Letters to the Editor
Commingling Water and Sewage?
There’ve been two letters in the past two weeks concerning the possibly inappropriate influence that Bob Hazard might be trying to exercise over water policy in our village, specifically his amateur hydrological agenda that includes a risible proposal to merge the boards of the Montecito Water Authority (MWA) and the Montecito Sanitary District (MSD). For readers new to our village, this person is a retired motel franchiser from Phoenix and a right-wing political gadfly who has stretched legal definitions of ethics by helping to run the political campaigns of, and raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for, candidates who now control both boards. At the same time, he’s “covering” these boards, including their elections, as a volunteer amateur “journalist” for this newspaper. Over several years, Hazard repeatedly defamed the incumbents while promoting his “water security team,” and he falsely claimed that during the essential water rationing in the recent seven-year drought, profligate water users (such as himself) were “hauled” before a “tribunal,” when in fact they were simply fined. His inflammatory writings promoted the false notion that everyone in Montecito, where water use is an outrageous 200 gallons of water per capita per day, has the right to unlimited water by virtue of the “public trust doctrine,” a common law legal concept that says no such thing.
Here is Hazard’s manifesto in the MJ on September 21, 2020: “Conserving water has become synonymous with ‘Saving the Planet.’ Practically speaking, conserving water makes about as much sense as conserving air. If we destroy our green plants that clean the air and transform Montecito and our neighboring communities into a desert, air quality and environmentalists would suffer.” This guy’s views are simply out of touch with Montecito, with California, with the United States, and indeed with much of the free world.
To learn for myself what former MSD board member Jeff Kerns and a spokesman for Heal the Ocean wrote in their letters, I attended the virtual MWD board meeting this week. The meeting was “webinar style,” which means only videos of the board and staff of the MWD would be shown on screen as the public observes, unseen. Yet there was Hazard, in his own video on screen, positioned in the middle of the top row with board members. I am going to assume this was simply an error and that it does not symbolize that the five board members consider Hazard a kind of sixth member. The MWD board members and staff at the meeting I attended conducted themselves with admirable professionalism, discussing essential water business and approving a grant application to fund overdue multimillion-dollar retrofittings or replacements of Montecito’s fragile water reservoirs. Hazard spoke up to berate the board members for a meeting that was “all about housekeeping” and not about fulfilling his personal agenda, which he listed as: “on this side of the mountain, safely bank[ing] five years of potable water”; completely eliminating “dependence on state water”; and “recycl[ing] one hundred percent of wastewater.”
There were only four or five other members of the public attending that day’s meeting. Thus, I want to urge my fellow villagers to participate in these meetings of the water and sanitary boards, and to ask them what legitimate purpose might be served by “commingling” water and sewage, so to speak. A strategic planning session of the MWD will be held March 2 at 10 am. I also want to beseech Tim and Gwyn to please assign one of your experienced professional journalists to cover these meetings and their vital issues. Montecito needs the sun to shine in the dark corners of water and sanitary policy. Without public awareness, there won’t be participation, and the board members might believe that many villagers agree with Hazard’s junk science.
Eileen White Read
Entropy on a Biblical Scale
Back in the ‘60s, TV viewers were limited or, as Rinaldo Brutoco would put it, “enslaved” by having only three networks from which to choose. Now we have almost unlimited choices. Fractionalizing audiences provides more choices, but a price is paid. Our country is more divided because we do not share the same news or believe the same facts. Rinaldo, I would not be so sure about providing voters with more political parties from which to choose, to argue about them, and to cast votes on a more confusing ballot. It might very well be that you’ll get your wish and the fracturing of the two major parties into multiple ones may occur, as it has in European countries. But it will not be a “freeing” experience; rather it could lead to entropy on a biblical scale.
J. W. Burk
The Brits Like Us!
I wonder how many readers of your beautiful magazine are aware that the majority of Britons would prefer never to see or hear again from Meghan Markle? Her vanity, her self-idolatry, and money-grubbing approach to life is a stain on the American people, who are the most self-sacrificing, family-oriented, generous people in the world. Where is Meghan’s generosity to her own father?
Her recent remark about service demonstrated a disrespect of The Queen that I have never experienced in my lifetime. I shall be 83 next month.
Meghan’s rejection of an invitation from The Queen to Balmoral a couple of years ago, so as to be at a tennis final with Serena Williams, was a measure of her arrogance. The Queen is Head of State of 16 countries. What English person living in America would turn down an invitation from the American President?
Millions were entranced by her and did not complain about the $45 million of British taxpayer money that was spent on the wedding of Meghan to Prince Harry. Her behaviour since their wedding has lost her the affection of the British people. It is a pity that Montecito is now only known worldwide because Meghan and her obedient lap dog Prince live there.
I wish you all that is good for your superlative journal.
Moya St Leger
Fewer Extended Essays, Please
I enjoy getting the MJ where I now live in faraway Goleta and am grateful your carrier delivers here. The first thing I turn to after the Editor’s Letter is Rinaldo Brutoco’s column, always informative (even about the history of Valentine’s Day!), articulate, and sensible. I especially enjoyed the “Let My People Go” column and Brutoco’s righteous indignation about the mock “trial” in the Senate. His inclusion in the MJ accomplishes a balance I think the paper needs.
As a former Summerlander (I wrote a Summerland column for the Coastal View News for 20 years), I always enjoy Leslie Westbrook’s latest take on my changing hometown and its hearty hillside residents.
One suggestion I’d like to offer is that you consider limiting the length of the letters. Some are more like editorials, rambling on for pages and breakovers. Even though lockdown has gifted us with more time for perusing, my patience often wears thin after the first few paragraphs. While people have a need and a right to have their say, fewer words often do the job as well as an extended essay.