Letters to the Editor

By Montecito Journal   |   December 15, 2020

The New Roundabout Nightmare

Brought to you by the same storytelling government that said closing southbound ramp would not adversely affect Coast Village Road. Plus, they knew they didn’t have to close the ramp until they widen the freeway through Montecito. The only conclusion we can make is they wanted Montecito to suffer. Hurt the locals and local business. They could have tested their theory first by blocking off the ramp. Not removed it. But they didn’t. They must have known it would prove bad for us. 

1) Yes, the roundabout will move commuters faster through the Coast Village area. Which mean more commuters will hop off the freeway to take advantage of the faster local streets. 

2) Don’t forget about the nightmare constructing the roundabout will cause. They admitted it. They claim we will be happy after suffering all that pain for many months or years plus. 

All for the benefit of the commuters and the southbound ramp closure. Look at the months they took to repair Olive Mill bridge. They just removed the east side walkway and slightly widened the west side walkway. Imagine the side roads nightmare. Cars backed up everywhere. 

Residents already know long waits on side roads to get onto main Montecito roads during rush hour, however long Caltrans claims building will take. They will make it longer. Just remember the construction-time stories about the Oliver Mill bridge and Montecito Creek bridge. After the earthquake in L.A., they replaced all freeway bridges in something around three months. 

3) They lie about the roundabout making it safer for walkers. Drivers will be busy looking to the left so they can zip in. Not to the right, where the walkers are. Fewer drivers will stop. Give us a break. The commuters take the streets to go faster. Why stop for a walker? Someone else will. 

The walkers at the Hot Springs roundabout already know this truth. The government knows it too. They don’t care. They get a project to justify a bigger budget for their various departments. 

4) Yes, the roundabout will speed the commuters. But what about local drivers wanting to cross Coast Village Road to go up Olive Mill during rush hour? During afternoon rush hours, the northbound Olive Mill traffic will have a very hard time crossing, due to the commuter traffic. Olive Mill could back up to the Four Seasons Biltmore or further, and may back up onto the southbound freeway causing even more drivers to use Coast Village Road. 

5) Walkers know the Stop sign at Butterfly made it safer to cross. Because more drivers see us. They are more likely to let us cross than before. The same is true at Olive Mill, but won’t be once the roundabout is built. 

6) Montecito Journal reported on freeway widening. The government stated that after ten years of construction to widen, the freeway won’t bring relief because more will be commuting. They did not comment about the ten-year nightmare the construction will bring. Rush hour traffic all day long. They built the Santa Barbara portion of the freeway from the lights north in like three years. They could build ours in three months or less. 

7) The only way to gain a ten-year benefit from Montecito’s freeway widening is to build it fast, in three months. During construction, have both lanes open during the day. At night from 8 pm to 5:30 am, they could reduce to one lane for the least disruption. Fast Pass would be in effect during construction. 

Commuters chose to commute. They wouldn’t have problems if they all shared a ride with one person or used the bus. But they choose not to. A commuter train is not the answer.

8) The solution is simple. They have known about it for years, but never offered it. Do something that motivates more commuters to carpool or take the existing commuter buses. They do it in the Bay Area and other places. 

We propose a local twist on Fast Pass. If they jump off the freeway or choose not to use the Milpas onramp, the commuters pay local residents to use the faster street route. But the money doesn’t all go the government, only 20%; the rest should go to Santa Barbara residents.

 The Fast Pass fee would be $20 for the Coast Village section. Half would go to the businesses and the rest to locals in that section from ocean to mountain. The other Montecito sections, every on/off ramp they pass is $10/ramp more. 

The Fast Pass would go in effect anytime the freeway slows below 45mph. Even government vehicles would have to pay, except ambulance, fire, and official patrol vehicles.

Concerned Community
Residents and Businesses

(Editor’s note: We don’t know about the usefulness of the “Fast Pass,” and we question whether anything can be built in three months, but certainly construction does not have to take ten years. We need a champion at the state and federal level and we have none at the moment. Perhaps this is an issue a challenging U.S. Representative could adopt?… – J.B.)

Mental Health Mess

California’s Education Department has issued an “Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum” to ensure all your kids are properly educated. You don’t want to miss this one, so move fast while there are copies still available. 

It’s a guide for teachers to instruct Tommy and Tamara and Miguel and Rachel about ethnicities in this diverse state. To quote, it’s “the interdisciplinary study of race, ethnicity, and indigeneity with an emphasis on experiences of people of color in the United States.” 

Got that? I’m not sure. But wait. There’s more.

 “It is the study of intersectional and ancestral roots, coloniality, hegemony, and a dignified world where many worlds fit, for present and future generations” … the “xdisciplinary [sic], loving, and critical praxis of holistic humanity.”


Is this the script for a Saturday Night Live spoof?

The guide is replete with nifty academic jargon like “positionalities,” “hybridities,” “nepantlas” and “misogynoir.” It includes current popular social-science lingo like “cis-heteropatriarchy”.

The essence of this amazing screed are its recommendations, which basically say capitalism is a “form of power and oppression,” as well as “patriarchy,” “racism,” “white supremacy” and “ableism.” 

And you don’t want to miss the fictionalized speech by “Chief Seattle.” You can imagine what he is extolling – the environment, of course, which we moderns (particularly Europeans) have desecrated. Forget the fact that Indians like the good chief pretty much helped themselves to whatever they could find (fish, bear, bison), consequences be damned.

The real red flag in all this gibberish is that California educational higher-ups should produce such B-S in the first place, much less consider it worthy of proliferation.

Now that’s cause for action.

Frank Hotchkiss
Former Santa Barbara City Councilman

Sharing Little

I generally decline to say much about politics, except when necessary. First of all, I am a loyal citizen of the USA, proud of much of its history, saddened by some of it. I also dislike the monopoly shared by the two largest political parties. This is an issue worth addressing for the safeguarding of our democracy (actually a republic at present, quite a misnomer!). Everyone has an opinion, and most people believe that their opinions are fact.


Propaganda from both major parties rivals the propaganda loosed from Russia in its communist heyday. U.S. citizens should be better informed about current issues in order to make rational decisions.

I have seen many letters to your Journal that expose such a lack of well-informed citizenry.

I have seen that current USA policies benefit well-to-do individuals and international corporations, while desecrating our shared environment, leaving our children’s children to clean up the mess. And the current economic boost fails to provide wages that can match the increased cost of living and of goods and services.

Maybe it’s “Fake News”.

We should all wake up to the fact that the world has changed, and we all need to join together to make it better.

Thanks for listening.

James Dupre
Santa Barbara

(Editor’s note: While we agree that “citizens should be better informed,” we’d be way better off if our representatives became better informed – J.B.)

Let’s Compromise

Annually, about 37,000+ Americans die from automobiles and 39,000 from guns (mostly suicides). 

If gun owners were given mandatory quarterly psych and physical exams to test for PTSD, depression, alcoholism, drug abuse, “family problems,” muscle coordination, suicidal thoughts, mental acuity, rage/impulse control, reckless behavior and bizarre political thinking, how many licensed drivers would agree to the same requirements?

Should potentially senile drivers be tested monthly? It’s common sense (and scientific consensus) that any driver unable to solve a simple quadratic equation is potentially senile.

As Bernie supporters would say, “Let’s compromise and do it my way.”

Cautiously suspicious of “instant solutions,”

Dale Lowdermilk
Santa Barbara

Power of the Sword

A bratty, insolent American fencer shows open contempt for the U.S. flag at the recent Pan-American Games in Panama while courageous anti-communist young people in Hong Kong respectfully display our grand American flag on behalf of their plea for solidarity, freedom, and democracy against the tyrannical regime in Beijing.

They could’ve waved any number of Western flags in the faces of the Chinese authorities. But, there’s really only one real, true, time-honored symbol of freedom and liberty in the world, and that’s Old Glory.

Democrats with a Big “D” won’t display a real cloth U.S. flag at their presidential debates, but, democrats with a small “d” in Hong Kong are proud and happy to wave the foremost flag of freedom in the faces of the Chinese Communists.

If things don’t go well in Hong Kong, we’d be pleased to welcome some of these victims of communist tyranny into the U.S. under our generous and compassionate rules as political refugees.

Unlike our pretty-boy fencing protester in Lima, Peru, these young Hong Kong residents of about the same age are coming face-to-face with real guns and real bayonets, not swords (foils) with electronic tips on the end.

David S. McCalmont
Santa Barbara

In Passing

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who
has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as: knowing when to come in out of the rain; why the early bird gets the worm; that life isn’t always fair, and maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing
regulations were set in place. Reports of a six-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate, teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch, and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. He declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student, but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses and criminals received better treatment than their victims. He took a beating upon learning one couldn’t defend oneself from a burglar in one’s own home and that the burglar could sue for assault. Common Sense finally gave up the will to live after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son, Reason.

He is survived by his five stepchildren: I Know My Rights, I Want It Now, Someone Else Is To Blame, I’m A Victim, and Pay Me For Doing Nothing

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.

(Editor’s note: This is an obituary printed in The London Times just a few weeks ago. – J.B.)


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