Real friends helping out
I would like to give my sincere thanks to all the concerned drivers on Highway 246 who stopped to help put out a vehicle fire that started in the engine of my 1970 VW van.
When I noticed a problem I thought was only minor smoke, a driver pulled over to the shoulder exactly when I did. He said he was an off-duty fireman and that I had a vehicle fire. Soon, he was proven right.
He had a fire extinguisher but was unable to put out the fire, which was dangerously close to the gas tank. Surprisingly, within minutes maybe 10 to 15 other drivers pulled over to help, many had fire extinguishers. All eager to help.
Then the fire Department came and went to work. The fire was quickly put out while sheriff’s deputies and Highway Patrol officers controlled traffic. No one was hurt and there was no brush fire.
Although the loss of my van was like losing an old friend, the silver lining to this dark cloud was a warm reminder that we live in an awesome community with good and caring people.
Supervisors don't care
If you care about schools in the Santa Ynez Valley, you should know that apparently our county Board of Supervisors does not.
As Joan Hartmann and Das Williams secretly negotiated the recent Chumash/county agreement for Camp 4, there was zero consideration for the impact of 143 new homes — with potentially hundreds of children — on Santa Ynez Elementary School and Santa Ynez High School.
The two schools do not receive funding from the state based on attendance, rather, they are funded only by local property tax dollars. The tribe will pay the county $178,500 annually in lieu of property taxes on Camp 4 but none of that is slated to go to schools.
Though it’s hard to tell because, Chairwoman Hartmann chose to negotiate in secret and has refused to respond to public comment. It would seem Hartmann and Williams didn’t even bring up the issue of impacts on schools. The two schools’ superintendents report they were never contacted during the negotiations, and have never been contacted by Supervisor Hartmann, ever.
Hartmann’s choice to not collaborate with the schools means a loss of over a $1 million in developer fees to fund new capacity, hundreds of thousands of dollars a year that would pay for teachers, and tens of thousands of dollars a year that would help pay off the bonds for the two schools, plus those of Allan Hancock College.
But there is some good news — the tribe seems to care more about education than the supervisors, and has indicated a willingness to work directly with the school districts.
When our elected supervisors fail us, let's hope we can count on our tribal neighbors to do what’s right for our students.
Put Gallavan in the top job
The resignation of Lompoc City Manager Patrick Wiemiller is an unexpected blessing and an opportunity for the City Council.
Wiemiller's vision for Lompoc's future is unlimited population growth by any means, build houses on open space, build condominiums on farm fields, fill apartments with homeless people, and to make cannabis a cash cow. His vision is a perfect match for Santa Maria, not us. Lompoc does not want Wiemiller's vision. Let him go bless Santa Maria with it.
The opportunity lies in promoting Assistant City Manager Teresa Gallavan to city manager. Money can be saved by eliminating the assistant position, which has no real value now, nor did it when Kathleen Griffith had the same economic development position. The concept of the position was defective, not the position occupant.
More money can be saved by reducing the salary and perquisites which have accrued to the city manager position over the decades. The expense in time and money of a nationwide search for a replacement of the city manager is a dollar-saving opportunity.
Gallavan knows Lompoc, knows the city government and knows the city manager job. She is here now and will surely be made the acting manager during the recruitment period. Why not save the time and money? Just promote Gallavan and let the council move on to the several serious issues, which demand all of the council's attention.