Awaiting response

Despite repeated attempts to find answers to a few questions regarding the recent election of the 3rd District county supervisor, I am informed the elections office has been asked to respond, so we must be patient to give them an opportunity to do so. It is hard to be patient but we certainly want to be sure that the answers that are forthcoming result in information that currently is not available. I also have been informed that the certification is anticipated by December 2, 29 days after the election.

 

The questions that are being asked are crucial ones regarding the votes that are being, or have been, counted. If you know, for example that the students on campus in the dorms are mostly freshmen, mostly 18 year olds who have not voted before, there are certain procedures that first-time voters must follow. According to the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) there are identification requirements that must be met prior to accepting a vote from a first-time voter. There are questions whether those required photo or other identification was required. Next, there is the question of how many first-time voters actually voted by a voter-by-mail ballot. This is important as those voters must attach to their ballot the same photo identifications or acceptable alternative identifications. The question asked is if these records are available for review?

 

For those voters who went to a precinct, were the first-time voters flagged so that the election official would know to ask for appropriate ID? Also, did the election officials document that those first-time voters showed their ID, and are these records available for review? A further request was for the election office to provide an affidavit confirming that all HAVA identification process requirements were followed with regards to the 9,746 voter registration forms processed that occurred from Sept. 28 to Oct. 28. Please note that the last day to register was Oct. 20.

 

What makes one wonder about some of these voters being eligible or who they are saying they are is prompted by the lack of individual unit (room) numbers in the dorm residences, giving only P.O. Boxes and the fact that the P.O. Boxes are sequential and have virtually NO numerical gaps in them. How is this possible? Were all of those students there at every building visited by people registering them all over the campus and Isla Vista? This must have broken some kind of registration record! And what about the reported 17,000 ballots that were dumped on the counter in the elections office; where did they come from and how were they verified if applicable? Furthermore, what about all of the mailing addresses given that were out of district, or out of state or those from outside the U.S.? Were they eligible to vote or were they even citizens?

 

All of these requests seem reasonable. The first e-mail went out Thursday Nov. 20 and a second request on Nov. 22 so we still have a few days before there should be some acknowledgment of at least receipt of the requests.

The next issue was a request from Steve Pappas that he be notified by e-mail as to the certification of the election within 24-hours of that occurring. When the election officials “certify” an election it means that they accept the results they have found and now the election is found to be complete and finalized. If a candidate would like a recount or contests some part of the election, he or she has five days from the certification declaration in which to respond, bring suit or whatever they plan to do. If the deadline is passed, the elections results as declared by the official’s stands. Again, the first such request was sent by e-mail to Billie Alvarez, second in command of the elections office, on Nov. 19, second request on Nov. 22 with a copy to Joe Holland. To keep you in the loop as far as the potential “schedule” of events, I have mentioned that the elections office has some time undetermined to respond to requests. If one wants to request a recount of the ballots, one has five days after certification of the results to make the request. Should an individual decide to contest an election, that individual must make this request within 30 days so there is always the possibility of a drawn out election conclusion.

 

Because there have been very cordial relations so far between Pappas and all of the election officials, I am anxious to hear their responses to the questions. I don’t think anyone is willing to make any sort of claims about the election process at this point, but clearly there are some questions that must be answered before people can be ensured that this past election was entirely legitimate. This situation has not escaped the attention of others in the county, including people who do not live in the 3rd District who wonder just what is going on here. In addition, being assured by Mr. Holland that they’ve been doing this for a long time is really no assurance to those who feel that the UCSB student population for the last 30 years has been used to dictate policy, particularly land use policy, to the residents and property owners of the Santa Ynez Valley. We don’t like it and it has been speculated on that our previous supervisor was put in place to stop the effort to split Santa Barbara County that was gaining support. Our attempt to break free from South County mindsets was thwarted once again. A lot of fear-mongering and false financial information brought that effort to a halt.

 

There is a very clear intent here to get the answers to the above questions however that may occur. Our election process is too precious to cavalierly distort even a single vote. I was impressed that I received, on Monday, a phone call from Ms. Alvarez to inquire as to the identities of the two individuals I mentioned in my column last week who have been trying for over 10 years to get regular ballots rather than provisional ones. She gave me her direct number and I passed it on to those two people who, I hope, will get regular ballots like the rest of us. Once more I must ask your indulgence and to stay tuned for the next report.

 

 

Thanksgiving

This week we celebrate one of my favorite holidays and that is Thanksgiving. There are lots of stories about The First Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims and the Indians and whether any part of that story is true or not I don’t know. But there is a story in my family that I have been humiliated with each and every year. I was very young, early grammar school I think, when we were being taught about the origins of the holiday. On my return home that evening at the dinner table I inquired of my mother if she had been invited to The First Thanksgiving as I knew she was invited to many parties and events. She looked rather horrified at me and politely explained that this particular event occurred long before she was born. Of course, at the time I had no such concept of time as everyone who was older than me was ancient in my mind and there would not have been anything momentous that happened before they were born! As I have aged, I now appreciate her delicate way of responding to my ignorance, knowing that one day I would understand what I had assumed. How gracious of her not to react with a nasty and completely understandable response. She has been gone a long time now but I am grateful for her lessons.

 

Gratitude is a large part of the Thanksgiving holiday. Traditionally, this has been and still is in rural areas, a time to conclude harvesting whatever crops are grown in the area prior to the winter season when most outdoor growing ceases. Of course, this year we have had a very long haying season because of the extended warm day temperatures. As long as the alfalfa keeps growing, we will continue to cut and bale it. This may be our last cutting for the year due to the lowering temperatures and the difficulty of drying it properly. Ah well, another season comes to a close and the cows and horses will enjoy the fruits of our labors. Thank you Sergio for overseeing this very important operation.

 

I am grateful for being raised in this very beautiful valley filled over the years with all sorts of interesting people and animals. I never tire of the vistas, the hills, the valleys, the trees, the wildlife and domestic animals. I feel very blessed to be able to enjoy the deer, bear, mountain lions, coyotes, hummingbirds, and all of the creatures that we share this land with. I love the cows I care for and marvel at what an important role they play in mankind’s life, even though some would deny them their existence not understanding how much they need them to survive. The horses I raise along with the help of Cody and Nick are pure delight. To watch the beloved mares each year produce incredibly delicate and beautiful colts and fillies that grow into graceful, playful, athletic, beautiful and proud reflections of their parents is nothing short of miraculous. I am grateful for all those in my life who help me to accomplish the goals I set for myself in my various endeavors, most of all, my husband Phil who brings his own joy to the world with his wonderful photos he shares with you.

 

I am also grateful for those who have gone before me, no longer here, who had beliefs they lived who set examples for me to follow honoring those who have fought to keep us free from tyranny, free to speak our minds and free to gather together in support of those common beliefs. I fear that too many of our young people have not been taught this gratitude and they have no foundation to lean on when in difficult times such as now. It seems that blame is the current name of the game rather than to make an honest effort to solve problems together. There is too much division between different people instead of coming together as communities. What’s that old phrase about divided we fall, united we stand? I firmly believe that those who are hateful among us will fail at whatever they attempt to do, as they should. We all have a lot to be grateful for and this is the season for it. Please enjoy the pictures of some of our local residents.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!