect a large oceanic predator feeding station, we should not be surprised when predators take advantage of it. It’s just a matter of time until a large predator tries another protein source. Swimming or paddling humans do look like prey that’s easy to catch.

BAD GUYS LOSE, GOOD GUYS WIN:
By Larry Decker
I live in Summerland so I always look forward to Fran Davis’ column when I pick up the Coastal View News. Fran is a good neighbor and a good friend.

In the Sept. 6 edition she wrote a piece on her being awakened by the sheriff’s deputies due to their arrest of two suspects in recent neighborhood car burglaries. We live just down the street from Fran and her husband, Roger. This column was of some interest to me as my wife and I had recently had our car burglarized. The miscreants managed to score my iPod, with about 5,000 songs. We basically decided to write off the loss, never thinking that the deputies would ever recover such a small item.

However, after reading the column I thought, “Why not?” and gave the sheriff’s office a call. It took just a bit of phone tree, and I got a promise of a return call. Sure enough a deputy called me and promised he would “look into it.” I am mostly a mildly cynical person and forgot about the issue. But sure enough he called me back that same day with the bad news that the iPod they had recovered was not mine (mine has some very distinctive words engraved on the back). Then the deputy said, “Hold on the detectives are motioning to me. I’ll call you back.” And again he called back, and yes they had the iPod.

So thanks to everyone—to the anonymous person who was awake at 3 a.m. who spotted the thieves and phoned the deputies. To the deputies for their prompt response and great work. To Fran Davis for writing such an excellent column (as well as all of her great columns). And to the Coastal View News for printing Fran’s column.

SINGLE-PAYER HEALTH CARE WOULD SOLVE DISTRICT WOES:
By Paulina Conn
It’s our money. It’s our health. For high quality, stable health care without rationing, we must enact a single-payer, improved, Medicare-for-all style system and remove private health insurance from delivery and financing. Single-payer is public financing and private delivery. Everyone pre-pays by income with government program money continuing. Health care delivery remains private. We have a choice of any willing doctor without interference. At least 95 cents of every premium dollar goes to care and only five cents for administration. Providers are paid fairly for all patients.

The Sept. 13 CVN article “School board seeks savings through healthcare plans” states that the Carpinteria Union School District pays $14,945 per teacher. Under a single-payer plan such as Senate Bill 810 (Leno), the California Universal Health Care Act, using 17 percent of GDP as the health care cost per teacher earning $50,311, the cost would be $8,553. This would cover the entire family with comprehensive benefits including dental, doctor, hospital, drugs, etc. with no co-pays or deductibles while saving over $6,000 per teacher.

The study done by the Lewin Group in 2004 showed that California could cover 100 percent of its population for complete care with a 12 percent health care tax. That is 4 percent less than the 16 percent of GDP that health care was costing then. The state would save $8 billion.

It is inhumane for private health insurance competition to relegate people into variable, inadequate plans with different benefits, co-pays, deductibles and limited choice of providers. Millions are left without insurance. This literally kills and bankrupts people.

Join the movement to fix health care for our school districts and for us. Learn about the single-payer solution at healthcareforall.org or at pnhp,org. Read California’s SB 810 at www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/postquery?bill_number=sb_810 and the national bill, HR 676, at thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c112:H.R.676.IH:

Letters for Sept. 20, 2012

SHARKS ARE NOTHING NEW:
By Greg Skinner

No doubt, there are a number of factors contributing to the awareness of sharks in Carpinteria, not the least of which would be more people watching. Back in the 1960s, the late Kevin Sears and I spear fished on the Carp reef, and there wasn’t a dive that we didn’t see sharks, some large enough to send us to the reef shallows, particularly along the southwest drop off. In the late 1950s, my father and Roy Bowden successfully fished for thresher shark (excellent fish and chip material) off the northwest end of the reef.

I recall seeing mangled seal bodies walking between Carp and Rincon, so my guess is they’ve been here all along, at times more active than others depending on conditions and resources. Common sense is the best guard against becoming part of the food chain.

SAFETY RELIES ON INSPECTIONS:
Bu Mike Mingee, Fire Chief, Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District

In response to Susan Willis’ Sept. 13 letter to the editor: The fire service has always believed that the best way to extinguish a fire is to prevent it from occurring. The results of prevention services are a community like Carpinteria where fires in commercial buildings are very rare.

As in every other city and unincorporated community in Santa Barbara County, your fire department utilizes an engine company based fire and life safety inspection program. The benefits of using the fire engine staff to perform inspections are numerous. It is an efficient use of on duty personnel while giving them vital preplanning knowledge of the occupancy and its contents.

For nearly a decade Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District has implemented a minimum charge for high hazard occupancy inspections. We have never charged for these less hazardous engine company fire inspections. A simple phone call could have answered that question and cleared any misunderstanding.

The true intent of the inspection is to identify hazards that commonly cause fires to occur so that local businesses and their neighbors reduce their chance of an economically devastating fire. Even more important, it provides for the safety of those who visit and work in the building.

I would ask anyone to identify another local government organization that is more a part of the fabric of this community than your fire department. Present Friday nights at Memorial Stadium, the Avocado Festival, the Relay for Life, CERT and Carpinteria Beautiful, your fire department is deeply entrenched in the communities of Carpinteria and Summerland. We are proud of our courteous, caring and professional service. Your CSFPD Board of Directors are as close as a phone call away. They invest many hours in partnering with residents and business members to achieve the goal of keeping the fire district safe and beautiful.

NOT A “KUMBAYA” MOMENT FOR ALL:
By Jennifer Rockwell

I was glad to be able to watch the Carpinteria school board meeting on Sept. 11. I found the speeches enlightening, and I sincerely hope the board heard the concerns. I found some of the board members to be condescending, however, and thought the “kumbaya” comment was insulting. It seems we have some members of the board who have more experience running a business than educating children. I wonder what motivated them to become board members?

There is no doubt this is a serious situation for our teachers. Sitting at the table with your head down and not making eye contact with the speakers was disrespectful and very unprofessional. I was not impressed.

CHECK GANDRUD AT BALLOT BOX:
By Gail Michelson
I’m delighted to see that Gregory Gandrud is running for city council. He’s been my accountant for over 20 years and has a keen mind for anything having to do with money. His visionary leadership is needed on our council during these challenging economic times.

The other thing that I admire so much about Gandrud is his love for nature. For the last seven years he’s served on California’s Recreational Trails Committee (appointed by the governor) and has traveled the entire state promoting hiking trails.

Carpinteria will be very fortunate to have his enthusiasm back on the city council. Please join me in putting up a yard sign and voting for Gregory Gandrud.

GANDRUD BRINGS BUDGETARY BRAWN:
By Nancy B O’Connor

With the election coming up, lets add some brainpower to our city council. Gregory Gandrud, who graduated with honors from USC Business School, is the one we really need to help our city navigate through some challenging waters. With the city running a deficit, Caltrans proposing a huge freeway interchange and a developer planning to build a giant hotel on our bluffs, Gandrud’s prior experience on the council will be a very valuable asset.

Gandrud understands budgets and pension plans and will make sure our tax money is spent wisely. He supported the new pedestrian bridge over Carpinteria Creek, new basketball and tennis courts next to the swimming pool and the new lighted crosswalk across Casitas Pass Road. With Gandrud’s input, all of these projects ended up costing much less than what was originally proposed.

Let’s protect and enhance our city by once again electing Gregory Gandrud to our city council.

TRUST IN WATER DISTRICT EXPERIENCE:
By Donna Lemere

This upcoming election is about choice for voters and also about correcting previous voting errors. Two years ago we were fed a multitude of promises that the three new water board slate candidates would reassess our state water allocation, demystify the water rate structure and lower our water rates. Hum, still waiting. Many voters fell for this campaign rhetoric, which ultimately did change the face of the water board.

Please don’t let this grievous error happen again. The water board does not need any more new inexperienced, untrained novices. The board needs experience in the complicated water industry and that experience comes with directors Bob Lieberknecht and June Van Wingerden.

For too long we have been given untruthful, mean-spirited and unsubstantiated statements and opinions from critics that Carpinteria has the highest water rates in the state or even the country, that the district has been mismanaged, that an outside audit is needed and more. No critic has ever offered any proof of these fabricated statements simply because that’s what they are, fabricated.

Van Wingerden and Lieberknecht have been actively working on the sale of the district’s surplus state water allotment for many years. Had a qualified buyer become available, they certainly would have pursued sale of this surplus allocation.

It’s time to look at reality. Carpinteria residents have a safe and reliable water supply. Even during these difficult financial times, the district continues to hold a high Standard and Poors rating. This is all because of actions taken by the water board over the past several years along with the strong management of the district. Don’t be influenced by empty campaign promises or continue to be misled by the negative and unsubstantiated critic’s comments. Please do not be fooled again. We need to reelect Bob Lieberknecht and June Van Wingerden.

VET SEEKS A SIGN:
By Rob Brown

This is the day of bowing and scraping to welcome the troops home. It’s a nice change from my day when they just spit on us. They turned us out at 2 a.m. in a pouring rainstorm, so the public wouldn’t see us come home.

What I don’t understand is why the City of Carpinteria can’t afford or is unwilling to put a sign on the Veterans Memorial Building at 941 Walnut. The library has a sign in front. The health clinic has a sign. The fire department has a sign. They are all part of the Memorial building complex.

There is a Jazzercize class there every day. I asked a few of the people in the class if they knew what building they’re in. No one said it is the Veterans Memorial Building. It’s just the Jazzercize building.
It would be nice for people to know we have a Veterans Memorial Building and where it is. How about a sign?

SANSUM, A TREASURE IN OUR TOWN:
By Tony Perez, Jr.

What do you consider the most important thing in your life? Eyesight? Money (don’t laugh)? Smell? Love? Religion? A seemingly simple question. In college we discussed that question for several sessions. It turns out, by a 95 percent margin, to be one’s health. So I am writing this love letter to my people (doctors, nurses, front desk, lab and radiologist) at Carpinteria Sansum Clinic just to let them all know that my whole family and I love and appreciate them wholeheartedly. Without going into detail about my health—it is fine, thank you—I can tell you that the whole crew at the clinic swung into action and showed genuine concern when I needed it. My observation is that they deliver first class car to everyone receiving their services. Staff members at the clinic are caring professionals who are extremely good at what they do.

Because I can, I enjoy giving money to the deserving of this world. It won’t be a really large donation, but I can assure you that we will give something out of the joy of our heart. If everyone who uses the clinic fairly regularly were to pitch in a small affordable something of appreciation, we could, as a giving community, help out the most critical function in the community. It makes me ill just thinking about them having to request contributions for the critical work they do for us. And we are so lucky to have this particular crew in our gorgeous town. So, whether or not this reaches anyone else out there, rest assured you have the best care available right here. God bless one and all.

Letters for Sept. 13, 2012

PRINCIPALS SHOULD POLICE STUDENT
By Royce Stauffer

In the Sept. 6 Coastal View News, Alex Pulido has a letter supporting a daytime curfew for school children. As a remarkable coincidence, the leading editorial in the Los Angeles Times of the same date details the damage that has been done by such a program in Los Angeles. Carpinteria Unified School District Superintendent Paul Cordeiro would turn his students over to the criminal justice system for being late to school or missing a class even if the infraction was so minor that they would not be considered truants under state law. Fortunately our community understands children better. School children should be controlled by educators and not by the police.

FIRE INSPECTION FEES ARE REDUNDANT:
By Susan Willis

Shame on our Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District Board of Directors for deciding to turn our firefighters into their shakedown flunkies. Recently, four firefighters, one with a clipboard, came into my small store, Susan Willis, LTD., to search for any fire code violations. There was a fee for this intrusion. I would understand if one fire department employee had the assignment, as a courtesy, in the interest of safety. But give me a break! We are already paying their salaries through our many taxes, and this inspection fee amounts to double taxation. This is another example of an out of touch government agency thinking the small business community isn’t paying its “fair share.” My opinion will be reflected with my vote in November. It is time our government learns who works for whom.

CANDIDATES’ OIL DRILLING POSITIONS WILL BE TELLING:
By Harry Manuras

Two years ago Carpinteria was embattled in one of the most contentious issues ever faced by the city, an initiative to allow new oil drilling within city limits. As everyone knows, this was Measure J—the Paredon Oil Initiative that voters defeated by an overwhelming 70 percent to 30 percent margin.

This November we have five candidates running for two city council seats. Before you pick the candidates you’ll support, be certain you know and agree with their views, especially their positions on onshore drilling in the Carpinteria Valley. Knowing how our future council members stand on this issue, which is certain to come back again, is vital for every person and business in Carpinteria.

NOMURA WILL LISTEN ON COUNCIL:
By Ruthie Tremmel

This letter is written in support of Wade Nomura for Carpinteria City Council. Wade and I have known each other the past 10 years through our membership in the Carpinteria Morning Rotary Club. Wade and I agree that candidates for city level positions should run as independent, non-partisan candidates. I strongly believe that Wade can do this. Wade’s campaign committee is a non-partisan mixture of his friends. He has been endorsed by a large number of non-partisan supporters.

Through my experiences, I have found Wade to approach all decision making matters from the “middle,” meaning he first listens to all sides of the commentaries on the situation and then makes a decision based on truthful facts leading to an outcome of beneficial fairness to those involved. He is an excellent listener who is open to constructive comments. Once he has made a decision, his commitment never falters.  

WATER BOARD INCUMBANTS ARE THE RIGHT CHOICE:
By Connie Thompson

November will be here soon along with the water board election. There have been some very harsh things written about June Van Wingerden and Bob Lieberknecht, the incumbents. I hope that voters will give some time to study the slate of the people who are running for the Carpinteria Valley Water District.

Van Wingerden and Lieberknecht take their jobs very seriously. They have been referred to as “Water Buffaloes” because they show up, do their work and keep going.  Water issues are complicated.  The water board is burdened with state water costs which comprise approximately 30 percent of the budget. I’m sure most of you voted for it. I know I did. Even if I wish I hadn’t.  

Water district efforts to sell state water have been hindered by environmental groups. The district, unlike surrounding districts, is not subsidized by property taxes or city taxes.  Water bills reflect the true cost of water.

Carpinteria is lucky to have plentiful groundwater. The pipeline from Lake Cachuma that delivers water to Carpinteria is located at the end of the pipeline, which means our water travels farther than other districts to arrive in Carpinteria. That adds to the cost.

They have completed most of their major projects, like covering the Carpinteria reservoir, which was mandated by the state. Now, costs should level off. The board has also implemented a second tier pension system, which will help control employees’ pension costs.

Lieberknecht and VanWingerden have both lived in Carpinteria a long time. They have both been Carpinterian of the Year. They care about Carpinteria. They are easy to talk to.  Phone or e-mail them with your questions.

Please vote for June Van Wingerden and Bob Lieberknecht for Carpinteria Valley Water District Board of Directors.

HOLCOMBE FOR WATER BOARD:
By Phyllis Fenger

We are glad Polly Holcombe is running for the Carpinteria Valley Water District Board of Directors. Her personality and background make her most qualified. Let us tell you why.

Polly was raised in Chagren Falls near Cleveland, Ohio. Her parents, who we are also privileged to know, instilled the value of education and work ethic in her at a young age. She was working 30 hours a week during the school year by age 15 and managing a restaurant at age 18. After college, her career led her to Washington, D.C., several assignments overseas and finally to Carpinteria 15 years ago where many of us got to know Polly through her volunteering.

I first met Polly at a Scottish Country Dance class and our friendship grew. I have depended on Polly in many situations. She is a fair-minded, capable, interested and intelligent companion whom I can turn to anytime for help.

We consider Polly an honorary member of our family. We cheer that she has made time for civic duty, especially such a critical job as sorting out our water challenges. True to form, we are confident Polly will keep her eyes focused on what is a fair and honest treatment of Carpinteria water issues, while bringing fresh thinking and a positive culture to CVWD.

INSURANCE PREMIUM HIKES FOLLOW OBAMA POLICIES:
By Langdon G. Nevens

As a retired Carpinteria teacher, I can sympathize with current teachers, who are being required to contribute more towards their health insurance. Blaming the school board, however, shows a distinct lack of understanding of the problem. 

Place the blame where it belongs, directly on Barack Obama and the Democrats in Congress. With all of the hidden taxes, fees, levies, mandates and fines buried in the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies were forced to dramatically raise their rates. I am no fan of the insurance industry, but when any business sees costs rise dramatically, they either raise prices or go out of business. It seems like every day we learn more about the disastrous and destructive content hidden in over 2,000 pages of government bureaucracy at its worst.

When 64 percent of the population opposes Obamacare, there is clearly something radically wrong.  Is there one person alive who can defend Nancy Pelosi’s statement, “We have to pass the health care bill first, and then we can see what’s in it?” If a Republican made such an outlandish statement, the liberal media would rip that person apart.

Even without the healthcare mess, school finance in California is a disaster. The teachers union has been called the “fourth rail of state government.” Yes, I did belong to the union, but only because everyone needed professional liability insurance. Each year, I wrote a letter demanding that none of my dues be used for political purposes. Unions are far left organizations that spend millions supporting far left causes. I wonder how many teachers really agree with how their dues money is being spent. 

Teachers, the best way to lower your health insurance costs is to elect members of Congress who will vote to repeal Obamacare. Don’t blindly vote the union line. Support yourself and your community. 

ROMNEY HAS NO CORE:
By Robert Baruch

When Mitt Romney ran for Governor of Massachusetts, he was pro-choice, said he would be “to the left of Ted Kennedy” on gay rights issues and pushed through a health care plan with a mandate and stricter penalties than Obamacare.

Now, his Republican Party platform and V.P. choice Paul Ryan advocate making all abortions illegal, even in the cases of rape, incest or when a doctor determines the life of the mother is at risk. And this is the party which claims to be in favor of smaller, less intrusive government! He is, now, against gay or lesbian marriage and engages in pathetic attempts to attack Obamacare while defending its fraternal twin, Romneycare.

Mitt Romney, apparently, has no core principles. He stands for nothing other than Swiss bank accounts, tax havens in the Cayman Islands and appeasing the extreme rightwing of his own party.

Romney wants to run on his record as a businessman, yet feels any discussion of his record at Bain Capital is off limits (except to Fox & Friends and in puff pieces for the The Wall Street Journal). As for his refusal to release several years of personal tax returns, a precedent set by every presidential candidate for decades (including his father, the late George Romney, in 1968), one has to wonder what’s he hiding?

Letters for September 6, 2012

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH
By Leigh Ann Swarm

I went into teaching knowing full well that I would be underpaid and overworked. I knew that there would be long hours, frustrating policies, challenging students and ridiculous demands. I knew that I would continue to see potential in even my lowest students and cherish the moments when they saw it too. I knew I would do lots of work for free because it is the right thing to do for our kids. What I didn’t know about this job, however, is that our district and board would turn their backs on the right thing to do for our teachers. We can’t be the second lowest-paid employees in the surrounding 20 districts and accept a benefits cap with an 80/20 plan. CUSD teachers have resoundingly placed health care as our number one priority for many years, accepting a lower salary in return. Now, the school board has decided that it is going to determine our priorities—no interest-based bargaining, no discussion with teachers, no acknowledgement of the impending four furlough days we are willing to take solely at the expense of teachers and not cutting into educational days for students. Furthermore, the board has the audacity to demand this benefits cap whether or not the budget initiative passes in November!

I am that crazy teacher who spends countless evenings every year baking pies for students who are willing to go above and beyond. I am that crazy teacher who serves on committees and volunteers for assignments regardless of compensation. I am that crazy teacher who seeks out opportunities to improve my practice even on weekends and during summer breaks. I am not crazy enough, however, to sit idly by while CUSD takes advantage of those who work so diligently to provide a great education for our students with what little we are provided. Enough is enough!

BENEFITS CAP EARNS FAILING GRADES
By Angela Carreño White

My career with Carpinteria Unified School District began in 1976 as a kindergartner and has come full circle as I now teach kindergarten and first grade here in Carpinteria. I consider it a privilege to serve the community that made me who I am. Some of the teachers who taught me have become valued colleagues. I attended college at UCSB and Westmont through the help of letters of recommendation written by trusted advisors such as Lou Panizzon and Casey Roberts. When deciding on a career, teaching was a natural fit.

Though places like Oxnard and El Rio were an option at the time of my hire, I proudly chose Carpinteria, though the salary at the time was a full $9,000 per year below the other districts. I made that decision without hesitation because I wanted to give back to the community that I knew and loved. We all face uncertainty during these turbulent economic times. Despite the fact that we continually make far less than almost every district in the tri-counties, the one thing I could always count on was my health benefits.

Now the district that I have served faithfully for what is now my 15th year has determined to cap our benefits. This is a burden too great for teachers to bear. When informing us of this decision the district actually said a family of four would have to be unlucky and that it would only be an additional $1,600. Well, as a member of a family of four, I feel very unlucky to be facing these circumstances. It is my hope that Coastal View News readers in this community that I know and love will rally around their teachers and insist that the district look elsewhere to make its cuts. Warrior spirit never dies!

DAYTIME CURFEW ALTERNATIVE IS WIN-WIN
By Alex Pulido

I was somewhat appalled at the action taken by the city council on Aug. 27 after the presentation by Superintendent Paul Cordeiro for a daytime curfew “in order to assist in the struggle to keep our kids in school.” Alternative actions were not even recommended.

Home school parents and others stated that they didn’t want their kids stopped in the community and harassed by the police or intimidated. It’s interesting that there were no parents representing those kids who are often truant and in trouble.

My solution is very simple, and I would like to see the city council and the school district address this issue again. Money is obviously not a problem if the police department was willing to address this issue on its own. The focus of my recommendation is to bring our kids back to school and not address the crime issue.

An officer, not identified as a cop, will be available to work with those kids who are truant. The district, which will identify those students who are having attendance problems, will have this counselor or attendance officer, who is dressed in plain clothes, visit or consult with the parents and students in their homes. The schools and the officer will provide alternatives for making sure the kids are in school. The primary intent should not be to harass or arrest but to keep our kids in school. It is important that this person be able to communicate in English and Spanish.

If we take this very simple action then we will have those kids with attendance problems in school, and parents and truants will therefore be heading in the right direction, and students with a different agenda, other than missing school, can continue to enjoy our community and will not be harassed by cops.
DON’T DEMONIZE HAMILTON
By Larry Nimmer

(In response to the Aug. 30 letter to the editor, “Vengeance is no way to run a water district”) I’ve known Carpinteria Valley Water District General Manager Charles Hamilton and worked with him for over a decade. From what I’ve seen, he’s always looked out for the citizens of Carpinteria. He has the unpopular job, and legal responsibility to follow strict and expensive government-mandated water quality requirements as head of the Carpinteria Valley Water District. However, he has always welcomed an open dialogue.

TAKE A LOOK IN THE IRROR, LETTER WRITER
By Peter McKee

(In response to the Aug. 30 letter to the editor, “Vengeance is no way to run a water district”) Who builds hardscape over water and gas lines, not to mention pours concrete over them? As a neighbor who will be impacted by this, should those lines break, (and with concrete over them, they surely will with even a small earthquake) we would be without services while they have to remove your gates, fences and trees and hammer through concrete to fix the problem. I will let you know now that you will be responsible for any expenses incurred by us should this happen. This should be called BadNeighbor@cox.net

ANGELS AMONG US
By Ryan Johnson

August sun blared down on Santa Barbara, and rush-hour cars streamed slowly in stop-and-go traffic into the Carrillo 101 freeway entrance. I saw a hunched figure squatting over a dirty backpack with his thumb out, and I remembered that in the scripture sometimes angels are undercover as needy people. It even could be Jesus, according to Revelations.

I smelled the characteristic eau de homeless before he even got his bag loaded, gruffly telling me his name through crooked, yellow-stained teeth and scraggly beard. We chatted. He had been waiting three hours, seeing thousands of cars. On the road for a year or so, he was now trying to get back to Colorado, hopefully to reconcile with his ex-wife and see his 5-year-old daughter, now in foster care. He had a couple of dollars to his name, a history of poverty.

I offered dinner, pizza from Giovanni’s, and we ate it at the beach in Carpinteria. A lady sitting on the bench complained, “This is what the church should be for! All those Christians worship on Sunday, but look at this. They should take him in. But he needs a mediator.” I remembered something about Jesus as our mediator.

I was moved. I remembered that there was a 6 a.m. men’s prayer meeting at Reality Church.

Well, the next morning, upon request, those brothers responded and dug deep in their pockets and raised enough to cover the hundreds of dollars for the man’s ticket home—and even had money left over for groceries (and cigarettes I found out later, but didn’t feel it was the time to lecture). So, to all of us out there who wonder at ourselves, the current church and our relationship with God, serve.

My commendations go to the men of Reality Church and their God who encourages love and charity. This is a celebration, complete joy!

RESEARCH THE FACTS BEFORE STEPPING UP TO THE BALLOT BOX
By Kevin Till

Research the facts before stepping up to the ballot box
Are you ready to vote in the upcoming presidential election? How much research have you done? How much information did you get from TV, the radio, the Internet or newspapers? How much do you trust the sources of your information? How many topics have you looked into? How many specific issues have you investigated? How many candidates have you considered? How many political parties have you given chances?

These are questions that all American citizens, with the right and patriotic obligation to cast a vote, should be asking themselves. Being able to make an informed decision is no small, trivial or inconsequential task. I urge everyone reading this letter to check out isidewith.com and other online information providing websites to become better informed on the parties’ and candidates’ stances on the issues. I urge you to do your own fact checking to avoid being swayed by misinformation. And I urge you to keep an open mind and consider the message and ideas coming from parties and candidates outside of the status quo Republicans and Democrats.

Furthermore, beginning in October, the mainstream media will deliver us a number of televised presidential debates. Most likely, and quite tyrannically, these debates will include only Romney and Obama. No other viable candidates will be allowed to participate. Why? Because that’s what the American people want? No, because that’s the way those in power want it to be. Sadly, our great country does not have open presidential debates. The organization that oversees presidential debates is the Commission on Presidential Debates, and this organization is part of the problem. I urge you to watch the YouTube video titled “Who’s afraid of an open debate? The truth about the Commission on Presidential Debates.” If you feel strongly, as I do, that the upcoming debates should include all viable candidates, please take action to make it happen. There are petitions at change.org to this very end.

DOCUMENTARY MORE HIT-PIECE THAN HIT
By Eva Vallejo

Obviously, Mr. Jakel travelled somewhere to see the far right-wing propaganda, smear, hit-piece “2016 Obama’s America” to confirm his anti-Obama views (“No-bama in next year’s White House,” CVN, Aug. 30). If a movie is called a documentary, it is supposed to be based on factual documents, not the filmmaker’s suppositions and beliefs. His opinions and out-of-context selective editing do not constitute facts.

Dinesh D’Souza is a self-proclaimed evangelical Christian who was born in India into a minority Catholic family. In his writings, he has stated that militant Muslim jihadists hate and attacked the United States because of our liberal, decadent, sinful life style, never mind that attacks have been made all over the world on other Muslims and countries of varied religions and beliefs. On the “Colbert Report,” he admitted that he agrees with militant Muslims that America is too liberal and immoral. There are distinct parallels with President Obama. Both were born in 1961, attended Ivy League universities, married the same year, and in their youth, were exposed by family members to anti-colonial views.

D’Souza worked in politics for Reagan but was never recognized or moved up in the Republican political ranks. His views caught the eyes of some very wealthy, unnamed backers who stand to gain financially if Obama loses. The timing is not accidental. They have manipulated a bitter, jealous, religious zealot into fronting this pre-election distorted piece of political fiction and presenting it to those willing to believe any lie as long as it is anti-Obama. I refuse to be misled and lied to.

OBAMA PAVES ROAD TO ECONOMIC RUIN
BY Sanderson M. Smith

My political views are generally conservative. I have intelligent and thoughtful friends who are liberal. I have voted for Democrats. I try to judge both the sensibility and the sincerity of a candidate’s positions.

I did not vote for Obama in 2008 and will not vote for him in 2012. I offer no criticism of those who supported him in 2008. John McCain was not the best candidate the Republicans could have produced, and Obama sounded great with his hope and change themes. However, I do hope that good folks will realize we were duped. One only has to listen to Obama, particularly when he goes off teleprompter (“You didn’t build that,” “I think that when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody”) to realize the shallowness of his views on hard work, success and self-reliance. Rather than suggesting real tax reform for everyone, which we badly need, we have a constant “tax the rich more” Obama theme that won’t even come close to solving the country’s problems.

Sadly, too many sincere Obama supporters (in public unions, for instance) seem oblivious to the fact that his policies, which presently seem beneficial to them, will represent future severe financial hardships for their children. To get a glimpse of where Obama is taking our wonderful country, study present-day Greece.

Criticize Paul Ryan’s budget ideas if you will, but Ryan is one of the very few who has presented a plan suggesting real reform that actually addresses the nation’s financial problems. Obama, while demonizing Ryan’s attempts, has offered nothing approaching a solution.

I haven’t seen the movie “2016.” I don’t need to see it. I have seen enough of the real Obama to realize that I don’t share his view on what America is and what it should be.

Letters for August 30, 2012

SHARK SOLUTION WRONGLY SCAPEGOATS SEALS:
I disagree with a recent suggestion that Carpinteria should not protect harbor seals. While no one can say there will not be a shark attack, the risk is much less than death from bee stings, dog attacks and collisions with deer.

The facts: Biologist Dana Seagers testified before the Carpinteria City Council in 1988 regarding his many counts “well over 200.” Sealwatch volunteers have occasionally counted over 400. This increase is not dramatic in the context of the overall pinniped population. Tens of thousands of sea lions and elephant seals live in Santa Barbara Channel waters. An increase of 250 seals in Carpinteria since the 1980s is less than 1 percent of the population of seals and sea lions within 50 miles—not likely to change shark predatory behavior.

Second, assume Carpinteria’s protections are revoked. What would change? True, some seals may move to nearby beaches in the daytime but nighttime birthing and resting will continue in Carpinteria. Seals will haul out more, as now in summer, at the Carpinteria State Beach reef. The Seal Sanctuary was “open” during recent shark sightings—precisely what the writer wanted.

Third, a major difference since 20 years ago is that people now enjoy seasonal daytime viewing—33,000 visitors this spring. Daytime visibility causes misperception of a great increase in numbers.

Fourth, harbor seals live within a local range. “Carpinteria” seals may be at Point Mugu, Goleta or Point Conception tomorrow. Ending Carpinteria’s limited protection may not cause much decrease within a few miles even if fewer seals used the rookery area.

A fear of sharks should not blind us. Less than one person a year is killed by sharks in the United States. We are blessed in Carpinteria to view wild animals living and giving birth as they have done for millennia.
--David Allen, Carpinteria

SEAL ROOKERY OFFERS MORE GOOD THAN BAD:
It is obvious that letter writer Sherrie McIntyre (CVN, Aug. 23) is very uninformed and/or never spent much time out with Mother Nature. Has she even thought that because of global warming, our coastal waters are also warming. The predators of white sharks, the orcas or killer whales, like cooler water, so they may be staying up north more.

The harbor seals have been coming to the Carpinteria Seal Rookery for over 100 years. There are only a handful of harbor seal rookeries along the coast of California, and Carpinteria’s is one of only two accessible to the public.

The seal rookery is overseen by volunteers who give their precious time to protect nature. The only cost to the city may be for the printing of the fliers given out by Carpinteria HOST volunteers and Seal Watch volunteers.

Thousands of people from all over the world come to see the seals. What a wonderful free attraction to bring so many people to our community. Keep protecting the seals and all of Mother Nature.
--Danel Trevor, Carpinteria

ANOTHER SHOT IN THE GUN BATTLE:
A constitutional right? Yes, however, beware, a gun is not a toaster. A firearm is a dangerous killing tool. People do kill people more efficiently and lethally with guns. All of those countries mentioned by Mr. Shade of Washington (“Your views,” Aug. 23, Coastal View News), are third world countries. America has more gun related deaths than any other developed nation. That number hovers around 30,000 every year. Approximately 12,000 are homicides and 17,000 are suicides. If guns made us safer, we’d be the safest country in the world with 280 million or more firearms out of a population of 300 million plus people. An international comparison shows conclusively that fewer gun owners per capita produce not only fewer murders by firearm but fewer murders per capita over all.

These gunners who believe everyone should be armed ought to look closely at the recent Empire State shooting where trained officers, in taking down an alleged killer, unintentionally wounded nine bystanders. This should not malign the officers because statistically, based on New York’s firearm discharge reports, stray shots are almost inevitable and these police professionals hit their targets only 34 percent of the time.

The increase in gun ownership has not resulted in a reduction of gun deaths. In point of fact, in 10 states, firearm deaths have exceeded vehicle deaths for the first time. Some people purchase firearms out of fear, while the rest of us fear them.
--Toni Wellen, Carpinteria

BRING BACK THE SAFETY WALL: A SOUND DECISION:
Last night the safety barrier between the northbound lanes of Highway 101 and the houses in La Conchita was removed. You cannot believe how much louder the traffic is.

In the mid-1990s, when Caltrans was planning to build a 12-foot sound wall through Summerland, a few of us got together to stop that wall. At the end of the meeting I gave the first $50 for postage. Soon, the anti-freeway people jumped in with their agenda. I didn’t like their style or attitude, so I dropped out. They stopped the 12-foot sound wall, except at Serena Park.

Fast forward to the 21st century and I am once again neighbors with the 101 freeway. It took a while, but I learned to sleep with most of the noise. With the widening of the freeway, a safety wall of less than 30 inches was put in place. For the first time, the freeway noise did not penetrate the walls of my house.

It has been wonderful. We had less than half the noise and still have our view. Why a 3-foot sound barrier was never offered as an alternative defies my imagination. It stops the trajectory of the sound from shooting from directly ‘where the rubber meets the road’ to our houses. Yet we still get to see our beautiful sunsets. It is a perfect compromise especially since they will build a 3-foot center barrier anyway. 

So, change the name of the safety wall to sound barrier and put it back. If you doubt how much difference it makes, come to La Conchita during the mid afternoon and listen to the difference when there is southbound traffic (behind the safety wall) but no northbound traffic. I’m sure that other locals, like those on Jameson (I lived there once), will want to consider a safety barrier.
--Larry Melby, La Conchita

CANDIDATE SLATE A COOL DRINK OF WATER:
Finally, relief is on the horizon. Carpinteria’s aggrieved residents, who pay the highest water rates in the county and among the highest in the country, will finally be able to toss out the entrenched incumbents on the water board and replace them with three first-rate businesswomen: Polly Holcombe, Shirley Johnson and Alexandra VanAntwerp.

Lots of folks think our soaring-high water bills are due solely to State Water. True, State Water is likely the worst and most costly decision in the county’s history. But it is worth remembering that it was championed by one of the incumbent Carpinteria Valley Water District board member (costing Carpinterians a whopping $3 million a year!)

Still, there have been plenty of other instances of reckless management, enough to put the CVWD in more than $100 million of debt. Indeed, the last 20 years at the CVWD have been hallmarked by conflicts-of-interest, cronyism and profligate spending.

Why did the water district, literally drowning in debt, once vote to hire a publicist at $125 an hour and now spends thousands each year on ads for itself? And what were they thinking when they re-appointed a former board member who had been voted off the board, a decision that turned out to be entirely illegal and one they were forced to reverse.

Then there was the scathing Grand Jury Report of the CVWD in 2007 that informed us we “are paying a monthly service charge that is more than twice as high as what residents pay elsewhere in the county.” Why? How else to pay for an endless number of “capital improvement” projects—some of dubious merit—such as the $12 million Rancho Monte Alegre tank.

So let’s stop whining about the CVWD and vote in some new folks who, finally, will take care of business.
--Ann Louise Bardach, Carpinteria

VENGEANCE IS NO WAY TO RUN A WATER DISTRICT:
My two neighbors and I received a notice to remove our masonry walls and six-year-old palm and liquid amber trees, for alleged easement encroachment, while other neighbors/neighborhoods with similar problems received no notice at all.

Our permitted and approved fence and trees were created three years ago. Throughout that process, the Carpinteria Valley Water District employees visited our property at least once a month reading meter or to check for leaks and even replacing the meter box itself after the project was initially complete. And yet, there was no stop order or any suggestion of any kind that the fence or the trees were in violation.

There are many places in Carpinteria with the same easement “problems” that homeowners have never been notified. Since the water district has never broadly applied its regulation, I feel that it should strongly consider the prevailing community standard and not be discriminatory in its enforcements. For 20 years under his reign, while Carpinteria households and population have grown tremendously, why has District General Manager Charles Hamilton never addressed, educated or notified any of these owners until now, when he was offended by my email telling him that he was not community-minded and a poor presidential candidate?

In light of the negative impact of the botched Ortega Reservoir, the negative environmental impact of removing our trees, fences, pillars and gates with a jackhammer now is much greater than leaving them alone. Fixing the Ortega Reservoir aggravated the leaks from 2 gallons per minute to 76 gallons per minute and has led to a district lawsuit. Similarly, easement lawsuits from the community will also drain the public resources, resulting in another hike in water rates. Up to here, the embattled Mr. Hamilton has not shown his willingness to work things out peacefully. Email your grievances to WaterTyranny@cox.net.
--Wayne Ni, Carpinteria

NO-BAMA IN NEXT YEAR'S WHITE HOUSE:
I think anyone planning on voting for Obama again should see the movie “2016 Obama’s America” (curiously, not showing in Santa Barbara). The movie is an analysis of Obama’s early upbringing in the making of a complex personality. Not just the half-black half-white tensions, but also his idolization of his communist father, his mentoring by people like Frank Marshall Davis, a communist who was mentioned 45 times as such in Obama’s books, Bill Ayers the terrorist bomber, the Reverend “God Damn America” Wright, etc. He has surrounded himself with advisors who abhor the “colonial” world leader, America. 

It shows in his writings and speeches that Obama wishes to reconstruct the Old America, which he was never very fond of, into a new equalized America. I would bet money that he has never read Adam Smith, Hayek, Friedman or any other writer who explains capitalism, and is completely naive on how it works to produce the wealth of nations, as communist nations like China, Vietnam and others have now discovered and are implementing. Instead, as he whispered to the Russian Premier when he thought he was off mic, just wait until he gets re-elected. He seems unaware of the damage he will do to the country when he redistributes wealth, “equalizes” America with the poorer countries both in wealth and nuclear weapons, eliminates incentives, etc. 

Reconstruction is the “change” he was talking about four years ago. Look out if he is re-elected.
--Karl Jakel, Carpinteria

RUNNING MATE RUNNING MAD:
Okay. It took a long while to get Sarah Palin out of my nightmares. Recovering from McCain’s joke to Americans was a slow process. I was certain that Republicans had learned a hard lesson: right-wing nuts do not a majority make.

Wrong. No lesson learned.

Is Mitt marrying a mutt? Who comes up with these combinations? Nancy Reagan’s astrologer? Dan Quayle?

Quick thoughts and suggestions: 1) Privatize social security for a five-year trial, but only do this for Republicans. 2) Bring back Lehman Brothers to manage those funds under the new name Lehman and Lazarus Brothers and the motto, “Back from the dead.” 3) Tell voters that the Massachusetts health plan was actually implemented by Romney’s evil twin—Dr. No Way. 4) Cut congress in half and let Jon Stewart decide who stays. The Los Angeles Times announced that public approval of these misfits was a lowly 10 percent. 5) Protect your loved ones. Buy 10 acres of Canadian property and apply for dual citizenship.
--John Humphries, Carpinteria

Letter for August 23, 2012

GUN EDUCATION, NOT ERADICATION:
Jane Benefield’s letter (CVN, July 26. 2012) may be correct in saying that a majority of Americans do not report that they own a gun. However, the number of Americans buying guns is on the rise.

Gun ownership is a constitutional right, as determined by the Supreme Court in 2008. She is mistaken that America has more gun related deaths than any other country. In fact, according to Forbes.com, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador combined have more homicides by firearm than Mexico, the United States, South Africa, the Philippines, Honduras, Guatemala, India, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Bangladesh, Argentina and Jamaica combined.

A firearm is a tool used by many or a hobby to be enjoyed, just as a knife is a tool for a butcher or a coveted item is to a collector. I have lived around, used, owned and worked with guns since the age of 7 and now spend the majority of my time carrying a firearm both as a member of the United States Military and as a private citizen. My father taught me how to safely use and respect firearms and the responsibility required to use one. Just as alcohol education is reducing the number of deaths from drunk driving, so will proper gun education.

Blaming guns for killing people is as bad as saying it’s the alcohol’s fault when a drunk driver gets behind a wheel and kills someone. The argument to that is someone made the choice to drink and drive. When I was younger my father corrected me quickly, and without question, when I failed to show the proper level of maturity. It is my opinion that firearm safety and education is the key, not gun control laws that only limit those who follow the law to begin with.
--Anthony Shade, Washington

SEAL BUFFET FEEDS SHARKS:
Well, the great white s harks have finally tied napkins around their necks and are now ready to sit down to the seal meal we’ve set out for them. This is what has apparently happened after 20 years of good-intentioned nurturing of the seal population at the Carpinteria Seal Rookery. A few seals could always be found down there before the beach was closed off for the them, but probably not enough for predatory sharks to take notice. We just all enjoyed watching those cute pups being born. Fast forward to now. 

There are hundreds of seals at the rookery. “If you build it they will come” has a certain ring to it. Both sharks and seals are taking advantage of this. Shark sightings, as well as attacks on seals, are increasing. As a regular ocean user and resident since 1968, I’ve never seen anything like what’s going on now in our local waters. What if a shark goes for a swimmer instead of a seal? 

In my opinion, it makes no sense to have a seal rookery in our midst. Lets rewind to 20 years ago and reopen the beach. Most of the seals will likely move on, and the sharks can follow them.
--Sherrie McIntyre, Carpinteria

SLATED FOR WATER DISTRICT BOARD:
Alexandra Van Antwerp, Polly Holcombe and Shirley Johnson are running as a slate, Carp Water Matters, for the Carpinteria Valley Water District. If elected they will overhaul past and present fiscal and management practices and change the culture of CVWD. They will introduce a new philosophy of honesty, transparency, due diligence and act responsibly to improve the water district. They have a common sense approach to resolving complex issues and the skill sets, capabilities and commitment to get the job done.

All three are accomplished businesswomen accustomed to hard work under difficult and complex circumstances. And they are passionate about proper water management now and for future use.

Their priorities are: fiscal discipline, a diligent review of major projects, fair and reasonable rates for the good of the valley, water conservation and water quality while also addressing state water alternatives immediately.

Van Antwerp, Holcombe and Johnson are running because they believe in the proper management, maintenance and conservation of our precious resource, introducing rigor to the district’s processes and taking the right steps for the public good. An abundant and beautiful community like our town deserves responsible stewards of its water. CVWD has been dogged by controversy, a grand jury investigation, other legal issues and uncontrolled expenses for far too long. Isn’t it time to get real leadership and reasonable rates back to the Valley? They ask for your vote to get Carpinteria’s water back on track. After all, Carp Water Matters!
--Vera Bensen, Carpinteria

Letters for August 16, 2012

MONEY GROWS ON COUNTY TREES:
Want to cut down an oak tree on your own property? Be ready to pay the county first! I would like to warn all Santa Barbara County property owners that if they have an oak tree on their property and they want to cut it down, they need to know the following first:  

You must fill out a complicated Santa Barbara County Planning and Development Application Form first to get permission. Then, if you get permission, permit fees run $1,136. Next, an arborist must be hired to complete an arborist’s report for the county at a cost of roughly $480, and that is the low end.

Most importantly, if you are forced to apply for an “after-the-fact” permit because you were unaware of this code, like I was, you will be hit with double the fees, $2,272, plus the $480 report.
I am a struggling, self-employed small business owner, and I do not want anyone else to be burdened with this exorbitant, outrageous county fee.
--Pamela Lange, Carpinteria

MEDEL BLESSED BY B&G CLUB:
After 40 years of service to the Carpinteria community and the Boys & Girls Club family, I have made a decision with the love and support of my family to retire from the post of Director. I have spent four decades working with past and present board members, community members, volunteers, staff and parents to provide a positive and inspirational home for thousands of children and future generations. Being a part of such a powerful movement has been one of the greatest blessings for my family and I. Not many people can say they built a positive place for kids brick by brick.

I’m proud of what our club has become, and I am ready to begin a new chapter in my life.

Thank you all for being wonderful supporters, friends and a part of my family. I hope you know that like all of you, I could never really leave the Boys & Girls Club movement completely. Instead, I will take it with me wherever I go. My DNA will always be in the building and especially with all our present and past members.
--Rich Medel, Carpinteria

BRIDGE PROPOSAL MISSES POINT:
The planned bridge at Casitas Pass Road is a massive structure seven lanes wide. It has two vehicle lanes in each direction, a turn lane, an 8-foot sidewalk on each side and two bike lanes.

Where do those two extra lanes in each direction go after the bridge? They go back down to one lane, in effect doubling the gridlock on either side of the bridge. Not to mention the increased potential for accidents.

A simpler and more effective bridge would have one lane in each direction and the turn lanes to access the freeway, plus one improved sidewalk and one bike lane, bringing the structure down to four-plus lanes. This is much more suitable for what we have and improves the flow of traffic.

Also, at certain times of the day, the whole city is gridlocked. When you can’t get out of the Albertsons parking lot, it is due to the traffic on Carpinteria Avenue turning left onto Casitas Pass Road. And more than half of that traffic is getting on the freeway going south, coming from the downtown and beach areas.  

Why not take the money for the unnecessary bridge lanes and create a southbound entrance to the freeway at Linden Avenue? They will be re-doing that entire area anyway. That would create an immediate reduction of gridlock down Carpinteria Avenue and Casitas Pass Road.

And the gridlock at the Santa Ynez/Via Real junction is just as bad as Casitas Pass Road. Soon there will be even more cars coming out of Dahlia Court. Where are those cars going to go? Caltrans has not done a very good job looking at the big picture. We need to voice our opinion and get what we need, not what they want to give us.
--Lory Perry, Carpinteria

SERIOUSLY?
I don’t get it. Romney is proposing more of the same stuff that has not worked in the recent past, and he is still in the race. Evidently most of what he stands for is overlooked by his supporters simply because he is not Obama. People dislike Obama so much for reasons that have little to do with his job performance and are willing to risk their own best interests to achieve this empty goal. Romney stands on principle; what is good for Romney is good for the country.

And how can Ryan be a good choice?  He will save Social Security and Medicare by gutting it? His hero is a fictional character out of a novel by Ayn Rand. His policies are also bad fiction; they will only work on the paper between the covers of a fantasy novel. Reform requires a surgeon’s hand, not a butcher.
-- Mike Millan, Carpinteria

Letters for August 9, 2012

DEVELOPMENT WOULD BE A DOWNGRADE:
Driving to surf Rincon, I have seen the sign warning us that Thunderbowl is for sale. When the “Sale Pending” sign was attached to the ominous yellow sign, my heart dropped, and I began to think of ways that we as Carpinterians could stop development there. Put plainly, the proposed hotel detailed in last week’s Coastal View News will turn Carpinteria into a completely different place. Many of us agree that Carpinteria is California’s last true little beach town. We have no resorts, no gigantic mall, no parking meters and plenty of farmland in prime locations that in other towns has long since been repurposed for businesses and homes. I like living in Carpinteria for all of these reasons, and I imagine that my fellow Carpinterians do, also.

I understand the positives that could come along with having a big and luxurious hotel in our town. Local businesses will make more money, and in our off-season we will probably have a comparable amount of visitors to those we get in the summertime. Herein lies the rub: More people in town means more traffic. With wealthier people coming to stay here, corporations will run the local businesses out. People will want to buy houses, tear them down and build bigger ones.

The beautiful earthiness and hometown feeling associated with Carpinteria will be glossed over with large panes of glass and concrete, and we will become another one of those towns people have heard of or visited once and stayed at the fancy hotel. To be honest, when I tell people where I’m from and they say, “Huh, never heard of it,” I smile inside and say to myself, “And that’s why it’s the greatest little beach town in California.” We need to do whatever we can to stop this development.
--Geoff Jensen, Carpinteria

DEVELOPMENT IS A FIGHTING WORD:
Here we go again. According to last week’s Coastal View News story “Developer launches plans for bluffs resort,” the developer doesn’t want a fight? Think for a moment. He’s a developer; that’s what they do, “develop.” Carpinteria has prevented development, and I, for one, hope it will continue to prevent further development. Furthermore, it looks to me like the writer took a rather slanted view when describing the current state of the property as “21.65 acres of dirt bike scars and patchy vegetation.” Yeah. And it’s some of the last of open coastal property, certainly in California. But, ohhh, what a spot for a big ol’ hotel and all that goes with it.
--Frank Torreano , Carpinteria

CITY NEEDS CASITAS PASS BRIDGE UPGRADE:
(Message to City Council) Please proceed with the Linden and Casitas Interchange Project as quickly as possible, while funding is available. Traffic is backing up on all sides of the Casitas Pass overpass, both entering and exiting Highway 101, turning in and out of the shopping center and going north toward Foothill Road. Since the city understandably encourages tourist money and has seen great improvements to Casitas Plaza shopping center, we now need the infrastructure to support semi-trucks, pedestrian traffic and bike lanes on that bridge, which was built in the 1950s.

Carpinteria west of the freeway may be a “sleepy beach town,” but Casitas Pass Road is a traffic nightmare that gets worse every year. Take pity on the residents, pedestrians, bicyclists, school children and growers who use this road, and widen the bridge!  
--Joyce and Harry Powell, Carpinteria

MODELED IN MEDEL’S MOLD:
As one of the original 25 members of the Carpinteria Boy’s Club (sorry girls) I saw firsthand what a great job Richie Medel did. He not only was the club director, he was your teacher, mentor and friend. He showed you there was no limitation on what you can achieve. His example of getting a college degree has always been the driving force in helping me attain my degree and going on to a productive career. I can only imagine how many kids his leadership has helped over the 40 years he has been director. So kudos to Richie, and he has earned a well deserved rest.  
-- William Jimenez, San Diego

BETTER OFF WITH OBAMA:
When contemplating the 2012 presidential election, ponder the question: “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?” In response, I offer these assessments: In the last month of his second term, George W. Bush had the “worst track record for job creation since the government began keeping records.” (The Wall Street Journal) Bush’s supply side economics “fostered the weakest jobs and income growth in more than six decades.” (Center for American Progress’ Joshua Picker) “On every major measurement” of income and employment, “the country lost ground during Bush’s two terms.” (National Journal’s Ron Brownstein)

Some of President Obama’s accomplishments are as follows: In February 2009, President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was passed into law. In December 2009, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office issued a report estimating an additional 600,000 to 1.6 million Americans (many in the hard-hit auto industry) were employed due to that legislation. Obama signed the Lily Ledbetter “Fair Pay Act,” ensuring equal pay for equal work regardless of gender. He ended the discriminatory “Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell” policy in the military. He signed the Affordable Health Care Act, outlawing denial of medical insurance due to pre-existing conditions. He pulled our troops out of Iraq, honoring a commitment made by former president George W. Bush. And he eliminated Osama bin Laden and others on the terrorist “most-wanted” list.

So, are we better off? Judge for yourself.
--Robert Baruch, Goleta

Letters for Aug. 2, 2012

MEDEL ELEVATED CARPINTERIA CHILDREN:
When I moved to Carpinteria in the early 1970s one of the first people I met was Rich Medel. I had five young daughters who wanted to participate in youth activities, and the local Boys & Girls Club provided that avenue.

My kids attended Main School and Carpinteria Middle School, and during this time Richie also provided his leadership as president of the PTA. The community also got behind him and elected him as a member of our school board. During his tenure as a school board member many great things happened, including hiring our first Latino superintendent, Pedro Garcia. Richie’s participation on the school board further strengthened many meaningful issues that he dealt with because of his involvement with our youth in the Boys & Girls Club.

His daily connection with kids gave him the knowledge and motivation to help elevate the standards in our educational system. I have personally gained the fruits of his positive leadership for myself and my family. My daughters and grandkids gained tremendous knowledge from participating in the youth activities offered under Richie’s leadership.

Several years later I decided to run for the school board and won my election. During my eight years on the school board, Rich was always one of my mentors.
Rich Medel has been a great role model for our kids and community at large and an inspiration for our Latino community. We wish to thank him and honor him in his role as a great community leader. Additional motivation was provided by his wife, Patsy, who was always at his side. We will miss him, as the Director of the Boys & Girls Club, and Patsy, but I know he will continue to be involved and provide his leadership in future community activities.
--Alex Pulido, Carpinteria

GIVE SB COUNTY A CHANCE:
There is an uproar on Toro Canyon Road over Santa Barbara County’s intention to purchase the Carpinteria Unified School District’s Toro Canyon property and allow its use by the Flood Control District. This angst is misplaced. The proposed project will leave the property as publicly owned open space, an almost ideal situation. There is no a priori reason to believe that the Flood Control District’s operation will not be conducted in a way that is compatible with the community. When proposed screening has time to grow, it will not even be visible from surrounding properties. We should have more trust in county government, it is us.
--Royce D. Stauffer, Toro Canyon

GET ON BOARD WITH OVERPASS:
I have been informed that the only people attending the city meetings for the new Casitas Pass overpass are people against it.

All of you people who would like to see the bridge over the freeway enlarged, please write letters to your city council members. Go to ci.carp.ca.us and write to them. Also, there is a computer-generated picture, minus the landscaping, to show you what it would look like. Go see it. It looks really good.

Caltrans has the money now to spend on this project. If City Hall stops or lessens this project, it will probably be 50 more years before another one will happen.

We all know the bottleneck causes traffic congestion in the morning and from to 3 to 5 p.m. Let’s get it fixed now, and it will last most of us through our lifetime. Let’s look ahead and go with the five lanes.
--Connie Thompson, Carpinteria

AFFORFABLE CARE ACT OFFERS TAX INCREASES, NOT INSURANCE:
The Supreme Court says the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act is a tax. I will defer to the court’s language here. There are 20 hidden taxes on individuals and employers in Obamacare. Seven of these taxes are levied on all citizens regardless of income. I only have space here to mention three.

Best known of these taxes is the individual mandate. Beginning in 2014, anyone not buying “qualifying” health insurance—as defined by appointed bureaucrats—will be required to pay a tax. If your family has an adjusted gross income of $50,000 in 2014 you will pay 1 percent of AGI or $1,360 per year, whichever is higher. In 2016, this will increase to 2.5 percent AGI or $2,085 per year, whichever is higher. The IRS is in charge of collecting these taxes.

Another tax that hurts the middle class is the medical itemized deduction hurdle which is currently 7.5 percent of AGI. This is the hurdle that you must meet before medical expenses “over” that can be taken as deductions on your federal taxes. Beginning in 2013, Obamacare raises this hurdle to 10 percent. If your family’s AGI is $80,000 with $8,000 in medical expenses, you can now deduct $2000. Under Obamacare, you can deduct nothing.

The Obamacare flexible spending account cap imposes a cap on FSAs of $2500 (now unlimited under federal law). With a FSA account you can set aside a portion of your paycheck, to pay for qualifying medical and dependent care expenses. These expenses dollars are pre-tax. There is one group of FSA owners for whom this new cap will be particularly onerous: parents of special needs children. There are thousands of families that use FSAs to help pay for special needs education.

None these taxes provide anyone with insurance. But they insure you will pay more to the federal government on April 15.
--Carolyn Edwards, Carpinteria

BAD NEWS UNEARTHED:
The main stream media is a disgrace. By focusing on nonsense issues and lying about Romney, they are protecting Obama from bad economic news. Simply put, the U.S. economy and Americans are in real trouble.

During July, weekly jobless claims shot up to 386,000 (businessweek.com) and foreclosures hit our most vulnerable citizens. According to AARP, more than 1.5 million older Americans have lost their homes, with millions more at risk. Hardest hit are African-Americans and Hispanics. Furthermore, factory activity has slipped for a second month (CNBC) and according to an AP Economic writer, U.S. home sales dropped a whopping 5.4 percent. A recent Commerce Report showed that U.S. retail sales fell for the third straight month and consumer confidence dropped to 84.7 percent.

Also, Rasmussen reported 63 percent of Americans believe we are in a recession. Finally, sales dropped 1 percent, food prices have skyrocketed, and more Americans are getting disability than jobs. ( John Merline- Investor’s Business Daily)

Where is the media concerning this devastating July economic news? Is there a cover-up in order to protect Obama?
--Diana Thorn, Carpinteria

MARJORIE LUKE PAYS IT FORWARD:
I read the recent story about the Plaza Playhouse Theater (“New movie projector, funding land at Plaza Playhouse,” CVN, July 26) securing a new and much needed movie projector, compliments of an anonymous lead donor, individual donors and a generous deal from the Marjorie Luke Theatre. I love reading stories like this!

The Marjorie Luke Theatre is one of the most beautiful and well-equipped venues for the performing arts on the Central Coast, thanks to a wildly successful renovation collaboration — spearheaded by local writer, director and Santa Barbara Junior High School alum Rod Lathim — between Santa Barbara Unified School District and the Santa Barbara Community Youth Performing Arts Center (CYPAC).

It is heartening to see The Luke pay it forward with the generously discounted price of a projector they no longer need, for the benefit of Carpinteria’s Plaza Playhouse and the surrounding community. Many thanks to all the other wonderful community members who sealed the deal with their donations.
--Carole Anne Demachkie, Santa Barbara

Letters from July 26, 2012

BEYOND THE BLACK & WHITE:
I am a law-abiding citizen with a perfect driving record. I am also the mother of a 6-year-old who goes to school locally, and I am adamantly against using cell phones while driving. My father was a former Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department officer, and my first love (also a Carpinterian) was killed by a drunk driver in 1986. I have a deep respect and gratitude for law enforcement.

That said, I have been aware of an increasingly poor service rating for law enforcement officers in Carpinteria. Being a good police officer is not just about upholding the law but is also about community and reading the situation at hand.

Recently I had to rush my daughter to Urgent Care in Carpinteria where her leg was put in a cast. We were leaving and her father called. Her father works in the desert where there is no cell phone reception. I was on the phone for 10 seconds and said, “She’s fine. I need to call you back; I’m driving.” As I spoke those words, a deputy going the opposite way looked right at me, flipped a “U” and nailed me. I gave him no problems, handed over all my current paperwork. I also pointed out my daughter, her cast and our situation, including the nature of that 10-second call. My daughter kept asking if I was going to jail. He did not acknowledge her or her situation and returned with my formal citation. Did I break the law technically? Yes. Should he care what my excuse was? Probably not.

But here is the real issue for me with this particular stop: it could have been handled better. True power is when you have the authority to enforce something but use your intelligence and discretion to determine what is best under the circumstances.
-- Kerry Lee Dickey, Carpinteria

TRANSITIONAL KINDERGARTEN DESIGNED TO BE COST NEUTRAL:
I am writing in response to your article “School board cuts half million from upcoming school year” to clarify that funding for the new transitional kindergarten grade is just like that of traditional kindergarten. Districts across the state are looking forward to beginning transitional kindergarten classes this fall, and they will receive full per-pupil funding, just as they do for traditional kindergarten.

The Kindergarten Readiness Act of 2010 changed the state kindergarten entry date so that children enter kindergarten at age 5. The same law created TK to serve the children born in the fall who would have attended kindergarten before the entry date change. Because school funding will follow this cohort of young students into TK, TK is cost neutral by design. Districts will be using existing dollars to greatly benefit these young learners.

As TK launches statewide this fall, we at Preschool California are excited about this bright opportunity for our children, communities and our state. We look forward to supporting school districts by expanding tkcalifornia.org with helpful new information, tips and resources for TK teachers and administrators.
-- Diana Chun, Preschool California, Oakland

CARPINTERIA GAINS TWO NEW FANS:
Myself and my mother, Lea, had the good fortune to visit Carpinteria by accident. We had planned a drive up PCH from LA, and wanted to see Santa Barbara, of course. We like to stay in Best Westerns, so decided on the nearby Carpinteria inn. Excellent choice, with a great staff.

We had planned on just one night there, but after about two hours in your lovely town, decided on two. We never even made it to Santa Barbara that night, as we decided to dine at Señor Frog's, where we had some great homemade soup and one of their signature sandwiches. Afterwards, we strolled Linden Avenue and then made a stop at Foster's Freeze for some terrific soft serve.

We really liked the "vibe" of your town, with so many children and families out and about, and great independent shops. Friendly folks too, especially in the Mexican bakeries and markets. The next morning, we decided to enjoy your hospitality a little more, but then headed to Santa Barbara. While we had an enjoyable afternoon there, we wanted to spend another evening in Carpinteria. We dined at Tony's with great food and service, then strolled again.

After six days touring Santa Barbara, Carmel, Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Francisco, the best part of our trip was our unplanned visit to Carpinteria. We look forward to returning soon. We also enjoyed reading your news and were surprised at the quality and professionalism of your magazine.

Thank you all for such a wonderful visit
-- Tony Raffo, Springfield, Pa.

NO GUNS, NO WAY:
Have you heard these words before? Tragic, shocking, unbelievable, unheard of, he was such a quiet man, rampage, words are inadequate, get past this, compassion for the victims, forgiveness and on and on. So many horrific mass murders are committed on American soil that we need to finally address the issue. Let me scream it: Guns are the issue! We have more guns than any nation; we kill more innocent people every year than any nation. So many Americans love their guns. But the majority of Americans do not own a gun. Nationwide gun murders near 9,000 people annually. The number is going down, but who cares until the number is zero. If a gun-wielding moron killed my loved one, I would only care about that single person.

Politicians never want to fight the almighty National Rifle Association. But from now on your gun ownership arguments fall on my deaf ears. The second amendment is obscured and mangled at every hearing. Does anyone need an assault weapon? The NRA believes it is your right and belittles opposition relentlessly, scorning public opinion but heaping piles of money (over $22 million in 2010) on lawmakers to continue the constant flow of weaponry. I scorn them.

No more discussion. Fight back and get rid of the guns; you may be the next victim.
-- Jane Benefield, Carpinteria

Letters from July 19, 2012

STROKE VICTIM RECOGNIZED GUARDIAN ANGELS:
On June 22 I bumped into a stove burner, turning it on under a skillet. I didn’t realize this—as I was having a stroke—and it set off my smoke alarm. Hearing the alarm continuously, someone in the 4900 block of 9th Street called the fire department. They came with an ambulance, took me to the hospital and I am now recovering. The quick action on behalf of the fire department and ambulance personnel was amazing, and the person who made that phone call is my guardian angel. Thank you.
--Meredith McCurdy, Carpinteria

THE TRUE MEANING OF FAMILY:
A “family” need not be of blood but of those closest to you, those who support you and believe in similar ideals. Families are those who do not give up in order to protect each other and what they believe in. In this case, the value of agriculture is the common bond. The people in this community have become my family. They are the only reason, aside from the kids, that I chose to stay, and I am proud to be a part of this family. The acts of community pride, kindness and generosity that we have all witnessed are what make this community so phenomenal. The beaches are beautiful, but the people are the reason we can call this place home. With an industry such as agriculture, it is not a job, but a lifestyle, a passion. And in times like these, we need a family (a community) to help us not only exist but to persevere. Agriculture is something taken for granted, but it is truly the “fabric of our country.” It is what teaches us so many lessons of ethics and what brings us all together.  

I want to thank my community for being such a great agriculture “family.” I am proud to have the opportunity to serve as an educator of agriculture and its vast opportunities for many years to come. Thank you.
--Holly Smith, CHS Agriculture Teacher

FIRE FOLLOW-UP:
I’ve just read Fran Davis’ excellent column of June 21. Ms. Davis reported on the recent fire in Summerland and a discussion led by Fire Chief Mingee at the June Summerland Citizens Association meeting. I was not aware that the meeting would include his remarks, and I am sorry that I did not know about it.

The fire on Golden Gate Avenue destroyed my home, all of its contents and caused the death of my beloved cat. I am an educational therapist and, in addition to the loss of the complete contents of my home, all the reference materials and equipment stored under the building were extensively damaged by fire and water.

I recount this loss because, while I believe this fire was preventable, I do not wish to demean the actions of the various fire departments and firefighters once they arrived on the scene. They were truly inspiring in their efforts. I am, however, worried that conditions existed which could affect future Summerland residents in case of a similar tragedy.

The Summerland fire truck went first to the wrong side of Valencia Street and had to back down and come around to my side of Golden Gate. Map problem?

Fire trucks were unable to find fire hydrant locations, so firefighters asked me and my neighbors. No “blue dot” markers are on our streets. Evidently maps of hydrant locations either do not exist or are not correct.

The second item led firefighters to lay one-and-a-half blocks of hose (three hoses) which sprang fountains of water at each connection point. Water pressure was affected.

I was told that a hydrant closer to my house existed. I looked and could not find even the hydrant I know they used. It would be helpful if every resident located and cleared the foliage around their closest hydrant.
--Lee Pennington Neill, Ph.D., Summerland

FIRE RESPONSE RIGHT ON:
I want to say thank you to the Carpinteria-Summerland and Montecito fire departments that responded to the fire at our nursery on Foothill Road, and to the fire department out of Ventura who just happened to be driving by, saw the smoke and dropped in to lend a hand. I also want to thank the California Highway Patrol for directing the traffic and for keeping the busy road safe. And thank you to Edison for your help in minimizing the damages. From my crew to all of yours, thank you for protecting our company and our community.

The rapid reaction and efficient teamwork of everyone involved quickly contained the fire, and although we lost some equipment, nobody was injured and none of our crops were damaged. This was a stressful situation, no doubt about it, but we will clean up the mess and put this all behind us. What we won’t do is forget the amazing job our community did to support us. This is just one of the many reasons I am proud to be living in Carpinteria.
--Hans Brand , Carpinteria

Letters from July 12, 2012

CITY DECISION MAKERS BAT .500:
Thank you Carpinteria City Council for revisiting plans for our town’s bridges and freeway off/on-ramps and for having the good sense to consider slower-growth alternatives to this ambitious and sizeable undertaking. However, my enthusiasm for city positions wanes in light of the recent decision to not challenge the lawsuit filed by the Save the Plastic Coalition.

While I understand the substantial costs involved in battling the petroleum industry, the city too easily seemed to shrug off an opportunity to be truly progressive by issuing a first-of-its-kind-in-the nation mandate. It would have been nice for the city to pair its settlement with some sort of incentive for local restaurants to voluntarily move away from single use or plastic bags. If Carpinteria eateries care to issue a pledge in this direction, I will happily pledge my patronage in return, and I hope others would join in doing the same.
--Kelley Skumautz, Carpinteria
 
LIFE SAVERS AT RELAY FOR LIFE:
So, other than the start being delayed by the guy on his back, how did you like the Relay for Life? Well, I was the embarrassed and sorry guy on the lawn needing medical attention, and I hope it was more fun for you. A medication change and not eating and drinking anything since morning combined in a perfect storm of low blood pressure.  After two liters of intravenous saline and some food in the hospital, the world came back into focus.

I would like to thank all the first responders who came to my aid—my Roberta, the paramedics, the nurse and the other concerned people who I couldn’t recognize in my woozy state. Special thanks go to Fire Chief Mike Mingee for being the first of the first responders who helped my wife gently lay me down and wisely suggesting that I take the expensive ride to the hospital. 

Moral of the story: if you have a medical event, have it in a community full of caring people in front of first rate professional responders provided by prescient event organizers. And, if there is something written about the event, please don’t say “an elderly man” fainted and delayed the start of the walk.
--George Lehtinen, Carpinteria

ROMNEY BANKS ON FICTION TO WIN FIGHT:
Mitt Romney, the Republican presumptive candidate, figures if he can say something with a straight face it must be true. His words may be completely separated from reality, but he looks good saying them. Or if it advances his prospects it’s okay to utter misleading and false statements. The end justifies the means. 

If you cheat and succeed, it’s forgiven; if you cheat and fail, cheat some more. 

Romney, in effect, asks, do you want the truth or do you want to get rid of Obama? Many in the media discuss not whether he was speaking the truth, but whether his calculated pronouncements were effective in gaining percentage points in the polls.

When he is not lying, he is offering platitudes. “America needs jobs.” Brilliant! Conservatives applaud this throwaway line. But when Obama says the same thing and then goes on to offer practical and achievable means to that end, he is ignored by the same conservatives.
--Mike Millan, Carpinteria

MATTER OF FACT CHECKING:
One can only feel pity and compassion for last week’s letter writers Diana Thorn and Karl Jakel. Gripped with fear of change and ignorance of facts, their rhetoric is merely loaded words and misrepresentations, the argument of the intellectually lazy.

Obamacare is not a health plan, Mr. Jakel. And for the majority of Americans with health insurance, Medicare or Medicaid, no penalty or tax will affect them, only the freeloaders who the rest of us pay for in higher premiums. And the IRS will not be able to imprison anyone. Read the facts!  

And Ms. Thorn, gay marriage may frighten you, but I welcome equality in a country that touts it. In addition, No Child Left Behind was set up for failure with the expectation of 100-percent literacy for all students by 2014, and accepting a waiver does not exclude states from meeting high standards but aligns them to more realistic ones.

Next, voter purging in Florida and other states is an admitted tactic of the Republicans (Rep. Mike Turzai) to deny minorities and young people the right to vote so as to ensure a win for Romney. And the illegal aliens you refer to who were brought here as children are your neighbors and community members and are already part of the American fabric. Not including them only exacerbates the problems associated with illegal immigration by forcing them to remain in the shadows.

Lastly, President Bush issued 161 signing statements excluding him from obeying laws he signed into legislation in comparison to 19 by President Obama.

A dose of cynicism is healthy, but it seems Thorn and Jakel have drunk the whole bottle, and the result is a stubborn insistence to rewrite history and proselytize fear, the tactics of cowards.
--Maggie Light, Carpinteria

FOUR MORE YEARS:
I’d like to address Diana Thorn’s letter to the editor “Obama flouts law of the land” from last week. From where I sit, President Obama has done his best to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution, even though the Republicans have tried to thwart him at every turn.

The Defense of Marriage Act, which presumes to define a “religious ceremony,” is in itself unconstitutional and has no business in a nation with a founding principle of the separation of church and state. Also Obama’s repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is another step in healing and improving the quality of life for all Americans.

The No Child Left Behind Act is an obvious and unilateral failure that has had a devastatingly negative effect of our educational system as a whole. To base an educational system on mandatory and arbitrary testing is demeaning to both educators and students.

As for immigration and deportation of non-Americans, I wonder how far back in Diana’s life history she has to go to tell an immigration story of her own. Unless you are a Native American, we all have a distant relative who was drawn to this country, this symbol of freedom and opportunity. Plus living here in Carpinteria, with it’s numerous farms and nurseries, you’d be hard pressed to find a business owner who doesn’t use and or at least appreciate a hardworking undocumented laborer from time to time.

As far as voter reform in Florida and red states goes, anyone can see that it’s just a ploy to limit student and minority access to the polls. The jury is still out on this Fast & Furious fiasco (which was started under Bush, by the way) but I, for one, am willing to give Obama the benefit of the doubt and four more years.
--Shane Butler, Carpinteira

RHETORIC CAN'T REPLACE REASON:
Last week your paper printed a barrage of letters against the Obama administration and the policies it has enacted. These letters simply regurgitated the rhetoric put forth by Fox News, and often with little basis in fact and truth.

There were accusations that the Affordable Care Act ushers in socialism. First, the claim “The IRS will make you pay (the penalty for not getting insurance) under threat of prison time,” is absolutely false. The IRS will collect unpaid fines from future tax returns, and no criminal prosecutions, liens or levies of property will take place. Next, the claim that “Most of us will, probably, reluctantly, switch … to Obamacare” which will cause “private providers (to) disappear.” This statement refers to “Obamacare” as an insurance provider in itself, which it absolutely is not. This letter included numerous statements that were misleading and false, showing just how uneducated many people are on the provisions of “Obamacare.”

There was a misleading letter titled “Obama flouts the laws of the land.” First, the decision to stop enforcing Defense of Marriage Act protects the rights of tens of thousands of legally married same sex couples who are recognized by their state, and now recognized by the federal government. The No Child Left Behind Act, which places test scores above individual students, is severely flawed and should be abolished. I could go on and on with this letter, as it was misleading on so many levels.

When President Obama took office, he took on two wars, a crippled economy, a failing health care system, and many, many more problems. There is no magic wand he can wave to fix everything, especially with the partisan gridlock that holds the government hostage. In November, we must vote for the candidate who protects the rights of every American, and not just the entitled few.
--Joy Greenburg, Carpinteria

CUKOO CONSERVATISM:
It’s amazing watching the Republican party shut down in front of the American people. Conservative icon and federal judge Richard Posner recently blasted the “goofy” Republican party, reminding of “a real deterioration in conservative thinking,” further exposing its inability to function beyond the walls of its own exiled reality.

This honesty is no aberration either. Utah Republican Governor John Huntsman says he will not be attending this year’s Republican convention—or any in the future—until the GOP addresses true “problem solving” and “inclusiveness,” flashing back to Lincoln and Reagan, who were “always willing to put our country before politics.”

One can disagree on policy and effect, but unless you’re willing to step onto the field, you’re going to be left behind, no matter how loudly you scream. 

Now that conservative John Roberts has upheld the Affordable Care Act, these victims on the right hem and haw after coming up with no viable alternatives for our broken health care system—last decade, or ever.

Being out of touch is one thing; reminding the country of it over and over simply becomes pathetic. There is, patently, no compromise in today’s GOP; it’s only party politics.

As Posner has pointed out, being left behind is dangerous. The ability to adjust, however, is commendable.
--Mike Rupert, Carpinteria

CAUGHT IN INCONSISTENCIES:
I offer this quote from a local commentator. “Today, many signs of the times are very troubling. One such sign has been the continuous slander and hatred aimed toward (the president) and his supporters... Such irresponsibility hurts our country, the office of the presidency, our war efforts and our ultimate survival.” This opinion appeared in local publications in December 2008.

Yet this same writer, Ms. Diana Thorn, has continuously and relentlessly demonstrated an obsessive hatred towards our president since Jan. 20, 2009. What changed between December 2008 and January 2009 to cause this 180-degree turn? Hmmm.

Regarding the Affordable Care Act: It has been passed by Congress, signed by the president, and upheld as constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. Whether the fine for non-compliance is called a penalty or tax is irrelevant, except to politicians. It will only affect a projected 1 to 2 percent of the population who can afford to buy insurance and might choose not to do so.

The estimated penalty or tax will be $700 to $750 per year for individuals. According to Section 5000A (g) (2) of this law: “Waiver on criminal penalties – In the case of any failure by a taxpayer to timely pay any penalty imposed by this section such taxpayer shall not be subject to any criminal prosecution or penalty with respect to such failure.” The IRS will not be given the power to impose jail sentences as penalties for non-compliance.

Thanks to ACA, 30 to 40 million additional U.S. citizens (including those with pre-existing conditions) will be eligible for health insurance coverage, many for the first time. These policies still must be purchased through private insurance companies. The ACA, therefore, does not make us “European socialists” nor is it a precursor to a government takeover of health care. It’s the law. Stop whining.
--Robert Baruch, Goleta

Letters from July 5, 2012

OBAMA FLOUTS LAWS OF THE LAND:
Before becoming president, Barack Obama took the oath of office and said, “I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.” He has failed to do so.

From the beginning, Obama and his administration made it clear they had no intention of enforcing laws they didn’t like. According to the Washington Times, they stopped enforcing the Defense of Marriage Act and let states ignore the No Child Left Behind Act.

The Department of Justice has also flagrantly flouted the laws of the land. Attorney General Eric Holder has refused to release documents on the disastrous Fast and Furious gun-walking scheme and is fighting Florida as it tries to rid voter rolls of names of the dead and illegal voters.

Recently, Homeland Security suspended immigration agreements with Arizona police, and will decline calls reporting illegal immigrants. This renders Arizona a lawless, open border state.

Obama, furthermore, stopped enforcing immigration laws by issuing an executive order to stop the deportation of illegal aliens brought here as children and to grant them work permits. So much for the rights of jobless Americans and legal immigrants. Finally, Obama invoked executive privilege so Holder won’t have to turn over Fast and Furious documents to Congress.

America, have we become a lawless nation with an imperialistic president who thinks he is above the law? In November, elect a new president who will obey our laws and protect our country.
--Diana Thorn, Carpinteria

SUPREME COURT USHERS IN SOCIALISM:
Well now the Supreme Court Justices have spoken. We are officially European socialists, heading into European-style insolvency. Before it was designated a tax by Chief Justice Roberts and the other four liberal/socialist justices on Thursday, what you would pay was a penalty of about $750 a year for not paying your mandated health insurance premiums.

Now that they’re called taxes, you will have to pay the premiums (estimated now to be $1,200 per year for a family of four making $30,000 per year) or face federal level penalties for not paying a federal tax. The IRS will make you pay under the threat of prison time. Most of us will probably, reluctantly, switch our families and our employees to Obamacare because those premium/taxes are lower than that which the private providers can meet, at least until the private providers disappear, simply as a matter of financial practicality.

But once the private health care providers are destroyed by the taxpayer-funded competition, the governmental bureaucrats will become our sole providers, health-care decision-makers and premium/tax regulators. God help us.
--Karl Jakel, Carpinteria

ALL LAWS NOT CREATED EQUAL:
It’s important to realize the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision that Obamacare is constitutional does not mean it is a good law. Congress has the power to tax. A law making everyone pay an 80-percent tax rate would be a terrible law, but would be constitutional. There is considerable irony in the fact that Chief Justice John Roberts (the “swing vote”) voiced the opinion that the penalty portion of the individual mandate is a tax (and hence constitutional) while legislators supporting Obamacare argued profusely that it was not a tax knowing there would be little public support for tax increases.

Accepting the fact that Obamacare is now officially constitutional, I do hope that it will be repealed after the November elections. Granted, it has many excellent-sounding features, but I fear that many good people who support it don’t realize that expenses associated with it have been “backloaded” and don’t really surface until 2014. In its present form, Obamacare is a financial disaster. Projected total costs have already doubled. The word “free” is mesmerizing, but I encourage Obamacare supporters to research how the costs associated with it will be covered. I fear that those who believe higher taxes on the rich will suffice do not realize what is going to hit them after the November 2012 elections if Obamacare is not repealed.  

Yes, we need health care reform. And, we need to elect officials who will exercise financial common sense in producing it. We live in the greatest country in the world, but we have put too many politicians in office who tell us what they think we want to hear—“government will provide”—rather than what we need to hear—“financial reality and personal responsibility.” Listen to what politicians are saying and vote wisely in November.
--Sanderson M. Smith, Carpinteria

Letters from June 28, 2012

WALK, RUN OR PADDLE TO FIGHT CANCER:
On a Sunday afternoon last October, as I sat in my regular corner at my sanctuary with a picture of my dad on the wall, I watched a flood of pink representatives of the Avon Breast Cancer walk. I said to myself, “Relay For Life Carpinteria needs to be at Linden Field.” I told a couple of our committee members including my sister Samantha, Fire Chief Mike Mingee, Jeff Moorhouse and Relay Manager Lindsey Lockshaw, and the gates just started opening. We now not only have our event taking place at Linden Field July 6 and 7, but we were able to secure the impossible Carpinteria State Beach Anacapa Campground for our participants, and then on top of that, got it sponsored by Masonic Lodge No. 444 from July 5 through 8.

So many people think of Relay For Life as this “race” or this “walk” and so I think this keeps some people from becoming involved. It is so much more than a walk; it is an opportunity to heal, a place to celebrate those that are surviving this damn disease and a way for our community to come together and learn how to fight back.

When someone passes in Carpinteria we turn to our incredible body of water for solemnity, spirituality and a sense of healing. I believe that by incorporating a paddle out into Relay For Life, we may open the door to so many who may not normally be inclined to participate in the event. Carpinteria is pioneering the first ever Paddle Out For Hope. Please join us on July 6 and 7 for Carpinteria’s Fifth Annual Relay For Life and the first ever Paddle Out For Hope. It is your community; join in using our amazing coastal body of water to paddle toward a world with more birthdays and less cancer!
--Beth Cox, Carpinteria

BIKE LANES OGGER FALSE SENSE OF SECURITY:
I’ve gone from a buy to a sell on bike lanes. I believe they confine cyclists to the most dangerous, dirty side of the road. Driveways, car doors, parked cars, foliage, trash and other obstacles all pose serious hazards to cyclists riding far to the right of the road. Bike lanes offer a false sense of security to a cyclist; they are only a painted line on the road, easily and often traversed by vehicles. The lines suggest to motorists that cyclists must remain in those dangerous confines at all times. Cyclists are often subject to the wrath of motorists and/or law enforcement if they dare stray outside the lane in the interest of their own safety.

Bike lanes aren’t protected safe zones for bikes; they are hazardous confinement zones. Cyclists don’t want to impede motorists or endanger themselves by encroaching into car lanes. However, they often need more room than afforded by bike lanes, which motorists should anticipate and respect. I believe road signage and large bicycle icons painted every few hundred feet would be preferable to narrow, confining bike lanes. 
-- Steve Close, Carpinteria

ROMNEY CHOOSES SHORT-TERM OVER LONG:
Romney says it is wrong for his generation to leave so much debt to the next generation. Much worse than that is leaving the next generation with an increasingly despoiled environment due to rollback of environmental protections. The cleanup and health costs will dwarf the long-term costs of proposed economic stimulus schemes. And why do he and his party want to fight Obama’s environmental initiatives? Why reduce energy costs for the present day, even though the continued profligacy will make America more dependent on fossil fuels, less competitive in the evolving renewable energy race and may sacrifice good paying jobs in technology-driven energy development?

Come on Republicans, stop acting selfishly and act for the long-term good of the USA. Put the country ahead of the party. What a bunch of self righteous hypocrites. Trying to make Obama a one-term president is not an acceptable plank for the platform.

Republicans don’t have principles, they have positions. And how do they arrive at those positions? They wait until Obama acts and then they profess a long held, abiding belief in the opposite.
-- Mike Millan, Carpinteria

Letters from June 21, 2012

SAVE OUR NEWSRACKS:

Give it a rest. All local decision makers should give it a rest. In my opinion, there are just too many new picky rules and decisions coming down the pike which result in net dis-improvement and are downright annoying to the folks they are imposed upon. The latest one being the decision to remove the local news boxes from the space in front of the post office. I resent this. When I first came to Carpinteria, this was one of the first things I noticed as a really neat thing. You could drive through, drop off you mail and pick up the local news. My connection with the world. My stuff going out, and community stuff coming in. I like that. It’s convenient when I am in a rush.

Somebody making these decisions ought to look at the big picture. Two square feet of sidewalk verses local empowerment, local opinion sharing, local involvement, local character, local sharing; I could go on and on. As I recall, the latest $26,000 opinion pole about increasing the room tax showed that some 80-plus percent of Carpinterians get their local information from the CVN. This is important. These values should be supported. Even at the cost of a sidewalk condition which has been that way for years and years; we've somehow managed. You have your post boxes and you have your little news racks. You have pedestrians, you have traffic, you have bicycles, you have your Masonic lodge; that's life.

I say, save our news racks in front of the post office!

Shirley Johnson
Carpinteria

Letters from June 14, 2012

YOU CAN'T BE SERIOUS:
In the May 30 Carpinteria Valley Water District (CVWD) board meeting, board member Matt Roberts suggested a way to increase CVWD revenues. Residential customers who use the most water pay the highest per-unit rate for the water use beyond a specific threshold. This top tier rate is in place as a tool to encourage water conservation. Mr. Roberts’ idea was to eliminate or increase the threshold for this top tier. He argued that the expensive rate may be discouraging customers from using water, and therefore reducing the district’s revenue.

My only question for Mr. Roberts is this: You were joking, right?

The purpose of the top tier rate is to encourage water conservation. The whole point is to discourage customers from using water! It should not be surprising that this policy is working as planned. For CVWD to encourage increased water use for the purpose of making more money is not only bad for the environment and community, but it is also bad business that sacrifices our ability to withstand low-water years in the future to benefit this year’s budget.

Similar logic would suggest that cash-strapped hospitals should start lobbying for repeal of seat belt and helmet laws. And house painters should assist in the formation of street gangs in the hope that increased graffiti would require more cover-up painting. And the electric company should offer rebates on high-energy use appliances. Uh oh, I hope Mr. Roberts doesn’t now think that CVWD should start giving away high-flow toilets and high-flow shower heads to all customers.
--Mike Wondolowski, Carpinteria

SKIP THE RHETORIC:
Yes, character counts in all of us. I just got home from Detroit and was catching up on the local news. I read “Character counts in a president” (Coastal View News, May 31), but didn’t quite get the point. These are some of the many words the author used to make his point: elitist, weak mind, liar, sycophants, deep-pocketed, obsessive, willful ignorance, shameful hypocrisy. I am not sure anyone can have a discussion of issues with Mr. Baruch. What a shame.
--Carolyn Edwards, Carpinteria

DON'T THROW OUT THE BABY WITH THE BATH WATER:
A recent letter to Santa Barbara News-Press advocated a general tax on agriculture operations to curtail illegal immigration and/or punish employers who employ such labor. The letter complained that immigrants had changed the “surf” town character of Carpinteria. Sorry, but as a former Carpinteria avocado farmer, I couldn’t find any local surfers, bikers, college students, etc., willing to forgo their leisure and/or study pursuits to do demanding agricultural work, paid at fair wage. Nor, despite their major recreational accomplishments, do I believe such folk capable of matching the work output, day after day, of even the slightest Mexican field hand. There is honor, reward and prospect in their vital labor.

Having fun is great, but it doesn’t put food on the table. There is a better immigration solution: renewable guest worker permits and a rescission of unearned state benefits for non-citizens. 
--Steve King, Carpinteria

Letters from June 7, 2012

CARPINTERIA HAS DIAMONDS:
The diamonds I am referring to are the Gonzales brothers, Henry and Ray, for doing such an excellent job coaching the Carpinteria High School girls varsity softball team this year.

I’ve known both of them for over 42 years and have seen all the hard work that they both have put into girls softball in our community, including the long hours, the weekends and the tournaments.

And although they didn’t win a CIF championship this year, the girls and coaches are champions in my book!

I think that the community owes Henry and Ray at least a handshake and a pat on the back for a job well done in making Carpinteria girls softball one of the best teams in CIF Southern Section.
--Bob Brennen, Carpinteria

PITCHFORK PROBLEM SOLVED:
We had a barking dog problem a couple years ago in our neighborhood. Some nearby folks owned a small, female dog. They had erected a dog pen about 18 inches tall with fencing held down by boards. It was no bigger than 5 feet by 5 feet. The dog was never let out of the pen. It constantly jumped up and down and barked and whined piteously. The children would come home and never play with it. It was pretty obvious that the dog was just a source of income as a breeder. My neighbors and I kept yelling at the dog, hoping to shut it up.

Finally, after listening to that miserable dog yelp for months, I registered a complaint with the head of Code Compliance for Carpinteria, Sylvia Echeverria. Her number at city hall is 684-5405 x408. And Sylvia immediately took action. She visited the home, and verified the situation with her own eyes and ears. Then she left a citation, telling the people to call or come in to fix the problem. The people ignored her summons. She ticketed them again. They finally responded. How did it end? The people had to pay their $200 fine (two $100 fines), demolish the pen and make the dog be a housedog.

So much for their plans to make side money off puppies. Hooray for Sylvia, the hardest-working individual at city hall.
--Don L. Warren, Carpinteria

BIKES AND SIDEWALKS DON'T MIX:
People who bicycle and skateboard on city sidewalks are my number one pet peeve. I have been startled and shocked by bicyclists soundlessly coming upon me from the rear and trying to squeeze by. I have also been cursed at by bicyclists and told, “You’d better get off the sidewalk before I run you over.”

My friend and champion fought with city hall and the sheriff’s office for two years, to no avail. Finally he addressed the city council. City Manager David Durflinger took up my cause. Durflinger designed a sign, got them made and had them placed by the bicycle rental shop, in the downtown area and at the beach. He also placed information in the brochures given out by the bike shop and the State Park rangers. The campaign is paying off, but you still see people ignoring the signs.

The other day, three teenage boys gave me attitude about “riding wherever they wanted,” and when I told them I’d summon the law to instruct them, they rode off and hunted up a cop to check my story. When they came back, they were riding everywhere except the sidewalk.

Everyone must follow state law. If a bike lane is provided, you must use it. If there is no bike lane, you must ride in the street exactly as if you were a car or motorcycle. The alternative is to push your bicycle, walking beside it. At intersections, all bicyclists must stop and go with the traffic if they are in the road. If a bicyclist is in the crosswalk, he must walk the bike across.

Thank you, David Durflinger, for recognizing the safety aspects of bicyclists riding on sidewalks.

This is a beach town, and some tourists think that anything goes. Well, it most certainly doesn’t!
--Pamela Zuccarini, Carpinteria

THREE CHEERS FOR MORE PARK LAND:
We applaud the city for seizing the opportunity to buy land from Union Pacific to support a city-owned downtown beach-neighborhood park. Those of us who live within hundreds of feet of this land and who look directly upon it look forward to the process by which we can voice our support for the development of an environmentally friendly park with energy efficient landscaping and softscape paths, such as those along the bluffs and in the salt marsh. What a terrific addition to our neighborhood.
--Marla Daily, Carpinteria

Letters from May 31, 2012

LOCAL AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION MUST CONTINUE:
As a society and community it is important that we nurture the upcoming generation and help to develop life passions and self-sufficiency to sustain quality individuals and families. Carpinteria Valley is a nationwide leader and producer of agricultural commodities. Our valley is known for the production of delicious produce including avocados, cherimoyas, living lettuce greens and herbs. We are also a nationwide leader in the floral industry, producing gerberas, anthurium, oriental and Asiatic lilies, cymbidium and phalaenopsis orchids, chrysanthemum and freesia. These crops provide a local economy that is sustainable, beautiful and nutritious.

As local farmers we strive to grow our crops efficiently, safely and responsibly. As community members we should be concerned with the continued education of our youth ensuring they learn about the land, agriculture and caring for it in a sustainable fashion that will last generations.

How do we fund the next generation’s education in agriculture? Training young people to be stewards of our valley’s agricultural resources, potential and heritage? We should prioritize our local school budget to fund three teachers of agriculture. The essentials of English, math, history, etc., are important; however, we should be simultaneously aware of the importance of educating our youth in agribusiness. Offering programs in agriculture is essential to training the next generation which will continue to maximize the natural superior growing climate that our location offers. Cutting our agricultural education budget should not be an option for our community.

Another question: Are English and math really more important than teaching our students how to produce food to feed our bodies and souls? Offering education in agriculture to our youth is a top priority in maintaining our local agribusiness and growing future generations that are equipped to manage our land with integrity and a sustainable plan of longevity.
--Case Van Wingerden, Carpinteria

CHARACTER COUNTS IN A PRESIDENT:
What is referred to as a prank when it’s perpetrated by a young elitist Republican is, in fact, a case of blatant physical and mental abuse. Others involved in this crime have vivid, detailed recollections and have shown genuine remorse. Mr. Romney, on the other hand, draws a blank. This would seem to indicate the man has a weak mind, is a liar, or both.

President Obama has been accused of being the real bully because he has attacked conservative radio and Fox. Since these entities have repeatedly referred to him as a communist-Marxist-socialist who was not born in the U.S. and is not eligible to hold the office to which he was elected, only Tea Party sycophants would see these alleged attacks as anything other than a spirited and justified self-defense.

President Obama has been accused of slandering and bullying U.S. Supreme Court Justices. This is, of course, complete nonsense. They have lifetime appointments and can only be removed by impeachment on grounds of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors (Article 2, Section 4 of the Constitution) or upon their death. No president has bullying power over these justices.

President Obama has been accused of bullying and intimidating donors to Romney. These deep-pocketed millionaires and billionaires are investors. They buy political influence and affect public policy. They expect, and usually get, a huge return on their investments. We, the people, have every right to know who they are and whose interests they represent.

Such obsessive anti-Obama rhetoric can only be attributed to willful ignorance, shameful hypocrisy, or both.
--Robert Baruch, Goleta

Letters from May 17, 2012

WATER DISTRICT BLUNDERS REINFORCE REPUTATION:
Concerning the Carpinteria Valley Water District’s situation trying to fill an empty Board of Directors’ seat, I find it incredible that the district’s legal counsel Roger Myers and General Manager Charles Hamilton were uninformed about the county water law, how to fill a vacant board of directors seat, and how many votes were needed (three) for a five-member board to pass a motion. We taxpayers are actually paying all salaries for district employees, and we are not getting proper legal guidance or service.  Members of the public are the ones who pointed out what the process is to the board.

It is the water district’s job to advise the board of directors. The board cannot be informed unless the legal counsel is doing his job. This does not say much about the water district’s management and is one of the many reasons why the citizens of Carpinteria are often at odds with the district and its decisions that affect our pocketbooks. Informed thought needs to be given before making an action decision. Public perception of the water district is not a good one. And it’s incidents like this one that add to the lack of credibility and trust.   
--Anita Leski, Carpinteria

BETTER TO KILL GOPHERS:
With regard to a recent pitchfork awarded to a “killer of gophers,” I cannot read such things without offering some education to the person awarding the pitchfork. It is unlikely that the individual is a farmer, gardener, environmentalist or ecologist. Gophers are the curse of farmers and gardeners. Environmentalists or ecologists would not view moving gophers to another location as an alternative to killing as a sound ecological practice. There is a reason that functional live-traps for gophers are not a popular, best-selling item. Unless the individual operates a rescue center for gophers, there is no sensible relocation option. Alien species are wreaking havoc on our ecosystems.

The python, introduced into the Everglades in the last few decades, is now a real threat to local populations of native animals, which inhabit the wetlands. The python was originally considered a pet, which when full-grown became a nuisance to the pet-owner, and subsequently was released into a supposedly innocuous environment.
Perhaps the individual was told by someone teaching non-violent gopher management that gophers aerate the soil. The Dust Bowl of the 1930s gives evidence to the contrary. The Dust Bowl was the result of a combination of windstorms, over-tilling and lack of cover crops. Soil exposed to the sun and wind becomes dry and vulnerable to erosion.

A first principle of Permaculture is observation. Observe first, then act if necessary. After tiring of killing gophers, I chose to observe what happens when you leave gophers alone. The results are not surprising: they excavate everywhere, including areas around the roots of fruit trees. The roots of my fruit trees were compromised by the feeding frenzy. I have resumed killing gophers because I grow fruit to eat.

If the individual would like to start a rescue center for gophers and invent a live-trap for gophers, I would be happy to have my gophers relocated.
--Ralph Begley, Oak View

AG PROGRAM GROWS LEADERS:
I wasn’t able to attend the school board meeting on May 8, but I did enjoy all the comments regarding the Ag program at CHS.

Being a former FFA member, this program is near and dear to my heart.  I enjoyed my time in FFA, raised a pig and was secretary for the FFA Chapter in the early 1980s. What I took from FFA was the ability to become a leader and team player. I learned to deal with success and failure with grace. My fear of public speaking was diminished when I had to speak at the FFA meetings. I have Mr. Johnson to thank for that. 

The confidence I gained in FFA prepared me to enter the United States Air Force after high school and become an administrative specialist.  

The CHS Ag program has grown in leaps and bounds since I was a member and is thriving, I would hate to see it diminished. CHS has the best Ag teachers and great students. Working at CHS, I see the enthusiasm of the students going to class.

As boardmembers Lou Pannizzon and Terry Hickey Banks suggested, I will be writing my congressmen and state leaders to work on this issue. The board was impressed by the outpouring of love for this program, and I don’t envy them having to balance the budget and try to keep the program.
--Susan (Christensen) Damron, Carpinteria

Letters from May 24, 2012

AG PROGRAM SHOULD BE TOP PRIORITY:
If there is one thing certain in Carpinteria, it is that the Carpinteria High School agriculture program is well loved and well supported. The Ag department’s current livestock, horticulture, flower growing and ag mechanics programs are vital, liked by students and strongly supported by community volunteers’ time and money. In fact, it wasn’t so long ago that under the leadership of Grace and Ollie Young, the VanWingerden family and others in the community raised the funds and built much of the present Ag pens and buildings.

If the students who spoke at the school board meeting on May 8 at City Hall are representative—and I think they are—then the students who are enrolled in these programs love and value them. Also, the number of students affected is impressive. One student estimated that over one-third of CHS students are involved in some way with the Ag department. Yet currently there are only two Ag instructor positions. The school board has now proposed to cut one position for lack of funds. This is craziness. The effect will be to gut the current Ag program.

I am not convinced that the current school board and particularly the present school administration fully appreciate the fine and effective Ag program that we have. Nor am I certain they would fight tooth and nail to keep the program and its two outstanding instructors.

As I see it, more rocks need to be over turned, more grant monies sought and much more energy needs to be expended on keeping what we have and less time pointing the financial finger at Sacramento. They’re hopeless anyway. By any means necessary, this program needs to be kept and the community should accept no less.

I understand there are two seats on the school board open in November. I have run before and possibly I may want to run again. The Ag program appears to have few friends and for that I am greatly puzzled.
--Paul Foley, Carpinteria

FOUR THESES:
1. The law should protect all citizens equally. When the law is corrupted to protect special classes (i.e. hate crimes), it’s about winning elections, not equal justice for all. The state will happily commit oppression on one class to garner favor with another class, as long as it means more power and authority overall. 

2. Politicians’ promises are as dependable as the ones made in the back seats of cars on sizzling summer nights, and they’re made with the same objective in mind.

3. I thought fair share meant everyone contributing equally. Silly me.

4. Scatology and Political Science are the same study.
--Steve Close, Carpinteria

WEINSTEIN WAS A REMARKABLE PERSON:
Last week, Coastal View News contained a wonderful full-page obituary about David Weinstein (submitted and paid for by family). It was terrific. Thank you.

My husband and I feel blessed to know Debbie and David Weinstein. We will miss David.

David was a truly remarkable person. He was always happy, friendly, and funny. I will always remember looking forward to seeing him as he walked his two dogs around the top of Shepard Mesa Hill. My husband Don shared a love of orchids with him. After David built his greenhouse, Don gave him many orchids and helped Dave take care of them. As I recall these memories, I smile knowing that David was a very decent man, who had a zest for life.

Rest in peace dear friend.
--Diana and Don Thorn, Carpinteria

CHS MUSES TAKE CENTER STAGE:
Carpinteria High School gets a great big “Wow!” for its inclusive two-cast presentation of the energetic and bubbly Broadway musical “Hello, Dolly!” In the Thursday and Saturday evening productions, Hannah Wade was cast as Dolly Gallagher Levi, the sly meddlesome widow matchmaker. 

Hannah was delightful; she totally charmed and captivated her audience with her animated song and dance. Dolly’s lively costumes gave her greater credibility to spit out her very spirited fast-talking explosive dialogue. In the final scene, Hannah’s glittering outlandish red dress and her elaborate feathered red hat were simply breathtaking.

Senior Owen Hansen was cast as the wealthy cantankerous Horace Vandergelder, who hired Dolly to find him a wife. Owen’s grumpiness resonated with his loud commanding voice, which added a little flair of pomposity and anger to his role.

Zachary Macias, as Cornelius Hackl, was effortless in his role seeking “elegance” along with his spirited determination “to get a kiss before the night is over.” Yet, where does one stop with a massive round of applause for the two wonderful casts of “Hello, Dolly?” My only regret is not experiencing  the Wednesday or Friday cast performing the musical-comedy which  featured  Kendall  Kincaid as Dolly. Yes, it equally received rave reviews from its responsive audience.

Saving the best for last, the Carpinteria community should heap bountiful bits of praise and tip a flamboyant red feathered hat for the CHS teacher and Artistic Director Elise Unruh.
--Bob Henry, Carpinteria

Letters from May 10, 2012

ON YOUR OWN CLASS PAYS OFF:
Thinking back on the time that my children were at Carpinteria Middle School, I have good memories of many programs in the curriculum. One class that stood out for its practical application to skills that everyone needs in life was certainly On Your Own, an updated version of home economics. This is where students learned skills that most parents never learned in school but had to try to pick up by themselves. Many people never learn many of these basic skills at all, and therefore are not able to teach them to their children either. These basic skills include learning about food, diet, cooking, even growing vegetables, balancing a checkbook, home and house care and maintenance, among others. I am very glad that my son learned which foods are healthy and that my daughter learned to sew so well that today she is able to make clothes for herself. If you have to cut corners, please don’t cut them where each and every student benefits. This program needs to stay at CMS!
--Carla Wilson, Carpinteria

ON YOUR OWN LESSONS LAST A LIFETIME:
As a graduate of Carpinteria Middle School and Carpinteria High School, I am horrified to hear that On Your Own classes will not be offered next year.  These classes, taught by the wonderful “Ms J,” were some of my first introductions to doing laundry (my mother loved that lesson!), cooking, sewing, childcare, and household management.  The classes also taught teamwork, cooperation and creativity and were an important part of my Carpinteria education. It seems absolutely ridiculous that a district would make these classes mandatory, and then turn around and abolish the program. At one point in time, the school board saw the value in the On Your Own program, and should re-evaluate its priorities. On Your Own is too valuable to end, and I want my own daughters to experience this wonderful class when they reach the middle school.
--Joy Greenburg, Carpinteria

PARK PURCHASE MADE WITH PARK PURCHASE MONEY:
In a recent letter in Coastal View News (May 3, “City can’t afford land purchase”) a concerned citizen wrote that due to the current economic downturn, the city cannot afford the recently approved purchase of park property along the railroad. While it is true the City of Carpinteria is working to maintain service levels in challenging economic times, it is not true that the city cannot afford to purchase park property. The funds for the acquisition come from a restricted fund that can only be used to purchase park land. This money is paid to the city from developers of new residential projects in the hope that the city park system can grow at the same pace as the community. The money may not be used to balance the city’s budget.

The proposed park site near 5th Street and Holly Avenue is a wise investment. The preservation of open space in this location and the nearby neighborhood consisting of  affordable apartments make this site desirable for a park. In addition, today’s real estate values are attractive to stretch the Park Acquisition Fund’s dollars to maximize the public’s benefit. Finally, as we have seen in so many other Carpinteria park projects, the benefits to the community include improved property values, tourism and quality of life.  Parks make life better!
--Matthew Roberts, Parks and Recreation Director, City of Carpinteria

Letters from May 3, 2012

LEAVE ON YOUR OWN ALONE:
As the Carpinteria Middle School continues to make changes in order to meet measurement standards set forth by the State of California, it is worth noting that some of these changes may be misguided.  The Home Economics program also known as On Your Own (OYO), which has been a part of the fabric at Carpinteria Middle School for over 50 years, will be scrapped next year.

This program has introduced  Carpinteria children to kitchen skills, personal finance, drug and alcohol education, sewing, community service, and other skills that will become part of their lives after their formal education ends, regardless of their station in life.

The emphasis that led to the decision to drop OYO is the need to improve reading scores for the increasingly criticized state mandated testing system.  The decision fails to recognize that many children have gifts which do not include taking tests. Improving reading skills is important, but the lessons taught in OYO are also excellent building blocks for life.

Generations have come through OYO and eventually found their way into honorable professions in food service (the nation’s largest industry).  Carpinteria High School has invested heavily in a Culinary Arts program, and the middle school can remain an outstanding precursor for students who choose the countless number of professional opportunities offered in this industry.  OYO is more than teaching how to cook.  Students are introduced to choices they can make beyond Math, Science and English.

The OYO classroom will go dark next fall when students return to school. I urge administrators, parents,CUSD graduates, and students to voice their opinion on the decision to end the CMS On Your Own program, which I believe downgrades the school’s ability to turn out well-rounded individuals.  
--Dan Weldy, Ventura

BAG BAN IS A STEP INTO THE FUTURE:
How can anyone not see the writing on the wall when it comes to the elimination of plastic bags? Obviously they are a damaging environmental abomination. Paper bags are not much better. Thank you city council, well most of you, for counteracting the deadly, dirty, forever-with-us scourge of the plastic bag. It showed leadership to right a wrong in the face of the ever-present threat of a lawsuit. Litigation has become a blackmail tool in so many ways.

I am again proud to salute Carpinteria for being on the frontline of change, a bad word to many, to enhance the future.
--Jane L. Benefield, Carpinteria

AG PROGRAM CUTS NEED RECONSIDERATION:
What are we thinking? What are we doing? We are about to kill the agriculture programs at Carpinteria High School? Not only is agriculture the backbone of this community (how easy to forget that property taxes paid by local land owners are going to the local school district!), but over half of the students at CHS are enrolled, one way or another, in an Ag program: Bio-chemistry, Soil Science, Future Farmers of America, Horticulture, Welding, Animals, Marketing, Public Speaking, etc.

Besides the many volunteers and dedicated parents, the current programs have two wonderful teachers, who eat and breath agriculture 24/7. We could not wish for any better, more dedicated educators than the ones who are currently here. For administrators to suggest this elimination, it only shows how ignorant these district employees—seated in their comfy district office—are toward the value of American agriculture. And for a school board to even consider trying to eliminate up to 50 percent of the Ag programs at CHS is a shame. Where do you think our food comes from? And who will now educate those future farmers and scientists and marketers  to grow our national food supply? Remember: “Farmers feed families and agriculture makes good neighbors.”
-- Wilja Happé, Carpinteria

CITY CAN'T AFFORD LAND PURCHASE:
As noted in last week’s Coastal View News, the Carpinteria City Council (Councilmen Brad Stein and Joe Armendariz absent) approved purchasing property at the corner of 5th Street and Holly Avenue for $355,000 plus $70,000 in acquisition costs. As indicated in this article, this property is being added to the city’s collection of parks. According to city officials, the City of Carpinteria cannot afford to purchase additional park property.

As stated in this article by Carpinteria’s Director of Administrative Services, “We’re doing better than we planned, but still running a deficit.” And as noted in the adjacent article, City Manager David Durflinger stated that overall revenues for the city are down from 2007 through 2009, and operating costs are rising. He also indicated that a tight budget for next year is inevitable. In addition, he stated that the city has depleted its reserves by one million dollars for the last four years. He also stated that last year’s budget was cut by $500,000 which included reduced employee work hours, Community Pool operational hours, sheriff’s staffing and park and restroom maintenance.

It appears from the aforementioned statements from the city’s officials, the purchase of another park property, which is in the vicinity of the Carpinteria State Beach Park, is ill advised at this time, during these tough economic times, and should not be purchased by the city.
-- Jerry D. Paley, Carpinteria

AG PROGRAM GROWS YOUNG MINDS:
Open letter to CUSD school board:
We all recognize that in these difficult times sacrifices must be made so that our schools may survive this economic crisis. However, when making these sacrifices, do not forget for whom you make them. You don’t make them for teachers, counselors, or principals. You make them for students.

Many students do not want education because they have no reason to. They have no leader to guide them out of the darkness of ignorance and into the glorious sunlight of knowledge, and they do not ask for a leader because they fear rejection.

I have met many students who have felt insignificant due to the constant rejection they suffered. After joining FFA, however, students have met teachers and FFA members who showed them something no one else had: love.

After finding the support system of FFA, students have gone on to become very successful, defying expectations of mediocrity, discovering self-confidence and unearthing incredible qualities—undertakings they might not have been able to accomplish without the encouragement given by CHS Agriculture Department teachers Mr. Avila, Ms. Smith and countless other mentors.

When you make budget cuts, consider what is truly important. These organizations accepted those who never knew acceptance, taught those who never desired education and loved those who never felt love.

This is what schools are meant to do, but these goals can only be accomplished if programs that work so hard to achieve them still exist and operate successfully.

Remember the lives these organizations changed.

Remember how they helped so many attain success.

Remember how they gave students the skills needed to achieve.
--Audrey Lent, Carpinteria High School student

Letters from April 26, 2012

AIR FORCE TWO INSPIRED TAX REFLECTIONS:
Taxpayer’s money brought Air Force Two, Vice President Joe Biden and elaborate security measures to Santa Barbara last week for an Obama fundraising event in Montecito. Given that the wealthy and successful pay most of the taxes in the United States, it is reasonable to assume they sponsored this expensive excursion. I doubt if their approval was obtained by President Obama, who wants them to pay more (their “fair share”) in taxes.

I am not in the “top 1 percent.” However, I am delighted that there are rich people in the U.S. Political affiliations aside, I have problems with a president who continually demonizes wealth and success. I would have more respect for President Obama if he would acknowledge that a successful company returns some of its profits to shareholders. I own some shares of Sun Oil Company (Sunoco) and receive quarterly dividend checks as do thousands of others in the “bottom 99 percent.” A successful company invests some of its profits into research, making better products, and in the process, adding jobs as it grows.  
Yes, we need tax reform. Our system is unnecessarily complex. There are certainly loopholes that should be closed. But President Obama simply wants to take more from those who are rich and successful. Think about the extra money that would be obtained this way. For reasons previously stated, I would rather leave this money with those who earned it. The other option: Give it to the government with the thought that it would be used wisely to benefit our great country. I ask the reader to ponder the government’s track record on financial responsibility.
--Sanderson M. Smith, Carpinteria

HOLD ON TO HOME ECONOMICS:
It has come to my understanding that Carpinteria Middle School will not be offering its Home Economics-style course, entitled On Your Own, this next school year, and is actually closing the department. What a loss that will be! These are truly life-skills courses that will be denied future students. Especially in today’s society where so many of these basic skills will no longer be taught anywhere else including at home. They are: basic sewing skills, laundering, child development, beginning job skills, not to mention nutrition, cooking and meal planning. The last three being so important with healthy eating a major message point everywhere. These classes also were to be the introduction to the Culinary Arts Academy at Carpinteria High School. I realize that there are budgetary decisions that have to be made, but at what cost? If you do not want your son or daughter to be denied this great program, let the school board know before it is too late.
--Beverly Ranger, Carpinteria

BEES JUST WANT A HOME:
Three cheers for the Carpinteria Unified School District for calling the beekeepers to eradicate and save the bees from the rooftop at Canalino School. Bees are so important to everything in our lives. Bees pollinate and cross-pollinate almost all trees, flowers and veggies. Without this symbiotic relationship, our flowers and crop yields would be greatly diminished.

Bees just want a home. When I was young, we had five hives in our Iowa City backyard. I would put on a bee hat and light a smoker and help my dad. Every month, we had to inspect each frame in the hives to make sure there are no new queen cells forming. Only one queen to a hive, otherwise some of the bees would swarm with one queen and others would stay in the hive with the other queen. Even though bee keeping was my dad’s hobby, we would receive calls like beekeepers Nick Wigel and Debbie Thompson, and I would go with my dad to retrieve the bees that had swarmed.

People ask, “Weren’t you scared?” If you know what you’re doing there is no problem. Before bees swarm they gorge on the hive honey, so they would have enough energy until they found their new home. Under these conditions, bees aren’t in a fighting mood.
--Danel Trevor, Carpinteria

ON YOUR OWN CLASS WORTH KEEPING:
When I started teaching 42 years ago, Homemaking was just a cooking and sewing course for girls. Over the years, the course was changed to On Your Own, a required course for both boys and girls, which emphasized “Skills for Living and Earning a Living.” This program brought in over $200,000 in grant money and much statewide recognition for Carpinteria Unified School District, as it worked toward making the curriculum relevant to today’s students. One of the largest grants was the LEAF Grant (Linking Education, Activity and Food), which strove to improve the health of students through teaching about good nutrition, preparing healthy foods, improving school-wide nutrition, promoting the importance of physical fitness and creating school gardens.

Standards that integrated all academic curriculum, including English, math, PE, art, health, computers and science, were developed. CUSD Superintendent Paul Cordeiro spearheaded the creation of a state-of–the-art Culinary Arts Program at Carpinteria High School, which partners with SBCC and gives students a head start on a culinary career. The OYO Program at CMS was the foundation for this important program. OYO courses have covered foods and nutrition, food safety, job preparation, child development, clothing care and skills for home management. These are skills needed by every person.

It was with great regret that I have learned that OYO will no longer be offered at CMS. CMS has long had a tradition of a rich elective program. I urge the administration and school board to reconsider their decision. Parents, if you are concerned about the elimination of OYO, I urge you to contact Carpinteria Unified School District and encourage administrators to find a way to meet the needs of all students by keeping this valuable program.
--Bonnie Jenuine, Santa Barbara

JON SKILLS EVENT SERVES YOUTH:
As a seventeen year old, I understand teenagers—sort of. I understand that we are supposed to roll our eyes at our parents and sleep all day. I also understand that a staple of any high schooler’s life is the summer job; a summer job filled with hard work, low pay and great experience. I understand this, however, our economy just doesn’t seem to get the idea. Teenage employment is at an all-time low, and with the price of college and Doritos rising, teenage angst is at an all-time high.

At Carp Cares for Youth, we decided to pull our heads together and come up with a solution to this problem. Our brilliant idea was a Job Skills Workshop. This workshop, which has been around for several years now, is run by volunteers from Albertsons, Rincon Floral and Carp Toy Co, Everbloom, and City Hall—all who shared stories on how they got their jobs, what they are looking for in employees at their businesses, and secrets in snagging the position you want. 

Along with bellies full of free pizza, us students walked away with skills on how to prepare for the interview, what to wear, how to answer tricky questions, and what to do after the interview. Thanks Carp Cares for Youth for giving us one less thing to angst about.
--Sidney Gross, Carpinteria High School student

Letters from April 19, 2012

WATER BOARD DEAF TO PUBLIC SENTIMENT:

Regarding the Carpinteria Valley Water District Board of Directors meeting on April 11, many speakers came forth to express their disagreement and even indignation with the rather bodacious
move by the governing board to re-seat a director, Fred Lemere, who lost the last public election by a resounding margin.

While I appreciate the water board, it would seem some members are quite out of touch with the electorate, and somewhat arrogant concerning the same; i.e., immediately after reinstating Lemere, a
controversial move, they then, right off the bat, not skipping a beat, at a cost for travel and conference fees of over $2,000 each, send Lemere to the ACWA Spring Conference in Monterey—along with three others.

Director Matt Roberts questioned whether the cost was in the budget and the purpose of the conference. The purpose, according to Board President June Wingerden, is training. Lemere has stated that he will not run for re-election in November, and he has been on the board for 17 years of “training” already.

On live TV, Van Wingerden approved this expensive $8,000 junket on the eve of asking for yet another water rate increase
from the folks in Carpinteria. Roberts made the common sense point that most of the mandatory training subjects can be covered online in a much less expensive and more effective manner. I ask, is this the best use of money when Lemere will be moved on in six months? Common sense.

I am not so naive to think all out of town conventions, seminars, training, expos, conferences are a waste of money. I have attended many.

The actions at the last board meeting seem to be saying, “There’s more money where this came from.”
--Shirley Johnson, Carpinteria

JUSTIFYING MUSIC EDUCATION:
I recently attended a concert dedicating the new auditorium at Santa Susanna High School in Simi Valley. The school recently
became a performing arts magnet school. Printed in the program was the best justifi cation for music in the schools that I have ever read: Why music?

I. Music is a science. It is exact, specifi c, and it demands exact acoustics. A conductor’s full score is volume, changes, melody and harmony all at once and with the most exact control of time.

II. Music is mathematical. It is rhythmically based on the subdivisions of time into fractions which must be done instantaneously, not worked out on paper.

III. Music is a foreign language. Most of the terms are in Italian, German, or French; and the notation is certainly not English—but a highly developed kind of shorthand that uses symbols to represent
ideas. The semantics of music is the most complete and universal language.

IV. Music is history. Music usually reflects the environment and times of its creation, often even the country and/or racial feeling.

V. Music is physical education. It requires fantastic coordination of fingers, hands, arms, and lip, cheek, and facial muscles in addition to extraordinary control of the diaphragmatic, back, stomach, and chest muscles, which respond instantly to the sound the ear hears and the mind interprets.

VI. Music develops insight and demands research.

VII. Music is all of these things, but most of all, music is art. It allows a human being to take all these, dry, technically boring but different techniques and use them to create emotion. That is one thing science cannot duplicate; humanism, feeling, emotion, call it what you will. That is why we teach music: not because we expect you to major in music, not because we expect you to play or sing all your life, but: so you will be human; so you will recognize beauty; so you will be closer to an infi nite beyond this
world; so you will have something to cling to; so you will have more love, more compassion, more gentleness, more good – in
short, more life.
--Langdon Nevens, Carpinteria

Letters from April 12, 2012

CITY PRIORITIES OUT OF WHACK:
I’m mad as hell and don’t want to take it anymore. The Carpinteria City Council has lost sight of its responsibilities to the people of this community. For a number of years, I’ve been requesting that the city improve the safety of public access to El Carro Park by completing a sidewalk in front of my neighbor’s property. In 2008, I provided photos to city staff showing the hazardous conditions people must face by walking in the lanes of traffic to get to El Carro Park. That was when I learned that a performance bond to insure construction was allowed to expire so funding was no longer available.

Each year since, I attend the city’s annual meeting where the council members discuss potential improvement projects with city staff for the upcoming year. And each year, the council voices their concerns but no action is taken.

Earlier this month, in speaking with city staff, I was informed that the sidewalk would not be a priority until someone’s child is injured in the street, but would I be willing to write a letter of support for a grant they were writing to fund this project. Well, here is my letter.

Shame on you, city council! You pass a plastic bag ban, knowing full well this would lead to a lawsuit requiring city funds to pay for your defense. Then, at the latest city council meeting, you discuss spending up to $10,000 from the general fund to hire a public relations person. But you are not willing to spend any of the city’s monies to protect the safety of parents and children wanting to attend the many sporting events that take place at El Carro Park.
--Doug Treloar, Carpinteria

CONSTITUTION ERODES UNDER OBAMA:
Today, President Obama’s agenda to “fundamentally transform “ the United States of America has been fully exposed as a systematic assault on our Constitution.

Judge Andrew Napolitano told an audience that following the 2010 elections, the president said that he would sidestep congress whenever called for and advance his initiatives through the use of executive orders.

Now he is diminishing the judicial branch and the Supreme Court by saying that if they overturn ObamaCare, the justices are “judicial activists” who have no right to strike down a law duly passed by congress.

Do we have a dictatorship, and why does our president not honor the balance of power, as established in the Constitution? According to Mathew Staver, a constitutional lawyer and Dean of a Law School, under President Obama our nation’s presidential protocols and system of checks and balances are being systematically dismantled.

In fact, he states, we are facing a constitutional crisis thanks to President Obama. In November, we must elect a new president who supports the Constitution, follows the rule of law and does not distort the truth. This coming election will determine whether America remains a Constitutional Republic or is transformed into a big-government, socialistic nation. Stand up for freedom and vote.
-- Diana Thorn, Carpinteria

JUSTICES NEED NOT PLAY POLITICS:
The U.S. Supreme Court is the final arbiter of the constitutionality of all laws passed by Congress. Justices appointed for life should, therefore, exercise the utmost restraint and not let political ideology cloud their judgment.

It is my opinion that the Roberts Court has a habit of making purely political decisions, ignoring both court precedent and common sense. In Citizens United v. FEC, this court has ruled that corporations are people and that billionaire-funded Super PACS (buying candidates and elections) is the equivalent of the expression of free speech.

Now, Justice Antonin Scalia suggests a mandate to purchase health insurance is a slippery slope towards the federal government forcing you to buy broccoli! This is a talking point “borrowed” from the right-wing media and the Tea Party and is hardly a credible argument on constitutional law.

There is nothing in the Constitution which prevents the U.S. Supreme Court Justices from making politically motivated decisions. They should, however, stick to their responsibility of interpreting the laws and resist the temptation to re-write them in order to satisfy a partisan agenda. Forty million Americans will be denied access to health care if the Affordable Care Act is overturned. Of course, this does not include any member of Congress or Supreme Court Justice.
--Robert Baruch, Goleta

TRAYVON CASE SHOULD BE TRIED IN COURT:
Justice be damned.  Guilty or not, if Zimmerman is not arrested, there  will be riots.   Guilty or not, if Zimmerman is not convicted, there  will be blood.  Guilty or not, if Zimmerman doesn’t go to prison, there  will be death.  Justice be damned.  
-- Steve King, Carpinteria

Letters from April 5, 2012

WATER BOARD APPOINTMENT DISREGARDS ELECTORATE:
And the Carpinteria Valley Water District Board of Directors never ceases to flabbergast. By a 2-1 vote (Director Alonzo Orozco opposed), the appointment of Fred Lemere was an astonishing slap in the face to all Carpinterians who voted in the last election. Why?

Here’s a recap: Unhappy with the running of the water district, unhappy with exorbitant water costs and unhappy with the seemingly backroom decisions, in 2010 the people of Carpinteria ran three new contenders to oppose the sitting directors. And two of the three won that election—Lynn Ducharme and Alonzo Orozco along with Matt Roberts, who was re-elected. Clay Brown and Fred Lemere were runners up—Lemere losing by a resounding margin.

Subsequently, Ducharme resigned and Brown was appointed to fill her seat. He was the only one who applied to fill the vacancy. Unfortunately, Brown also resigned.

A call for candidates was carried out to fill the vacancy until the November 2012 election, a period of eight months.

Here was the reasoning of President June Van Wingarden: Lemere was a runner up, as was Brown; Lemere does not need expensive and time-consuming training to get up to speed. I understand that reasoning, but I totally disagree, because he was seriously un-elected and three other candidates interviewed for this spot. Two of the candidates, Shirley Johnson and Robert Russell, appeared to be extremely qualified and “quick studies.”

Only three directors were at this important board meeting as Matt Roberts was on vacation. No one begrudges a guy on vacation, but I wonder why in the world the vote could not have waited until his return?

Being a sitting director gives a potential candidate an advantage as an incumbent—we all know this. Also, although I must have missed this part, Lemere supposedly has said he is not running in November 2012.

My hope is the water board does not make any monumental decisions until elected officials fill every seat.
––Jane Benefield , Carpinteria

ARMENDARIZ PUNISHMENT CUTS OFF NOSE TO SPITE FACE:
It is a tragic thing when a person allows drugs or alcohol to run his life. It’s even more tragic when drugs or alcohol ruin a person’s life.

I have had a chance to watch Joe Armendariz at Carpinteria City Council meetings and have seen various news reports, articles and interviews with him both prior to and since his high profile accident. And while I think his decision to drive under the influence was both stupid and irresponsible, I also think he is a very effective councilman and a valuable asset to the people of Carpinteria. 

I support whatever penalties he is required to pay as a result of his DUI, which I understand is a misdemeanor since no one other than him was injured. And thank God for that. But his fellow council members taking him off his committees to punish him is not just bad form, it’s counter productive. Mr. Armendariz wasn’t serving on these important committees to advance his own ends; he was on those committees to advance the ends of the people of Carpinteria. And from what I can clearly see by watching him on TV doing his job on the council, I have no doubt he was as effective on those other committees as he is on the city council. 

So as is all too typical, because they don’t agree with him politically—Armendariz is a Republican and other council members are Democrats—people of Carpinteria suffer by losing an intelligent and very capable representative on some important committees, which were created, I presume, to benefit the people of our town. What a pity. 
––Melissa Gomez, Toro Canyon

WHAT ABOUT DOG POOP BAGS?
Regarding the bag ban forced upon our businesses: I walk locally a lot, along our gorgeous bluffs and beach, and each time I am out walking, I see at least two plastic doggy poop bags left behind, discarded and folded up with the poop inside so that it never decomposes. These plastic bags are given out free. Nobody is addressing these plastic bags, is this not hypocrisy?

The shopping bag ban is ridiculous on many counts. I try to always bring my own bags, but what about the unplanned stop at Albertsons to purchase a few items while riding my bike around town? I didn‘t plan the stop, and they wont be able to give me a bag, so I skip that errand and just spend the money next time I am at Trader Joes, in Santa Barbara or Ventura, with my car and my bags. What about tourists in our campground, unaware of our retail bag ban law?

Let us be individually responsible. Or, let stores provide an incentive, like offering a small discount for each bag we bring with our purchase.

Could we please not make any more ridiculous laws that will have unintended consequences and hurt our local economy. I love our beautiful town, and I want to protect our local beauty and our local businesses. Our city council should spend its time trying to help our businesses not hinder them.
––Page Levasheff, Carpinteria

SCHOOL BUDGET TALKS SLIGHT SUMMERTLAND:
In reading the March 29 Coastal View News story, “School board studies budget, reviews options for selling property,” two items jumped out at me. One is that “administrators suggested that savings could be generated by discontinuing bus service currently provided to a small number of students residing in Summerland;” and the other is the potential sale of the Toro Canyon property.

My family is one of the families that relies on bus service to get our son home from Summerland School. We live in the Toro Canyon area. There are no safe routes to school along Toro Canyon or East Valley roads. No sidewalks, bike lanes, and in most places, no decent shoulder. The Summerland attendance area contributes about 25 percent of the district’s gross revenue via property taxes and less than 5 percent of the students. We pay more than our share for school transportation, and we need it. Despite our size, we’re entitled to the same services as everyone else.

As for the potential sale of the Toro property, I noted that there was no report as to what the district planned to do with the proceeds. The district was given land on Lambert Road in Summerland, in the 1960s, expressly for a new Summerland School site. The school board traded that property for the Toro property in the 1990s. Gross mistake. Taxpayers footed the bill for hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal and architectural fees on this debacle. It’s currently leased to a farmer, and all proceeds are funneled to Carpinteria schools – not a penny goes to Summerland. All monies raised by the use or sale of the Toro property should be kept in a trust for improvements to Summerland School – improvements that have been promised but not delivered for decades now.  Our kids are the only ones in the district housed completely and permanently in “temporary” structures. This needs to change.
––Carole Anne Demachkie, Toro Canyon

COUNCIL WASTES ARMENDARIZ'S TALENT:
I have been watching the Carpinteria City Council meetings since Joe Armendariz had his accident while driving under the influence. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to go through what he’s been going through in such a public way. I am disgusted by how he has been treated by the other members of the city council, some members of the community and some news reports.

From what I see at every meeting, Armendariz handles himself in a civil, respectful and professional manner. His intelligence, knowledge and ability to articulate his views and engage his colleagues is outstanding and seems far superior to his fellow council members. Last week, I was stunned as they casually removed Armendariz from every one of his committee assignments. What a huge loss for the people of Carpinteria.  

I don’t condone what Armendariz did. He deserves to be punished. However, the punishment should be from the court of law, not the city council. Armendariz embarrassed the city of Carpinteria, but he also embarrassed himself greatly. The city council, however, continues to embarrass itself and the city as a whole by the continued harassment of Armendariz. I hope he pays large fines and is forced to do many hours of community service, but I also hope he gets his act together and never drinks again, because this is a man who has a fantastic future ahead of him, if he can stay sober from alcohol.

Fellow council members, in an attempt to punish him, have punished the people of Carpinteria by removing what is clearly a very capable, dedicated elected official from his important responsibilities. His work on all of the committees is one to be applauded, not condemned. The other council members cannot pretend to be as useful or knowledgeable on the issues.
––Stephanie Hicks, Ventura

Letters from March 29, 2012

LET THE MUSIC PLAY:
Aliso, Canalino and Summerland schools may lose their elementary band program for the upcoming school year. Without this program the majority of our children would not have had an opportunity to be exposed to music and playing an instrument. Where are our future Warrior High School Band members going to come from? Please, if you care about music in our schools, write to our school board or attend the school board meetings to save a wonderful program for our children.
––Gina Marchand, Carpinteria

BAG BAN BAD FOR BUSINESS:
Once again the Carpinteria City Council has taken action that is unwise, costly without reason and detrimental to local businesses. 

Our council adopted Ordinance No. 655, which bans the use of plastic bags in the City of Carpinteria. With little forethought, the majority of the city council jumped at the opportunity to pretend they were doing something important. 

Now we have a regulation that must be enforced. If other communities adopt almost similar regulations, in time our state will have a myriad of conflicting regulations. For the businessperson with interests in several communities, it will become a nightmare of conflicting rules. This will be expensive, confusing and detrimental to business in general. In the end, the customer will pay for the added costs.

Since our council chose not to exclude restaurants from this ban, we now face a costly lawsuit. With funds so limited, why even take that risk? If the ban was so vital, why didn’t the council take the time to find a solution for the restaurants and avoid the potential of a $100,000 lawsuit? Again, we will pay.

And even when plastic bags are banned for local retailers, how will we deal with bags that arrive from outside the city? Every day phone books and newspapers arrive on our doorsteps wrapped and double-wrapped in plastic!

We should all make a concerted effort to protect and improve our environment, but that is far better approached on either a personal level, or on a state or regional level. For the City of Carpinteria with its 5,000 households to take on such a struggle is ludicrous. 

It would be far better if our council would spend a few minutes considering matters that could effectively enhance our business climate and the economic vitality of the city. 
––Ray Cole, Carpinteria

BIG BUSINESS CARES NOT FOR THE LITTLE GUY:
Recently, I tried to fill a prescription at one of our local big name stores, calling over and over, only to get endless ringing. When someone finally picked up, they politely requested if I would hold. After five minutes, I was automatically put back into the endless ringing again. Frustrating! And, a sign of the times indicative of where our country is heading and why.

Another example: local video and hardware stores, once run by solid entrepreneurial Carpinteria families, pushed out by big corporate companies. This is happening at all levels of business; think of banks and phone service. Once established, big companies lower the quality of customer service, become inaccessible by phone (unless you like talking to someone eight thousand miles away), and there is nothing you can do because you simply have no choice. Why should the companies care? They have squashed the local competition.

This is where we are headed and another sign of the ever-increasing gap between big and small, rich and poor. Big companies have advantages, establishing a monopoly through sheer force and cost advantage. Once in control they do everything to reduce costs and increase profit margins. This usually comes at the expense of service to the consumer, fairness and ethics.

But the backbone of this country is the hard working person, the entrepreneur and the risk taker, successful through honest labor and superior service to his fellow consumer. Take that away and we pull the rug out right from underneath ourselves. The once almighty and supposedly indestructible Romans destroyed themselves from within; the rich mastering the art of tax evasion, creating massive self empowerment through controlled interest and taxing the poor, eventually becoming so top heavy the rug slips. Is the U.S. a modern Rome, headed for even harder times?
––Jason Jacquet, Carpinteria

SUMMERLAND MEETING ROOM ON ITS WAY:
While reading the March 15 Coastal View News, I couldn’t help but take notice of Fran Davis’s “Summerland Shore” column; in which, while lamenting about Summerland being passed up by the Caltrans’ public comment process, she states “where is the dreamed of new fire station’s promised community meeting room when we need it?” Well Fran, it’s on the way.

Since our last community meeting, hosted by the Summerland Board of Architectural Review, we have redefined the Summerland Public Safety Center to meet the recommendations of our community. A retooled vision is coming out very soon. Rest assured, the meeting room is still an integral element of the facility. But keeping it won’t be easy. We need all of your help. While there are those who voice concerns about parking, you that know Summerland know the uniqueness of the community and some of the issues that come with the coastal hamlet. It is our hope that as the facility continues to go through varied public review meetings that all in Summerland realize the need for a meeting room and look out of the box to come to an agreement to support not only the Fire District’s, but your project.
––Michael Mingee, Fire Chief
Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District

UTTER, COMPLETE NONSENSE:
Regarding an article in Coastal View News on March 22, “Unpacking Carpinteria’s bag ban ordinance”: Carpinteria Code Compliance Supervisor Sylvia Echerverria comments: “Our goal is to work with all businesses to get their voluntary compliance.”
Utter, complete nonsense! Words mean something and voluntary means: arising, acting, or resulting from somebody’s own choice or decision rather than because of external pressure or force.
––Carolyn Edwards, Carpinteria

ARMENDARIZ PUNISHMENT HURTS CITY
I never followed the Carpinteria City Council meetings before this whole Joe Armendariz controversy. But now I regularly do.

I understand that some people think that his recent personal problems could be considered scandalous. However, I would rather someone human, relatable and who admits to his mistakes representing my best interests in office, than a typical “politician” with his or her own hidden agenda, who pretends to care.

I couldn’t believe they removed him from all of his assignments at the last meeting. Seriously?  Do they think they are hurting only him by taking him off the city’s various committees? I really think they are hurting the people of Carpinteria who clearly benefit from having a smart and talented person like Armendariz representing us in office. Armendariz runs circles around the other members of the city council. Not only is he more knowledgeable, but he’s so much more well spoken.  I know I am not the only one to think this.
––Laureli Srery, Ojai

Letters from March 22, 2012

SCHOOL MUSIC IN JEOPARDY:
Stop the music! That will be the unfortunate outcome if Carpinteria Unified School District is forced to cut elementary and middle school music. The high school band might be able to limp along for a year or two, but with no young players coming up, it would soon become history as well. I know that this is not a choice that the district administration or the school board would choose to make. 

Irresponsible politicians have bankrupted the state, and now they expect our children to pay for their greed and incompetence. The fat cats at the public employee unions (most notably the SEIU) have lobbied for outrageous retirement packages that cannot be sustained. Rather than raising taxes, we need to reduce the bureaucracy to an efficient level.

We all know that lower class size benefits students. It is a foregone conclusion, however, that most classes will increase in size. That is still better than completely eliminating a class, which is what is proposed for music. Increasing class size even more in order to save music makes a lot of sense. It has been proven that the study of music increases learning in other areas, especially math.

All third grade students receive music instruction each week, playing recorders. All fourth grade students receive instruction on a band instrument. The elementary music teacher touches the lives of more students than any other teacher in the district. 

Please show your support for music. Talk to your school principal, the school district and members of the school board. Write letters to the editor. Get involved. The school district has some tough decisions to make. If board members know how important music is to you and your children, they will make it a high priority to save the program. 
––Langdon Nevens?, Carpinteria

REALITY RETREAT WILL LEAVE EMOTIONAL SCARS:
In addition to the welfare of the animals involved, I am very concerned for the psychological well-being of the boys who attended the March 3 youth group event sponsored by Reality Church at an Ojai ranch, at which two pigs were greased, chased for a period of time and then slaughtered.

Pigs are highly intelligent and sensitive beings. Chasing them is terrifying for them (which is why they squeal and try to escape) and, therefore, cruel and abusive treatment. One young man at the event reported that one of the pigs finally gave up and stopped trying to run away. Witnessing animal abuse is considered a form of emotional abuse and can even lead to later violence towards people. 

Given the nature of peer pressure, it is highly unlikely that if any of the boys felt uncomfortable with the activities, they would have protested or opted out. At the very least, it was highly irresponsible of the church to sponsor such an activity; at worst it was actually emotionally abusive to the participants. 

Church leaders have yet to identify the reasons these activities were potentially harmful to the young people under its care or admit to wrongdoing. They seem to be more concerned with the potential harm done to the public’s perception of the church. Parents of boys that participated would be wise to watch for signs of emotional trauma in their children, seek professional help as needed and be very cautious before allowing their children to participate in future events sponsored by this church.
––Becki Norton, Carpinteria

NUKES NEED TO GO:
Let’s tell President Obama that now is the Time to Act on Nuclear Weapons! Right now we have a rare opportunity to move our society toward a safer world free of nuclear weapons.

Every president receives one significant opportunity to revise and update the United States nuclear weapons strategy. Currently, President Obama has this opportunity and is developing guidance that will determine the role and the number of U.S. nuclear weapons.

This guidance affects everything from war plans to the size, structure and cost of the nuclear arsenal. It will help determine whether we continue to live with the threat of nuclear annihilation by accident or by design; or move closer to a world free of the danger of nuclear war.

At this time we all have the opportunity to make our voices heard and remind President Obama to make good on his pledge to “put an end to Cold War thinking.”

Please help make us all safer from the threat of nuclear weapons by contacting President Obama or by signing a petition using the easy format provided by the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation at org2.democracyinaction.org/o/6357/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=9222.
--Ruth Case, Carpinteria

Letters from March 15, 2012

BAG BAN IGNORES MERITS OF BIOBAGS:
I was again disappointed at the Feb. 20 Carpinteria City Council meeting. There is truly an enormous lack of education about plastic bags even among our council members.

City staff had ample time to research environmentally friendly options, and it seems that there was a lack of research to find an alternative bag that is good for the environment. City staff repeated again and again in meetings that banning bags was something that needed to be done for the environment and our future generations. However, our alternative options for bags—either reusable or in some cases paper—are just as bad for the environment as the plastic we are currently using.

I supplied city staff with ample information on alternatives that would truly make a difference to the environment. But instead you have voted to replace one bad option with another. Paper will continue to stress our forests; recycled or not it originally came from trees. Creating paper bags also leaves a huge carbon footprint as it requires vast amounts of fossil fuels to make them.

Our other option, reusable plastic! Please explain how handing out thousands of reusable plastic bags is good for the environment. In 10 years where will all these bags be? Correct me if I am wrong but won’t they be in a landfill? So, we will be filling our landfills with 2.25mm thick plastic instead of .0005mm thick plastic! Maybe I missed something, but again, please tell me how this is better for the environment my kids will grow up in.

Biobags are the most environmentally friendly options. They are biodegradable and cheaper than the city’s recommended alternatives.
--Joanna Noll, Carpinteria

A FEW QUESTIONS FOR CODE ENFORCEMENT:
The Santa Barbara News Press article on March 6 gave a negative impression of Carpinteria Code Enforcement. The city’s emphasis seems to be on punishment rather than fixing a problem or cooperating with business owners. City officials work for the citizens of the town. They exist in order to make the lives of residents better, not to punish someone who violates an arbitrary rule.

How are these rules decided upon and are some rules enforced more stringently than others? How much of the enforcement direction is left up to the code person? Do the rules have sunset clauses? If a rule exists, but hasn’t been enforced for decades, is there suddenly a pressing need for it to be obeyed? If a rule has laid dormant for years and no harm has occurred, the rule itself should be taken off the books. Is the city more afraid of being the target of a frivolous lawsuit than it is interested in making it easier for the business community to thrive?
--Mike Millan, Carpinteria

INTEGRAL COMMUNITY ARTS SUPPORTER PASSES:
On Feb. 8 of this year, longtime Carpinteria artist and businesswoman Patti Sim died. Her passing deserves note.

In the early 2000s, I was heading the site committee for the Carpinteria Valley Arts Council. At that point, CVAC owned no property and my committee was charged with finding an appropriate location. While our search was exhaustive, I don’t recall us coming to a conclusion pleasing to all. At that time, the wonderful nonprofit Step One: A Gallery was renting the cottage at 855 Linden Ave. from Patti Sim and her sister. Although Step One had already created the momentum and excitement for a new arts center, it was in no way certain that theirs would be the eventual site.

I had been off the site committee for many months when Patti Sim came forward and offered to sell 855 Linden Ave. to CVAC at a very reasonable price. Suddenly, all the tumblers clicked into place. Under the stewardship of then-board chairman Bill Laffin, a talented group of people immediately fanned out and did fundraising from some very generous citizens. The outcome? CVAC quickly became the owner of 855 Linden Ave. without owing any debt.

I consider myself fortunate to have seen Patti Sim attend a number Saturday afternoon art receptions at the new arts center. Sometimes the receptions amounted to a few dozen people, and sometimes over one hundred attended. She was able to see the results of her generosity.

Because Patti Sim and her sister shared a love of the arts and a love of Carpinteria, we now have a thriving arts center for adults and children. Current and future generations are in debt to both of them.
--Gib Johnson, Carpinteria

NATIONAL ENERGY POLICIES MISGUIDED:
The czar of no energy, Secretary of Energy Stephen Chu, just announced in congressional testimony that “the Obama administration is not interested in lowering gas prices.” He said, “High gas prices provide an incentive for alternative energy technology, a priority for the White House, and a decrease in reliance on oil for energy.” He just said, in effect, that if we have $9-per-gallon gas—like in Europe—Americans can be forced into accepting the unworkable alternative energy programs upon which the Obama administration has wasted trillions.

General Motors, now owned by the federal government, has just stopped production of the Chevy Volt, which the American public is not buying, in spite of the $1,000 government subsidy on each car.

Obama’s first act in office was to halt domestic oil drilling by executive order. U.S. oil refineries are being shut down by government regulation. The predictable result is a drop in U.S. oil production and increased dependence upon foreign sources. Anyone should be able to understand that if you limit supply while demand is increasing the price must go up. Since petroleum is required for transportation, the price of everything, including food, has also risen.

Other power sources—clean coal, natural gas and even hydroelectric dams—are being shut down under the excuse of environmental protection. One cannot go anywhere without noticing the large number of vacant store buildings or houses for sale. Millions are unemployed. How can anyone who is even remotely awake believe that Obama is doing a good job as president or that, as he says, the economy is now getting better? We just have to keep doing more of the same? If Obama’s idea of “change” was to reduce America to a third-world, socialist dictatorship, what would he be doing differently?
--Chuck Stersic, Carpinteria

Letters from March 8, 2012

FINAL PUSH TO BAG THE BAN:
If you don’t want Carpinteria to be the first city in the United States to ban all grocery bags on Monday, please visit bagban.info to review the issue, post your opinion and cast your vote in the discussion forum poll.

Perhaps this issue would be more appropriate as a ballot referendum.

There are a lot of arguments used against plastic grocery bags, but the only one that is actually valid is the litter issue. Plastic grocery bags are a potential source of litter for a number of reasons, but Carpinteria is on the path to effectively minimizing litter from grocery bags without the need to ban them. We have a history of successfully reducing litter from varied sources without bans.

Plastic bag litter was an ugly local problem years ago, but due in part to effective education efforts from organizations like Carpinteria Beautiful, we have made huge strides in reducing that litter to the point that it is now uncommon to see a stray plastic grocery bag in our parks, creeks or byways.

We now have a new and effective recycling option. Simply deposit your excess plastic grocery bags in your blue Harrison recycle bin. Unfortunately, your city council is opposed to recycling, and they won’t support recycling education. Santa Barbara has recently implemented similar curbside plastic bag collection, but rather than opposition to recycling, Santa Barbara is promoting it through various education methods including radio ads.

Your city council is turning a blind eye to the cost and impacts a ban will have on our citizens. They maintain that benefits are obvious and see no need to measure or quantify either the benefits, impacts or the cost.

Reduce, reuse and recycle, but don’t ban!
--Tom Truax, Carpinteria

BED TAX BAD FOR TOURISM:
As a many year vacation resident of your great town, I agree 100 percent with letter writer Jim Michener about raising the bed tax. In this economy, it’s not a good time to be raising anything—except kids. People are hurting.
--Steve Urbanovich, Burbank

NOT SO FAST, SMART METERS:
Recent rulings by the California Public Utility Commission have granted freedom of choice rights to consumers to opt out of the forced installation of Smart Meters. Despite Edison’s pending status in this dispute, Edison has started deploying these unpopular, Chinese-made billing devices in our area.

Unlike PG&E, Edison has chosen a “we’re the boss” attitude and has not been open with its customers about opt outs and the installation process. Edison says, “Trust us,” but they are not a charity, and the new billing devices are not a gift. The device is a big money maker, and you will be charged an estimated $300 for it.

Edison is asking for $3.3 billion in rate hikes over the next three years and says no to more power plants. The known risks of smart meters include the environment—especially birds and bees—cyber security, health (cancer) and big bills due to the ability to monitor usage during peak times. To opt out of this costly mistake, get on the delay list by calling (800) 810-2369, before the installer arrives.
--Diana Thorn, Carpinteria

OBAMA'S TAX THE RICH SCHEME WON'T WORK:
I am conservative, but I have voted for liberals in the past. Basically, I look for common sense approaches to keeping a capitalistic society functioning effectively. Both liberals and conservatives have thoughts that are definitely worthy of consideration. I believe in capitalism. And, I want a government that provides guidance and necessary regulations, but that basically tells me that I am responsible for my present and future well being.

I would give President Obama good grades in some areas. For instance, I believe his overall handling of the Osama Bin Laden removal was a solid A+. However, I seriously question his basic understanding of economics and finance. Limitations (300 words) on a letter like this prevent a detailed analysis, but the president’s demonizing of the rich (I assure you I am not in the top 1 percent) and his constant claim that they should pay more taxes to solve the nation’s financial problems is total financial nonsense.

Yes, we need tax reform. A sensible approach to this problem would be a big step in the right direction, but the president continually plays to an audience (unfortunately, a large one) that is only too eager to accept his simplistic, totally inaccurate, portrayal of the source of present problems.

Mitt Romney is not everyone’s favorite politician. However, those who take the time to examine his views on capitalism, why it works and why it is important for a government to encourage its citizens to “rise to the competition,” rather than feel that the government should “protect them from competition” might well come away with a better understanding of what needs to be done to get our country back on track to becoming a healthy and productive society.

--Sanderson M. Smith, Carpinteria

OBAMA'S PLAN WAS THE ONLY PLAN:
Apparently, the elimination of the world’s most wanted terrorist, Osama BinLaden, was not good enough for Sean Hannity of Fox Entertainment and others of his factually-challenged ilk. Their argument being that President Obama was asleep at the switch and woke up just in time to see the brilliant plan of his predecessor, George W. Bush, come to fruition.

FYI, when President Bush was questioned at a news conference on March 13, 2002, regarding the whereabouts of the al-Qaeda leader, he replied, “I don’t know where Bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don’t care. It’s not that important. It’s not our priority.”

This was a plan? Really? Looking back on President Bush’s “plan” during his seven years in office after 9/11, it seems like it involved spending a good part of the remainder of his two terms “clearing brush” on his dude ranch in Crawford, Texas, and waiting for BinLaden to die of kidney failure or old age. Some plan.
--Robert Baruch, Goleta

Letters from March 1, 2012

NOT THE TIME TO RAISE TOT:
Now is not the time to be raising the City of Carpinteria’s Transient Occupancy Tax (bed tax). With gasoline prices already above $4 per gallon and predicted to go above $5 per gallon by the summer, the last thing that hotel owners/managers and local merchants need is another deterrent for people to visit our wonderful little city. The tourist dollar is badly needed by the local merchants, and placing more taxes on visitors is a very bad idea. Spending $25,000 to conduct a study to see what local residents think about putting the question on the ballot is a complete waste of taxpayers’ money. Perhaps spending like that is why the city is in such dire straits.
--Jim Michener, Carpinteria

THOSE WHO LIVE IN GLASS HOUSES:
‘Tis a shame that the opponents of retaining Mr. Armendariz on the Carpinteria City Council have never made a mistake. How sad that their children will never learn the truth and tolerance in the old adage, “To err is human, to forgive, divine.” I would imagine that their wings become cumbersome after a time and their halos painfully tight.

Mr. Armendariz has served this community well. He has admitted to a wrongdoing not even connected to the execution of his council duties and expressed a desire to correct it. His ex-wife—who would know—has stood behind his standards and actions while serving on the council. His morals appear to be totally intact, although the reasoning power in his personal judgment was faulty.

And who among us has not been guilty of an error in judgment?
--Meredith E. McCurdy, Carpinteria

PAINTING AND CHATTING GO HAND IN HAND:
Our world famous Carpinterian Chismahoo Mountain muralist John Russell Wullbrandt is now busy rendering, sketching and painting the “World’s Safest Beach” mural upon the Señor Frog’s Restaurant wall while engaging in a continuous conversation with every curious pedestrian or sidewalk observer that stops to admire his work.

Whatever happened to the reclusive, temperamental artist? Thankfully, this obviously is not our resident muralist. From his blog, he writes, “Most of my time was spent chatting with the audience. I love monologues but a fun show with audience participation can’t be beat.”

Moreover, the generous Wullbrandt is donating all his time and mural expertise to the City of Carpinteria without any charge. What a beautiful gift!

Days later Wullbrandt blogged, “Sooooooooo many people stopped to talk again today. This being a holiday (President’s Day) there were tons of folks in town. I think every one of them came by the mural for a chat.” Yes, photo ops, hugs, smiles and more chit-chat is the overwhelming pattern of our Chismahoo Mountain Muralist’s work day. What fun!

Incidentally, let’s not forget to extend thanks to Carpinteria Beautiful for orchestrating this heartwarming John Wullbrandt mural extravaganza.
--Bob Henry, Carpinteria

Letters from February 23, 2012

LET THERE BE PEACE:
I am writing this letter as a personal plea for people to please refrain from bringing my ex-husband’s (City Councilman Joe Armendariz) and my private family life into the public arena. When Joe was re-elected in 2008, the people who elected him knew that he had a DUI while a councilman in 2006. They knew he had battled with alcohol. They knew that could mean that he might drink again someday. Yet they reelected him because they agreed with him and believed he had done and would continue to do a good job on the council. Unfortunately he did begin drinking again; going through a rough divorce that rips your family of 22 years apart can do that to a person who already struggles with alcohol.

Joe and I may not always get along, but I do think he deserves some rest from all of the rumors and whispering. The council has censured him and taken him off committees, despite the fact he did a good job serving on those committees.

I am now asking the people of Carpinteria to let it rest so our family can heal. We have four children and they have friends in this town. Just because you don’t agree with Joe’s personal conduct on that night, or with his politics, doesn’t mean you should be mean and cruel. I was married to Joe for six of the years he served on the council, and I can attest that he never went to a meeting after drinking. He separated his work and council obligations from his private life and struggles.

Until the end of Joe’s term in December, have some compassion and let there be some peace for him and our family. By doing so the city can get on with business, and Joe and our family can get on with the healing process.
--Karla Cook, Carpinteria

DOUBLE STANDARDS MUST GO:
Judging by the endless vitriol aimed at City Councilman Joe Armendariz over his drunk driving violations, one can only imagine the outrage over Ted Kennedy fleeing the scene after driving into a canal and leaving Mary Jo Kopechne to die inside his car. Torches and pitchforks? But wait, silly me, I forgot the double standard: Kennedy was a Democrat, and Joe is a Republican. But for that, Joe might become mayor of the city. After all, didn’t Mr. Kennedy run for president 11 years after the tragic Chappaquiddick incident?
 --Steve King, Carpinteria

TIME TO ACT LIKE ADULTS:
What’s the saddest part of the entire Joe Armendariz situation, besides Armendariz’s disregard of the ethics policy he signed onto? In my opinion it’s those who support Mr. Armendariz staying, which points to the complete hypocrisy between what we tell our children and how we treat adults. My question is, how many drunk driving crashes is enough for you? Anyone who’s willing to support Mr. Armendariz now is willing to support him if he crashes three times, or four times. We know this because the “support Armendariz camp” has two arguments. One, his personal life should play no role, and two, he’s “effective” on the council. Would six crashes do it for you? With previous stated logic, I think the answer is “no.” 

For those adults—yes, adults—who maintain this support for Mr. Armendariz, I’d tell you not to be too surprised when your children stop listening to your arguments about morality and taking responsibility for one’s actions. They’re taking your lead; and guess what, they’re going to take Mr. Armendariz’s lead as well. Eventually, the line drawn between what’s right and what’s wrong will have little value.     

In the end, this is about one man’s choices. And as much as he hates it, he is to be held responsible for those. It’s time to resign, Mr. Armendariz. 
--Mike Rupert, Carpinteria

CAR THIEF BUST WAS DOWNRIGHT NEIGHBORLY:
Earlier last week, I was reminded once again of how lucky we are to live in this community. Close friend of ours, and their neighbors, had their cars broken into and ransacked over the course of two nights, all under cover of darkness and instilling great fear into a group of people who live in a remote part of Foothill Road. They all communicated with each other and with law enforcement. The next day, four suspects were arrested here in Carpinteria with stolen property belonging to several residents. This group of suspects started in Southern California on Feb. 8 with a stolen car and worked its way into Carpinteria. It is a testament to our local law enforcement and their swift and intelligent actions that these four suspects were in jail only five days later. It also supports a value that was instilled in me growing up here that neighbors watch out for neighbors. I hope that this scenario sends a clear message to anyone else out there who might think that Carpinteria is an easy target.
 --Melinda Graziani-Bie, Carpinteria

DON'T BE CAUGHT UNAWARE OF CALTRANS PROJECT
Are you aware of the Linden Avenue and Casitas Pass overpasses that are to be constructed in 2015? These are planned along with the extension of Via Real from Bailard Avenue to Linden Avenue, which includes a roundabout at Via Real and Linden. The Casitas Pass bridge will be the equivalent of seven lanes (five 12-foot traffic lanes, two four-foot bike lanes, two eight-foot sidewalks). The Casitas Pass northbound on and off ramps are designed in a way that removes many of the oak and sycamore groves near the creek. Do you think this is keeping with the character of our small beach community? If you would like more information or care to comment, please come to the next Design Review Team meeting in the Canalino School Cafeteria on Wednesday, Feb. 29 at 7:30 p.m.
--MaryPat O’Connor, Carpinteria

Letters from February 16, 2012

COUNCILMEMBERS OUT OF ORDER:
I attended Monday evening’s city council meeting. I was turned off by Vice-Mayor Brad Stein’s arrogant manner towards Councilmember Kathleen Reddington throughout most of the evening. Granted, Reddington did dominate the proceedings with her lengthy questioning of staff.  However, Councilmember Stein needs to show more tolerance to his fellow councilmembers. At one point he even got into a confrontation with Councilmember Armendariz. At the same time, Councilmember Reddington needs to consult with staff in advance so to be more respectful of everyone’s time.

I won’t be returning to a city council meeting anytime soon!
--Donald DeLuccio, Santa Barbara

STOP SURVEY SPENDING:
Regarding Monday’s city council meeting:  kudos to Councilmember Brad Stein for insisting that we address water table/aquifer issues with the new offshore oil drilling project. Can the proposed drilling lines go through our water table or our water aquifer? Very simply, as Mr. Stein put it, where does our water table/aquifer end and the drilling four or five miles offshore end?

This is our drinking water, 2,000-years old and stored underground. I do not think we should be drilling willy-nilly without the community’s hard inquiry to protect these water sources. Contamination issues might not even show up (and irreversibly so) for 50 or 100 years from now. The oil companies will be long gone, but your children will bear the brunt. However, I am still not decided on this new drilling issue yet.

Kudos to Councilmembers Reddington and Armendariz for seriously questioning the spending of $25,000 in order to poll, what is it, 6,000 registered Carpinteria voters regarding increasing the transient occupancy tax. Four dollars per voter?  Well, actually, they said they would poll those most likely to vote, which would be more like 3,600 or $7 per voter. Just put the proposal on the ballot. Oops, too late, council already agreed to spend the $25,000.  But then council already spent over $125,000 to study whether they should move the city offices or not.  Where do I get into this study/polling business? Seems like money is a flowing. But we can’t afford to keep the pool open more or more public trash receptacles on the bluffs.

I appreciate all our council people and what they have done for our community in the past, but this is not to say I think all should stay in office at this point in time.
--Shirley Johnson, Carpinteria

SMALL TOWN THEATER ALIVE AND WELL:
Just when you thought Carpinteria had jumped through all possible small-town hoops—along comes one more sweet reminder of our good fortune. I am referring to the play at the Plaza Playhouse, “In Search of a Long Term Relationship.” Everything was so familiar and comfortable—the local actors (I came to see my dear friend Amy Orozco) and all my neighbors in the audience. The scene-stealer though was Myron Shann, who absolutely wowed me with this role as the lonely, elderly man determined to meet his mate. He was determined, unapologetic and successful in his quest. Thank goodness or I would have been sad for him if I had to cash a check. (Myron is a familiar local teller at the bank.)

Asa Olsson directed this lovely (and I might add not sappy) timely piece by Sam Salario. The settings were mainly full-size wall projections of various rooms; one living room looked very familiar to me—suddenly it occurred me that an oriental rug I had given to a friend was staring at me from the photo! I love our small town and all the characters that inhabit it.

Thank you all for a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon!
--Jane L. Benefield, Carpinteria

CHECK THE FACTS ON ROMNEY
Politically speaking, economic recovery is the most important issue on Americans’ minds right now. Mitt Romney has been claiming he knows how to boost our economy and create jobs.

Here is the truth about his job creation record: Bain Capital was one of the top companies participating in leveraged buyouts of vulnerable companies in the ’80s and ’90s. Many of these companies went into bankruptcy leading to thousands of job losses. Romney himself became very wealthy at Bain Capital. He actually helped to contribute to the weakened state of our current economy.

Romney is using this wealth to fund his campaign. This is another example of the wealthiest taking from the less wealthy and further stratifying the classes. His real motivation is to maintain his own wealth and that of those like him. He is not genuinely concerned about the needs of the middle and lower classes.

Don’t be deceived by his political doublespeak! While governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007, his state ranked 47th of 50 states for job creation. Check the facts for yourself and inform your friends and family. The truth shall set us free!
--Becky Norton, Carpinteria

Letters from February 2, 2012

ARMENDARIZ FATE IN THE HANDS OF VOTERS, NOT COUNCIL:
Councilmember Joe Armendariz was elected to his four-year position on Nov. 4, 2008. The 2,484 votes cast by the citizens of Carpinteria for Mr. Armendariz was the highest percentage of the four candidates on the ballot with nearly six of 10 Carpinteria voters casting their ballot for him. The voters were well aware that Mr. Armendariz had a well-publicized DUI arrest in 2006 at the time they cast their ballot.

The citizens of Carpinteria are free to express their indignation as they wish. I would hope that they would respect the decisions of 2,484 of their neighbors who voted for Mr. Armendariz and respect his decision to fulfill his obligation to these voters. Citizens are free to exercise their right to the recall process.

It is not the place of the council to usurp the responsibility of citizens by limiting or voiding their ballots through an action to censure Mr. Armendariz based on behavior outside of his elected position. Mr. Armendariz’s discharge of his responsibilities as an elected official is open to review and evaluation by the voters at the ballot box. His expertise in his current assignments serves all voters and reflects the will and interests of those that voted for him.

The legal system will exact a proper penalty on Mr. Armendariz for his actions. Public indignation, even with a microphone and a television camera, doesn’t override the informed and legitimate vote of the electorate.

Councilmember Armendariz was not hired by his colleagues on the council. He was elected by the voters of Carpinteria. It is not the place of his detractors and opponents to use the spotlight of public opinion as political cover for an opportunity to void or limit the ballots of 2,484 voters.

Carpinteria voters can decide for themselves who is exhibiting hubris.
--John Hadidian, Carpinteria

ARE THE SKIDS GREASED:
It seemed like yesterday. The voters of Carpinteria rejected Venoco’s Paredon proposal decisively against the backdrop of BP’s Gulf blowout. Now we can scarcely turn on our radios or television sets without seeing or hearing BP’s ads disguised as news about how clean the Gulf is and how great it is to vacation there. The safety of offshore production is treated as if nothing has happened in the Gulf.

Here at the recent scoping session for the proposed Carone project, industry spokesperson Lance Ignon of Signal Hill was dismissive of concerns about safety and blowouts like 1969. The Santa Barbara News-Press reported that Ignon stated unequivocally, “Physically speaking, you could not repeat the oil spill of 1969.” Yet two extensive investigations (The 2011 Final Report of U.S. Coast Guard-Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the 2011 Report of Nation Academy of Engineering and National Research Council of the BP Gulf Blowout and Explosion) conducted independently concluded that BP and its affiliates such as Halliburton failed to ensure safety measures. The problem was not the safety-conscious platform crew, but failures of corporate management. What are the track records of the corporations seeking the Carone project?
--John Schmidhauser, Carpinteria

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