A Noise Nuisance in the Sky

By Montecito Journal   |   February 15, 2022

Combating climate change and the effects of air traffic are dichotomous and irreconcilable. In spite of this threat, private/corporate and commercial jets are increasingly congesting our local skies. To make matters worse, Santa Barbara’s City Council approved the airport expansion that is expected to bring a 50% increase in aircraft traffic in 10 years.

While the proposed California climate plan includes funds for electric cars, there is no alternative at this point to fossil fuels for airplanes. The shorter the flight and the fewer passengers on board, the worse for the environment. Yet, in the last year, there has been an extraordinary increase in the number of private jets flying in and out over Santa Barbara covering short distances with a few passengers. They are crisscrossing the sky everywhere – over residential areas by the beach, downtown, and in the mountains – with no apparent forethought as to the pollution they create. Hiking recently on Cold Spring Trail, the aircraft noise was constant, and I noticed that the planes were all private or chartered jets. 

Besides causing air pollution, airplanes are also a source of noise pollution exceeding the WHO value of 50dB allowed for residential areas. Compounding the problem, most new private and corporate jets are bigger and louder than their predecessors.

Highlighting that nothing is more important than transportation to fight climate change, Governor Newson has proposed earmarking $6.1 billion (of the state’s new $37 billion climate change proposal) to help Californians eliminate gasoline. The goal, according to Newson’s senior climate advisor, Lauren Sanchez, however, is not to replace every gas guzzling car with an electric car and have as many vehicles on the road as we have now. If that is the outcome, she decries, we will have failed the planet. The Los Angeles Times article about the Budget plan points out that we need to utilize among other options, more mass transportation, as well as riding bikes and walking for short distances. 

When it comes to flying, the climate conscious choice would mean taking commercial flights that carry numerous passengers and choosing to drive rather than fly for shorter distances. Short flights (including sightseeing) should be eliminated whenever possible.

Exacerbating this nuisance, many of the pilots new to Santa Barbara – private as well as commercial – do not follow the noise abatement approach, established in 2005, over the ocean for landing and take off (see flysba.santabarbara ca.gov for details). They fly directly over residential neighborhoods, dumping pollution, eroding our healthy environment, and destroying what makes Santa Barbara such a special and unique place. A petition https://chng.it/ZYRNtDG7 demanding better compliance with the established noise abatement procedure has collected almost 800 signatures.

If we are serious about fighting global warming, we must be willing to make unselfish choices, not only when there is a consumer friendly alternative, but even when it is inconvenient. As individuals, we all must reconcile our wants with the changes we need to enact for the benefit of our whole community – now and for the future generation. 

Erika Blos

Neutrality in Perpetuity

As a veteran of war – for peace – I do not understand why we anticipate war and participate in its preparations. Many countries have dealt with similar situations without the panic and hysteria that leaders are accepting. Switzerland, located between the Austro-Hungarian Empire and France/Belgium and again between Nazi Germany, Italy and France during WW2 remained neutral and peaceful. Costa Rica, located between US satellite and drug center Panama and revolutionary Communist Nicaragua eliminated its military and declared neutrality. Why can’t leaders today create a neutral Ukraine in perpetuity? That is all that Putin is asking for. German leaders have also proposed this. Is war and its fallout better than neutrality?

Yours truly, 
Rowland Lane Anderson

Lifetime Member of Veterans of Foreign Wars, Vietnam Veterans of America, Disabled American Veterans and Veterans For Peace

Response to Previous Montecito Hot Springs Letter

Bryan Rosen’s interesting summary of the history of the Hot Springs and his observations on the current conditions of the trail to get to the siteis somewhat curious, and, in other ways, factually incorrect.

He has previously indicated in letters to the Journal that he recognized the parking issues faced by homeowners along Riven Rock Road, occasioned by the apparent popularity of the trail, and has offered constructive suggestions.

Before those issues are resolved however, he seems to be advocating for a significant project to be undertaken both on the trail and the Hot Springs as well.

Invoking 19th century Chumash history, he opines that the traditional healing site has been “ …taken away by a private water company serving the rich.”

Putting aside how many Chumash are currently desirous of driving to Montecito, parking their cars on Riven Rock Road to potentially get ticketed, and then climbing a littered and graffiti strewn trail for the pleasure of enjoying a plunge in a hot springs as opposed to their jacuzzies in Santa Ynez (even as he suggests the soak could be offered for free to them), there seems to be a serious factual misunderstanding.

Bryan asserts that the estate owners don’t need the water. Why is that?

I don’t have a Montecito Water District meter for irrigation water. The same goes for dozens of other homeowners who have bought their homes, in part, predicated upon their direct or indirect ownership in the Montecito Creek Water Company.

I and dozens of others have a deeded right to that water. Are we going to be compensated for Barry’s proposed taking? If so, he should use his energies to start a fundraising project. I wish him luck.

Given what Bryan describes the conditions on the trail as, it seems to be an oxymoron to advocate for yet another attractive nuisance by rehabilitating the springs.

More litter, more graffiti, more access issues, more fire potential.

The pristine environment that he seems to wish for does not reasonably comport with his suggestion. As anyone who has visited the back country can readily attest, there is more than enough evidence of despoliation, without creating new attractants.

In summary, let’s fix the trail access problem, before advocating for projects that will only exacerbate it.

Jon Emanuel

Petitioning Prop 19

Proposition 19 had a little-noticed provision in it that will cause families to have to sell homes and small businesses that parents had hoped to pass on to their children. Prop. 19 repealed Proposition 58, which was placed on the ballot in 1986 by a unanimous vote of the Legislature, then passed with the approval of over 75% of state voters. Prop. 58 protected family properties from reassessment when transferred between parents and children. Without it, property will be reassessed to market value when it is passed to children, and the property taxes will be sharply higher. This will force many families to sell properties, including small family businesses, after parents worked so hard for so many years to pay for them. 

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association has filed an initiative to repeal the changes that Prop. 19 made to the intergenerational transfer and restore the law back to the way it was before. To further protect families, the measure adds an adjustment for inflation to the exclusion from reassessment for a limited amount of other property in addition to the primary residence.

To get this initiative on the ballot, HJTA needs our help. Please sign the petition. Find out how at: HJTA.org/RepealTheDeathTax

Marylou Mankowski  


You might also be interested in...