By Montecito Journal   |   November 26, 2019

(If you have something you think Montecito should know about, or wish to respond to something you read in the Journal, we want to hear from you. Please send all such correspondence to: Montecito Journal, Letters to the Editor, 1206 Coast Village Circle, Montecito, CA 93108, FAX it to us at 805-969-6654 or via e-mail to jim@montecitojournal.net.)

A Guarded Change

I just saw the new Montecito Journal announcing the changing of the guard. I just wanted to thank you for always putting my students and their art accomplishments in the Journal.

I have every article framed and up on the wall in the art studio at school. I panicked for a moment thinking now who will I email with school news!

Happy trails!

Jennifer Buur
Art Specialist
Our Lady of Mount Carmel School

(Contributor’s note: You are very kind, Ms Buur, but you are also in good hands with Gwyn Lurie; just send her your material directly at: gwyn@montecitojournal.net and you’ll be handled with care. – J.B.)

Framed copies of Montecito Journal in Our Lady of Mount Carmel’s art studio

Constitutional Correction

Congratulations on your important new role as head of the Montecito Journal.

I enjoyed reading your editorial and its strong endorsement of local journalism. But one small caveat: be careful when you cite history. Adams and Jefferson did become pen pals at the end of their long disputatious lives, but they did not co-author the U.S. Constitution. At the time of Constitutional Convention in 1787, Adams was representing the new nation in London and Jefferson was likewise at work in Paris. But I do agree that their countrymen at the convention, especially Jefferson’s friend James Madison, were inspired by their ideas. During my many years at Time magazine, I greatly benefited from the diligence of our fact-checkers. Something to keep in mind. With all good wishes to you and your team.

Frederic Golden
Santa Barbara

(Editor’s note: Dear Frederic, Thank you for your thoughtful letter and your congratulations. As for your correction, technically you are correct, and I should have stated that more carefully. What I should have said is that these two men, at times bitter political rivals, both contributed mightily, and in different ways, to the ideas reflected in our Constitution. Certainly it is worth a correction. But here’s my point which still stands: While it’s true that Adams and Jefferson were physically abroad during the Constitutional Convention, both had a massive impact and influence on the writing of the Constitution and on each other’s thinking.

The two met at the Continental Congress in 1775 and shared a great enthusiasm for independence from Great Britain. They started as friends and grew apart (during their campaigns for President) and later reconciled and had a strong, well documented, bi-partisan friendship. I am currently reading Gordon S. Wood’s book: Friends Divided: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. If you haven’t read it, I recommend it.

The point is: despite their differences as a conservative and a liberal they had an important relationship and both materially contributed to what is arguably our country’s most important document.

Adams was a prominent advocate of separation of powers and of checks and balances. His political writing developed the principals of constitutional government that delegates applied at the convention.

As for Jefferson, in 1787, after the Convention was over and while ratification of the Constitution was being debated in the states, Jefferson wrote a letter to Madison objecting to key parts of the Constitution, including and especially over the fact that the document lacked a Bill of Right and did not establish term limits for federal officials.

These two men, with vastly different political perspectives, shared a strong sense of patriotism and their mutual advocacy for separation of powers and checks and balances laid an important part of the foundation for the Constitution.

Certainly I would say that Oppenheimer and Enrico Fermi both worked on the Manhattan project, even though they were not necessarily in the same room at the same time. But both contributed greatly and had an important influence on each other’s thinking.

Back to your original point and well taken advice: fact checkers are important. I will keep that in mind. And I appreciate your careful reading and fair challenge.

We love engagement, thank you for your precision on this matter!

My very best, Gwyn ~ GL)

No Rag Here

After reading “Time to Move On,” I needed to digest the writing and reflect on the last 24 years. You, Jim, needed to become totally immersed in your new community when you started. Meeting you at Montecito Video, my little social melting pot, I remember hearing of your plan for a much needed “paper.” So I proceeded to usher you about the Upper Village to meet our merchants. Next, we crossed E. Valley to the Montecito Association Office.

At the end of that excursion, I remember telling you, “your paper will be much more than a “rag,” it’s a Utility.

Every activity I was involved with, the Journal was there!

So Jim, I’ll miss you – in the Journal capacity.

Who knows, after selling Mission Villa, when that day comes, I may take up golf, watch out!

The love of this community was deeply seeded with your hand.

Fortunately, I met with Gwyn earlier this year with her sincere enthusiasm to continue your work. There was no doubt that Gwyn knew exactly what she was about to partake.

After reading Gwyn’s article, she doesn’t need any handholding, she’s well on her way.

What I discovered about Gwyn over a lengthy first discussion, she really “gets it”!

Montecito is a place like no other.

I wish her well in your tradition with the able help of your and her contributors as well as your son Tim.

Happy Thanksgiving

Dana Newquist

Beverley’s Birthday Gift

The greatest gift I could possibly receive for my 91st birthday is your editorial I’ve just read!!! You are doing what so desperately has been needed and reading you I’m convinced you will succeed. You have the feel of the real Montecito, where it has been and where it should go. You have the energy of youth to get the job done. The experience to know and not fear obstacles or prejudiced people. You WILL succeed.

With admiration for you and those who have backed you,

Beverley Jackson

Mail Order Voting

Multiple questions and problems have been raised in the recent vote-by-mail election conducted by the City of Santa Barbara. In particular, concerns center around the District 1 election, where 8 votes separate the top candidates. While competitive races are to be desired, if registered voters’ votes didn’t count, or they weren’t allowed to participate in the election process, or those that participated and they knew they shouldn’t have, that amounts to elections fraud.

Some of the problems below were identified by campaign volunteers in one or both camps during the election. The concern is around the process of how the city is handling vote-by-mail and worrisome irregularities, rather than alleging antics by either campaign.

1) Some registered voters who voted by mail weeks before election day were contacted by campaigns on election day because their information showed that the voter’s ballot was still outstanding on election day. Somehow, their ballot had not been received or flagged as being received when their ballot had been mailed well in advance of Election Day.

2) Some voters were told their signatures did not match their voter registration or that they had forgotten to sign their ballot. These voters had until November 13 at 5 pm to rectify the issue by signing an affidavit. For some rectifying this issue was easy. For others it proved to either be almost impossible or entirely impossible.

3) When campaign volunteers tried to rectify the signature problem of one voter, they discovered that the voter who had returned a ballot did not live at the address they were registered at. This left campaign volunteers wondering where the voter lived now, and if they could legally vote in the election.

4) Some registered voters who submitted signed affidavits to correct their signature problems saw their ballots rejected multiple times leaving their vote uncounted.

5) One registered voter who submitted two signed affidavits could only have his vote count if he came to City Hall with his identification: the same identification he had previously provided a copy of with his second signed affidavit.

6) A registered voter told campaign volunteers and witnesses that he had not submitted a ballot. Yet his ballot was received by City Hall.

7) A registered voter told campaign volunteers he was not legally allowed to vote because he was not a citizen. The City of Santa Barbara had mailed, and received his ballot, though he stated he had not cast it.

8) Local media sites have registered comments from voters in District 1 complaining that they or family members never received a ballot, despite having lived and voted in the district for years.

9) There are also complaints that voters who could not legally cast a vote in District 1 due to place of residency or felony record did indeed vote. It’s not known whether their vote counted, or was discarded in the signature validation process.

As of today, the record of whose vote counted and whose vote didn’t is unavailable without sign-off from the City Attorney, as are the answers to other relevant questions about any returned and uncounted ballots.

Individually, these issues are concerning.

Cumulatively, they raise alarms in a closely competitive race.

Both campaigns made their cases to the voters of District 1, had lots of volunteers, and worked hard to get out the vote. However, the process of vote-by-mail elections seems to have problems that the city must address to assure the integrity of its elections, now and for the future.

Identification and verification of instances where the city’s vote-by-mail process didn’t work need to be identified. Identification and verification of gaps in voter registration process for the “Motor Voter Program” are also needed.

The outcome of the election is not the driver of this process.

What matters is that Santa Barbara residents have solid confidence that the vote-by-mail system ensures fair elections in our city.

We are asking the powers that be to open a full investigation into the issues we have identified and raised and to solicit voter feedback to determine if the election results are valid. We need the voters of District 1 to help us identify where there were problems in the voting process. If you had any problem voting (receiving your ballot, casting your ballot, or having your ballot count) or you suspect someone who voted who should not have please email: SBCityCouncil@SantaBarbaraCA.gov and Clerk@santabarbaraca.gov

Anna Marie Gott
Sharon Byrne

Happy Trails

I’m selfishly sorry to hear that Jim Buckley has sold the Montecito Journal, having probably read his very first issue, and served with him on the MERRAG Board, a wonderful experience for me, in addition to having all three of my kids graduate from Montecito Union School.

I will always be grateful for Jim’s help when we were raising money for the MERRAG van (aided by my mother, Brownie Borden, who at Casa Dorinda was able to raise matching funds triggered by those provided by your friend and contact), and for so graciously placing her obituary in the paper, when she passed last spring. Many, many friends and family saw that and we’re very grateful.

But, I am pleased the new buyers are local, apparently led by a long-time MUS School Board member. You may remember my former wife, Kim Sweney, served on that Board when we lived in Montecito. I am also pleased to hear they won’t change the paper too much, but rather build on what you both have so ably created.

I now live in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. One of the things we see here are situations where long-time owners and founders realize when it’s time to retire that they really must sell their ranches or businesses in order to afford retirement. I’m happy for your sake and particularly pleased to hear Tim may stay on to help run things.

But, I just wanted to let Jim know how much I admire what he built, and did for our community. I wish all good things for him and his family, and thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you did – perhaps unknowingly – for ours. Thank you!

Bill Sweney
Jackson Hole

(Contributor’s note: Thank you Bill, very kind of you to take the time to let me know how you felt and feel from afar – J.B.)

Fish To Fry

Just a few comments on the great letter from Gillian Christie (MJ # 25/45), entitled “The Cause Of Conflict And Solution”; Gillian states the “For thousands of years conflict has existed with all life forms. In the ocean, usually the bigger fish wins.”

Many years ago I worked on a fishing boat, the skipper was named Forrest Allen, but was known to all who knew him as Red (now deceased). We spent endless hours at sea and to help wile away the time, we would make up songs that we would sing at our fisherman get-togethers. My favorite song that Red made up was titled “The Big Fish Eat The Little Fish On The Land and In The Sea.”

I encouraged him to get It recorded but I don’t know if he ever did. I know if he could have gotten it to the right recording artist, it would have been a top-of-the-chart best seller. He then states, “Next, know that most people can get along.” This used to be true as I have/had people whom I consider friends who in every aspect of life we were/are poles apart, politically, racially, economically, and in education.

I do not think this would be quite as easy in the post-Obama era with Antifa beating people up for the flimsiest of reasons or no reason at all. Also, we are now in an era where those with even a slight sunburn blame everything on the “White Man,” or racism. I also learnt at a very early age that is ultimately behind the curtain creating the world’s turmoil, which I am not going to go into now as I was raised in a manner that few could find believable.

Ms Christie then likens them to mosquitos. I believe they are probably a cross between a mossy and a termite. Because while it is true they are without a doubt bloodsuckers, they also have the characteristics of the latter as they attack the structure from within, hollowing it out until falls collapsing under it’s own weight as they are doing now to Western civilization. But as Bobbie Burns famously said “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”

The worst thing that people who are aware of the problem can say Is, “But I can’t do much to help turn things around” Wrong. Just think of what the Lilliputians did in Gulliver’s Travels. That’s the reason I write Letters to The Editor, hoping I can inspire more people to get on board and do their little bit. What motivates me is that I left England with a very strong sense of right and wrong. If I didn’t do my little bit, it would be as though I had lived my life in vain. Heaven forbid it. I came across this quote in Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring: “Let me not seem to have lived my life in vain.” Amen to that.

Larry Bond
Santa Barbara

Another Big Con

We’re fortunate indeed to have a publication that so generously affords its readers enough space to properly expound on matters of interest and importance to the general public. The explanation about the “Medicare for All” fraud is just such an instance as delineated by Lawrence Dam in your last issue letter titled “The Big Con.” America is ill informed on so many subjects today; is it any wonder such disharmony exists and such illogical decisions are being made?

Then too there is the deliberate misinformation and deceptive practices which are being perpetrated on an uneducated population such as the recent changing of the method of identification on Medicare cards. Americans have always used a Social Security Number as personal and unique individual identification. Now “to protect your identity,” a generic number is utilized.

I won’t insult your intelligence as to why.

Harry Wilmott


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