Sunday, March 7, 2021     Volume: 21, Issue: 53

Santa Maria Sun / Letters to the Editor

Our congressman is no help to local businesses

Michael Guista, Santa Maria -

Salud Carbajal has never helped my business!

Michael Smith writes on Feb. 18 (“Carbajal has acted in businesses’ favor”) that he was surprised to read a letter claiming Carbajal has been bad for business (“Dear Congressman Carbajal, now is your chance,” Feb. 4).

Here are my two experiences with Carbajal’s office. 

I own a small corporation in Santa Maria. I was a victim of a fairly large, very clever interstate credit card fraud scam a year ago and reached out to Carbajal’s office for help. No, they did not ever answer a phone call or ever return a message. I submitted one of their comments forms and never heard back.

Recently, as a result of Trump, my earlier tariffs exclusion expired and I only wanted Carbajal’s office to advise me whom to contact. This is a federal issue and last I read he is a U.S. congressman. Of course no one answers the phone, so I left a message. And of course no one responded. I again submitted a form and got no response.

Finally I figured it out—I called the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office in Washington, D.C., and a voice picked up in a couple of rings. He advised me to call the Counsel’s Office for Exclusions. Again, I got right through to a Washington bureaucrat on the second ring, and he was quite helpful about what I might expect. 

The lesson, I guess, is it’s much easier to talk to Washington than your local congressman.

And I think the comment form on his website is nothing more than an email-gathering device.

Michael Guista
Santa Maria

Government needs to be kept at arm's length

Jan Lipski, Vandenberg Village -

I recently contacted our congressman, Salud Carbajal, asking that he cast a no vote for HR 1. I citied that it was an infringement of states’ rights set out in the 12th Amendment: The only job the federal government has is to set the date for voting and certification of the Electoral College vote.

Our Legislature retains the authority by state constitution to certify the Electoral College vote. Already even I can see how this past election has been compromised in half a dozen ways, but sticking to my point: Federalism was an agreement among the states that each state’s sovereignty was protected. The federal government was limited by the governed to what powers they had. Over the years, the federal government has exceeded what would be their initial roll to provide for the common defense and to promote trade. Federal government has bloated to an overreaching bureaucratic tyrant.

At first blush, federal standardization of elections seems reasonable. However, 50 states conforming to what is outlined in HR 1 mandates include directives that some don’t want. It’s true that one state’s election laws could cause friction with other states, and if a disenfranchisement leading to harm to the other states is demonstrated, it would be up to the Supreme Court to sort out those issues. (Which recently that court abdicated their authority to do. That is another topic for another day.)

What I’m boiling down to is independence. Henry David Thoreau, among others, is quoted in “Civil Disobedience,” “The government that governs least, governs best.” Government should be “held at arm’s length.” You have no redress to authority that hides behind masks and barbed wire.

Read HR 1. Tell Salud that he represents us to the federal government and not the other way around. Government in this country derives its authority by consent of the governed.

By the way, his response to me was that he was going to vote to impose federal authority over our election process.

Jan Lipski
Vandenberg Village

Oso Flaco dunes project makes no sense

Johanna Rubba, Grover Beach -

It is incomprehensible that State Parks, an agency tasked with conservation as well as recreation, would propose to place, within a few miles of each other, projects comprising 721 campsites, OHV staging and training areas, new OHV highways into the dunes, acres of parking, permanent administration buildings and staff residences, equestrian facilities, and, of all things, a shooting range for peace officers, all in an area that includes Oso Flaco Lake, designated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as “the most unique and fragile ecosystem in California, ranking No. 1 on the list of habitats in need of protection.” 

There will be massive destruction of natural habitat and disturbance of dwindling wildlife so that people can have fun—a special kind of fun based on fossil fuels, creating noise and pollution on the ground and CO2 pollution in the atmosphere. State Parks has the temerity to refer to these projects as “improvements.” This is State Parks planning run amok; the scale of these projects raises the question of just how deeply State Parks is tied to the OHV lobby. 

They are also a study in irony: The California Coastal Commission staff recommends eliminating OHV activity on the dunes completely and reducing the impact of camping on sensitive beach and dune habitat.

Recreation is a social good. But social goods must be balanced with practices that sustain the natural environment, that narrow band of atmosphere that fosters human life.

Johanna Rubba
Grover Beach

State Parks has failed the coastal community

Linda Reynolds, Nipomo -

Thank you to the California Coastal Commission for its futurist reimagining of the park in the newly released staff report for the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area. Due to the park’s closure to OHVs last year, many people have for the first time experienced the magnificence of the Oceano Dunes.

This area is a geological wonder and is the largest intact coastal dunes system in the world. The new staff report shows that off-road riding degrades the habitat, causes air quality issues, and does not economically contribute to Oceano as much as off-road riders want the public to believe.

Local residents and visitors would spend more time and money in Oceano if they felt it was a safe environment for pedestrian enjoyment. Other beach communities are thriving even during pandemic times!

But what does State Parks propose? Moving the problem south in its draft plan. This would dramatically impact Oso Flaco and change land use where Phillips 66 is into an area with everything from a gun range to more riding, as well as increased traffic, light, noise, and air pollution.

Support the Coastal Commission and save this unique dunes area. State Parks has failed to come up with a solution.

Linda Reynolds

Dems need to examine their hypocrisy

Samantha Romero, Santa Maria -

Oh, you hypocrites! When Trump stopped “immigrants” from entering our country illegally, when he separated children from their parents rather than have them detained in cages built by Obama, the “righteous indignation” from the Democrats and the media was as thick as honey in a freezer. “We on the left would never do such a thing. How dare he?” they cried. Probably true. Dems and the media would never put this country first. 

What’s the Democrat solution? Rather than keep them out of our country and cages, we’ll just kill them at the source. How? Abortion. Is it not despicable enough that we have allowed the deaths of more than 60 million of our own babies? Now under this new regime, we are going to take our tax dollars and pay for abortions in Third World countries.

The same self-righteous politicians and media mouthpieces who are so offended by what Trump did don’t bat an eye over New York’s abortion “rights,” which permit a baby to be aborted (killed) at 24 weeks. Every pro-abortion advocate should be made to watch an abortion and see how that baby is killed by a so-called doctor. Then to have them call it reproductive health care rather than calling it killing or murder is total hypocrisy.

In a recent media headline, Biden was called the most religious president in a long time. He’s a Catholic. Do you or anyone else think the Catholic church is pro-abortion? Does anyone think God is pro-abortion?

Samantha Romero
Santa Maria

Reassess Los Alamos project

Seth Steiner, Los Alamos -

Los Alamos is a small, unincorporated town. We don’t have our own elected government. We depend on county officials. We pay property taxes just like other county residents and expect fair and responsive treatment by these agencies. 

Recently, however, a Planning and Development issue has come to the fore after lying dormant for about two decades. Back then, the county ceded all responsibility for the maintenance of a two-block stretch of road here. We didn’t ask for it. They placed financial responsibility for road upkeep entirely in the laps of the adjoining homeowners.

While 18 homeowners pay annual dues for these repairs, we are more than welcoming to pedestrians, joggers, bike riders, and dog walkers from all parts of town. All may enjoy this quiet and safe neighborhood.

Today, Planning and Development is moving ahead with a developer’s profitable plan that would add as many as 11 new homes on an adjoining acre-and-a-half lot. The county has granted him the right of access to our private road. A county permit for his lot plan would greatly increase traffic here. It would raise the risks of accident and injury, reduce the safe and peaceful enjoyment of the road by us and our neighbors in town, and result in higher costs to us for road maintenance.

It may be that Planning and Development is able to do this within existing zoning and planning rules. But it is not the right or smart thing to do; there is another road that could provide access for the developer. Planners ought to steer the outcome in this sound and responsible direction.

Instead, they first ignored a one-lane bottleneck. Then they tried to minimize its risks to safety because acknowledging it would complicate their aim to push forward with an ill-considered plan.

It seems to many here that county bureaucrats have been rigid, programmatic, occasionally arrogant, and obfuscatory. Isn’t it time for a reappraisal and a sensible result? 

Seth Steiner
Los Alamos

Weekly Poll
Where should Santa Barbara County be focusing its efforts to help the local homeless community?

Strengthen partnerships with existing organizations and shelters.
Revamp the once-successful safe parking program.
Provide temporary housing in hotels.
Secure federal funding to get more relief projects off the ground.

| Poll Results

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