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Published August 29, 2013

DOWNTOWN DESIGNS SHOULD GO BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD:
By Ray Seider

I read with interest “ARB eyes Linden Avenue designs” (CVN, Aug. 22). Regarding the reclaimed barnwood veneer on the Linden Avenue remodel project in the 900 block not fitting with the neighboring businesses, I agree. What were these same ARB members thinking when they approved the Carpinteria Valley Arts Council building in the 800 block that no more fits not only the 800 block of Linden but our beautiful seaside community of Carpinteria. Let’s send that project back to the drawing board and bring it more in tune with our small town.

FIGHT THE TRANSIENT BLIGHT:
By Michael “Scrubo” Lane

Since when did our town become a transient sanctuary? Recently, it seems as though Carpinteria has been inundated with transients who spend their time panhandling and hassling customers in front of local businesses. I feel that the Sheriff’s Department needs to put a stop to it now, before our town turns into lower Milpas Street, where loitering, public drunkenness and drug use is a daily eyesore.

Our town has a special charm to it that has attracted generations of visitors and transplants. We don’t want that charm tarnished with drunk and disorderly vagrants wandering the streets and hassling people for spare change. Let’s nip this problem in the bud before it gets out of hand.

DEMAND AN END TO DECLAWING:
By Elsa Lambert

City Manager Dave Durflinger has now stated on the record that because neither the mayor nor two city council members have requested the matter be scheduled for discussion, the issue of cat declawing will not be scheduled for city council consideration. For a city that prides itself on animal welfare, the hypocrisy speaks for itself.

Declawing is a surgical procedure in which an animal’s toes are amputated at the last joint. Cities in California that have passed legislation abolishing declawing are Los Angeles, Santa Monica, San Francisco, Berkeley, Culver City, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood and Burbank. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals “does not approve of the declawing of cats as a matter of supposed convenience to cat owners. It is a form of mutilation and it causes pain.” Please phone the city at 684-5405, extensions 400 or 450 or 403 and ask the city council to pass a resolution abolishing cat declawing.

WAGES OUT OF WHACK:
By RAy COle

According to the Aug. 25 Santa Barbara News-Press, Santa Barbara County ranked number one in the State of California and third in the entire country for paying its employees more than the median private sector salary.

The median wage for county workers is just about $79,000 per year. This article says the median wage in the private sector stands at $42,000. And the retirement and other benefits and perks with a county job far exceed those in the private sector.

That is almost twice as much pay, but for what?

In the same paper there is a report about the county’s decision to grant a 2 percent salary increase to its employees—after all they haven’t had a raise in two years or so.

In Carpinteria our city figures show a similar pattern. In the current budget our 30 full time employees earn an average of $70,086.

Incidentally, seven of the top 10 highest over-spending counties in the U.S. are here in California. The other three are Dade County (Miami), Fla. at number one; Clark County (Los Vegas), Nev. at number two; and Stearns County (St. Paul), Min. at number six.

Kinda makes you proud, doesn’t it?

In the same paper it was reported that California State welfare benefits are now equivalent to $17.87 per hour, or more than twice the state’s minimum wage.

This story says the state median wage is only $38,522, while the welfare benefits can total $35,287. And those on welfare have virtually no expense for childcare, little for special work clothes and minimal transportations cost. Why work at all?

The fiscal madness and irresponsibility continues.

No wonder the money is running out. Bankruptcy must come soon.

9/11 REPEAT?:
By Diana Thorn

In a few weeks, America will endure another 9/11. Is America prepared and will radical Islam strike again?

It frightens and saddens me how our leaders are minimizing the threat of terrorism. Hillary Clinton proclaimed, “What difference does it make?” in regard to the Benghazi attacks, and President Obama referred to present day scandals as phony. It matters because four Americans were killed and the CIA was in Benghazi to direct gun-running and air to ground missiles into Syria via Turkey. Obama also supported the Arab Spring, which led to the take over of many nations by the Muslim Brotherhood/terrorists, including Egypt.

On the home front, the FBI and others were complicit in identifying the Boston Bombers and the administration refused to call Major Hasan an Islamic radical, even though he killed 11 soldiers at Fort Hood.

By the way, has anyone noticed that new mosques are springing up everywhere in America? The “Ground Zero” Mosque, aka Park 51, is 13 stories high, build on the edge of Ground Zero and its developer just bought adjacent properties. This is insulting to those who died on 9/11. The Clarion Project reports 1,200 new USA mosques have Wahhabi clerics who belong to the same Islamic branch as Bin Laden. And to add insult to injury, a Million Muslim March is planned on 9/11 in Washington, DC.

Wake up, America, we are still under attack?

Published August 15, 2013

DON’T TAKE THE TREE OUT OF CAMINO TRILLADO:
By Rebecca Norton

I walk and drive frequently down Camino Trillado and believe it is one of the most beautiful streets in our fair city precisely because of the gorgeous, established Shamel Ash trees lining the street. They form a natural cathedral that is uplifting and inspiring. It pains me deeply to think that we are considering removing them. Some Camino Trillado residents have expressed concern that if the sidewalks are rebuilt to accommodate the trees, there will not be sufficient on-street parking. We need to ask ourselves, what do we truly value more, trees or parking? Is our own convenience more important?

Is this not the epitome of these lines from Joni Mitchell’s song “Big Yellow Taxi”?

They took all the trees
Put ‘em in a tree museum
And they charged the people
A dollar and a half just to see ‘em
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
Till it’s gone?
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot.

Finally, to paraphrase the Lorax in Theodor Geisel’s (a.k.a., Dr. Seuss’) famous book:
“I speak for the trees for the trees have no tongues … Unless someones like us care a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

FIRE STATION BOND OPENS CAN OF WORMS:
By Margaret Baker

The management of the Carpinteria-Summerland Fire District has come into question with the proposal of a bond measure to replace both fire stations in the district. No funding has been set aside for station replacement, while at the same time the fire administration has grown and service reduced.

Citizens contributed hard earned cash to buy the rescue truck, which provided flexibility to respond to multiple alarms in the district. Now the district has sold the truck and eliminated two firefighter positions.

The fire administration costs $1 million a year and the district rents an administration building for $50,000 a year, whereas in the recent past this administration was housed in the Walnut Avenue fire station and adjacent district-owned house.

An independent audit of fire district retirement and health care obligations should be made public prior to any discussion of increased tax or bond measures, as these obligations have become a critical liability both locally and statewide.

Reduction or elimination of the fire administration through consolidation with the Santa Barbara County Fire Department or Montecito Fire District would eliminate the need of any bond measure and, with proper planning, put more firefighters in the stations where they are needed.

TOO MANY ACTORS IN POLITICS:
By Sanderson M. Smith

Having had recent family experiences with medical doctors and Cottage Hospital, I marvel at the amazing advancements that have been made in medicine and health care.

Much of this is due to the progress in technology. I speculate that older folks like me can remember the “primitive” days a few years ago without cell phones, computers, the internet, GPS devices, fancy television sets, etc. Human spirit, drive, ingenuity and perseverance are among the admirable American qualities that created these and other amazing features of modern life.

I’m puzzled that a society producing these marvels tolerates government (federal and state) with elected representatives who display virtually no sense of what has produced American greatness. We are intelligent people, but we seem too willing to support politicians who create problems and then convince us they are serving us well by attempting to solve the problems they created. They do nothing more than create additional problems with financial nonsense and childish attitudes that perpetuate an endless cycle of chaos.

We need representatives who will think beyond the next election and concentrate on the next generation. Sadly, voters aren’t looking to the future. We support politicians who promise immediate benefits representing welfare and dependence upon government.

Let’s hope our children will have an American history education that provides examples of individuals who achieved success with hard work, determination, perseverance and imagination. Regardless of political affiliation, we should say goodbye to politicians who cannot clearly explain why their existence in political office will benefit our children.

Actors belong in Hollywood, not in politics. Common folks are fired for poor job performance. We, the American voters, have firing power with our votes. We clean our houses at appropriate times. We need to realize it is time for house cleaning in Washington, D.C. and Sacramento.

Published August 8, 2013

A tribute to Tissot:
By Bradley Miles

John Tissot didn’t just teach a Spanish class. He was a passionate teacher who wove interesting information into language lessons. His enthusiasm showed in the amount of work that went into prepping his classes. He would have us speak to each other in Spanish. He would ask us questions, which always made me nervous. He copied comic strips from Condorito for us to read and work on. This, he claimed, showed the language of everyday life in Latin countries.

When our adult education classes became too small to warrant continuing, we met at Dako’s conference room in the industrial park. I took his class for at least 12 years. John and I became good friends. I would send him postcards from our travels, and in exchange he would sometimes do a painting. At Christmas we exchanged cards, and his was a small painting. All of these are in an album. It is my Tissot gallery of art.

John was enthusiastic in whatever he did. He definitely will be remembered as Carpinteria’s Renaissance man. I will miss our encounters at the post office, where he insisted that we speak Spanish.

Locals stand up to litter:
By Chad Prefontaine

I’d like to give a shout out to the two guys who confronted the two combative, hostile Carpinteria State Beach campers who were hitting their 80 golf balls (littering that carries up to a $1,000 fine) directly over citizens (endangerment) and into the ocean from a spot overlooking Jelly Bowl, displaying utter disrespect for the rule of law and the city. These campers were not children. They were grown adults. At one point, one of the campers called our two heroes “gay” and then told them to go “hug a tree.” And, despite the PGA wanna-bes’ large sizes compared to the two, these two heroes stood toe to toe in the face of some of the ugliest, most reckless attitudes I’ve ever witnessed in public. Happily, golf practice ended early. We live here for a reason. If you want to litter your own town, go for it. And don’t forget either, there’s a reason why you came here.

Published August 1, 2013

VAYA CON DIOS, MAESTRO:
By Scott Van Der Kar

It’s surprising how simple events in an otherwise uneventful day can have a lifelong impact. Such was my first day as a sophomore at Carpinteria High School in 1971. I walked into my first class, Spanish. To my surprise, the teacher and all the students were speaking only Spanish. This was a serious problem for one whose grasp of the language was minimal at best. Speaking English, I tried to get directions on where to sit and how to get a book. All was to no avail as the teacher’s reply was in Spanish, and the only English to be heard was the laughter of the other students.

I soon learned that only Spanish was to be spoken during the first 15 minutes of class. Thus began my respect for, and later friendship with, el señor John Tissot. He was serious, demanding and loved to teach. John passed away in early July, and although I knew him quite well, I wish I had known him better.

Our lives came together many years later when John taught Adult Education Spanish. As his health declined, a few members from our class began meeting at his house. Our friendship grew as we would meet for class and complete the evening with a cup of tea, a snack and a litany of jokes that John shared.

John and his wonderful wife, Bea, traveled to Colombia, Malta and beyond, and being a gifted artist, he would paint amazing pictures of the world from memories and from his imagination. When asked where the scene was, he’d often reply that it was the view from his garage in Carpinteria.

Teacher, artist, author, jokester, friend and inadvertent mentor, Tissot has joined many other Carpinterians who gave so much to this community and left a lasting legacy of knowledge and goodwill for us to remember. 

TISSOT TAUGHT LIFE LESSONS:
By John Washington

John Tissot was far more than a Spanish/Latin teacher during his years at Carpinteria High School. He helped us to grow into young men and women. Who will ever forget his playing the Latin American love song “Sin Ti”? Adios, Mr. Tissot. I’m brushing up on my Spanish so someday I can enroll in your class in Heaven.

MARKET PRESSURE SQUEEZES BUSINESSES:
By Dr. Edo McGowan

We, as a community, need to keep small businesses here. Small business owners have a vested interest in the community; their homes are here and their kids go to our schools. Often small businesses offer event venues that non-local businesses wouldn’t.

But there are serious crossed logics in this. I watched a friend, a small individual proprietor, finally throw in the towel and wondered why, so I looked into it. Here is what I found. One of the local bank owners had another corporation that managed real estate and business buildings for their various owners, some of which were out of town owners. He had a fiduciary duty to gain the maximum income for these owners. The real estate market value of these buildings was calculated by the gained rent. Thus, if this manager had been kind toward the small businesses and given them low rents, he would have failed in the duty to his clients by not gaining for them the better income. It’s a vicious circle, but that was how it was explained to me.

So this friend who had built up a successful business in a popular location over the years saw his rent double every time the lease came up. At some point he could no longer carry the burden. This is the crossed logic because it eventually sees the locals outbid by those with large corporate holdings, and that’s when the community becomes just another ticky tacky shopfront street of cell phones, shoe and clothing stores and similar establishments. For the small town with an individual character, a character that we all love, it is like a cancer eating at the heart of the community.

PARKING ENFORCEMENT GONE WRONG:
By Ann Louise Bardach

I want to second the comments of Chris Minoravich’s letter last week (“Name-calling not right”) about the capricious ticketing of cars by enforcement officers who seem to delight in harassing residents and tourists.

Like most people, I had no idea that one needed to park exactly between white lines on Linden Avenue and was shocked when I returned to my car and found a $37.50 ticket. I had pulled into the only empty space in the first block of Linden Avenue after noticing that the lots were filled. Sadder were the poor tourists visiting Carpinteria who were rewarded with tickets for having chosen our town to spend their time and money.

But this story gets worse, much worse. As I tried to back up, I heard an alarming rattle. So when I turned into the lot around the corner, I promptly pulled over to the side—allowing room for cars to pass—rather than risk pulling into a space where I would have to back out in reverse. I was out of the car—for about 90 seconds—when strolling towards me was the enforcement officer. I immediately explained the mechanical problem and my fear of driving in reverse until the car was checked out. “Well, do you want to call for a tow?” he snapped at me. “But it will cost you $600! Are you sure you want that? Or a second ticket?” 

He then proceeded to take out his pad and write me another ticket. His bullying so rattled me that I plum forgot that AAA would have come gratis. “What does this say about the City of Carpinteria,” Mr. Minoravich wrote last week. “[And] the public whose taxes pay his salary?” Amen.

PHONEY SCANDALS NEED EXPLAINING:
By Mary McWhirter

One of the 100 unfairly targeted, conservative nonprofit organization applicants who has been waiting since 2010 for IRS approval, Becky Gerritson, has publicly responded to President Obama’s recent remark about “phony scandals.” Gerritson says, “The only thing that is ‘phony’ is the President’s narrative.”

Patricia Smith’s son, Sean, was killed in the Benghazi terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2012. Standing next to her son’s casket, President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vice President Biden promised to get back to her with answers. To this day, she has not heard from anyone and has been denied any information because she “is not an immediate family member.”

The State Department has testified that lack of funding was not the reason for denying additional security. Smith wants to know why Clinton did not provide the security Ambassador Chris Stevens had repeatedly requested. Why was Smith told that a YouTube video was to blame, when, in fact, numerous testimonials under oath have revealed everybody knew all along that it was a planned terrorist attack.

The family of murdered Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry has been waiting years to hear why Attorney General Eric Holder and the Justice Department have not been held accountable for the reckless gun-running program known as “Fast and Furious.” Why has no one been fired or held accountable for the hundreds of untraceable U.S. guns which are now in the hands of criminals in Mexico?

I hope our elected leaders never stop investigating until they get the truth, and heads should roll. I am so ashamed and embarrassed of what our political leaders have allowed our country to become. Despite its imperfections, I always have and always will believe there is no other country on Earth more free or charitable than the United States of Amer

Published July 25, 2013

NAME CALLING NOT RIGHT:
By Chris Minoravich

On July 23, at approximately 9:15 a.m., I was experiencing a health emergency and needed to use the bathroom at the southwest end of Linden Avenue. Upon returning to my vehicle, I noticed a Carpinteria Code enforcement officer placing a ticket on my vehicle window. Asking the officer if there was a problem, he said, “yes,” and pointed at the “No Parking” sign, stating, “Can’t you read? The sign states no parking on Tuesday between 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. for street sweeping.” I then asked about the vendor selling snow cones and his truck being parked behind my vehicle. The code compliance officer stated the vendor was allowed to be parked there.

I asked where the street sweeper was after the officer stated that they have to keep Carpinteria beautiful. It was nowhere in sight. The officer who signed the ticket was rushing away to write more tickets. I told him that it was an unnecessary money grab by the city. The officer jumped into his vehicle. I told him to look into the mirror, into his eyes, that God knows it’s a money grab. As he was leaving, the officer’s reply was, “You’re a joke, man.”

What does this say about the City of Carpinteria who hires an employee who slanders the public? The public whose taxes pay his salary?

BOOKSTORE RELOCATION IS A CRYING SHAME:
By Andrea Prado

I have been very wrapped up in life lately, but I cannot believe that I missed something as important as Curious Cup having to relocate.

This is one of the best businesses to open here. Owner Kiona Gross has brought so much to our community. She has awakened the love of reading in our children with her special group readings and offered a place where we can all go for Chamber of Commerce Lunch and Learn events, special book signings and so much more. It was a bold move on her part to open the bookstore in this electronic age, but she did and now many of us have started noticing what a terrific contribution her endeavor is to our community. It takes a good five years or so in this small town to get yourself established. It is not easy, and now is not the time to be forced to relocate.

What is the problem? Is it greed? Would the owners rather have another empty building right on our main street for all of the tourists to see? Perhaps tourists will seek other places to vacation instead of a place littered with empty businesses. Who can stop this madness? Why are property owners so insensitive to the fact that we are in a tough economy and businesses are struggling to keep their doors open. I am sure when times get better it would not be an issue, but this is a fairly new business that has done wonderful things for our community.

Is there nothing that we as a community can do to stop this from happening? I for one would love to meet this landlord to see what his motivation is.

Published July 18, 2013

FOR THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE:
By Geoff Stearns

I appreciated Art Wilner’s excellent, appropriately congratulatory letter (CVN, July 11) concerning the July 8 combined session of our city council/planning commission on the proposed Via Real hotel project.

As a beach neighborhood resident, having survived the long, crowded Fourth of July weekend, I was not in the best of moods walking into Council Chambers. I had prepared a mini-rant about how this project, on top of the Lagunitas development, the prospective bluffs hotel and the Phoenix-like reappearance of Paredon, was making me feel like Carpinteria was playing chicken with Orange-County-style overdevelopment.

Fortunately for me, I decided to follow advice I had given to many clients when I was mediating: “Listen first.” What I heard was both reassuring and atypical, a professional, informed, well-supported (by staff), democratically-chosen body, functioning smoothly, with civility, integrity and clear commitment to its guiding mission, set forth in the Carpinteria General Plan: “The goal of the community is: ...to preserve the essential character of our small beach town, its family-oriented residential neighborhoods, its unique visual and natural resources and its open, rural surroundings while enhancing recreational, cultural and economic opportunities for our citizens.”

In retrospect, it seems particularly appropriate that this session occurred right after the Fourth of July. If we Carpinterians are truly sincere about upholding and operationalizing our democratic values, we need to recognize that local governance of this quality doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It both needs and welcomes our active participation.

I would suggest that a good place to start is to review the General Plan (downloadable from the city’s website), effectively the Constitution of our city, and to attend meetings on issues that are of particular interest to you.

ANOTHER NEW LOW:
By Cliff Adams

I just can’t believe the TV commercial that has been airing for several months now with our politicians Das Williams and Mike Stoker selling the services of a mechanic. Nothing against mechanics. I think that is a new low for our politicians. It’s a conflict of interest, and it should be illegal. It is certainly unethical at minimum. Although I realize ethics and politician in the same sentence are mutually exclusive.

It’s bad enough that our politicians are purchased by corporate lobbyist and political cronies; they truly are not looking out for us. I don’t believe they should be allowed to pitch products. Think about a spokesman politician for a solar energy company or an oil company or alcohol or drug company or you name it. I’m certain their voting would be influenced if not outright purchased by such blatant endorsements. What’s next? Any politician hawking any product.

We have plenty of jokes about our politicians. Think Clinton, Weiner, Bachmann, Palin, etc. This kind of activity by our politicians is just a further erosion of our ailing system. Let’s call them on this.

Published July 11, 2013

IN DEFENSE OF CHILDREN'S PROJECT:
By Michelle Robertson

As the former director of the Carpinteria Children’s Project at Main, I feel that I need to respond to the June 27 Coastal View News article titled “Preschool blunders cost school district $252,000” as there were some misinformed statements as well as a need to put the situation into context. First off, the public should be reminded that CCPM began as a 10-year initiative and that it will take that long to be fully self-sufficient. This year completes year three of that initiative, and as the director, I can guarantee the public that every effort is made to sustain all the programs by the end of the 10 years. Secondly, CCPM exists solely to support the early childhood and family service needs of the community, and the funds are primarily used to pay for the salaries of preschool staff, as it is one of the major strategies of the project.

CCPM infant and preschool programs have strived to meet the needs of working families and aimed to blend our students regardless of socio-economic status. In doing so, the fiscal tracking became complicated and it resulted in a deficit this year. While the district did cover the shortfall, it is anticipated that as the programs become self-sustaining and generate extra revenue, those funds will be repaid to the general fund. The final deficit has not been fully established as there is still revenue from the 2012-2013 fiscal year being invoiced. The numbers given by the assistant superintendent were an estimate based on projected revenue from grants, tuition and payments from county and state programs. Those funds are still coming in.

In response to the Community Care Licensing issues, at no time did CCPM consciously violate regulations. The paperwork was delayed at the licensing office and it resulted in a 20-day window where the final license was late. At this time, there are no violations on record at CCPM infant/preschool programs. CCPM programs have always maintained the highest quality standards and meet all National Accreditation expectations.

Finally, the article stated that the state withheld $28,000 in funding. The state did not withhold any money, rather the Department of Education, not Community Care Licensing, during a review of compliance decided not to allow a summer program due to formatted sign in sheets, nor allow reimbursement for a class of 3-year-olds at one site as serving 4-year-olds is the priority for the contract. The majority of the compliance issues were minor and fixed while the auditors were still on site.

In closing, I would like to say that the community of Carpinteria has embraced the THRIVE vision and mission of serving our children from cradle to career. Early childhood education is the foundation of that effort, and it is our hope that the community find value in this effort and support the sustainability of the programs. It has been my honor and pleasure to be a part of CCPM for the last three years and look forward to supporting it as a community member.


MANY HALOS FOR GOVERNMENT WELL DONE:
By Art Willnet

I saw government work well Monday night, right here in Carpinteria. It was a conceptual hearing before the Carpinteria City Council on the proposed two new hotels that featured on the cover of last week’s CVN.

The meeting featured a presentation followed by objective, candid feedback from the members of the Carpinteria Planning Commission, who attended, and each member of the city council, along with four public comments by citizens. It worked well because it was professional, cordial, appreciated and honest. That clearly merits some halos, but it doesn’t account for all of them.

While many felt that the city could benefit by the addition of an upscale business hotel, there was also quite a bit of critical feedback including too large a project, questionable location and land use planning, and many concerns about traffic. Those issues weren’t the crux to me, but rather that the applicants didn’t know Carpinteria. They proposed something that doesn’t fit here in the last great beach town on the South Coast and both our council and planning commission were keenly aware of that. I felt very proud to have such public servants, and glad to be living here. They know their town, and they spoke up candidly yet cordially and civilly. I wonder if the applicants had done their homework about Carp. They now know and left with a lot of feedback.

So kudos to our town for being the town that it is, and to our officials who showed how government can work well. We are well represented.

KEEPING SPIRIT ALIVE:
By Diana Thorn

On July 4, the Santa Barbara Pops Association celebrated with a dramatized account of the first reading of the Declaration of Independence in De la Guerra Plaza. Billed as “Washington on the Plaza,” George Washington, played by Frederick Alexander, paid a surprise visit to the crowd.

Actor Brian Harwell, who directed the drama and starred as Colonel John Nixon, read the Declaration of Independence in a booming voice. The audience participated by responding to the reading and in a sing-a-long with the SB Pops Chorus. Also featured was a performance by opera singers Deborah Bertling and Emil Cristescu, who sang “The Liberty Song.”

This wonderful event was historical, patriotic and inspiring. I would like to thank everyone in Carpinteria who supported and sponsored this event.

Published June 27, 2013

CLASS OF 2013 HAS CLASS:
By Mike Damron

What are our children learning in our public schools?  I witnessed something quite remarkable at the Carpinteria High School graduation ceremony recently. The event had all the usual pomp and circumstance that it is known for. Wonderful speeches were given by the Valedictorian and others; parents were excited to see their children achieve a big life moment; and everyone was dressed up and happy to be there.

Then, as the last few names were called and the final students crossed the stage, something quite genuine and heartwarming happened. The final name called was a proud young man who was just as gratified as his classmates to complete his education in Carpinteria. This young man didn’t score any touchdowns for the football team or get accepted to a prestigious university on the east coast. This young man completed his studies all the while coping with the challenges that his autism presents every day.

In unison, all 173 of this young man’s classmates stood and gave him a standing ovation for his accomplishment. For those of us who noticed, the tears of pride began running down our faces. Not just for the young man, but for the gesture of his peers. I don’t know all of the things that were learned by the Class of 2013, but one thing was very apparent: They learned what having class is and what things in life are important to recognize.

Well done Class of 2013, well done indeed.

TAKING THE OBAMA GOOD WITH THE NOT SO GOOD:
By Bud Fink

The erudite Mr. Sanderson Smith (“Time to rally against Obama,” CVN, June 20) lists several of what he calls “scandals” that have occurred on President Obama’s watch. While there is no doubt the alleged scandals are more than minor gaffes in their entirety, they do not begin to compare to the dishonesty or the costs (all off budget) of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. These were left on President Obama’s plate to clean up when he was elected.

We, the United States, are now left with the problem of getting billions of dollars worth of war equipment out of Afghanistan or have it fall into the hands of the Taliban.

It should be noted that then Senator Obama voted against going into Iraq in the first place.

Regarding the “financial illiteracy” Mr. Smith bemoans, I’m certain he is familiar with the Keynesian School of Economics which is based on funding consumption and investment spending. This is still slowly pulling us out of the worst recession since the Great Depression of the early 1930’s which didn’t end until World War II which caused us to literally spend our way out of the depression along with bringing down Hitler, Tojo and Mussolini.

I wish there was an easier way to correct our current economic situation but unfortunately economics is not the least of the sciences, it doesn’t even begin to qualify as a science.

OBAMA BASHING MISSED THE MARK:
By Mike Rupert

In response to “Time to rally against Obama” by Sanderson Smith in CVN on June 20, I enjoyed the creative license and fanciful leaps of imagination in the letter. It took me back to the time I had to sit through the movie “2012.”

The “I’m politically flexible” meme put forth by the writer for years now has been as debunked as disco—by the writer himself. A word of advice: if you want to be taken seriously never mention Benghazi, the IRS and Fast and Furious in the same sentence. You might as well attempt to blame the invention of Pita bread and “Keeping up With the Kardashians” on the president too. That only flies with Fox News viewers. (Actually, Pita bread is pretty good.)

The writer ends his piece with “That’s a start.” It sure was. Especially when he told us we were “duped” by the president, and that he “campaigns continually.” After all, Bush press secretary Scott McClellan described it as “perpetual campaign mode.” Oops, that was him describing Bush.

The writer won’t mention the stock market, record corporate profits or private sector growth. That would contrast too much with the silence during the Bush years and the unremitting and curious yodeling during the Obama years.

I agree, however, with the writer in combating voter ignorance. Unfortunately, waiting for the right to understand GOP obstructionism is like expecting George W. Bush to find a light switch in a lit room. That’s what’s commonly referred to as an outright impossibility.

I commend anyone who participates in the process. It’s just that sometimes it feels like I’m watching a really bad sequel to something I should have never looked at.

LIMITED ARGUMENTS, NOT SPACE IN SMITH LETTER:
By Robert Baruch

In response to Sanderson M. Smith’s letter, “Time to rally against Obama,” in the June 20 Coastal View News, the writer claims that “Mindless name-calling and character bashing serve no purpose” and then wastes two columns of paper and ink doing exactly that. Oh, but in this case he feels “compelled.” O.K. I guess that sufficiently justifies his transparent hypocrisy. He writes, “space limitations prevent a detailed analysis” (of his laundry list of alleged scandals).

The writer says that Nancy Pelosi’s statement that extending unemployment benefits would benefit a struggling economy “should boggle the mind of anyone with an elementary understanding of finance.” However, Kimberly Amadeo, (M.S., Sloan School of Business, M.I.T. and President of WorldMoneyWatch.com disagrees. According to Ms. Amadeo, “Unemployment benefits also help economic growth. Those who are unemployed use the money to buy basics, including shelter, food and clothing.” A Moody’sEconomy.com study concludes, “Every dollar spent on unemployment benefits stimulates $1.64 in economic demand.” Elementary, indeed!

The writer also castigates President Obama because he “lets a dysfunctional Congress waste taxpayer money and time....”  FYI, Republicans have a majority in the House of Representatives, where all tax bills originate. In the U.S. Senate, Republicans have resorted to the filibuster an unprecedented number of times to thwart the Democratic majority as well as the president. I would humbly ask CVN to grant Mr. Smith all the space he needs to untangle this web of partisan nonsense. Let’s see if he can do that using sources other than comic strip characters.

SPOT ON SMITH:
By Steve Urbanovich

Thank you Sanderson M. Smith (“Time to rally against Obama,” CVN, June 20) for putting together an articulate, insightful letter on the decaying of our country under the Obama administration. You eloquently said what those of us not on welfare, food stamps and the numerous other handouts are thinking, but cannot put into words, as you did. The freeloaders got Obama elected, and the hardworking stiffs, who pay their own way, are paying the price. We see the country going down the tubes right before our eyes. They say, “If you don’t like it, vote them out.” Well we tried but were outnumbered by the lefties and the moochers. Thank you, Mr. Smith, for your great letter, and I hope you opened a few eyes.

Published June 20, 2013

TIME TO RALLY AGAINST OBAMA
By Sanderson Smith

I’m a conservative with intelligent and thoughtful liberal-leaning friends. I have voted for Democratic candidates in the past. Political affiliations aside, those in government should have a genuine concern for those he/she will represent combined with financial common sense.

Mindless name-calling and character bashing serve no purpose, but I feel compelled to say that I genuinely believe President Obama is a national disaster for which we (American voters) must assume the blame. Space limitations prevent a detailed analysis, but recent scandals (including Benghazi, IRS, AP, James Rosen, Fast and Furious, Eric Holder, Verizon) should be eye-opening and tragic examples of deceit and stonewalling.

Financial illiteracy plagues the Obama administration (his promise to halve the federal deficit; it has increased over 50 percent in less than five years). Nancy Pelosi’s statement that extending unemployment benefits would benefit a struggling economy should boggle the mind of anyone with an elementary understanding of finance.

The bottom line is we elected a president who is inept, cunningly deceptive and disengaged. Obama doesn’t govern; he campaigns continually and lets a dysfunctional congress waste taxpayer money and time with verbal nonsense. The real tragedy is that those who vision Obama as a savior are the ones who suffer most from his wealth-is-evil theme and Constitution-ignoring actions.

To quote the Pogo comic strip by Walt Kelly, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” I encourage those with similar opinions to constructively attempt to reach those who have been duped by the Obama administration. We need common sense government programs including a vastly simplified tax structure and a workable health care program that includes tort reform.

We need to greatly improve national financial literacy. When a president thrives on voter ignorance and a rich-verses-poor mantra, concerned citizens shouldn’t be inactive. I’m writing this letter. That’s a start.

Published June 13, 2013

A FAIR AND SQUARE SOLUTION TO WATER RATES:
By Robert J. Regis

I was one of three people from the public attending the hearing held by the Carpinteria Valley Water District’s board of directors on June 5.

I was there to present my proposed changes to the residential rate structure, which at the present time is grossly unfair, especially so for the low water users. The rates the board proposes sells water at discounts as high as 86 percent. This is not conducive to conserving water for the future. The long term fresh water supply from all sources, ground and state water, is going to be affected by future droughts caused by global warming.

Since 1996, I have made numerous proposals to the board with one basic premise. This is that water, like every other commodity you buy, should be sold at the same price per unit (HCF in this case). To do this takes a change which previous boards never accepted.

Extrapolating data from the 2010 U.S. Census for Carpinteria, I found that the people most vulnerable to these high rates are those 4,942 people with incomes less than $25,000.

My latest proposal, which is revenue neutral, therefore requiring no new funding source, revamped the method of distributing the price of CIP and SWP to relieve the low water users of this onerous expense. The proposal was first submitted on Jan. 16, 2011, but the board took no action. It was resubmitted on April 18, 2013 to the Rate and Budget Committee.

If the board would incorporate this proposal instead of their present treatment of CIP and SWP the result would be a substantial reduction in the water bill for all users below 9 HCF.

I told the board that they have had two and one half years to think about it, and the time to implement it is now. I am awaiting their action.

SERIOUSLY?
By Mike McHugh

So the 175-foot beast raises its ugly head again, despite the 70 percent beatdown Venoco took when they tried to circumvent the process three years ago. Do they truly believe our minds have withered to the point where we suddenly believe this is okey dokey?

So they say we would only have to look at the tower three years instead of six (well, it does make some difference; three years of ugly is a lot better than six). And Venoco says they’re obligated by the state and “private mineral owners,” their shareholders/investors, to pursue the project. That really moves me, too.

It doesn’t sound like Venoco understood what happened three years ago. But it does sounds like they don’t care; 70 percent of Carpinteria’s citizens told them they didn’t appreciate the attempted end run around approval or the project itself. Flashing potential profits didn’t hide the project’s potential problems.

If the project is approved, Carpinteria won’t be known as home to a beautiful beach and mellow city but landmarked by the enormous, ugly tower. About the only upside is it will make it easier to find Carp—similar to knowing you’re in Stockton because you can smell the B.S.

CHAMBER HOLDS OFF ON PAREDON POSITION:
By Lynda Lang, President/CEO, Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce

On June 3, Venoco, Inc. submitted a revised project description/application and requested that the City of Carpinteria restart the processing of their application to develop an oil drilling operation from its Carpinteria oil and gas plant, located at 5675 Carpinteria Ave.

On June 5, a press release/letter was emailed to the Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce, saying that Venoco had submitted a revised project description to the City of Carpinteria and the State Lands Commission to develop leases from their production facility on Dump Road.

As many of you know, this information was also written-up in an article published in Coastal View News on June 6.

Venoco is a business member in good standing with the Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce, providing sponsorships for a variety of events held year-round. In fact, a year ago Venoco committed to host a CVCC Business-After-Hours-Mixer. That event was booked for Wednesday, June 26, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., and it will be held as planned.

However, it was decided by the Board’s Executive Committee of the CVCC that at this time, the CVCC has taken no position on the revised project submitted by Venoco.

We do invite Chamber members and the community to attend the Business-After-Hours Mixer, to be held at 5675 Carpinteria Ave, entrance at Gate #2. For those interested, tours of the plant will be held at 5 p.m. and 7:15 p.m.

DISAPPROVAL OF DECLAWING:
By Elsa Lambert

Is Carpinteria a city interested in promoting animal welfare? Currently, Carpinteria allows the inhumane declawing of cats.

Declawing is a surgical procedure in which the animal’s toes are amputated at the last joint. Cities in California which have passed legislation abolishing declawing are: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, San Francisco, Culver City, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Burbank and Berkeley.

If this is an issue that concerns you, contact members of our City Council asking they pass a resolution against this practice might be a good idea.

HOMESICK FOR HOME-AWAY-FROM-HOME:
By Laura Meagher

Calling all Carpinterians, I have an announcement. This may seem like a case of stating the obvious, but here goes: Carpinteria is a gem. It’s picturesque and quaint, with friendly folks and plenty to do. Last year, this Midwestern girl packed up her family and trekked across the country (more like two connecting flights than a trek, I guess) for a stay in this perfect little beach town.

Here in Illinois, summer break is upon us again. I know this because of the ever-present litter of flip-flops near every door in my home. Birds are chirping, flowers are blooming and my kids are raring to go. A year ago, I was preparing to leave The Land of Lincoln, for an adventure. Now, California feels a world away. I improvise by strategically placing seashells around the house. Perhaps repainting a room with a color that has the word “beach” in its name will help.

In Carpinteria, I marveled that I could walk out the front door and face the mountains, all the while hearing the roar of the surf behind me. About face, walk down the street and my toes were in the sand. Paradise. One deep inhalation of that ocean air and presto, the stress faded away.

My children ran, laughing, into the water. As we explored, the beautiful creatures they saw dwelling in tide pools and rock crevices mesmerized them. Then, there were sand castles to build, horseshoe crabs to scoop up with the rolling tide and impressive waves to ride.

Reality: Illinois is home. Though there is no beach outside the door of this home, there is a blue sky – the same blue sky that stretches the miles between here and there. Fond memories will sustain us until we return to Carpinteria, and return we will!

Published May 16, 2013

PAT ON THE BACK:
By Nil Fanucchi

Congratulations to Mike, Gary and all the staff at Coastal View News (re: “VanStry, RMG publications win big at national conference,” May 9, CVN). Rosemarie would be very, very proud.

THE WIDE ANGLE VIEW ON BULLYING:
By Dr. Edo McGowan

One wonders if bullies grow up to be big bureaucrats and politicians, thus the nation’s “leaders”? If you read the results of the Stanford prison experiment, you see that just under the skin is a very troubling aspect of being human. Then there is the The Milgram experiment on obedience to authority, which at a governmental scale is frightening. Certainly one must conclude that governments can be and are bullies and I think history provides many examples. Example, look inward here and now. Bullying, as part of human nature, may have some survival attributes and early training for world leaders, such as the current roster of modern tyrants and their lesser counterparts. It is well to address this at a young age.

A BETTER WAY TO HANDLE BULLYING:
By Cynthia R. Rubio

Searching for a definition that defines bullying has been somewhat difficult and extremely frustrating. In fact there are so many types of bullying that you would think it would take up at least a half a page in our dictionary as does the word “it.” I found different definitions, each similar in description; what the government, administrators, teachers, doctors and parents describe depends on what one might or might not be accountable for.

As the parent of a child who has been bullied from elementary through middle school, I could explain what my case entails, and some would agree, others disagree, that bullying festers here. Realistically we all know we cannot bully proof our schools, but it is safe to say what’s being done about bullying is not working. Making the kids hug and apologize then send them back to a common area is what you do with bickering siblings, but with bullies it’s ridiculous to think this form of discipline is going to bring about good behavior. There are more productive approaches to guide these children.

One disciplinary action that could be adopted is accountability on both the parents and the bully, classes for parent and child with a fee. In house suspension where the bully spends the entire time researching bullying and its effects. Counseling. A parent became angry with the way our schools are handling his daughter’s case and that caused uneasiness in our community, but you might want to ask yourself why did it get to that? The real focus is Carpinteria has a bullying problem. And what’s being done about it?

ONE, TWO, TREE SOLUTIONS:
By Gene Tyburn

Having read about the tree problems in your wonderful town, I thought I would offer you a solution that will save you many thousands of dollars and change your mind regarding removing the older trees to solve this nationwide problem.

Here it is: the old wonderful trees could be reduced by half in a process called pollarding that is performed all around the world. Then the big problem tree roots can be pruned where the concrete is lifting up, and root barriers can be put down.

You save the cost of removal, and the existing trees are now smaller and safer. The root pruning along with the new root barriers will now cut your maintenance work to one-third. This is what is done in Europe where the art of tree work is thought out before hand. Unfortunately Americans think they have invented tree work and don’t like to learn from other cultures. What you would be doing is reinventing the tree and saving a ton of money.

Published May 9, 2013

BULLYING CANNOT BE TOLERATED:
By Ray Martinez

My 9-year-old daughter wrote this after coming home from being bullied at school: “It has been a tough week, it’s sad that things happen to you when you try to be yourself. I think I’m a good kid and I’m lucky to have parents that care about me. I may not be perfect but I try to be the best I can be.” It’s sad to think that any 9-year-old kid would have to write something like this.

Bullying is a huge problem, and the punishment for this act isn’t harsh enough or it wouldn’t be such a huge problem in all schools and for such a long time now. It does no good to have the best procedures and policies in place if no one is following and enforcing them. When you put a pot of water on the stove and turn it on, it doesn’t just boil over, it simmers for a while then it boils over. I’ve been simmering for three years now, and I finally boiled over. I can’t imagine there is anyone that is against trying to make this bullying problem better. If there is, I’d love to hear your side of the story.

You would think it would be in the schools’ best interest to fix the problem, because I know of quite a few parents who are going to or have taken their kids out of school to have them home schooled. The schools are going to lose lots of money for every kid that leaves, and less students means teacher cuts. Maybe no one’s worried about that until they find out how many parents are ready to do this (or already have done this) if things don’t change. I love my kids.

SCHOOLS ACTED WISELY TAKING THREAT SERIOUSLY:
By Jemma Keshishyan

Canalino School’s launching of an investigation into the Facebook threats by a parent on Friday, April 26, was appropriate considering what took place that prior morning. The mother of a Canalino student, against the school policy, took it upon herself to approach a group of unsuspecting children on campus. Using obscene language, she intimidated and made the children feel threatened.

The principal, Mr. Madrigal, was notified of the incident and it was understood that he addressed the matter with all the parties involved. The parents of the children were informed of the incident that evening and assured that no such act will be repeated. However, that was not the case. The mother immediately posted her actions on Facebook, gloating about how she made the children “(expletive) in their pants.”

With this post and the many others by her husband that followed, the parents of the children feared the worst. It appeared that this family could cause harm to members of the school. The parents of the threatened children acted diligently in demanding their protection on school grounds and kept their children home for a couple of days, until this was implemented.

With countless deaths occurring in schools throughout our nation, Canalino School took no chances and did what any parent in this country would want them to do. This school has been proactive in making sure that every member of its community is protected and continues to educate its students, their parents and the staff on similar matters.

The Carpinteria community as a whole is committed to putting an end to any sort of threats among its members. But before we do this, we all must first look in the mirror and reflect on our own actions and words and seek to understand all sides of the story.

WHERE’S THE RESOLUTION:
By Alanna V. Gilson

My name is Alanna Gilson, formerly Alanna Velasquez. My family has lived in Carpinteria for generations. I am also the parent of two daughters, ages 4 and 5, and I also went to Canalino School.

This story (“Facebook comment launches Canalino threat investigation,” May 2, CVN) is outlandish. Nobody has mentioned any efforts at making arrangements to bring the Martinez family back in the fold at Canalino School or, most importantly, their poor daughter who is now without a place to maintain her studies. And isn’t it a school’s responsibility to communicate with parents and be understanding, not reactionary as Superintendent Paul Cordeiro stated his actions were based on a Facebook post? What? At that point (and probably much sooner as the story indicates this has been an ongoing issue with the same kids), parents should have been called to discuss the matter, not banned from the school. What kind of policy is that?

I hope the next story is about resolution and not victimizing the Martinez family. What about the other families involved?

The title of this story should not have made light of the continuous “bullying” that’s going on not embarrassing the parents of the child being bullied for reacting on behalf their little girl.

Published May 2, 2013

AN HONEST MISTAKE:
By Jon Washington

In a letter to the editor run last week (“Love for the Russell Cup,” page 4), I stated the Russell Cup began in 1918. I was incorrect. It started in 1913 and officially became the Russell Cup in 1914. There were no meets from 1942 to 1946 because of World War II, and again in 1949 when I said my father had taken me to the meet. That must have been in 1948, just before I turned 7. Hope you can forgive me. The 94th Russell Cup was run this year, moving that cherished event closer to what promises to be a glorious 100th celebration. On your marks, get set, go! 

RUMINATIONS ON A NEWSPAPER:
By Steve Close

The first time I was shocked at how old I looked was in a “customer photo” on display at the Milpas and 101 Shell station circa 1981. I was 38. This degradation progressed until vanity lost out to, “happy to be alive and well at the moment.”

I don’t underestimate anyone. Everyone is a descendant of countless ancestors who went through heaven and hell to deliver them. Their very existence is miraculous. However, if anything can crush generations of character, ability and dignity, it’s the notion an individual is a subordinate of the state.

In regards to the April 25 issue of Coastal View News, I appreciated seeing my good neighbor Todd Bollinger on the cover, and learning his last name for the first time! I will have to ask him if he’s related to my niece’s husband’s dad, the late, great World War II B-24 pilot Jim Bollinger. 

Also, I was interested to see Jacqueline Hansen’s name mentioned in the Boston Marathon article. As it happens I had a bet with a friend that I would break 2:48:00 at the Culver City Marathon the same day Jacqueline set the world record in the Women’s Marathon (Dec. 1, 1974 with a 2:43:55). Not only did Jacqueline crush my male ego when she sped by at approximately mile 22, but I missed 2:48 by 4 seconds. 

Lastly, I was moved by Frederic Eugene Vance’s obituary. I never met him, but in another time and place, he could have been a playmate “who played under the train trestle catching pollywogs and then releasing them; he couldn’t even kill a bug. He loved everyone and every creature. You never knew what he had in his hand, it might be a rock or a huge black and yellow spider.” With luck, maybe one day, we will meet in another time and place.

HEARTY APPRECIATION FOR AN UPRIGHT ACT:
By Ernest Stephens

My wife and I are from San Diego and passed through your lovely city last weekend. We had lunch at Cabo’s Baja Grill and Cantina. We had an excellent meal with lots of yummy tri-tip, but the highlight of our visit was when my wife left her purse on the patio and we drove back home to San Diego before she realized she had forgotten it. My wife called and Gayle Rasmussen answered the phone and informed us that she had the purse. She asked for our address and sent it to us, and we received it today. Cabo’s Baja Grill and the honest people of Carpinteria have made it a special city for us, and Cabo’s will always be our restaurant in Carpinteria. We will never pass Carpinteria without stopping and spending time with you folks. Thanks, Gayle. From your forever customers from San Diego

PRIDE FOR BOSTON, DISCUST FOR WASHINGTON:
By Sanderson Smith
The aftermath of the Boston Marathon tragedy clearly illustrates the greatness that is the United States. From the minutes immediately following the bomb blasts through a series of painful days for Boston area residents, we witnessed the best of the American spirit and ingenuity. Images of people rushing to assist victims and the recognition and apprehension of the alleged perpetrators by law enforcement folks (common people like me and most reading this letter) starting from absolutely nothing was truly an illustration of U.S. greatness. I encourage you to reflect on the Boston situation and marvel at the results.

Contrast the Boston situation to the continual fiasco occurring in Washington, D.C., where our elected officials in the executive and legislative branches act like immature children and display neither logical or financial sense on vital issues. Witness, for example, President Obama’s very recent “spoiled brat” statements when his gun control measure didn’t get though the Democratic-controlled Senate. In Boston we saw a well-designed and swift resolution to an unexpected tragic event. But our Washington legislators are doing absolutely nothing to prevent the easily foreseeable Obamacare train wreck that will occur by the end of this year. Even Obama-supporting unions (Union of United Roofers, for instance) are calling for a repeal of Obamacare. I encourage voters to insist that our California representatives (Boxer, Feinstein, Capps, Pelosi) explain clearly why and how Obamacare (which they supported) is workable. I’m a mathematician and I’m 99.9 percent certain they can’t do it.

It may not be the best of analogies (Boston vs. Washington), but Boston demonstrates what can be done by the American people, whereas Washington illustrates what shouldn’t be done. Kudos to Boston, and also to those who are coming to realize that those supposedly serving us in Washington are failing badly. We deserve better!

TOUTING THE TOUR:
By Lucy Stephenson

The Carp Beautiful Home and Garden Tour Committee is one of the most organized and supportive organizations ever. As a homeowner of one of the 2013 homes on the tour, I was carried away by Donnie Nair, her committee of elegantly trained and performing volunteers and how they went over and beyond my expectations of organization and help. Valerie Powdrell, our liaison, was always available and kept us informed and supported in getting ourselves and our house “tour worthy.” Thank you, Carpinteria Beautiful.

NOT VERY CHRISTIAN:
By Bud Fink

Mrs. Thorn (“Presidential tantrum,” CVN, April 25) is evidently not familiar with her New Testament. See The Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 2, Verse 42: “Those who believed shared all things in common. They would sell their property and goods, dividing everything on the basis of each one’s needs.”

While being closer to Communism than Socialism, I’m sure it shows where Jesus stood on the subject.

EXPERT IN ORNERY:
By Robert Baruch

Regarding the letter by Diana Thorn, “Presidential tantrum,” CVN, April 25: It seems as though we’ve finally come to discuss a subject on which the writer is a renowned expert, that of tantrums. After all, she has been in a state of perpetual hissy fit since January 2009.

Unfortunately, indulging in obsessive hatred of our president leaves no time to educate oneself regarding how our government actually operates. She refers to the “Democratically controlled Senate” and its failure to pass the recent gun proposal. Apparently the writer is not familiar with the filibuster, which Republicans have used to block virtually all legislation in that body for the past four and a half years.

The vote on background checks prior to gun purchases was 54-46 in favor. But it did not pass! Although it received a majority of votes, it did not garner the required 60 to overcome the inevitable and obstructionist GOP filibuster.

The writer often loves to quote polls. She missed, or chose to ignore, the Gallup Poll (April 23, 2013), which found 91 percent favored such background checks. All but four Republicans in the Senate sided with the gun lobby and against the wishes of 91 percent of the American public, yet she has the unmitigated gall to describe our president as arrogant!

Finally, the writer gets around to her usual tactic of equating a Democratic majority with a socialist takeover. “Democrats would control our country and socialism would be the rule,” she warns. Juvenile name-calling is not a substitute for knowledge or facts. Perhaps, she would like to check the CVN letter archives for a “tutorial” on political terminology. (Yes, I wrote it).

I won’t hold my breath.

Published April 25, 2013

LOVE FOR THE RUSSELL CUP:
By Jon Washington

I was nearly 8 in April, 1949, when my father took me to my first Russell Cup Track and Field Invitational at old Memorial Field. I was fascinated by the numer of athletes—and also the many orange school buses from such places as Lancaster (Antelope Valley), Oxnard, Ventura, Lompoc, Santa Maria, etc., etc.

But, here it is 2013, and the Russell Cup, at the new track, has become one of the best, if not the best, small high school track meet in the nation. Thanks to current Carpinteria High School track coach Van Latham, many coaches and school administrators plus a neverending townful of volunteers, the Russell Cup (first held in 1918) is the oldest high school track meet in California.

Thank you for this.

THISTLES EUROPEANS LOVE, TOO:
By Marcella Martin

Preparing myself to enjoy reading about artichokes, which I love, I hit a part in Christie Boyd’s “Thistles we love” column where in a Ventura restaurant, Europeans were noticed as not knowing about how to eat artichokes. In her article, Boyd contradicts herself by informing us that ancient Greeks consumed them. Modern ones do to! Later, she refers to Italy as a worldwide producer.

Being French and knowing my country, I can say that from the Mediterranean to Brittany artichokes are grown for consumption as the varieties change with the climate, and during the season all French people enjoy consuming them. Most educated French people also know the good properties which help their liver without having to resort to a special tea produced from artichokes. Especially when goods were scarce, during World War II, the artichoke was grown and consumed. I saw it as a child then. However, I can add that it is rarely grown as a garden ornamental plant in Europe, but that did not prevent me in the late 1980s from introducing artichokes from Nipomo to the historical landmark of San Luis Obispo. Sprayed with gold paint, artichokes became Christmas ornaments one year!

Over the years that I have been in Santa Barbara and Carpinteria, I have come to wish that Carpinterians would appreciate other countries as much as they love the plants that are coming from good old Europe.

PRESIDENTIAL TANTRUM:
By Diana Thorn

President Obama lashed out viciously last Wednesday, after the defeat of his gun-control proposal. Standing with Newtown family members, he attacked those who were opposed to federal background checks and claimed the NRA had “willfully lied.” His temper, arrogance and motives were on full display.

Why did he act so angrily? Could it be because the Democratically controlled Senate failed to pass the gun proposal? Did he want the Senate to pass the proposal, thereby setting up the House to shoot it down? Then he could blame Republicans and hopefully win the House in the 2014 election. The result, Democrats would control our country and Socialism would be the rule. If Obama was so interested in gun-control, where was he during Fast and Furious, the Fort Hood killings, the gun-running from Benghazi into Syria and the out of control shootings in Chicago? On April 17, we saw Obama unmasked.

Published April 18, 2013

PAVING THE WAY TO BETTER PAVEMENT:
By Karl Jakel

It is becoming more and more dangerous to ride my bicycle in Carpinteria due to the very poor condition of the streets. There are wide cracks inside of depressions, which can catch the very narrow tires and cause a nasty fall. Would the city be liable due to negligence?

Additionally, there are areas where there are patches on patches (especially the area south of the railroad tracks and west of Linden Avenue where there are no curbs and sidewalks) and wide areas where the street is sinking due to water getting into the base. It will soon not be possible to simply re-pave, and instead the paving will have to be removed and the base corrected. This is an expensive item that is being ignored and “kicked down the road” by the City of Carpinteria? Should the city manager write an article explaining what is being done? Should the city council tour the area mentioned above and see if they agree that it is dangerous to pedestrians and cyclists and looks more like Mexico than California?

PRIVATIZE THE SKATEPARK:
By Tim Grimes
I think the Carpinteria Skatepark is a great idea. It should, however, be self-sustaining in that it should not cost the city taxpayers anything. It should be privately developed, maintained and insured.

WATER OR LIQUID GOLD?:
By Frank Torreano

Here’s an idea, how about the city of Carpinteria donates the county’s “duplicate charges” refund of $143,605 to the Capinteria Valley Water District? This in the hope that these added monies might aid the struggling, burdened water district and maybe, just maybe, the district might be able to lighten the excessive monthly rate cost to its residential customers.

Ours have to be the highest water bills in the entire state of California, if not the entire country! I have never really learned and I don’t know that anyone really knows why we’re paying the exorbitant monthly billing we do for such a basic life necessity.

CRACKING THE CODE COMPLIANCE:
By Mike Lane

On a recent Friday morning I noticed two City of Carpinteria code compliance officers on duty at the same time. How can the city financially justify having two code compliance officers on duty at the same time? I find it hard to believe that they are writing enough parking tickets on any given day to make it monetarily worthwhile for the city to fund their positions.

I don’t understand why Carpinteria has a code compliance supervisor and two code compliance officers. In a town that takes less than five minutes to drive from one end to the other, it seems to me that one person alone can handle the job. In these financially lean times, the city is paying three salaries, three benefit/retirement packages, and furnishing a couple of code compliance vehicles for a position that one person could easily do alone. Many families here in Carpinteria are cutting costs wherever possible, so doesn’t it seem logical that the city should be doing the same?

SOCIAL INSECURITY:
By Ruth Case
We all should be outraged enough to contact President Obama, our senators and congressional representatives because our government has confiscated the entire Social Security Insurance Fund of almost $3 trillion and continues daily to steal every penny that American workers deposit in the fund. Since the beginning of Social Security, federal elected representatives have used this American workers’ retirement insurance fund as if it was a personal piggy bank for their pet projects. We must take action to make them stop this daily stealing and pay back the almost $3 trillion.

If corporate leaders stole their workers insurance fund, they would be punished with prison time. Past and present American workers should sue our federal government for payback and demand that our Social Security Fund be put in a “lock-box” to stop our elected reps from stealing it now and in the future.

Published April 11, 2013

CAMPFIRE TALK:
By Jim Taylor

I note that the South Coast Air Quality Management District has proposed banning open fires on all Los Angeles and Orange County beaches to reduce fine particulate pollutants and to mitigate “very unhealthy levels of smoke for anyone near them, and for residents downwind.”

I wonder whether the City of Carpinteria shouldn’t consider asking the state park system to remove the fire rings in Carpinteria State Beach for the same reasons.

RETHINK PRO-SKATEPARK ARGUMENT:
By Maria Daily

In response to Mr. Herzog’s letter (“Yes, bring a skatepark downtown,” Coastal View News, March 28, 2013) I submit to you that the corner of Holly and 5th is neither located in the “heart and soul” of downtown, nor should a skatepark be established in this tranquil residential neighborhood— quiet save for the occasional passing of trains. The city council has yet to endorse the very concept of a skatepark located anywhere in Carpinteria, much less in a residential neighborhood!

PRESERVE OUR HARMONY, PLEASE:
By Jeanne Whitney

Please don’t destroy the neighborhood harmony. For more then 70 years I have visited Carpinteria and I continue to come to relax and enjoy the small town atmosphere. I have always resided in homes in very close proximity to the land where the skateboard park is being proposed. This is one of the highest density areas of the city, and adding the visual and audible commotion of a skatepark would only destroy the peaceful harmony the neighbors have been able to maintain throughout the years. The field on 5th Street is a very small parcel of land, and placing a skatepark there would put the skaters very close to homes and would have a big impact on the nearby residents’ quality of life.

The skateparks that I am familiar with are all part of larger parks where there is other activity going on. Perhaps a skatepark could be incorporated into an existing city park. What about the skate rink out near city hall? I have not seen it used for many years, though it was built for youth activity.

I would be in favor of a community garden within a green park as it would not only be a nice welcome to those arriving by train, it would have less negative impact on the neighborhood and be productive as well.

JURY SELECTION MISSES MARK:
By Steve Close

Jury Nullification: “A sanctioned doctrine of trial proceedings wherein members of a jury disregard either the evidence presented or the instructions of the judge in order to reach a verdict based upon their own consciences. It espouses the concept that jurors should be the judges of both law and fact.”
It’s your right.

But if you say you believe in jury nullification (your right), you will likely be dismissed from jury duty. The questionnaire I completed in Santa Barbara left the impression that beyond ensuring jurors be fair and unbiased, the state would prefer mild, unquestioning jurors. Sheep OK, rebels not OK. Such a practice clearly compromises justice. Your questionnaire dilemma: tell the truth and not be selected for jury duty, or not tell the truth and serve justice.

Published April 4, 2013

GRANDFATHER SUPPORTS SKATEPARK:
By Thomas Glasgow

It was 1980, and my work in Flagstaff was ending. At the encouragement of some hang gliding friends, I took a look at Carpinteria. I came out and was blown away, the small town, the ocean, the mountains—wow! A paradise found, for me and my young family. That year was a struggle—new job, staying in a tent in a backyard for several weeks, wondering if we had made the right decision.

We had! My wife found work at Saint Francis Hospital, we rented a house for a few months, then later we bought a house just down the street.

I worked, volunteered as a Boy Scout leader, surfed, did a little skateboarding, enjoyed this wonderful town and the people who make it. I coached some sports at the Boys Club and encouraged my sons to enjoy and do the same. And they have.

Both went to school here, participated in school sports, became avid skateboarders during their adolescent years. Now our sons both work here and are raising families of their own. Among other sports, our grandsons and granddaughters are learning to skateboard.

The way I see it, this is a community, not just a retirement community. My wife and I love the exuberance of kids. Yes, sometimes some get too much so, but they too live here.

We did not move here for the investment possibilities or to retire in quiet solitude; we moved here to be part of a diverse and energetic community. We, the community, do need to provide outlets for “our” kids who are part of this community. We should stop trying to find “out of sight, out of mind” places for them to enjoy their time. Soon they too will be adults. Let’s give them a positive outlook at becoming adults and being a part of this community.

Published March 28, 2013

PULL THE PLUG ON THE RUMOR MILL:
By Javier Morales
I am writing this to address the fixation that this town always seems to possess: rumors. If you grew up here or have resided here for long enough, you will know that Carpinteria is most infamous for it.

I realize that we are a small town. Everyone knows everyone. It’s a blessing, yet is also a curse. I love hearing good news about anyone here, but much to my dismay, I hear the bad as well. The worst thing is, half of it doesn’t seem to be true or at the very least, not contain all the facts.

I know this is a pious town, so continue to love thy neighbor. I’m all about the positivity here, folks. That’s why I love living here. Take care and look out for one another.


YES, BRING A SKATEPARK DOWNTOWN:
By Teddy Herzog
At its highest and best use, a pedestrian-oriented downtown functions well when it brings the community to active participation with itself. This is different than typical suburban life.

If the purpose of Linden Avenue is to be the heart and soul of a small town then what we want is to encourage people—young people—to come, walk around and hang out.

Will the skate park make noise? Sure. Would a multi-unit housing development, for example, be much quieter? Sure. In comparison, an imagined multi-unit development is a relatively “dead” land use in a vital location at the core of Linden Avenue. That is to say that housing would only contribute in a small way towards building a vibrant downtown “community” fabric.

I sympathize with those who live nearby and their desire for peace and quiet; a soundwall would be needed. But the as-built layout of the downtown core surrounding the proposed skateboard park and the adjacent railroad station make this site one of activity, noise, people gathering and passing through. Yes, we want that. Sure, like Island Brewing Company, maybe quiet time is after 9 p.m. But this is not a location of tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of the downtown. It is the downtown, the heart and soul of our community.

What better way to empower the functionality of this key downtown core location than to ensure that, for years to come, our young members of the community will come to congregate. From the little that I have seen, this is precisely where you want young people to come hang out, in the heart of the community.

Locate the skateboard park smack in the middle of the downtown core. Take a look at Santa Barbara’s skatepark for a good example of community in action.

RIGHT IDEA, WRONG PLACE:
By Lisa Patsch
As a teacher of fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders for the last 28 years, I see the need for places young people can go to be physically active. The idea of a skatepark is a good concept, but the proposed 5th Street location is not in the best interest of the local homeowners. The skateboarding community should be looking at a site adjacent to an already established community park, on the mountain side of the freeway where the bulk of our young people live.

The proposed site on 5th Street has several problems. First, it is a small area with insufficient parking in the middle of residential housing. Second, the noise of skateboarding would be nonstop during weekends and holidays, and this is not fair to those who live there. Third, I worry about the proximity to the state park. In my experience, those who are not locals would not be as likely to follow the rules and be as respectful. Lastly, I worry about the physical safety of those non-skaters who wish to use the other proposed areas of the park.

I have unfavorable memories of when the temporary skatepark was in the parking lot. As I would wait for the train, I was assailed by foul language, the bullying of younger children by older skaters, the lack of proper supervision or safety gear and aggressive behaviors. Skaters would hop over the fences, often in front of oncoming trains, and were rude to adults or others who tried to intervene.

Carpinteria is a tourist destination, and visitors to our city should be greeted by more welcoming sights and sounds than a concrete skatepark. I hope the Skate Foundation can find a more appropriate location away from residential areas and more centrally located for the convenience of our local skaters.

SANITY QUESTIONED:
By
I question the sanity of the City of Carpinteria considering placing a skatepark in a downtown residential area. I have lived off and on in Carp for about 30 years and started surfing there in 1952. The difference between surfing and skateboarding is surfers aren’t heard. The waves are louder.

At 10 years old I carried a large, bulky, 33-pound balsa wood board, sometimes for great distances, to enjoy surfing, and now skateboarders complain because they have to carry their little tiny skateboards a little further to enjoy their endeavor. Man up; go to an area that doesn’t disturb your neighbors.

I own several rental properties in the area of the proposed skatepark, and I am concerned that skating noise, vocal noise and miscellaneous activities like graffiti, vandalism, alcohol and drug usage (that the city won’t be able to control) will create a blight upon the neighborhood, further reducing property values. When it comes time to sell our property we will have to disclose this negative issue, which will in turn reduce our property values. The city has no right to intentionally lower (even indirectly) the value of our property.

I’m in favor of a skatepark in Carp, just not in a traditionally quiet, laid-back beach neighborhood that my renters and neighbors yearn for. Restore the skating ring next to City Hall as the skatepark. There is no residential area nearby to bother. City offices are closed on weekends when the park would be used most. Also skaters with negative attitudes would be subject to a degree of indirect supervision knowing the police department and city offices are next door—a perfect location for skateboarders.

Published March 21, 2013

TOWER OF BABEL:
By Jim Swinford
After reading the Feb. 28 edition of Coastal View News, I was alarmed to see that a 48-foot tower has been proposed for the soon to be remodeled fire station at its current downtown location. I wonder if alternative sites for the fire station have been examined?

I have especially wondered this during the summer tourist months when traffic can be backed up on Carpinteria Avenue between Linden Avenue and Casitas Pass Road, and the fire equipment has to perform tricky navigation skills to respond to calls for service. Can there be another location that doesn’t require fire equipment to pass by the front of the middle school on a daily basis with its sirens on? Does the future extension of Via Real offer any opportunities for a new location?

I have heard that there is an interest to move Carpinteria City Hall back downtown. Has the city explored doing a site swap with the fire district? Placing the fire district at the current city hall site would put it closer to freeway access for getting fire equipment across town, and it would easily tolerate the blending-in of the proposed 48-foot tower into its surroundings. Even without swapping sites, the building of the 48-foot tower at the current city hall location would accomplish the fire district’s goal of keeping its fire fighters in town during training. It’s common for municipalities to have fire training towers remotely located at their corporate yards. This is a 50- to 60-year decision that requires close examination.

With regard to meeting the 20 percent landscaping requirement issue, the city’s integrity is suspect if it doesn’t hold the fire district to the same set of standards that it holds its citizens to.

LOOK ELSEWHERE, SKATERS:
By Genene Staats
I would like to see a skatepark in Carpinteria. However, the 5th Street site, in the middle of a neighborhood, is not the best place to build a park that could create a nuisance for homeowners.

I doubt that the City of Carpinteria would give a minute’s thought to locating the skatepark near the Seal Rookery or the Salt Marsh Reserve. Of course not! The city would never want to create a disturbance to the lives there! What about those humans who live in the homes surrounding the 5th Street parcel? Carpinteria Skate Foundation states that they want a “progressively designed skatepark that will provide a recreational setting for the entire community to enjoy.” If “entire community” includes residents in the areas of 5th, Dorrance, Elm and Holly streets (those who would be most impacted by the traffic and noise resulting from the numbers expected to go to the skatepark), a different spot for the park would be better for everyone.

It is critical for city council members to strike a balance between the public good and private rights when making land-use decisions. On the 5th Street property, this balance could be reached by putting in a “community park” with benches, walking paths and areas to be enjoyed by all ages. Other ideas such as a community garden, bike path or even a landscaped/fenced dog park would be much more attractive and welcoming to anyone seeing Carpinteria from the train. Concrete is just not that beautiful. There has got to be another location at which a skatepark could be built.

I truly believe the majority of Carpinterians (near 5th Street or not) would not want a skatepark located next to their homes, where they go for privacy, relaxation and solace. Please find another location for the skatepark.

SENIOR CITIZEN PARK MAKES MORE SENSE:
By John Gonzales
The elected city officials should respect the wishes of the local neighborhood and deny the Carpinteria Skate Foundation its wish of building a skatepark at the proposed 5th Street location. I strongly suggest for our fellow citizens of Carpinteria to go look at the area in question. It is located in the older part of Carpinteria next to the railroad. You will see how narrow and small the area is.

It is hard to believe that the city would ever consider a construction of that magnitude in that particular lot. The traffic would be horrible. There just isn’t any space. I was dumbfounded when the city purchased that lot from the railroad and said it was going to be a park. To me, it did not make sense to spend that much taxpayer money on the lot.

I sometimes wonder if there is not a quid pro quo arrangement between some elected city officials and the Carpinteria Skate Foundation. That particular lot should be built into a traditional park with manicured lawns, some trees and picnic tables where people can go and just sit down and rest. The senior citizens can play dominos, chess or that Italian bowling. If I am correct, the senior citizens and retirees (the majority pay property and sales taxes) do not have a park designated for their pleasure. Let’s dedicate this new park to our senior citizens.

As for the Skate Foundation, they can use their money in refurbishing the dilapidated skating ring behind city hall. If not, they seem to have the financial resources where they can buy some property on the outskirts of town and build their skatepark and then donate it to the City of Carpinteria or build one in some other neighborhood.

HELP, I’VE FALLEN:
By Kathy Grandfield
I’ve worked in the medical profession nearly all my adult life so I am no stranger to the process of assessing and assisting a person who has taken a bad fall. Saturday I became the fallen one. After sailing across the width of a local sidewalk, I head-butted a car on my way down, bounced off the curb and ended up in the gutter between the car’s rear wheel and the curb. The response of local citizens was instant, especially the woman who put a towel under my face and the gentleman who got down on the sidewalk and repeatedly instructed me not to move or worry as the paramedics would be there very soon.

Fortunately I fell just around the corner from the fire station and the paramedics did appear in record time, as did an ambulance and the police. It’s an amazing experience to be in the care of the paramedics. Yes, I know they are highly trained and skilled but they are also very adept at keeping one calm and “in the moment” and feeling quite safe, while simultaneously performing a very rapid and thorough assessment of the injured person from head to foot. I was up and on my feet in a short time. The local ER took care of putting me back together, four stitches in my brow. And I will be fine pretty soon, once the multiple bruises and scrapes heal.

Saying thank you to everyone who came to my aid seems to be such an inadequate response but that is what I feel, tremendously thankful that a handful of caring citizens came together to comfort and care for me.

Published March 14, 2013

SKATER WEIGHES IN ON SKATEPARK:
By John Callos
I’ve been a skateboarder for over 40 years and still ride a board to my office.

I applaud the tenacity and leadership efforts of the Carpinteria Skate Foundation. These folks have worked hard and stayed focused. When presented with obstacles, they return with solutions. These are reasonable people, and they deserve our respect.

It seems, however, that to truly be a “community” space, we must find a use that serves the majority of the community. Speaking as a skater myself, we do not represent a significant percentage of the Carpinteria community.

When all the smoke clears, there remain a few core issues: noise impacting neighbors, a space that serves all of the community—not just the vocal minority—and various safety concerns (skaters hurting themselves and potentially hurting passersby).

So as a resident with deep roots in Carp and an avid skater, where do I stand on all of this?

I think there’s a reasonable compromise and that the Skate Foundation will continue to work with residents to find a solution. Such as the following: 1. Reduce the footprint of the skatepark (Hey guys, even a smaller park is way better than grinding on block planters and benches). 2. Incorporate a safe access point to the skatepark that will not put garden and park users in direct contact with the skaters (consider a raised planter, as a grade-level sidewalk will not suffice). 3. Put the skatepark as much as 10-feet below grade to keep sound travel to a minimum. 4. Provide viewing areas that allow the community to enjoy the athleticism and remarkable skills of our local skaters.

Let’s continue to keep the discussion civil. Let’s find a way to work together for the benefit of the entire community, not just cater to the vocal minority.

NOT IN OUR BACKYARD:
By Maria Kruizenga

Accepted national Skateboard Park Standards state that a minimum 450-foot buffer should be placed between a skatepark and residences. Most cities are aware of this standard. The 5th Street and Holly Avenue location is less than 150 feet from many residences; actually right across the street. This fact alone should have been taken into consideration and this location should have been summarily dismissed as plausible.

Consider 450 feet from the park, and hundreds of citizens are now affected. Consider 1,000 feet and several thousand people are affected with noise and other nuisances. It’s not just the immediate close-in residences that are affected.

The Skate Foundation states that more distant locations will limit its use. Are participants unwilling to travel to enjoy their sport? Must they skate in close to your home, bedroom, living room. One end of Carpinteria to the other is only a few minutes driving time. Parents can certainly drive their children there as parents with kids in other sports do. Work with the State Parks to find a location. Use your own funds, and buy land close to the bluffs and put a skatepark there. The Skate Foundation has already raised significant funds.

Residents use their patios to enjoy the relative peace and quiet that Carpinteria has to offer. We didn’t buy these homes hoping a skatepark would suddenly appear piercing the quiet solitude of our lives and subjecting us to the incessant clack and clatter of hundreds of skateboard wheels. This is tantamount to imposing a constant disturbance forever. This is not a passing train.

Many who have built in our downtown beach neighborhood made contributions to the Parks and Recreation acquisitions fund through Development Impact Fees. These funds will be used to purchase this park, a park where everyone has equal access to enjoy it.

BEEN THERE, DONE THAT:
By Jim Taylor

Some years ago the neighborhood kids started skateboarding with ramps, rails and so forth on a community sports court that was several hundred feet from our house. The noise was unbelievable. Sure, the kids need a place to skate, but take my word for it—you don't want that place to be within earshot of your house.

DOGGY IN NEED OF ADOPTION:
By Sue Keldsen

My heart breaks for an abandoned dog that sits alone in our local shelter for strays. On March 11, while taking pictures of wildflowers in a field near Carpinteria City Hall, I heard the sad wailings of a dog. I walked down Dump Road to try to locate where this haunting sound was coming from. It was from the city’s storage yard, where the kennels for strays are kept.

Like most people, I thought strays were taken into Santa Barbara and given to the Humane Society or animal shelter. Not so, I am told. This dog, Milo, who has been featured for months now in the Coastal View News for adoption, was the dog I heard crying like nothing I have ever heard before.

I called 9-1-1 and demanded that someone come and check on the animal’s welfare since I couldn't get to him in the locked and isolated kennel where he has sat, week after week, hoping someone would come by and pay him some attention. I was assured that he is fed, and walked twice a day. But in the meantime he just sits and cries.

I am writing this because it's a bloody shame that people can look at a needy animal week after week in the paper and still not feel compelled to help by fostering him or, better yet, giving him a home. Now I am asking you, the public, to help me help this dog find a home. I cannot adopt him, otherwise I would. But I know one of you can, and I am begging you to do so.

FEMA SLIPUPS UNFORGIVABLE:
By Bob Hayes

Does anyone besides me find FEMA's bureaucratic blundering with the Carpinteria floodplain map offensive? We've gone through this same floodplain nonsense several times, invariably resulting in FEMA correcting itself after many homeowners are forced to procure very expensive and in most cases needless flood insurance.

It's as if every few years a new crop of incompetents comes along at FEMA and indulges in the same stupidity. Here was one federal agency (mortgage guarantors) demanding flood insurance premiums (that ultimately go to the federal government) because another federal agency (FEMA) made mapping blunders despite being warned by another government entity (City of Carpinteria) about the errors. If anyone else tried this they'd get prosecuted under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

Faced with a demand from my lender that I procure expensive flood insurance, I contacted Rep. Lois Capp's office for help and I received no response of any kind.

The city congratulating FEMA on correcting errors it never should have made in the first place, as mentioned in your headline article (“FEMA corrects flood map blunders, March 7), seems a bit absurd.

This would all be funny except for the fact that these are our elected officials, and as taxpayers we're coerced into subsidizing this type of stupidity on the part of our government.

Published on March 7, 2013

SKATEPARK OFFERS BIG BENEFITS:
By Peter Bonning

Having grown up and lived most of my life in the beauty and relative safety of Carpinteria, the realities of life in a city like Oakland have been stark and abrasive. I am currently living in Oakland as I earn my teaching credential. My hope is to return to the town from whence I came and give back to the community by educating and empowering our youth. I know Carpinteria is considering a skatepark near the downtown area. I am writing in support of the skatepark and the potential 5th Street location.

Skateboarding was and is a very important outlet for me, and I know it is capable of changing lives for the better. As a close-knit community, Carpinteria would benefit from encouraging its youth to engage in positive, healthy, self-esteem and friendship building activities. We live in the heart of a multi-million dollar a year skateboard industry; the sport is fun and healthy, and here to stay.

So we can fight the idea of contributing to a healthy, happy, empowered and stimulated society, or we can embrace a culture that has the potential to bring out the best in our town, while also drawing more people and their spending money through our downtown corridor.

SKATEPARK WOULD VIOLATE NEIGHBOR RIGHTS:
By Ron Bernacki

My wife and I winter in Carpinteria on 5th Street and have done so for the last four years. We enjoy the town, the people and certainly the weather.

We have heard about the pending skateboard park and gardens proposed for just across the street from where we stay. I did not give it much thought until recently when I walked past a group skateboarding in the municipal parking lot just down the street.

These kids, just being kids, were skating back and forth, jumping their boards in the air and landing hard on the pavement. I could not believe the amount of noise this generated. As I walked back to our rental I thought this is no longer going to provide the peace, quiet and serenity we now have.

I am not against skateboarders or any other groups until or unless they disturb the rights of others. To me this proposed park will generate noise and commotion for homeowners on both sides of the tracks.

Our community back home built a skateboard park after a lot of debate about all the problems associated with them. The solution they came to was to build the park just on the outskirts of town so local residents did not have to endure the noise, traffic, etc.

While skateboarders have rights, so do existing homeowners and tenants in the affected area, and their rights should trump those of the skateboarders since most of them have been here for years.

I urge the council to give full consideration to the folks who live in the potential noise zone and ask each member of the council if they would like such a facility across from their home.

UNPRECEDENTED MOVE:
By Diana Thorn

In one of the most politically despicable moves ever, the Obama administration released hundreds of illegal aliens from local jails in anticipation of “future” budget cuts from aequestration. This move by Obama’s Department of Homeland Security was political, dangerous and intended to pressure Republicans to cave on sequestration. Furthermore, it was intended to create hysteria, so that gullible Americans would support increased taxes.

According to Pinal County Sheriff Paul Baber, ICE released more than 500 detainees in his county, and plans to release a total of nearly 10,000 in the future. Once again, Obama vented his rage toward Arizona. The AP also revealed that illegal immigrants were released in Texas, California and Georgia.

America, isn’t it the job of the president to defend and protect the Constitution of the United States and the people? Isn’t releasing these “criminal” illegal immigrants who were supposed to be deported, putting American lives in danger? Is this an impeachable offense? At the very least, it was a gross violation of the President’s oath of office and his duty to protect the public and national security. Speak up America.

Published Feb 28, 2013

SUMMERLAND FIREHOUSE TOO PRICEY TO STOMACH:
By Janis Grimont

The Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection Board’s support for a $10 million bond issue is a disappointment and, frankly, astonishing. While the $60 per typical household cost for the bond appears nominal, the board should seriously re-evaluate the proposed budget.

The 5,390-square-foot firehouse approved in Summerland has a $5 million budget, which equates to construction costs of $927 per square foot. This is on par with super luxury home building costs in our area! Most homes in our area selling for $900 per square foot include land value as well. While specialized equipment, handicap access and training facilities are much needed, why should it cost this much?

Estimated costs from Marshall Valuation Service indicate something in the range of $500 to $600 per square foot is the typical construction cost for firehouses in our area. Where is the fiscal responsibility in trying to “sell” us this over-inflated budget at over $900?

When polled by the SCI Consulting group regarding your opinion on the firehouses, please respond with a “no” vote for the proposed exorbitantly high cost and apparent waste of our bond-payers’ money. A more realistic bond cost should be $7 million, not $10 million.

SKATEPARK? NOT IN OUR BACKYARD:
By Richard Batchelder

I write with great concern and opposition to the placement of a skatepark within our peaceful downtown neighborhood. There is no way of mitigating noise; there is no way of mitigating gangs of kids looking to have a good time with their sport. No amount of sub-ground cement can mask the constant clatter and grind of skateboard activity. Most of the surrounding homes and apartment buildings are two-story, where noise carries upward.

Skatepark competition and events would undoubtedly occur. The impact on the residential area would be significant. Traffic problems, noise and criminal offenses will occur. I know. As a retired policeman I speak from experience. I strongly disagree that a skatepark “will bring together different generations,” as Jason Lesh of Carp Skate Foundation opines in CVN on Feb. 14. There simply is no good reason for the city to entertain placing a skatepark in a residential area among tax-paying properties—all of which would be directly negatively impacted. I think the majority of my generation would agree.

Mr. Lesh says skateboarders don’t fit the “team mold” and that they need an outlet. It is not the mandate of our city to provide “an outlet” for special interest groups. The city has no business giving up use of valuable park/greenspace in a residential area to a specialized interest group for cementization.

The Skatepark Foundation claims to be willing to “bend over backwards” to appease the neighbors. Unfortunately, theirs is an impossible task. It is naively optimistic of them to think neighbors will passively capitulate. Noise is noise. The internet is fraught with examples of skatepark issues.

The property-owning neighbors are overwhelmingly united against a skatepark at the proposed location. It is neither the city’s business to impose such property-devaluing activity, nor the neighborhood’s responsibility to police the inevitable elements associated with skateparks. Carpinteria already has enough law enforcement problems without exacerbating the issue.

LAWN BOWLING OVER SKATEBOARDING:
By Martha Hickey

Having followed the question of a skatepark on the property formerly owned by Union Pacific, I must agree with the letter in last week’s Coastal View News; that property is not the place for a skate park. There are other areas in Carpinteria better suited for a noisy activity like skateboarding.

Instead I would like to propose an alternative use for that area. Why not something for senior citizens? Many of our seniors go to Santa Barbara for lawn bowling. Why not put a lawn bowling area for them on that property. It is centrally located for them. Many of our seniors cannot get to Santa Barbara, but would take advantage of it here.

Just a suggestion, but I do think it might be a wonderful idea for our seniors. I have never lawn bowled, but hear it is great fun, and I might take it up if there was a place here in Carpinteria.

ROOKERY OFFERS “CHUM LINE” FOR GREAT WHITES:
By RG Wood

Great white sharks have a very acute sense of smell and are able to detect minute amounts of blood or food in the water. At Casitas Pier there has been created a large gatherings of seals, with some giving birth on the beach. This is a “chum line” for sharks! The sanctuary/tourist attraction has done a great harm to those animals; it’s not safe for them there. Six seals at a time with shark bite wounds is very sad and unprecedented.

Those animals by Casitas Pier are causing great white sharks to come here. Saying seals are “not the problem,” as Peter Howorth did at the Dec. 7 Marine Mammal Center fundraiser in Santa Barbara, is absurd!

After attending the shark presentations in Santa Barbara and Carpinteria I would like to say that myself and many others are concerned that nothing was resolved. Why is the City of Carpinteria continuing to encourage seals to come here, especially in light of all the recent shark attacks? How is it that our city got involved with marine mammals?

We think the city is out of bounds. It’s the jurisdiction of the federal government or the State of California. Please, stop closing the beach and just leave those harbor seals alone.

Remember the storyline from the movie “Jaws” and the role of the city of Amity Island?

This is definitely a very real threat to public safety. If someone is attacked, then you will be closing all of our beaches. The Seal Watchers are misguided and causing harm to the animals they are trying to protect. It’s just common sense to stop this beach closure!

CONSPIRATORIAL MINDS THINK ALIKE: By George Lehtinen

Conspiracy theorists and anti-theorists endlessly debate the technical aspects of invented conspiracies like the Moon Landing Hoax, the Twin Towers Conspiracy and other more off-center ones like chemtrails. A Feb. 7 letter to Coastal View News reminds us of that hypothesizing. But what rarely gets discussed is the apparently perfect sociology and psychology of the conspirators.

For example, in the case of the Twin Towers conspiracy, so perfect were the conspirators’ recruitment and indoctrination processes that none of the claimed hundreds of insiders talked about their plans beforehand to anyone. No one got cold feet, no one blabbed, and no one called the cops.

Beyond that, and much more difficult, all the people asked to join the conspiracy must have either agreed to join or agreed to remain silent if they didn’t join. If the conspirators misjudged even a single potential conspirator who chose instead to call the FBI, the jig would have been up. But again, so perfect were the sociology and psychology of the conspirators that no false moves were made and no one gave up the conspiracy.

If conspirators’ goals have broad public support, then the chances of a successful recruitment go up, but for a crackpot cause like slaughtering as many innocents as possible, the chances of picking a willing fellow conspirator are approximately zero. But here again the Twin Tower conspirators, like the moon hoaxers and the chemtrails conspirators, unerringly pinpointed the many insiders required and flawlessly bypassed the great majority who would have gladly done them in.

THE CARING OF CARPINTERIA:
By Lorraine Castro

On Feb. 17, my sweetheart Stephen Goldwater and I were at the seal rookery watching the amazing new life through borrowed binoculars. The adorable new seal pups were being taught all the talents new seal moms have been teaching throughout time. Then something happened that made me experience first hand how amazingly kind people can be in times of crisis. One moment I was sitting on the bench watching the seals, and the next I was unconsciousness sitting on the muddy ground.

Apparently I passed out, something I’ve never experienced before. Stephen attempted to bring me back, noting I was still breathing, but for minutes nothing roused me. At Stephen’s request, someone called the paramedics. The wonderful husband and wife team on duty that afternoon proved to be strangers who come through for others in distress. The gentleman helped Stephen pull me up to sit on the bench, at which point I projectile vomited all over myself. This gentleman did everything needed to help me, including getting me water and ultimately helping me into the back of his car, gooey and muddy as I was, so that I didn’t have to wait for Stephen to do the return walk to the condo for his car to come back and pick me up.

Although I can’t remember this gracious man’s name, I hope he knows how much his kindness and gentle responses made a scary, embarrassing event much less so. Please pass along my sincerest gratitude to him and his wife. Carpinteria is a community of wonderful people, and we are blessed to be part of it.

Published Feb. 21, 2013

SCHOOL BOARD MAKES GREAT STRIDES DESPITE CHALLENGES:
By Bob Franco

I would like to thank Andy Sheaffer, and his group of volunteers, for the incredible job they did at Aliso School by replacing the playground with sod and a walkway. I remember playing there as a child; the playground was full of gopher holes, pot holes and was never mowed, but plowed under whenever the weeds got out of control. You were lucky not to break an ankle, and when it rained the clay mud would stick to your shoes like cement. Once again, thanks to everyone that contributed to this much needed project.

I would also like to thank the school board for the great job they have done for the last four years. Their outstanding and unselfish work helped our school district through some very difficult and financially troubled times. Even with the passage of Proposition 30 and the sale of the Toro Canyon property, we still have a worrisome financial future ahead of us, but I am sure the new school board will be fully capable of handling it. I’m sure a lot of people don’t realize that the school board members are not compensated, in any manner, for all their hard work and dedication. Any money that they are legally entitled to is given right back to the school district, showing community service at its finest.

I admire and respect our teachers, but they, especially the president of the teachers’ union, can learn a lot from the example our school board has set. I hope that the school board and teachers union can come together and rise above their differences and concentrate their efforts on the education of our children and the fulfillment of their dreams. Together they can accomplish so much.


SKATE PARK WOULD BE UNWELCOME NEIGHBOR:
By Marla Daily and Kirk Connally

The time has come for us to voice our concerns over a potential skatepark being proposed by a local nonprofit organization to occupy city-owned space formerly owned by Union Pacific. As the owners of several surrounding properties, and occupants of one, we have a great interest in assigning uses to this parcel that are consistent with the character of the neighborhood.

Our perspective comes from living in the upstairs master bedroom of the home closest to the train station platform. Noise carries. We know what time of day it is by the clacking noise of the wheels of the suitcases being rolled along the cement on both sides of the platform. The skateboard-like suitcase noise is concentrated 15-minutes before train arrival and is gone by the time each train departs. It is predictable; it is on a schedule; it is intermittent; and it is tolerable.

The thought of a skatepark, with the constant noise of hundreds of wheels clacking on cement, is untenable. Conversations, yells and screams of participants and by-standers would carry for blocks. Add to that the additional elements that inherently accompany such a sport and the proposal becomes unreasonable for our low-key, residential, downtown beach neighborhood. It would be tantamount to living next to an all-day playground—a fact that must be disclosed by realtors as devaluing. And, of course, congregating youth next to railroad tracks for a sport is neither reasonable nor safe.  

There is no reason to believe this is the most feasible or best location for a skatepark. It should be built on the unused State Park field to the left of the Park entrance (although it too is on the tracks). Put it over at the old Thunderbowl skating rink (unless city employees and law enforcement could be bothered by the distractions). Put it anywhere other than in Carpinteria's residential neighborhoods!

Published Feb. 7, 2013

IT TAKES A VILLAGE, AND SOME HEAVY LIFTERS TOO:
By Karen Graf

The 55th Annual Community Awards Banquet held on Jan. 26 was a great success. What a great opportunity to celebrate local individuals and recognize them for their contributions to our community. Our local service clubs and nonprofits have their chance to honor their volunteers. In addition, Educators of the Year are selected and honored for their service at our local schools. The night is highlighted with the revealing of the Junior Carpinterian of the Year and Carpinterian of the Year. What a great way to acknowledge great achievements, selfless giving and to recognize the difference these individuals make to our community.

The number of volunteers that put this event on is vast, and many work behind the scenes. This is a great testimony to how important this event is to those participating. We are proud to be a part of this opportunity to celebrate and recognize volunteers, educators, students and people who have a profound impact on our community.

WHAT’S BECOME OF US?
By Terry Madaus

Has anyone looked up in the sky lately and seen the chemtrails? Do you know what’s in them? A multitude of lab reports say they are deadly to all living things on this planet. They are almost a daily occurrence now. And nobody seems to care. Our government categorically denies they exist, which is absurd.

There is so much evidence out there now that 9/11 was an inside job, that I don’t see how anyone can refute it. Yet nothing is done about it. Our government started wars based on false information. We still have Gitmo. And anyone can be sent there at any time without trial and be held indefinitely on the whim of one of our “authorities.” TSA is a joke. Our tax dollars are paying some jerk to feel us up and steal our belongings.

And while I don’t even own a gun, I am concerned that yet another freedom is being taken from us. Guns don’t kill people; people kill people. Take away our guns and the only people who will have them will be the very people who shouldn’t have them.

The “land of the free” is a thing of the past. It amazes me that no one seems to care about all this. The more we stand idly by and let these things just happen, the more our rights will be lost forever. And for all those who are thinking what a crank I am, do yourself a favor. Research what I am saying. You will be amazed at what you find.

Published on Jan. 24, 2013

Restrictions are all Americans
By Donnie Nair, Carpinteria

I am appalled at the passion some Second Amendment advocates bring to the discussion of gun violence. There seems to be a total lack of common sense or regard for the safety of others.

We’ve been living with regulated freedom our entire lives.

Here are two examples: First Amendment grants freedom of speech, but slander, libel, hate speech and sedition all violate the rights of others. You are not free to use them. The Fourth Amendment prevents unreasonable search and seizure, but is waived in cases of driving under the influence. We’re aware of the open carry law regarding liquor. If you don’t want to be searched at the airport, don’t fly. The operating word is “unreasonable.”

Why can’t we agree on a reasonable interpretation of the Second Amendment? It does not grant absolute freedom from gun control and firearms restrictions. The definition of arms changes as weaponry becomes more sophisticated and more lethal. We seem to have totally lost the meaning of a “well regulated militia.” Even the framers used the word regulated. Do we ever want citizens to have missiles?

Most of the framers of the Constitution were slave owners. Many historians think that this amendment was partially designed to protect slave owners and their militias used to terrorize and round up runaway slaves. After the 13th Amendment, which freed the slaves, the Ku Klux Klan carried on armed warfare against the freed slaves.

Restrictions are legal, constitutional and ethical.

I am hoping our gun culture will change just like our tobacco culture has changed. Tobacco is legal, but there are restrictions on where you can smoke. When your smoking affects the health and safety of others, it will be regulated.

A common sense end to gun violence should be something all law-abiding citizens could support.

Published on Jan. 17, 2013

LOU PANIZZON THE GREAT:
By Jon Washington

I had the unbelievable pleasure of growing up with Louis JohnAngelo Panizzon. From Mrs. Hamilton’s kindergarten class through high school and even to this day that I read about Lou’s retirement from the school board, I cannot begin to tell you what wonderful things this man has done for his family, his community, his friends and to the world as a U.S. Army officer stationed in Vietnam. And, of course, he was a teacher and vice principal at Carpinteria High School, the first-ever Carpinteria High School football coach to produce a CIF champion, the only Carpinteria High School coach to serve as a coach of the south team in the then statewide Shrine Game at the Los Angeles Coliseum, and the first Carpinteria High School baseball coach to win a CIF championship.

Most of all, he remains the same person he always has been. All of us who knew him growing up determined Lou was going to be a star in life. No one I can think of shines as brightly yet doesn’t show it. Thanks, Lou, for all you have done. Thanks mostly for the right to know you and call you a friend.

Published on Jan. 10, 2013

NOT JUST A BARBERSHOP:
By Jennifer Warf, Manassas, Va.

Our good friend Marty Rosales runs a barbershop in Carpinteria. It is a sliver of a place, reminiscent of those old-timey ones. One day, during a visit to our old hometown of Carpinteria, while we were catching up with Marty, two tourists stopped in to see what was inside. As one looked around, she said to her friend, “Oh, it’s just a barbershop.”

Just a barbershop?

Ladies and gentlemen, let me tell you, that is not just a barbershop there on Linden Avenue. It is a treasure trove of memories, where little boys grow up seemingly overnight, stories are swapped, friends are made and where the latest essential news and gossip is sure to be found. It is a safe haven for so many because you will be greeted warmly, treated fairly and thanked sincerely. It is nothing short of good ol’ time Americana at its best.

We have lived in many places since our time in Carpinteria, including overseas. While you can usually find “a place to get your hair cut,” it falls sadly short of the Norman Rockwell-esque experience of Marty’s fine establishment.

Our son got his first real haircut with Marty Sr. at the tender age of 1 ½ years old—booster seats and telephone books included. We’ve visited over the years. Our son is now 15 years old and looks forward to his next visit to Carp—surfing and barbershop haircut included!

No offense to those tourists who simply do not realize just what they are passing by, but I fervently hope that Marty and his barbershop will be around for years to come. Thank you, Marty, and all our very warmest New Year 2013 wishes to you and to all of Carpinteria.

Published on Jan. 3, 2013

ACTING TO HONOR LIVES LOST:
By Susan Allen

The holiday season is always a special time for us, but my heart is heavy this year as I think about the lives lost in Connecticut and the families who will never be the same again.

The debate has started on gun control, mental health care and violent video games and will go on for months if not years. Many of us feel a need to honor these lives and do something positive—something where there is no debate and, as a mother and teacher, something we can pass on to our children.

It has been suggested that we each commit to 26 acts of random kindness, one act of each life lost. It seems like such a simple idea yet so meaningful. I have made my promise and hope you will too. If you are a parent or a teacher, my wish is that you foster this idea with your children. Perhaps when we each get to our 26th act this will become a way of life and we find ways to ease the lives of others.

My thoughts are with those families in Connecticut and with you. May we find peace in our small gestures.

2012 UNDER FIRE:
BY Diana Thorn

As 2012 ends, I have a few passing thoughts. Why are Americans turning over so many resources to politicians, who spend these resources in ways to insure their reelection? Why are Americans letting a totalitarian mindset take hold, as an intolerance of Christianity is all around us? Why are politicians so eager to make America a gun-free zone? Nevermind that they have bodyguards and that terrorists, our enemies, criminals, and gangs would love to see that happen. Why did America reelect a president who was raised from childhood to resent the successful and despise the basic values of America? As everyone is talking about how to pay for the national debt, why is America not talking about the runaway spending which created the problem?

Why are we tolerating an anti-Israel president and administration that is passive when dealing with Iran and radical Islamic terrorists? Why is America putting up with an administration that is weakening our military whose job is to protect us? Why is America and the press allowing the Benghazi tragedy to be covered-up? Why was there not more security, and why was the military prevented from saving the four Americans? Was Benghazi a CIA headquarters used to send arms to Syria via Turkey, and whose idea was it to use the youtube video as an excuse for what happened?

America has always been a strong, independent nation. Why are we allowing a select few control, shape and change our destiny? In 2013, Americans need to face reality and fight for their freedom.