Bureau crew earns thanks

To the staff of the Solvang Convention and Visitors Bureau, thanks to all of you for your years of dedicated service to our community.

You have fulfilled your job obligations to the city with transparency, and have been very helpful when groups have come to Solvang for conventions.

The manner in which you were let go from those jobs is of real concern. So Many of you and your families will be greatly affected. I am truly saddened for all of you.

Many thanks again, and I wish you well.

Marie Jaeger

Solvang

Look for bigger answer to shootings

We are saddened by the violence and mass shootings in recent days in Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton. As to be expected politicians and pundits immediately weighed in to suggest new legislation or to assign blame to their political opponents. They say new gun laws, background checks, focus on mental health, or enforcing laws already on the books will prevent these things from happening in the future. Everyone seems to think there is a simple solution to this problem. But I’d like to share with you some statistics I found with a quick web search.

Statistics on mass shooting by decade (defined as 4 or more victims killed with guns in a non-crime related event; (i.e. robbery, drugs or gangs): 1900s: 0, 1910s: 2, 1920s: 2, 1930s: 9, 1940s: 8, 1950s: 1, 1960s: 6, 1970s: 17, 1980s: 32, 1990s: 42, 2000s: 28, 2010s: about 52 (we still have 5 months to go).

Obviously, something has been happening in American culture for the last, especially, 50 years. In 1948 the percentage of Americans that were affiliated with a religion (Christian or otherwise) was 95%. In 1985 that number was down to 92%. By 2017 the number was at 77%. But at the same time US church membership was 70% or higher from 1937 through 1976. It fell modestly to an average of 68% in the 1970s through the 1990s.

The drop-off accelerated over the last two decades to 50% in 2018. Between 2007 and 2014 the percentage of people claiming to be atheist almost doubled to 3.1% of the population and those who claimed to be agnostic went from 2.4% to 4%; those who had no particular belief went from 12.1% to 15.8%.

While many of the solutions proposed by our lawmakers may be good things to do (or not), we must accept the fact that our lawmakers are helpless to cure this problem. We must look to something or someone else.

Fredrick Lee

Santa Maria

County roads need grooming

I find it odd that the county of Santa Barbara isn’t very concerned about how their roads look. Take Bradley Road going towards Lakeview, the weeds are growing in the cracks about two feet tall. The other road that I’ve noticed is Via Santa Maria by the drainage reservoir called Mud Lake. Sad that we pay property tax and you see a lack of street maintenance. You can tell where the city and county boundaries are. The city is well groomed.

Ken Heavener

Santa Maria

Russian interference must be top priority

To respond to the letter writer who states that our most important issue is to focus on Russia's interference in our elections. I agree, except this should be the second thing we focus on. The first is to focus on those Americans who are aiding and abetting Russia. The first is to turn our attention to the members of Congress and the Executive Branch.

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) seems not to mind these hacks as he has blocked current election security legislation. I wonder why?

He also blocked legislation that would have allowed sanctions on a Russian oligarch who lives in New York City and who is no friend to America. I don't wonder why about that one. After the oligarch was not sanctioned and his activities were not curtailed, McConnell's state is receiving three aluminum plants from this Russian's company.

Do we have traitors within our Congress? Do we have members of Congress and in the Executive Branch who turn a blind eye and deny what Russia is doing? Yes. We need to put up an outcry heard all the way to the halls of Congress if we are to keep the Russian bear at bay.

Betty Gunn

Santa Maria

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