Great Fourth in the SY Valley

We’d like to thank all who made the Solvang Fourth of July celebration such a rousing success.

Thank you, Solvang Rotary, for putting on the the best parade in the county, and the Jones family for providing the entertaining reviewing stand.

Thank you, Santa Ynez Rotary, for arranging the festival and fireworks that followed.

Thanks also to all others who made this day truly memorable and safe, especially city staff, law enforcement and fire-protection personnel.

We live in a wonderful place where the entire Valley is like a small town, filled with talented and energetic volunteers who make it so.

Dennis Beebe and family


Concerned about growing tensions in Valley

Having the opportunity to grow up in the Santa Ynez Valley was a privilege and I was proud to call it home. Part of the community’s strength was the bond we had with our neighbors. These were people we shared with, from our eggs and berries to birthdays and graduations. If there was a problem, or concern, we talked to each other about it. There was never a time my mother worried when I was off with friends all day. Our community looked out for each other, reached out to each other and made the valley such an amazing place.

Recently, I wanted to arrange to bring the kids over to their grandparents in Santa Ynez to spend the weekend. But learned that upon her last visit, our little six-year-old girl was exposed to one of my father-in-law's neighbors screaming profanity at him across the fence. This exchange was neither initiated, nor responded to by my father-in-law. This division seems to have arisen because my in-laws have chosen to support one of their neighbors. In return, several of their neighbors have become abusive and confrontational.

Regardless of the issues in the growing disagreement, hate has crept into the valley. I don’t know this individual that took it upon himself to expand my little girl’s vocabulary and expose her to such despicable behavior, nor do I want to. But I’m curious to know how he would feel if I returned the favor to perform such conduct in front of one of his minor offspring? How would he feel if I videoed his display and posted it for the world to see?

Has the growing hatred in our nation found its way into our beloved community? How do I explain to my children they can’t go up and stay with Grandma this summer because I fear for their safety?

Dan LaBerge

Santa Barbara

County should learn from past

Three oil companies are requesting Santa Barbara County permits to drill in Cat Canyon over Santa Maria’s water table. Let’s consider some real factual history about corporations and contamination, all available in public records.

On June 29 it was announced that the cost to clean up Casmalia, after decades of contamination, all unwittingly legally permitted by the county at the time, will be $60 million, plus millions more for maintenance over five to six years. The site and water will never be completely clean even then, according to experts.

In addition, Orcutt and Santa Maria are still suffering from the land contamination the oil companies left behind in the 1950’s, again, all legally allowed then by the county. After drilling and disposing of their oil waste in sumps, the oil companies moved away, or went bankrupt, leaving their toxic mess. Then, the county and city issued building permits to developers in those same areas.

Currently, one of the three companies trying to get County permits in Cat Canyon is ERG, which is in bankruptcy right now. History has shown that the taxpayers foot the bill, residents suffer, while the oil companies enjoy the profits.

We have alternative energy sources available that are being developed and implemented that represent the future, and good paying jobs. That is where the county needs to put our taxpayer resources to work, not commit to dismal technology that will add to climate change that brings suffering because of fires, floods, mudslides, and even more long term debt to the county. To even consider repeating the same disastrous mistakes is mind boggling.

Connie Ford

Santa Maria