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Letters to the Editor: Save us from the misery; Clarifying role of county school boards; Urging vote for Roberta Heter; City's pumpkin patch sign questioned; Opposing lack of superintendent evaluation; No on Prop. 15, no on Addis

Letters to the Editor: Save us from the misery; Clarifying role of county school boards; Urging vote for Roberta Heter; City's pumpkin patch sign questioned; Opposing lack of superintendent evaluation; No on Prop. 15, no on Addis

From the Election 2020: Profiles, stories from Lompoc City Council and Mayoral races series
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Save us from the misery

If any of you remember your history class in school, this is a direct quote from Winston Churchill.

"Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy. It's inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery."

This is exactly what is happening all across the USA today. Wake up America! There is still a little time (but very little time) to save us from the misery.

Sharon Youngstrom

Santa Maria

Clarifying role of county school boards

You recently published an op-ed from Bill Cirone, the retired Superintendent of the Santa Barbara County Office of Education, supporting the re-election of incumbent trustees Dr. Peter MacDougall, Joe Howell, Roberta Heter, and Dr. Richard Fulton. You also published a conflicting op-ed from Michelle de Werd, and Lou Segal, candidates for two of those positions. De Werd and Segal criticize education throughout the county laying the blame at the doorstep of the County Education office and the incumbents. My letter here is to clarify what appears to be a lack of understanding regarding the role of county school boards.

Having been in public education for 60 years as teacher, school principal, district superintendent, professor and chair of the Leadership Department at a major California university, I wanted to provide that understanding of the role of county school boards and their offices throughout the state and, more specifically, the Santa Barbara County Office of Education.

They are service-oriented and provide valuable resources to all their respective local school districts. These services include administrative services, fiscal services, special education services, counseling and guidance, health, technology, and transitional youth services, to name a few.

In the area of academics, they hold annual events, such as the Mathematics Superbowl, The Author-Go-Round, the Science Fair, and The Spelling Bee, and many other academic events throughout the year. County Offices of Education are a vital extension to all public school districts within their respective counties, especially those smaller school districts (called direct service districts) that don’t have the numbers of students, faculty, staff, and budget to provide many of these services.

In my service as superintendent of two small school districts in Santa Barbara County for 22 years, I feel I can speak on behalf our school districts’ communities when I say that the support provided by the Santa Barbara County Schools Office has been greatly appreciated and has represented a valuable extension to our school programs.

Concern about a perceived decline in student performance experienced by students in schools and school districts in Santa Barbara County by any member of the public is a matter to be directed toward, and addressed by, local school officials, their school districts, and their respective governing boards.

Bronte Reynolds


City's pumpkin patch sign questioned

Why is it that the city of Santa Maria gets to have a digital sign on Clark Avenue advertising their pumpkin patch, which is a clear violation of their sign ordinance for all other businesses within the city limits. The city must believe that, like Nancy Pelosi, do what I say, don’t do what I do. Please follow the guidelines that you’ve enforced for signs within the city limits ... why would you think that you can do what you want in the county just to make money off the sale of pumpkins.

Ray Smith

Santa Maria

Urging vote for Roberta Heter

I urge you to vote for Roberta Heter in the Santa Barbara County board of education District 4 race. Roberta started as a substitute teacher. She was a special education teacher before she transitioned into administration as a dean.

Her last position prior to retirement was Principal at Lompoc High. After retirement Roberta stayed involved with education through committee involvement. There was a midterm opening on the Santa Barbara County board of education which she was chosen to fill until the next election. She felt this was something she needed to continue working on, so next election she took out papers to run for the remainder of the term (2 years) she had been appointed to.

She worked on several additional community committees during this term. Elections rolled around and she again took her papers out to run for this rewarding position. For the second time she ran unopposed. This brings us to the current election.

Let’s put Roberta back assisting our county to continue improving our public education system for all our children!

Kathy Fringer


Opposing lack of superintendent evaluation

We are not voting for Dr. Bill Heath for Lompoc school board. We are making this judgement based on his incumbency on the board.

W are retired Lompoc career teachers, both 30 plus years in the classroom and 50-year residents of Lompoc.

The school board has been negligent in their responsibility by not completing an evaluation of the Superintendent in many years, which is a violation of their own policy.

“The Governing Board shall annually conduct a formal evaluation of the Superintendent’s performance in order to assess his/her effectiveness in leading the district toward established goals.

“After each evaluation has been completed, the Board shall meet in open session to give the Board and Superintendent an opportunity to jointly identify performance goals for the next year.”

How can the LUSD board, including Dr. Heath, neglect this requirement for the Superintendent? Dr. Heath shirked his responsibility by not insisting this evaluation process be addressed. Best practices for an evaluation should include, along with board member judgments, perceptions from teachers, parents and community members.

Clearly, public schools nationwide are facing difficult challenges as we battle through and emerge from this pandemic. It seems self-evident that we need fresh eyes and flexible minds as we struggle with an entirely new educational landscape. Now is not the time to reelect an unmindful incumbent.

Patrick and Wynn Clevenger



No on Prop. 15, no on Addis

A lot of our favorite restaurants have not survived the past seven months of pandemic and economic shutdown. Our favorite fabric store in SLO didn’t survive. Bars still can’t open. Wineries are having trouble getting folks in the door and can’t do indoor tastings.

Our small businesses – and the employees that rely on them – are in trouble. And they cannot afford the $11.5 billion property tax increase within Prop 15.

Dawn Addis – a liberal progressive who has continuously voted to increase taxes as a councilmember in Morro Bay and supports the Prop 15 property tax increase – would also be terrible for these small businesses.

If you’re a no on Prop 15, you must be a no on Assembly candidate Dawn Addis.

Jake Peterson

Arroyo Grande


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