We Must Not Look the Other Way

By Montecito Journal   |   June 3, 2021

Upon reading Jim Buckley’s OpEd piece in the recent Montecito Journal issue regarding voter fraud I was filled with surprise at its publication, appalled by its content, and appreciation that the MJ printed it.

I would remind Mr. Buckley that the courts, election officials, and the Attorney General, many of whom were appointed by the Trump administration, found a complete absence of voter fraud in the recent presidential election. A fact of which he seems conveniently unaware.

Homophobic, misogynistic, and blatant misrepresentation of facts notwithstanding, the publication of Buckley’s letter does serve our community by making public the difficult reality that exists within today’s politics. As painful as it is to consider the points of view of our ideological opponents, we must see and confront them. To look the other way is to exist inside an echo chamber and deceive ourselves regarding the ongoing threat our democracy faces. We must be conscious of it and fight it as if our children’s future depends upon it… because it does.

I must admit I do agree with Buckley on the one substantive point he makes… “I am no expert.” Truer words never spoken.

Rand Rosenberg

A Condescending Tone

I was mortified by the recent James Buckley opinion piece. Even an editorial should be required to adhere in some fashion to the truth. That drivel was so riddled with lies and misinformation that it’s not even worth pointing them out. The tone was also incredibly condescending and left zero room for dialogue.

Like many in our community, I rejoiced when the Journal changed hands, hoping for a more even-handed representation of issues both local and beyond. I can only hope that the editorial in question was a one-time error in judgement.


Kathi King

An Annoying Parking Job

Apparently, someone on Montecito’s Parra Grande Lane likes to call attention to themselves in a most annoying way.

They incessantly park their VW convertible so that its left rear fender protrudes dangerously into the roadway. Doing this, of course, obliges drivers to either slow down, stop entirely or, during times of poor visibility, crash into the car’s fender.

Perhaps the most bothersome part of this particular situation is that clearly there is more than enough room to leave the car correctly parked. That option, however, doesn’t seem to appeal to he or she who obviously prefers to go out of their way to be “noticed.”

From what I hear, signs have been placed on the vehicle, neighbors have complained, and the car has already been struck once, but still, the owner refuses to park his or her car like a normal human being would.

Any suggestions?

Rogers V Follansbee

Racism: Look at the Facts, and in the Mirror

Despite Mr. Hornbuckle’s protestation, racism is alive and well in our country. Citing superficial examples like white people rooting for sports teams featuring Black athletes, or having Oprah as a Montecito neighbor, does not change that. Nor does the assertion that Civil Rights laws or federal programs have eliminated discrimination against Black people like some kind of magic wand.

The facts are that the Black unemployment rate is twice the white unemployment rate. Black Americans are generally less healthy with life expectancies three years less than white Americans. COVID vaccinations are not being distributed as quickly or extensively in predominately Black communities. Black people had and still have difficulty, Oprah notwithstanding, buying homes outside Black neighborhoods, due to “red lining” where banks, historically, would only lend in those areas. Effectively creating and promoting a system of racial segregation that still exists.

These disparities are not purely coincidental. These are not conditions that developed out of thin air. They were intentional. They are impacts resulting from various institutions. Crafted by the decisions of white people who had the authority to enact them. And, can correctly be described as a “pattern and practice” that is “systemic” as it discriminates against Black people and impacts their lives and ability to prosper and succeed. Practices that subordinate Black Americans and make it more difficult for them to achieve anything approaching equality now more than 400 years after their ancestors were first enslaved on our shores.

We, white Americans, could do each other a favor by looking in the mirror of our family history. Recall the neighborhood we grew up in, the schools we attended, the kids we hung out with. Not many interactions with Black folks I suspect, if you grew up in an all-white middle-class environment like I did. Yet, we picked up clues, explicitly or implicitly, on how we were to react to, or treat, people of color. And we came at this from a place of judgment and authority – as we were taught.

No wonder many of us are finally realizing through the works of Black authors, educators, and many others that “white privilege” does exist. That many of us have benefitted simply because we were born with lighter skin. And, how maybe it is finally time to at least acknowledge this fact and do what we can in our own lives – whatever that may be and whatever it may look like – to address and remedy the many years of mistreatment inflicted on our fellow Americans, simply because of the color of their skin.

Mike Hackett

San Marcos Foothill Preserve Needs to be Saved

I’m writing to you for support to save the San Marcos Foothill Preserve. This public environmental space is in danger of being permanently marred. All of the coyotes, rabbits, deer, birds, trees, and natural growth that inhabit this land are in danger. Public parks and outdoor recreational areas are essential. There are a myriad of studies showing how important being out in nature is for both mental and physical health. In times like these especially, we need to preserve this sacred land permanently for future generations to enjoy.

I visit the preserve often with my girlfriend to go for walks and take in the beauty of the natural land, as many in our community do. We need to rally together to save this sacred Chumash land, not just for our community, but for everyone. Santa Barbara is a massive tourist destination. This cause is for everyone. As a young adult with next to no income, I feel so strongly about this cause, I donated $500 to preserve it. Please take this opportunity to spread awareness in support of land preservation. It would be greatly appreciated and well received.

The deadline to save the San Marcos Foothill Preserve is June 1st. So far, this cause is over halfway funded, but the deadline is approaching fast. I know we can meet this goal. Together, we can achieve it.


Ian Chidester

Say What You Want Harry, That’s Protected

What can you say to a person who thinks the First Amendment is bonkers?

The dictionary definition of bonkers is mad, crazy.

Our local Prince Harry has used that word to describe our First Amendment.

I for one respect his right to say this, ironically due to the First Amendment.

Harry is one of the most interesting public figures around.

His work and founder of the Invictus Games is truly inspirational.

So, to answer my own question.

Harry, thank you for all your hard work you do to make this world a better place.

But as Americans we cherish our guaranteed freedoms.

There is nothing mad or crazy about that.

I am still looking forward to all the hard work you will do with the handicapped and the underserved in this world that truly has gone a bit bonkers.

Steve Marko

Board of Supervisors: Time to Pony Up

In 2019, when the cannabis tax was approved by voters, the Board of Supervisors promised to “use the majority of cannabis revenue to fund departments and agencies that oversee regulating and enforcing the cannabis industry.” At the cannabis industry’s request, you adopted a revenue standard of “self-declaring” rather than the industry standard of taxing cannabis by acreage or foot.

For the past three years, an underfunded and understaffed cannabis team, comprised of one lead detective, five deputy detectives and one administrative staff (civilian), have had the prime directive of enforcement for the cannabis industry in SBC. In addition to being assigned enforcement on ALL cannabis growers in the entire county, they have now been assigned the duties of overseeing licensing (without additional funding or staff), previously assigned to the Planning Department. Furthermore, coming down the pipeline, there are multiple, huge and complex cannabis projects that will put even more demands upon the team. 

In April 2021, at the BOS Budget Workshops, Santa Barbara County Sheriff, Chief Deputy Bonner stated, “The single, Cannabis Compliance Team that is presently available cannot simultaneously do both enforcement and licensing efficiently or effectively.” It was also reported that there are at least 21 suspected, illegal growers and dozens of illegal delivery services operating in our county that the team was unable to investigate and/or enforce on.

Chief Deputy Bonner also stated, “…that of the 108 growers, 50 percent claimed no income or did not file at all.”

When a sufficiently funded and staffed team is able to enforce the required tagging of plants then, they will have the data necessary to compute growers’ income and discover who and how much revenue is being denied the County.

The tagging of plants provides the number of plants, which along with the going price of cannabis, at time of sale, will provide the income that the grower should report. By continuing to underfund the team, SBC will never receive the revenue that these growers actually owe because you will never know what they are actually producing … unless that is the intention. We strongly recommend that you provide the necessary funding for the team to do the job you assigned them, which will ensure that growers are paying their full, fair share and therefore, provide the necessary funding to reimburse the county. 

For the last three years, law enforcement and hundreds of residents and businesses have asked you to fully fund the Cannabis Compliance Team and you have refused. If you refuse to adequately fund them for a fourth year in a row, the voters of Santa Barbara demand to know WHY?


Renée O’NeillLinda Tunnell


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