Letters to the Editor

By Montecito Journal   |   February 13, 2020

Endorsement Clarification

As the Chair of the Santa Barbara County Democratic Party, I would like to respond to the recent editorial which portrays the timing of the Party’s endorsement as unfair.

All our endorsement deadlines are listed on our webpage in advance, so individuals interested in being endorsed have ample time to apply. I am available to explain our schedule and process with any interested party, as is Joe Pierre, our Endorsement and Resolutions Committee Chair; his information is listed on our webpage at https://www.sbdems.org/. I had two conversations with Laura Capps before our deadline. She knew about our process, our timing, and was given the opportunity to participate. She did not apply, so we were not able to consider her for an endorsement.

As for why we do endorsements when we do, this is something the local party committee has considered carefully and will continue to study. In some years we have endorsements to make in many races throughout the county, from water boards to school boards to city councils to mayoral races, and more. Our careful process involves application reviews and individual candidate interviews; we could not do all of these in time to be of any use to our endorsed candidates if we waited until the filing deadline.

For this cycle, we wanted the supervisor endorsements completed by the time candidates could begin gathering signatures. Also, because of the change of primary from June to March 3, we wanted candidates to be in communication with voters as soon as possible.

We encourage our members to participate in our process. I urge anyone with questions to contact me.

Gail Teton-Landis, Chair
Santa Barbara County Democratic Party

Steve Bennett for Assembly

Historically the representative of our 37th Assembly District, diverse in population and occupation, has been from Santa Barbara County. That’s in large part because Santa Barbara County makes up over 50% of the District and we like to vote for candidates with whom we are familiar. However, to effectively represent this District, the successful candidate should be the one that is experienced with and understands the interactions of those often-competing interests created by our diversity. This time the best candidate is not a Santa Barbara County candidate, but instead candidate Steve Bennett from Ventura County.

And that’s why I’ve focused on Steve. He’s served for 20 years on the Ventura County Board of Supervisors. He is an independent leader who wrote one of the strongest campaign reform laws taking big money out of local politics. He’s an environmental leader who co-authored local SOAR Initiatives to protect open spaces from encroaching Los Angeles style urban sprawl and passed laws to prevent oil companies and other corporate polluters from contaminating our air, land, coastal waterways, and drinking water.

When Steve, with an MA in economics from Brown University, was elected County Supervisor 20 years ago the Ventura County treasury reserves were at zero. Steve won approval of new fiscal policies, which have built the County’s rainy-day reserve fund to 13% of the budget. Steve’s leadership helped balance 10 budgets in a row resulting in the rating raise of the county’s General Obligation bond to AA+, the highest rating possible. Steve has supported expanding the County’s social network of vital community services such as women’s health, public safety, and senior service, enabled by funds made available through his financial leadership.

With a professional background as a former educator and administrator, he is committed to increasing funding for our public schools. This includes more money for the classroom, expanding access to early childhood education, and increasing the number of after-school programs and career education opportunities.

Steve Bennett ticks all the right boxes as the most qualified candidate to be our assembly member. He is a fiscally responsible environmental advocate, is committed to serving the underserved and protecting women’s issues, is an advocate for the education of our students and most of all, has years of experience in county government dealing with issues similar to those we face statewide. We need a representative who is able to balance all the issues and conflicts that arise in a diverse community and at the same time get things done that impact the District positively.

Please visit’s Steve’s Website, https://stevebennettforassembly.com/ to learn more about him or find him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Bennettforassembly/.

Julia Springer
Former MUS Board of Trustees, Trustee
Former 30-year Montecito Resident

Jason Dominguez for Assembly

Please consider casting your vote for Jason Dominguez for Assembly. He is an independent voice and supports the community interests, not special interests. Dominguez has a track record on the City Council of Santa Barbara. He fought to keep over-development from taking place. He banned smoking on State Street and in parks and beaches. He kept the water flowing during the worst drought in history. Finally, as finance chair, he returned a multi-million-dollar budget surplus. Dominguez will hold the line on taxes, hold people accountable, and lead with integrity. Dominguez had a full-fledged career before turning to politics. He is a Stanford and Berkeley educated teacher turned attorney who worked as a local prosecutor than a war crimes prosecutor in Africa and Europe. For more information, please check out his website at jasondominguez.org.

Lucy Hayden
Santa Barbara

Who Knew?

Like most, I was a neophyte when it came to local politics. While I had a bit of experience at the national level, I was clueless concerning how the “Machine” worked locally. Well, I’m here to report that the Machine is alive and well in Santa Barbara County.

Allow me to explain: In District 1, our Supervisor filed his Campaign Contribution Statement on January 23, for the period January 1 – January 18. Remember, being a party endorsed incumbent matters. Why you might ask? Because with incumbent power comes the right to influence salaries and pensions for many of our hard working County employees, including: our Deputies, DA Investigators and Firefighters. Folks whose work I truly admire!

Anyway, in 18 short days our Supervisor raised nearly $54k in contributions – approximately 43% coming from unions. SEIU Local 620 and our Deputy Sheriff’s Association each gave $10k and last year our Fire Fighters gave $25k. Understand, both of these agencies endorsed the incumbent before Capps officially entered the race – now that’s what I call a “Machine.”

Concerning elections themselves, SB is wrongly different. Unlike S.F. ($500), Ventura ($750) and L.A. ($1,500), our banana republic (where influence knows no bounds) has no such individual limitations. This is just fine for the incumbent but not for his fair-minded, honesty-first, challenger.

And, how about the obvious need for an Ethics Commission. We continue to live through a Cannabis-controlled era where accusations and suspicions abound. Believe you me, the need to preserve and foster the public trust is needed here more than anywhere on the planet – campaign financing, government ethics and lobbying all need reform. Capps, of course, sees the need for change. Our incumbent, who seems more focused on the 90 or so Cannabis growers and not the 450,000 other county residents, well…

In the end, please don’t believe that our local races are all that fair. Our candidates can speak about national issues (e.g. Citizens United) but when it comes to the cash they grab it – whether it’s from unions, special interests, corporations or individuals and if they don’t dark money Political Action Committees begin to spring-up to replenish the swamp. It’s already happening!

When much of your funding comes from unions and special interests, you can afford Christmas cards, New Year’s cards, frequent direct mail, digital ads, and heavy TV. I’m only sorry my birthday isn’t before March as I’m half expecting voter-gifts. I really do love election years! All this funding means your challenger becomes hugely outgunned, the quintessential underdog. We have come to expect this at the National level but when our Supervisor races become million-dollar affairs, something is seriously wrong!

But hey, this is America and if we don’t make a change in March and November we can all expect more of the same. Whether you’re in a union or not vote your conscience and know the “Machine” is real. Go Capps!

Jeff Giordano
SB County Resident

Laura for Leadership

In the midst of the political and cultural angst that permeates our times, Laura Capps represents the best that is in all of us.

Outraged by the transactional nature of politics she has witnessed in the first district, she was moved to take on Das Williams for 1st Supervisor.

Laura listens intently, because she cares deeply. She has the mind of a researcher who digs deep to find answers and seeks collaboration with experts to develop solutions to difficult issues.

We need smart. Here are two perfect examples.

First, for years Laura has been a core member of a team of 150 community leaders around the country who look to each other to better understand how to deal with a variety of issues including: homelessness, climate change, affordable housing, poverty, education. We need her leadership, informed by this experienced perspective.

Second, when faced with seemingly intractable problems in her position on the School Board, Laura looks beyond the obvious, finding solutions in other districts that are having success, then taking those learnings, and applying them here.

Laura is resourceful, visionary, inspiring, and dedicated to our community.

She will not stop at “no” to the many obstacles that our bureaucracy can throw at her/us.

I am for Laura Capps.

Bobby Shand

No Thanks

I could never vote for Andy Caldwell. It’s that on his radio show he doesn’t take all comers. All the phone callers are scripted. When Socialism is the topic, Venezuela is to be the example of Socialism, not any of the top producing Socialist countries. In discussing the Plains All-American oil spill Caldwell mentions an idea of giving oil companies a pass on killing dolphins. His identity is crowned with a bloody “Judeo-Christian” war against anything East of the Jordan River where no country is to have sovereignty against foreign intrusion. No thanks to Andy. Get serious.

Matt McLaughlin
Santa Barbara

Renters’ Burden

It may seem harmless to vote for Proposition 13 until you realize this property tax on apartment buildings will be passed onto renters. If passed it will be a burden on low income earners. Please vote No on Prop 13, a regressive tax.

Peter Hunt
Former Montecito resident

Santa Barbara’s Dirty Little Secret

Discrimination being practiced, right in front of everyone and all the tourists that comes to Santa Barbara, every Sunday for the last 50 years, at the Arts and Crafts Show on Cabrillo Boulevard, where a handful of photographers and artists, with the city’s blessing, prevent the craftspeople from setting up around the pier on Sundays.

Everyone knows that the area around the pier is where most of the tourists that come to Santa Barbara congregate, what with the parking, restaurants, skate park, bike rentals and the “Funk Zone.”

Even though there are many more craftspeople than photographers and artists, they still refuse to permit the craftspeople to set up around the pier area claiming, “they cannot sell expensive art next to cheap crafts.”

Is their fear any rational reason to hold the rest of Santa Barbara hostage to “arbitrary discrimination”? I say no. What say you, Santa Barbara?

How long must we endure this black mark on our beautiful city? The city fathers should be embarrassed and ashamed to allow this to continue one more day, when someone could easily end this illegal “arbitrary discrimination” immediately, by simply ordering the removal of the word, ‘section’, from the rules.

No more sections. No more discrimination. One show. One list.

Jim Koorey
Member of Santa Barbara Arts and Crafts Show starting in 1970

Lost and Found

This photo was found on Alisos Drive. If you recognize these individuals, please email letters@montecitojournal.net so it can be returned to its owners.

A wonderful neighbor and Montecito Association member brought this photo in to our office. He found it on his property up on Alisos Drive. We hope you can help us connect with its rightful owner.

Kind regards,
Sharon Byrne
Montecito Association

Prop. 13?

Once again the Dems are out to tax Californians. AG Becerra got a major property tax on the ballot for 2020. It is an attempt to raise our property taxes and repeal Prop. 13. It is misleading and under the radar. Instead of presented as the repeal of Prop 13, it is relabeled “Education and Local Funding.” Unlike the original taxpayer protection of 1978, this year’s Prop 13 will put taxpayers on the hook for $27 billion. “The politicians plan to borrow $15 billion from Wall Street and then make taxpayers pay it back plus 80% in total interest. (Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association) Why don’t they spend the state’s $21 billion surplus on upgrading school facilities and providing higher education?

Then too, a hidden provision of this proposition will encourage local school districts to increase their borrowing by more than 60%. Local school debt is paid back with higher property taxes. (Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association) On March 3rd, vote NO on this Prop. 13 ballot. Fool me once, your fault. Fool me twice, my fault.

Diana Thorn

Das’ Basin Vote

Das Williams’ rhetoric on his post-1/9 efforts should be considered in light of one inconvenient fact: on June 6, 2017 he introduced the motion and voted to remove five flood control basins including Cold Springs and San Ysidro (Agenda A-16, File 17-00421). Fortunately, the County did not implement his vote before 1/9 so one can only imagine the increased destruction had it. Facts over rhetoric. I won’t trust our community’s safety to his flawed judgment and will vote for Laura Capps.

David Green

Life Long Learning

I just finished reading your article “Lessons in Life Long Learning,” I like your writing; easy to read, funny but with a serious message. Learning is the space of life and a good way to live many interesting and long years. Retirement can be lethal, but also, if well managed, it is the time to give new vitality to our brain cells. It opens the opportunity to be relevant, important and healthy.

I know that when time came to hang my professor’s gown up and face thousands of hours, days and years without any idea how it will be without important professional duties and a serious schedule. I decided to teach Spanish to adults in very small groups or in one on one sessions.

My salvation! I am 91 years old and still teaching five days a week. My health is fine and I look forward to go to my office every day for thirty years. To your point. I see how older people begin learning a skill, a language, and how it gives them new energy and spikes their sense of curiosity and discovery.

Thank you, Ernie. Your words were very meaningful.

Alonso Benavides

Confidential Voter Status

On page 22, the Official California 2020 Voter Guide states “…Certain voters… may qualify for confidential voter status if they are active members of the Safe at Home Program…”

Is voter privacy a privilege granted by bureaucrats? Why shouldn’t all voters automatically be given “confidential voter status”?

On same page, it’s stated that “Voter info may be provided to a candidate for office, a ballot measure committee or other person for election, scholarly, journalistic, political or governmental purpose as determined by the Secretary of State. driver license and social security numbers, or your signature, as shone on your voter registration card, cannot be released for these purposes.”

Is it possible that someone could become a “candidate” or falsely claim journalistic/scholarly privilege in order to obtain opposition research for some nefarious purpose? Granted, most politicians are fine, upstanding and uncorruptible citizens, but if only 1/1024th of them abuse access to voter information, shouldn’t ALL politicians be punished or restricted?

I know that it’s nearly impossible, hardly-ever-happens, one-in-a-billion chance and totally-unjustifiable-paranoia to think that CDL’s, SSAN’s and signatures could be “leaked,” stolen or accidentally hacked. Bank, medical and businesses data is constantly being bought and sold on the black market and even the Pentagon has been hacked.

Why should we believe that personal 2020 voter registration and census information is safe and secure?

What could possibly go wrong?

Dale Lowdermilk
Founder NOTSAFE(dot)ORG
Santa Barbara, CA


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