Under protest

To all elected representatives: We protest against the claims of the Chumash tribe to rights of ownership to take the 1,400 acres under fee to trust or otherwise remove the land from local government control. If they want to build houses, they can follow the rules and regulations like every other citizen of the United States. We count on our elected officials to protect and preserve our community, regardless of any attempts by the Chumash to influence your vote with political contributions. Please don’t fall into the trap which has ensnared other communities across the country, to their everlasting regret.

Dick and Gretchen Kieding

Solvang


Voice of reason

This is about the magazine (Veterans’ Voices), published each March, July and October – made possible by contributions to the Hospitalized Veterans Writing Project, a volunteer, nonprofit organization with the cooperation of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Hospitalized Veterans Writing Project was established in 1946. In 1952, Veterans’ Voices was established to provide a National outlet for this special writing project. Today, Hospitalized Veterans Writing Project is a respected component of the DVAs medical center recreation and rehabilitation programs, which has a strong impact on the lives of our Veterans. Hospitalized Veterans and outpatients participating in the writing project qualify for special magazine rates as follows: $5 per issue or $12 per year. HVWP sends complimentary copies of Veterans’ Voices to all VA Medical Centers. Veterans, whose work appears in the current issue of the magazine, also receive a complimentary copy.

Donations are welcome; $25 qualifies for an annual subscription. Published each March, July and October. Except for eight pages out of 66, the pages are full of stories, poems, art work and a snap-hot or two. Reprints of published material: “Reproduction of published material in whole or part is welcomed. Full credit must be given to the author or artist as well as the magazine.” Mail two copies of the reprint to the editor at the HVWP address, Attention: Editor-in-Chief, Margaret Clark.

Veterans’ Voices, Summer 2011 issue. There is no doubt you will enjoy the magazine, not to say you won’t shed a tear. Enjoy and read in the best of health.

Gwyneth DeBiase

Lompoc


Fuzzy math?

I respect the views of Mr. Harris Sherline in his periodic articles published in your newspaper. I must take exception to his recent article, however, extolling benefits of the Chumash gambling casino. He mentions the $417,000 dollars contributed to local charities and agencies by their foundation over the past six years. He does not mention the $8 million the tribe collected from the federal government during that same period for welfare and grant monies funded by taxpayers and distributed by the federal government to needy “Indian tribes,” regardless of their wealth and the amounts of money they earn or profits gained from gambling losses and other business interests.

Also, as someone with an accounting background, it was surprising that he never mentioned the tremendous costs and demands placed on public services and infrastructure by the tribe, its members, employees and its gambling casino and other businesses which must then be paid by all the non-Indian taxpayers. A comparable business of that size and number of employees and customers would have to pay on the order of $9 million every year in various taxes such as property taxes, sales taxes, personal property taxes, corporate taxes, even state income taxes. If the tribe paid anywhere near its fair share of these costs, the county would have no deficits at all and there would not be any need to cut back anything.

These taxes they refuse to pay are taxes needed to fund all the community services and infrastructure used by the tribe, its members, its businesses and customers regularly. It is impossible to even consider any purported benefits without weighing in on the detriments, and this does not include those negative impacts that are difficult if not impossible to measure, like increases in crimes like theft, embezzlement, drunk driving and assault, substance abuse, gambling addictions by the many gamblers losing money on the unregulated, uninspected and un-policed gambling machines and table games there, money lost by people who cannot afford to lose that money. It does not take into account increased divorce and family neglect, credit problems and bankruptcy, traffic and accidents even increased suicides.

How do you measure that in dollars? Every honest study that is not something paid for by gambling interests and casino “Indians” demonstrates on average that for every dollar an Indian casino brings to a community via jobs, goods and services purchased from vendors, etc., actually costs the community between $3 and $4 without addressing these negative social impacts.

James E. Marino

Santa Barbara


National Feral Cat Day

In honor of National Feral Cat Day on Oct. 16, I’d like the community to know that Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) for feral cats is a win for the cats and their human neighbors. TNR improves the lives of the cats and calms the neighbors. The traditional method of catch and kill is cruel, endless, and costly.

Catalyst for Cats, Inc. is dedicated to helping stray and feral cats. Founded in 1990, the organization’s primary goal is to prevent the suffering of cats, and its main strategy is the reduction and control of feral cat populations within Santa Barbara County through TNR and feeding programs.

TNR makes feral cats healthier and ends the breeding cycle, which means no more kittens. It also ends a lot of common behaviors associated with outdoor cats. Yowling, fighting, spraying and roaming – all of these mating behaviors stop once a cat is neutered. A managed TNR program, with a set feeding area and schedule, further discourages roaming. Simple home remedies – citrus peels, decorative rocks or chicken wire – deter cats from digging in gardens. There are also useful commercial products available at most pet shops that humanely deter cats from areas like gardens and porches.

Outdoor cats have been part of our landscape for thousands of years and always will be. Compassionate and effective solutions to help cats and communities coexist peacefully are readily available. Visit www.catalystforcats.org for information. Call us to help with a feral cat situation before another litter of unwanted kittens is born.

Randi Fairbrother,

Founder/president of Catalyst for Cats

Santa Barbara


Economics and wisdom

Today a majority of economists and politicians say that the Great Recession officially ended in 2009. Nevertheless, we are now starting to feel the negative aspects of over one trillion dollars in budget cuts at the national, state and local levels that affect most of the middle class and poor citizens of this nation. The number of long-tem unemployed Americans, partly defined as those who have been out of work so long that they have simply stopped looking for employment, is still expanding. There are other examples, but to summarize, the Great Recession did not end in 2009 but rather is still ongoing today, and with improvement hard to visualize.

What is not being said, perhaps intentionally, is that the health of our economy is directly connected to any meaningful social or political advancement that has or has not been initiated and embraced by the general populace of our great country.

As a society, it can almost be said that the various levels of our federal and state governments have fallen into the Dark Ages, something not seen since the Great Plague in Europe many centuries ago. The complete absence of visible leaders in the three civilian branches (Judicial, Legislative, and Executive) of government compound this descent.

Regardless, each of us must try to find an internal source of inspiration while being receptive to the possibility of an individual well-versed in wisdom (as Abraham Lincoln was) will someday appear and rise above the petty dysfunctions of governmental entities, and will emphasis the visionary character traits of inspiration, common sense, high moral standards and a lifetime of intellectual learning.

Ray Gattavara

Auburn, Wash.