Letters to the Editor

By Montecito Journal   |   December 3, 2020

A Spaceship Named ‘Resilience’

I look forward to Rinaldo S. Brutoco’s Perspectives missive every week in the MJ. Mr. Brutoco not only does a good job of succinctly identifying difficult problems or issues of concern we all face, he offers well thought out and constructive paths forward. A Spaceship named ‘Resilience’ immediately resonated with me as a former water utility manager. Indeed, resilience is more than ever important in today’s increasingly calamitous world. And yes, resilience also captures the essence of our democracy’s strength in enabling the will of the people when confronted with fraudulent leadership. Thank you, MJ.


Charles Bullwinkle Hamilton

A Sorry Excuse for Public Healthcare

Today, Tuesday, November 17, using a link from the Santa Barbara County Health Department website, I made an appointment to be tested at the Goleta Community Center. I am dumbfounded at the complexity, duplicity and lengthy registration/reservation process. No wonder testing response by the general public is so underwhelming and attendance so lacking. The Health Department uses a third party website for online registration and it is overly complex. 

I am extremely uncomfortable giving so much personal information to an unknown entity that looks suspiciously like a health insurance sales organization that will probably, soon be bombarding me with back to back emails, cell phone calls and mailers, hustling their services. 

Yet, I feel it necessary to comply with efforts to control this virus through testing, so I continued. 

I understand that, in the event my test proves positive, many, but not all, of those private details are necessary. However, until and unless my test results are positive, in my opinion, there is only the need for a contact number plus one other source of information (in the event the first fails), period.

This current process is a total invasion of privacy, very poorly designed, and way too complex, especially for seniors and others like myself who are not comfortable with computers.

The headline confirming my appointment was unbelievably titled: “Process Server.” As if I weren’t already concerned about the lengthy, invasion of privacy registration, then to receive a notice from a “process server” confirming my appointment, is just unacceptable bureaucratic incompetence. 

The Public Health Department’s promotion of the reservation process through this current method will undoubtedly be met with understandable reluctance and is a real step backwards in coordinated efforts to battle this pandemic. 

It is such a bitter disappointment to see our Public Healthcare officials’ efforts to fight this terrible disease, be so incredibly incompetent during such frightening times.

Ronald Hays

Restoring Confidence in Elections

Much has been reported recently about voter fraud and whether it occurred in the last election. Virtually everyone agrees that the answer to that question is undeniably yes, just as it has occurred in every prior election. The hotly disputed question is whether isolated instances of voter fraud were outcome determinative. Notwithstanding the accusations and denials from all parties, no one can answer that question for certain because the system masks fraud. Voter identification requirements and restricted mail in voting would go a long way in assuring voters that no widespread impropriety determined the election winners.

The potential for fraud has been increased dramatically by efforts of the Democratic Party to increase their voter base. They have steadfastly resisted any voter identification requirements and oppose any limitation on mail in voting, as they believe that such requirements and limitations would diminish the Democrat vote.

Every change and proposed change affecting voting eligibility and registration is designed to increase the number of Democrat voters. Here is a partial list:

1. Make voting registration require little or no effort on the part of the voter. Register him or her to vote automatically when they apply for or renew a drivers’ license. Beyond DMV registration, require states to register voters from other government databases, including welfare rolls. Allow other people to fill out voters’ registration forms and submit them. Allow Internet or mail in registration without requiring identification. Allow registration on the same day as the election.

2. Stop any effort to purge voters from the registered voter lists even if they have not voted in any election in the past ten years. (Los Angeles County recently settled a Judicial Watch lawsuit seeking to update voter registrations and found over 1.5 million invalid registrations that had to be removed.)

3. Allow convicted felons and prisoners to vote.

4. Allow children to vote when they are 16 years old.

5. Make Puerto Rico and Guam states and give their residents the right to vote.

Likewise, every change and proposed change in the actual voting process is designed to produce more Democrat votes, particularly when it comes to “no-fault” voting by mail, and each one of these not only creates a huge potential for fraud, it practically invites it. A partial list:

1. Allow early voting as much as 45 days before the election, before debates are finished and competing views on issues are crystalized.

2. Send out mail in ballots to all registered voters whether requested or not to the addresses on file, and include a prepaid postage return envelop. (Had Los Angeles County not been successfully sued, it would have sent out 1.5 million additional ballots to invalid voters.)

3. Allow mail in ballots to be received and counted as much as two weeks after Election Day.

4. Set up unmonitored curbside voting and drop-off boxes.

5. Don’t require mail in ballots to be witnessed by a third party.

6. Don’t require the signatures on mail in ballots to match the one on file from registration.

7. If there is any defect in the completed ballot, which would otherwise invalidate it (pencil instead of pen, smudge, failure to sign, unmatched signature, etc.), allow third parties to contact the voter and give the opportunity to cure any defect. 

The list above avoids discussion of the number one evil of voting by mail, and that is the allowance of “ballot harvesting.” Ballot harvesting allows anyone, even paid political operatives in some states, to solicit and gather ballots from anyone and drop them off at anytime before polls close on Election Day. Theoretically, ballot harvesting doesn’t favor either political party, although it is interesting that only the Democrat party is in favor of it. Thousands of ballots were harvested in the recent election. But how many of the “harvesters” culled the ballots they collected and only dropped off those favoring the candidate of their choice? How many harvesters simply collected blank ballots from unsecured mailrooms or multi-occupied residences and filled them in? How many voters were encouraged, intimidated, instructed, pressured, threatened, fooled, or even paid to vote in a particular way by caregivers, family members, bosses, co-workers, union stewards, professors, friends, or party operatives? The answer to all these questions is that no one knows because such impropriety is virtually impossible to prove. Voting should be a private, personal decision; not one that is monitored or reviewed by others, or otherwise subject to outside pressure.

A 2005 bipartisan study headed by former Democrat President Jimmy Carter and Republican James Baker concluded after a six-month study that “absentee ballots remain the largest source of potential voter fraud” in elections. Take note that the absentee ballot they were referring to was one that had to be requested and supported by an attested valid reason which would prevent the voter from going to the polls and casting his or her ballot on Election Day. The reason in 2005 for condemning absentee voting was obvious and it is underscored today with “no-fault” voting by mail. It puts too many variables into the chain with no way to verify accuracy. Mail in voting moves the election beyond the oversight of election officials. It is an open invitation for abuse.

The election of November 2020 was complicated because of the COVID virus, and measures were required to keep the electorate safe. What emerged was a kaleidoscope of varied mail-in procedures established by state legislatures, secretaries of state, and judges, many at the last minute. Those measures were certain to give rise to complaints by whichever party lost. This chaos cries out for a uniform countrywide voting registration and voting system. That system must avoid political maneuvering. It must make voter registration an affirmative act requiring proof of eligibility. It must make voting an affirmative act of the voter requiring him or her to go to the polls where the voter can be identified and the vote can be monitored. The right to vote includes the right not to vote. The right to request a mail in ballot includes the right not to request one. A uniform election system must be a system that allows vote by mail only when requested and supported by a just reason. No doubt, many Democrats will scream this is “voter suppression,” but that is a political canard. This proposal would not stop or hinder anyone who wanted to vote legally from voting. It simply requires a minimal effort on the part of an eligible voter to affirm his desire to vote in a way that others can be confident precluded any impropriety.

If such a uniform system is not adopted we can be assured that the results of every election going forward will be suspect and the citizenry will be even more disgusted with government than they already are.

Lawrence W. Dam

‘Dangerous Drift to Demagoguery’

I’m sure that I share with many the disappointment, anger, and genuine sadness over the current state of our country. What gnaws at me is the regretful realization that we are locked in this truly terrible place by the whims and actions of one man. This is a man whose supporters include significant numbers who acknowledge that his hyperbole extends to outright lies, his self-interest is nothing more than narcissism and personal greed and whose personal code and behavior betray a deep seated bigotry. This is a man who has lowered, to unprecedented levels, the common decency in communication with others and whose suspect attempts at resolving the crippling divisions we are experiencing have instead only resulted in chaos and exacerbation of our national paralysis.

How can this happen?! Where are the voices of reasonable, responsible Republicans, who are the only ones who have the leverage and credibility to end this dangerous drift to demagoguery, to jettison this egomania and to put an end to this nightmare which is threatening the very foundation of our national commitment to the social contract that has made us the envy of the world for 240 years.

I ask that you stand up to this menace. I beg you to support and encourage your leadership to assert the underlying principles of good will and fair play. Please put an end to threats, intimidation, and bullying as the motivating levers of government. Insist that we accept that democracy is a messy business and that nobody gets everything they want – nobody. We are committed to differences, discussion, strenuous debate, and the struggles that lead to workable, if not perfect, compromise. That commitment is a sacred necessity and it is what has served us, not always without hardship and disappointment, in the face of terrible challenges to find the common ground, sometimes difficult to find, but always present.

Arthur Merovick


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