“Ruthie” Knows Everything

Great to see the picture of Ruth [Church] at Peabody’s. Ruthie, as she is known to the regulars, is the Jewel in the Crown of Peabody’s. She remembers everything. Your likes and dislikes, children’s names, even your birthday. You name it, Ruthie knows it and keeps Peabody’s humming with her smile and service.

It is so nice to see Ruth’s hard work recognized. She truly deserves credit for all she does.


Christina Allison


Getting High On Gas

In Montecito and Santa Barbara, the posted gas prices seem especially high. The reason given is that we are farther from the source.

An additional fact is that each gallon of gas is taxed at: 18.4% Federal, 35.3% State, 8.5% Sales, for a total of 62.2%.

This is amazing. It makes us think deeper about a lower cost of transportation... municipal buses, bicycles, efficient motor cycles, skates and skateboards and walking, etc.

The complexity of finding, refining, storage, shipping, etc., gives the oil industry only 6 cents per gallon profit.

The largest amount of available petroleum in the continental United States is in the Santa Barbara Channel.

New and advanced petroleum industry techniques make obtaining oil more secure.


G. Hebert


At The Indy With Andy

Dear Andy Granatelli: I'm definitely not looking to go to Indy... it would be a huge honor and treat of course, but there are tons of people far more appropriate for the honor than me... and I’m not a race guy. Hockey... yes, racing... not so much.

As a longtime Montecito resident coming to Santa Barbara from the Chicago area in 1965 to go to school and then remained... albeit with many meals at the Salvation Army in the process. I ended up living and developing property and raising my family in Montecito. So like Andy, I have much for which to be grateful regarding quality of life issues. I have observed your presence in the community from afar, but after James Buckley's column about you and the Indianapolis 500 (Editorial MJ # 17/19), I felt compelled to express an anonymous huge thumbs up. I admire anyone that is not only successful in their personal efforts, but who also wraps their arms around life in a very big way. So there. Good for you. I hope you appreciate yourself. You have the quiet respect of many people you do not know. No need to respond... just take it as it is intended, a legitimate compliment.

Enjoy Indy.

(Name not given)

Plastic Is A Problem

As a long time visitor to Santa Barbara for the past 40 years, I am saddened to see the attitude of Frank Hotchkiss towards the environment, one of Santa Barbara’s key assets, and his explanation of rationale for consumer “choice,” following very similar words that the tobacco industry has used for so many years to slow restrictions on smoking. The Ocean Conservancy has documented at least 270 species of marine and animal life that have been impacted by plastic in some form or another, including death.

Mr. Hotchkiss is correct in saying that polyethylene is not digestible, but it can still kill. The larger an item is that an animal might ingest, the more likely there will be physical damage to that animal. The smaller the pieces are, the more likely there will be chemical or toxic impacts to that organism. Plastic that makes its way to the ocean can act as a carrier for other toxins already in the water that adhere to plastic, and these toxins can then pass to the fatty tissue of the animal as the plastic passes through the digestive system.

The problem with plastic is that it does not go away, at least not in the lifetimes of the generations that are now being introduced to the planet. Bags in particular are responsible for deaths in developing countries where drains become clogged during large storms, and flood waters have nowhere to go. In other countries, agriculture is impacted because aqueducts become blocked by plastic bags. Most bags do not make it to the middle of the ocean, instead, they tend to sink well before that, and do damage where the majority of marine life is: near the coasts. Turtles are particularly vulnerable, as they mistake the bags for jellyfish, and cannot pass the bags through their stomachs.

There is no “body count” when animals die in the ocean due to plastic-related complications, because we will not see the result. Many beached whales in a number of countries, have recently been found to have tens of pounds of plastic in their stomachs when autopsies have been carried out. Plastic is not digestible, and that is part of the problem.

Montecito might not face some of these larger-scale issues due to the use of bags, but the indiscriminate use of plastic around the world, coupled with lagging infrastructure for waste management and recycling, means that our consumption and disposal habits have a long-lasting and building impact on the environment around us. It is time we calculate the true life cycle analysis of materials, including the longevity of impact well after the initial use, to determine if a product is safe for our communities. Daniel Goleman’s article about plastic is worth thinking about: http://www.zigs.me/1m5.


Doug Woodring

Hong Kong

(Editor’s note: Mr. Woodring is co-founder of Project Kaisei, a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) “Climate Hero” for the work it has done on issues related to the North Pacific Gyre and ocean pollution. UNEP’s 2011 Yearbook also focuses on three global environmental problems, one of which is Plastic in the Ocean. Project Kaisei is http://hqweb.unep.org/yearbook/2011/. Mr. Hotchkiss has declined to respond to the issues raised by MJ readers in response to his original Guest Editorial. – J.B.)

The “Birther” Issue

The document experts are going crazy over Obama’s released Birth Certificate. It is altered. The question is why? On purpose or not?

After many years examining documents I too find irregularities in this copy of Obama’s Birth certificate. First of all, is the fact that a stamp was used for the certification on April 25, 2011. Now normally a stamp would be used, but this was not normal. The President sent his agent to the Registrar to obtain the copy. Under such circumstances wouldn’t Alvin have signed it personally? Especially when the Attorney General of Hawaii, said, “ … not even the President of the United States could access the birth certificate.” His deputy said that just two days before April 25. I mean this would be a big deal. Moreover, the date on Alvin’s stamp is way off over to the left. That is odd since most are nearby. I have seen another where the stamp was just above Alvin’s name.

The 1961 date in the lower left hand corner is odd. Without a close analysis, I sense that all the typing was not done by the same machine. This would be consistent with a forgery. In 1961, with IBM typewriters, the typing began to be in perfect alignment, unless the paper was removed or repositioned. However this was probably not a Selectric. They were introduced just a month before this suspect date. They came out in July 1961. Document examiners look at the alignment factor then and still look at it, even with computers. For example in my business we have found several organic certificates that are fraudulent, by this method, even though they were done by computers.

The IBM Selectric was very computer-like because IBM made the print balls by the zillions. The print types were all the same. The older typewriters had characteristics that made one very different from another. Kind of like fingerprints. This needs to be examined with that in mind. Experts can tell you what kind of typewriter was used and whether or not it was all done on the same machine. The analysis below seems to say there was cut and paste. If so, the above expertise could spot it right now.

Hawaii is not known for being up to date with its equipment, so I suspect the typewriter was an older type with a clear signature. Having this in mind, when I look at the alignment, with just my eye, something is amiss. Wish I had the time and money to go deeper into it.

R. Siples


(Editor’s note: Mr. Siples is a former prosecutor. MJ editors have seen the so-called “Photo Shopped” long-form Birth Certificate. Our problem is that, while we too believe there was some reason to have withheld this document, we don’t believe it amounts to anything. The original reason, we understand, for the Constitutional requirement of being a “natural born Citizen” in order to become President was to avoid a situation as occurred in England when Parliament chose a non-English-speaking King George I from Hanover, in what is now Germany, to wear the English crown in order to bestow power to a non-Catholic. Although the press didn’t do its job of properly vetting him, the American people overwhelmingly chose Mr. Obama for the office. His mother was a “natural born Citizen” of the U.S., regardless of where her son was born, and that, it seems, should be good enough. – J.B.)