Comments by Eckermann

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Posted on July 10 at 9:18 p.m.

To use an analogy from physics, the event threshold of a black hole appears from a distance to be static and stable, but the closer you get to it the more dynamic and shifting the reality becomes. This Sheriff's Department and especially the North County Jail is a sucking black hole of public treasure. Think about it, we could use that money to succor the poor, improve infrastructure, invest in a major public works project that could enhance our water supplies or make our electricity more reliable. But no, instead we are going to spend it on housing criminals and paying salaries and retirement benefits for their keepers. Really? Is this the best use of the community's treasure? Once some out of town contractor (who may hire some local carpenters and buy local concrete) finishes this project, all economic benefit for the County will disappear. The guards will commute from wherever they have their 5,000 square foot houses and children either enrolled in charter schools or home schooled. The facility will continue to drain the County's resources at ever growing amounts year after year. The criminals will serve their time, get out, and commit crimes again, only to return to our new jail, which will soon enough grow old and start falling apart and need to be remodeled at millions of dollars of cost. So it goes.

On Jail Funding a 'Moving Target'?

Posted on July 8 at 5:57 p.m.

So loonpt, what if your neighbor decided to operate a toxic waste landfill in his or her backyard. The lack of toxic waste landfills would make such an enterprise a hugely profitable one. Also, if you didn't like living next to a toxic waste landfill you would be free to sell your property to your newly rich neighbor who could then expand the enterprise to twice its size. Oh the money to be made makes one salivate! I realize that my example is extreme hyperbole, but you get the point.

On Everyone Angry at Proposed Winery Rules

Posted on July 2 at 9:58 p.m.

So can an employer now demand that all his female employees wear veils at work because of his religious convictions? Could an employer dismiss an employee for being an atheist? It is interesting that the Constitution protects religious conviction but apparently does not protect the right to be non-religious. I suspect that judicial findings such as this will ultimately result in single-payer government run health insurance, which would be a good thing. So the liberals should not be so angry and the religious right should not be so smug.

On Santa Barbara Protests Hobby Lobby Decision

Posted on July 2 at 8:41 p.m.

Since deniers like RickSuddes and loonpt are actually representative of the general population in the United States (and maybe worldwide) it is unlikely that we humans will be able to commit ourselves to the policies necessary to halt or reverse global climate change. Therefore, it will become ever more necessary for us to concentrate on adapting to climate change rather than trying to reverse it. Studies like the one that is the subject of this article will help us to focus our adaptation policies where they will be most effective. Adapting to the "water issue" is part of all this. Luckily for Santa Barbara, we're rich and will ultimately adapt by throwing money at any inconvenient results of climate change. As always, it will be the poor who suffer the most.

On $200,000 Grant Approved for Climate Change Study for S.B. Coastline

Posted on June 26 at 5:42 p.m.

The weirdest thing about steaming oil wells is that the process requires way more energy that the oil produced could ever provide, especially after you count in the energy it takes to remove the water and sand from the oil, transport the oil to the refinery and then turn the oil into whatever you can turn that viscous goo into. Actually this stuff is most likely turned into asphalt. All the high ends (which are used to create fuels) have been gone from the Santa Barbara oil fields for a long time now. However, in a way the oil in Santa Barbara County is connected with driving but not as fuel, but rather as the street on which we drive. How weird is that? The truth is that if onshore oil production ended in Santa Barbara tomorrow, it would not have a material effect on Santa Barbara County's economy. We are experiencing the lowest unemployment rates we have seen in many years. Places like Goleta and Buellton are experiencing near full employment. Overall, the County would not notice if the onshore oil producers went away. That said, I am not against oil development. It can be done with minimum impact on the environment and can provide a few (about 1,000) jobs. My solution to this mess is for the oil companies to make peace with environmentalists and come to some long term understanding that provides a win-win for both sides.

On The Anatomy of Cyclic Steaming

Posted on June 21 at 6:13 p.m.

Cayucos is a wonderful town, a secret gem that actually has rich people, middle class people, and poor people all living together in the cutest little beach community you ever saw. There is no crime. There are actually a couple of very good restaurants and the Cayucos Tavern is such a quaint throwback that you can't help but get drunk there and walk home with whomever you were last talking to. There is even surf there! I hope Ms. Hubbard chooses to live in Cayucos, otherwise she will be missing a great opportunity to live in one of the last quaint little beach communities in California.

On Elementary School Principal Departs for San Luis

Posted on June 19 at 7:29 a.m.

Wait a minute! Didn't the voters approve a bond measure for SBCC just a few years ago? What happened to that money? I'm all for keeping the place maintained, but before I vote for another bond measure, I want an accounting of how the last one was spent.

On SBCC Approves $288 Million Bond Measure

Posted on June 15 at 9:54 p.m.

In the last 30 years, the oil and gas production, processing, and transportation industry has not provided more than a thousand jobs or so for Santa Barbara County. On the other hand, the industry has provided a great deal of profit for corporations with headquarters in places like Los Angeles and Houston, Texas. The truth is that fracking can contaminate water tables and steam flooding takes a huge amount of energy input and water consumption to get a relatively small return in the form of dry oil. A little known fact is that when the price of oil fell, the oil in Santa Barbara County became too expensive to produce but when the price went back up it was all of sudden profitable again (at least for the smaller companies with lower overhead costs). I would question support for this initiative if the oil companies did not fight tooth and nail every attempt to regulate their effects on the environment. However, they pour millions of dollars to fight every rule and regulation and attempt to kill in the crib every attempt to regulate their pollution. Consequently, I don't feel sorry for them. If they want this community to love and embrace them, they need to convince us that they support every attempt to reduce their pollution and quit fighting the community as if we are their sworn enemies. The oil companies remind me of a highly intelligent but abusive husband who treats his wife with condescending disregard yet continues to expect dinner on the table when he gets home from work. I hope the jerk gets fed dog food like he deserves.

On High-Intensity Oil-Extraction Ban Headed to Ballot

Posted on June 13 at 3:51 p.m.

What I expect immigrant parents to do is make every effort to learn English (as difficult as it is), make every attempt to assimilate their children into the language and culture, and insist that their children learn English. That's all they can do. I expect the children make every effort to learn English and enroll in the most challenging school curriculum possible. I expect the school to stop taking the lazy, bureaucratic path and create an individual achievement plan for each EL student with a goal for full integration into the mainstream in no more than two years after the student lands in the system. By the way, my son-in-law came to this Country with a college degree but very limited English skills he worked hard to learn English and is now fluent, even articulate, in English. His younger sister came here as a teenager speaking no English whatsoever and moved into a home where English was not spoken. Today she is in her twenties and speaks English without a discernible accent and got a job as a translator for the government. Nobody provided any special programs for these two young people, they each took personal responsibility to learn the language. It was not easy but they persevered. If one becomes defined by excuses for not succeeding then success is hopeless. I fully understand that there is no equal opportunity in this Country and that there never has been. Capitalism creates winners and losers, poverty is a huge obstacle to overcome, those of us who have enjoyed good luck in our lives are often insensitive the struggles of the less lucky. I get all that and I believe it deeply. But I maintain that we cannot expect the school system to fix the achievement gap of English learners unless the parents and the students themselves are willing to make the effort to pull half the load (or more). I know it's not fair. But I have seen what it takes for non-English speakers to succeed in this Country and it entails a heck of a lot of hard work and persistence. Sorry, that's just the way it is.

On School District Dealing with English-Learner Limbo

Posted on June 13 at 1:32 p.m.

Firstly, jjokix, community sports programs such as Page Youth Center, AYSO, Little League, and Santa Barbara Water Polo, and the various community arts programs are neither expensive nor exclusive. They are reasonably priced and open to all. The last time I had a crew of plumbers at my house, all them, even those who did not speak English, had I-phones. If you can afford a smart phone plan, you can afford to enroll your child in one or more of the community sports and arts programs. Secondly, my grand-daughter did not become bilingual by magic or osmosis. It took a lot of focused hard work by both her parents to get that result. Finally, the students who enroll in GATE, AP, and the academies are not "fleeing" or escaping. Rather, they are making every effort to successfully compete for a spot in a top tier university, the acceptance into which is becoming more and more competitive and difficult. Don't blame high achieving students for the problems of the EL program. I agree that there are problems with the EL program and that it isolates when it should integrate. However, parents should not be allowed to abrogate their responsibilities to participate in their children's educations. My wife and I worked hard and sacrificed to ensure that our children got every opportunity available and our children worked hard and long to earn the academic success they achieved. Nobody handed it to them on a silver platter. We should reform the EL program, but without the parents doing their part, all reforms will fail.

On School District Dealing with English-Learner Limbo

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