Shameful Acts Need Consequences at Thacher

By Montecito Journal   |   July 15, 2021

The recent news of the shameful episodes of past sexual abuse at Thacher School is deeply troubling. The perpetrators should be pursued, prosecuted where possible and never again be allowed contact, in any capacity, with young people. In the strongest terms, I condemn them as well as those who covered up these egregious incidents, and those who chose to “look the other way.”

At the same time, I offer my sincere and heartfelt sympathy for the growing list of victims. Every effort must be made to support them and to take steps to mitigate the damaging ramifications of these awful experiences.

Having condemned those responsible on the one hand and expressed my genuine support for the vulnerable victims, I want to raise an additional factor.

The Thacher School has been in existence for more than 130 years. In that time, it has provided an exceptional educational experience for thousands of young people from all over our country, and many scores from the Santa Barbara area. Hundreds of dedicated faculty have devoted their lives to the students in their care. They have provided the scholarship, discipline and example which has secured Thacher’s places as a premier secondary boarding school, certainly in the very top tier in the Western United States.

Please do not construe this as softening my criticism of what has occurred or those responsible. But I know first-hand what an exceptional education Thacher has offered so many, preparing them for extraordinary success in the finest colleges, in respected careers and in fulfilling lives.

I join those who demand accountability for those terrible acts, and I encourage every possible support for the unfortunate victims. But I also believe, without reservation, that Thacher has done immeasurable good for so many outstanding young people and will continue to do so.

Arthur Merovick
Former Headmaster, 
Laguna Blanca School

Thanks, Summerland Fire

Let’s have a shout-out for the fabulous men of the Summerland Fire Department. I have had occasion to interact with them twice in the last few months and they are awesome. Knowledgeable, smart and so kind, not to mention attractive (any one of them could give Brad Pitt a run for his money). So, ladies, if you are looking for the perfect man, find yourself a fireman.

Sheila McNeill

Different Perspective on Critical Race Theory

In response to Robert Baruch’s letter to editor, issue 27, where he quotes the great philosopher, George Santayana, about those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it, I’d like to add another of Santayana’s quotes, “Nonsense is so good only because common sense is so limited.” What planet is Mr. Baruch living on that leads him to believe that Americans have not been taught the ills of this country? It is not a hidden history. The left act as if they’ve just discovered these facts and are in complete shock. Mr. Baruch has failed, however, to take into account the measures that have gone into effect to remedy these areas of our history. For him and his misguided ilk to overlook all the greatness this country offers to all races and to deny that Critical Race Theory is a racist, divisive, and completely destructive teaching is what I would call at best, a total lack of common sense.

Monica Bond

A Response Over Parking Compliance

Mr. (Jon) Emanuel (Letters to the Editor, June 24), thank you for agreeing with my main concerns for “due process” and the possible lack of compliance with Santa Barbara County Public Works Road Encroachment policies.

Your concern that I may be hypocritical because my street is wide and has white stripes is misplaced. Just because a street has white stripes does not mean you can’t park on the street. As long as your car is not touching the white lines you can legally park on the road. To accommodate parking and/or pedestrian traffic the county requires that homeowners abide by Santa Barbara County Public Works Road Encroachment policies which require an edge-of-road clear zone, meaning there must be an unobstructed flat area beyond the edge of pavement.

That means, before installation, fixed objects like rocks, walls, trees, landscaping or fences generally require an encroachment permit. The encroachment policies state any fixed objects must be set back at least seven feet (25 mph roads) to 10 feet (25 to 35 mph roads). Most of the homeowners in my neighborhood including myself have complied with these policies. My landscaping is approximately 10 feet from the white line and allows for ample parking and/or walking in front of my house. I am completely in compliance with the county’s policy. Can the homeowners on Riven Rock Road say the same?

I am also very familiar with San Antonio Creek Trail, a 3.4-mile round trip with elevation gain of 300 feet which is one mile from my house. I have hiked it many times as I have hiked all the trails in and near Montecito many times.

As far as enjoying the great outdoors and traveling to enjoy it — William O. Douglas stated, “Freedom of movement is the very essence of our free society — once the right to travel is curtailed, all other rights suffer.”

Gordon Hartwig

It’s Time to Slow Down

Ms. Byrne and Ms. Orloff of the Montecito Association compiled a nice list of things that make Montecito special and how and why we should keep them. One addition: Please slow down!!! When you exit the freeway remember you aren’t in Los Angeles anymore! Be polite. Residential neighborhoods have a 20-25 mph max speed limit as does (surprise!) the Upper Village area of East Valley Road!! Also, tell your pre-teens on their electric bikes to wear helmets and slow down — way down.

Kat Laurain


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