Archive » October 19, 2007
ON THE RANCH
By Nancy Crawford-Hall
A recent publication encouraging the neighborhood groups P.O.L.O. and POSY to stand back and not be involved in Valley issues, which certainly include the next Supervisorial election, is simply ignorant.
P.O.L.O. and POSY were formed specifically to deal with Santa Ynez Valley issues which residents felt weren’t being given enough attention by elected officials. Certainly the selection of our representative, if indeed we still have one, is of sufficient importance to warrant their participation. Many individuals do not feel comfortable going to the Board of Supervisors or Planning Commission meetings and speaking in public about their ideas and concerns. Groups like these can provide a valuable service to a community by representing the opinions of those individuals.
The point being made in the aforementioned publication was that local issues could be lost in the discussions about the casino, which the local officials have little authority over, while issues that could be impacted are not getting enough attention. I would argue that this is not the case, as strictly local issues are certainly being discussed and points being made to the local powers-that-be, but the issues requiring higher participation -- such as that of the State of California or the United States -- are equally important to local residents because often those issues will have a far more profound impact on the community than the local decisions will. It is precisely this which is really the sticking point between Valley residents and their local government.
When we asked our local government to intervene on our behalf with regard to the development of the casino, they responded with too little, too late. Hours, days, weeks, months and years have been spent discussing plans for the future of the valley in the Comprehensive Plan, all of which, in the face of an ever-growing casino industry in our midst, seem to be wasted time.
What good did it do to decide how you want the valley to look when people who decided to not be a part of the discussion had their own plans that were not subject to the same regulations and constraints as the rest of the valley? In addition, these same people have vigorously and repeatedly announced that they are not interested in sharing their plans with the community, or with anyone for that matter. Given the additional opportunity of enormous amounts of untaxed capital available to the casino, something not on the same par with any other residents, how do locals maintain their presence here, either in business or living here?
I think people here are concerned about what the future holds for them when the expansion of the casino is determined by people who don’t live here and aren’t impacted by the casino, people who don’t seem to care what negative impacts are felt by the surrounding area and local government agents who don’t seem motivated to represent their constituents. All we hear is, “oh, the casino has jobs for people in my district”. Never mind that the guys who lay irrigation pipe in my alfalfa fields make a lot more money than anyone at the casino. Never mind that people in your district don’t have to deal with the traffic or crime, either.
So tell me again why P.O.L.O. and POSY should stay out of local politics? Isn’t our local government our first line of defense? Isn’t our local government the one who should be representing our concerns at higher levels of government because they understand it best and they represent us? Don’t they get the connection that their tax money will get slimmer and slimmer as the casino expands with property being taken off tax rolls and money being spent in casino stores rather than taxpaying businesses?
In fact, hasn’t anybody figured out yet the reality that it is the local government’s responsibility and charge to provide the proper infrastructure to balance the negative aspects of a casino in a small rural area? Isn’t it their responsibility to provide the traffic control, law enforcement and general protection for the surrounding community? So where are they?
I, for one, am glad that there are individuals in the Valley who are willing to give of their time to make sure that we are represented fairly and reasonably. I am not a member of either organization, but I am happy that there are more people involved in keeping the valley and the county a safe place to live.
I have noticed this past week that the California Highway Patrol has been working hard on both Highway 154 and Highway 246. From a resident of the Valley and a resident who lives on Highway 154, I offer a hearty thank you.
Not only is there a huge increase in the number of vehicles on these roads in recent years, but there is also a huge increase in the number of rude and unsafe drivers in our area. People are constantly passing withour regard for safety, speeding, and either tailgating or forcing you to go faster to satisfy their speed requirements.
I feel sorry for residents older than I am who are used to toodling along at 50 or 55 MPH, the speed limit, who are now faced with an increasingly aggressive driving public. I could ask, where are your manners, but I am afraid that most people these days would just laugh at me, thinking I was from the dark ages.
I am beginning to understand what my father used to say about the world going to Hell in a hand basket, although I tend to be a bit more positive-thinking than that. Many parents seem to not take the time to explain the values that most in my generation were taught -- things like right and wrong, good and evil, caring for others who cannot care for themselves, the importance of being truthful, values like that. It is either that, or peer pressure and the “Hollywood value system” are having a profound negative impact on our youth. It is rare these days to have a polite driver around you, and I know my perception is not just my experience, for other long time residents have remarked on the same thing.
I have stated before that we need more CHP officers on our roads here, but I also am aware that the Governor controls their budget and they go where they are told. If our Governor chooses to move to the valley, which is the current rumor, he will find this out for himself and perhaps, then, we will have a change. In any event, thanks CHP!
Bugs, Creepy Crawlys and Parasites
I just heard that our nation’s security is being threatened by some lizard that lives near or on the border between the U.S. and Mexico. Some enterprising environmental organizations have sued, stopping construction of the barrier between the two countries because of the unsubstantiated claim that the lizards could not reach water if it were built.
Do you mean to tell me there is no water in the US or Mexico other than that exact spot? If that’s the case, we’re in a whole lot more trouble than worrying about terrorists crossing through the sieve that is our southern border!
What are we thinking, or more accurately, what are our judges and lawmakers thinking, or are they? It appears a coalition of open-borders people and the environmentalists have joined hands to halt construction of this wall. We have taken away the property rights of millions of Americans who are guaranteed these rights in the Constitution, we have allowed our public agencies such as the Forest Service, Fish and Game and Fish and Wildlife to be financially destroyed by continuous lawsuits against them by environmental organizations across the country who exist on federal funds and donations from people who worry about the existence of polar bears and other fuzzy creatures. Unfortunately, there is rarely any truth-grounded data provided to support the claims, which usually are greatly exaggerated to make them more dramatic. In our busy lives it is hard to remember to look for that data, so we just write a check to save whatever the species of the day is. Usually the money just goes to pay the salary of someone whose primary interest is in either socialism or wealth redistribution.
As these folk continue to destroy our freedoms and deplete the national treasury, their goal of restructuring the United States is being paid for on the backs of the snowy plover, the spotted owl, the red-legged frog and the “two-striped gopher snake”. In exchange, entire industries have been decimated, such as the logging industry. Today, agriculture is the target, which I know for a fact from a friend at the Environmental Protection Agency.
I believe that the environmental movement has accomplished only one positive thing, and that is to educate all of us as to the value of the land we live on, to take care of it and to develop new systems to better reduce pollutants. Of course, farmers and ranchers have always known how to do this because if they destroyed their land, it would no longer be productive and they would lose their livelihoods and that of succeeding generations.
Once again, this has gone way too far because now jobs have to be preserved and projects are now valued on how many jobs are protected rather than anything else. A good example of this that you may not be aware of is what the Regional Water agency is planning for ranchers. A big topic in recent years has been storm runoff and what it dumps into our creeks and rivers. Far from understanding that this is Mother Nature’s way of cleaning house, the programs that have been developed so far make farmers pay money to be educated on how to farm, pay for permits to farm and pay to be certified by someone who is school educated, not practically educated. This has had a terrific impact on farmers, and one wonders how they are surviving. Soon, ranchers will be held accountable for whatever lies on their dry, unirrigated pastures when the rains come and wash it away. So if you see me out on my pastures every day, I’m just picking up cowpies, deer droppings, lion leavings, possum poop, rat scat and, well, you get the point.
There are many natural things that produce nitrogen, such as dead leaves, dried grasses and weeds. Did you know that native grasses produce more nitrogen than non-native grasses and that oak trees are a tremendous source of tannic acid and nitrogen in the soil? So are we responsible for natural processes which actually cleanse the land? Are we also going to be held responsible for oils and chemicals that are deposited on our highways or the trash that unthinking people toss out of the windows of their cars?
The definition of a parasite, according to The American Heritage Dictionary, is “Any organism that grows, feeds, and is sheltered on or in a different organism while contributing nothing to the survival of its host”. It seems to me that the environmental community, whatever their original intent was, has been hijacked by a group of people who have become parasites who intend to live off your tax dollars that were meant for other programs. They are literally sucking the life out of public agencies which are designed to make life better for all of us, primarily enriching themselves. How long is this to go on? Can you think of other parasites in our community?