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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on December 12th, 2018, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 19, Issue 41 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 19, Issue 41

Political Watch 12/13/18

• Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island) discussed climate change from the Senate floor on Dec. 7, heard about the impacts to states like California, and called on the Trump administration and Congress to take action. Feinstein mentioned sea level rise and its effects on places like San Francisco, where "the seawall is seriously deteriorating and must be upgraded to handle the stronger storms and higher tides we're already seeing and will continue to see in the future." "But rising sea levels are far from the only problem. Wildfire and drought are already reshaping my state," Feinstein continued. "The California drought from 2011 to 2016 was made worse because of climate change. Higher temperatures depleted groundwater and reduced snowpack. Large parts of California, including the Central Valley, which produces the majority of the nation's fruits and vegetables, had to depend on groundwater pumping that will not always be available."

• Sens. Kamala Harris (D-California), Tom Udall (D-New Mexico), and Martin Heinrich (D-New Mexico) sent a letter to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Acting Director Ronald D. Vitiello and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Kevin K. McAleenan on Dec. 5, urging the immediate public release of a death review and supporting documentation regarding Roxsana Hernández, a 33-year-old transgender woman who died while in ICE's custody. The letter also asks for documentation regarding ICE and CBP training related to the treatment and safety of transgender individuals held by the agencies. "Congress requires ICE to publish an initial report, for public release, on each in-custody death within 30 days and similary for a final report within 60 days," the letter states. "It has been over 180 days since Ms. Hernández was pronounced dead,  and no such report has been publicly released. ICE's failure to release this report diminishes the systemic, traumatic, and in this case fatal, violence that transgender individuals experience daily as a result of their gender identity."

• The Solvang City Council saw notable changes on its dais at the Dec. 10 meeting when three members were sworn in, including the city's new mayor and new council members. Outgoing Mayor Jim Richardson presided over the first part of the meeting, which was closed by new Mayor Ryan Toussaint, and included Judge Kay Kuns swearing in Toussaint along with returning Councilmember Karen Waite and newcomers Chris Djernaes and Robert Clarke. Outgoing City Council members included Joan Jamieson and Neill Zimmerman. Toussaint, a sitting council member at the time of the election, leaves an open seat on the dais, which the new council decided to fill by application. The city will accept applications through Jan. 4. "I think this town is full of lots of really good people–those who ran and those who didn't run," said Clarke, who was later appointed mayor pro-tem by the council. 

• At a special meeting of the Lompoc City Council, new Mayor Jenelle Osborne was sworn in to office, along with returning Councilmembers Dirk Starbuck and Victor Vega. Osborne took over for former Mayor Bob Lingl, who was Lompoc's mayor for four years, a councilmember for four years, and a city planning commissioner for two years. The council decided to fill Osborne's vacated council seat by appointment rather than a special election, which a city release characterized as the more costly option.

• Santa Barbara County 3rd District Supervisor Joan Hartmann invites constituents to speak with her during constituent office hours on Dec. 18 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Los Alamos Public Library at 405 Helena St., Los Alamos. Supervisor Hartmann "is interested in speaking with students, residents, community leaders, and businesses in order to hear about community vitality ideas, learn about and share upcoming projects, and to answer any questions Los Alamos residents may have regarding local issues," according to a release from her office.

Weekly Poll
What do you think of the changes Santa Barbara County made to its cannabis ordinances?

It was too early to make any changes. The industry is still new.
The changes were necessary. Cannabis farms are ruining our quality of life.
The changes are too restrictive and could stifle a growing industry.
More changes are needed to address the odor problems and other issues.

| Poll Results