Letters to the Editor

By Montecito Journal   |   September 24, 2020

Transmission Lines Need to Go

An article by Rinaldo S. Brutoco in the 10-17 September issue of the paper addresses an alternative to P.G.&E’s destructive high voltage transmission lines. His solution is called an “interconnected microgrid network” and it does not need the dangerous transmission lines to operate. There is no question that these lines have been responsible for devastating fire after fire. I live on Santa Rosa Lane between Sinaloa and San Leandro. After all this time, all the tragedies and all of P.G.&E’s empty promises the wires in this location are still tangled in the trees and one pole is tilting toward the street – it might take but one crazy squirrel to tip it over.

I don’t begin to understand how this interconnected microgrid network works, but it sounds like an answer. Continuing to ignore the danger of the transmission lines currently in place is to invite more disastrous fires and more tragedy for our believed Santa Barbara.

Daphne Moore

Couldn’t Put it Down

Just a note to say I picked up Fall/Winter edition of Montecito Journal Magazine… and it is just stunningly good! Layout and photos (particularly Alan Kozlowski‘s) are top-drawer!

This is the kind of quality publication I love getting lost in. Too bad the magazine is only put out twice a year; it would be so great to see it on a more frequent basis. But I’m sure you have sound reasons.

Kudos to you, Tim and entire staff!

Steve Uhler

Hits Close to Home

Thank you for last week’s eye-opening feature on Coffee With A Black Guy. Ouch! The comment on living in a Pollyanna ziploc bag is truly a’ propos. We live in a village where the African Americans are a Duchess married to a Prince, and a four-times Billionairess. And the vast majority of people of color in Montecito are working here, serving us, the one-percenter whites. It would be great to have a coffee event at the Library with James once things reopen.

Eileen White Read

Unfair and Uninformed

Last week’s issue of the MJ contained an unfair and uninformed letter from one James T. McClintock Jr. about the Summerland Citizens Association’s survey of the views of Summerlanders toward a cannabis store in our little town. He’s unfair because without evidence he disputes the validity of a survey that shows overwhelming (92.8 pct) opposition to a cannabis store in Summerland, suggesting there was “undue influence.” That’s a serious charge and he should state the basis for it, but it was published without any contrary comment. When I write a column or a story, I usually cite the source of my information. Did Mr. McClintock make this up? Does he have a connection with the cannabis industry? Does he even live in Summerland? How are we to know? I can tell you that the person who surveyed us – Bruce Campbell – was a model of professionalism. He did not express his views on the issue.

The letter is ignorant in that it questions the validity of a survey to which more than 25 percent of Summerlanders responded. That’s a huge sample, particularly in a town with many homeowners who don’t live here during the week, as any pollster or math teacher could tell Mr. McClintock. The statistical probability of it not being representative is remote. Has there ever been a sample of this size in Santa Barbara or Montecito? I don’t know of one. The survey of Summerland businesses was equally overwhelming and much more than a sample, but I’m confining my remarks to the residential views.

As is well known, I did not support Supervisor Das Williams for re-election, but I take him at his word that he will respect community views when it comes to siting cannabis stores. I have no objection to anyone smoking cannabis; it’s their right under the law. But we don’t even have a real grocery store in Summerland, and most of us go to Carpinteria to buy groceries. Cannabis users can also do that. We don’t need a cannabis store in Summerland.

Lou Cannon

Out-Trumping Trump

There is a lot of hand-wringing these days about Washington’s lack of ethics, integrity, and transparency. All true.

But it has been rivaled by the shady machinations of some of Santa Barbara’s own politicos.

Sadly, the Board of Supervisor’s response to the withering Grand Jury report on their Cannabis Ordinance is shamelessly inadequate and feeble.

Exhibit A was their use of an unprecedented two man-AdHoc Committee as an end run around land use regulations and the Brown Act – without any public participation, except cannabis lobbyists.

Then to brag about the tax dollars from an industry that they granted every known regulatory break, exception, and waiver known to man – not given to any other industry in the County – well, that’s rich. Add on the Sups’ recent vote to cut funding for enforcement of cannabis grower, despite request from law enforcement.

Hard to do, but on the weed issue, Santa Barbara’s Sups out-trumped Trump.

The Sups know it, the media knows it, the Grand Jury knows it, the pot growers know it, and the U.S. Attorney knows it.

It’s time for the Sups to stop the charade, own up to the mess they made, stop attacking the Grand Jurors, reporters, much less their own constituents. And stop wasting County funds on legal fees for litigation that promises to go on for years to come.

It’s time for the Sups to sit down with constituents, find common ground, and amend the Cannabis Ordinance.

Robert Lesser

Kill the Messenger

Thank you, Mr. Wolf for repeating so many of my wise and honest words, so that readers may enjoy them again. (You did good, even while misquoting me. To call a shallow man a shallow man is not name calling. It is descriptive, as one might say of a stool with three legs, “that’s a three-legged stool.”)

However, your letter neither addresses nor refutes the two wild and unbelievable Buckley assertions “Trump likes women” and “Trump is not a racist” which is the core thread of my letters.

Neither did your cohort, Morey.

But I understand your dilemma: you have no valid refutation for the widely held and daily-proven facts that Trump is literally indeed a misogynist and a racist, and so, you prevaricate, ascribe emotions to me you may be afraid of (dear reader, there is an angry woman here, hide your children, she is frothing, “I can smell” her. “Smell” her?), as though my emotions cause or are related to Trump’s abuse of women and his easily perceived fear of non-white people. There are now 25 women who allegedly have filed against him, for sexually abusing them.

Me thinks your howling, oh Big Bad One, does nothing more than ricochet off the walls of your empty Trumpian name-calling. Shame on you.

Calling me beautiful or intelligent or insightful or angry does not change Trump. I could easily call you stupid, uninformed, greedy for what Wall Street offers, illogical, blind, and dumb: did I? No.

Calling me names in place of a genuine debate, or presenting evidence, does not change what Trump is/does.

He remains a racist and a misogynist, hands down. And that’s just the start of what he really is.

You also, I’m sure intentionally, only partially quote me, inferring I say what the full sentence reveals I do NOT. This is what I wrote: “Silence should not be an option for those mostly old frightened white men who make up today’s Republican Party, who can not bear to part with whatever money or glory they are privy to since being elected.” You accuse me of name calling in that sentence?

It is a fact that the elected Republican Congress is “mostly white men,” “mostly old men,” and judging from their utter silence in the reality of Trump’s hundreds of lies, it is an accurate assessment to refer to them as “frightened men“… frightened of losing their jobs, frightened of saying the truth about this man who was not the choice of the majority of Americans. When one states a fact, it is per say, NOT name calling.

If you keep doing this… misquoting me, you nasty boy… you will be sent to bed without your supper.

Oh, look! You did it again: You quote me thusly, your full quote is: “Nancy Freeman goes on to say… ‘some evidence of Trump’s racism … she uses the words white sycophant.’”

My full sentence reads: “Some evidence of Trump’s racism… as though we need any… exists in the gender and color of the people he has chosen to surround himself.”

I then go on to correctly give facts about the gender and color of the Republican Congress.

If there is a point you’re making, you don’t.

You are going to be one hungry little boy if you continue to misquote me.

If you did even a modicum of reading or listened to only a few of the people who know Trump intimately, you would have to conclude as they and I do. How can you deny the reality of what so many hear from Trump’s own mouth? There are, unquestionably, sycophants hanging around this Kool-Aid-Mixer-Upper in the W.H., (hundreds of the good guys have left; a big swampy bunch are in jail) but before you take another sip of his offer, be warned. We all remember what happened to the last bunch who drank the Kool-Aid.

Now, “Kool-Aid-Mixer-Upper” IS name calling. I can’t resist such a lovely image.

Just in case you’re out of the loop, here are a few books by people who know Trump intimately: Rage (Woodward); Disloyal (Cohen); Compromised (Strzok); Mary Trump’s book; The Room Where It Happened (Bolton), the recent Atlantic Monthly; and on a slightly different slant, read Steve Coll, multiple Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, the New Yorker, Sept. 21, 2020 on the Electoral College in the 2020 election.

It may interest you to know that the Democratic Presidential candidate won the popular vote in each of the last seven elections, roughly the last 28 years. (One caveat: Bush younger won one election, against Kerry, by a .7 % margin, that is 7/10th of 1 percent.)

I think it is fair to conclude, Americans prefer a person with humanist values to lead us.

Nancy Freeman

Vote for Biden

This is the first letter such as this that I have ever written. The stakes are so high this November, however, that I felt it necessary even to impose on some of you whom I have not seen or talked with in far too long. Nothing less than the existence of our democracy and the future of our world is at stake – not to mention the catastrophic challenge of COVID-19 and the horrendous and preventable deaths of so many Americans.

Many of us have worked together in a publishing venture that depended for its credibility on facts and science. Those are two touchstones that this nation desperately needs as pathways for our future. Of the candidates for President this time only one, Joe Biden, has the intelligence, the reasoning, the sensibility, the judgement, and the courage to lead us on that desirable path.

The last four years have demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that if another candidate is elected, this country and perhaps even the world might never recover from another four years of the continuing tragic “leadership” that we have seen demonstrated far too clearly. The courting and encouraging of violence in the streets, the praise of dictators, the despicable characterizations of those who have served this country in uniform would even individually disqualify this person from holding any office at any level of any U.S. position. My 13 months on the DMZ in Korea pales in comparison to the ultimate sacrifice that so many have made for our freedom and our right to vote. Too many friends’ names are carved on a monument in Washington. My vote will be in honor of those whom the current occupant of the White House has demeaned.

I ask you please to do everything possible – but primarily VOTE for Biden/Harris and for other national and local candidates who will help them bring this country back from the edge of destruction. Vote early if you can and make sure that your vote gets to the right place even earlier than any established deadline. There is too much chance for having your precious vote interfered with and not counted by strategies underway to disenfranchise voters unless you do everything possible to make sure YOUR VOTE COUNTS.

Thank you reading what I hope will be the only time in my life that I feel such a letter is necessary.

Bill Allen
Former Editor-in-Chief of National Geographic

Get Out the Valium

Who says politics and medicine can’t be strange bedfellows bedpersons?

Dr. Sanjay Gupta provided a free “expert” on-air diagnosis of “coronavirus leakage” in Chris “Fredo” Cuomo’s healthy chest X-ray only to be corrected by hundreds of real radiologist. He then proclaimed, from the CNN mountain top, that 90% of COVID deaths could have been prevented, and that (of course) it’s all Trump’s fault.

According to CNN, everything bad that has happened since the beginning of time, is Trump’s fault and everything GOOD that happens is because of closet-socialist demokrats.

On November 3rd, let’s see how well the constant “we hate Trump” haranguing, the support of BLM (the organization), and the anarchy festering in cities under the watchful eyes of liberals, pans out at the ballot box.

Suspending the freedom of assembly, based upon medical “consensus,” is quickly embraced by liberals and meant to be applied to conservative gatherings. Unmasked “peaceful protesters” who burn businesses, assault MAGA hats, kill those who disagree and attempt to subjugate the Constitution, are excused, by those same medical experts because “…issues are more important than getting Covid…”

The media adoration of a 78-year-old Trojan Horse with possible dementia, claiming, ironically, to be the “…voice of the future…of young America…” plays well in NYC, Portland, Chicago, and SFO. For the rest of America, Biden is a BROKEN “…make sure you have the record player on at night for your children”… PIECE OF…vinyl.

Why hasn’t everyone who promised to leave the country when Trump was elected in 2016 kept their word? Will those same celebrities and “thought leaders” have the courage to redeem themselves, enhance their credibility and fulfill their “promise” if Trump wins?

For those betting on a Nirvana-moment when the “Harris/Biden” team make their victory speech, please consider refurbishing that crying room, stock up on tissue and have a good supply of Valium next to your television… for the next four years.

Cautiously offering advice to those lost in socialist wilderness storm of flying unicorns and blinding magic stardust.

Dale Lowdermilk

Montecito is Not the Hamptons

Someone in July 2nd issue quoted Megan Orloff, president of Montecito association., who said “don’t try to recreate what you left. Montecito is not the Hamptons, Malibu, Palm Springs, or O.C”…., to which I agree.


Mr. Lee Juskalian

Coffee With…

A real unfortunate aspect of how history is being discussed is the absence of any reference to Protestantism and its severity against Roman Catholics.

Catholic powers across Europe were waging war against England. They united in a series of conspiracies to defeat England. In North America Jamestown was not meant to be a benign enterprise. Nor its walled sister-city Londonderry, the Protestant Jerusalem, constructed atop Ireland the same decade. These outposts, for example, were meant to be beachheads for an English empire that would serve as a bulwark against Catholicism. But really only African slavery is discussed today, this despite in dominant English imaginary the Irish were indeed seen as black. Let’s discuss all the bias of America rather than risk viewing African slavery in a vacuum which I feel is the case.

Ivy League university caps on Jewish enrollment seems forgotten.

Matt McLaughlin

Vote No on L2020

Residents of the Cold Spring School District will soon be voting on a proposed $7.8 million bond measure. I am writing to share with the community why I have decided to VOTE NO on L2020.

I have been a resident of the Cold Spring School District since 1981. Our children attended Cold Spring School and my husband and I happily donated our time and money to enhance their experience. I have worked as an educator for 24 years and care deeply about the school and what it provides to our community.

I recently served on the District’s Governing Board. My priorities then and now are fiscal responsibility, transparency and accountability, and representing the 87% of the electorate who do not have children currently enrolled in the school – voices that have long been absent from the decision-making processes of the District.

I resigned my position after 2 ½ years because I could not, in good conscience, support and defend Board majority decisions that I believed were detrimental to the District’s fiscal health, in conflict with Board policies, and damaging to the morale of the teachers and the staff.

Here are the specific reasons I believe taxpayers should VOTE NO on L2020:

Once again, the District has failed to engage all of its residents.

There have been no community forums and no solicitation of community input. We taxpayers are being asked to hand over $7.8 million to pay for buildings and projects that we had no part in determining the need for. This is the opposite of transparency and inclusion.

The District doesn’t want the residents involved in planning and decision-making – they only want us to donate money or vote to tax ourselves.

I’m not confident that the bond money will be spent appropriately or responsibly.

The District has been deficit spending for many years, relying on fundraising and grants to make up the difference. How is it that this well-funded (through taxes) District with only 177 students hasn’t figured out how to live within its means?

A Board member recently stated that “they have compiled a list of projects that need to be completed, however, seeing as how the bond is yet to pass, there currently are not plans, bids, or proposals.” How in the world did the District come up with the $7.8 million figure?

A teacher on staff who teaches at most 12 hours per week (compared to about 24 hours per week for a regular classroom teacher) is paid a full-time salary plus overtime and benefits (for a total of over $136,000 in 2018).

The two top administrators are paid about 9% of the budget of $4.3 million (about $400,000 altogether), and the entire administrative team costs about 17% of the budget. The national average for administrative costs is 4.5% of the budget.

The previous Business Manager was paid a base salary of $88,000 per year for a 100% position. The current CBO/General Counsel is paid a base salary of $144,000 for a 60% position. Assuming 2/3 of his time is for CBO duties means that the District is paying $95,040 per year for a 40% CBO position (or $237,000 per year if it were full-time). Let’s also talk about the conflict of interest inherent in having any individual serve as both the CBO and General Counsel.

The District has long exhibited a lack of transparency and accountability.

This is nothing new and has become engrained in the District’s culture.

My experience on the Board was that thoughtful discussions and public consensus-building during Board meetings are virtually non-existent. Decisions about issues are being made outside of the public’s view and unanimous votes during Board meetings are expected. Asking questions is not only considered “disrespectful,” but actively discouraged and shut down.

For these reasons, I have no confidence in the success of a bond measure oversight committee.

Taxpayers and students deserve responsible school spending.

There is no doubt in my mind that poor planning, questionable financial decisions, and lack of attention on the part of previous Governing Boards and Administrations have allowed the facilities and the finances to reach their present state.

Existing bonds that were meant to address many of the projects on the current bond measure list will not be paid off until 2039. The proposed bond won’t be paid off until at least 2052.

It is astounding to me that a District with so much wealth and privilege is asking for even more – in the middle of a pandemic and economic catastrophe, no less.

Yes, of course I want the students and staff of Cold Spring School to have clean, safe, modern facilities in which to work and learn. I just do not trust the current Cold Spring School leadership with $7.8 million. That’s why I will VOTE NO on L2020 and I recommend that the other residents of the district VOTE NO on L2020, too.

For more information, see www.OurStudentsDeserveBetter.com.


Katherine Davidson


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