(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)

Laughed at Unmercifully

In the April 19-26 issue of the Journal (montecitojournal.net/archive/13/17/963/) you scrambled to defend the actions of the Bush/Cheney cabal, by calling the description of that gang’s actions as “one of crime, corruption and errors” as left-wing hyperbole.

MJ’s acting publisher should try to extricate his head out of the sand, and recognize that the Bush administration is totally debased and depraved. To satisfy his ego trip, Bush has abetted the killing of more than 3,000 American troops, allowed the maiming of thousands more, and is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis. To add to the criminality, list the warrant-less spying on millions of Americans, promoting the torture of captives, and ignoring the needs of Katrina disaster survivors. If Buckley considers these acts as simple “errors”, he could find a place in history as an apologist for Stalin, Hitler, and Attila the Hun.

Perhaps Buckley should pack his bags and move to Texas, where he could be closer to his hero. If that isn’t enough, he might consider applying for a job with Jack Abramoff, when he gets out of the pokey, then he could be with another ardent Bush supporter. If that doesn’t work out, Buckley might try using to influence Scooter Libby to get on Cheney’s staff. There he might be assigned to find those WMDs that Cheney still insists are somewhere out there. There, Buckley could learn first-hand how to bury his head wherever.

Buckley’s stand undoubtedly pleases some of the similar persuasion among the residents of Montecito, but he should be wary of allowing anyone outside that enclave to view his thoughts on the matter, since he runs a grave risk of being laughed at unmercifully.

Very truly yours,

Ralph Auf der Heide

(Publisher’s Note: An error is “a wrong action attributable to bad judgment, ignorance or inattention.” In order to establish “criminality” wouldn’t the President have to be considered guilty first by a judicial body? You may disagree morally with situations that have developed from the Bush Administration, you also may completely disagree with the powers granted to our executive branch of government, but to assume criminal wrongdoing without due diligence is irresponsible. If President Bush, Vice-President Cheney or any other elected official is guilty of criminality, let our judicial system along with the senate decide their culpability. To call me an “apologist for Stalin, Hitler, and Attila the Hun” (Attila the Hun?) for merely illustrating “left wing hyperbole” does what those left wing true believers always do: it shuts off debate. If clarifying un-factual pabulum creates for me a “grave risk of being laughed at unmercifully”, then, in the words of our Commander-in-Chief, bring it on. But for the record, we did not defend President Bush, we simply believe he is an inherently decent man trying his best in difficult circumstances. That hardly makes him our “hero.” – TLB)

The Price of English

In his article “The high price of English 101” (montecitojournal.net/archive/13/19/1007/), Randy Alcorn points out the expenses the State of California incurs for educating “English Learners”, who are mostly the children of Spanish-speaking illegal immigrants.

In his article, Mr. Alcorn completely misses the point that, as costly as this effort might be, the minute the State gives up in trying to incorporate these newly arrived immigrants or their children into the mainstream of society, is the minute the brewing of a Californian version of the riots that shook France two years ago begins.

Undoubtedly, better options need to be looked after all the time. The natural option was and is bilingual education... but Californians didn’t like it.

Another option? Stop educating these children at all... but the Supreme Court just didn’t seem to agree.

The ultimate option? Kick them out of the country, but then, who would clean the streets and pick up the veggies?

As shameful as it is for Mexico to have a net outflow of hundreds of thousands of people every year because they cannot find progress opportunities in their own country, I am certain that Mr. Alcorn is aware of the most basic rule of the market: if there’s a demand, there will always be a supply... even if it’s illegal (take drugs, for example).

I’m not entirely surprised that Mr. Alcorn has finally shown his true colors as a “Senior Writing Fellow” for our very own local anti-immigrant organization, the “Californians for Population Stabilization”. Although he showed a clear dislike for illegal immigrants in his Santa Barbara News-Press weekly column “Right on Target”, he didn’t indicate any ties with the aforementioned organization at the time. Perhaps he just didn’t feel the need to disclose this information while writing for the News-Press, or seniority is attained rather quickly within this organization.

Of course, it is hard to miss the irony that for more than a year and until his departure from his position as CFO of the Ampersand News Group a few months ago, Mr. Alcorn was in charge of the finances of the only locally-based and locally-published newspaper in Spanish (of all languages) of the Santa Barbara area.

I guess immigrants are immigrants, and business is business.

Alejandro Parra

Editor, El Mexicano de Santa Bárbara

(Publisher’s Note: Regarding your concern about societal disintegration if America fails to assimilate illegal immigrants into our society, your concern is most effectively addressed by preventing illegal immigration in the first place. That accomplished we need not fret about social chaos or spending billions of dollars in a futile effort to assimilate people who apparently are not that interested in being assimilated. There was no bilingual education when my grandfather speaking only Lithuanian came to America , but he learned English nonetheless and didn't spend a lot of time celebrating his native land or culture. He assimilated. Regarding your concern about who does the work if we mass deport all the illegals. Who did this work 30 years ago? Free markets require reasonable regulation, otherwise rampant greed corrupts and disables them. When America weans itself from exploiting economically desperate illegal immigrants, the market will adjust the pay scale to find legitimate labor or relocate more factories to Mexico. Regarding my affiliation with CAPS, I have been a dues paying member for many years because I believe that human over-population is the greatest threat to humanity and to the planet itself. You don't address this very real threat by accommodating population growth. Allowing illegal immigration is an accommodation. Mexico must address its problems at home, not export them to America. Regarding the publication El Mexicano, my recommendation to the publishers of the News-Press was that they give it a year to produce a ROI. If it did not, then close it down. How is it doing? – Randy Alcorn)

Affording Education’s High Price Tag

I read with interest your editorial about the American Charter High School (montecitojournal.net/archive/13/19/1031/), as well as Gary Bartick’s column on financing college (montecitojournal.net/archive/13/19/1020/). Both pieces shed light on important issues.

Did you know that in Santa Barbara, we have the largest community scholarship foundation in the country – and that it will distribute $7.4 million in scholarships and no-interest loans to local students at the Santa Barbara Courthouse on May 23? Did you know that these scholarships are for college, graduate and vocational education?

You wrote about the need to attend to different kinds of students, both those who feel they might benefit from college and those who may benefit from a more vocational outlet. I couldn’t agree more. College provides a fantastic boost to the education and earnings of many, but it’s not for everyone.

Unfortunately, the cost of college and vocational school in our society is so large, many young people who could substantially benefit from it do not go because they and their families can’t figure out where to get the money. To go to a UC for 4 years today costs close to $90,000, a figure that most families couldn’t dream of financing.

Despite all the progress we have made in our country over the past 50 years in terms of equal opportunity, some schools today are returning to being the bastions of children of the rich that they were in the first half of the last century. This is tragic for everyone in our society.

And what about students whose careers and livelihoods can benefit from vocational education? Some vocational schools for advanced or specialized training can cost $30,000 for an 18-24 month program! This is why the Scholarship Foundation considers vocational education a priority as well.

Gary Bartick is correct when he writes that there is a good amount of financial aid available to those who learn to use the resources available. At the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara, we also advise students and their parents how to access all kinds of financial aid – not just funds from our own donors.

When it comes down to it, whether a high school graduate is off to Princeton, UC Santa Barbara, Cal State Channel Islands or vocational school, most need financial assistance. In the Santa Barbara area, there is an organization that’s here to help (and has been since 1962).

You can access assistance at the Scholarship Foundation by calling 687-6065 or going to www.sbscholarship.org. And you can also contact us if you want to help nurture the dreams of deserving young people by providing a scholarship for college, graduate or vocational education.

Ken Saxon

Board President, Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara

(Publisher’s Note: We applaud attempts from local organizations to help alleviate the exorbitant cost of college. But many people who end up in trades that do not require college also do not require vocational outlets. We are speaking about skilled laborers (maintenance, construction, and countless others) who could have significantly benefited from the American Charter High School. Unfortunately the Santa Barbara School Board did not see it in this light. – TLB)

Give a Helping Hand

We’re some of the luckiest people on the planet, those of us who live in Montecito and surrounding areas, and we’re proud to share our good fortune. We generously spend $100 and up for charity functions, and not only to get our photographs taken with the local who’s who. We care about serious social issues such as mental health, homelessness, and chemical dependency. But some of us do get our knickers in a twist if one of those unlucky souls afflicted with mental illness and homelessness appear on our own Coast Village Road, freeway onramp or parking lot, asking for a handout in their struggle to survive. Some of us find it offensive, keep our car windows rolled up, look the other way, and write the local paper and Association about it. What if we relaxed, rolled down that window, smiled and said “good luck,” while handing the person a sandwich and a couple dollars? I think that would make a couple people feel a whole lot better about themselves.

Charlene Broudy

Montecito

(Publisher’s Note: In a perfect world without drugs, alcohol or disease, I would completely agree. Unfortunately, we hardly live in a perfect world. Many of the “cardboard holders”, as one beggar so eloquently called himself and his cohort, pose a significant health risk by leaving their trash, feces, hypodermic needles, and other unsanitary belongings behind. We have countless homeless facilities in Santa Barbara that provide everything one who is stranded or displaced may need. They do have requirements, such as sobriety and a curfew, which often deter many transient from utilizing their facilities. We could all do them a favor by buying them food or water but giving them money would probably only help add to the same very habits that contributed to their displacement in the first place. Not giving them money may end up saving their life. – TLB)

Corralling Randy Alcorn

Kudos to the Montecito Journal for corralling the maverick Randy Alcorn as a guest columnist. I have long considered him one of the finest writers in Santa Barbara. He tackles controversial issues with a brilliant mix of statistics, logic and analysis, all presented with a redoubtable command of the language. When he left the Santa Barbara News Press – joining a long and tragic exodus of talent from that once fine newspaper – I feared that Santa Barbara had lost one its most insightful voices.

However, the Montecito Journal should beware: Mr. Alcorn is a libertarian, and while his initial column favored your compassionate conservative ideology his future ones may skewer it, provided, of course, you don’t cherrypick which ones to publish. While the Journal certainly prints letters that oppose it positions and philosophy it has never, to my knowledge, had a regular columnist that did so. If Mr. Alcorn is the chosen one then you could not have picked a more eloquent voice.

David Bostick

Montecito

(Publisher’s Note: We would be delighted to have Randy Alcorn become a regular for the Montecito Journal. More often than not, our articles are not politically charged. Stories about kids, fundraisers, family and/or land use hardly need a political angle. I assure you that most of our writers do not agree with many of my political views. As for libertarianism, maybe you are confusing the direction of the paper under my father’s reign, because as of a year ago, we have consistently been and will continue to approach most issues from a libertarian stance. – TLB)