(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)

Thank You for “American Splendor”

Congratulations on such an outstanding cover article (“American Splendor” www.montecitojournal.net/archive/12/14/174). Erin Graffy, who along with Diane Waterhouse, was not only instrumental in mounting the “Portraits of America: The Illustrative Art of Michael Dolas,” exhibit at the Santa Barbara Historical Society Museum, but also has written an extraordinary article featuring the artist, his influential work and the exhibit itself. Well done!

As an art collector and modest connoisseur, I am always enthused by excellence in the visual arts. That said, this particular article (as well as the exhibit for that matter) goes well beyond arousing my enthusiasm for the art of Michael Dolas. Art appreciation is both broad and deep; both elements were particularly well developed in Ms. Graffy’s article. Acknowledging that David Bisol, who as museum curator, did a wonderful job and made a significant contribution to the entire community with this exhibit, much of the contextual appreciation is attributable to Ms. Graffy. Elements of civic pride, the appreciation of illustration as fine art, personal background, art education were all showcased within the exhibit and then superbly captured and expansively developed by Ms. Graffy in her fine article.

I wish to express much appreciation to the Montecito Journal for running the article and appreciation-beyond-words for the article itself. Erin, thank you for the time, effort, and sincere passion that went into this highly satisfying read.

Garrison E. Bielen Montecito

CalTrans Needs To Replant Vines

Now I am really heated...For a few years the poorer neighbors off of Jameson between San Ysidro and Sheffield suffered a bit while the road took forever to fix for the bridges and bike lane but we were appreciative of the ultimate improvement and what it would mean to all of us...But a sore spot was the need to remove foliage from the freeway for room. They put up a chain link fence then went about putting "Mini Vines” by our area near LaVuelta in both directions...It seems the vines they planted to cover the freeway were varied...we got the little ones. Not that it was not bad enough they were eaten not once but twice by gophers...I asked Chris Sneddon, who was my contact if the contractor might not put the second planting in chicken wire...he said "It was not in their contract but they were responsible to replant if needed" Huh I think that misses something but when they ate the second planting, I called again to let him know the vines were small and puny but that was the good news as they were now dead...yeah eaten by gophers. Chris said the contractor said it would not help to put in to wire cages as these gophers ate them at the surface also. So, could we maybe put the chicken wire up 12 inches around the base of the plant? I never heard of gophers climbing trees to eat; that’s squirrels, which don’t bother them.

I am really upset we lost two growing seasons and now Chris says the plants that are called for, might not be available. So why can’t they get something big, strong and now? From my mailbox, I can count the cars and hear them perfectly. I don’t want to sound like a snob but I worked hard to make the money that allowed me to move to Montecito, even a modest section, to have to be a freeway dweller. Please, what can we do other than plant our own plants, which I would, but Chris said I didn't have permission?

Bernard & Lori Sandler Montecito

(Publisher’s Note: We’ve already advised creating an ad hoc neighborhood watch at the Cold Springs trailhead, so why not form a residents’ rebellion and get out there on the nights of a full moon and put some noise-lessening flora in the ground? Watering them stealthily would be easy; CalTrans officials are apparently unfamiliar with irrigation devices of any kind. – TLB)

News-Press Nuances

It's ironic that the News-Press' newsroom massacre happened hard on the heels of the 4th of July. We do have a free press in the U.S. – maybe craven and maybe too easily misled by the powers that be, but free nevertheless... with the possible exception of the Santa Barbara News-Press.

Now, in our own backyard, Wendy McCaw throws a hissy fit and puts the only toady she can trust in charge of her paper's content. Travis Armstrong writes fairly mediocre editorials... short on thought, not too well written, and too often prone to vendettas that approach a parody of his boss's quirky opinions. Wendy has always been in charge of the content on the editorial page. That's okay, she owns the editorial page. Now she apparently owns the news content of the rest of her paper as well.

If she's got any guts or integrity, she'll step from behind the skirts of her spokesman and his bull ("the resignations were due to differences of opinion about the paper's direction.... blah, blah, blah") and write an honest piece in her own paper about her journalistic philosophy, her commitment to the truth, and the mutiny and resignation of her news team.

John Gostovich Padaro Lane

(Publisher’s note: Why is it that if an editor writes what a publisher wants and a reader agrees with it, the editor is considered “forceful,” “brave,” and “willing to take on powerful forces.” But, if an editor regularly writes what a reader disagrees with, he becomes a “toady?” Travis Armstrong, from our vantage point, is an excellent editorial writer. Unfortunately for him, he has taken on the entire local liberal establishment. While we are not privy to the events that led to the mass exodus of personnel at the paper, we are in sympathy with Ms McCaw’s plight. One of the main complaints of the News-Press over the years has been that the news is regularly spun by agenda-driven reporters and editors practicing “advocacy journalism” through the use of misleading headlines, photos, and captions. Perhaps Ms McCaw has simply been trying to put an end to a practice that has lost readership for virtually every daily newspaper over the past two decades? – TLB)

We All Have A Say

As I thumbed through your current issue (www.montecitojournal.net #12/14), I noticed a position available ad for the Montecito Association. I recognize how bright you are and I bet you are always looking for something to hold your interest and keep you amused. So, I am thinking, why not hire Lazarus, Robert Ingalls, for the position? I believe he lives nearby.

With hints of Pygmalion, you might get to rise him up (pardon my metaphor mixing) and experience first-person what his reasons are for living in the bushes. I believe his choice of moniker might be a clue.

I am disappointed that you would think to take his humanity from him by deciding that he has no right to be part of “we.” What does it cost you for him to have use of a word?

Words are powerful things. Please let's use them responsibly.

Not to get in a shouting match with your editorial staff, but because you influence so many minds I will attempt to make myself understood yet again.

Timothy Lennon Buckley seems to use the words "property owners" and "taxpayers" interchangeably. No, I am not a landowner at this time, but I pay plenty of taxes. I pay them every time I write a check for my rent or buy a cup of coffee.

At one time, the poor had no voice in Government. You had to be a landowner and a male to vote. You might have favored supporting such a system at the time. But many others did not. And they chose to stick with the original "We hold these Truths to be self-evident" stuff.

If indeed there is no need for affordable housing in the area, you have nothing to be concerned about. And if me or someone like me living among you is somehow a detriment to your health and safety, by all means say so.

I have been paying taxes probably longer than you have been alive and I have managed to provide for myself better than some.

So, the next time you are enjoying the perk of a skybox at the Staples Center please remember you are doing so on my tax dollar.

The good part of all this is when me and the other Grandmothers end up in the bushes. We tend to clean up after ourselves.

Karen Friedman Carpinteria

(Publisher’s Note: First off, he is certainly part of we but the context was “we” as in taxpayers, which he is not. I would define “taxpayer” as someone that pays more in taxes than he gets back in subsidies, grants, and payments. Second, I am not sure how the Staples Center became part of this argument but surely, you don’t believe it was paid for by taxes? The Staples Center was privately paid for by Staples and other corporations for $375 million. Oh, and I’ve never been in any of their skyboxes. – TLB)

Understanding Homelessness

In response to your Publisher’s note (www.montecitojournal.net/archive/12/14/185) or meddling in my response to your editorial (“Montecito has a Transient Problem”), I say meddling because your outlandish claims are neither well thought out nor based upon any facts. Your response was based on years of stereotyping and gossip by busybodies without much to do than to involve their self in someone else’s business with the intent to do them harm.

In fact, the only thing which makes sense is the fact I may be articulate, though being articulate alone is rarely enough to obtain gainful employment, in this area especially, there are people with college degrees taking jobs left over from illegal immigrants, which used to be filled by high school dropouts such as myself.

Then there is the fact I have been sleeping on the ground carrying a backpack for over thirteen years. Anyone who would assume I have no orthopedic problems at least equal to the degenerative disc problem I came into the situation with is either misinformed or just stupid. Not to mention how depressed a person who is depressed must become trying to overcome the stereotypical hype of being homeless, oh and the four or so abscessed teeth and so on, not to mention you have no human rights or civil liberties as I point out in letters I have written to congresswoman Lois Capps, and in papers I have filed in court, which is where I hope the gossip will end or at least be stopped in my case.

Then there is the obvious reason the same people are sitting there day after day, year after year, with exhaust pipes in their face spewing carcinogens into their lungs, which by the way the less you receive because of all the meddling of others, the longer you have to sit there to get what you need.

Then there is the sleeping with rats in areas people who pass through have no respect for and steal from you, then you of course get blamed for what they do, the ones who are not dead are still there because they have not been helped, which of course if our tax dollars were spent properly would no longer be a problem as you actually have paid enough to solve these problems, though, where does the money go?

Then the litter, some of us actually do pick up litter as we walk along the road, though if we received cal-trans wages I am sure your highways would be litter free. And we would not be sitting about with signs.

Finally considering the statement you made concerning w-2 forms. I don’t know where your figures come from but I assure you if I did file taxes I would have to claim a loss for all the citations I receive and the hours I spend in court. My earnings are definitely in the red, in fact over $400 right now, which I will have to rely upon your tax dollars to pay me to sit the fine out in jail making room for one less burglar, rapist, thief, etc. For all this I give special thanks to our wonderful congressional representative Lois Capps, Senator Dianne Feinstein, our mayor Marty Blum and city council members who could easily resolve my problem of homelessness but have rather mandated I should remain incarcerated on the streets of the United States without human rights or civil liberties until dead.

I really do need a miracle,

Robert Ingalls

Aka Lazarus the beggar

Hairdryers Can’t Heat House

Professor Korchinski (“Enviro Report” MJ # 12/14) makes the same error he accuses others of. He asserts that it is possible to heat your entire house with a hairdryer without providing any proof to back it up. Well, I can tell him from personal experience that all you get is a massive electricity bill, a sore arm, and an angry wife.

Many Thanks,

Ted Woodley

Falkirk, Scotland

From Sophomoric to Anti-Icecapping

Ok, so I used to think that the Journal's "Publisher's Notes" we see at the end of most every Letter to the Editor were, at their best, sophomoric attempts to get the last word, and at their worst just terribly unprofessional journalism. But you have taken these gems to a new level with a tired transparent bamboozle in defense of...of…Well I guess, Republicans, capitalists, and oil (the stuff itself).

I mean, your best response is ”Science can be wrong," Copernicus was right, oil is the victim, and "the debate rages on?" That's your entire rebuttal? Oh wait, you throw in a time-honored neo-con standby: blame Clinton. Hey, you forgot flag burning, immigration, and gay marriage. It’s funny how you and the rest of the anti-icecap forces have gone from “what global warming?” to “all the evidence is not in yet.” to “the debate rages on,” as the evidence grew and grew. Yeah…funny.

So, tell us. If those crackpots at The National Academy of Sciences, The American Meteorological Society, the American Geophysical Union, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and nearly 1,000 peer-reviewed scientific journals that are wrong, it must be the mountain of contrary evidence and peer-reviewed articles on other side that are right. So, what specifically were they again? Hello? (Cue the crickets.)

J. Beeson

Carpinteria

(Publisher’s Note: “Anti-icecap forces?” Come on, confess: you are a former Seinfeld sitcom writer, right? I apologize for being a skeptic or as you put it “sophomoric” but when I read primary sources that begin their theories with “this may,” “could,” or “might,” I tend to digest it as theory instead of fact. Journalists covering global warming always seem to find “experts” that believe exactly what they are politically inclined to believe. If you noticed, many of the organizations you pointed out will conclude that the evidences are simulated and many are countering theories (like “global cooling”) that they bought into only a few years ago. Once again, I do not dismiss the idea that we are in fact the cause of global warming, but because climate change is so complex, and I am not a climatologist, I prefer to wait until scientists drop “may” and “could” from their rhetoric before I start blaming SUVs and Exxon (and capitalism!) for global warming. As for your “blame Clinton” remark, if wondering what exactly it was that the Clinton-Gore team did to combat global warming during their eight-year tenure is “a neo-con standby,” I guess certain questions are just strictly off-limits to true believers. – TLB)

Treat Global Warming Like The Iraq War

Responding to Publisher’s Note (www.montecitojournal.net/archive/12/14/185) about global warming, the editor dismissed the possibility of a causal connection between global warming and human activity by reminding us that that science can be wrong (“Look at Ptolemy!”) and that all this commotion might be simply “a vehicle to attack Republicans and free-market capitalism.”

Then why not treat these scientific warnings about the possible nexus between global warming and human activity (and oil) as Cheney treated evidence of Iraq’s possession of Weapons of Mass Destruction (as justification for war)?

His “One Percent Doctrine,” after all, dictates that if there is one chance in a hundred that the threat is credible, we must act!

Joe Rution

Santa Barbara

Is One Degree Worth The Scare?

The hottest recent year on record was 1998. It was much hotter than 2005. The graph looks very dramatic, until you read the actual temperature variation figures. We find that 1998 was 0.50 degrees Celsius hotter than the mean 100-year average. (Yes! Only one half of a stinkin' degree.)

The temperature where you are sitting can vary twenty degrees or more in just one day. 1997 and 1099 measured 0.03, (that's 3/100 of one degree increase). 2005 was 0.30 degrees, (3/10 of one degree above mean average). The chart states that the Long-term climate trend is +0.13 C per decade. That means that in 77 years, the temperature might increase one whole degree if the present trend continues (which is highly speculative).

These irregular figures are all of the real scientific information upon which the "Global Warming" fraud is based. All the rest is "computer simulation,” (with the innumerable, complex variables excluded), distortion, exaggeration and junk science.

Sincerely,

Chuck Stersic

Santa Barbara

It’s Too Late, Aliens Are Already Here

The global warming trend, melting polar bear ice craps and high altitude atmospheric disturbances felt last night (7-4-06) around 9 pm are clear evidence that the Bush Administration has failed to protect the environment. Additional photographic evidence from anonymous sources at The New York Times also indicated an increased frequency in alien abductions (three people on San Ysidro Road last week alone) and Montecito-area crop circles. In one location near Casa De Maria, white powdery radioactive dust particles were detected in the surrounding bushes and may have polluted the water supply for southern California.

Seismic activity in the Santa Barbara area has also been increasing during the past 6 years...coincidence? This may be a result of secret experiments being conducted by the military using satellites to "microwave" tiger salamanders in our area.

Sincerely,

Anonymous tipster with the aluminum foil ski cap

Montecito