Sunday, July 22, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 20

Santa Maria Sun / Canary

The following article was posted on August 9th, 2017, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 18, Issue 23 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 18, Issue 23

Best place to be

I know I’m a pretty critical little bird, but I can’t help it. I have a beak that’s prone to pecking, digging, and chirping about what I’ve found.

There’s definitely plenty I could talk about, like the goofy mishap with Lompoc Mayor Bob Lingl and his “finger gun” pointed at Lompoc City Councilmember Jim Mosby, which Lompoc Police Chief Pat Walsh had to chime in on, but I will resist!

Instead, in honor of our annual Best Of issue, I want to talk about some of the things that make this the best place to live!

Now, I get it, that’s totally subjective. There are lots of great places to live, including places that don’t have all the wildfire risk that we do. But you know what, we also have very talented first responders in this area who kept us safe through both the Alamo Fire and Whittier Fire, and firefighters who have put out a spate of smaller blazes that have flared up since.

I fluttered through the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail on a recent weekend with some friends, getting in some wine tasting and relaxation, and passed through the charred hillside that was the Mesa Fire, which Santa Barbara County Fire Department fire crews (and other visiting teams) put out like it was nothing. And they’ve put out more small vegetation fires since. Good work guys and gals, and thanks!

Another thing that makes this a great place to live is that we don’t have anywhere near the traffic problems that our neighbors in Los Angeles or the Bay Area have to deal with every day. Thank goodness for that!

And again, you could point at some of our more congested roadways as problem areas, like Highway 154 and the recent accident that saw a couple motorists plunge nearly 300 feet down the mountainside, as problematic examples. But again, we’ve got our first responders to thank for saving the day after they transported the motorists to a hospital. We’re talking about county fire again, but U.S. Forest Service crews aided them along with Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office deputies and Search and Rescue volunteers.

For most of us, things don’t go that wrong when we go out for the weekend. We’ve got beautiful beaches, fantastic recreational spaces, the aforementioned wine country, a number of world-class restaurants and breweries, fine art galleries, venerable museums, and bustling concert and live theater venues. I remember lots of my fledgling friends complaining that there was “nothing to do” on the Central Coast! Don’t hear that too much these days.

There’s also an incredible amount of diversity here, which enriches our ever-changing culture. We do have problems like poverty, crime, and difficult access to education or health services, but we’ve also got tight-knit communities where people take care of each other. When a child gets sick, locals spur crowd-funding campaigns to help support the family in need. At-risk youth often find mentoring programs, nonprofits that reach out, and schoolteachers who genuinely care about them.

It may be a stretch to say this is the best place to live, but I think many of us would be hard-pressed to move away. And when the sun rises on the Central Coast each day, I do feel grateful to share it with all of you. 

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