Saturday, February 23, 2019     Volume: 19, Issue: 51

Santa Maria Sun / Commentary

The following article was posted on July 11th, 2018, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 19, Issue 19 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 19, Issue 19

Lompoc's downward spiral continues


We have been living in Lompoc for 24 years. During that time my husband and I have devoted our lives to improving the quality of life in this city. We have volunteered our time and what little extra funds we have to support many of the positive events, activities, and ongoing projects that we believed would improve the image of this city.

In the past four years we have watched and tried very hard to halt the poorly thought out decisions of three members of the Lompoc City Council who have continued to do everything they can to change this city from a family-friendly and safe place to live to now a city that welcomes one and all as long as these council members think they are going to make money on their projects. This has been done without any regard to the impact on the safety and well-being of our families.

The decisions have gone to allowing "safe and sane" fireworks into the community, which supposedly would bring all this money to our nonprofits and the city. This decision was made against all the testimony from our public safety personnel and many community members who pointed out the liabilities and problems associated with fireworks, which are shot off by some members of the public. That situation keeps getting worse every year!

Then we had to put up with a proposal to put a motorsports park on airport property that belongs to the city. This has gone on for five years and has cost the city thousands of hours in staff time and depleted some of our funds in the process. Due to the stubbornness of a past mayor and his minions, we are still going to be faced with this proposal until the City Council finally says, "Enough!"

Now we come to the cannabis "industry" and its assertions and requests for the city to welcome those associated with the business into our lovely, safe, and hardworking community. This issue has made me ask: "Why?" Once again, this project is costing the city thousands of dollars hiring a consultant and using valuable staff time to appease this very vocal group of people.

An ordinance has been written that states areas where these businesses can and cannot set up shops. There is to be a 600-foot buffer zone around all centers or businesses that are considered to be youth centers. This is done for the protection of our children and families.

For some illogical reason, three members of the council have decided that dance studios are not considered youth centers. This is in spite of children being involved in the activities associated with dance.

Doesn't it make you wonder and ask, "Why are they so unfeeling, unthinking, and inconsiderate to keep insisting dance is not a youth activity? What is the motivation behind their actions, which will now involve the city in a potentially expensive lawsuit?"

One can only make some wild guesses about why the three dense, uneducated, and indifferent council members are insisting on continuing the charade of caring about the community when they are doing nothing but putting our children in jeopardy! Their actions will also impact the 51-year business of someone who has put all her efforts into improving the quality of life in Lompoc.

Mayor Bob Lingl and Councilmember Janelle Osborne are the only ones who realize the seriousness and ramifications of this questionable decision.

We still are in serious trouble about not balancing the budget and have a major debt of millions of dollars to pay to the city's PERS fund. This was the first time we were very late in presenting a completed budget, thanks to the same three members of the council–Victor Vega, Dirk Starbuck, and Jim Mosby. This issue seems to be getting swept under the rug, but it is not going away any time soon.

If you really care about Lompoc, we will have an election in November to choose our council members who are up for re-election. We will be voting by districts this time, and if you don't understand that, the city is offering workshops and information on district voting. The three members whose terms are finished are Vega in District 2, Starbuck in District 3, and the mayor, who is elected by the total city for a two-year term. Find out which district you are in by accessing the city's website. If you live in either district, please consider running for that council position. I realize people are hesitant about running and cite some roadblocks, but just remember, none of the present council members had any experience before they ran.

Just saying positive things about Lompoc is not sufficient. The only way to change the direction in which the city is heading is to do it at the ballot box and replace Vega and Starbuck, who have caused the downward spiral of Lompoc. 

Ann Ruhge is a resident of Lompoc and former member of the Lompoc City Council. Send your thoughts to

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