(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, P.O. Box 50015, Montecito, CA. 93150. You can also FAX such mail to: (805) 969-6654, or E-mail to Tim@montecitojournal.net)

In the Hot Seat

This in response to Michael Jaffe’s letter defending the position of the Voices of Montecito (montecitojournal.net/archive/13/4/684/). As a 33-year Montecito resident and homeowner, I respect Mr. Jaffe’s opinions with reference to what he believes. I hope Mr. Jaffe will take note in respecting my concerns in preserving and maintaining the semi-rural character of Montecito.

Cases in point: where were the “Voices of Montecito” when recently,

1. A veterinarian attempted to get a variance for an animal hospital on Greenworth Place, a residentially zoned property?

2. Ty Warner attempted to commercialize the “Breakers,” zoned residential with certain restrictions?

3. A Utility Company, under an encroachment permit, allowed for an underground facility with no air-conditioning units mentioned. When the installation was installed, the facility was four feet above ground with two two-ton air-conditioning units 20 feet from my neighbor’s bedroom?

4. County Planning and Development Department proposed eliminating “Article Four,” our almost 80-year-old historic and unique zoning ordinance that protects our semi-rural residential character?

5. The proposal was made to ban alcohol on Butterfly Beach?

6. Bill Palladini and Ted Tedesco diligently worked with County Public Works Staff on Montecito traffic and safety thresholds?

7. Cingular Cellular proposed a 50-foot cell tower next to Cold Spring School?

8. Residents got together for Montecito Beautification Day, cleaning up the streets, lots, freeway entrances and beaches?

9. The Village Fourth parade and party was held?

The Montecito Association was involved in all these projects. This is just a sample of the multitude of donated time and energy “Association” directors and members unselfishly give for the benefit of the community. Their main goal has always been to protect and maintain the integrity of the semi-rural character of Montecito.

Mr. Jaffe, two vocal nitpickers supporting your organization don’t even live in the district represented by the Montecito Association and the Montecito Planning Commission. One lives on Toro Canyon and the other in the City of Santa Barbara.

I wonder why the Voices of Montecito have ignored most of the issues vital to the welfare of the Montecito community? Why, all of a sudden, the Voices became so proactive on only one issue, the Butterfly Beach stairs?

Mr. Jaffe, democracy allows us to express our views, but it also requires citizens to be informed before they try to make radical changes to the process and the laws.

Harry Hovey

Montecito

(Publisher’s Note: The Montecito Association has proven its value. The Voices of Montecito, we believe, is attempting to remove the perceived arbitrariness of decisions made by Association board members, and to give applicants more power to protect themselves from those arbitrary decisions. If an applicant appears with plans that meet all written requirements, the plan deserves to be approved. If a variance is requested – and it often is – only that portion of the plan requiring a variance should be scrutinized. From what we’ve witnessed during Ty Warner’s long appeal process with his spa operation, the Coral Casino restoration, and the Channel Drive bike path, one person – often drawing upon taxpayer money – can delay a project indefinitely, causing not only unnecessary delay but more importantly, costing the applicant a lot of money. There is something wrong with that. The Voices of Montecito was formed to address that situation and others like it. – TLB)

GOP Tar Pit

So, our brilliant Commander in Chief is once again showing off his military genius with a “surge” of 21,000 troops into Baghdad. Being a lowly ex-enlisted man I cannot hope to understand how this number of troops, in a city of over 6 million, is going to do anything other than make for more inviting sniper targets and annoy the population with traffic-clogging roadblocks, but no doubt the brain trust at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue has carefully calculated this move as the latest needed to insure Mission Accomplished.

The Republican spin is that our fearless leader is still striving for victory while the “do nothing Democrats” are offering nothing but criticism. As a member of the “do nothing” camp allow me to tell you why we are so quiet on this issue.

Have you ever visited the La Brea tar pits? The President and the entire Republican Party are like a giant animal (make it an elephant if you want) helplessly stuck in the muck, flailing about and slowly, oh soooo slowly, sinking into a dark netherworld. Like someone serving life without the possibility of parole, they have only limited options: suicide or life in prison; or, in this case, admitting the colossal four-years-and-counting-stupidity of the entire Iraq fiasco including all the lies, the deceit, the spin and the subterfuge. In short, an unimaginable mea culpa that basically admits the world was better off with Saddam Hussein in power than it is now.

So, with our adversary slowly sinking, why should we, the so-called do-nothing-cut-and-run-Democrats, throw them a life preserver? After all, during their years in power, the Republicans certainly showed our side no consideration or common courtesy. Indeed, the Republicans viewed these years as a golden opportunity to consolidate power and they went about it with utter ruthlessness. My oh my, how distant it must seem, to the GOP faithful, those giddy days when Karl Rove and Tom Delay went about architecturing the “permanent Republican majority.”

That is why we are silent. With two years until the next major election the Republicans can, as far as we are concerned, continue to slowly sink until their nostrils drop below the surface and they asphyxiate in a quicksand of their own making.

The Grand Old Party will be reborn but hopefully it will be with honorable men and woman like Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, Barry Goldwater, Sandra Day O’Connor and Gerald Ford, not the slimy, jugular-chomping, wedge-issue hunters, exuders of phony piousness, shameless scoundrels that have led the Republican Party for the last dozen years.

Good luck in the tar pit and remember the first rule of survival in such a situation: the more you struggle, the quicker you sink…surge indeed.

David Bostick

Montecito

(Publisher’s Note: Holy Hell! Yes the “jugular chomping shameless scoundrels” will soon leave and the demure decent dedicated Dems return to direct the fate of our nation. We prepare to say goodbye to a booming economy and tax fairness, and say hello to confiscation and control in ‘08. Folks like me just pray there will be something left after your spending debacle, when chastened Republicans are called upon – once again – to set things right. – TLB)

Doggie Bags

So tired of people screaming with red face when my female dog pees and they think it is #2 and I am not picking up.

Not one dog complainer ever says a word about the thousands of homeless methamphetamine-laced poops deposited in the creeks 365 days a year. Could it be that they are brave bullies to poodles but are afraid to confront dangerous homeless druggies? Why isn't there a campaign to get the homeless to use "doggie bags" instead of ignoring the problem. I heard that within a short time all the ocean fish will be too polluted to eat at all, not the poodles’ fault. I don't want to pay for bathrooms either but even people out for all-day excursions pollute the land and blame the poodles.

Be fair and look at the total problem not just the small percentage of non picker-uppers.

Pam Rochell

Montecito

(Publisher’s Note: Being a dog owner, I understand your frustration. On the other hand, dog owners abused their beach privileges by not picking up poop and letting dogs bother beachgoers to a point that an ordinance was passed requiring dogs to be on a leash at all times. Whether it is humans’ or pets’, placing hazardous waste in a trashcan makes life better for us all. – TLB)

Montecito Sidewalks

In the past I have cut you a whole lot of slack where it comes expressing your attitudes about private property. But sidewalks are public and their use is highly legislated under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

I wrote you years ago before improvements began on Coast Village Road and the your readers started grumbling about the potential loss of parking spots. Emphasizing that accessible sidewalks are protected under Federal Law and that all new construction must comply with their guidelines.

This is not an issue that Montecito has influence. And it has little to do with what you like or think looks good or don't agree with on some principle.

Would you like to tell the government that "they are wrong in suggesting that kind of improvement?”

You can no longer use your Montecito Association or your Homeowners Defense Fund to defy Laws. It's not nice.

As an "interest group" some of us with mobility concerns are waiting to see how the Voices of Montecito interprets "democracy.” There are larger issues at stake.

Karen Friedman

Carpinteria

(Publisher’s Note: Actually, yes, I would love to tell the government that they “are wrong in suggesting that kind of improvement”; it is my right as a citizen of the United States. Whether you agree or disagree, it is entirely up to you. Remember, no matter how big and omni-powerful the government is, it is still comprised by people like you and me and should be kept in check. Without civilian criticism, our tax rate would be sky high, alcohol would be prohibited, and the civil rights movement may have never happened. Do you trust every governmental suggestion? – TLB)

Immigration Insanity

A recently disclosed agreement made by the Bush administration with Mexico provides for illegal aliens to claim full Social Security benefits for the time they worked under false documentation. Not yet submitted to Congress, it is apparently going to be part of the legislation to give amnesty to illegals, restoring the full amount of credit to a legitimized account status. It is not clear just how this can be done, i.e., debiting the bogus account, providing it can be found, restoring the paperwork that has been destroyed to cover fraudulent employment records, etc.

For a Social Security fund that is heading toward bankruptcy, this is like throwing water to a drowning man, let alone lacking in any sort of rational thought process. The Social Security Protection Act of 2004 clearly prevents illegals from obtaining benefits, but who knows the ways of our legislators in dealing with a chance to enhance their status within a group of millions? In any event we have reached a new level of political insanity.

Roy Stier

Santa Barbara

(Publisher’s Note: If Social Security is what it purports to be – a forced retirement saving program – then anyone that has paid into it should have access to his portion of it, regardless of his legal status. The problem, as we see it, is sending Social Security checks to people that have contributed almost nothing to the fund. – TLB)

Columnist Wanted

My husband and I have enjoyed reading the Journal since its inception. I was recently looking through some old articles that I had cut out from various newspapers and periodicals regarding how to improve relationships with others and how to improve oneself. One of the articles that I found was by Dr. Peter Brill, one of my favorite columnists at the Journal in the past. His column dealt with those of use who are in "The Third Age,” i.e., retirement. I certainly would enjoy reading a column by him again. If that is not possible, I am sure that there is an expert in the community that would like to share his or her wisdom in this area.

Leslie White

Montecito

(Publisher’s Note: Thank you for the letter. Dr. Brill is a busy man and has not found the time to continue his column. We realize the interest in the subject, so if you are anyone reading this has an idea along those lines, please e-mail tim@montecitojournal.net, or call 565-1860. – TLB)