(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, 1122 Coast Village Circle, Montecito, CA. 93108. You can also FAX such mail to: (805) 969-6654, or E-mail to tim@montecitojournal.net)

More on Affordable Housing

As a former employee of the County's Housing and Community Development department, I take exception to the printing of the recent Letter to the Editor headlined as "Fraudulent Program" (montecitojournal.net/archive/13/14/897/) because:

1) It is blatantly false. The department was put in place in December 2002 and up until this writing, not one of the employees lived in or had family that lived in one of the County's designated affordable dwellings.

2) Name withheld? Doesn't printing unsubstantiated allegations from an anonymous writer fly in the face of journalistic ethics and integrity? Not only is it irresponsible, you are defrauding your readers.

3) Section 8 is not even a County program! This is a function of the Housing Authority!

The facts don't go along with your predetermined conclusions and unless you can prove otherwise, an immediate retraction is in order. And, unless you can provide a compelling reason to necessitate the printing of my name, I, too, shall respectfully request to have my name withheld.

Former County Employee

(Publisher’s Note: We apologize for the confusion but when we cite “affordable housing” we are referring to all types of housing subsidized by a government body and “affordable housing” was created long before 2002. The writer of the letter referenced disclosed her name to the Journal but was afraid her chance to receive a fair shot in the housing lottery would be diminished if her name were published. Section 8 housing is still taxpayer subsidized housing, and therefore falls under “affordable housing.” As far as “unsubstantiated allegations,” we have heard much anecdotal evidence from various sources – too afraid to come forward – to suggest abuse of the various programs by those associated with management of same. Unless and until all the names of those who’ve “won” in the housing lottery are revealed and identified, we’ll go along with the assumption that where there’s smoke, someone is probably trying to put out a fire somewhere. – TLB)

Conservatives are Compassionate

To learn the facts about “compassionate conservatives” I call to Mr. Bostick’s (“The Lion’s Den”, montecitojournal.net/archive/13/15/916/) attention the research of Arthur C. Brooks, Professor of Public Administration and Director of the Nonprofit Studies Program at Syracuse University’ Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.

Among his findings:

In 2000, “liberal families earned an average of 6 percent more per year than conservative families [yet] conservative families gave more than liberal families within every income class…on average, households headed by a conservative gave 30 percent more money to charity than households headed by a liberal.”

“In 2002, conservative Americans were more likely to donate blood each year, and did so more often, than liberals.”

“In 2003, the residents of the top five ‘Bush States’ were more than twice as likely to volunteer to help the poor.”

Incidentally, as a 51-year-old working class divorcee (characteristically a staple in the Democrat pantry of voters), I attended the David Horowitz Freedom Center retreat yet could hardly be considered one of the “usual suspects”.

Catherine Compere

Santa Barbara

(Publisher’s note: I too attended the retreat and was struck by another liberal/conservative anomaly. The access granted by important people like former CIA Director James Woolsey, former Clinton White House Advisor Dick Morris, U.S. Senator John Kyl, and all the other invited speakers, stands in stark contrast to what happens, for example, during our Santa Barbara International Film Festival. “Stars” are invited to attend parties during the festival, for which patrons pay big bucks to attend; upon arrival, those stars are then sequestered into a smaller party room where access is strictly limited. In other words, conservatives prove themselves once again to be open and accessible, while liberals – and no one can deny that Hollywood spills over with these types – parade themselves as champions of the little people, while disdaining contact with any “little people” by hiding behind bodyguards and closed doors. – TLB)

The Hammer’s Fall from Grace

So, you characterize Tom DeLay's current troubles as being because he is under "political scrutiny.”" Political scrutiny", you say? Let us briefly examine the real reasons behind "The Hammer's" fall from grace:

While he served as House Majority Leader he was repeatedly admonished by the house ethics committee (a bipartisan committee I might add); he literally had the house rules changed so he could continue to serve as majority leader even if indicted; he was then indicted for money-laundering of campaign funds; in his new memoir "No Retreat, No Surrender: One American's Fight" he admits that as a Texas state Representative he drank a dozen martinis a night, repeatedly cheated on his wife and enjoyed his nickname "Hot-Tub-Tom" (with other women, of course). Now with his good friend the ultra-disgraced Jack Abramoff singing like a canary to avoid more prison time we can expect more juicy revelations about not only “The Hammer" but other sleaze bag Republicans as well.

So now, with his once "safe" house seat truly safe in the hands of the Democrats, the welcome mat in Washington no longer so welcome, his dreams of a permanent Republican majority looking like Bush's dreams of a Jeffersonian Democracy in Iraq and even his memoirs a slow seller Mr. DeLay is reduced to sliming around the country attending events like the one at the Biltmore and pretending he is still a player.

Before entering politics Mr. DeLay was an exterminator, ridding the world of rats and cockroaches. A philosopher far wiser than I once observed that when we passionately want to kill something it is because that something reminds us of some detested part of ourselves. In the case of Mr. DeLay, is it painfully obvious why he was in the business of exterminating vermin.

David Bostick

Montecito

(Publisher’s Note: Wow; with such unconstrained vitriol, you might consider a career as an exterminator! As for Mr. DeLay’s troubles: The House ethics committee is required to examine every charge brought by a House member; none of the charges – all brought by Democrats, mostly angry that he bested them in Texas and gained six extra seats for Republicans – were substantiated, although DeLay was rebuked. Bringing charges is easy; that’s what Democrats do when Republicans are in charge, and vice versa. DeLay’s indictment was brought about by a political opponent – Texas prosecutor Ronnie Earle – who failed to get indictments from a grand jury three times previously. We liked DeLay personally, but the guessing around here is that his involvement with Abramoff will likely cause him more political and probably criminal trouble. DeLay was no Boy Scout in Washington; he played the hardest of hardball, so there will be no soft pitches coming his way, especially now that Democrats control Congress. We’re not defending everything he did or is accused of doing, but there’s no denying he was a major factor in both the early success of the Republican agenda and, in the end, the failure of the Republicans to hold on to their majority. One more thing: DeLay’s problems are indeed because of “political scrutiny.” Can anyone deny that U.S. Representative William Jefferson (D, Louisiana), whose freezer contained $90,000 in marked bills from a corruption/bribery sting, and still sits on house committees, is any less culpable or worthy of rebuke than Mr. DeLay? – TLB)

No Evidence for Tax Cuts

Reply to letter by Bob Hazard last issue ("Bush Tax Cuts are Good For Us", montecitojournal.net/archive/13/16/938/).

The writer probably needs no reminder that there exists no respectable evidence of a causative nexus between lower tax rates (much less tax cuts skewing toward the upper incomes), and the performance of the national economy. Not even historical correlations, for that matter. Some of us can recall within our own lifetimes when some of our most dynamic, innovative and prosperous economic periods coexisted with marginal tax rates that today would be deemed confiscatory. But to be fair, even that proves nothing, beyond the fact that high taxes are not necessarily inimical to investment, innovation and robust economies.

The notion of tax cut fueling the economy might, at first blush, appeal to intuition, but it is one of the many notions to which the application of mere intuition cannot be trusted.

Joe Rution

Santa Barbara

(Publisher’s Note: As a young adult, I find it hard to believe there is no “causative nexus between lower tax rates and the performance of the national economy.” The years that I receive a tax return, as small as it might be, it usually pays for a vacation or a luxury item I couldn’t normally afford and if my economics are correct, that money is put back into our economy. Even a couple hundred dollars returned goes a long way for many of us. – TLB)

Too Considerate for Investors

Bon Hazard may like a tax system where he pays over twice the rate that Bill Gates pays on his nearly $400 million of Microsoft dividends each year, but some might consider such a system just a tad too considerate to the investment class.

Montecito

(Publisher’s Note: Isn’t membership in the “investment class” open to anyone who wishes to invest? – TLB)

Correction

In an article last issue, “Scientists to Study Montecito Offshore,” we incorrectly stated the position of one member of the Montecito Sanitary Board. Harry Hovey did, in fact, support collaboration with Heal the Ocean, rather than vote to oppose it. The votes went as such: Charles Arnold (Yes); Judith Ishkanian (No); Deirdre Cannata (No); Harry Hovey (Yes); and Dan Eidelson (Yes).