(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)

Sycamore Canyon Evacuation Plan

As we are in the early part of this year’s high fire season, it is an appropriate time to respond to Ms Wilson’s concerns about the closure of Sycamore Canyon (montecitojournal.net/archive/13/22/1076/). This past winter has been one of the driest on record. The percent of moisture in the native vegetation is indicative of August in a “normal” year. This year we may not expect as many fires to start as the grasses and light fuels, where fire starts easily, did not have enough moisture for normal growth. However, a wildland fire that starts this year during a windy, hot and dry day will spread with greater speed than can be imagined.

You should be aware of every possible route out of your neighborhood to allow for variances in traffic congestion, direction of approach from the fire front, and other unexpected factors. A common theme among evacuations is the delay inherent to human nature to wait until the last possible moment to flee one’s home. Particularly this year, you must be prepared to evacuate quickly and efficiently.

A private group of homeowners is now responsible for the stabilization of the hillside above the closed area of Sycamore Canyon Road. This group is highly motivated to stabilize the landslide that threatens their homes. Sycamore Canyon Road cannot be safely widened for two-way traffic until this stabilization work is complete.

Montecito Fire Protection District and Santa Barbara City Fire Department have developed a plan to open the two locked gates on Sycamore Canyon Road in the event of a wildland fire that would necessitate evacuation. A key component of this plan is to not allow traffic to flow uphill and cause a bottleneck at the one-lane portion. Please do not plan on using this road as an egress until we announce that Sycamore Canyon is open for evacuation. This could easily become a death trap if traffic is gridlocked.

Kevin Wallace

Fire Chief

Montecito Fire Protection District

The Other Mothers

It was no surprise that the moms you featured in your most recent issue (“Praise For Montecito Moms” MJ # 13/22) were all well educated, hard working, attractive and interesting people, obviously full of energy, organized and used to multi-tasking. I admire those women tremendously. However, I would like to put in a good word for the other mothers everywhere who are less fortunate and who haven’t had the opportunities that many moms in Montecito have had. They struggle daily with the job of raising children without help, often in environments that most of us would find appalling, working hard, sometimes at two jobs, to make ends meet with no time for volunteer activities or the luxury to stay at home, helping their children with schoolwork after exhausting days at work and still manage to fill the bill as “good” moms.

They are not often celebrated and they should be. As long as I’ve lived in Santa Barbara (since 1969) every Mother’s Day the News-Press would run similar stories and I would find them depressing. No matter how hard I worked or how much I accomplished I still felt I must be falling short because these women in the paper were so gifted, lovely and perfect. Did they ever look less than wonderful, did their children ever argue, did they ever lose their cool and rant and rave? Maybe so, but the articles painted a picture of a picture-perfect mother or at least our idea of the perfect mother and there was no indication of human failing in any article. I think it might be refreshing to read about the other mothers or at least hint that the women that you write about have some chinks in their perfect lives – it would make the rest of us feel just a bit better. At least let us know that with their busy lives, they occasionally get tired and cranky!

Julia Springer

Summerland

(Editor’s note: We don’t believe Ms Scheinberg’s article did anything other than praise the efforts of the Montecito moms she interviewed. It goes without saying – or writing – that there are others less fortunate. It seems to us there are plenty of articles in most media about people barely able to make it and too few about those that actually succeed, but we’ll take your suggestions into consideration. Thank you for taking the time to respond. – TLB)

Clipboard-wielding Jack Boots

Three cheers for Kim Seefeld for calling it like it is re selective code enforcement by County of Santa Barbara “Animal Control” (montecitojournal.net/archive/13/21/1058/). As Summerland residents, we had the same experience: jack-booting clipboard-wielding badge-wearing former shoe clerks (not to disparage shoe clerks who deserve our sincere respect) who are now on the county dole strutting through closed gates and into private backyards to investigate the presence of unlicensed dogs. We happen to have a fierce German Shepherd who serves as a serious, dangerous guard dog, and our property is so posted, warning intruders not to enter the property at risk of life and limb. So what does this lame-o Animal Control “officer” do? Strolls into the backyard “looking” for our dog. Only by sheer good fortune did we happen to spot this intruder before our dog did; when we escorted the hapless fool beyond the dog’s reach, he cited us for not having our dog license ready for him to review. I told him that the license was around the dog’s neck; if he wanted to examine the license personally, he would probably lose a hand. He was not amused at the irony of the situation, handing me a citation with a caustic reminder that I was to provide him with appropriate documentation of vaccinations and “fees” paid. Fees? For what? So that he can walk around neighborhoods collecting more “fees”? This is another Santa Barbara County taxation outrage. I hope he comes back to collect his “fee”; my dog will be happy to pay him in person.

Kim Seefeld for Supervisor!!

Lifelong Montecito/Summerland Resident

(Publisher’s Note: Letter writer feared to have his name printed, in his defense he stated that “Santa Barbara County is perfectly capable of prosecuting anyone they see fit for any perceived insults to their authority under the guise of code enforcement, and evidence to the contrary does not dissuade them from wasting county resources in pursuit of specious “justice”. The waste and incompetence are simply beyond the pale. Name withheld out of fear of corrupt local governmental authority.” – TLB)

Turning Off The News

Your response to my letter, http://montecitojournal.net/archive/13/21/1056/, showed little, if any logic:

1) I never mentioned anything comparing the speaking abilities of either Bush or Clinton. What was the relevance of this?

2) From stats I heard mentioned on consumer advocate Clark Howard's show, which wouldn't be too hard to dig up, the credit rating of the US under Bush and the war for oil in Iraq (and other parts of the "unsettled" Middle East), is approaching that of Third World countries – which has nothing to do with any recent elections, the "major media," or support from other nations.

Finally, Tony Blair's support of the Iraqi debacle disproves the real reason behind it? If anything, it sounds like maybe he should have been paying closer attention to why his countrymen want themselves removed from it.

I'm not "far left," support George Soros, nor hate the US, etc. I, like many others, am just tired of the pretentiousness of the situation and how it's dragging the country down, little by little by little. Maybe I should just completely turn off the news!

Sincerely,

Ben Burned

Montecito

(Publisher’s Note: Bush’s inability to orate his position correctly not only damages his own reputation but also that of the United States. I suggested that many of his positions or “lies” as you put it, are perceived incorrectly because Bush has difficulty articulating his position.

As far as the war dragging our country down, this has been the case in every war. As a whole, the citizens of the United States have had a long history of pacifism towards global conflict. Once engaged, public support waivers and diminishes as the war continues. But with the “mass media” reporting every mishap, casualty, and regression without ever, or rarely shedding some light on the situation, even an informed citizen can only hold support for so long. – TLB)