Jumping for Jill

November 1992 was the last time I voted for a Democratic presidential candidate. Following that election, I changed my party affiliation from Democrat to either Independent or Not Affiliated. While I continued to cast votes for a few Democratic candidates, my decision was due mainly to feeling disaffected from not only the Democratic Party, but both major parties and what they failed to stand for.

Then I met Jill Martinez. My introduction to Jill was by invitation at the home of a Democratic supporter. With 10 people in attendance, we spent three hours expressing our concerns and listening to Jill’s responses. My own concerns dealt primarily with the rights of children and adults with disabilities. With great surprise and joy, I discovered Jill was not only understanding of my concerns but agreed to attend a series of statewide conference calls sponsored by a group who advocates for the rights of children, adults, and elderly who are disabled.

This was very refreshing. I have sent numerous emails to our current 24th congressional district representative expressing many concerns and have never received even a canned response letter. Jill, who grew up on the Central Coast, has worked tirelessly for average-and-lower income citizens. Thanks to her efforts, thousands of these citizens have a decent place to live and better opportunities for employment and advancement, and feel part of our communities. In a city such as Lompoc, community cohesion is critical to its prosperity. Through her leadership by example, Jill has helped cities strengthen their cohesion. For the first time in many years, I’ve met a candidate who believes what many of us do and backs it up with action. Jill has numerous office locations throughout our district.

This spring, I reregistered as a Democrat, joined a committee, and now lead volunteer operations in the Lompoc Valley for Jill Martinez. I encourage anyone who believes in family, neighborhoods, and communities to join us in electing a person who talks the talk and walks the walk. —David Eccles

Artistic Differences

News coverage of the News-Press uproar was well-documented in The Independent. Chief among the complaints is the editorial domination of multi-millionaire publisher Wendy McCaw. Yet other significant issues are obvious to those of us living or working in Santa Barbara. In my profession—music and the arts—we find coverage that more resembles society page puff pieces than substantive articles. For example, news about contract negotiations for the local Symphony, Opera, and Chamber Orchestra is nonexistent. Out-of-town musicians and artists receive far more coverage than accomplished individuals in local institutions. It is of no concern, too, to the News-Press that many musicians playing in our local ensembles live in Los Angeles, and are performing under the guise of the Pasadena Symphony one night, the Glendale Symphony another night, and the Long Beach Symphony on yet another night. It also may be asked why the Santa Barbara Symphony’s only local outreach is children’s concerts, for which the attendees are bussed downtown. What is the value of a “local” newspaper if it does not value or cover the artists in its own city? Let us hope that this local newspaper “asset” will some day find its bearings. —Dr. Steven Gross, Professor of Music, UCSB

Legal Battles

During some of the press coverage for the sheriff’s race, Sheriff Anderson was quoted as saying, “He’s [Chief Brown has] done a lousy job as a leader of a small law enforcement agency to tackle the problems of Lompoc.” Sheriff Anderson has also said something to the effect that he has the endorsement of the Deputy Sheriff’s Association and Chief Brown has the endorsement of the “lawyers,” referring to the highly sought-after backing of the Deputy District Attorney’s Association. For readers who don’t know, the DA’s office works intimately with every law enforcement agency in the county, including the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department. Chief Brown also has countless other well-earned and respected endorsements.

I believe most importantly, Chief Brown has the formal endorsement and whole-hearted support of the people he leads: the Lompoc Police Officer’s Association. Chief Brown has undoubtedly earned this endorsement and we were honored to give it to him. During his service with the Lompoc Police Department, Chief Brown has done an outstanding job and his track record shows it. Since his tenure with our agency, Chief Brown has implemented a narcotics team, a bike patrol program, fully supported the growth and needs of our SWAT team, established a combined gang and narcotics enforcement team, and installed an ncomparable community oriented policing program. For Sheriff Anderson to say that Chief Brown is doing a poor job in Lompoc is absolutely incorrect. —Nate Flint, president, Lompoc Police Officers Association ••• During the past couple of months, I have personally witnessed representatives of Chief Bill Brown spreading vicious rumors in the Hispanic community regarding Sheriff Anderson’s position concerning illegal aliens. And Brown has been standing right there as if he supports these lies! The information being spread is that Sheriff Anderson wants to “round up all the Mexicans and send them back to Mexico.” This is a blatant lie. Brown was at the forum when the Sheriff said, “I think the federal government needs to step up to the plate and do something about border control and local law enforcement needs to have the authority to arrest people when they are in this country illegally and right now we don’t have that authority.” This forum was videotaped. The transcript is available to anyone who wants “truth.”

Brown has publicly stated, “If law enforcement had the authority to arrest illegal immigrants, it would shatter the community policing efforts we have with the Hispanic community.” The Lompoc Record reports that Chief Brown’s department has added this on to over six recent arrests since he said it. So it is really Brown who is rounding up Hispanics to “send them back to Mexico.” [This letter was printed as received, unedited.] —Judi Fitzgerald

Unhealthy Decision

After six years, the UCSB bureaucracy has killed a wonderful social get together: a healthy vegetarian lunch group on campus, the Bhakti Yoga Lunches. This is very sad for many UCSB grads, undergrads, and employees who attend the lunch each week. I’ve had former grad student friends write back from Japan and Europe, fondly remembering their days at UCSB; among the highlights is the $5 all-you-can-eat Bhakti lunch get-togethers with fellow vegetarians—and that wonderful salad dressing made with ground almonds!

The greedy UCEN merchants have apparently pressured the University to halt the Bhakti Yoga lunches. They have over 22,000 potential customers; what little customer base is lost by at most a couple of hundred employees, students, and grad students peacefully eating $5 lunches? Many of the UCSB employees that come to the lunches would bag their own meals anyway instead of patronizing the UCEN food court.

I think it’s outrageous that the UCSB bureaucracy is killing a good thing and potential fond memories for future students. In fact, I know two entering grad students who had heard about the Bhakti lunches and had been eagerly looking forward to them. In my opinion, the people who killed the Bhakti lunches should be sent to the planet Douglas Adams created for such bureaucrats. —William Noack

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