Letters to the Editor

By Montecito Journal   |   June 4, 2020

There it Is. Take It.

In regard to Nick Schou’s article about securing a dependable water source for Montecito. I am reminded of Mulholland’s famous words as the water filled the L.A. aqueduct for the first time, “There it is. Take it.” Only I am gazing out to the ocean. We have the most sensible and abundant supply of water only a stone’s throw away, and the City of Santa Barbara is facilitating the process. Yes, we have State Water but, we know that source can be unreliable especially in times of statewide drought – when we need it the most. The ocean is always full, we just need to get the salt out. The cost will look like a bargain in 10 years. And yes, maybe a clause to extend the agreement for another long term would be prudent.

People have mentioned worries about private wells, ground water, and over-usage. That can always be an issue no matter the source of Montecito’s water. There could be a monitor system and a PR program to continue educating people about over usage and conservation which should be a constant local theme. In addition, extra or unused water from the desal source could be used during wet years to help re-charge catch basins, local ponds and stream depressions, in cooperation with private landowners, which would help fill ground water aquifers. Extra water could also be allocated/sold to other communities, farmers or ranches to bank helping defray Montecito’s water costs.

It might not come directly from the eastern slope of the Sierra but, indirectly so, through the Pacific Ocean. I’d say, “take it.”

J. W. Burk

Bridge Over Troubled Water

This may be a dumb idea, but…

How about an attractive footbridge over 101 joining North & South Jameson Lanes… for pedestrians wanting to traverse 101 to and from the beach?

LeeAnn Morgan

Good Perspective

Thank you very much for the series of incisive articles on the social/economic history of the United States by Rinaldo Brutoco. As he clearly stated, our country’s original sin, slavery, and the Civil War it brought us as well as the Native Americans “trail of tears” still today haunt the nation’s conscience and ongoing economic inequities. The current Republican national leadership in the country, in word and deed, pour salt on these wounds on a regular basis. We have what I would call a “cold civil war” that continues fostered by lies, deceit, and real “fake news,” both online and in some parts of our radio and TV media, in service to the national leadership. As Mr. Brutoco noted, the nation must face, in his words, this moral stain and work to heal it before it consumes us in an ugly and violent upheaval. My hope is that the November national elections will bring a major political re-alignment that will put the country on to a path to social justice and an economically productive green future that all Americans can be proud of and share in.


Barry Gordon

Desalination Makes Sense

Thank you to Nicholas Schou for starting a series of articles that will help us to navigate the complicated and sometimes contentious debate on how to move forward with securing adequate water for Montecito. I totally agree with past board members of the MWD that conservation should be a big part of our equation and goal, but with more drought years surely in our future, we need to look at sustainable, reliable, and hopefully local solutions.

Although I realize that desalination has its drawbacks (and I am looking forward to Nicholas addressing this in more detail) it makes more sense than allowing wealthy individuals to dig private wells or to pay dearly for State Water Project resources when there just is not any water to be allocated. We all need to educate ourselves on the source of our water, the possibility of innovative as well as environmentally sound solutions, and how to best work together as a community to solve a problem that affects us all.

Holly Sherwin

For the Birds

Santa Barbara Audubon Society (SBAS) thanks Joanne Calitri for her March 19th “Three Billion Birds Lost” article highlighting the dynamic new partnership between SBAS, UCSB Arts & Lectures, and the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History that made it possible for us to bring Dr. Ken Rosenberg, renowned scientist, to Santa Barbara.

Thank you for sharing with your readers the alarming scientific news of the unprecedented decline in numbers and diversity of birds. It is critical to inform the greater public about these science data. With such information, people are then empowered to make active decisions in their lives each day to protect birds and their habitat.

Now, more than ever, birds are in the news, and nature lovers, scientists, and journalists alike are showing us how to appreciate and enjoy the wonders of birds during these stay-at-home/social distancing times. As aptly entitled in David Sibley’s recent New York Times article, “7 Tips for Watching Birds During the Spring Lockdown,” each of us can study nature from home by noticing birds, listening to their songs, looking at a bird’s bill, thinking about what a bird is doing, watching for activity patterns, being curious, and drawing and writing notes.

SBAS protects area birdlife and habitat and connects people with birds through education, conservation, and science. Together, we are stronger. By uniting our three local stellar nonprofit organizations to host Dr. Rosenberg, and by Ms. Calitri sharing Dr. Rosenberg’s exciting talk to a wider audience, we elevate much-needed outreach and education to protect birds. Generous local SBAS chapter members bolster SBAS’s ability to survive and thrive. We just received one of our largest donations ever; the donors welcome others to also enthusiastically dive in and support SBAS. Montecito Journal readers, we invite you to please join us at SantaBarbaraAudubon.org, and if you have any questions about large donations and how they would be used to support education, conservation and science, please feel free to contact me direct.

Katherine Emery, PhD
Executive Director
Santa Barbara Audubon Society

Ralph’s Corner Green

With the sad passing of my friend Ralph Riskin I want to share the story of his contribution to The Corner Green we all enjoy today.

As Dana Newquist noted in his recent MJ remembrance, Ralph was a car-guy and shortly after moving to Montecito in 1989 stopped in the Union 76 station that occupied the corner, befriended everyone there and got permission to use their lift on weekends. Ralph lost one of his favorite hangouts in 1991 when Union Oil removed the gas station and left a vacant, contaminated site that others then tried unsuccessfully to acquire for a park. Hearing that they had dealt with Union’s real estate department, Ralph had the brilliant idea to instead approach their insurance department for whom the site was a headache. At first, like the others before him, he tried unsuccessfully to get them to sell or donate it. But when that failed, he took a different tack and, after much persistent back-and-forth, convinced the department head to verbally agree to simply let the community use the site as long as they maintained it.

Over the next year Ralph arranged for a local landscape contractor to donate a lawn and irrigation, asked friends to donate wrought iron benches, Pierre LaFond to provide water and trash removal and, since East Valley Road is state highway 192, obtained required CHP approval. In a wonderful testament to his efforts the Union Oil executive with whom he so persistently negotiated surprised Ralph at the opening to offer his congratulations. Thus, what eventually became The Corner Green was born.

In 1993 the Montecito Community Foundation was able to purchase the site from Unocal and redeveloped the site, now The Corner Green, with the beautiful improvements and rebuilt it again following the 1/9 debris flow adding the memorial plaque to those lost.

The next time you visit The Corner Green give a thought of thanks to Ralph.

David Green

Mixed Signals

This is in response to Thomas Parker‘s letter in MJ 21-28 May 2020. Seeing as Thomas has an entirely different take on what is going on in the Michael Flynn case than what I’ve been reading, I’m wondering if he has myopia or is simply trying to throw us off the trail as to what is really going on, or I’ve been reading more fake news, which is so prevalent in the MSM today. This following is an excerpt of one of the recent articles I just read, I’ll walk you through it real quick: “Richard Grenell had just declassified an email from former National Security Adviser Susan Rice, an electronic message sent to her about an Oval Office meeting with former President Barack Obama. That email had all the fixings of nefarious activity and plotting to entrap Trump National Security Adviser General Michael Flynn, in their efforts to undermine President Trump. Obama administration officials including Rice and then-FBI Director James Comey et al. are implicated in the now-public corruption.” It seems incongruous to me to believe that Thomas, being that close to the goings on for so long, would not have an inkling as to what the agenda was. Richard Grenell concluded his article with the promise that there was going to be a lot more to come out. If that’s the case you can just visualize the CYA that’s going on; hopefully Thomas is not involved. I could nitpick with a lot of what Thomas wrote, but for brevity’s sake I’ll take issue with just his last paragraph. (1)”Previous to this current administration, the Rule of Law was the guiding principle of our democracy…” WHAT!? WHAT A LOAD OF CRAP!!! He comes across as one of those Obama “yes men” who have massive motes in their eyes caused by CDS, Trump Derangement syndrome I presume.

(2) …”and our system of justice. Our beloved country was founded upon.” WRONG, WRONG ,WRONG Thomas. When asked by a citizen after the Constitution was ratified what kind of government they had given the people, Benjamin Franklin responded a “Republic if you can keep it.” Based on a thorough understanding of Democracies throughout history All of the Founders abhorred democracies. In case Thomas hasn’t noticed, we “Pledge allegiance to the Flag and to The Republic for which it stands.” Perhaps it’s been so long since Thomas recited the “Pledge” that he’d forgotten it.

I too took an oath to defend the country against all enemies, “foreign and domestic,” and it appears to me, as of late, that the FBI has an awful lot of dirty laundry that needs to be looked into.

Larry Bond


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