Community members deserve more respect

Thank you to the 24 or more community members who attended the Santa Ynez High School board of education meeting on Jan. 15 to support and speak on behalf of Neil Steadman’s appointment to the school board. 

It was an outrageous embarrassment that school board of education President, Jan Clevenger, censored their ability to equally participate in a public forum that benefits our children.

The board agenda clearly states:

“The President of the Board will recognize members of the public who indicate that they wish to speak after each person has completed a speaker card. Persons wishing to address the board of education shall be allowed three minutes for each presentation.”

Clevenger placed 17 speaker slip requests in support of Neil Steadman in a pile, shoved them aside, and said, “come up as you wish, identify yourselves and you all only have 10 minutes total to address the board,” not three minutes each. Huh …?

Why such disrespectful treatment of community members who took time to attend the meeting? What’s the rush? The meeting started at 4 p.m. Is it necessary to wrap up a board of education meeting in 90 minutes?

Neil Steadman clearly was not the favored candidate given how rudely Clevenger dismissed his supporters. In fact, a new board member, Dr. John Baeke, nominated Steadman, but none of the other board members would second his motion; so there could not even be a discussion about Steadman’s unique qualifications. That was equally rude treatment of a newly elected board member. The final vote favored another candidate.

The board majority prides themselves on community outreach as recently discussed at length at a board workshop. Clearly, more introspection is necessary. Everyone, including Olive Grove Charter School, should be treated with respect and have an equal opportunity to be heard, even if the board president does not want to hear it.

Michelle De Werd

Los Olivos

Extremes found on all sides

A recent contributor would have readers believe that the Democratic agenda includes an open door immigration policy, taking everyone's guns away, a guaranteed minimal income, and generally, the most extreme leftist position on virtually every issue confronting our nation today. While supporters of these positions can certainly be found, including by some who have announced Presidential bids, they do not represent mainstream party positions.

There are, of course, Republicans who espouse completely antithetical positions to those our aforementioned correspondent attributes to Democrats. There are Republicans that would, for example, close our borders to all persons of color and to all non-Christians. There are Republicans that would return us to a laissez faire, completely unregulated economy. There are Republicans that believe citizens are entitled to only the health care they can afford and that "socialist" programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and all other public assistance programs are government schemes that rob the rich of their just desserts. There are Republicans that oppose "racial and social justice" for all.

The point I hope I have made is that Democrats are a diverse lot and, while their positions are trending left, they are far closer to the center on most issues than are Republicans, most of whom seem to have enthusiastically embraced Trump's reactionary agenda.

Robert Hoffman

Santa Maria

Disputing the science

Once again, scientists are finding what a chemistry professor at Indiana University told us years ago. He cited Einstein, saying the more we learn, the more we learn how little we know.

This statement comes to mind when climate experts looked for data on ocean current mixing, and found the area in which they were collecting data was several hundred miles away from the spot they should have been examining.

Since they were so wrong, I wonder how they now know they’ve found the correct spot, but in a larger sense, these are the people who have told us every few years that if we don’t do something, the world will be doomed in 15-30 years.

If these geniuses had been right in their earliest predictions 30-40 years ago all humans would be dead by now. What is more bothersome is that no one has provided convincing evidence that our current short-term warming period is no more than a normal temperature rise following the mini-Ice Age that lasted from about 1250 to 1850.

These experts run the risk of crying the sky is falling if they continue to be so wrong so much of the time.

Jim Vint

Santa Maria

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