Looking for Reliable 911 Service

By Montecito Journal   |   July 12, 2022

We live on Channel Drive in Montecito and along with the neighbors we have sent several emails regarding the lack of Sheriff’s presence since COVID and the increase of illegal activities. Last night was 4th of July and sadly Channel Drive had far fewer families enjoying the fireworks and many more people drinking, flying drones over our backyards, and playing loud music. That’s a distinct change from only a few years ago. The other difference was the complete lack of Sheriff presence to keep things under control.

Finally, at 3:30 am I called 911 because someone(s) was shooting fireworks multiple times directly towards our house. After giving my address to the 911 Operator, and reporting the problem, the Operator said she’d transfer me to the Sheriff’s Department. I was put on hold and then disconnected. I called 911 back and the exact same thing happened. The fireworks continued so I looked up the phone number for the Sheriff’s Department and called them directly, but I received a message that they were closed and in case of emergency, call 911. So I called 911 for a third time and began the conversation with “please don’t transfer my call…” but as soon as I stated my address I was once again disconnected. I stayed awake for another thirty minutes, assuming someone would call us back, or we’d see police lights, but nothing happened. Why do we not have reliable 911 service in Montecito?

Paul and Jane Wood Orfalea

Ban Short-Term Rentals

It’s interesting to see the immediate rally and coverage of the Montecito Association’s concern with Pacaso/fractional homeownership. While I don’t disagree with their concerns (in fact, I support them), I find the outrage here over TWO houses to be somewhat, well, outrageous. I am a Montecito native, born and raised. I am also a renter, battling with this current market. As Mr. Vogt references in your article, short-term occupancy properties have a negative impact on neighborhoods and remove a property from being purchased (or, consider – rented) by someone who would live and work in the area. I agree wholeheartedly with this argument.

My question is this: Where is the outrage and media coverage of the more than 1,000 short-term rentals in the Santa Barbara/Montecito area on Airbnb alone? Each and every one of these properties could be rented (or purchased) by someone who could live in, work in, and contribute to our community. Volunteer here. Vote here. Shop here. Enroll children in schools here. Be a neighbor. Be a friend. Take a look at the map of properties on Airbnb. You just might be surprised to see there are quite a few in your own neighborhoods already. (A search for “entire place to yourself” yields over 1,000 results – these aren’t couches being rented that I reference – they are homes.)

Short-term rentals are without a doubt the single biggest problem in our community’s housing market. Just like the two Pacaso properties that have garnered so much ‘not in my backyard’ concern, I beseech the community to channel this outrage into the problem at large and put a full stop ban on short-term rentals. Call it a short-term emergency housing relief experiment – let’s ban all short-term rentals for three years and see how quickly the housing woes you speak of are solved. Imagine – over 1,000 properties immediately available. They already exist. They do not need to be built. They use no more water than what’s already being used. No new developments for “affordable housing” need to be debated. Hotels and their employees get more money.

Can we join forces and advocate for all, since our desires for community and arguments against short term housing are the same? I would love to have the weight of the Montecito Association behind me with this proposition to our mayor and city council. Together, we can work to ban short-term housing and re-build our long-term community. What do you say, Montecito Association? No Pacaso, no Airbnb.

Amber Rouleau

Trump’s Dream Team

In the NBA Finals, the Golden State Warriors defeated the Boston Celtics four games to two. In the NHL Finals, the Colorado Avalanche defeated the Tampa Bay Lighting by the same four games to two margin.

In both cases, Donald Trump (AKA: the rotting Jack-o’-lantern) is claiming fraud and demanding a recount. League offices have been broken into and vandalized by angry and violent Trump inspired mobs. Players, coaches, their families, referees, league officials and others have had their lives threatened. Trump sycophants and other enablers (such as those at a local Santa Barbara daily) cry that many points and goals were suspiciously “mailed in” or scored by dead people and illegal aliens. They insist these acts of violence were either normal tourist visits, misdemeanor trespassing, minor disagreements among well-meaning sports fans, peaceful and law-abiding protests that got out of hand, or a sinister plot entirely instigated by BLM, Antifa, the FBI, or by a collaboration of all of these radical left-wing saboteurs.

Trump has brilliantly assembled a “dream team” of legal scholars led by Rudy Giuliani (“We’ve got lots of theories. We just don’t have any evidence”), Sidney Powell (pleaded not guilty on the grounds that “no reasonable person” would have taken her fraud claims seriously), Lin Wood (Mike Pence should be tried for treason and executed), and John Eastman (pleaded the 5th – 146 times). There can be no doubt that the results will be overturned once these cases get to courts overseen by Trump appointed judges. Should the cases get to the most reactionary, right-wing Supreme Court in this nation’s history, the Larry O’Brien Trophy and the Stanley Cup will rightfully be passed on to the losing teams. Sports “integrity” will be restored, and America will be great once again. Hallelujah!

Robert Baruch

Questionable Customers?

As a longtime resident of Carpinteria, I can personally attest to the growing cannabis industry in our area. One of the more interesting issues to come up is the controversy over of the planned Roots dispensary on Santa Claus Lane. I’m not writing to disparage anyone, but I do find the argument against the opening of a dispensary is based on the misconception of just who visits such an establishment. It seems to me, the opposition have something against people 50 years and older. My adoptive father, a ninety-one-year-old Korean War veteran, happens to enjoy his edibles. My neighbors, who make well over one hundred thousand dollars a year and who are in their fifties, also enjoy their gummies. My wife’s good friend, a retired lawyer for Sony, relies on THC to ease the side effects from her cancer treatment. These are the people who will come to the dispensary. Besides, wouldn’t it be beneficial for all the businesses if more people with disposable income came to Santa Claus Lane? I’ll answer this for you: YES.

Maybe, just maybe, those opposed to a dispensary are being a tad disingenuous. I wonder if they would put up this much protest if Sunstone Winery wanted to open up a tasting room at the same spot. I’m guessing, no.

Knowing Santa Claus Lane well, I can attest this attention is misplaced. If those opposed to Roots opening are doing so because they “care” about the area, the children, etc., then I invite them to join Maire and her family as they pick up five to eight Caltrans sized bags of trash every Sunday. I implore you to install, and keep filled, conveniently located doggy bag stations. At least get MarBorg out there more than twice a week.

Bottom line is this, like it or not, owning a dispensary is legal, and they are legitimate businesses. Roots should be allowed to be open for business, and the marketplace decide their fate. Thank you for your time.


Bryan Mootz

A Call for Freedom

I write this letter in direct response to Gwyn Lurie’s editorial “A Lifeboat to Roe.”

Without hesitation I agree millions of women in this country have been “stripped of a fundamental constitutional protection” by an overzealous, overly conservative Supreme Court, despite the fact that the majority of Americans believe in the right to abortion.

I’m troubled and curious why this Supreme Court even decided to take on this issue at this time? There is no urgency here, no national destabilization affecting our country that required the court to address this issue of abortion at this particular time.

We are AMERICA, land of the free, where WE as AMERICANS, decide our course and destiny. How is it that we have now LOST the ABILITY, to decide what is best for US… the ability to shape the LIVES and the FUTURES of ourselves and our families?

Ultimately as Ms. Lurie points out, “denying someone the right to make decisions about their family and future is a violation of both human rights and religious freedom.”

I call for us COLLECTIVELY… as Americans together… to ROAR back “NO”. 

Whether Republican or Democrat TOGETHER we have fought for freedom and justice for CENTURIES… This is not a partisan issue… This is a HUMAN issue involving women children men families. 

AMERICANS. TOGETHER… let us support FREEDOM and remain committed to advocacy and action “until reproductive freedom is protected nationwide.”

Gretchen Lieff  


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