Did You Know? Bonnie Donovan
Did you know the lockdown restrictions are being applied differently?
While we applaud the logic of our local CDC (Santa Barbara County officials) to discourage tourism on our beaches over the Labor Day weekend, we did experience record heat waves during this time. Because the parking lots were closed, those people who did gather on the beaches, turned out to be local families, so mission accomplished — keeping local exposure to a minimum.
However, look at State Street, during the same weekend where lots of out-of-towners were crowding into our open-air restaurants. In fact, one tourist remarked that Santa Barbara is “way more chill than Malibu.” However, why aren’t these same restrictions being applied to how many people are milling up and down State Street?
Perhaps, focused on averting the crisis of Labor Day, they lost the big picture of what is already here in our own backyard.
During this continued COVID-19 crisis, Santa Barbara schools have been ordered to follow the pandemic mandates by the CDC and Gov. Gavin Newsom, which are basically that the campuses are closed and learning continues remotely online.
Except that Santa Barbara City College is still open for the football players, many of whom are not from the area or even California. Normally the players are here for a modified school year — that is one semester, to play ball. These players often leave in December after the football scouts have come and had a look. Then the players claim Santa Barbara is too expensive and that they must leave; however, the parents escorted their athlete to SBCC and even fly out for the games.
During the football player’s orientation, the athlete signs up for a Pell Grant and other government services. How is this too expensive? The athletes were subsidized for the whole ride but leave halfway through the school year.
SBCC currently has recorded three new cases of COVID-19, courtesy of these out-of-town football players who, along with Isla Vista, contribute to the reason many community services remain closed.
Obviously, we will not be freed from these restrictions until Santa Barbara County has been removed from the new color-coding system. While we have achieved the numbers that have placed us in the highest tier, we are still restricted from reopening because of an extraordinarily complex (can we say arbitrary?) system of logic. So basically, we remain under the governor’s order until a vaccine appears. Nov. 4? Or when he says so?
Again, we are happy to see that the boys’ and girls’ clubs are open. However, why is it that the schools are not allowed to open? The people in charge are making these decisions that affect everyone, especially our children. However, educators don’t seem to be taking everyone and the ramifications of their decisions into account nor are these people in charge always subject to the rules they make.
For instance, Harding is one of three elementary schools being used for childcare services and academic support for Santa Barbara Unified School District employees. Naturally, educators need childcare. As do all working parents. Educators are being provided with two programs available for district staff: transitional kindergarten through eighth grade, with 170 students enrolled in academic support centers, and the infant child care center with eight infants and toddlers. The infant child care center assists staff as well as “teen parents” who need child care to successfully engage in socially distance learning. No problem with any of that.
Again, what about child care provided for other working parents besides educators?
This self-serving decision making is happening in our own backyard, serving as a microcosm for what government employees do for themselves and not for the rest of us. If it is good enough for them, it’s good enough for us. After all, the taxpayers do foot the bill.
School district employees have their child care services and academic support at school, yet churches remain restricted in their reopening. Why can’t we have indoor worship? Same rules would apply: mask, social distancing, disinfecting and complete wipe down. Again, why can’t churches open?
And a Santa Ynez gym recently was ordered closed, fined and summoned back to court; meanwhile, the government gyms can be open for the “essential” workers. Isn’t everyone’s health essential?
We have lived in lockdown since mid-March. We followed the mandates for the Fourth of July and Memorial Day weekends, the same for Solstice and Fiesta Parades. Basically, no celebrations were allowed as group gatherings were verboten. The Santa Barbara Bowl is closed as are theaters (except for drive-ins), so there are no indoor movies, plays, symphonies, opera, ballet, basically no performing arts whatsoever. Since March!
What do we have to look forward to? No Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and no Rose Parade, etc. Are we being protected from COVID, or is this a design to alter the fundamental manner in which our culture manifests?
Remember last February when it was still, as from the Gettysburg Address, “of the people, by the people, and for the people”? In other words, our freedoms are now going out the window. We are systematically acquiescing to a government that is too big and too overreaching. And that is where these government officials should go – out the window.
The French called it defenestration. The way we do it in our country, is to vote them out of office.
Civics 101: Governors rule the states, mayors rule the cities, boards of supervisors rule the counties, boards of education rule the schools, etc. Please pay attention to the people you are electing into office. The stakes are remarkably high.
Maya Angelou wisely stated that, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time …” With 51 days until the election, we still have a chance to scrutinize and choose carefully.
Bonnie Donovan writes the “Did You Know?” column in conjunction with a bipartisan group of local citizens. It appears Sundays in the Voices section.