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H-2A housing should use different location

I am writing to express my concerns regarding the proposed conversion of a local motel property to provide long-term housing for H-2A farmworkers. The property in question is located on the corner of South Nicholson and East Cypress, adjacent to IHOP. I believe that this will prove to be less than optimal for both the neighborhood and the workers housed there.

First, this change alters the approved use from less than 30-day stays to long-term use, essentially an apartment conversion, and second, it is located in an area needed for future expansion of Marian Regional Medical Center, Mission Hope Cancer Center, and other associated health service providers. The proposed conversion seems incompatible, and perhaps even in conflict with the nature of the surrounding neighborhoods.

A far better location for these workers would be in a property located along the Broadway corridor nearer to businesses which cater to the farmworker community.

I realize that H-2A workers are a very important component of our vital agricultural industry, but their employer-provided housing should be in more appropriate location which best meets the needs of both themselves and the surrounding neighborhood. This H-2A agriculture labor housing project, I believe, does not meet that standard.

Franziska Shepard

Santa Maria

Newsom is shirking his duty

Gov. Newsom knew what his duties would be when he ran for the office of governor. If he felt he could not carry out those duties, he should not have run for the office. Instead, he has taken the typical cowardly political approach of deciding which laws he likes and which ones he doesn’t like. He doesn’t think the death penalty is appropriate, so he has decided to shirk his duty and simply do what he wants.

Disgraceful and shameful. Recall the “lawless” governor.

Jim Vint

Santa Maria

Give motorsports park a spot

In love, someone donated land expressly as a Lompoc motorsports park. City of Lompoc changed it to a regular park -- deservedly after fear of liability. The state later resolved liability, but the park was already converted. Now the land is not used as given.

So, shouldn't the city make the motorsports people whole, if keeping the converted park? The airport does not work. But, do you believe in "karma"? Do you believe that what goes around comes around? Do you believe in being fair? Please give the motorsports people a desired place -- if you do. I see unfairness.

Don Thomassen,

Vandenberg Village

Consider information in ERG decision

Thank you, Mike Hodgson, for covering the Planning Commission hearing of the proposed ERG project in the Santa Maria Valley, an important story. The issue at hand needs to be brought to the attention of every resident in the county.

During that hearing, I submitted public comment on ERG’s finances and the fact that that company owes millions of dollars in back taxes, which the CEO of ERG categorized as misinformation. I was specifically referring to information found in the legal services section of the county budget. Page D-53 of the 2017-18 recommended budget describes a one-time 1 percent property tax of about $14.2 million. The 2018-19 recommended budget describes the necessity of litigation in order to recover funds: “For the disputed years 2015‐2017, ERG’s total valuation dispute with the County Assessor is about $826 million, for a potential one‐time about 1% property tax alone of about $8.3 million.” (p. D-57).

It would seem that county attorneys are having a hard time recovering even 1 percent of the originally assessed $826 million for that disputed period. This fact should not be ignored in considering ERG’s proposal.

Loren Mindell

Isla Vista

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