Freedom of Speech

I believe that you have crossed the line between philosophical elitist and bigot. You don't get to use your Civil Liberty (freedom of speech) to deny another theirs (Fair Housing). When your own neighbors accuse you of "fear mongering" in “Letters to the Editor” ( maybe it is time to look at your words.

You claim that you do not see anything wrong with "warning" your readers of the threat of Affordable Housing. I differ. Personally, I find your comments offensive. It is my understanding that there are laws against such "hate mongering."

I am forwarding this matter to the California Housing Law Project. They can determine the legalities. I am trusting that not everyone shares your sentiments.

Karen Friedman


(Publisher’s Note: Accusing me of “hate mongering” for expressing a point of view at variance with yours – warning readers that the Miramar, if not developed soon as an hotel, could possibly rezone to high density residential – is a curious way of protecting freedom of speech. When the Sierra Club lobbies to protect unincorporated areas from development to preserve forests and natural surroundings, are they hate mongering as well? When historical preservation societies promote preservation of old landmarks from development, are they against the disenfranchised and homeless? When they warn people that if nothing is done, these fields and/or forests will turn into homes, are they elitist and bigoted? Using your logic – that promoting any type of preservation is considered fear or hate mongering – then the Montecito Community Plan is a document of hate. What rights do we have if the right to speak or write freely about our concerns is taken away? – TLB)

Congestion Solutions

The highway truck mishap on December 19 forced a long stream of slow moving cars on East Valley Road. The traffic could have moved more rapidly had the traffic signal at San Ysidro Road been adjusted to favor detouring autos. Another solution would have a traffic patrolman directing traffic at that intersection and again at Hot Springs Road, Middle Road, etc. This congestion will be repeated from time to time, especially when the widening of U.S. highway 101 is under construction. Hopefully provisions will be made to ease the difficult situation.

Sincerely Yours,

David F. Myrick

(Publisher’s Note: We agree that with help from local authorities we could alleviate traffic congestion. We have yet to hear an adequate solution from any governmental organization in regards to traffic when particular freeway and other transportation projects are being constructed. We can only hope local law enforcement will expedite and improve transportation congestion. – TLB)

Pruning Party Plea

There is a movement under way to make our routes to school safer for children, who should be able to walk and ride bikes along safe routes to school. Unfortunately, car traffic is increasing, and there are few walking paths available along our rural roads.

Walking paths should be along the roadway shoulder easements. Unfortunately, these easements have been lost to hedges, landscapes, and walls. These road easements were meant to be for walking paths.

Homeowners, please cut back your hedges and landscapes that encroach along the road. Have a pruning party with your neighbors. Create pathways along your streets so that people can safely walk without being in the road. You will be doing our community a great favor. Our village is too beautiful to not have safe walking routes. And if you are driving, slow down, it won’t kill you.

Wishing us all a safe and healthy future.

Tracey Willfong Singh

Safe Routes to School Committee member

Cold Spring School

(Publisher’s Note: I remember riding my bike to school when I attended Montecito Union School years back. It would be nice to see people drive slower, but I fear the overabundance of vehicles poses a safety concern that can’t be remedied. – TLB)

Images of the Past

Indeed you are correct that utility poles, these "images of the past," should be placed underground (Editorial MJ # 13/1). Cost is a major barrier to having this happen. If we were an incorporated body we could make a long-term commitment to bury these lines. As we are not incorporated, while all logic says we should be, only a special district with taxing authority would need to be created. The major trunk lines along Sheffield and East Valley Road would be logical first steps. As you pointed out, this will be a journey of many steps, but the journey must be undertaken.

As a side note, In Guillaume Doane’s article, "Edison to Begin Tree-Trimming Project" (, he states ... “Sheffield Drive was blocked off for the duration of December 28 as Edison Crews rapidly cleared the street of fallen trees, utility poles, and debris.” In the next paragraph he closes with, “By the end of the day, the road was reopened to motorists.” Now I don't know if he is still talking about Sheffield but if he is, he simply is not correct. Sheffield was closed to all traffic from Wednesday to early am on Sunday the 31st.

Let’s build a city of Montecito Village!

Steve Crossland

Submitted via

Undergrounding Eye Sores

Placing the power lines underground in Montecito would certainly improve the views. The power outages due to windstorms would be eliminated. However, there are some disadvantages involved, and it may help to review them.

The power lines consist of transmission lines delivering high voltage power to the transformers. The distribution lines deliver lower voltage power to the customers. The transformers are usually mounted on the poles. The poles also carry other utilities, including telephone and cable lines. Homeowners can now bury the distribution lines on their property, at their cost.

Burying the transmission lines requires a trench at least five feet deep. Each conduction wire must be encased in a separate conduit. Armored conduits are needed to cross bridges. Streets must be trenched at intersections. The transformers can be relocated in fenced ground installations, which may not add to the beauty of the land.

The reliability of underground power lines has not proved to be better than that of overhead lines. While the outages from windstorms are eliminated, both systems suffer from lightning strikes, and underground lines can be damaged from construction digging and flooding. The power outages on underground systems are less frequent but last longer. The location and repair of the fault is more time-consuming with underground lines, and the restoration of power may last for days rather than hours. These long interruptions may be more damaging to services needing near-continuous power, such as food storage.

In summary, eliminating overhead power lines will improve the view, but incur substantial costs. Electric, telephone, and cable bills will increase. The power outages can be expected to be less frequent, but will last longer.

Sam Fordyce

Registered Professional Engineer


Voices of Montecito

Last week’s “Letters To The Editor” ( column printed a letter that made some very inaccurate claims about The Voices of Montecito. As their president, I don't want to engage in a debate of the issues in the newspaper. It's a vain and fruitless process. But I do think it would be helpful if people understood who we actually are instead of listening to unfounded claims about our goals. So with that in mind…

The Voices of Montecito is a non-profit group of Montecito residents who would like to see a more democratic planning process. That's all. There is no other agenda. Anyone who has been around local planning and development knows that the process can be very arbitrary, time-consuming, and, sometimes, barely legal. We feel that planning applicants should be able to approach the planning process knowing that the judgments made by planners will be reasonable, expeditious, and user-friendly. That's not a lot to ask, and if there are Montecitans who feel the process is already all those things, then we simply disagree. But we are not hooligans, we are not out to destroy the Montecito Association, we are not the puppets of developers. We are residents of Montecito who have the same legal and moral right to have our voices heard on an equal footing with any other private lobby like the Montecito Association.

Michael Jaffe

The Voices Of Montecito