Letters to the Editor: Country's rupture is over systemic racism; ExxonMobil temporary trucking permit is crucial; Protesters' fireworks compromise service dogs

Letters to the Editor: Country's rupture is over systemic racism; ExxonMobil temporary trucking permit is crucial; Protesters' fireworks compromise service dogs

Country's rupture is over systemic racism

Our country’s rupture is no longer just about George Floyd; that is true. However, it’s not just about “thugs” and looters either. The anger emanates from 1619 when the first enslaved were kidnapped from Africa and transported to Jamestown, Virginia.

One hundred and fifty-seven years later, in 1776, as a new nation, we declared that “...all men are created equal.” Of course, only white men were privileged as such. Eighty-seven years of slavery later, Abraham Lincoln wrote the Emancipation Proclimation in 1863. However, for the next 101 years, until 1964, with the Civil Rights Act, legal segregation existed in the south, along with oppressive Jim Crow laws, and of course, the terror of the KKK, and its hangings.

In the north, where I was raised, segregation was not legal, but racism was widely evident as African-Americans were relegated to inner city ghettos. Now, a mere 56 years later, to simply state, “Get over it!” is to deny the rippling effects of 401 years of history. So no, this is no longer just about George Floyd, but it would take a never ending litany of names, and incidents to make the case that our national nightmare is about historic, and systemic racism. Now, we must get over it!

Michael McMahon

Santa Maria

ExxonMobil temporary trucking permit is crucial

These last few months have been filled with uncertainty as we respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Looking ahead to the next year, it’s enough to give anyone anxiety.

The County is facing a deep, prolonged budget deficit and our communities will need every job and tax dollar available. That’s exactly why Santa Barbara County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association supports approval of ExxonMobil’s permit for temporary trucking so they can restart operations at their Santa Ynez Unit facility and resume generating crucial funding for county services, including public safety.

The Santa Barbara County Chamber Coalition published a report on the economic impact of restoring SYU to full production and the findings are staggering – millions of dollars could be injected into the local economy. Restarting SYU could increase funding for the Fire Department by $1.07 million annually and for other public safety and local services by $1.8 million annually.

We’ve already felt the crunch and are concerned how budget cuts will impact public safety for the County. Reduced funding puts our ability to staff the county, maintain response times and protect all citizens in jeopardy. Looking ahead to looming budget and staff cuts, it is essential that the County approve this application to allow for temporary trucking because we need SYU to restart as soon as possible.

Additionally, Santa Barbara County laws and regulations governing oil production and transportation are among the strictest in the world. There is a long-established relationship between the county and this facility which has been permitted since 1988. The trucking permit, in line with its conditions, will help ensure the temporary trucking plan continues to meet that safety record and allow this facility to resume operation and be a local economic engine. Trucking will only operate until the new pipeline is built.

Restarting SYU will ultimately bring back essential jobs and tax dollars that Santa Barbara County desperately needs. Every year that passes we are losing millions of dollars in tax revenue and economic activity. We need to bring displaced families and their jobs back to help fuel Santa Barbara County’s recovery.

Neil Gowing, President

Santa Barbara County Deputy Sheriffs' Association

Protesters' fireworks compromise service dogs

I am a combat Vietnam veteran that proudly served this country. The right to demonstrate or protest is one of many rights that I swore to protect then and still do today.

Recent demonstrations protesting the death of George Floyd here in Santa Maria have been reasonably peaceful. Unfortunately, some have chosen to violate city ordinances, state and federal laws protecting the health, life, and welfare of animals by discharging from small to extremely illegal explosive devices from dark to 2 a.m.

Putting aside Santa Maria's city ordinances prohibiting this, I call to your attention that this activity is not only abusive to all animals but also violates the American Disability Act protecting service dogs and emotional support animals.

The loud noises require these animals to be sedated to protect them from the physical as well as the psychological reaction to this unwarranted and illegal activity. This renders my partner incapable of performing her trained duties.

This is a violation of federal law when you obstruct a service dog in the performance of their duties. As the partner to a PTSD Service Dog, I am bound to protect my partner at all costs as he does for me.

Since May 29, I have called our local Police to resolve this. Unfortunately, they are either overwhelmed or unable to perform this task. It is time for everyone to realize that the life of a human being regardless of their color, race, and religion is not to be taken by anyone including those in authority or there to protect us.

Demonstrating and protesting that all lives matter should also include the lives of all animals especially those that perform assistance to people with disabilities. Maybe it is time for the combat veterans of this city to use the constitutional powers of citizens arrest to locate and detain these individuals without physical violence until police can take them into custody. What say you?

Michael Geddry Sr.

Santa Maria

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