Business owner should pay for trolley shade

In your recent article about the Solvang horse-drawn trolley, I assure you a covered area should have been mandated for these beautiful creatures many years ago.

However, while I want a cover for the comfort of these horses, I don't want my taxes to pay for it. Salvador Orona owns this business and must consider this badly needed cover a business expense. The city needs to tell this owner what is required for the horses well-being and let him get a contractor to do the job.

I understand that at the present time, the trolley staff is not set up to handle charge accounts to pay for rides. If one wants to charge a ride, you are required to go to the ice cream store in Solvang in order to do so. That store is owned by the trolley owner. This lack of customer service may discourage people from a trolley ride.

Hopefully, those who reside in Solvang will phone our five council members and remind them that our taxes should not be spent on business improvements and neither should loans be made to businesses, as they have been in the past. That's what banks are for.

Hazel Mortenson

Solvang

Help is there when needed

We have always considered our mobile home park self-sufficient, but on Saturday and Sunday we found out how nice it was to have people to help us.

We would like to thank search and rescue, Sheriff’s Department and the Chumash Casino for all their help at our time of need. With the power out for over 33 hours and the temperatures above 100 degrees it was not easy to keep in contact with the homebound residents in our park.

Search and rescue went door to door to check on residents. They offered assistance or a ride up to the cooling station provided by the Chumash. Thankfully, everyone was OK.

We would like to thank our resident committee leader, Tom Wendt, and our emergency response team. We all realized how lucky we were when we thought of Houston and all the problems there. We are so grateful to be living in a community where people care about each other.

Joan and Bud McCoy

Managers

Rancho Santa Ynez Mobile Estates

Aera serious about protecting environment

A recent letter completely mischaracterized Aera Energy’s East Cat Canyon oilfield redevelopment project.

The fact is Aera takes our responsibility to protect the environment very seriously. Every day, our people focus on complying with the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, Endangered Species Act and thousands of other environmental regulations. But we take our commitment to environmental stewardship even further.

For example, Aera’s water conservation initiative has reduced our company’s freshwater consumption by more than 30 percent in the past five years. The project will undergo comprehensive study through the California Environmental Quality Act review process to ensure that air, water and other resources are protected.

The project includes an oak woodlands restoration and conservation area that will be forever protected from development. No fresh water will be used for oil production, and no hydraulic fracturing will be performed.

As for our project’s economic benefits, it will create hundreds of jobs with good salaries and benefits in Santa Barbara County. It also will generate over a billion dollars in economic activity. And, according to projections from the UC Santa Barbara Economic Forecast we will become one of the largest property taxpayers in the county, contributing more than $250 million in local, state and federal taxes that will support our schools, public safety and other vital services.

Finally, we are serious about being community partners. We recently became sponsors of the Hancock College Promise Program, which provides free tuition to incoming freshmen. Over the past two years we have provided money and volunteers to the Foodbank of Santa Barbara, NatureTrack, Boys & Girls Club, Central Coast Future Leaders (Latino Legacy Awards), Partners in Education, United Way, and the Workforce and Literacy Initiative to name a few.

Aera looks forward to a long and productive relationship with the people and County of Santa Barbara.

Rick Rust

Santa Maria

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