Archive » June 14, 2006
Letters to the Editor
By MJ Staff
MONTECITO LOSES ANOTHER FRIEND
I was especially sorry to hear about the recent passing of our neighbor and community supporter, Stella Zadeh. Stella was a wonderful asset to Montecito and her warm smile, congenial attitude, and stealth intelligence will be sorely missed. Stella had a way about her that indicated true interest and genuine concern for her neighbors, her friends, and her community. People like that are always valued, and Stella was no exception.
I first met Stella about five years ago when she presented the Montecito Association with the concept of joining the Vector Control District. Personally, at the time, I did not see the merit of the idea but, as usual, Stella had done her homework and was able to give facts and figures that were irrefutable. Thanks to Stella's visionary and spirited advocacy, Montecito today has a Vector Control in place, which is now mandatory to keep us safe from the mosquito-driven West Nile virus. Stella's good judgment protected our community even before we knew we needed protection!
For this service and for her endless list of other community contributions, Stella was presented with a Montecito Association Community Commendation in 2005, but this award hardly reflected the true volume or value of her numerous contributions. Montecito is a better place because Stella lived here. I hope, in her honor, we will each be inspired to be more involved in our treasured little community. I think Stella would have liked that legacy!
Past President, Montecito Association
A Mother’s Inspiration
The last part of your publisher's note (“Letter’s to the Editor” www.montecitojournal.net/archive/12/12/111/) about your mother’s experience with naturalization made me smile, sadly, because it is very true. I am hopeful it will become a challenge and an inspiration to others. My very best to your mother.
MUS Offers More
In response to the article about a possible K-8 school at Montecito Union (“Lanny’s World” www.montecitojournal.net/archive/12/12/121/), I want to make the following point: The main difference between MUS and other local public elementary schools is small class size, multiple enrichment programs and many teachers with advanced degrees (not just higher paid teachers as the article suggested). In my opinion, our teachers are paid what all teachers with advanced degrees and dedication and commitment to their students and school should be paid. Our teachers put in huge amounts of extra time planning curriculum, serving on committees, and helping with school events. Whether or not 7th and 8th grades are added to MUS, the school is not going to change.
PTA President, Montecito Union School
(Publisher’s Note: One day in the not too distant future California state law is likely to mandate that the healthy income Montecito Union School now receives from its property-tax base must be diverted to other schools in order to be “fair.” Although MUS teachers may deserve a higher salary because of credentials and extra effort, its budget should be taken into consideration, along with the likelihood of diminished funds. A 7th and 8th grade would be a great way to keep much of that money here. – TLB)
Home Owners Defense Fund Wants Me Out!
I find Ms Seefeld's articles (Private Property Report www.montecitojournal.net/archive/12/12/113) on affordable housing thought provoking. Yes, there is much misuse in a program originated as a tool to increase and preserve housing opportunities for all. And I agree that abuse of the system will be exposed on all levels. Human nature being what it is.
Housing Element Law was enacted so each community could plan for an adequate supply of housing to keep pace with population and job growth. Our forefathers were visionary enough to found a country based on such principles. The best we have come up with to achieve some equity in opportunity is Fair Housing.
The Affordable Housing Program is the way that the Federal Government distributes tax dollars to that segment of the population. Others receive their share of HUD money in the form of tax credits and benefit from subsidized market-rate mortgages.
What concerns me is that her article may perpetuate the myth that the segment of the population eligible to participate is "needy." Special needs housing is called so because need for such housing has been established in the Housing Element.
I need accessible housing myself. Not because I am "needy." Because I use a wheelchair. I didn't join the ranks of the disenfranchised until I attempted to live on my Social Security. And my feelings are hurt to find that Montecito has formed a Homeowners Defense Fund to keep me out.
(Publisher’s Note: I have never read anything about how our “forefathers” founded a country based on principles of… “an adequate supply of housing to keep pace with population and job growth.” I missed that while pursuing my history major. The Homeowners Defense Fund is hardly keeping you out. Private property owners still have precedence over state legislation. On an individual level, your frustration is understandable but if people could choose where they wanted their taxpayer-subsidized home to be, the entire California coastline would be one continuous affordable home. – TLB)
Citizens Concerned Over Westmont Expansion
As you know, we have been attending meetings of Planning & Development, the Montecito Planning Commission, and the Montecito Board of Architectural Review for the last several months. We have been hard at work identifying flaws in Westmont's Master Plan and proposing solutions and alternatives.
In the last two meetings, for the first time, the Planning Commissioners and members of the MBAR began to give Westmont some general feedback on the project.
While not all decision-makers were unanimous in their thinking, they shared many of the same concerns. There seemed to be consensus that the level of development in the academic center is too intense: the buildings are too big & too clustered together. There was consensus that traffic needed to be controlled. Further, Planning Commissioners seemed very reluctant to "bind the hands" of the community by granting any future development entitlements beyond "Phase One" of this project; they want to retain full discretion over future phases.
This week, the college surprised us when they asked for a stay in the review process of at least 60 days, in order to rework their Master Plan.
They have brought in new architects, and will reportedly try to address some of the concerns raised by the Montecito Planning Commission, the Montecito Board of Architectural Review, the Montecito Association, and neighborhood groups.
We are optimistic that some of the problems in this Master Plan can be addressed by better siting and more sensitive architecture, however it is our understanding that Westmont still intends to propose a similar number of gross square feet (375,000). We still have major concerns about the size of the proposed construction and its potential to cause negative impacts and drive future population growth, events, and traffic in our neighborhood.
The Planning Commissioners do seem to be intrigued by the idea of a total cap on Westmont-generated traffic, as even the college now admits its parking permit plan has failed to control traffic. We will work to achieve traffic limits that will provide relief to neighbors, as a part of any new traffic plan.
We hope you will join use at some of the upcoming meetings, which will probably resume in August. It is powerful when our neighborhood can come together and speak with one voice. We need to continue to demand that neighborhood compatibility be of paramount concern as decisions on this project are rendered.
We will update you as soon as we have more information about the schedule for upcoming meetings.
Finally, thank you to those of you who have contributed to our legal costs, which have been considerable. If any more of you would like to help, you can mail a check made out to Derek Westen. Send it c/o Laura Collector, 660 Oak Springs Lane, Santa Barbara CA 93108.
Pam Lopker & Laura Collector
Is Ty On Our Side
Mrs. Luria's letter to the editor (www.montecitojournal.net/archive/12/12/111) sums it all up! Are the improvements for the locals as well as the tourists? I don't think so! It is sad to have a guard either ask "Are you lost?" or walk with one through the San Ysidro Ranch, which used to be open to everyone. And the wonderful Plow & Angel dining area hopefully will open and again encourage us to meet and eat there once again. It was a nice weekly tradition.
Jean von Wittenberg
(Publisher’s Note: Ty Warner has added some aesthetic beauty to Montecito and certainly has spent plenty of money renovating our local treasures but I would also question the benefit he has brought to people living in Montecito. Inevitably, local stores will increase prices even higher to cater to the affluent tourists brought in by Mr. Warner and leave many of our residents paying the inflated prices year round. On the flipside, many Montecito residents that do business here have to appreciate that increased tourism and the outside attention has helped real estate prices soar. – TLB)
Educate (illegal) Immigrants, Please!
The issue isn’t new to us, as we Americans (of all ancestry) are well aware.
It is new, however, to many of the people who are currently clamoring for rights and services. It is this new group that are in need of immigration education and not the current legal inhabitants of this great nation. Teach them the process and please, let us not re-educate ourselves to allow for a new process so as to make it easier for others to enter this great country.
Look to the Statue of Liberty and you’ll see that The United States is a nation designed to support immigration; but not the “dark of night” type we read about, or have seen on the news. No, The Lady refers to those immigrants who became citizens through a process, planned, and designed by others before us. Frankly, people smarter than we…or so it seems today.
There is a process and the process must remain the correct path to becoming a productive and legal citizen of this country. We’ve heard about granting clemency for those tens of thousand currently inside our country. Reader, think about that; are we to allow the negative aspect of that population free entrance without proper research? Don’t we have enough overcrowding in our penal system as it is and, just in case you think I’ve pre-supposed: every population has an element, a percentage, of socially unacceptable persons. Trite, perhaps, but it is a mathematical truth. Do you want to add them to our current tax payment?
My wife tells me that I’m not giving the other side a chance and that the issues are “bigger than border crossings, etc.” I’m sure there is some truth to her comments, but if the basic plan is laid and followed then the process should work – even though it may seem to be moving at the speed of the Federal Government. The system does work. Don’t think so? Go out and look at your address, better yet, go to the internet and look up the amount of “new citizens” we receive, citizens who’ve earned their place in our communities by following the process referenced by the Statue of Liberty.
My wife and I recently discussed the first of May and its effect on our places of work. My workplace (a 100-person technical company with many I-9/work visa employees) was generally unaffected, with no lost time. My wife, however, was greatly affected. Her 20-person administrative office is located in Santa Barbara (downtown), where she has a wonderful view of the street scene below. She spoke of feeling like an outsider, as three-colored flags waved and flew from horn-blaring cars while she covered the desks of the 50% who were “out” on that Monday. Someone in my office, after coming in from the street scene and not known for their compassion, mentioned something about the “little fort” in Texas. Sadness, anger, confusion; there are many issues here, but one message should be held above all else; to live in America, be an American citizen, an applicant for citizenship or a legal visitor. But if you want our rights, our services and our rewards, then become a citizen; become a productive asset; become an American. We welcome you.
Theodore Roosevelt's ideas on Immigrants and being an American in 1907.
"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet, an American, and nothing but an American... There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag... We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language... And we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."– Theodore Roosevelt 1907
Thank you for the opportunity to pen my thoughts.
Very Best Regards,
Santa Barbara, CA
Thanks For The Great Coverage
What a terrific writer you are, Guillaume Doane! I have to tell you, the entire BFB committee is thrilled with the article you wrote on “Greece” (www.montecitojournal.net/archive/12/12/122). Your research was thorough, considerate, and even educational! I never knew Sha Na Na came out of Columbia University and I never knew they served as the inspiration for the Broadway musical “Grease.” But what I think I like most about your article was how well you captured our intent to bring culture and exposure to our kids in an entertaining way. Ok…. I like the 15 minutes of fame bit, too. Great photo, by the way.
I hope you will grace us with your presence next year when we resume our regularly scheduled program!
Until then, have a wonderful summer covering the Montecito beat.
With many thanks,
Revisiting The Past: Santa Cruz Camping
I spent the Memorial Day weekend on Santa Cruz Island at Scorpion Campground with my friends. Since 1999, when I first discovered camping there, I’ve enjoyed the breathtaking scenery, turquoise waters, kelp beds full of fish, starfish, and urchins, and the amazing trails leading up cliffs and through expansive meadows. At night the stars and comets burn brightly because the island has no street lights at all.
This year was especially wonderful because the feral pigs are gone, thanks to the efforts of the Park Service. The campgrounds are virtually bug-free and campers no longer have to secure ice chests and food boxes from the aggressive pigs. I appreciate the planning and effort that went into that project. Already, the vegetation is showing more growth, the mustard waves over 10 feet high in the creek beds, and the soil is undisturbed by rooting pigs. Some of my friends saw the endangered Island Fox at night along the trails.
The National Park Service Rangers, especially Danny Black, go out of their way to welcome visitors, educate them about the island and its past and current history, and help in times of need. The volunteer docents willingly share their information to visitors who come for the day, as well as campers and boaters.
When people arrive at the island, they have already met each other on the Island Packer’s boats, and as we all off-load the supplies together as a group effort, we begin to get to know each other and celebrate being on the island. Where else in Southern California can you go where there is no electricity, streetlights, and vehicles (except for the Park Service trucks)?
I invite you to visit the Channel Islands Park Visitor Center at the end of Spinnaker Drive in the Ventura Harbor to learn more about the Channel Islands (www.nps.gov/chis/). Island Packers also provides a lot of information on their day trips out to all the islands (www.islandpackers.com).
Deloria (Dorie) Zabriskie
In the previous issue of Steven Libowitz’s “Coasting” (www.montecitojournal.net/archive/12/12/131), we failed to give photo credit to Ken Delgado for an image of professional volleyball players Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser. More pictures from the May 18-21 tournament in Santa Barbara can be found at www.kendelgado.com.
All comments are subject to review after submission. Please allow a slight delay before comments appear online!