(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)

Montecito Market Magic

I believe Montecito Village Grocery needs to pay more attention to its store. It is worn and in need of a serious upgrade. Why not upscale the market? There is a big demand for a specialty store of this type in this area and a new store could fill this void.

We love your butcher and the entire meat selection.

Thank you,

Montecito Neighbor

(Publisher’s Note: Well, Montecito Village Grocery is an older version of the type of local mom-and-pop grocery store that became a “supermarket.” The genre has continued to grow ever bigger, and units have transformed into mega-markets, hyper-markets, and big-box bonanzas, or whatever. In the meantime, Montecito Village Grocery pokes along in its friendly, small-town kind of way. Montecito does not need an “upscale” anything. We pray that Whole Foods-Gelsen’s-Pavilion-Bristol Farms developers stay as far away as possible from this village. Three cheers for old, steady, reliable, funky, friendly, and sometimes less than efficient Montecito Village Grocery store. – TLB)

We Did It!

Well, we did it! Our team of 8 local men set a new record in the Race Across America in the 60+ age division. They made it 3,052 miles across the country in 7 days, 7 hours and 40 minutes. Their average speed was 17.32 miles per hour.

It was an amazing experience, although it was tough physically, mentally and emotionally.

On behalf of our entire team, we want to thank you for helping get the RAAM story out. Having he support of the community really helped us achieve our goal. Your coverage was vital in making that happen.

With our heartfelt appreciation,

Debby Davison Phelps and friends

Montecito

(Publisher’s Note: Congratulations! Here’s hoping you stopped along the way to admire the scenery and smell the alfalfa – TLB)

Paying Tribute to Montecito Moms

In Response to Celeste Scheinberg’s piece “Montecito Moms…in Motion” (montecitojournal.net/archive/13/22/1082/):

Three Cheers for those beautiful moms of Montecito and power to them.

Hooray to Montecito Journal for calling attention to those wonderful gals, who are not only doing a great job of raising classy kids and good citizens, but at the same time are working for the betterment of the community and our local schools.

I just love seeing them dropping off and picking up their kids as I travel on San Ysidro Road. These women are the pillars of Montecito and the glue that holds our community together. They constitute one of the main reasons I continue to live here, since 1961, although all of my children are well past school age.

Montecito remains an island of sanity on the South Coast, although great citizens such as Congressman Bob Lagomarsino, Supervisor George Bliss and Mayor Don MacGillivray have passed from the scene.

Now we are more affected by the goofy liberal syndrome, but there is still hope among family-minded parents.

You can be assured that I will spend my efforts paying homage to these great women who are raising our kids, doing volunteer work, and still have time, because of their strength, intelligence and love of family and community, to continue to make Montecito a great place to live and work.

Most sincerely,

Bryon M. Ishkanian

Montecito

(Publisher’s Note: “Passed from the scene” isn’t the same as “passed away”; Mr. Lagomarsino and his wife now live in Ventura and George Bliss continues to live in Montecito and attends many local social functions! – TLB)

Give Me More Grace

The articles by Grace Rachow are extraordinarily funny. I have a rather high threshold for humor, but Rachow vaults it Gracefully. I regularly find myself forwarding copies of her column to my friends.

To paraphrase a famous author: “Please sir, may we have some more?”

Robert Bannister

Lompoc

(Publisher’s Note: For the safety of our readers, Grace is only published once a month. Recent studies have found her articles so funny that prolonged exposure to her articles may cause crying, respiratory failure, abdominal cramping and in rare cases, impotence. – TLB)

High On Ethanol

Regarding “Debunking Biofuels” May 31, We have some observations; After having some initial basic facts reasonably in order, William Korchinski then added questionable and false information.

Some facts he missed:

On Farming: With good, advanced farming practices, soil is replenished and nourished; that is why even more food gets grown, with less labor, on the same acre today than 40 or 400 years ago. (The long used “slash and burn” techniques by the natives in the Amazon do not do so well.)

The 18-24 inches of water used to grow corn usually comes from normal rainfall in the “corn belt.”

The statement that ethanol plants “use 30-37 gallons of industrial water per gallon of ethanol” is simply false. Dry mill ethanol plants (about 80% of those in use and 100% of those being built) transfer about 4-5 gallons of water per gallon of ethanol to mostly water vapor in cooling towers and steam to warm and process the corn “beer.” Some of the water stays in the moist cattle food. Most plants recycle the processed water.

The American Ethanol Laguna plant near Santa Maria will be using Laguna Sanitation District waste water from homes and businesses and recycling all of it, including any storm water run off. We will use about 3.0 gallons of sanitation district discharge water for each gallon of alcohol that the U.S. Government will happily tax as “booze’ at $27 per gallon unless we add a little gasoline and call it fuel grade ethanol.

Our discharge water should be less than that of washing a car or that one person uses a day in normal life, and is designed to be zero.

The statement that ethanol plants produce as much waste water as a medium size city is simply false.

Ethanol, without the gasoline, if water, ice, and a twist of lime is added, is quite socially popular and has been brewed since the earliest recorded history.

The positive energy balance of ethanol is well documented. Perhaps the writer is also unaware that one gallon of gasoline takes two gallons of oil. After refining, the net BTU loss for gasoline is about 24% vs. a net BTU gain of 30-70% for corn ethanol and even higher for sugar beet or sugar cane feed stocks and is expected to improve further.

Oil-based fuels “formed automatically 500 million years ago” are about 50% used up after only 100 years of transportation use. Demand is increasing in China, India, and other countries. We can wait another “500 million years” for more of it, or grow crops every year to make a cleaner fuel and extend what is left of the world’s oil supply.

Scientific American, in an energy issue last year, indicated that transforming only one-sixth of the world’s current ag land to grow bio fuel feed stock could produce enough fuel to run 2 billion cars (assuming by then that cars will average 60 mpg). That is more cars than have ever been made.

Ethanol and other renewable fuels are good and are a responsible part of the energy transportation fuels mix.

David Baskett

President, American Ethanol

(Publisher’s Note: We’re sure Mr. Korchinski will address these issues in a follow-up article – TLB)

The High Price of Stigmatizing Immigrant Learners

A recent article in Montecito Journal entitled “The High Price of English 101” by Randy Alcorn, a Senior Writing Fellow for Californians for Population Stabilization, raises an important question: in times of scarce resources, how can we best support immigrant children to acquire the English and academic skills necessary to succeed in American society in the most cost-effective way? In this article, he argues that U.S. economic resources such as educational services for English language learners are being depleted by “massive foreign immigration.” He suggests that the cost of social services for immigrants outweighs the benefits of their societal contributions and that the low academic performance of children of immigrants, particularly in English language development, is due to their lack of interest and motivation. Unfortunately, the spread of such inaccuracies as found in Mr. Alcorn’s arguments seem to distract us from addressing the real and more important issue of how to effectively educate all American children despite differing needs.

First, given the fact that the majority of Americans are descendents of immigrants, it is paradoxical that the basis of Mr. Alcorn’s entire argument seems to stem from an “us” versus “them” mentality. Most immigrant children are not the “other,” but are American children. A recent report by the Foundation for Child Development states that among the 69 million children of immigrants who were identified as having at least one foreign-born parent, 79% are U.S.-born citizens, giving us the legal as well as moral and ethical obligation to educate them. Thus, the majority of immigrant children are legal citizens.

However, throughout Mr. Alcorn’s article, all immigrants are nuanced as being illegal and depicted as unwanted contributors to this society. He points his finger to the “desperate, illegal immigrants’ willingness to work for far lower wages” as the problem rather than at the employers who employ these laborers and fail to pay these workers appropriately for their labor. Although the article presents a sketching of a cost-benefits analysis to argue for the negative impact of immigration on our economy, it must be noted that such analyses are not 100% accurate due to the uncertainties in some of the basic data such as the numbers of illegal immigrants in this country. Depending on which statistics are used, which agency the figures come from, and how they are presented and interpreted, the data can be interpreted to make equally convincing arguments about the positive economic impact of immigration. However, regardless of which side one argues from, one undeniable fact is that the investments in immigrant children’s education are a direct investment in our future workforce.

Secondly, throughout history, there has been a continuous fear with every wave of immigration that immigrants will not learn English and will resist assimilation into the mainstream culture. However, lessons learned from over two centuries of immigration tell us that this apparent fear is based on prejudice and biases rather than facts. By the second generation, it is rare to see an individual who has not learned to speak English fluently, and by the third generation, it is rare to see an individual who can fluently speak the heritage language. We cannot confuse the ability to speak and function within a community that uses a language other than English with a lack of desire and ability to learn English.

Finally, the arguments that immigrant children are failing in schools and that their failure is caused by a lack of interest in education, especially among Hispanic children, illustrate a very limited and naïve understanding of educational processes and contexts. Most immigrant parents make great sacrifices to come to the US to provide their children with what they believe to be a better education, better life, and better opportunities for success. We often place judgmental evaluations of people from different cultures based on our own expectations and cultural ways. When Mexican parents, for example, work multiple jobs, rather than take the time to volunteer in their children’s classrooms, they are seen as not having an interest in their children’s education, when, in fact, they are working so that their children can have an education. When immigrant parents, who lack an understanding of the American educational system and are not proficient in English, do not provide academic support with their children’s homework, they are seen as not valuing education. It is a grave societal misperception to think that immigrants lack motivation in education and are satisfied with low skilled-jobs for their children. In fact, one of the top reasons for immigration to the U.S. is to provide their children with a better education so that they can have better futures.

Finding the solution for the best way to allocate resources for the most efficient and effective education of all American children is far from resolved. However, before we can make any constructive progress toward this goal, certain myths, such as those outlined in Mr. Alcorn’s article, must be dispelled, so that debate, arguments, and potential solutions are based on facts and research findings, not on inflammatory rhetoric and thinly veiled racism.

Immigrants should not be viewed simply as low-wage workers; they are consumers of goods and services that help spur our economy; they are our neighbors, friends, colleagues that provide rich cultural and linguistic diversity we enjoy on a daily basis; and they are a significant and critical part of our societal future. Rather than promoting public policies to take away resources for the most vulnerable members of society, we need to develop cooperative initiatives with local, state, and federal officials to allocate more sufficient resources to meet the needs of our American newcomers. As Americans, most of us gained our beginnings from the educational and social services that were available to our immigrant forefathers; thus, to suggest a policy of disinvestment for the current immigrants is not only hypocritical, but threatens the heart of our nation’s democracy.

Contribution by members of Gevirtz Graduate School of Education, UC Santa Barbara, ED 270H Class: Kevin Hooge, Ravy Lao, Jeanette Maduena, Jude Mikal, Vivian Rhone, Haiping Wu, and Jin Sook Lee.

(Publisher’s Note: Why is it when people raise objection to the massive and illegal flow of immigration – mostly from Mexico – that is turning the U.S. way of life upside down, charges of “racism” begin to fly? Does anyone doubt that if Mexico were the 51st state it would be among the most successful and prosperous in the union? Or, that there would be more migration heading towards Mexico than away from it? This has nothing to do with racism; people are pouring north across the southern border because the Mexican government is corrupt and incapable of correcting itself; that shouldn’t be our problem, but it has become so. – TLB)