For Love of Lit

For Love of Lit

Ed Loomis played a large role in my education and my life [In Memoriam, 6/17/10, and Obituary, 6/17/10]. I was lucky enough to take literature, writing, and poetry classes from him in the 1980s. The class that I remember most, “The Audible Reading of Poetry,” consisted of students reading famous poems from all genres into a portable tape recorder and then listening to the recordings. Being able to read Wordsworth, Wallace Stevens, and John Donne in a class without discussing meaning was liberating, and allowed me to hear the language of the poems. That class changed me greatly. Now I am a high school English teacher and that class stands out to me as the most valuable class that I took in college. Ed, unlike most of his colleagues, was a writer, not only a critic, and his understanding of art, in creation, has stayed with me over the years. I remember his personal kindness to me, his understanding and interest in ideas, and his huge hands. Speaking thoughtfully, with a slight stutter, he would cover his mouth in thought with his fingers that were like those of Rodin’s. I met up with Ed two decades after I left UCSB, and sitting in meetings with him, hearing him talk, helped me feel comfortable and safe. I went to UCSB for seven years and had two great professors, and Ed Loomis was one of them. He has informed my current style and substance of teaching. I won’t forget him

—Tony Sandrich, S.B.


Firing Josh Lynn

Politics in Santa Barbara County has reached a new low. [Josh Lynn Terminated,” 6/15/10, ]. I didn’t vote for Joyce Dudley because I felt that she didn’t have the professional qualifications that her competitor Josh Lynn possessed. She has proved it beyond a reasonable doubt with her first act as the newly elected District Attorney by orchestrating the firing of Mr. Lynn. Was it because he didn’t do his job, or because he couldn’t prosecute cases, or because he couldn’t supervise the attorneys who worked for him? No, it was pure politics: Dudley won, Lynn lost.

In a shallow attempt to hide this political lynching, Dudley solicited a surrogate to do her dirty work. Apparently she was trying to insulate herself from the very act she promised (firing Lynn) during the campaign and got her new subordinate, at the time the acting DA, to do it for her! When the litigation dust settles and the county has to pay damages to Mr. Lynn for this unjustified and vindictive act, I hope that someone initiates a recall petition against Ms. Dudley. She is not worthy of the office.

—Ron Fink, Lompoc


Make Mine a Brush Cutter

After our family lost our home in the arsonist-ignited Painted Cave Fire in 1990, we rebuilt our residence in the Trout Club and started our lives over again. My empathy goes out to all our Santa Barbara families who suffered the loss of their homes in the recent fires. I’m sure it is even harder for you to rebuild now with the latest code requirements.

For many years I therapeutically cut and removed brush on the steep hillsides adjacent to our property, and in recent years our homeowners association has maintained a pretty good buffer around the Trout Club. After the Gap Fire came so very close to the Trout Club, I began a campaign to “harden up” our home. I had just finished installing the new metal roof with the latest protective underlayment when the Jesusita Fire came within striking distance of our mountain community. Our house escaped again, and fortunately we were able to finish off our home improvement projects, eliminating almost all wood from the exterior of our home. We’ve done everything we possibly can, and now all we need to do is remember to close every window before leaving our home during fire season.

For the past two weeks, to my utter amazement and sheer delight, there has been an army of brush cutters around the Trout Club clearing a large fuel break well beyond anything our community could ever accomplish on our own. The break extends around most of the perimeter of the Trout Club for well over 200 feet. To do this major work, the local Wildlands Residents Association obtained grants from the National Fire Plan of the U.S. Forest Service and the California Fire Safe Council.

Thank you very much to the Wildlands Residents Association for helping find the funds for the new fire break and to the workers for cutting it. Our community is much better protected for the next fire that comes our way.

—Gordon Sichi, Trout Club


Unreasonable Numbers?

I found a recent article about the Santa Maria County Jail interesting [ 6/10/10, “Budget Blues Continue,”]. There are 14 staff and 29 inmates. What happened to our overcrowded jails? Our school class sizes have been increased to save money—so, one teacher for each 20 to 30-plus students. There is something really wrong with this picture.

—July Keim, S.B.


Under the Circumstances

Thank you for continuing to cover the Adult Ed debacle in an informed, balanced way [Cover Story, Discontinuing Education?]. As I read through yesterday’s article, it became clear to me that a large part of the problem is definitely communication—poor, lack of, confusing—but also that the communication that does come through is contradictory in nature: classes cancelled, classes restored, fees charged, fees removed, classes state approved, not approved, all in a rather brief period of time.

I’m not sure the administration or trustees understand how demoralizing it is for the faculty to continue to teach and teach well under the circumstances. Of course, cancelled classes and the ways in which they are handled play havoc with our finances and our daily schedules, but they also diminish us as educators. We instructors are a vital part of the reason why we have “the most robust continuing education program in the state.” We love our students and we work hard to bring the best of ourselves into the classroom each day, each week.

Dr. Serban may scoff at public opinion, but the fact remains that the concern isn’t going away. And it won’t go away until the focus of the concern is not how many classes are still offered “free,” but how respectfully, openly, and accurately all concerned deal with the issues confronting us—the shared governance that Lynda Fairly was talking about, the request by Luis Villegas for “a clear understanding,” and Des O’ Neill’s promise to “take the high ground” and explain what they are doing. These are worthy goals and their accomplishment can’t come too soon for those of us on the front lines in the classroom.

—Karen Browdy, art faculty


Fermenting Discontent

Per a recent release from the Preservation of Los Olivos (POLO): “The Santa Ynez Band is applying for a new liquor license that will, if approved, expand the sales of alcohol at the casino and resort.”

I share POLO’s concern about increased risk of drinking and driving. I find it remarkable, however, that only now, when the people running the casino—which has been the bête noire of POLO—decide to add to the ever-increasing landscape of places where people can come to the Santa Ynez Valley and drink, does POLO voice opposition to the alcohol culture.

A while back I voiced my concern to POLO about the increase in wine-tasting rooms locally. POLO made it clear to me it did not see any problem.

I saw a wine bar in Solvang a few months ago with a sign saying “pets and kids welcome.” I asked the woman working there how much wine could be served to a single patron and was told customers could drink to the point of total intoxication. I contacted Leslie Pond, district manager for the Alcohol and Beverage Commission to find that this was legal and that other bars locally had the license to do the same. Meanwhile, not one word of opposition to this trend from our elected officials as people come here to drink, and drive home with kids in tow.

—Bill Clausen, Solvang


For the Record

Last week’s Living feature, [“Saving the Stranded” 6/17/10] provided the wrong link for information on what to do if you come across a stranded animal. The correct link is In addition, it gave the wrong number of animals that had been taken in by the Channel Islands Marine and Wildlife Institute since January: The correct number is 22.

Last week’s news box “New Pot Ordinance Approved” [6/17/10,] as well as the Poodle [“When a Dog Loves a Woman,” 6/17/10,] misstated the number of times the City Council (“in various incarnations”) has debated revisions to the medical marijuana dispensary ordinance. According to senior planner Danny Kato, they met to discuss the topic 21 times since the end of July 2009.


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