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Letters to the Editor

The Orcutt Pioneer welcomes readers' letters that are timely, well-written, provocative opinions on topics of interest. All letters are subject to editing and should be 300 words or less.  We reserve the right to decide when and if a letter is published and to edit for clarity and space.  To submit your letter, email 


Key Site 11 Needs Protection from Development
In 1969, my class from Santa Barbara Christian School walked the beach after the Santa Barbara oil spill. I was 6 or 7S. I remember seeing all the tar and the large oil-stained dead fish and tried to pry an eye out of one of them because I thought it would be cool to have. That was the start of the modern Environmental Movement. 
17 years ago, two teen girls saw a 21 acre Orcutt open space that needed protection and gathered 1300 signatures to stop a mixed use development. With letters of support from the Sierra Club, Supervisor Das Williams, the Environmental Defense Center, etc., the Tree Amigos, as they were called, was born. The girls saved an open space that thousands of commuters have enjoyed on their way to work to Lompoc and Vandenberg. This open space sits on the corner of Clark Ave and Orcutt Rd, seven miles south of Santa Maria.
The Tree Amigos proved that North County teenagers are not powerless, do have a voice, and can work with government to protect environmentally sensitive areas. The Tree Amigos were able to get Fish and Game to pause the development resulting in almost two decades of visual relief for weary, hard-working commuters. With stunning views, abundant wildlife, incredible scenery, Key Site 11 is a peek into the past of what Orcutt used to look like. That undeveloped, western, oil “boom town.”
Because Santa Barbara County Supervisors are poised to pass an affordable housing plan based on 100% build out of all open spaces in Orcutt, Key Site 11 is slated by developers to become 150+ apartments and ball fields. No longer a wildlife corridor, but a gleaming mixed use development full of old fashioned themed retail and grocery stores ironically with the theme of “Boom Town.” Birds of prey, will soon be replaced by the cheers of parents in baseball stands. Coyotes will be replaced with gas powered mowers, delivery trucks and shopping carts.
I guess you can’t blame the owners of the carwash next door for building this project. Everybody’s entitled to get the biggest return on investment, aren’t they? But, wouldn’t it be nice, for once, if we all stepped back and told developers and the County of Santa Barbara: you got 99% of what you wanted in Orcutt open space. Why don’t you just save us one little piece of the past.
Ryan Schwab 
Father of The Tree Amigos

Need More Activity Centers
I totally agree with Paige Grenke. The City of Santa Maria/Orcutt needs to put a giant indoor water park, Dave and Busters, and more active centers for all ages. Not another chicken place. If we don't give kids or mainly teenagers something to do, the crime rate will start going up because they have nothing to do. We all need to think about the kids/teenagers. Putting up apartments, buildings and hotels is good, but we need to balance these thoughts out. 
Melissa Funes
Santa Maria/Orcutt Resident 

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