Archive » August 3, 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)
Casa del Herrero Needs A Truck!
Casa del Herrero, a 501 c 3 not for profit organization, needs a serviceable small truck, pickup or minivan to be used locally as a service vehicle for the estate.
The property is located in Montecito at 1387 East Valley Road. The Casa's mission is to maintain, preserve and restore the house, furnishings, gardens and history of the eleven acre estate for the benefit of the community, visiting public, scholars, educators and students.
If you, or someone you know, would like to donate a vehicle, your donation would be fully tax deductible, and very much appreciated. If you have any questions or would like more information, please call Dan Eidelson at 451-1153. Also, if you would like to schedule a docent-guided tour of this beautiful property, please call the Casa office at 565-5653.
Casa del Herrero Foundation
CHICKEN LITTLES OF GLOBAL WARMING
Over the years I have enjoyed many lively arguments with your father covering numerous political and social issues and in the last presidential election I had to endure the agony of losing a sizeable wager to him (It wasn't the money that pained so much as having to watch our great country sinking for another four years with an inept buffoon at the helm). Your father told me several times he considers himself a political moderate and I always disagreed finding him extreme on virtually every issue or candidate.
I had hoped that with the transfer of power from father to son, the Montecito Journal would undergo a political renaissance as it moved from the dark side into the light but, alas, the indicia so far is disappointing. Your recent comments regarding the global warming issue and your slick pun on a very serious film “An Inconvenient Truth” are unfortunate examples.
You state you will begin to give credence to the Chicken Littles of global warming when the scientific data does not hedge its opinions with weasel words like “this may,” “could,” or “might.” Indeed and exactly when might that be?
Despite getting your higher education in one of the reddest of states, Montana, your glib eloquence bespeaks an intelligence far beyond the typical bible-thumping Christian values driven good-old-boy NRA card carrying NASCAR nitwit that forms the largest branch of the Republican base. This logic-challenged crew can be made to believe the grandest of fantasies and, even when the man behind the curtain is exposed, still believe the fantasy because he is “one of our own,” an honest God-fearing man that made an honest God-fearing mistake…witness Iraq.
My God, these sheep still believe in creationism and other biblical myths and that Karl Rove marionette we call the President throws red meat to their idiocy by pretending the jury is still out on these issues. Not even he is that lame. He does it simply be using the exact verbal qualifiers as the global warming advocates. With a base that gets whipped into a lather by such absurd issues as flag burning, gay marriage, prayer in school, the Pledge of Allegiance and born-againism weasel words like those you disdain will never, repeat never, go away, much less in analyzing an issue of profound importance like global warming. On the contrary, they will always be used by the puppeteers to excite the faithful into going to the polls to elect “one of our own.” After all, actually doing something about global warming might threaten another pillar of Republican power: tax cut and corporate welfare beneficiaries (which would require my heated opinion on another branch of the Republican base; but let’s save that for another missive since it involves most of the faithful here in Montecito). In short, you are copping out by claiming to want science without weasel word qualifiers; like Godot’s friends you are waiting for the Twelfth of Never, and you know it.
(Publisher’s Note: These “bible thumping Christian values driven good-old-boy NRA card carrying NASCAR nitwits” you speak of are the same people who provide wood for homes in California, provide beef for California, provide wheat for California and many other labor intensive services. As for being one of the “reddest states,” I think not. Montana’s has one Democrat U.S. Senator (Max Baucus) and one Republican senator (Conrad Burns). It has a Democrat governor (Brain Schweitzer) and Democrats control the state senate. The state house is a 50/50 split. Jeannette Rankin, a republican from Montana known for her staunch pacifism, won the representative seat in 1916 and became the first woman to serve in Congress. As for global warming, so many people complain about my views and yet I look around Montecito and SUVs and other gas guzzling luxury cars still own the road. People who truly believe that humans are the cause of global warming should heed their own advice and start riding bicycles and maybe the “nitwits” would follow their lead. – TLB)
Buckley Bunch Supports Ms McCaw
So, as regards the current News-Press meltdown, the Journal bunch supports Wendy McCaw, who tellingly left the country in its midst? I think the only way the MJ can make up for this is by publishing all of her residence addresses.
Regarding your "Inconvenient Truth" editorial, how often do you guys twist the news?
(Publisher’s Note: We never “twist the news.” My editorial (“Inconvenient Truth” www.montecitojournal.net/archive/12/15/208) merely stated observations of the current situation regarding the News-Press. Twisting the news is common, however, among many media outlets. My best example would be the differences between FOX News and CNN. Months ago, both news networks filled their airwaves with stories involving immigration. FOX decided to cover the effects of illegal immigration on ranchers with property near the border, CNN focused on the inhumanity most immigrants face crossing the border; neither station lied but instead told stories from different perspectives, effectively “twisting” the news. Under Jerry Roberts, the News-Press regularly coddled the local political establishment; Travis Armstrong, on the other hand, took it on and shook it up, hence my “Inconvenient Truth” editorial. If airing a conservative viewpoint is threatening, I suggest signing up for a diversity class, many of which are offered at both UCSB and SBCC. – TLB)
Say It Ain’t So, Mr.Alexander
In your previous issue (www.montecitojournal.net/archive/12/15), terrific humor columnist Jim Alexander noted that he was reprimanded for publishing his home address in a former column, and consequently he will resign his job. I very much hope he was simply parodying some recent Wendy McCaw dictums for News-Press staff. If not, that would be a Montecito Journal reader’s loss. Say it ain’t so.
(Publisher’s Note: Unable to compromise with the intransigent Mr. Alexander (he threatened to invite a Teamsters Union rep to our next “Hacks & Flacks” Christmas party), MJ staffers tarred and feathered him in the parking lot and sold him to Colonel Sanders for top dollar. – TLB)
Sheriff Anderson’s Rebuttal
I recently read the article authored by Guillaume Doane titled “Crime in Montecito up 12% from last year (www.montecitojournal.net/archive/12/14/190)” and as the Sheriff of Santa Barbara County, I am compelled to respond.
A recent burglary victim in Montecito was quoted in this article making numerous assumptions and statements subsequent to an investigation conducted by the Sheriff’s Department. The quotes appeared as factual representations with little or no balance and perspective provided by the Sheriff’s Department.
I'd like to offer some clarification to the statistics that were printed. The article seemed to be built around a residential burglary and the Sheriff's Department's subsequent investigation. Your printed statistics quoted thefts (but did not include burglaries). The article compared July 2004 through May 2005 to July 2005 to May 2006. In comparing these time periods, there was an increase in burglaries of just over 2%, which was an actual increase of only one burglary. This is not acceptable to your Sheriff's Department; we strive to reduce the number of all crimes. It is notable however that the number of residential burglaries solved more than doubled.
The value of the property stolen was also misrepresented. The article compared the reported loss of thefts, but again did not include the loss reported from burglaries. There was, in fact, an increase in the reported loss from theft of $150,000 to $2.6 million. This increase in losses is very concerning; however, I would like our Montecito residents to know the value of property recovered during this same time period was nearly $2 million.
The Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department employes over 700 men and women, who are dedicated to the service of the department and the community. The Deputies who patrol Montecito, and the Detectives who investigate the crimes that occur there, are keenly aware of the issues which are unique to the area. We take pride in the fact that violent crimes in the community are low, and we have taken extraordinary efforts to reduce the number of property crimes which occur.
As the trend of new construction and remodels continues in the Montecito area, we have seen an increase in the amount of construction site thefts and burglaries. There are over 90 active construction projects in the Montecito area. Patrol deputies visit these sites regularly, and make efforts to speak with contractors about site security. We have set up sting operations to catch thieves and have personnel assigned to watch pawn shops and other outlets of stolen property. Additionally, within the last year, I created a Community Resource Deputy position for the Montecito community. This Deputy works full time in Montecito, regularly attends Montecito Association and community meetings and is proactive in the community addressing the specific public safety concerns of Montecito residents.
The Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department exhibits pride and professionalism in the application of our service to each of our communities. This is apparent by our continuing efforts in evaluating and enhancing our levels of service. The detectives assigned to Montecito and the entire county are as committed and effective as any in the business.
The Sheriff’s Department will continue in our efforts to make a positive difference in the communities we serve and protect.
(Editor’s Note: During your reelection campaign, you have repeatedly stated, with pride, that in your time of office, crime in Santa Barbara has decreased. In April, after a chicken lunch debate between you and other Sheriff candidates, I asked you to clarify your claims about crime reductions. You indicated that the decline was true for every part of the county, “including Montecito.” Violent crime statistics in Montecito are a fraction of what they are in this county and other parts of the country, but that you didn’t know crime had risen here reemphasizes the disconnect between sheriffs and the people they’re paid to protect. Dr. Gregg Welsh was chosen as the center of our piece specifically for this reason. When choosing between a residential burglary and gang violence, deputies are forced to prioritize, a choice they make that inevitably causes vexation and resentment toward the department. As far as claims that my story was unbalanced, I can only blame your office’s media policy. I attempted to contact the accused deputies and was each time forwarded to your spokesman Sergeant Erik Raney, who was helpful; but Sergeant Raney alone could never and will never be able to effectively ward off criticisms about deputies unless the officers themselves can defend accusations on their own behalf. My hope is that this leads to an increase in dialogue between the department and the public. – GD.)
History of the News-Press Revisited
In a recent issue of The Independent, former News-Press columnist Barney Brantingham laid out his complaints about the News-Press including the “bogus front-page claim of being in its 151st year.” Barney noted that “T.M. Storke didn’t found what became the News-Press until 1901” and questioned where they came up with the “extra 50 years.”
The “bogus claim” has been a part of the News-Press masthead prior to and during Barney’s employment (odd he never complained about it then) and is not Wendy McCaw’s doing. Barney is also mistaken as to Storke founding the paper in 1901. Here's the True Scoop...
Santa Barbara's first newspaper was the Santa Barbara Gazette, which printed its first issue on May 24, 1855. The paper folded in 1858. Santa Barbara was without a newspaper until May of 1868 when The Santa Barbara Post began publication. The News-Press can trace its heritage – in a lineage of various names but uninterrupted publishing – to this newspaper. Barney’s 1901 date refers to the year that Storke became publisher and editor (apparently there was no “wall” back then) of The Santa Barbara Independent, a failing newspaper which could trace its roots to the 1878 Santa Barbara Democrat. Storke sold the Independent a few years later and then bought The Santa Barbara Daily News in 1913 and subsequently repurchased the Independent merging it into the Daily News. In 1932 Storke bought The Morning Press, which according to the volume number printed on its masthead, was founded in 1863, though in reality it was a descendent of the 1868 Santa Barbara Post. For a few years, Storke kept the two papers separate with the Press reflecting a Republican platform and the News a Democrat one until finally merging the two papers together in the late ‘30s as the News-Press. Storke retained the volume number from The Morning Press for the News-Press volume number thus perpetuating the “1863 error.” I have yet to uncover the “smoking gun issue” wherein The Morning Press became an 1863 newspaper, but it happened sometime in the 1890s.
In 1950, Storke replaced the Volume Number on the masthead with the words “Eighty-seventh Year,” a tradition that continued with annual updating well throughout the 1990s. However, in 1952 Storke upped the number of years from 89 to 99 and changed the issue number to indicate a direct lineage to the Santa Barbara Gazette and its founding date.
During The New York Times ownership, the counting of years was discontinued (too much work) and was simply replaced with “The Voice of Santa Barbara County since 1855.”
In claiming heritage to 1855, both Storke and the “New York” News-Press ignored the fact that Santa Barbara was without a paper from 1858 to 1868. Furthermore, there is no direct connection or even a remotely sympathetic relationship between the Santa Barbara Gazette and The Santa Barbara Post to help validate the 1855 claim. Thus, the Bakersfield Californian, which can trace its roots to 1866, is older than the News-Press by two years and may well be the “Oldest Newspaper in Southern California."
Thank you for your wonderful article about the Marilyn Horne awards at the Music Academy of the West! Terrific writing and interview!
The Marilyn Horne Foundation
Global Warming Isn’t About Politics
It is vexing to have to choose between sending in something about the global issue, or the local one. While the News-Press leadership, which has been using its position to attack the ethics of others, now faces legitimate questions about their ethics, the big picture is the lack of understanding of the real challenges that climate change is presenting all societies. Raised as I was by a professional journalist, who wrote the policy and stylebook for a chain of newspapers back in the last century (for a fine and fair Republican owner), the desire to share insights is great. However having spent the last year interviewing the leading scientists in the country on the issue of climate change (under contract to NOAA to tell this story), I have developed a unique perspective that I share below, and am incorporating into a television production on the subject. It will be interesting to see how prospective broadcast partners receive the message. In both cases, I think that the use of one set of measures and/or values limits your impact. Reducing every issue to left/right leaves out the facts that some issues have transcendent qualities, as both of these do.
Though they are beneficiaries of one of the mildest and fairest of climates, it is clear that the Journal and possibly all of Montecito has fallen into the trap of thinking solely in human terms about the issue of climate change. The discussion in most parts of our society, and not just the pages of the Journal, typically encompass a reduced set of concerns under the heading of “global warming,” which has narrowed the focus to carbon-indexed consumerism and ideological posturing on all sides. While there may be a robust (although the proportions suggest that a very small minority of science and much of that tainted by their funding sources are on one side) debate on the issue of human forcing in the current trends, the most relevant and undisputed fact is that the climate is changing. While the question of industrialized man’s hand in the degree of these changes dominates the public conversation, it is really concentrating on the trees instead of the forest to do so. Even if one were to accept the hypothesis that man is the cause of the extreme nature of the current trends (and I am not writing here to suggest that you do) and we could magically flip a switch and become a worldwide carbon-neutral set of societies – which we can’t – the changes that have started will continue for at least the next 100 years.
The narcissistic desire to reduce the issues to political left or right will seem pretty silly when the mean high tide is 20 feet higher, food sources on both land and in the sea are different, and disease vectors have shifted. It doesn’t matter whether you think that the argument about global warming is an attack on capitalism (it isn’t) or that the Clintons didn’t do much during their tenure. It might matter a little bit whether or not you become a well-researched and understanding carbon-indexed consumer. What really matters is when are we, as a set of societies, going to get prepared, in order to reduce the suffering and the cost of adapting to these changes.
Capitalism, which might be thought of as an economy of self-interests, can be one of the major solutions. Unfortunately for the existing champions of market driven solutions, the only consumers with anywhere near the scale of buying power that can make any difference in this scale and degree of cost and suffering the world will experience, are governments. In the marketplace that can deal with nature, only governments can wield the resources required to counteract these immense forces and trends that are larger than most people’s imaginations, and extend beyond our lifetimes. The real lesson of Katrina and New Orleans, especially as applied to the existing known and expected changes in climates that are now taking place is simple: it doesn’t matter if we know if we don’t act. Who, regardless of ideology, or economic system, would argue that as a society, we should have not spent the ten billion in advance rather than experience the degree of suffering we now have and spend the estimated two hundred billion that we will eventually have spent dealing with the disaster? The Earth is a self-regulating system, and neither climate nor nature, much less any of the many gods that might be invoked, care a whit about left or right, or who gets credit or blame. The debate, such as it is, is a self-centered, small aspect of a much larger problem that we, as individuals, as a society and as a species, face. We need to apply ourselves, and if we continue to be overly concerned with our individual well-being, we should expect to see events that will rend the social fabric. Given the demographics of the area the Journal serves, it is an extraordinary level of well-being. We can blow off being concerned about the inheritance tax laws and gun control and so on, since the fabric of society often referred to as the social contract will be in shreds while large portions of humanity are thrown into chaos.
The suggestion that science can be wrong is just one illustration of the fundamental problems. Science expands our knowledge only through failure. The fundamental structure is to generate a hypothesis, and attempt to prove it wrong. Thus, only through failed hypotheses are we able to arrive at models that provide us with understanding and the ability to predict behaviors of natural systems and elements. Science has to be wrong a lot. The example you give of Ptolemy is hardly parallel to today’ issue, but is an excellent illustration of the improvement by failure. The degree of understanding of climate is still far short of having complete modeling of many elements, but far exceeds what he could have seen and known about the solar system. The brilliance of Copernicus was that he deduced a much more complete explanation rather than observation. It took technological improvements in observation to prove Ptolemy wrong. Newton’s physics were adequate hypothesis until we became capable of seeing the subatomic reality.
The knowledge we have today of climate change may be limited, but it far exceeds the certainly required to act. In fact compared to the degree of certainly upon which we choose to execute tax cuts or the war in Iraq, what we know needs to be done to prepare for climate change is much more compelling. In fact, our government has been working on this issue since the first President Bush was first warned about greenhouse gasses in the late 1980s. Through its various science programs, over $2 billion a year has been leveraged through a variety of institutions and organizations. The best known example of results in climate is the modeling and understanding of the El Nino phenomena. The effort is a model program of international cooperation, peer review science, and positive predictive outcomes that benefit individuals and society as a whole. Billions of dollars in property damage are avoided, lives saved, and appropriate crops planted because we now understand the cycles of this climate mechanism. There is much more work to done. As with every other change in our world, some business model will face challenges. The challenges to capitalism presented by a torn social fabric, and breakdowns in the rule of law that accompany mass disruptions of society are going to screw up a few profit lines too. The government’s leading role in the development of the technical breakthroughs of the latter half of the 20th century by virtue of its commitment to reaching the moon, is rarely questioned, because the benefits of ‘beating the Russians’ were understood, and the cost something we were willing to bear. The same government leadership in the petroleum market is understood and rarely questioned as a function of government. If the U.S. government were not such a compelling policy engine and consumer of foreign oil, would we have the existing businesses profits and relative cost per gallon?
Given the incredibly large scale and scope of government, which even under the most aggressive libertarian models would still be the biggest economic drivers in any type of economy, the most important thing any of us can do is tell our representatives that we want them to act to prepare for the changes that are occurring, There is an inevitable cost associated with what is understood and known to be happening. The longer we wait to execute the preparations the more it will cost, both in dollars and suffering. No amount of relying on the individual, or the marketplace or whatever idea du jour that is being spread around by those with the time and resource to debate such ideas, (another luxury of the society that has excess to its needs) the scale and scope of millions of people displaced or without food will be devastating to the overall society. Nothing short of government will have the resources to protect the fabric of society, be it routes of communication for transport of food, and power, or support of a legal systems to maintain the rules of economic marketplaces that generate the degree of excess and luxury that we so overtly enjoy. Cooperation with other governments will be required as well. Many new issues will emerge as the climate changes and these shifts take place. For instance, this past summer marked the first time that a ship reached the North Pole without the aid of an icebreaker. The motivation for the trip was to establish claims on the expected passage from Asia to Europe that climate changes will make possible for several months of each summer in the coming years.
While the Journal is a publication of this corner of the world, when it ventures into subjects that are global in nature, one would hope that it would exhibit leadership in the exploration of the subject. Current regional events suggest a market opportunity for any media channel to evidence such leadership. I hope that getting a chemist to discuss climate was just what was at hand, as opposed to the best the Journal can do.
(Publisher’s Note: Thank you for your thoughts. Evidence of complete governmental inability to supply “the resources to protect the fabric of society” is self-evident: witness virtually all of Africa, the Middle East, Haiti, South American economies, etcetera. Old Europe slowly commits suicide while advising the rest of the world how to “manage” their economies and “combat” global warming. It is such evidence of utter failure that makes me skeptical that “governmental cooperation” is the answer, especially when we really don’t know what the questions are. – TLB)
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