Archive » August 2, 2012
On the ranch
By Nancy Crawford-Hall, Publisher
Voter fraudIt is alive and well across this great nation. This past week, another couple of stories came out about new states that had uncovered substantial voter fraud.
One was in Kentucky, where it seems it is a standard procedure to buy or sell your vote and it has been going on for a long time. One man in an interview stated that he was paid $25 for every vote he made. One wonders how many that was. He didn’t even seem particularly upset that he’d been caught, though he sounded as though he knew it wasn’t quite right to sell his vote.
Again the cries come out, from liberals that to have photo I.D. laws in order to prove that you are who you say you are to vote are discriminatory to young people, older people and minorities. That doesn’t leave many people to whom it is not discriminatory; just the middle-aged white folk, I guess. When ID is required for so many things today, and IDs are provided free by most states, I am not sure I accept why it would be so hard to obtain one. I understand living in rural areas that one has to travel to get one, but one also has to travel for groceries, gas, medicine and other life essentials. Why would it be impossible to get an ID on one of those trips?
As I have said before, I think this is an elaborate scheme to defraud the majority of traditional voters. We do see the occasional conservative fraud, usually on a fairly small scale, but the overwhelming majority have been perpetrated by the liberals who don’t seem to share the same values that most of us do. I’m talking about values like honesty and true fairness.
I have not made references to our own voter fraud experience here lately, but the investigation is still ongoing and will not cease until we have some folks out of office and maybe in jail. The local progressives can laugh all they want, but we have the evidence – overwhelming amounts of it – and when we find someone who is not running for re-election and is “bought and paid for” as many seem to be, we will make progress. Until then, please be patient. We still have a few tricks up our sleeves to get some action.
RoundaboutsI went, last week, to another Caltrans meeting about the roundabout being proposed for Highway 154/246. This time it was before the Solvang City Council and a good- sized audience. Several of us had been to previous meetings on the topic and were familiar with the plan already but wanted to see if it had changed at all given previous comments.
I was disappointed to hear that their program was exactly as stated at prior meetings despite considerable opposition to the plan stated by residents close to the project.
First, the council members spoke after hearing the presentation. A number of good questions, some very technical regarding the size of the circle, followed. Statements were made regarding the high cost of the proposed project, $3.5 million, including $2 million that the state obviously doesn’t have. One member asked why they couldn’t just put in a four-way stop system like the one at Baseline that has been so successful. The Caltrans personnel insisted that that would not solve what he called “the safety issue.” It was also suggested that a couple more four-way stops be installed in Los Olivos to help people trying to cross 154.
While answering the questions from the council members, the Caltrans folks kept referring to the recently completed one in Lompoc on Highway 246. They were very proud of that project and said they had not received a single complaint about it. I found that remark interesting because I have a dentist in Lompoc and have visited him a couple of times after the roundabout was completed. I was surprised to see all the tire marks everywhere when people failed to stay in the lane. I personally didn’t like the fact that you couldn’t see across to determine whether other traffic was in the circle because you couldn’t see over the hump they had built up in the middle. When you enter the circle, you don’t know if there is anyone else there or not until they zoom up on your bumper. This is safety?
A number of people from the Solvang area got up to speak and when the topic turned to the Lompoc roundabout, a lady stood up and said, “Let me be the first to register a complaint about the roundabout.” She didn’t see any need for it in the first place, since there were only three streets in it and there wasn’t a lot of traffic except for twice a day when people are going to and from work, as she does, that now backs up to a halt while trying to get into and through the circle.
The roundabouts in Santa Maria didn’t come up in the conversation as they did at the Santa Ynez meeting; that was fortunate, as the Caltrans people admitted that those were done wrong and that they have learned a number of things since then to improve them. In my opinion, the learning curve is not yet over! I have been through those in Santa Maria and they are a real challenge to get through without getting hit. People have no sense of what they are supposed to do there despite Caltrans providing “lessons” on how to drive through a roundabout, do not follow ordinary rules of the road such as honoring right-of-way and drive way too fast through them, switching lanes with no notification to anyone else nearby.
I have been through numerous roundabouts around the world, and these new devices are not constructed properly. If the issue is safety as claimed, they are going to create a nightmare at 154/246 due to the two islands in the middle that requires traffic coming from Santa Barbara direction going to Santa Ynez to cross the south or westbound 154 traffic after making two turns. This is safety? How is this different from what is there now?
Because my ranch is two of the four corners (and used to be all four), I am very familiar with that intersection. I got up to speak again and raised the issue of how I was to check my fences on the Armour Ranch Road pasture when they intended to close that part of the road during construction. They had no answer. Of course, those residents on Armour Ranch Road and Happy Canyon would also have to go to the lower part of the road and negotiate the hairpin turns along with the bicycles and wine tours (another bad idea).
Then I once again mentioned the negative impact on the people who have driveways on 246 between 154 and the first signal light in Santa Ynez. These include a substantial horse facility with the usual truck and trailer traffic, a homeowner development, a winery, an airport and our local fire station. How is it safe to create non-stop traffic in case of an emergency if you can’t get in or out of your driveway?
It was clear from the beginning of the discussion that the stop sign idea had been thrown out early on, but the reasons for that did not really make sense. If the idea is to slow the traffic down, stop signs do a good job of that and, furthermore, discourage some of the huge amounts of through traffic we get daily and on the weekends. They tossed around the idea of signals but quickly got rid of that, on the basis of how much land they would have to condemn from me and Camp 4. The figures they presented did not seem to include any money for litigation that certainly would have ensued from that design.
Another issue I raised had to do with the on-ramp going from 246 to 154 toward Santa Barbara. It is very dangerous, as it requires the driver to merge with traffic on 154 looking backward while driving forward. This is not safe, as it is difficult to see the sometimes speeding cars that will try to get past you no matter whether there is a lane or not. Frequently, people take that corner too fast also and end up in my pasture leaving glass, plastic, metal and noxious fluids in the dirt that I am left to clean up. We have also had fatalities there. I think that non-stop on-ramp should be eliminated and just a proper four-way stop be installed. That way everybody gets to stop, look around and ascertain whether it is safe to go. What do you think? And whose idea do you think this roundabout is? Did Caltrans dream this up to justify their jobs, or was it a way to get casino patrons there quicker?
VisionsI think it is time for all of us Valley residents to shrug off our apathy and start to participate more in revealing what our vision for the future of the Valley is. I know that many of you are very angry about what our “elected representative” has been doing and the same goes for her predecessors. I know that you feel that no one is listening to what you want, because you stop and tell me that, and that we have no one who is interested in truly representing us except for some of the community groups who are fighting for us as we speak. It is very frustrating.
The powers that be have spent a lot of our time and our tax dollars on developing a Community Plan that some of us didn’t think truly reflect our wishes either. Now, we have an entity in our midst that can, with the flick of a printed piece of paper, make the Community Plan and all of our ideas disappear. Is that all right with you? Is it OK to have to continually fight to keep that which is ours, including such essentials as our water from being taken by either uncaring, not local casino people or government? Is it OK with you to let government continually hammer our agricultural people with more and more absurd regulations like making rainwater come out of the clouds drinking water quality and blame the cows and horses, dogs and cats for groundwater pollution (that isn’t true, anyway!)? Is it OK with you that any mechanical device such as tractors, hay balers, quads and other off-road farm vehicles be regulated for air pollution while ignoring the thousands of commuter, casino and through cars that travel our valley roads? Is it ok with you to allow more wineries, wine tasting and big events to occur in our rural neighborhoods creating noise, traffic and an increase in drunk driving on our neighborhood roads?
If you have a problem with any of these issues, not to mention a myriad of others, what are you going to do about it? Are you going to assume that “someone” will take care of it and sit back while another project is dumped on the shoulders of those who already are helping? Or are you going to become a meaningful participant and contributor to the community you enjoy so much? Think about it.