Saturday, August 13, 2022     Volume: 23, Issue: 24

Santa Maria Sun / Letters to the Editor

The real reason for North County death disparity

Stephen Siemsen, Orcutt -

I fear that the Sun/New Times and the Santa Barbara County Health Department completely missed the key underlying reason for the higher death rate among older white males in North County (“Death report highlights long-standing geographic inequities in Santa Barbara County,” July 28). Granted, poverty and access to quality health care do play a role, but those factors impact ALL residents of North County. This does not explain the higher death rate between South County and North County older white males. As a native coastal Californian and a 68-year old white male living in North County, I may be able to shed some light on this. 

I believe that a great part of the higher death rate can be attributed to stress on their physical and emotional well-being, since I have witnessed a significantly higher level of fear, bitterness, and anxiety among my white male peers here in North County than those I know in South County. An Army commander once told me, “Stress is nothing more than your own personal reaction to a challenging situation.” 

As to the source of their stress, I believe it to be from years of watching too much Fox News and embracing its vile mendacity, fabricated by the pundits of intolerance. Being an old white guy who sports a gray beard, many just assume that I am “one of them” and freely share with me their racist, bigoted opinions. Many are retirees who came to the Central Coast for its wonderful climate from somewhere back East where they were denied the benefits of a multicultural, multiracial, multilingual environment. Once exposed to the rich diversity of North County, some embrace it, whereas many others react by displaying the American flag 24/7 and retreating further into their illiberal silos. 

A recent presidential election underscored my perception of this phenomena by the plethora of signs for a certain candidate that sprouted from the lawns of many of my elderly transplanted neighbors. Since that election four of them have died. Coincidence?

Stephen Siemsen

Donegan's commentary on guns is exactly how I feel

Keith Dekker, Morro Bay -

Right on, Mr. Donegan (“Conservatives and guns,” Aug. 4)! When people realize that it’s the idiots behind the guns that cause the problems and the existing laws that are not properly enforced, then understanding the problems will not be changed. Plus, without the care and treatment of the mentally impaired, the problems will not be improved. And with a growing population, the percentage of mentally impaired also increases and being “dissatisfied with government policies and procedures” plays into the causes for people to react violently. 

Keep up the good work!

Keith Dekker
Morro Bay

We must elect democracy defenders

Seth Forester, Santa Maria -

During the Jan. 6 hearings, we’ve heard from former members of the Trump administration and Republican state officials about how Trump and his allies worked together to try and overthrow our democracy because the 2020 presidential election didn’t go their way. Now, they’re working to make sure all of our elections go their way in the future, whether we vote for them or not.

Already, Trumpers in office have changed state laws to weaken our freedom to vote and threatened Republican election administrators who won’t go along with them. Now, they’re running candidates for key election administration offices, from secretary of state to county clerk. Should they win their elections this fall, these officials won’t hesitate to overturn future elections if they or their MAGA allies lose.

This completely undermines the tenets of our democracy. The only way we’re going to protect our elections is to fight back and make our voices heard.

We have to cast our ballots in the upcoming midterm elections. It’s up to us to hold election deniers accountable at the polls and elect democracy defenders up and down the ballot on Nov. 8.

Seth Forester
Santa Maria

Weekly Poll
What do you think about tree thinning as a form of wildfire management?

It's a smart option in order to prevent wildfires from spreading rapidly.
It's an interesting strategy that saves wildlife and prevents homes from being damaged.
We should focus on home-hardening rather than messing with the forest.
Fire season is inevitable with climate change; at this point we should try anything.

| Poll Results

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