Letters to the Editor

By Montecito Journal   |   July 2, 2020

Happy 4th of July

Even though COVID means we are unable to celebrate the 4th of July at the traditional firehouse pancake breakfast, we can still stop by this month and donate the price of our meal tickets to show our support for the firefighters and staff who keep our community safe. Our family and friends will enjoy pancakes at home, but we will raise a forkful in tribute and look forward to the breakfast we love in 2021. Happy 4th of July, Montecito.

Bob & Tina Gale

Seeking Peace and Quiet

This communication was in response to a gentleman who endorses Mr. Nesbitt’s property as a fine place for helicopters. This is my personal reply. We hear you. You are an aviation enthusiast. Have you written to the Board of Supervisors?

You believe in landowner rights.

Do those rights trump those of renters to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, or their right to health and safety?

What many of us prefer is a Santa Barbara experience not debased by the noisy convenience of people wealthy enough to lease or own, helicopters in our community. I’m guessing that a person’s financial status often impacts their view of property rights. After all, owners pay property taxes and that adds up for owners of multiple properties. We are all residents of perhaps the most beautiful community on earth. We have shared use of massive wealth in our beaches, mountains, and heritage.

We are home to generous benefactors. Some folks don’t realize how hard these very fortunate folks work for the public good. In the end we are all just people, many friendly, kind, and generous. While we are here, while our homes are here, while our family is here and while our friends are here, we all have a shot for happiness. Please don’t see my remarks as “eat the rich.” The materially wealthy have more options to use human resources. We have the opportunity and obligation to participate in our home. That is why we speak up, that is why we write letters, that is why we are here.

No offense to those who disagree. We disagree about the sanctity of peace and quiet. This is not L.A.

Jeffrey Schlossberg

Bridging the Gap

While I greatly enjoyed last week’s feature on the graduations of Montecito’s various student populations, it was a source of dismay and realization for me to notice that with the exception of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, there appeared to be no pictures of children of color. Every young person deserves the best possible educational experience. I am thrilled that the students at each respective school appeared to be the recipients of an exceptional academic environment. I only wish that Montecito was not so stratified and that all children of whatever demographic statistics could enjoy the same perks and benefits of belonging to institutions of similar status. Regardless of this, I do applaud the educators of Santa Barbara and Goleta schools who do an outstanding job of attempting to bridge the gap between the advantages that Montecito youth enjoy and others who are not so fortunate.

Elizabeth Araluce Mason

Why Not Play Hopscotch?

One of the longest legacies of this pandemic will be that children are deprived of opportunities to be outside and playing.

Research has proven that gross motor skills, such as throwing, catching, kicking, and riding a bike or scooter, are directly related to children’s cognitive development. Their bodies and brains need each other to develop to the best of their abilities. If kids aren’t in their bodies, it’s not triggering critical neural development. It all connects to the learning process.

Everyone: grandparents, aunts, uncles, parents, teachers, all share responsibility to get kids playing safely in parks, on the hiking trails, kicking the soccer ball, or riding their bikes. Indoors it is as simple as playing Hopscotch or yoga.


Paul Orfalea
Audacious Foundation

We All Want the Same Thing

Writing about Divided America and the importance of National Unity Mr. Hazard mentions riots, arson, looting numerous times, but murder only once. Let’s put our priorities in place. One can always fix broken glass, but death is forever. Do we really need another round table discussion how to fight systematic racism and rebuild union? We do know what is wrong. We do know how to fix it! We all want the same thing. We do know the issue is national. Adding a few teachers to Head Start and telling “them” to start studying is not going to work this time. We need moral commitment to social and economic reparations for the 400 year of slavery, Jim Crow laws and slave patrols.

Donn Handy

Making Choices

Regarding your premise of all people are flawed… I Agree. I too Believe this. I am not the accomplished wordsmith you are, but I do see gaping holes in your central thesis.

If I remember, you were presented to us as the new Editor of the Montecito Journal by your history of commitments and accomplishments: the choices you have made throughout your life to qualify you for consideration to speak to us readers. And we accepted and embraced you because of your history and your history of choices.

Floyd and Rayshard too have a history of choices they have made. And by their history of choosing drugs and alcohol and disregarding our civil authorities, and their history of jail and prison as criminals and as dangerous to society, they both chose to put themselves into the hands of law enforcement time and again. And sometimes got caught. They made mistakes, cops make mistakes, I make mistakes, you make mistakes… But most of us learn to not do it again and go a different direction.

What the cop did to Floyd was grievous and we all agree that this particular cop was and will be punished by law enforcement.

But to conclude that because all people are flawed, therefore Floyd and Rayshard and your own history Gwyn, have no bearing on how you are known by us today is ludicrous. So, because Floyd and Rayshard and all people are flawed, Floyd and Rayshard can present us with their criminal histories and now be the Editor of The Montecito Journal? Or your housekeeper? Or babysitter? Or Accountant? Or your Husband?

I hear what you are trying to say, but you’ve used a canon instead of a fly swatter to kill one little fly.

I hope you and yours are doing well during these difficult days of Covid-19 and Protests.

Roberta-Anne Bernard

Heads Up

Regardless or your politics, Montecito needs to know SBUSD and SB City Council passed BLACK LIVES MATTERS DEMANDS that were privately agreed to in advance of public meetings behind closed doors. Unlawful agreements. Do you care?

Healing Justice is BLM. As stated on its social media accounts, it is affiliated with National BLM the source of its DEMANDS, training, funding, and marching orders. Nationally, Shaun King calls the shots to be implemented locally by Krystal Farmer Siegart, former SBCC Student Trustee.

After agreements are obtained for locals to meet “Demands,” statutes, renaming of schools and streets, churches are targets. Anti-Semitic attacks on Jews started June 2 in the Fairfax District. Destruction of private property is on-going.

On the record, SB Mayor Murillo outright lied multiple times to resident Sullivan Israel, to me, colleagues and constituents to intentionally mislead the public and destroy any remaining trust in leadership. She stated the City’s demand agreements were not with BLM. Concurrently, ‘BLM Healing Justice’ posts victory of its control of both City and school board.

Intimidation, humiliation, threats and shutting off Freedom of Speech was the successful MO implemented for 20 months by Krystal to take control of SBCC, before she left for Germany. The SBCC Foundation Donors chose to ignore or support.

This movement has little to do with black prejudice, discrimination, and the multiple injustices which MUST be fixed. Rather, the goal of BLM is to ‘destroy to transform’ America.

BLM Healing Justice is recruiting local kids with stipends now for leadership positions. Follow BLM Healing Justice, Darcel Elliott/ Das Williams, and leadership media posts. Heads Up.

Denice S Adams

Might Makes Right or Do Black Lives Matter

I am outraged by the blatant disregard for life the “American police force” demonstrates. I say “American police force,” because all of the city police forces are similar. We have seen the bad behavior across our country from law enforcement in innumerable cities. All the individual police departments seem to act as one, as if they were a brotherhood, a club. Not only are their militaristic methods similar, the brutality appears over and over across our nation.

Just a few of the events we’ve seen in recent days are the choking a man to death, pushing a 75-year-old man over backwards so he cracked his head on the street, beating peaceful protesters with batons, gassing peaceful protesters, pulling the mask off a protester and spraying him in the face with mace, smashing the car window of two young people and tasing them, twisting the arms of arrested protesters, slashing car tires in a K-Mart parking lot, ramming protesters with police cars, police drawing their guns and threatening to shoot protesters, and all in order to cause pain and punishment to people who are exercising their constitutional rights. These are just a sampling of the abuses we’ve witnessed, not to mention those which have taken place behind the scene. These cops see protesters as the enemy, rather than the upholders of our civil rights.

There are not just a few bad apples. The problem is systemic and the rot goes all the way to the core. The entire system of policing in the U.S. is corrupt. Police officers of every precinct are trained to take down dangerous criminals, but that is the tactic they use against descent citizens as well, and against mild law breakers undeserving of death at the hands of those who have taken an oath to protect us. Perhaps the majority of police officers are not bad, but the system and the culture in which they operate is. It allows abuse with impunity. Even those cops who do not commit the crimes directly are often complicit in supporting the evil-doers by lying, covering up, under-reporting or keeping silent.

Applauding “good cops” at a time such as this, when there are so many bad ones, does nothing to change the system and stop the abusive culture. If a cop is good, let that officer show it by opposing the bad ones and exposing that criminal cop, not by supporting his or her behavior. In the case of the Floyd murder, the other officers should have had the authority to restrain and stop the “so-called” rogue cop. And the next step should have been to arrest him for attempted murder before Floyd was choked to death. Of course, this is laughable under the present system. The “cop club” would never allow it. The police force supported by the police union and even the judicial system would not agree to that. Good cops who did take appropriate action and “whistle-blow” would not be protected. They would be ostracized and rejected by the other officers, and would be run out of the department.

The culture of “might makes right” is so entrenched in our police force, that officers feel empowered to operate without consequence. Those who do so are “legal thugs.” Those committing these terrible crimes have continued to do so for so many years that abuse of citizens has become a normalcy in their ranks. But murder is murder, abuse is abuse, whether that behavior comes from a private citizen or from an officer of the law. I am convinced, if any citizen committed the terrible abuses we now see openly by police on TV and internet, that citizen would find a new home in San Quentin. And that is where many cops belong. Where is their punishment?

Over and over, we hear that it is just a few bad apples. But we have had a bad situation for as many years as I can remember in my 69 years. We have heard complaints, but there was always an explanation for the abuse by cops as witnesses for their own kind. Now we are able to see it first hand in the cell phone movies. And still we hear the explanations from cops: “The old man tripped,” “the assailant attacked me,” the man pulled a gun on me.” We never hear: “I pushed him” or “he pulled a cell phone on me” or “he pulled a hairbrush on me.” Why is that? If the police abuse we have seen on TV since the demonstrations these past weeks is any indication of police work, then we can guess what goes on behind the scene and in normal times when no cameras are rolling.

The present system of law enforcement must be broken. Their military tactics must be broken. Bad cops must be broken. The entire system must be dismantled, and only after thoughtful consideration and care, should it be rebuilt.

We’ve seen some recent accountability of officers charged with felonies. That is a step in the right direction, but it must go much further. Even as the days pass since the event which set the present revolution into being, more and more cops are committing terrible crimes against citizens.

An entirely new system must emerge with better officers and a better culture. Police must continue to be trained to fight hardened criminals, but they must also be trained to deal with decent people, as most of us are. The change of law enforcement should start with suspending every police officer and having him or her reapply for the job under heavy scrutiny. Those who are re-hired receive bonuses, the others can find work elsewhere. If each police department did this with ten officers at a time, the police force could continue to operate during the transition. While this process would be in progress, necessary changes to laws would also have to be enacted to build a whole new police culture in which police are not elite, and certainly not above the law. It would be a much healthier environment for people to trust police, than fear them, as so many of us do, even being white.

But it is not only our law enforcement system which needs overhauling. Our entire legal system, judicial, prison and probation systems need overhauling as well. And we citizens share the guilt. There is a lack of opportunity in poor communities, and that is more likely to lead to criminal behavior. If the privileged offered more opportunities to those in need, there would be less reason to resort to crime. And it is also clear that the smallest infraction by certain groups of our society is more punishable than that committed by others. Our entire society needs to change and become more compassionate to the underprivileged.

I am so proud of the young people of this country who have taken to the streets in such force in the cause of Black Live Matter. My faith in the country of my birth, which had been waning over the past decades, has been restored by this movement. I thank each of you. I hope change is coming, and I commit to supporting an overhaul of our laws and institutions to ensure that this appalling history of injustice ends.

Haik Hakobian


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