Regarding Noozhawk’s Oct. 12 article, “Montecito’s Historic Rancho San Carlos Sold After 6 Years on Market,” I believe I’m one of few people who have seen the main house and grounds, but this was long ago when I was in high school (Santa Barbara High class of 1964).
My best friend came from a Montecito family of wealth, and they were old friends with the owners of Rancho San Carlos and so I went with my friend a couple times.
What a beautiful place it was in 1963-1964 when I visited. We rode horses, had a luncheon with finger bowls to dip your finger tips into — no licking your fingers at this table! Though my parents were just normal working people, we were acquainted with the Castagnola family, too, back from my dad’s military days, I was accustomed to the “finer” parts of Santa Barbara. Debutante balls, polo matches and shopping at the best stores of the 1950s and ’60s, such as I. Magnin.
I wish I hadn’t left Santa Barbara but my type of work wasn’t there, so I had to leave. By the time I wanted to come back, it was financially too late.
Roxanne Parks Garrett
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Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen ignores likely senseless behavior of residents in his Oct. 9 column, “Santa Barbara County Needs a Realistic Roadmap to COVID-19 Recovery.”
As a member of a more vulnerable population, we’ve been able to get through the pandemic by getting out in a safe manner, protecting ourselves and others. Examples: Going to Santa Barbara’s wonderful nature preserves and walking our dog at Hendry’s Beach.
I can continue my cautious behavior, but I’ll likely be cut off from the healing I get from being in nature if Macfadyen’s “more realistic roadmap“ were to be adopted. I expect that large numbers of younger folks would be out in those spaces oblivious to the concerns of the over-65 population.
• • •
Gov. Gavin Newsom is responsible for implementing political solutions to address the coronavirus crisis. I hope Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen and the Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce will follow up their Zoom discussion with local and state officials with their responses. I bet they said their hands are tied.
Despite the fact that the number of Santa Barbara County cases has not changed that much in the past couple of months, magically we move to Tier 3 from Tier 4. The public is being subjected to a kabuki dance orchestrated from Sacramento.
My prediction is current lockdown policies will continue to the first of the year.
• • •
Regarding Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen’s questioning of the state roadmap to reopening:
There can only be a realistic roadmap in the coronavirus pandemic if there is a good road without detours. Clear education and enforcement of the rules stops the accidents from happening. There has to be a single message that EVERYONE adheres to at all times.
President Donald Trump is so enamored with himself that he cannot bear to support a message that does not glorify him. So he has subverted the scientific community’s proven pandemic public health methods and confused the American people to such a degree that too many Americans are claiming their right to infect others and act irresponsibly as part of their supposed “freedom.”
There is no such thing as freedom without responsibility. Everyone has the responsibility to wear a proper mask that covers the nose and mouth when they leave their homes no matter where they go as they WILL be encountering people who are not part of their immediate household. If their immediate household has members who are encountering different members of the public as part of their jobs, then masks have to be worn at home, too.
Those people who are NOT wearing proper face masks, not staying physically distant from others, and not washing their hands after touching surfaces that can be contaminated are engaging in irresponsible and un-American behavior. They are the ones who are causing the detours in the coronavirus pandemic roadmap.
Gov. Gavin Newsom and the public health community have created a statewide roadmap to opening up the economy. If businesses, churches, schools, etc. want to open up safely, then they have to be part of the educational solutions that tells their people to act responsibly and how to act responsibly.
Businesses have to adhere to the public health protocol AT ALL TIMES. If they do not, they become part of the pandemic spread.
If there is a COVID-19 outbreak in a nursing home, someone or more than one person is not adhering to protocol.
There are surges in outbreaks after groups gather so DON’T allow gathering in groups! Teach everyone to stay that six feet distance. If you don’t, you risk the possibility of becoming sick with COVID-19 or causing some else to get the disease.
If we had a REAL world cooperative community, this COVID 19 virus could have been stopped worldwide in two months. How?
» Quarantine everyone worldwide immediately for two weeks or up to two months. Forbid all travel everywhere. There would be no crossing of any borders by planes, trains, buses, cars, bicycles, walking, nothing. That includes from house to house, walking within a city, no crossing of county lines, nothing. STAY AT HOME! The virus would have died out for lack of ability to infect.
» Have all the proper personal protective equipment for all essential workers everywhere, including at least two effective, washable masks per person in a household.
» Figure out how to get food and water to everyone worldwide by the fewest number of properly protected people as possible.
» If governments cooperate to help all in the world, then businesses can shut down temporarily to be part of the global solution.
» This type of pandemic can happen again. It takes planning to be prepared. The United States was not prepared and still is not.
Hopefully, we will soon have a federal government with cooperative businesses and a cooperative population who will prepare the country for the next public health crisis. I hope this preparation will be nonpartisan and continuous so it can not be undone.
New York City had the correct behavior. The city adhered to the proper protocol when COVID-19 hit the city so hard. But borders were not closed when the virus cropped up in other places in the United States. As a result, travelers brought the highly contagious virus back into the city.
I walked on Shoreline Park this past Sunday with a mask on. Way too many people were walking without masks on and talking loudly to friends as they walked. I put myself 20 feet distant in most instances and hoped these irresponsibly behaving people were not contagious.
There was a breeze. With the breeze in my direction, I could become infected. With the breeze away from me, I could infect others. This spreading of contagious particles is less likely when wearing a mask and much more likely when not wearing one.
It takes the whole cooperating village to get life back to normal. Tell that to the noncooperators.
• • •
The Oct. 14 article, “7 Months of COVID-19 Data Show Disproportionate Impact on Residents of Color, Congregate Settings,” states that the coronavirus “disproportionately affected communities of color and congregate settings, such as senior communities, jails and prisons, shelters and skilled nursing homes” in Santa Barbara County. But it neglects to mention “congregate settings” such as churches, birthday parties, weddings, quinceañeras and other gatherings that many Hispanics/Latinos enjoy and frequent.
The article goes on to say that recent data show “Hispanic and Latino residents represent about 48 percent of the population, but they account for 65 percent of COVID-19 cases, 74 percent of COVID-19 hospitalizations and 56 percent of COVID-19-related deaths countywide …”
But this takes data from all of the county and averages things out. In reality, it misses the real data. Most of the COVID-19 cases are in the North County, which includes Guadalupe, Santa Maria and Lompoc where the combined population of those three communities is 157,900 (July 2019 census data). The proportion of the Hispanic/Latino population in these three communities is 70 percent. So, in reality the percentage of COVID-19 cases in the Hispanic/Latino population, 65 percent, is indeed proportional to the population rather than disproportionate.
The article did not break down the data according to North County and South Coast, but that would reveal a much more accurate picture how proportional the coronavirus’ impact is on residents of color.
• • •
Regarding the Oct. 9 article, “With Uptick in COVID-19 Cases, Santa Barbara County Officials Urge Residents to Remain Vigilant,” at last! Much appreciate the accurate reporting with stats on COVID! Good job! Who, What, When and Where. Thank you!
• • •
I couldn’t help but notice that after the 2019-2020 Santa Barbara County grand jury came out with a condemning investigation and subsequent report on the cannabis industry, the county and, specifically, the five members of the Board of Supervisors denied any wrongdoing and rejected all the recommendations of the grand jury review, as reported in the Oct. 8 article, “Santa Barbara County Supervisors Reject Civil Grand Jury Report Criticizing Cannabis Response.”
I served on this grand jury and, in the interest of full disclosure, I stepped down halfway in the year for personal reasons.
But in the six months that I served, I can attest that we received so many complaints regarding various aspects of the county’s mishandling the permit process, environmental issues and the lack of research on how to tax the industry, that the 19 members of the grand jury voted to incorporate all cannabis complaints into one committee, which apparently is not common.
Very smart and dedicated county citizens spent countless hours and days interviewing all aspects of the industry and the impacted communities. Everyone involved knew that this investigation was beyond the norm and scope. Normally, the grand jury is mandated by the State of California to investigate the county jail and Sheriff’s Department every year.
Now that I see how little consequence the grand jury reports have on an issue as consequential as the pot industry, when all the issues and suggestions were denied by the supervisors, I sincerely question why the state mandates grand juries at all.
It apparently is easier to claim that grand jury members are all old white folks who don’t smoke pot and have hidden agendas as the Fifth District supervisor claimed. Nothing could be further from the truth.
But the fact remains that this grand jury failed to make any impact on as volatile a subject as the cannabis industry in a county that has 2 percent of California’s agricultural land but now has 35 percent of pot producers in the state.
Ultimately, the county’s cannabis land use permits were determined by an ad hoc committee of two supervisors who held no public meetings and did not involve county auditors to determine how to tax the industry. No environmental review, no input from the county auditor and no oversight as to any ethical questions derived from working with pot industry leaders.
From my perspective, the grand jury was and is a colossal waste of citizens’ time and county money.
• • •
Noozhawk’s Oct. 2 article, “Residents Raise Concerns About Crosswalk at Cliff Drive and Alan Road in Santa Barbara,” raises an interesting point.
In response to the citizens’ complaint to the Santa Barbara City Council, Councilman Eric Freidman stated “… the city has already applied for grants to implement a flashing light for the crosswalk …” and traffic engineer Derrick Bailey stated “… officials are pursuing monies for pedestrian-activated flashing lights at the Alan Road and Cliff Drive crosswalk through two grant funding programs. If successful, it will take several years to administer the grant funding and implement the improvements … Pedestrian flashers typically cost about $100,000 …”
So, one has to wonder why the city, with an annual budget of more than $300 million is able to fund so many other programs, yet is unable fund $100,000 for necessary safety systems. Isn’t public safety the primary function of government?
Why do we have to depend on “grants?” Grants are simply dollars taken from us and people in other jurisdictions by taxes then, after another bureaucracy pays themselves to administer the funds, returns part of the funds to entities like the city in the form of “grants.” It isn’t just magic money that appears out of nowhere.
The article also states that “the residents pointed out the city’s Vision Zero plan, an attempt to eliminate all traffic deaths and serious injuries on city roads.” Is the city administration only concerned if someone else will pay for it?
• • •
I think Santa Barbara’s State Street promenade is a good idea but the city better make plans to reroute the Fiesta and Solstice parades, or make it all mobile, including all the new outdoor seating.
• • •
I am writing as a very concerned parent with regards to remote learning for kindergarten through third grades. I truly feel that the teachers my children have this year are doing a phenomenal job and continue to do so each day, given the current situation.
However, I am gravely concerned with the progress that my first- and third-grader are currently making, and I in no way fault the teachers for this progress.
The reality is that remote learning for the K-3 age group is extraordinarily unrealistic. We began this year willing to try it and kept a positive mindset with it, but our passion for this to work is quickly diminishing.
In past years, both of my children were highly engaged in their studies and excelled at learning. Since being moved to the online platform, my husband and I have been noticing and experiencing a decline and willingness for our children to complete their studies, participate in class and retain information that is being taught.
This past week, things have been taking even more of a plunge than previous weeks. I am left here feeling helpless and extremely frustrated. My husband, who is currently carrying the brunt of keeping them on track during their remote days, is feeling very concerned with their progress and frustrated as well.
What compounds this is how our children are feeling throughout this situation. They are just as frustrated and, let’s be honest, as over it as we are. I am not writing for condolences or suggestions, but to give my children a voice, our family a voice, and those who are not able to, a voice. I am hopeful that this letter is able to be publicized so that people can read about the reality of this current situation and that this system is not working.
I am hopeful that someone listens to this and more action is taken. I am hopeful that our K-3 children are able to get in-person learning (more than two days a week), and maybe even take priority in returning for more days over the older grades. I am hopeful for change and progress.
At Foothill School in the Goleta Union School District, I am thankful for all the work, time and energy that Principal Felicia Roggero, teachers and the staff have put into trying to make this remote year work. I do not want this email to come across as a criticism of their amazing time, effort and work, I am simply a very concerned and frustrated parent who is looking for a change and willing to do whatever I need to start making that happen.
• • •
In the push to return to “normalcy,” we sadly avoid learning valuable lessons that the coronavirus pandemic has revealed.
In the Oct. 7 article, “Orcutt School Board Leans Toward Students Returning to Campuses After Winter Break,” the “Home is not school” sign in the photo is a glaring reminder of one: our refusal to examine ourselves, our behavior and our unquestioned expectations, especially when these expectations fail us.
If home is not school, why do schools provide food, shelter and psychological support, the primary responsibility of home? Schools are asked to shoulder societal problems they cannot solve on their own, then are accused of resistance when they reach their limits to take on these extra burdens.
We have asked schools to take on the problems of a society that does not want to address these problems on a national scale. Until we do, we will not only continue to demand unrealistic responses from the institutions we’re unwilling to support and maintain, we will continue to exist in a state of denial and shock, denial and shock.
• • •
Parents, please know the facts. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Approximately 30 percent of boys and 20 percent of girls had experienced sexual intercourse at least once by age 14 years. Among the teens who become sexually active, 68 percent reported oral sex and 85 percent reported vaginal intercourse. Seventy-six percent reported condom use the last time they had intercourse.”
Sexual activity by junior high school-age children is not uncommon. They need information and frank discussion to protect themselves. They should also be vaccinated for HPV (Human Papillomavirus).
As a retired clinical laboratory scientist, I can testify that I have personally done prenatal screening (yes, that means already pregnant) on children as young as 12. Please support the Santa Barbara Unified School Distrcit school board and the Teen Talk curriculum.
• • •
Courage, clarity, conviction. Brilliance of public speaking. These are the reasons I, and many moderate Democrats and Republicans like myself, are voting for Elrawd MacLearn for Santa Barbara Unified School District Board of Education. He is perhaps the finest candidate for school board I have seen for 10 years or more.
Twenty years ago, I co-founded Coalition for Neighborhood Schools based on the values of parental involvement. I have found a candidate who aligns with these values.
Here are a few of the principles on which he is campaigning:
» Parents are the most important people in a child’s education
» A high school graduation requirement of a course in logic
» Literacy as a basic civil right
» Focus on improving reading, writing and math skills, which are unacceptably low
He even dares to suggest that the district reduce administration and direct some of those funds back into the classroom!
Since he announced his candidacy, MacLearn has regularly spoken out at board meetings and made blunt criticism of improper leadership and educational outcomes. Yet never an ad hominem or trace of personal vitriol. He possesses a brilliance and a clarity in public speaking — so much so that one wonders, how is it that his major at UCLA was biology, and not political philosophy and rhetoric?
Central to his persona is his extraordinary life experience. MacLearn’s family experienced the failure of public schools in his Orange County school district. Here is a young black man who, as the third of 11 siblings in a low-income family, assumed the role of a father figure when his parents divorced, and worked graveyard shifts in order to homeschool and parent his younger siblings. As I said, not your typical candidate.
Our school board is presently 5-0 of one political viewpoint, and it’s not a moderate or centrist viewpoint. MacLearn will create a counterpoint on the board. Although he has fire in his belly, he possesses a thoughtful and gentle temperament. I believe he will be a very effective board member and will be deeply respected by all other members of the board.
• • •
Once again, the majority of the Goleta Water District Board of Directors has chosen to keep customers in the dark when making decisions. All board meetings will still be by telephone only, no video.
Despite board member Bill Rosen’s request and my support, board president Lauren Hanson declined to even put the matter on a future public agenda for an open discussion. Public comments during the board meetings will have to be done by email and read into the record. I believe our customers should have their own voice and be face to face, if they choose.
The real irony here is that once the board moved into closed session, a Zoom platform with video was used! So the public meetings are without video and the private meetings are with video.
It’s time to end this nonsense and vote for Rosen, Sheldon Bosio and Phebe Mansur for the Goleta Water District Board of Directors.
Goleta Water District board member
• • •
Santa Barbara Unified School District school board candidate Elrawd MacLearn’s moral integrity is a key issue in the race. When school board members possess a moral compass, our local schools and community benefit.
Yet, those with a political agenda focus on sex immersion in the schools. Superintendent Hilda Maldonado enforces the philosophy that education is a political act. If a parent does not like the curriculum, he is expected simply to opt out his child. If most seventh-graders were to be opted out of the existing, amoral and immoral sex curriculum, the school would not meet California’s statutory mandate to teach kids how not to get pregnant, not get a sex disease, or how to maintain a healthy teen-age sex life (hopefully emphasizing abstinence).
Opting out is like not having a program at all, and would be a waste of taxpayers’s money.
The superintendent must answer to the school board. The elected school board is to reflect the morality of the community. MacLearn desires to maintain moral dignity within the curriculum of our public schools.
MacLearn also has a sound plan to raise our children’ss pass rate from its dismal 45 percent. He has a platform of clear, strong academic standards and practices for all students, especially in the essentials of reading, writing, computation, logic and reasoning. He knows that equity begins with education.
Please vote for our youth, families and community by selecting Elrawd MacLearn.
Santa Barbara County retired teacher
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There has never been a better time to support our local schools. The COVID-19 crisis has shown us how integral schools are to the health and well-being of not only our students and families, but the community as a whole. By voting to approve Measure M, those of us who live in the Goleta Union School District have the opportunity to strengthen our elementary schools by funding critical upgrades, repairs and renewable energy infrastructure like solar.
If the measure passes, much work lies ahead to plan and initiate the projects identified for each of our 10 neighborhood schools in the 2020 District Facilities Master Plan. The time to start the wheels turning on these infrastructure projects is now, especially because the work will generate local jobs. The bonds will pay to repair leaky roofs, add restrooms and upgrade those in disrepair, replace outdated technology infrastructure, and expand libraries, media centers and playgrounds.
There are strict controls built into Measure M, and funds cannot go to administrator or teacher salaries. The funds can only be used expressly for campus repairs and upgrades, and an independent oversight committee that will include community members will review expenditures. Most important, this measure will allow our district to qualify for state matching funds for facility upgrades, thus leveraging our local investment for additional resources.
As our community rebounds when the COVID-19 crisis inevitably subsides, our schools must be positioned to deliver a safe and robust learning environment. It is widely understood that good schools positively impact property values, along with preparing our students for the jobs of the future.
That’s why there is broad and diverse support for Measure M, including the Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce, the League of Women Voters, teacher organizations and PTAs, as well as the Sierra Club and many community leaders.
Supporting Measure M and investing in our neighborhood schools is key to ensuring our students have the resources they need as they embark on their futures. Please join us in voting yes.
Former Santa Barbara Unified School District trustees
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Having known Roberta “Bert” Heter for more than 25 years, I enthusiastically support her re-election as District Four trustee on the Santa Barbara County school board.
We met when she was the principal at Lompoc High School and, in a very short time, it was obvious that her priorities were family, students and community. She is highly competent, professional and effective, and always puts “what is best for kids first.”
Heter has stayed connected to education through her involvement with the Association of California School Administrators. She was selected in 2013 as the Retired Administrator of the Year for her excellent service. As Santa Barbara Foundation trustee, she served as Education Committee chairwoman, providing scholarship opportunities for students throughout Santa Barbara County.
As an individual who makes decisions and takes action that will result in positive impacts on students, teachers and families, Heter understands the complexities in our educational system and pushes forward the changes necessary so that all students can be served.
All who know her in the education, the philanthropic, and the nonprofit community arenas respect her. Please vote to re-elect Roberta “Bert” Heter.
• • •
I am voting NO on the L2020 school bond for Montecito’s Cold Spring School.
I cannot remember such a debacle for a school bond offering ever. I don’t even know where to start in trying to explain this fiasco. From not involving the community, not explaining the needs or wants, not even notifying voters that it’s on the ballot. Having some of the highest paid administration personal and twice as many as needed. The top two people are making nearly $500,000.
Yes, the district needs more money all right. Then when you Google chief business officer/legal counsel Yuri Calderon, well, that’s something you just have to see for yourself. And talk about a conflict of interest.
No, I’m pushing the pause button, let them regroup and try again later. We deserve better. Vote No L2020.
• • •
I am the father of two daughters who attended Cold Spring School from 2007 to 2015. I am a professor at Santa Barbara City College, and a local environmental consultant. This opinion is solely my own and not representative of my workplaces.
The proposed L2020 bond measure asks for $7.8 million for replacement of older buildings and renovations at Cold Spring School. However, my children experienced more than adequate facilities and resources, and received an exemplary education there.
Given the school’s high academic ratings and large resources, L2020 is hard to endorse. These children are already privileged beyond most others in Santa Barbara County. At a time of rising awareness over long-standing social inequities and significant environmental threat from global warming, it seems wrong to ask for unnecessary new buildings and renovations that would have a large carbon footprint, and create even more disparity between classes.
Instead, the school could run its own private fund-raising drive expressly to support the underprivileged neighbor school, Cleveland School, to help purchase the basics like textbooks and paper. This would be a more democratic way to lift up our community, build bridges with neighbors, reduce unneeded environmental damages, and create a more just world that all our children would benefit from.
Think of the example this would set: Privileged parents such as myself, advocating for sharing their privilege instead of competing for more. I would be the first to donate to such a cause.
• • •
Regarding Maggie Steinberger’s Oct. 9 letter to the editor in response to my Oct. 3 commentary about the STEAM program at Cold Spring School, I would like to invite her to my classroom. She was a public school teacher; I imagine she has some wisdom and insight to share with me after 32 years of service. Chances are we have worked toward the same goals for the kids in our communities.
In my commentary, I attempted to stay in my lane. My field is education, not managing school bonds. STEAM and Project Based Learning are not new, but not everyone is familiar with this model of teaching. I hope that for some, I broadened that understanding and clarified the need to build upon STEAM education in elementary schools.
It is my sincerest hope that Steinberger will take me up on my invitation. We have an opportunity to model for our kids what it looks like to have mutual respect for others. Perhaps as two educators with 50-plus years of classroom experience, two doctoral degrees and countless parent-teacher conferences between us, we can figure out how to start bridging the gap between our perspectives. With masks, of course.
Cold Spring School
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Vote no on the Cold Spring School bond. No one disagrees that improvements are needed, but a no vote provides time for informed district taxpayers who fund the school to look at what is broken, assess long-term needs, and to participate in a superior plan better than a Band-Aid plan from years ago.
The Cold Spring School governing board, some current parents and a few teachers have been scripted by administrators with false information pushing the L2020 bond measure:
No teacher or student fell through the floor; Superintendent/Principal Amy Alzina admitted a lie. Shameful.
Board member and New York newcomer Mike Marino makes four false statements in one paragraph: “Families are flocking to the district. Enrollment is up over 15 percent year over year … this has been phenomenal for home values … parents demand small class sizes …”
Surveyed parents prioritized “quality teachers,” not smaller class sizes. Too many students must be tutored. I spent more than $2,000 a month on supplemental learning for each of my two students. Don’t get me started on improvements I’d make.
Class sizes of 16-20 are ideal to third grade; larger to sixth as students are prepared for classes of 36 at Santa Barbara Junior High School with no aide. Cold Spring School runs around 14 students or fewer per class with one or more teachers plus an instructional aide.
Enrollment has declined, not increased. It was at 240 and now is 177. Since 2014, certified enrollment has decreased every year but one:
2015 – 162
2016 – 154
2017 – 175
2018 – 173
2019 – 168
Buyers are not flocking to the area except to escape civil unrest in Los Angeles. Values of some homes have dropped, some increased with post-wildfire rebuilds.
No amount of money is enough at Cold Spring! It receives more than double other elementary schools: $4.4 million for 177 students, about $26,500 per student versus $12,000 elsewhere. (Except $34,000 at Montecito Union School, which just announced another tax-paid grant of $300,000.)
Worse, Alzina sent out a communication this week asking for an additional $1,200 per student! She has increased hirings and exploded compensation packages, especially to her obedient staff while she neglects campus maintenance.
STEAM part-time teacher and pro-bond advocate Jean Gradias is an example: Transparent California lists her salary at more than $138,000 while working 12-hour weeks, 25 weeks a year. In bond-related documents. her husband is listed as architect with no RFP. As a district employee, Gradias is not to advocate or intimidate families, but did in an Oct. 3 Noozhawk commentary. Desperate.
There are problems at Cold Spring School far beyond the bond text. Time out! Vote No. Let’s together fix Cold Spring School!
Denice Spangler Adams
• • •
While I generally support funding for education, I find myself agreeing with the arguments for voting NO on the Cold Spring School District bond L2020. I am not a resident in the district, but know families that attend the school and I have spent time on the beautiful campus on the weekends.
The claims that the buildings are old and decrepit seem exaggerated, at least by someone like me who had kids in local public schools with portables and run-down facilities. Before you complain about how bad it is and how much your No. 1 school needs $7.8 million, maybe the district families should tour Cleveland, Franklin, Adams and Monroe schools in Santa Barbara, and see how the other 95 percent live.
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