Letters to the Editor

By Montecito Journal   |   June 6, 2019

Roundabout Petition

The proposed roundabout on the corner of San Ysidro Road and North Jameson Lane is moving forward. The traffic concern is visible twice daily on weekdays during the school year for about an hour each time. There are lower cost and safer ways to mitigate the delay issue. The plan for a roundabout seems to be bludgeoning a minor fixable annoyance with an incredibly expensive solution that will forever alter the semi-rural nature of Montecito, while also creating a permanent safety hazard for the many pedestrians/bikers who frequent that intersection.

If you’re interested in making sure no roundabout is built at the Gateway to Montecito please respond via email and we’ll forward a copy of our petition to you.


(Editor’s note: It does get pretty busy on school mornings and afternoons there, but building the proposed roundabout at North Jameson and San Ysidro Road is probably the least needed “fix” in a village in need of a number of serious alterations. For example, addressing the short entry point on South Jameson heading to Los Angeles from the new Rosewood Miramar cries out for a solution, yet that won’t happen, apparently, until the third-lane construction gets underway in… well, whenever that begins. Good luck with your petition. – J.B.)

Sources and Methods

Democrats are up in arms because they think A.G. Barr will reveal “sources and methods” of our intelligence services. Specifically, they fear that Joseph Mifsud and Stefan Harper will be outed as spies for the CIA. Well, guess what? That horse left the barn a long time ago.

Guy Strickland

(Editor’s note: We don’t know about horses leaving barns, but Attorney General William Barr is the most impressive public official we’ve seen in many years. The idea that he would reveal undercover sources and methods after consultation with various law enforcement and intelligence agencies is ludicrous. His recent interview with Jan Crawford on CBS This Morning was not only a tour de force but also a much-needed bagful of high-oxygen-content air. He’s a good man. – J.B.)

He’s Our Guy

If your guy is in the White House, no matter what goes on, it’s okay. True for both sides. But Trump has taken it to a whole, new, dangerous level.

I’m sure in our “heart of hearts” we all know Trump is a “bad hire” and needs to be fired. However, a percentage of Americans, Republicans in office, and some publications are staying true to party over country, no matter what… (See first sentence.) 

An honorable Republican died in February on his 76th birthday. Walter B. Jones Jr., a congressman from North Carolina, had been gung-ho for the Bush/Cheney
war in Iraq, but once he found out about all the lies, dubious evidence, and distortions about WMD, etc., he realized he had been duped. Also at a funeral for a marine killed in that war he saw a little boy who would “never know his daddy.” He spent the rest of his life trying to atone.


As a side note, isn’t it amazing that we Americans just accept that illegal war, along with Viet Nam, shrug our shoulders and move on?

But I digress.

There are a host of Republicans who are doing the honorable thing, who are actually freaked out about Trump and have been from day one. They are about the truth, and country over party. Here is a partial list: Nicole Wallace, Morning Joe, Bret Stevens, David Frum, Barry McCaffrey, Richard Painter, Michael Steele, William Crystal, Charlie Sykes, Steve Schmidt, Mike Murphy, Rick Wilson, David Jolly, Michael Hayden, James Clapper, Adm. Mike Rogers, Max Boot, John O. Brennan, and of course, Robert Mueller.

To top it off, George Will, who has left the party.

Trump has spent the last 40 years creating illegal havoc in NYC, and now he has graduated to doing it to the whole country, even the world. Even Steve Bannon now is saying Trump ran a criminal enterprise high up in Trump Tower. Let’s fire the bad hire, reclaim the country and some sense of honor.

Glenn Griffith
Santa Barbara

(Editor’s note: We asked around and couldn’t find anyone who, if they voted for Mr. Trump, in his/her “heart of hearts” believes the U.S. made a bad hire in 2016. Of course, those who didn’t vote for him and have nothing but animus towards his policies certainly feel that way. In any case, he has eighteen months left as President and if the country’s voters boot him out, well, that’s what is supposed to happen to “bad hires,” not impeachment. Oh, and, let’s stop with the “criminal enterprise” stuff. If a troupe of Trump haters and Hillary supporters under the direction of former FBI Director Robert Mueller couldn’t find enough dirt to indict the man after a two-year-plus search, the likelihood of a criminal enterprise “high up in Trump Tower” leans in the direction of fantasy. – J.B.)

Huge Water Bills On The Way

The five current Montecito Water District Board members ran on a platform of water security. It sounded good, and they were elected. But they have yet to mention the burden of cost to customers. Shortly they will receive the City’s 50-year, 1/4 of a billion dollar desal water contract.

It was clear to me at their May 28 Board meeting, that they would probably all agree to adopt the City’s contract. One said twice to me (I assume he was referring to my last Montecito Journal Letter to the Editor opposing the terms of the expected contract), “Just give it up!” 

Others commented: “We are about to enter into a 50-year contract with the City.” “The community wants water security. That’s why we were elected.” “We are all here because we need a 20 to 25 year reliable source of water.”

If you don’t mind having your water bills increase monthly by about $100, then they are right.

Little has been said by them about the $3.45 Water Shortage Emergency Surcharge on each HCF (hundred cubic feet) of water you use that began in 2015. They haven’t removed the surcharge even though the drought has ended. Why? Because they need the money to operate. District customers responded to the drought with conservation, and continue to use 30% to 40% less water compared to 2013.

Unfortunately, expenses stay the same or increase.

 “The emergency surcharge will not disappear when the new rate study is adopted.” They will simply add it into the new rates. 

Their budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 is about $500,000 higher than last year’s; and this does not include the giant cost of the proposed desal contract, or the multi-million dollar recycled waste water project they promised you.

None of us know when, or how long the next drought will be. Historically, there have been droughts about one-quarter of the time. I believe it’s much more reasonable and less expensive for customers to either have the Board renegotiate the proposed onerous terms of the City’s desal contract, or to abandon it. A solution is to raise rates, and adopt allocations if necessary, only during a drought. The current Water District Board wants you to pay the high cost of desal water every month for 50 years, even when 75% of the time the City can deliver much cheaper Lake Cachuma water, and the District has plenty of its own much less expensive water.

In order to hopefully stop the Board, as many District customers as possible should attend Water District meetings and voice concern when the City’s desal contract or the rate study are being discussed. Letters or emails of concern should be written. If enough customers are against the new proposed rates that include desal, and possibly recycled waste water, then the Board should not sign the contract since they won’t have the money to pay the City.

Former MWD Director
Richard Shaikewitz

(Editor’s note: Voters in Montecito chose a new board of directors to stem the on-again, off-again search for potable water as we went from drought to flood and back again. They’ve chosen a local solution to a local problem and we wish them well. You folks raised rates plenty via “fines” during the periodic crises that have occurred – and which are likely to re-occur – over the recent years. – J.B.)


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