Alert

I was going down Highway 154 the other day, coming back from Santa Barbara, when I saw a three-horse trailer coming toward me in the slow lane, part of the passing section that is just past the Santa Ynez River Bridge. I always look to see if the passing car is someone I know, but something else caught my attention. I saw, with horror, that this trailer was the type with open windows so the horses were all able to stick their heads out into the open. There were three heads and necks hanging out and right behind them, and gaining speed was a semi tractor-trailer about to pass alongside.

I had to focus my attention on the road to not have an accident myself, and could only pray that those horses did not have a problem. I implore all of you who have trailers with windows that open, to practice safety for the sake of your animals.

First of all, put screening on the windows so when they are open it will filter out at least some of the debris in the air that can affect your horses’ eyesight. Second, install bars over the windows so the horses cannot stick their heads and necks out of the windows into the other lane of traffic. Third, be aware that the traffic lanes are being made smaller these days to accommodate bicyclists. There are too many unconscious, unthinking drivers out there, and this is a horrible accident waiting to happen.

Please, for the love of your animals, do not take this ignorant chance with their lives; they need fresh air, not wind-blown manes. I don’t ever want to see such an incident again.

 

Lies, Damn Lies

I often wonder how many of you are aware of how often you are lied to by politicians you trust. I know that so many people are not news junkies, like me, but just what do you consider reliable sources of information upon which you can make voting decisions? It has taken me many years of flipping channels and reading books by authors with varying opinions — yes, there often are more than two sides — to really begin to see what and how ideas are being put forth and what information is given to support the assertions.

What I discovered was disturbing! It seems that it is common knowledge that most people don’t take the time to check the information presented as fact. I have to admit that often I don’t have the time to check the validity of the “facts,” either. However, I am finding that some statements repeatedly being made by current candidates are simply false. It’s not a matter of opinion; the information just is not true under any circumstances.

For example, one national candidate keeps insisting that his economic program will not raise taxes on the capital gains of small businesses.

The truth of the matter is that businesses do not pay capital gains of any kind, unless the business is sold for more than what was paid for it initially. Capital gains are monies produced from an investment, such as a stock or a piece of property, that someone sold for more money than they paid for it.

Perhaps many people without investments are not aware of this, but it is pretty disgusting that an individual who wants to represent this country is either less informed than the audience or is deliberately misleading people he figures won’t know the difference. In either case, this is not an individual I can respect and he certainly does not deserve the confidence of the constituents.

I know that politics is a dirty business, but as far as change, wouldn’t you like to see a bit more honesty and common sense?

Is it really necessary for politicians to deceive us routinely? Have they no self-respect? If they have no self-respect, why should we respect them? I know, as I am sure you do, that Congress has the lowest approval rating in history, even lower than President Bush. What does that tell you? Do we really want to add “more of the same” party that has gotten us into these horrible economic times? Let’s not be fooled by the spin-doctors who blame this mess on everyone but those who are actually responsible.

You can look up this information yourself — don’t just take my word for it. And let’s not forget who has been in control of Congress for the last two years. Let’s remember what has happened and NOT happened during that time.

 

River Issues

I have brought to your attention some property issues regarding the Santa Ynez River that have been the source of considerable concern for property owners of the river bottom. Over recent years, there has been an increase in blatant disregard for the rights of those owners, with people routinely trespassing on their land, driving vehicles up and down, lighting bonfires, having drinking and drug parties and hunting. All of these activities are illegal without the permission of the owner.

On Dec. 17, 2007, we had some individuals trespass on our ranch property in the river. The individuals trespassed to duck hunt, which strictly is against our ranch policy of no hunting.

This has been San Lucas Ranch’s policy since 1924. Ranch employees caught the trespassers and called for law enforcement. The other day we finally got the verdict: the individuals were convicted and fined $1,000 each for one count of violating Title 14, California Code of Regulations, Section 506, a misdemeanor crime of Hunting Ducks after Lawful Hours, and the Fish and Game Code Section 2016, as well as one misdemeanor crime of Trespassing for Purposes of Hunting.

We are thrilled with the outcome and want to publicly thank our law enforcement officials who persevered with this case and protected our rights. Blatant violations of these rights result in a society where no one is safe, and lawlessness is afforded a safe haven. We are pleased that the valley is not going to go down that road, and we know other owners will be encouraged by this action as well. On this particular incident, we are aware that this has happened before and we hope the message has been sent and received. If not, we will be vigilant in making sure that this behavior is not repeated.

After a meeting with landowners on the lower part of the river that lies between Buellton and Lompoc, the sheriff’s department has spent some time trying to clean up the violators of the county’s newest ordinance that refers to the use of motorized vehicles in the river.

Apparently, its efforts are paying off, as multiple citations have been issued for violations of all sorts. Perhaps the property owners of the river will finally be able to sleep at night knowing that they will not be faced with trespassers day and night.

 

Rights

I have talked a lot about citizens’ rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution, a document unique in our world. Unfortunately, over the 200 years or so that this noble experiment has been playing out, some individuals have turned to their darker side and decided that those rights only mean something if you, the citizen, can prove in a court of law that they have been violated. Thus, the thriving legal industry emerged.

Santa Barbara County has been in the forefront of this dubious distinction, and once again is being challenged in federal court by the Pacific Legal Foundation on behalf of the Adam brothers, who have gone through a number of years of litigation regarding a piece of ground county employees declared wetland, thereby preventing them from doing anything with it except, of course, paying the taxes on it. Even though county officials admitted that they had not properly designated the property, the county arrogantly appealed the decision to pay the owners $5 million in damages awarded to them by the court. I wish the Adam brothers the best in their efforts to make these “officials” follow the law.

I, too, have spent years in court trying to make public officials follow the law regarding plans to restore steelhead trout to Hilton Creek, which they falsely opined existed in Upper Hilton Creek. They had no evidence of this. The officials tried to prove the contrary based on statements from an individual, who had actually been to Upper Hilton Creek who also subsequently refused to produce photos he had taken that would have proved our point. They lost.

We have some public officials who claim the Santa Ynez riverbed is accessible to the public, which we can prove is not. These officials, too, will face court action if they refuse to uphold the law. Obviously, Fish and Game acknowledges that this is private property, so why doesn’t the county?

There is a situation you will read about in this issue regarding the whole disgusting charade perpetrated by a public official of our local water district. This individual attempted to discredit a member of the community who wanted to expose the inner workings of the water bill A.B. 2686, which the Governor eventually vetoed.

By filing a police report, a picture is painted of this individual as a malevolent character, when in actuality, the person who filed the report has, to my way of thinking, much more to answer for than the person against whom it was filed.

Are we to be intimidated by public officials who take exception to their questionable behavior being brought to the public’s scrutiny? I don’t think so, and furthermore, the citizens of this community demand that we turn over the rocks and see what’s curled underneath. There are more, I can assure you, and we will bring them to you. Stay tuned.