Water Woes Revisited

By Montecito Journal   |   January 17, 2019

Is the drought over for a while?
None of us knows.
Is water security important?
Of course.

Is this security worth having your monthly water bills increase a quarter to a third more? If your average monthly water bill is $150, how happy will you feel if it goes to $200 a month, especially during normal rain times such as now when you use less water and expect your bills to be less.

It’s important you attend Montecito Water District Board Meetings.

This is primarily what my dispute with Bob Hazard is over. As Associate Editor of the Montecito Journal he gets broad coverage of his views. He helped select, encourage, and finance the five members currently on the Water District Board. He helped raise over $200,000 to get them elected. His group hired the General Manager of the Montecito Association to run their campaign. The same Montecito Association who refused to give us a public meeting as they did for the election two years ago. With only 4,600 water meters in the District, and a large number of people not voting here, no wonder his candidates won.

I felt it was immoral to spend the amount of money they did, especially since it takes only three votes to pass any measure on the five-member Water Board. He already had two board seats from the last election and needed only one more. I spent less than $2,000 on my campaign. Could this have anything to do with me getting fewer votes? 

In the last election, Mr. Hazard needed only one more of the three open Board seats to have his group control the Board. I was the only non-Hazard candidate running. Why was there such a need to have no one with possibly opposite opinions on the Board?

The current rain means that the community will be using less water. Unfortunately, most of the Water District’s bills are fixed, such as for plant and pipes. Otherwise, why doesn’t the new five-member Hazard Water Board reduce your rates?

It’s because they can’t. The money is needed.

In all of his writings, Mr. Hazard has not mentioned the additional cost to the ratepayers of the quarter-billion-dollar 50-year contract for the City’s desalinated water he wants his new Board to sign. Nor has he mentioned the additional cost of the recycled wastewater project he wants his new Board to approve that will primarily benefit the two private golf courses.

A new Water District rate study has been in the works for about a year. If the desal and wastewater projects are passed, your new water bills will greatly increase. Montecito Water District ratepayers need to attend the Board meetings so that they can understand what is going on, and give their input. Maybe the security is worth the cost; maybe it’s not. But do let the five-member Hazard Water Board know your feelings.

Dick Shaikewitz
Former Montecito Water District Board Member

(Bob Hazard’s note: Unfortunately Dick, if we both agreed, we would both be wrong. Settle down. Let an informed Montecito Water Board do its job, collect the facts and make data-driven decisions with both of us as concerned bystanders. ~ BH)

Night of Remembrance

Along with the hundreds and hundreds of others who were present, I want to express my sincere and profound thanks to the organizers and volunteers who made possible “Raising Our Light: An Evening of Remembrance in Montecito.” It was exquisitely conceived and executed from start to finish. Every aspect of the program was so thoughtfully created and every participant made such a moving contribution. It was a perfect evening, the culmination of some natural events that seemed to point the way to new beginnings: a double rainbow in the afternoon, a new waxing moon, and a starry sky in the clear post-rain evening. I was one of those daunted by the weather, and I almost didn’t attend; I would have regretted it greatly, as I was profoundly moved by the experience. My home and family were incredibly fortunate in sustaining no damage or injury on that horrific occasion last year, but all of us who live in Montecito have been touched and affected by the events of 1/9/18. I didn’t fully realize that I needed such a night of remembrance and healing, but now that I have had it, I am deeply grateful to those who provided it.

Susan Keller

Aera Energy’s Economic Errors

In the Santa Maria Times and Lompoc Record on December 16, among other publications, Aera Energy’s PR representative claims that development of oil wells in our county will bring major economic benefits, including millions to support schools and other vital services.

His figures come from UCSB’s Economic Forecast Project (EFP), whose research team was hired by Aera Energy, LLC. (owned by ExxonMobil + Shell). Aera is an acknowledged sponsor of EFP, and the report admits that it relied primarily on information provided by Aera. Really? “I’m shocked, shocked, to find that gambling is going on here!” as the bribed police prefect said to Rick in Casablanca

Even if we assume the EFP to be correct, it states that the total economic impact of the Aera project would be under $36 million a year. When put in perspective, agriculture generates $2.8 billion annually and employs more than 25,000 locals; tourism has a $1.9 billion impact. Revenue from oil property taxes makes up less than 1% of our county budget. 

An added 296 wells will no doubt result in spills, as acknowledged in the County’s Draft Environmental Impact Report, along with increased air pollution due to truck traffic and drilling. How many jobs will be lost in our much larger leisure and service industry when news of spills, contamination and worsening air pollution make headlines? How much will it cost to repair and maintain our roads due to increased truck traffic back and forth to Kern County? What happens to agriculture when toxic chemicals seep into the groundwater? Who will pay to clean up the mess? 

Unfortunately, the Aera-sponsored report neglected to include those costs, making the cost analysis incomplete and unreliable as a predictor of the true profit and loss of oil expansion in Santa Barbara County. 

Rachel Altman

(Editor’s note: We understand and appreciate your concern, but there are those who acknowledge the need for energy exploration and production and agree that it is probably better for our planet that the U.S. do that exploring and producing under the strict guidelines of its Environmental Protection Agency rather than depending upon less regulated oil producers. Just saying… – J.B.)

Peter Pays Paul’s Expenses

Government and public servants are just like companies and entrepreneurs, but without the free market requirements of competition and customer satisfaction. Therefore, ego and self-interest are unrestrained and may degenerate into unbridled greed and/or pompous arrogance.

“Customers” have no alternatives.

I don’t have enough faith in humanity (or I understand humanity all too well) to willingly grant any elected official free rein (or reign!) over my life, liberty, or property. No one is more dangerous to our aforementioned rights than the legislator, administrator, judge, or bureaucrat. (Those who despise any president, past or present, understand).

Public servants aren’t any worse than the rest of humanity, it’s just that they aren’t any better. We all must be accountable to one another, without exception.

“Social justice” and “greater good” are beguiling phrases that often justify violence and/or theft against others.

The only rights the law should protect are life, liberty, and property. Food, shelter, education, health care, etc. are not “rights” that should be provided by some for the benefit of others. To do so necessarily violates the rights of those who must sacrifice and/or pay for the benefits of others.

Those in need must either provide for themselves or rely on the voluntary charity of others. Not pervert the law to covertly rob their neighbors. 

Steve King

Montecito’s Best

As we roll into the New Year, I thought I would take note of what I enjoyed about living in Montecito throughout years past:

Hikes up Saddlerock,
Walking on Butterfly Beach;
Drives on East Valley.
Bistro Happy Hour,
Morning coffee at Pierre’s;
Ty’s Biltmore sunsets.
Strolls on Coast Village,
Music Academy Summer;
Food shopping at Vons.
Montecito Meetings,
Book Checkout at the Library
Via Vai pizza.
Miramar Beach walks,
July 4th parade party;
Miramar Thanksgiving,
Putting up Library lights;
Hathaway Tree trim.

And so much more to look forward to in this coming year. Happy New Year, Montecito!

Michael Edwards

Musical Hate Speech

In 1974, the Randy Newman song “Rednecks” and his 1977 song, “Short People,” may have planted the seeds for modern-day racism. Here are just some of the lyrics to his 1977 hate-speech-set-to-music… You be the judge.

Short people got no reason to live
They got little hands and little eyes
And they walk around tellin’ great big lies
They got little noses and tiny little teeth

They got grubby little fingers and dirty little minds
They’re gonna get you every time
I don’t want no short people, round here.

Newman’s earlier song, “Rednecks,” uses the “N-word” so many times that a Google search for the lyrics shows nine (9) censored items. A search for the same title, by rock the band, Lamb of God, allows the uncensored “MF” term (aka MoFo) 12 times. Okay Google, WTF is that all about?

Despite being criticized as “tacitly homophobic,” the 1985 song “Money for Nothing” by the rock band Dire Straits, won a “best performance” trophy at the 28th Grammy Awards and won “video of the year” at the 3rd MTV Video Music Awards. This song held the number 1 spot for three weeks on US Top Rock Tracks. 

Could these 1970’s and 1980’s subliminal hate songs be responsible for generating the spontaneous (?) residual prejudices being reported daily on CNN, ABC, PMSNBC, CBS and the Disney Channel?

Cautiously defending Montecito’s short people,

Dale Lowdermilk
Santa Barbara

(Editor’s note: One thing MJ “hates” is leaving a letter ending with a question mark and not responding to it with some kind of answer, so here is our two-cents worth: We’d all be in jail or at least stuck in the middle of myriad lawsuits if we had to defend our 1960’s or ’70’s positions on virtually everything. As for songs, just listen to John Lennon when he sings “I’d rather see you dead, little girl, than to be with another man. Better run for your life if you can, little girl… Catch you with another man, that’s the end of… little girl.” I remember singing happily along with those threatening words. That we should retrospectively destroy Mr. Lennon’s career, or that of the Beatles, or anybody, because of those and other equally alarming phrases in any song is ludicrous. So, thanks for bringing up “Short People,” which I can still sing along to, Torquemada be damned! – J.B.)

Cash Is King

Investing in the current stock market is a disastrous and financial mistake. The market is controlled by Computer Program Trading Computers (trading against themselves), with their logarithms and high frequency trading, Index trading, Short Sellers, Hedge Fund players, all seeking to manipulate the market to financial advantage. If you are a investor naively believing in the validity and honesty of the market and broker promotions, and you are an investor investing for retirement, you are going to lose big time. The market is controlled by manipulators for their gain not yours.

Get the out of the market and all related promoted investment goodies, including Mutual Funds and broker-promoted Exchange Traded Funds, etc. A full Congressional investigation is needed. Don’t hold your breath, or continue to invest. Cash is king.

H. T. Bryan
Santa Barbara

(Editor’s note: Maybe you’re right, but “cash” is being phased out all over the world. And had you put away a million dollars in cash in 1980, it would now be worth less than $200,000, or at least that is all it would buy in goods and services. You should probably rethink your position. – J.B.)

Former Neocon’s Lament

I, myself, was a “Neocon” when Donald Trump walked down the Trump Tower staircase back in June 2015. I have since, due to arrogant behavior of Inside-the-Beltway Establishment Neocon Elitists… stripped myself of any/all vestiges of Neo-Conservatism. I’ve taken my 50th Anniversary Copy of “Making It” by Norman Podhoretz and given it away. No longer a need to consult it or bask in its glow.

Neo-Conservatives have made the “360-degree turn” back to anti-American Trotskyite Soviet-style communism. Jonah Goldberg, in defense of the vulgar and indefensible William Kristol, has chosen between going with President Trump or returning to the modernist brand of ideological socialism of their youth. Mr. Kristol calls on neocons to treat the president with disdain and disrespect and to go back to the left. This cabal of renegade, roguish, erstwhile aristocrats of the left never did like American patriotism and traditionalism, for starters. The professional neocons were anti-Stalinist socialists-communists who got their comeuppance at the hands of the New Left barbarians back in the ‘sixties.

Neocons hi-jacked political positions on the right (the only slots open on the political spectrum) as a means of getting back at their enemies on the left. They had the upmost disgust for traditional patriots on the right such as Patrick J. Buchanan and William F. Buckley, Jr. They loved Big Government as much as the Democrat Party left. They saw themselves managing and maneuvering a global American Colossus, remaking the world on behalf of a utopian democratic socialist vision, naturally, infused with the standards and principles of High Modernism. Neo-Conservatives are no more “conservative” than Neo-Liberals are “liberal.”

A message to Goldberg, Kristol, et alia: Don’t let the door kick you in the butt on the way out.

David Samuel McCalmont
Santa Barbara

(Editor’s note: Many of us were struck dumb by the revelation that editors of the so-called conservative Weekly Standard and the National Review preferred a Hillary Clinton administration over a Donald Trump administration. Many readers let their subscriptions to both lapse shortly after their anti-Trump tirades. The WeeklyStandard is no more and, well, there’s probably room for the National Review, but its influence has been greatly diminished. Your analysis is a refreshing reminder of why there is so much that is so wrong with our national politics. – J.B.)


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