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Legal workers are in demand

If the H-2A agriculture workers’ visa program was cleaned up so farmers wouldn’t have a good excuse not to use it, we would have legal, screened, temporary farm workers.

Then E-Verify could be utilized to prohibit illegal immigrants from working here, thus solving the problem. Congressman Salud Carbajal would then not have any valid reason for his present opposition to E-Verify.

I urge readers to call one of his three offices and urge him to consider this solution, or send hm a copy of this letter to see his answer.

Richard Dydell

Santa Maria

Mental health care needed for war wounded

The Veteran's Administration's mission has grown beyond providing good medical and psychiatric care to military veterans. It is a home loan mortgage broker. It is a GI bill student finance agency. It provides cemeteries for veterans and spouses, and financial support for widows and children.

TRICARE is starting to work for most, but not all. Once again this country is boasting that we have the best veterans' benefits - because most modern societies have universal health care, which includes veterans. So they do not need an antiquated, half-baked 'veterans' medical program.' We need military medical, we do not need 15 other medical programs, none of them excellent and at best just pretty good.

Count the medical programs in just our area: HMOs, PPOs, concierge, county, state, TRICARE, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. This is why we are the most expensive medical system in the world (out of our pockets) and the 17th least effective in patients' outcomes. You want good medical care, better learn French.

The Department of Veterans Affairs should provide specific treatment for physical and emotional military wounds. The government can manage a cemetery, fund college education, help low income spouses within other, existing bureaucracies. We desperately need mental health care in our area that accepts the health insurance plans we have available, especially for the war wounded.

Pat Lala

Santa Maria

If you have time, a foster child needs you

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I have been a volunteer CASA advocate for foster children in Santa Barbara County since 2010. For people who want to make a big difference in the life of a foster child, but lack the time to become a foster parent, there is an option of becoming a Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA).

CASA volunteers are everyday people who do extraordinary work choosing to speak up for a child in the foster care system. They are specially trained and appointed by the juvenile court judge to speak up for one child or a sibling group, making certain that the child is physically safe, receiving appropriate support services, and ensuring that the child's voice is heard.

These children need someone who will stay by their side and speak up for their best interests during this difficult time in their life. By acting as the eyes and ears for the juvenile court and providing key insight on the unique needs of the child they serve, CASA advocates are actively part of the solution.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention month, and we need people like you to step up and volunteer because in Santa Barbara County there are still about 30 foster children who do not have a CASA advocate to help. View our CASA web page at or phone Crystal Sullins at 739-9102 ext. 2594. The next advocate training classes begin April 30.

Frank Ritenour

Santa Maria