Friday, December 14, 2007

Letters to the Editor

Out-of-date levees, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, Iraq re-building and more in the Daily Sound's Letters to the Editor section. Submit your letters to

Our Levees
Dear Editor: I appreciate Lorretta Redd’s recent piece highlighting the need for immediate action on the Santa Maria levees (“Feds need to get their act together,” December 11, 2007).
I have been working tirelessly with city and county officals to secure just such funding to stabilize Santa Maria’s levees, as have our two Senators. Most recently, Senator Feinstein included $300,000 to begin repairs on the levees in the Senate Energy and Water appropriations bill. I have long advocated for this funding for the levee and I am hopeful it will be approved.
Unfortunately, President Bush, aided by some Republicans in the House and Senate, continues to oppose this and other critical funding bills that have bipartisan support in both houses of Congress.
The Santa Maria levees are just one example among many important priorities like education, veteran’s health care, and border and port security currently facing funding shortfalls because of Republican obstructionism. Yet President Bush and Congressional Republicans continue to insist that we have no more money for these important priorities while continuing to demand blank check after blank check to fund the President’s failed policies in Iraq.
Compromise on the federal budget is needed and Democratic leaders in Congress have repeatedly bent over backwards to work with the Republican leadership and the White House. Just this weekend the White House announced that the President would veto the latest funding compromise – which split the difference in funding amount between the Democratic budget and the President’s budget — without even laying eyes on the proposal! Clearly President Bush and his Republican allies would rather play petty political games than fund the priorities of the American people.
Let’s hope the holiday season brings about a change of heart in the White House so we can meet our financial responsibilities at home and abroad.

Lois Capps
Member of Congress, 23rd District

Garden Plan
Dear Editor: Praise to the Historic Landmark Advisory Commission which voted Monday to stop the Botanic Garden’s plan to develop a meadow and to the residents and friends of Mission Canyon who showed up to voice their opposition to that development. Could anyone really have believed that the appropriate way to preserve a historic landscape was to build on it an electrified, artificially illuminated, walled set of terraces for fundraising events, wedding receptions and parties?
Nelson Merrell
Santa Barbara

Iraq Rebuilt?
Dear Editor: This is in regard to the letter from Don and Diana Thorn (Progress...), Santa Barbara News-Press (Monday, December 10).
The writers try to drown rational thought beneath a flood of meaningless statistics. Schools, hospitals, railroad stations, etc., they claim, are under construction in astounding numbers in Iraq. Yet, amazingly, not one single source is referenced. Nor is there any attempt to distinguish the difference between “built” and “rebuilt.” Is the term “shock and awe” such a distant memory that they have forgotten that much of Iraq’s infrastructure was destroyed during the Bush/Cheney carpet bombing of that country in 2003?
For ones so enamored with statistics, why are they so selective? What are their “stats” regarding the:
1) number of times the Bush administration has lied or changed its rationale to justify this war?
2) number of American troops sent home in body bags?
3) number of American troops sent home with permanent physical injuries or severe mental trauma?
4) number of innocent Iraqi civilians killed?
5) number of “suspected” insurgents imprisoned and tortured without ever having been charged with a crime?
6) rapidly diminishing number of countries that would trust the Bush administration if they needed to be convinced that 2+2=4 or that the earth is round?
The writers are, apparently, devotees of Lewis Carroll (author of Alice In Wonderland) who once said, “If you want to inspire confidence, give plenty of statistics. It does not matter that they should be accurate or even intelligible, as long as there is enough of them.”
As Gregg Easterbrook, senior editor of the New Republic magazine, once said: “Torture numbers, and they’ll confess to anything.”
Robert Baruch

Good grief
Dear Editor: What is the world coming to?
It is a sad state of affairs when a responsible person can’t buy cigarettes, chain-smoke them, blow smoke at their neighbor, and, even get a disease, without being treated like a pariah. It’s not fair that a young lady can’t go to a party, get high, get drunk, and get naked, without being raped these days. When parents can’t stay focused on their career, to make loads of money, to buy tons of stuff, without their kids turning into irresponsible brats, what is this world coming to?
No wonder so many people are prone to verbal and physical violence. It’s a win win thing; both the violator and the violated are victimized. You have to admit, it is an efficient way to create victims. On the other hand, maybe the violence is just frustration about the painful and inconvenient truth. The serious problems of the world will not be resolved unless individuals change themselves first.
Joseph Mastroianni
Santa Barbara

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