More than a hundred homeless people were displaced from informal residences along Santa Ynez Riverbed in Lompoc, California.
Erika Carlos

For the Indy’s annual review of stories, our writers and editors have put together lists of the stories they were proud of this year, or just enjoyed writing, reporting, or reading. Here are Blanca Garcia’s picks.

Considering the more than 2,600 H2A farmworkers in Santa Barbara County, supervisors (including, pictured from left, Joan Hartmann, Das Williams, and Peter Adam) favored a conceptual motion to loosen permit requirements for farmworker housing on unincorporated agriculturally zoned land.
Len Wood / Santa Maria Times

Increase in H2A Farmworkers Raises Housing Concerns

This story touched on so many things central to Santa Barbara County — housing shortage; agriculture; immigration. I learned a lot about the county and the way pieces fit together and influence one another. This is just a jumping board for more stories in the future.

Anahi Mendoza is executive director of the Santa Barbara County Immigrant Legal Defense Center, which was recently formed to help the 43,000 undocumented immigrants residing in the county.
Paul Wellman

Posting Bail for S.B. County’s Undocumented ICE Detainees

Getting to chat with and interview Anahi Mendoza was the best part of reporting this story. She’s an incredible young woman, filled with stories that could comprise two more cover stories with the notes I have. Her story felt so poignant with all that’s going on in the country surrounding immigration. I also worked closely with our Editor in Chief Chief Marianne Partridge on this one, and I always learn a tremendous amount from her.

Jorge was detained by ICE agents since June 10 and has been held since.
Paul Wellman

Wife Recalls Husband’s Arrest by ICE Agents in Goleta

I remember walking around Old Town Goleta interviewing people after the raid and feeling uneasy because so few people were out. There was a palpable sense of fear and anxiety in the community. People are deported from Santa Barbara all the time. It’s important to understand what that does to the families and communities that are left behind.