Letters to the Editor

By Montecito Journal   |   October 24, 2019

Twisting The Truth

Mr. Buckley’s response to Glenn Griffith’s letter in the June 6-13 Journal, is yet another example of twisting the facts to suit one editor’s politics.

Robert Mueller’s report did not indict the president, nor did it exonerate him. Rather, the report lays out a roadmap of Mr. Trump’s activities for Congress to investigate. For Mr. Buckley to imply that the president is not guilty of criminal activities because Mr. Mueller couldn’t find any “dirt” is another attempt to whitewash what is undoubtedly the worst “hire” in American history.

Daphne Moore

 (Editor’s note: Here is my note that Ms Moore is referring to, in its entirety: “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.” Please explain where the “attempt to whitewash” is in that. – J.B.) 

The Sycamore Solution

I have an update on the East Valley Lane sycamore tree. In order to repave the street, all of the lower branches were removed. That exposed something interesting. The tree is pushing new limbs out of the shattered trunk. It looks like in a year or so those dead pieces of bark will fall off; the sycamore tree is doing fine.

Dan Seibert
Santa Barbara

The Three-Inch Solution

When push comes to shove, there is no doubt this country does need to stop illegals from coming in. Some are offended by a wall or a steel barrier. I think there is a plausible way. Have a giant bush that would aesthetically be pleasing to the eye, yet would have three-inch thorns to prevent someone from jumping it (you pick the height). And, as a punishment for trying to cross over, they would have to care for the bush and maintain its pleasant features.

It wouldn’t cost billions and Mexico could well afford it.

Thomas Carlisle
Santa Barbara

(Editor’s note: Not a terrible idea, Mr. Carlisle, and in some cases it may work, but if human traffickers and dope smugglers can construct half-mile tunnels under border walls, they’ll probably make short order of such a bushy solution. How about a simple $20 entry fee for everyone crossing the border at all U.S. designated border crossings? And, with that money, we can continue to strengthen border security and pay for more border guards. – J.B.)

Water Bill to Double

The Montecito Water District Board is reviewing a Water Rate Study through Fiscal Year 2023/24, which would dramatically increase water rates for all District customers. The Study includes funding a very expensive 50-year Water Supply Agreement with the City of Santa Barbara based on the City’s Desalination Project costs. 

The following is an example of how the proposed rates will affect customers: Presently most single family residence customers pay a monthly fixed service charge of $44.59. In the rate study that charge will go to $114.62 by FY 2023/24 (157%increase). In addition, the commodity charge, presently $5.40/hcf (without the water shortage emergency surcharge), will increase to $9.85/hcf (82% increase). The net result is that a single family residence customer monthly bill for 18 hcf of water will go from $141.79 today to $291.92 by FY 2023/24 (a 106% increase).

So why such a huge increase in customer bills? District customer interior water use is only 15% (560 acre feet/year) of all District water consumption. As a result, interior water use by customers can be met under all conditions including drought by reliable groundwater pumped from District wells and Doulton Tunnel infiltration. The remaining 85% of water consumed by District customers is for exterior water use, primarily landscaping. During the recent drought, customer needs were met primarily by the purchase of water delivered through the State Water Project. Some property owners with significant landscaping had to limit their consumption to 25 hcf/month. 

The current Board is concerned about the 25 hcf/month limit during the next drought and the possibility of a reduction in water supplied from the Cachuma Project due to environmental concerns. Also, water will become more valuable due to the implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act in California. As a result the Board is preparing to sign a 50-year Water Supply Agreement with the City based on their desalination plant costs. This cost is the major driver for the Study’s proposed increase, which results in customer water bills doubling. 

I believe that possible water supply reductions can be addressed when needed by purchasing water from other water purveyors as was done in the recent drought. Water has always been available for purchase in the past and that should not change in the future. However the cost to purchase water will undoubtedly be higher but it will be a pittance compared to the cost of the water supply agreement. 

Unlike water purchases made only when the water is needed, the water supply agreement requires the District to pay for desal water regardless of need. Cachuma and Jameson Lakes can be full or spilling and the District is still required to pay $4.3 million/year for water it doesn’t need and can’t use. The cost will likely increase in the future due to the fact that the desal plant reverse osmosis process uses large amounts of imported electricity. This heavy financial burden continues for 50 years regardless of the District’s water supply situation or other water supply opportunities.

In summary it appears that the Board is prepared to execute an extremely expensive and onerous water supply agreement with the City whose cost is included in a Water Rate Study that doubles the cost of water service to all District customers. The apparent primary objective of the agreement is to ensure that water is available for those customers who want more than 25 hcf/month for their landscaping in the next drought. This is like killing a fly with a sledge hammer. 

I believe that this concern can be addressed effectively by: creating a water conservation program that provides financial incentives, counseling, and financial assistance to customers focused on reducing exterior water use: implementing a comprehensive local groundwater management plan; expanding the existing groundwater banking program; executing water purchase agreements now for delivery of water during the next drought, and updating the 10+ year old District Water Supply Plan. 

Please email (customerservice@montecitowater.com), write, and/or attend Board meetings in order to express your concern regarding the proposed water rate increase.

Robert L. Roebuck, R.C.E.
37-year Montecito Water District customer
Retired General Manager of the Montecito Water District
Past Water Resources Manager, City of Santa Barbara

(Editor’s note: No doubt you know what you are talking about but if the former Board had been more judicious in its use of arbitrary “fines” when customers experienced breaks in irrigation systems or other unforeseeable situations, perhaps there’d be more attention paid to such a program. People just want a reliable water supply at a set price. Those of us who cannot afford a luxuriant landscape will adjust to the new rates and those that can afford them, will pay the going rate. Seems like an equitable solution to us. – J.B.)

American Thinker 

Richard Jack Rail in the American Thinker suggests that “Trump’s Syria plan reveals a master strategist in the White House.”

He goes on to write that, “It’s just too delicious. President Trump ordered U.S. Special Forces out of Syria to a chorus of howling Democrats and all the old, experienced hands State and, supposedly, the military. (I had doubts as well.) Democrats yelled that all hell was about to break loose. The Pentagon pulled its hair. Europe trembled and blanched. The Mideast girded for something awful.”

But, President Trump saw a different reality and, even in the face of some really terrible “reportage” by ABC News, which ran with five-year-old footage of explosions at a Kentucky firing range, and called it the “chaos” at the Syrian/Turkish border. ABC News still hasn’t really apologized for the “error.”

“Not so fast, fellas,” Rail says, noting that the “long sought negotiations” with Turkey, Syria, and the Kurds, are finally taking place, now that U.S. troops are leaving.

“Only Donald Trump saw it,” Rail concludes. “Trump,” he writes, “once again exhibits strategic insight not seen in the White House since George Washington.”

Just sign me a Fan
Santa Barbara

(Editor’s note: Funny enough, I conducted an interview with former Prime Minister Binali Yildirim of Turkey about six weeks ago (“Coming & Going,” MJ # 25/38), in which Mr. Yildirim explicitly addressed the situation. In case you or other readers missed that, here is the gist of it:

Q. You are headed to New York to speak at the UN and are seeking assistance from other nations in dealing with a growing refugee population. Could you tell us more about that?

A. You know, after eight years of conflict, fighting, inside Syria, millions of Syrians have been killed and injured, and other millions of people have had to leave the country, as refugees. Some four million of those refugees crossed the border into Turkey, and we have hosted them for seven years. We share our shelter; we share our schools; we share our hospitals, and we share our food.

Do Syrian refugees study with Turkish students in your schools?

In the big cities like Istanbul, they are accepted in the schools where Turkish students study, and in some cases, there are separate schools for them.

How do you pay for that?

Well, we do. So far, we have put out over thirty billion dollars. It is difficult.

What is the situation along the border right now?

We’ve eliminated terrorist groups such as YPG (Kurdish “People’s Protection Units” that even have separate female brigades), PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party), ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant), also referred to as Daesh (a desultory term), and Al Qaeda. These groups are a headache for not only Turkey, Iraq, Iran, but also for Syria.

The problem is with terrorists, not with Kurds. We have to distinguish between them. Turkish people love the Kurds, but terrorist groups such as PKK just kill people; they don’t care. It’s awful.

A group of neighboring countries have formed a coalition – Russia, Iraq, and Iran – along with the United States, which has to act more to settle things.

Do you expect to meet with President Trump in New York?

I’m not sure, but I heard that our President (Erdogan) and your President Trump will get together to discuss the Syrian issue and [the building of] a security zone along the Syrian border. If they do come together to strengthen the cooperation in the region, this would be a very fruitful meeting.

Where is this “security zone?”

The area west of the Euphrates River is taken care of by the Russians, and east of the Euphrates, by the United States and its coalition.

So, the U.S. is already involved?

There is a “secure zone” in the eastern section where nearly 400,000 Syrians have already returned to Syria. The zone is about twenty miles deep and perhaps 200 kilometers wide, but the border with Syria is nine hundred kilometers long. We still have problems in the rest of the area, because the PKK and other groups have relationships with Iraqis and that allows them to travel back and forth across the border…

President Trump did meet with Erdogan and the Prime Minister and apparently, they reached a meeting of the minds, hence the “abrupt” policy change, which doesn’t seem all that abrupt in light of the aforementioned interview that appeared in your favorite little newspaper. – J.B.)

Pension Problem 

I have read, with great interest, and a little knowledge, Mr. Hazard’s recent piece on public pensions (Guest Editorial, MJ # 25/41). If the attached article (https://californiapolicycenter.orgn/californias-state-and-local-liabilities-total-1-5-trillion-2/) is accurate, he has vastly understated the magnitude of the problem. Please continue this reporting.

Jonathan Lampel
Santa Barbara

Blowing The Whistle

The Whistler Blower Impeachment Complainer, has no personal knowledge. He relies on hearsay. The Complaint conflicts with the transcripts that President Trump released. Who is he and what is his background? Is he a CIA agent and a Democrat who supported Hillary and a supporter of Biden? An accused in our nation, including the president, is entitled to constitutional due process as to specific nature of claimed wrongdoing and the identity of the accuser and full disclosure of all supporting evidence and the identity of witnesses and he is entitled to cross examination, and a defense.

The Democrats are promoting Unconstitutional “Star Chamber Justice”, with their closed non-public hearing and their control of witnesses and examination. A full House of Representative vote as to impeachment proceedings, and the full granting of due process and Constitutional Rights, are demanded. Note: If the Liberal-Progressive- Democrats, who control the House of Representatives, vote for an Article of Impeachment, the Senate, controlled by Republicans, will have to vote 67 out of 100 to convict; 34 no votes against ends the farce.

Democrats with their three-year hatred of President Trump over Hillary’s defeat, have and are dividing our nation and causing more damage to it, than Russia, China, North Korea, and Islamists could hope for. What about trade agreements, health care, prescription drug high costs, the opiate crises, immigration law enforcement and reform, deteriorating infrastructure, the coming bankruptcy of Social Security and Medicare and our out-of-control National Debt, now over $22,831 trillion? The real issues facing our nation.

H.T. Bryan
Santa Barbara

(Editor’s note: The important things will have to wait until after the 2020 election. We should remember that Democrats had an eight-year hate fest with George W. Bush, and, to be fair, there wasn’t much love lost between Republicans and Barack Obama. – J.B.)

The Hate Speech Solution

Finally, there will be consequences for using the hateful words “illegal alien.” Thanks to a 29-page “directive” by the Human Rights Commission (HRC) of New York City, anyone using the term “illegal alien” or threatening to report someone to U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) will be subject to a $250,000 fine. This noble experiment in social engineering to “…protect both immigrants and non-immigrants from hate speech…” was spawned in Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. 

The details for enforcing this law will take some time to figure out, so I thought it would be helpful to offer Mr. De Blasio and his crew some suggestions.

With the right incentives ($$$) this project could turn NYC into a whistleblower’s paradise. Armed with only a smart phone or tape recorder homeless individuals could document neighboring crack-heads talking to invisible friends and cursing at “illegal aliens”. 

These clips of video/audio evidence could be turned into the HRC for prosecution. Generous rewards should given to these ambitious, though perhaps disoriented, whistleblowers. By creating a secret “tattle-tale” industry, providing street people with cameras and free cell phones, everyone could become involved in gathering evidence of “hate speech”. A handful of these aspiring paparazzi would become famous, earn enough money for luxury apartments, sign book deals, collect movie residuals and, based upon their real-life street credentials, eventually run for Mayor of NYC, completing the cycle of liberal solutions.

There’s no reason a whistleblower’s reward should be limited to exposing “hate speech”. Someone caught adding extra sugar to their coffee, sipping from an ancient plastic straw, bribing a waiter to serve more than one cheesecake, smoking without permission, expelling methane or CO2 within 1,000 yards of an elementary school, wearing t-shirts with hateful images or phrases or questioning the validity of man-made climate change, should be reported and prosecuted for disrupting the sanctity of NYC bureaucracy and group-think.

If this innovative, brilliant, NYC HRC Anti-Hate Speech program costs five billion dollars, tosses one racist/hater in jail, saves two lives (especially if they are women and/or children) or makes one homeless person a millionaire, it’s worth it. 

Or not.

Dale Lowdermilk
Santa Barbara

The Nation-State Solution

After committing any crime against humanity, under military command, one may claim: “I was following orders.” Or, also often true: “Either I obey, or they shoot me.”

Such blind obedience to authority and personal sacrifice can only be accomplished through state indoctrination: State schooling, Pledges of Allegiance, National Anthems, 20-gun Salutes, Flyovers, Parades, Trumpets, Flags, etc.

To be sure, those who serve are to be honored and respected, but one must understand the deliberate, generations-deep propaganda that compels them to believe it is noble to take lives and sacrifice their own at the whim of the state.

Almost every nation in the world practices indoctrination, i.e. brainwashing, to the benefit of the state/government, but often to the detriment of humanity.

Conflict between nations becomes a government necessity to keep their own citizens fearful and to justify expanded national defense and aggression abroad. Similarly, it serves the state well to encourage dependency through a welfare state.

Political rhetoric aside, peace and self-reliance do not serve the state’s ambitions well. Greed is a common human fault. It exists both in the private sector and public (government) sector. Free markets, competition and choice suppress private sector greed; in government, including crony capitalism, greed may run wild.

One may argue that they are prosperous and live in the best nation in the world, and in first world nations that may be relatively true, but one should recognize their government’s deceptions, blunders, thievery and fraud. One should place their good conscience over state designs that run contrary. 

Steve King

The Librarium Solution

I picked the latest edition of the Montecito Journal and found on the cover one of my favorite places to take a break, reconstitute, and read (Montecito Library). I’ve been on a poetic streak these days and once again found myself writing.


Without a steeple

or pews

This church

embraces knowledge

From Ariadne to Zorro

stories are found here

awaiting curious visitors

Inviting researchers, all

Cradle me so I can turn

page by page

Into your magic carpet

Cries the binding!

Like a good restaurant

Patrons await the opening;

Food for thought served here

for free!

Facing serious financial issues

only cannabis converts

Governance options

will be discussed.

The Library needs friends.

Hope to see everyone at Montecito Union School auditorium this Thursday, October 26, at 6 pm.

Michael Edwards

(Editor’s note: I expect to be in Paris, France, on the 26th, otherwise I’d be at MUS too! – J.B.)


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