Archive » July 6, 2006
Letters to the Editor
By Timothy Lennon Buckley
(If you have something you think Montecito should know about, or wish to respond to something you read in the Journal, we want to hear from you. Please send all such correspondence to: Montecito Journal, Letters to the Editor, P.O. Box 50015, Montecito, CA. 93150. You can also FAX such mail to: (805) 969-6654, or E-mail to Tim@montecitojournal.net)
LITTER IS A REFLECTION OF HOW WE ARE TREATED
I am writing in response to your Editorial, “Montecito Has A Transient Problem”(www.montecitojournal.net/archive/12/13/172). The first line, “for years, transients,” for example, is a ridiculous statement, as people who stay in a place for years are residents, not transients! The fact that these people have to reside on the highway ramps is as much a testimony about the area as well as the not-homeless people who live here. The story in the News-Press made sure to point out there were over one hundred needles found in one encampment, though failed to mention those needles used by diabetics. And persons who use drugs intravenously have difficulty obtaining them and often times have to share, as they are not readily available.
I have been ‘holding cardboard’ for years and know most people who do in the area; none of the people I know have those kind of problems and neither are they thieves, only beggars. In fact most people I know who use drugs would not put their self in a position where they are likely to be contacted by the police. Though some do drink, what else can be expected? Most have applied for and been denied for years any real assistance and have accepted the reality they will probably die there on the streets. The solution to the problem is obviously not in our hands, rather in the hands of our representatives and officials who seem unwilling to do much to solve these problems.
Look at the report by Rodger H. that was recently submitted to the county. He states we spend thirty-six million dollars a year maintaining the problem, though not much to solve it, as well as there are not enough beds and too much bureaucracy to get them for people to effectively deal with. My opinion from experience is that causing persons stress, aggravation and humiliation in these situations will only expedite their death. The question I have for you is, if all people needed to prolong their life was money, would it be worth it? There will come a day when all the money in the world will not be enough.
As to the litter I think it is a reflection of what the people have been treated as, though I do not litter nor support those who do.
(Publisher’s Note: Thanks for the letter; although some of your points are well taken others are simply outlandish. You state that “we spend thirty-six million dollars a year maintaining the problem,” but wouldn’t “we” assume that you pay taxes? If you have already filed your W-2 for 2005’s daily earnings, my apologies. You are obviously very articulate and it would seem the only reason you are “homeless” is that you are unwilling to work. When you tell us that trash piles up in and around the areas in which transients reside is because of the way society has treated them, it leaves a sour taste in my mouth. Cardboard holders have chosen Montecito because people here have obviously been generous; if you return that generosity with trash, you can see why residents may resent the presence of the gaggle of “cardboard holders.” Be a leader; help convince other beggars to clean up after themselves and I would bet that you will see a more compromising – and generous – community. – TLB)
Weighing In On Montecito’s Transient Situation
Thank you for writing your editorial “Montecito Has A Transient Problem” (www.montecitojournal.net/archive/12/13/172/). It has been a big problem for a very long time. As we all know, Coast Village Road is part of the city of Santa Barbara, not the county, and on infrequent occasions the city police will come by and ask the transients to move… but they return very quickly.
We applaud the recent efforts made by the CHP and Caltrans to clean up the areas by the Hot Springs off-ramp and the 101 freeway. The difference it made in the clearing of the shrubs and litter is very evident. Thank you.
I have occasionally made a quick suggestion regarding programs that could help them “to get back on their feet” (Rescue Mission, Transition House, etc.). They reply with lots of excuses why this does not work, and one even shouted “expletives.” It is very clear they are not interested in a “hand up,” but are only interested in continuing to sit with their signs asking for “handouts.” Our handyman had asked one of them if he wanted to help with a job he had in the city. The “pan handler” said it would not pay as well as what he receives from the people stopping in their cars and giving him money.
Another concern is the slowing down of traffic on Coast Village Road, sometimes to a crawl at peak hours when drivers reach for their money to give to the panhandlers, which contributes to the traffic congestion. It is our hope that city police can monitor this situation more frequently to discourage this behavior along with all of us not giving “donations of money.”
We are fortunate to have many resources in our Santa Barbara community that would be happy to assist them in finding work and earning an honest salary, but most are not interested. Our city offers many free services to these people, including food and lodging. How much longer do we have to put up with their littering, their graffiti, and their panhandling?
Thank you again Tim, for making your readers aware of the problems created by giving out money to these people sitting curbside with their signs.
Peace Be With You Bob Hatch
Montecito has recently lost another good friend, Bob Hatch, but some of the Journal's contributors and many readers may not fully understand what benefits this Montecito resident brought to the Montecito Journal's special fraternity.
Bob was a professional journalist (he owned a string of papers in the East) and well-recognized PR guru (Sesame Street was a client). However, his achievement most important to the Journal was that Bob was co-founder of "Blah-Blah-Blah," the very verbal Santa Barbara public relations networking group.
In the late ‘90s, Bob and I, both newcomers to Santa Barbara, brought together some of the area's most talented communicators. Among the charter members of Blah-Blah-Blah were Erin Graffy, John Davies, Anne Luther, Jim Stanley, Anne Bailey, Mo McFadden, and Laura McCormick. Once united, we did what we do best – socialize and talk, and talk, and talk (thus, the Blah-Blah-Blah moniker).
In order to challenge our professional merit, Bob suggested we join with the Montecito Journal to host the annual Hacks and Flacks Christmas Party, bringing together Santa Barbara's most notable media, along with most of Santa Barbara's PR pros. If you weren't a communication heavyweight, you'd never get a word in edgewise at this event, which became a very popular annual chatterboxing championship.
But Bob wasn't consumed only by fun. He generously shared his vast experience, superior intelligence, and candid viewpoint as a mentor, teacher, and colleague. Bob volunteered his skills to his community by serving on the Board of the Film Festival, Newcomers Club, and the Montecito Association Communications Committee, where he helped formulate long-lasting tactics such as the Association's popular Walk and Talk, Homeowners Association meetings, and Meet and Greets.
I always loved the recipe Bob gave me for leading Montecito: "Embrace the Chaos!" It turned out to be good advice, dished out in the spirit of fun and friendship. Bob will be missed as a community member, neighbor, and friend.
Thank You Ward Connerly
I simply want to take this opportunity to again thank Ward Connerly for his generosity in coming to Santa Barbara to speak to the RITA (Research Issues and Take Action) Flag Day Luncheon event held on Wednesday, June 14th at Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort.
Lo, and behold, his picture and an extensive article covering the luncheon event was on the front page of the Santa Barbara News-Press, as the lead article, above the fold! The coverage was more than a welcome surprise to those of us who have labored in the political arena as local Republicans.
His message however, addresses one of the most important issues of debate in our country today – created equal under God, with equal opportunity for all. His endeavor to carry this message at every opportunity is a wonderfully courageous effort, and one in which he must have encountered daunting resistance.
Please do not relent, Mr. Connerly; continue with your tireless efforts to convey your message to the American public. Also, know that there are many of us who champion your cause.
I want to convey our gratitude and thanks for your appearance on our behalf.
With All The Best Wishes,
Janice (Jan) Evans, President
Gore Brings Awareness
This is a response to Bob Hazard’s letter to the editor (MJ # 12/13).
When the Vatican exiled Galileo for daring to utter the "heresy" that the earth moves around the sun, it could do nothing to alter the scientific fact; life went on without Galileo and eventually the truth became accepted.
The facts of global warming and humankind's contribution to it are simply not subject to debate. All peer-reviewed scientists agree. Asking for a debate on the matter is strictly a diversion. Nothing more, nothing less, the facts are the facts, readily researchable on the net for anyone who makes the effort. Gore has provided a valid and understandable synopsis.
Not heeding the warnings of our scientists or the plethora of resources about global warming is like old timers who don’t believe that a category 5 hurricane is coming just because they saw the radar on TV.
An Inconvenient Truth can’t reveal a future that is still up to us. The real question is, in which direction would you like to err? And how do you explain this error to your children or your grandchildren? We have been given the signs by Mother Nature in terrible realities. Our scientists agree. The good news is that our survival is something that can possibly transcend political boundaries and unify us with in a common cause; our very survival.
This is not really a political issue. The fact of the matter is, the transition to a global solar-hydrogen economy would generate trillions of dollars, not cost trillions. It would spawn burgeoning new industries with lots of purpose-driven employment. Remember the Space Race, or the Cold War? Yet it takes courage, vision, and leadership. And if we can sever ourselves from our “addiction to foreign oil” we lessen our political-military vulnerability: priceless.
I thought An Inconvenient Truth was strong on outlining the problem and weak on solutions. Gore continually referenced Winston Churchill …"the era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing, and baffling expedience of delays is coming to a close. In its place, we are coming to a period of consequences." Yet the solutions he offered were only half measures. If this is indeed the planetary crisis of which all of our scientists are warning, isn't it (over) time we got very busy prioritizing and confronting it?
Unfortunately, it will likely take many more cataclysms to shake and wake us up.
People/nations learn by being inspired by something that is better. The country of Brazil is completely foreign-oil independent, and runs its vehicles on home-grown ethanol. Now if Brazil can do this, what is the great United States capable of? What we need is a Space Race mentality for our collective survival at this time. We have everything we need to transform in the direction of a clean, sustainable, and renewable future – except inspired leadership. With a Manhattan Project mentality toward developing alternative energy and reducing carbon emissions, this country could engender flourishing new industries in tune with our collective needs.
Or, we can be wrong, burn out and eventually perish. Our choice. Is this even a choice? (BTW, Bob, did you see the movie? It was just released in Santa Barbara on 6/9.)
(Publisher’s Note: Science can be wrong. The Ptolemaic system, in short, put the earth near the center of the universe, in which, all the planets revolved around the earth. This system was proven mathematically sound by scientists and was accepted among scientists as “fact” for fifteen hundred years. It could accurately predict all sorts of interstellar movements and even eclipses. Abruptly around the 16th century, however, with the publication of Copernicus's “De revolutionibus orbium coelestium,” a controversial work that placed the sun at the center of the universe, was widely discouraged by scientists because it seemed less accurate then the Ptolemaic system. It wasn’t until the creation of the telescope that Copernicus’s theory was proved correct. Nevertheless, the earth is in a warming trend but the debate rages on: Are humans at fault? It is all too familiar, global warming has become a partisan issue mainly because anti-oil forces use global warming as a vehicle to attack not only the current administration, but also capitalism and the free-market system. If they had their way, history would point to Republicans being the cause of increased global temperatures during the Cretaceous era. Oh, and what exactly did Clinton and Gore do about global warming during their eight-year reign? – TLB)
Housing Law is a Complicated Issue
In response to the Publisher’s Note last issue (www.montecitojournal.net/archive/12/13/140/) where you stated that affordable housing was not a vision from our Founding Fathers:
For some, Fair Housing is more than a topic for a philosophical discussion. Fair Housing Law. Housing Element Law. Anti-Nimby Law.
Maybe I did miss something. I will remain responsible for my thoughts and words and I expect others to be responsible for theirs.
Here in America “needy" (poor) people still get to use freedom of speech and participate in the editorial process. God bless America.
(Publisher’s Note: The Founding Fathers envisioned a country where people had the right to own property not for its government to provide it. But in the last decades, the Federal Government has begun to provide some level of assistance to those who have trouble providing it on their own. – TLB)
Remembering Stella Zadeh
I'm so blessed to have known Stella. Thank you for a wonderful tribute. I’m sorry she's gone from us.
She was so important to me for so many reasons.
I will think of her often with a smile and always hear that strong voice in my head.
Submitted via www.montecitojournal.net
(Publisher’s Note: Stella had five favorite charities: World Wildlife Fund, 1250 24th Street NW, P.O. Box 97180, Washington, DC 20090-7180; Planned Parenthood, 518 Garden Street, Santa Barbara CA 93101; Bat Conservation International, P.O. Box 162603, Austin, TX 78716; Sansum-Santa Barbara Medical Foundation Clinic, Development Coordinator, 470 S. Patterson Ave, Santa Barbara 93111; and Mayo Clinic, Hematologic Malignancies Program, Amyloids Research Dept. of Development, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN 55905. A donation to any of them would honor her memory even more. – TLB)
The I-Pod Nation
Can you tell the ideals and ethics of a nation by the pop culture of its music? I am an old geezer, over 70. Our generation knows more about Polident than politics. We were tucked between Tom Brokaw’s Greatest Generation, which fought and died in WWII to defend liberty and freedom, and the now dominant baby boomers, which were followed by Generation X and Echo Boomers. Many of these intellectual latecomers have morphed into the “Hate America” or “Blame America First” crowd. Unlike our generation, which did not excuse Nazis because they suffered from low self-esteem, or blame their mothers or society for their cruelty, today’s youth can accept and idolize a spoiled bubblehead like Paris Hilton, or a spicy plasticized Angelina Jolie, but not respect Condoleezza Rice or War for any reason.
Our heroes were men like John Wayne, Gary Cooper, and Jimmy Stewart, who were expected to stand tall and fight against evil. They were not metrasexual men, nor were they especially sensitive. Our generation had two good ears for listening, but no permanent appendages like cell phones, boom boxes, I-Pods, the Internet, or Rap music videos. We loved Nat King Cole and the “Do Not Forsake Me…” Tex Ritter score from High Noon. We reveled in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific and Oklahoma and sang along with Julie Andrews in Sound of Music. We believed in General Douglas McArthur’s Duty, Honor, Country, and Presidents like Ike and a youthful JFK. Men like Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld are products of my generation.
Young people today call us “quaint” and “out-of-touch” and say we lived in a simpler time. Maybe so, but are we better off in a nation where the loudness of the beat obscures the crudity of the lyrics for our perpetually wired I-Pod kids? I once thought that Gangsta Rap and Hip Hop were passing fads, vulgar but harmless. Now, when “It’s Hard Out Here For a Pimp’ becomes the award-winning Oscar song, I’m not so sure.
Puff Daddy, Ludacris, Eminem, Ice-T, and Snoop Dog are the new heroes and Hip Hop has become the dominant youth culture and a multi-billion dollar industry. It’s a logical extension of the post-baby boomer self-indulgent credo “If it feels good, do it,” even if that means spawning a permissive culture of drugs, female degradation, and having sex (but is it sex?) under the desk in the Oval Office with a low-self-esteem intern who is only slightly older than your daughter. Whoever thought she would save the blue dress?
Does the new “It’s all about me” generation with its bone-deep dislike for authority and a certainty that it is exempt from public norms of behavior make for better citizens and better neighbors? Call me (and anyone over 50) an “Old F---“ (which used to mean Fogy), but somehow I don’t think music that glorifies cop killings, drug dealers, bitches, ho’s and gang rapes is especially useful in teaching proper student behavior and social mores.
I’m as wary of censorship and the loss of free expression as my friends on the left, and I have a healthy fear of religious nuts on the right. But I’m having difficulty understanding the cultural contribution of rap lyrics like “Holy-F*!@ing S#*t!!! (Shippo); “P*!@y n*gga im talking to u” (Easy-E, T.I. and Lil Flip); or “Betcha Can’t Do It like Me” (D4L, D Block and the 5 Heartbeats). When rappers urge our children to dance while thizzing (using the drug Ecstasy), smoking purp (marijuana, medical or the old-fashioned kind) and sipping bo (cough syrup with codeine) it’s time to worry. How helpful is it to watch rapper Nelly run a credit card down the crack of a naked black women’s rump-shaking behind, pretending she is an ATM machine, available for cash. It’s beyond free speech when our kids’ entertainment is confused with calculated coarseness to earn $3 billion for rappers, MTV, and BET.
Perhaps you think that here in Montecito we are immune from the influence of global rap. Don’t count on it. Ask your adorable 9-year-old daughter or granddaughter about the rap videos when she comes to you asking for her first belly dangle, nose pierce, or rose tattoo.
(Publisher’s Note: In an age where women insist on equality and respect, I too am curious why there isn’t greater opposition to this kind of music. – TLB)
Parker Montgomery Steps Down
I noticed Third District Planning Commissioner Parker Montgomery is stepping down from the Santa Barbara Planning Commission and I think that is a regrettable loss for Montecito. Because Parker divided his time between Montecito and Santa Ynez, he was well aware of Montecito's local issues and the nuances of such. Last year, as President of the Montecito Association, I often appeared before the Santa Barbara Planning Commission. I very much appreciated Commissioner Montgomery's comments and votes in favor of Montecito's retention of Article IV, our Growth Management extension, and our affordable housing position. His support was highly important to Montecito's achievements in these areas.
I doubt that most citizens realize how difficult and demanding this public service job is – and Parker gave it his full attention. He was an engaged Commissioner – well studied, hard working, articulate, and accessible. I particularly enjoyed the energy and enlightenment he brought to what is routinely a snail-paced conclave. Supervisor Firestone made a well-thought out choice by appointing Parker Montgomery as the Third District Planning Commissioner and, while Parker's talents will be missed from this important decision-making body, it's nice to be able to say to say "Welcome home neighbor!"
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