Due Process Required

By Montecito Journal   |   October 4, 2018

We enjoy the presumption of innocence in this country. It is by far the fairest way to handle a crime. Due process is the sign of a civilized people. My fear is we might be on the verge of losing it.

Ms (Christine Blasey) Ford’s allegations have put Judge Kavanaugh in a position that he is presumed guilty until proven innocent. I believe that the professor feels she was violated. By whom and what happened has yet to be determined. Politics aside, I hope no American loses their due process (or any other human being, for that matter).

Steve Marko
Santa Barbara

(Editor’s note: “Due Process” has been disregarded on campuses for the past two decades, perhaps even longer. Exacerbated by a couple of ridiculous “Dear Colleague” letters from President Obama, and an extended interpretation of the intent of “Title IX” mandating equality between female sports and male sports on college campuses, and presumably high schools too, “guilty until proven innocent” has become the norm in many such places, “due process” be damned. – J.B.)

Let’s Keep Judith Ishkanian

I have served on the board of the Santa Barbara Chapter of the Special Districts Association for several years along with Judith Ishkanian, whom I have found to be very knowledgeable and energetic. She is extremely careful about how she votes on a subject that will impact the ratepayers of her district both financially and from a service standpoint. At the same time, she is a team player and works well with other members of her board, always keeping in mind that her board works for its ratepayers.

A vote for Ms Ishkanian will help assure that the Montecito Sanitary District will be an asset to the Montecito community.

George W. Emerson

(Editor’s note: Mr. Emerson is a Goleta Sanitary District Board member.)

Is America Doomed?

Is the left-leaning Democrat Party the number-one enemy of America? Is this seemingly lawless, soulless party intent on destroying our republic, the Constitution, and our individual rights? Their actions during the last few years highlight who they are. Our children are brainwashed in schools, the mainstream media spreads their propaganda, those with opposing views are censored (social media), and they target anyone who gets in their way (Trump, Kavanaugh).

During and after the last election, intelligence agencies and FISA courts were used to attack President Trump. Most recently, the left has weaponized the process for appointing a Supreme Court justice. Their goal: destroy Judge Kavanaugh and his family, thereby giving the president and his supporters the finger. Never mind that Dems have convicted him by accusation, with no proof or collaboration. This is all about the quest for power.

The question of the day, will Americans stand up to the tyranny of the Democrat Party and the left? If not, America and everything it stands for is doomed.

Diana Thorn

(Editor’s note: We hate to leave questions hanging in the letters section, so we’ll address it this way: We’ve been of a mind that the best thing for Republicans – and President Trump – to do would be to forestall a vote on Mr. Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court until after the November election. It’s a gamble, but one worth taking and one that will likely rebound to Republicans’ advantage. – J.B.)

Go, Woody and Brian

Thank you for your continuing coverage of the serious water challenges facing our community. It seems quite clear that we need to become better stewards of our environment and more sustainable. We are fortunate to know two of the candidates in the upcoming election who are campaigning on these issues. Woody Barrett, who is running for a seat on the Sanitary District Board, has been our neighbor and friend for years. We have gotten to know Brian Goebel, who is running for the Water District Board, as a parent at Santa Barbara High School. These candidates have immersed themselves in the issues and put together a comprehensive strategy for achieving water security – something that has been lacking in our community for more than a decade. We are grateful to have such thoughtful and dedicated members of the community running for these positions at such an important time for Montecito and its future. We look forward to voting for Woody and Brian in November, as well as the other members of the Water Security Team. It’s time for a change.

Annie and Steve Yungling

Egg Hunting

With the help of my shrink, I have recovered a memory from 36 years ago: Dianne Feinstein was the Easter Bunny and she stole all my Easter eggs. Now I want her tried in the court of public opinion and hounded from the Senate by a pack of wild dogs. Of course, I have no corroborating evidence, but isn’t the accusation enough?

Guy Strickland

In The Family

I read with interest a letter (“Triple Threat,” MJ #24/37) about the triplets at MUS. Parents often try to choose the teacher when possible in any school situation. It never occurred to me that there would be a school policy to automatically separate twins or triplets, identical or not. Most siblings are singles and one or more years apart, so the problem(?) or idea of being in the same class does not come up unless grades are combined in certain instances, or there is a one-room classroom where all grades and ages are together. The children do not have to sit next to each other, but I see no inherent problem with being in the same classroom with the same teacher, learning the same curriculum, taking the same tests. Is it all about comparison statistics, such as grades of one sibling compared to the grades of the other(s) on a test? Perceived competition or rivalry between siblings?

Teaching is not an easy task. I guess I would like to hear other perspectives. The writer certainly gave research evidence that the sibling bonding is a help in early learning. Siblings will naturally drift into their own friendships over time, but the security of being family is worth a great deal in keeping one’s self esteem all through life.

Paulina Conn

A Price to Pay

Our Progressive-Liberal-Democrat Santa Barbara City Council, with their all-knowing and Liberal-Progressive inspired dogma and regulation desires, are moving against not only plastic straws, but yes, swizzle sticks. They must really go all out, if they are to be called Liberal Progressives. They must ban plastic bottles of every type, as well as all plastic medical containers and instruments, and all plastic bags of any nature.

To be true to their Liberal-Progressive creed, they must ban all petroleum-based products of any nature or be called Liberal Progressive selective hypocrites. Let us hope that with their all-knowing wisdom and their desire to regulate us – who they perceive to be stupid and incapable of Liberal-Progressive thinking – that they can resolve the City’s many problems, such as: the projected fiscal budget deficits for 2017-18 and 2018-19; our multi-million-dollar deferred infrastructure problem and the costs related thereto; the public employee pension fund problem, as advised by the grand jury; and the lower State Street area declining social and economical problems, and lost taxes and property values related thereto.

Let’s hope their promotion of marijuana sales is not a bong or pipe dream and brings their touted millions of dollars in sales taxes, and not an increase in the drug dependency and criminal problems of our citizens, especially our youth.

What price stupidity? 

H.T. Bryan
Santa Barbara

(Editor’s note: Politicians don’t win votes or admiration by doing the right thing. They win votes by catering to groups of people clamoring for government largesse. If a politician answers the call of “more for my group, my cause, me, me, me,” enough times, he or she may get a building named after them, sometimes even a street. But if they dare spend their time trying to balance spending with income, they’ll be pilloried and run out of town quickly and ignominiously. So, stupidity, in fact, has no price. It is priceless. – J.B.)

Signs of the Times

Here we go again… I was concerned coming off the freeway at Jameson and Sheffield seeing the overkill of big and little signs. These signs are a blight to the community – please take down the super-size signs.

John Venable

Crisis Wasting

Take a moment and think about how many of our elected officials, from local agencies all the way to the President of the United States, can you say you totally respect and that they have done a good job for the people they represent. For me, that list is pretty short.

To have elected officials who have been totally above-board, run their department efficiently, and provide a quality service for the community is rare. We are lucky in Montecito to have the following directors overseeing the Montecito Sanitation District: Judy Ishkanian, Robert Williams, Thomas Kern, Jeffery Kerns, and Walter Owens. I’m sure most of you have come in contact with one or more of these directors who have contributed greatly to the Montecito community through their work on the Montecito Association, Neighborhood Defense League, and many nonprofits. 

I think most of you would agree that the Montecito Water District (MWD) has had its management problems. Those problems have led to higher and higher prices, and little progress has been made to join the City of Santa Barbara on desalination. The MWD is involved in a few lawsuits over the release of 9 million gallons of water from storage tanks during the mudslide because their backup generators were off-line. Not something to be proud of.

There is a local group called The Water Security Team running a slate of new candidates for the Montecito Water Board. Unfortunately, this group is also running two candidates for the Sanitary District Board. They have a budget over $100,000 to run their candidates in these elections. That money dwarfs anything raised by the current Directors running for re-election. We will be inundated by campaign baloney over the few weeks.

So, what’s going on here? The Montecito Water District is in poor financial shape, and the Montecito Sanitation District has a stellar financial rating and good reserves. The Sanitation District is run very efficiently and provides the community a great service. I think the Water Security Team feels that if they get control of the Sanitation District, they can have access to their money and land. They may even think that if the districts are combined, it would will be easier to petition LAFCO for Montecito City hood. The big problem with this is we may be stuck with the same MWD management that screwed up in the first place. 

Remember Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s first chief of staff, famously saying, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” We have a water crisis, but let’s not throw out terrific members of the Sanitary District Board.

Richard Nordlund

Seriousness of the Charges

It’s all politics and the story is so full of holes (no evidence, no corroboration), even The New York Times, which is dying to run the story, can’t, and won’t put its weight and signature behind it because it’s made up out of thin air and whole cloth, for the sole purpose of destroying any chance a decent, honorable conservative, strict-constructionist jurist has of being seated on the High Bench. While doing so, the perpetrators behind this fraud are destroying the reputation and career of an innocent man, while making him suspect in the eyes of his own family and those who work with him.

But the Left doesn’t care. All they care about is winning. And it’s the dirty olive atop a Grey Goose vodka martini if they can destroy a man (Kavanaugh) in the process whose ideas and ideals they despise, as much as the nation he loves, supports, and defends.

The amount of hate and vitriol present in the Left’s derangement to rid the nation of Kavanaugh’s High Court nomination is a direct coefficient of how much hate and vitriol the Left has for the United States of America.

Naturally, what the Left is working to have happen is for the wimpy, objective, fair-minded Republican Senate leaders to cave in the face of this unprecedented onslaught against the Rule of Law in this modern age. They don’t have the aggressiveness and supine of The Trumpsters to stand erect in the face of this military assault against their very being.

There is great risk in whatever the Republican leadership decides to do. 

If they “table” the whole nomination, the whole Republican establishment will, one way or other, pay a horrible price. It’s true some voters may be so enraged over this revolutionary coup d’état that they may turn out en masse in November and vote anti-Democrat. More likely, however, is that voters who owe their allegiance first to President Trump rather than Washington, D.C., congressional Republicans will be disillusioned and lose interest in supporting a Republican establishment that doesn’t have the brass ‘nads to stand up to people willfully tearing apart the fabric of the very society that makes the U.S. so attractive to the rest of the world.

If Republicans can’t draw a line in the sand and stand behind the very people the nation needs to buttress the principles and practices that make America “America”…

…Then, what good are they?

There are two kinds of people America doesn’t need…

…People who wantonly hate this country and wish to tear it apart…

…and people who don’t have the stomach and the testicles to toe-the-line against these Fifth Columnists and do what’s necessary to win.

These are dramatic times. This is a “s**t-or-get-off-the-pot” defining moment for everybody, not just for the people in the limelight and hot seat.


David S. McCalmont
Santa Barbara

What is Patriotism?

I wouldn’t conflate failing to show patriotism through song or pledge with disrespecting anyone serving in the military. I agree that dissent is the highest form of patriotism (various attributions). 

What does patriotism mean to you? 

Is there a difference between country and government? 

Is American “exceptionalism” a birthright, or are there exceptional people throughout the world? If you claim to be patriotic or “proud to be American,” does that mean you agree with most everything your government does: war, drug war, unfair taxation, agribusiness subsidies, protective tariffs, immigration policy, welfare, corporate welfare, bank bailouts? Or, you remain staunchly patriotic when, as we almost endlessly witness, dishonesty and incompetence among ranking government officials and bureaucrats? Perhaps you think it will be almost perfect if only the people you wish to elect win office? Are you a patriot at all times, no matter what? 

Are you patriotic to your government, or to personal ideals your government may have once represented? Based on history and/or mythology, would you be patriotic to your country/government, no matter how her leaders perform in the future? Would it be patriotic to die for your country somewhere abroad, on a mission you didn’t understand or ended in disaster? The military demands blind obedience to the chain of command. The president is the commander in chief. Whatever he says, goes. Do you believe that it’s wise to allow a single elected person (perhaps not your choice) to engage the military in lethal combat? What have we learned from history from Viet Nam through Afghanistan? 

I am loyal to ideals I believe serve the best interests of my fellow beings and myself. To the extent the government I did not choose represents those values, I will support that government. To the extent it does not, I will object. Though once blindly patriotic, I now oppose the bulk and manner of government undertakings. To be clear, I will always support and respect those who serve in the military. I just happen to believe, perhaps despite good intentions, their commanders too often sacrifice them on destructive and/or counterproductive missions. 

It’s nearly the same around the globe: nations indoctrinate their youth from kindergarten forward to pledge allegiance, sing anthems, and obey state authority. As a young infantryman, I choked up reading the inspirational “I am the Infantry, Queen of Battle!” to my father.

Now, I wonder why we can’t all just get along?

Steve King

(Editor’s note: Interesting you bring this subject up, Mr. King. I’ve been traveling in Europe for the past month and a half, and have just visited Corfu, Montenegro, Croatia, and am about to descend upon Slovenia in the morning. The one thing that caught my attention was the dedication of the various men (and women) to their countries. Croatia, in particular, suffered tremendously after the collapse of the Soviet Union and when I asked our guide, Ana, who was born in Croatia, what that “war” in the 1990s was all about, she couldn’t really say, though she had relatives who got caught up in it and were jailed for extended periods. All we can say is it sure would be nice if we could “all just get along,” but I don’t believe the Croatians are ready to give up sovereignty to the “invading forces” from Serbia anytime soon. And I, for one, can’t blame them. – J.B.)

You are What You Drink

We have a unique community here in Montecito and thus should be able to better control our small universe, unlike a place such as Flint, Michigan. But, control requires informed and highly directed input. I’m not sure that level of input is coming through from the various contending groups vying for office on the boards of MWD and MSD.

This paucity of discussion is exacerbated by ignoring the current but antiquated water quality standards. These standards are based on an old premise, not current reality. Water quality standards were based on an assumption that water remains pure after it falls from the sky onto clean forests, thence exiting to streams, infiltrating ground water and finally spilling into the ocean. That picture, for many drainage basins, is now a myth.

These standards were never thought to deal with all that comes through in using sewage as a source. Unfortunately, the current water quality standards are still built on and maintained by an assuming the validity of this old dogmatic myth. They do not reflect the new normals of en-trained xenobiotics-contaminants. Thus, between the old dogma and the new normal lies the challenge. It is critical for those running for office to have a good grasp of the deficiencies in current standards. I have not seen much, if any, evidence of this grasp in the various statements coming from candidates

Water pollution, if you had not realized it, is also a political-economic issue, and any discussion and ultimate result will therefore rest upon partisan decisions. Because of this, it is critical to understand what the pragmatic agenda versus normative, might be behind some of the consortiums advocating change. Are they capable of discussing pollution levels and how such might impact water quality, your health, hence costs?

Pollution may continue but remain unrecognized or be unimportant to those living in an affected area. It only reaches a social issue when deterioration becomes: 1) recognized and 2) some level of action is required. However, until that level of action brings about conflict, pollution has not become a problem and regulators are not attracted. As shown by the Hartwell California Supreme Court case in water, even if the level of pollution may bring in claims of wrongful death, is there the ability of rate-payers to obtain change? It appears not. Thus, who is elected to these boards and their capacity to effectively deal with water sources and pollution becomes critical.

Those advocating innovation will argue that, far from being finite, water actually becomes cheaper and more plentiful as technology finds and creates new resources and uses existing resources more efficiently—e.g., Desal or reclaimed sewer water. In this context, degradation of water exists, but taken as a whole – it is unimportant. The more technically advanced society becomes, the less it is dependent upon the natural endowments and processes. 

This obviates the need to keep all water supplies at the drinking-water quality level or aquatic life sustenance level, unless there is some “economic” value to that aquatic life.

For drinking water, for-profit agencies may see themselves shifting from selling water as a product to selling water only as a service. This may obviate part of the problems associated with liability. As noted above, an interesting court case, if you had not seen it, is Hartwell. A very cogent analysis of the impacts to water companies from Hartwell. That case might throw a wrench into the system for any user demand for quality control, given the current standards are vastly unrepresentative of what is likely to be in the water you drink.

Edo McGowan


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