Grading scars Jalama, and the writer expects floods this winter to follow.

Regarding “Are Carbajal and Caruso Too Cozy?” your story calls it bribes. I call it shenanigans (secret or dishonest activity or maneuvering).

For many years I have been experiencing exactly what these people are claiming.

Ten years ago a pristine 650-plus-acre cattle ranch on Jalama sold. The new owner, a nurseryman from the south, purchased the property to harvest the native oak trees. Selling the natural landscape. He does this as a nursery operation through loopholes in our laws with no restrictions. He digs out the trees from anywhere, creeks and hillsides, puts them in a box, and sells them to South Coast mansions and country clubs. Ten years of this operation, and this property is no longer pristine.

Because this operation is done through loopholes, laws are not being respected, and it produces massive grading and dirt movement. Two years of this operation, and there was flooding. Flooding that destroyed property and threatened safety. It has been many years of grading and no rain. Flooding will be again in our future. This operation has proven that it is destroying property and is a threat to safety.

For years I have pounded on the county door, and it is always slammed in my face. For some reason the county supports this operation with no consideration of effect to the property and others.

The property owner does what he wants and graded some roads in violation. Giant roads to nowhere, more grading to add the excessive grading that already exists. The county approved the roads, and I appealed them. Too much grading on this property causes flooding. Recently I stood in front of the planning commissioners begging to stop the grading. I was shot down, 2-3. Salud Carbajal’s commissioner was the swing vote. On my invite, he did not have the time to visit the property. I was not given the opportunity to prove myself.

Supervisor Doreen Farr is incorrect. There are ways to manipulate the outcome of the Planning Commission. I have just seen it done. To me.

I am now appealing these roads to the supervisors. There, too, I expect to be shot down.

Carbajal is my supervisor, and I have kept him informed of these issues for many years. He is also running for Congress and making rude comments about my hometown, Lompoc. He is also accepting a very large sum of money from this property owner and his lawyer, about the same as Caruso’s gift. This is money from a property owner who is grading up and stripping Jalama’s natural landscape and selling it with county support.

Money buys things. What do you think this property owner’s money is buying?

If this operation were taking place on the Gaviota Coast or in Montecito, and they were being destroyed as this property is, the county would not support it. It is being supported on Jalama because some view Lompoc in a negative way, isolated in the armpit of the county.

This operation, the roads and all the grading, have been paid for and are a sure thing for this property owner. My voice, my concerns are being buried under a pile of money. My concerns are being ignored because of shenanigans.

I am not viewed as a concerned citizen. I am nothing more than a pawn in Carbajal’s game of shenanigans. A game that in the past, has destroyed property, threatens life, and is destroying the environment. One that the county supports. Support that is being bought at the expense of our lands.

I was hoping that I was wrong, but now there are now others with the same claims.

Five years of grading, five years of drought. It only took two years for flooding to appear. Flooding is in our future. I am concerned about our safety. Safety that is jeopardized by shenanigans.


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