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Comments by RRojasSr

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Posted on May 30 at 10:31 a.m.

Last Friday, May 23, 2014 my wife and I were attending the wedding of our dear friend’s daughter on the beach in Kauai, Hawaii. It was just after 7 PM in Hawaii, 10 PM in California -- when I received an urgent text message, followed by a voice mail message from a close friend whose daughter is a senior at UCSB. I knew almost immediately that something terribly wrong was taking place in Isla Vista. As the tragedy of last Friday evening unfolded, I received another message from my cousin whose son is also a senior at UCSB. I could tell from the messages that both parents were overcome with fear, grief and uncertainty.

It was Memorial Day Weekend and both students were away for the holiday. While both parents were relieved to know that their kids were out of harms way, they shared a deep sadness and feelings of uncertainty and hopelessness after learning about the senseless acts of a deranged, mentally ill, lone gunman. Their hearts were broken for the innocent victims, their parents, families and friends and wondered aloud if our IV would ever be safe again. Yes, IV belongs to all of us, especially to former UCSB alumni, their parents, residents, business owners and neighbors too.

In the days, weeks and months to follow, we will learn more about the suspect and the victims that he so senselessly killed or injured and their grieving families. So today, my family, my dear friends and I continue to keep the victims and all whose lives they touched in our hearts and prayers. We are forever grateful to the law enforcement and EMS personnel who risk their lives everyday so that others can be safe.

Yes, IV will be safe again. It will take time and some changes will undoubtedly need to take place. But as I look back on last Friday night -- when the Santa Barbara County dispatcher made the call to inform our Santa Barbara County Sheriff of the active shooter incident taking place, I am forever grateful that it was Bill Brown who answered the phone.

On Vote Sandra Brown for Sheriff

Posted on May 12 at 9:30 a.m.

Kudos to SB Indy reporter Tyler Hayden for doing an excellent job in presenting both candidates for Santa Barbara County Sheriff in a clear, positive and articulate manner.

Like ADeputy and many of you, I do not understand why supporters of any candidate need to resort to negative campaigning, when sharing a candidate's positive contributions and qualities clearly will have a more positive affect in reaching a reader's/voter's sensibilities. Imagine for a moment if both candidates had equal or at least comparable formal education, professional experience, and life-skills -- which they do not, what characteristic would you consider as a tipping point for your vote?

For me, a candidate's integrity tops the list. Sheriff Bill Brown's comment about his opponent in this article speaks volumes of his integrity... “I admire Sandra’s ambition, tenacity, and I respect her ability to run for the office,” he said. “But I’m not going to say anything negative about her. I’m not going to tarnish her badge so I can shine mine.”

The choice is pretty clear, Bill Brown is the only candidate worthy and deserving to serve as Santa Barbara County's top cop.

On Inside the Race for Sheriff of Santa Barbara County

Posted on April 28 at 11:26 a.m.

Dear SB Independent Readers and Registered Voters:

Like many of you, I do not understand why supporters of any candidate need to resort to negative campaigning, when sharing a candidate's positive contributions and qualities have a more positive affect in reaching a reader's/voter's sensibilities.

Fact Check:

1. Why hasn’t the Sheriff’s Association of Santa Barbara County made an endorsement for County Sheriff? I suggest that the SB Independent and readers ask them and not merely rely on innuendos cast by fictitiously named bloggers. See their Endorsement page at: http://www.sbcdsa.org/endorsements.html
2. The difference between organizational Leadership & operational management? Despite what some bloggers might say, Sheriff Bill Brown was actively involved leading our County’s law enforcement effort during some of the largest wildfires in Santa Barbara County – the Mesa, Jesusita and Tea fires. As in most wildfires that occur in the Rural-Urban-City interface, fires of this size and scope are managed under a Unified Joint Command lead by a specially trained Federal, State or County Fire Commander. Sheriff Brown is always first to credit his agency’s command officers, managers, supervisors and field staff for risking their lives in protecting our residents and visitors and their property – everyday. Yes, even after Deltopia.
3. Sheriff Brown is fixated on solving jail over crowding problem at the expense of preserving staff positions and he chooses politics over public protection? Despite what some may perceive, the job, as our County’s top cop requires our Sheriff to master the art of negotiation, build consensus across competing political interests and stand firm on his/her professional commitments. Sheriff Brown accepted his appointment to serve our County Sheriff 7 ½ years ago with a plan to solve our County’s jail over crowding problem. Yes, I said “our” problem. Almost 26 years ago, when then Sheriff John Carpenter was in charge, a group of jail inmates filed a lawsuit alleging that our County Jail was overcrowded and did not meet current standards (Inmates of Santa Barbara Jail vs. Sheriff John Carpenter (Case #152487). Since that initial court decision in 1988, every Santa Barbara County Sheriff that preceded Sheriff Bill Brown has tried his best to fix the problem. See chronology of court orders dating back to 1988 at: https://www.countyofsb.org/ceo/pdf/bu...

Sheriff Bill Brown has earned our support and deserves our votes to finish the job.

On Praise for Sheriff Brown

Posted on March 17 at 10:15 p.m.

It's important for all Goleta City and SB County residents who enjoy visiting Goleta County Beach Park to understand the forces involved in the Goleta Beach 2.0 Plan. With that in mind, I'd encourage everyone to take a few minutes to view the video produced by The Surf Rider Foundation on the history of Surfer's Point in Ventura. See video at: http://surferspoint.org/.

In the mid to late 1990's, severe winter storms and waves battered the Surfer's Point area destroying sections of the City and Ventura County Fairgrounds-owned parking lots and damaging sections of the CA State Parks-owned Omer Rains bike path. At the time the bike path was constructed, CA State Parks became aware that CA Coastal Commission (CCC) policies for armoring the coastline were changing and CCC would likely not permit CA State Parks to rebuild the bike path in its original footprint. For several years, tensions between the City of Ventura, the Ventura County Fairgrounds and local CA State Parks officials were strained. Each agency received considerable public grief about the unsightly area and lost facilities, but no one had a solution.

In early 2000, a working group formed that included reps from the City of Ventura, The Ventura County Fairgrounds, CA State Parks, the CCC, Surf Rider Foundation, bicyclists groups and local elected officials. After several years of meetings, coastal erosion studies, a successful buried cobble demonstration project and work with engineering consultants, the Surfer's Point Managed Retreat Project was developed. After extensive public review and input, the final project plan was approved by the CCC by unanimous vote and has been recognized as a model plan for local coastal protection and recreational facilities development.

As the former CA State Parks representative to the Surfer's Point Managed Retreat Project Working Group and Goleta resident, I believe that Alternative 2 offers the best option for protecting the existing facilities at Goleta Beach County Park, while also giving the County time to assess various treatments for beach nourishment that are consistent with California Coastal Commission Policy. It's clear that no one agency has enough money to make Goleta Beach County Park perfect for everyone. But what we do have is time.

On County Will Decide on Goleta Beach Plan This Week

Posted on March 14 at 6:16 p.m.

It's important for all Goleta City and SB County residents who enjoy visiting Goleta County Beach Park to understand the forces involved in the Goleta Beach 2.0 Plan. With that in mind, I'd encourage everyone to take a few minutes to view the video produced by The Surf Rider Foundation on the history of Surfer's Point in Ventura. See video at: http://surferspoint.org/.

In the mid to late 1990's, severe winter storms and waves battered the Surfer's Point area destroying sections of the City and Ventura County Fairgrounds-owned parking lots and damaging sections of the CA State Parks-owned Omer Rains bike path. At the time the bike path was constructed, CA State Parks became aware that CA Coastal Commission (CCC) policies for armoring the coastline were changing and CCC would likely not permit CA State Parks to rebuild the bike path in its original footprint. For several years, tensions between the City of Ventura, the Ventura County Fairgrounds and local CA State Parks officials were strained. Each agency received considerable public grief about the unsightly area and lost facilities, but no one had a solution.

In early 2000, a working group formed that included reps from the City of Ventura, The Ventura County Fairgrounds, CA State Parks, the CCC, Surf Rider Foundation, bicyclists groups and local elected officials. After several years of meetings, coastal erosion studies, a successful buried cobble demonstration project and work with engineering consultants, the Surfer's Point Managed Retreat Project was developed. After extensive public review and input, the final project plan was approved by the CCC by unanimous vote and has been recognized as a model plan for local coastal protection and recreational facilities development.

As the former CA State Parks representative to the Surfer's Point Managed Retreat Project Working Group and Goleta resident, I believe that Alternative 2 offers the best option for protecting the existing facilities at Goleta Beach County Park, while also giving the County time to assess various treatments for beach nourishment that are consistent with California Coastal Commission Policy. It's clear that no one agency has enough money to make Goleta Beach County Park perfect for everyone. But what we do have is time.

On Protect and Restore Goleta Beach

Posted on July 30 at 9:35 a.m.

While LA Lakers star Kobe Bryant's main reason to come to SB may have been to teach kids the fundamentals of basketball & life, he did a lot more. Kobe, his wife Vanessa and members of their Kobe & Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation (#KVBFF) took time to visit our CASA of Santa Barbara County's office to meet staff, learn about the great work that CASA of SB is doing for foster kids in our area and to hear the personal stories of two incredible CASA youth too! Together, Kobe and Vanessa were wonderful and gracious guests, they were genuinely attentive, caring and did not leave before making a commitment to support CASA of SB and visit again soon! Thanks to Kobe and Vanessa for making a difference in our CASA kid's lives.

On Basketball Stars Come to S.B.

Posted on July 18 at 11:40 a.m.

Goleta Beach Park is a wonderful place. It offers its 1.5M annual visitors a place to recreate, enjoy the beach, fish from the pier or onshore, surf, kayak and ride stand-up paddle boards and personal watercraft, launch a vessel from the park's hoist or via the park's dirt parking lot and beach ramp, have a picnic or share a meal at a local restaurant with million dollar views at an affordable price.

The beach park was was built on a sand spit and at the outfall of a creek and lagoon. With a channelized creek aiming its winter storm energy at the park on one end and an exposed unprotected coastline scouring its shores -- if left alone the park will disappear in time.

So the question for our community (residents, beach park users, business owners, county staff, consultants and elected officials) is how do we protect the park and its popular amenities to the fullest extent possible. The easy approach is to load our collective emotionally charged bows with arrows and fire away at the other side -- aiming to blame those in favor of total park protection or those who seek another option for their dumb ideas. I suggest we all try another approach.

As a good faith effort in protecting Goleta Beach Park for future generations, I'd ask everyone to take a look at project Alternative 2 – Temporary Revetment Retention and Pilot Coastal Protection
Projects with Beach Nourishment. As a former member of the working group for the Surfer's Point Managed Retreat Project in Ventura, a community that works together for a common goal has the potential to do great things. Yes, I know. Goleta Beach Park is no Surfer's Point. But there are many similarities -- a popular beach, free parking, easy access and very limited funds to make it better.

In addition, I would encourage everyone to request SB County staff and officials to broaden their Goleta Beach Park 2.0 Draft EIR to include the installation of an experimental beach cobble/sand dune stabilization project, mitigation options for replacing lost park facilities including parking spaces and beach boat launching access and parking and a requirement that the entire project include the upgrading of the park for ADA accessibility. After all, the park does belong to all county residents and members of our disabled community deserve the right to use the beach too.

R Rojas
Goleta, CA

On Which Way for Goleta Beach?

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