Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Failed Its Citizens

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By Gustavo Ingles, Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara County failed its citizens by being secretive and opaque during the COVID-19 crisis.

From the moment the coronavirus was on our shores, Santa Barbara County did their best to silence community concerns, keep information hard to find, and refused to be proactive to stop the spread of this deadly virus.

When Californians watched with anxiety as a cruise ship loaded with COVID-19 patients made its way to the San Francisco Bay Area, another cruise ship anchored in the Santa Barbara Harbor. When county officials were asked if other cruise liners would be allowed to anchor off our shores, Santa Barbara County said they “didn’t know,” as reported by Channel 3.

As Monterey County was proactive to kick the cruise ships out, Santa Barbara County sat on their thumbs not knowing what to do. It took a letter from the City of Santa Barbara’s mayor asking cruise ships to cancel their planned visits before anything was done. In fact, Santa Barbara Public Health said there was “no reason to be alarmed” about upcoming visits from cruise ships. Even as the cruise ship at the center of the outbreak - the Grand Princess - was slated to disembark on our shores in April. (Again as reported by channel 3). The County prioritized cruise ship profits over the community wellbeing.

When Point Mugu was used as a quarantine destination for recent travelers to Wuhan and Hubei provinces, Ventura County provided continuous updates about each person’s medical status. The virus was in our backyard and Ventura County kept a watchful eye on its spread. In San Luis Obispo County, Camp Roberts was floated as another location for COVID-19 patients. SLO County officials warned the public ahead of time and pushed back.

As rumors swirled that Vandenberg was under consideration as a quarantine site, Santa Barbara County officials again “didn’t know” if that was accurate. Again the county was bailed out by another agency's transparency as VAFB issued a press release dispelling those rumors. 

On Feb. 28, public health officer Dr. Henning Ansorg told Noozhawk that they were prepared for a possible outbreak but were hopeful there would be no cases in our area. He even described the chance of contracting the virus as “extremely low.” "It’s just like nonexistent basically,” Ansorg told Noozhawk.

Ventura County’s public health officer, Dr. Robert Levin told the VCStar that it was inevitable that locals would eventually contract the coronavirus - and he was right. He did, however, downplay the fatality rate of the disease like most other health officials in the country. 

I will credit Ansorg for hammering home the critical importance of washing your hards. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough. And as the outbreak continued to inch closer and closer to Santa Barbara County, Ansorg was absent from many county public health briefings - instead opting to call in to the meetings from elsewhere. Where previous health officer Charity Dean was the face of County Public Health Department, Dr. Ansorg was the voice - nowhere to be seen. He has since remedied that in the county’s semi-regular news briefings (more on that later).

Ventura County issued a stay-at-home order for its residents 70 and older as Santa Barbara County suggested large events be canceled. It also ordered bars and venues to close and restaurants to shift to carry-out and delivery only. Days later, San Luis Obispo County did one better, a mandatory shelter at home order for ALL residents, the same orders issued by Gov. Newsom. 

Santa Barbara County, to its credit, saw their neighbors enacting restrictions and decided to announce their own shelter at home order. Residents 75 and older were encouraged to shelter at home. It was a similar, yet less restrictive order than the one issued by Ventura County, THREE DAYS earlier. And rather than announce this order in a publicly televised event for the thousands of residents who have come to depend on our local news stations and online publications, they announced the order in a teleconference. Half a million people were informed that their lives would be changing drastically… in a phone call. A phone call where most local media couldn’t attend and most of the populace couldn’t tune in.

Luckily, the county was bailed out once again by a much more competent administration. 

Gov. Newsom announced a statewide shelter at home order to ALL citizens, not just those who are most vulnerable. The state saw the risk of young people spreading the disease. He took the necessary steps to flatten the curve, and even with his interventions, thousands of Californians are still likely to lose their lives. Including some in Santa Barbara County.

Santa Barbara County was sure to let the public know they were “going to” announce a countywide stay at home order, but the Governor beat them to the punch. A round of applause for Santa Barbara County for almost doing the right thing in a timely manner.

Now, after Santa Barbara County’s cases begin to dwarf that of San Luis Obispo County and encroach on the number of its southern neighbor, Santa Barbara County officials are finally starting to get the memo.

The County is holding semi-regular news briefings featuring Supervisor Gregg Hart, Dr. Ansorg and County Public Health Director Van do-Reynoso (on occasion). But, even when they make the right decision, they deviate for the sake of being different. Ventura County and San Luis Obispo County are holding new press conferences every weekday and some weekends. Santa Barbara County has no clear defined schedule. A friend who works for one of the newspapers tells me that the County wouldn’t even disclose to the media where the press briefings would be held until minutes before the first briefing was held.

It’s already obvious to me that the county was unprepared. They didn’t take it seriously and they thought they could solve the issue without hurting the local economy. They were wrong. So now the question is this: why isn’t the County at the very least being transparent? Is County Public Health in over its head? Did Dr. Ansorg and Dr. do-Reynoso bungle their preparedness plan and are now covering their tracks? Is County public information director Gina DePinto trying to save face for her lack of transparency and her inability to understand how county residents ingest information? Or were the County supervisors more concerned about keeping their seats on the board, placing their focus on fighting for re-election rather than taking care of their constituents (speaking of which, where have Das Williams and Joan Hartmann been?).

And why is Cottage putting out their own numbers that differ from the official county tallies? Is Santa Barbara County trying to hide what is a much more grim outlook?

The fact of the matter is this: national health experts knew we were in trouble. State health experts knew we were in trouble. San Luis Obispo and Ventura Counties knew we were in trouble. Santa Barbara County hoped that ignoring the problem would make it go away. Now we are all paying for their incompetence. 

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Marathoner Apr 07, 2020 10:21 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Failed Its Citizens

The fish rots from the head. Fails at Federal level include: US dumping PPE in huge sale to China, US ignoring prospect of pandemic, POTUS assertion it was only 15 and would be zero patients, POTUS delay intending to let cruise ship passengers twist in the wind due to "the numbers", US failure to have testing kits - still not fixed - US failure to have substantial stockpile of cheap PPE despite huge buildup in billion-dollar war gadgets, US failure to appoint a qualified centralized command, delayed and insufficient use of DPA, cronyism/political favoritism implied intent to withold Federal stockpile from Michigan and Washington,unqualified reality show star and real estate director peddling sketchy snake oil over objection of NIAID director, failure to use Federal muscle when idiot Lousianna megahurch pastor continues to flaut shut down and Texas permits churches to engage in weekly coronavirus parties...this is just the tip of the iceberg.

GrammaSB Apr 07, 2020 05:24 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Failed Its Citizens

Sad to say Santa Barbara City and County Leadership is failing us miserably. Low numbers at the present time don't indicate there won't be a sudden surge Cottage Health System can only do so much and staff do get tired and are susceptible to getting ill as well. The stay at home order or request however you want to interpret it and social distancing is not taken seriously that is a set up for a surge and hopefully it won't e anyone any of us knows or are related to. If non essential workers stay home and non essential activities are refrained from temporarily it takes that much more strain off of our health care system in the avoidance of car accidents etc also of course first and foremost unnecessary exposure to a potential Corona Virus Positive person that shows no symptoms which if you are exposed then you can spread to someone in your household. etc etc etc @ this point listening to the Mayor of LA Eric Garcetti is a great resource if you value your life and your loved ones.

Tedi Apr 07, 2020 01:28 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Failed Its Citizens

Thank you to everyone doing the right thing. I still want to know why the medical workers had so few masks. Did they pass them out to friends and family during the fires or what? If not, why weren't there any in stock? Aren't they supposed to be prepared? We need to know when/if this crisis is over.

Get over it Apr 08, 2020 06:44 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Failed Its Citizens

@pit Maybe because China lied to us about the extent of the virus and we are a nation who are obliged to help others in need. If we had known, it may have worked out differently.

PitMix Apr 08, 2020 04:12 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Failed Its Citizens

As Marathoner stated above, millions of masks were sold to China in recent months because no one here had the foresight to reserve them in case they were needed here. Good profit for the industry though.

Ahchooo Apr 07, 2020 02:20 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Failed Its Citizens

My understanding is that with a highly infectious disease the health care workers must use vastly more masks, etc. than usual. They aren’t wasting them or selling them, they are using and disposing of them, putting on clean ones, and doing that over and over way more often than usual. Not just twice as much, but ten to a hundred times more, because this virus is new and there are no treatments. They have to be scrupulous in their sanitation. The PPE is meant to be disposable, not reusable, so it gets used up.

GuestComments Apr 07, 2020 11:28 AM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Failed Its Citizens

It's frustrating to see people asking why accurate testing is needed, or glibly saying "just assume everyone has it." Scientists need accuracy and widespread testing to track what the virus is doing, how it's being transmitted, how long it's lasting in people, how long incubation is, and how long people are contagious before, during, and after symptoms. They would know whether someone who has had it can get it again (as was reported as a possibility a few weeks back in China and Italy). Dr. Ansorg says it isn't airborne, but medical professionals worldwide are in disagreement about whether it is or isn't. Widespread testing could help scientists and epidemiologists figure that out definitively. There are so many questions and unknowns about COVID-19 that could be solved with widespread testing.

Another reason for widespread testing: we'd know which among us, even those who are asymptomatic, have already had it and had gotten over it. If it acts like other viruses, that would make those people immune for at least a few months. A large portion of the population may have already been exposed, developed antibodies, and aren't susceptible to either getting it or transmitting it now. They could potentially all go back to work, re-open their businesses, volunteer safely without fear of getting other sick, etc.

Since widespread testing wasn't already done, I hope that not only will more tests be available for those who have the active virus, but also that widespread community testing will be available to test for the antibodies so people can find out if they've already had it. If someone has already had it and has the antibodies to protect themselves and prevent them from transmitting it to others, they could be key in restarting the economy as "cleared" for work and for returning to life as normal. The number of those who have had it already is vastly greater than the numbers we're seeing in the daily reports. If everyone could get the test to see if they have antibodies in their system, we'd have a better sense of how much of community is "safe" to return to life outside of the shelter in place order, and on the flip side, who among us may need to stay protected because they don't yet have antibodies, and for some who've been really sick this year, that would mean finding out that what they thought was COVID wasn't.

Eggs Ackley Apr 07, 2020 02:50 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Failed Its Citizens

NOOOO!. That’s incorrect! Here’s a direct quote: Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Monday evening that any Los Angeles County resident who has symptoms and wants to be tested for the coronavirus can now apply online.
Let’s not play telephone. This is too serious

2contango Apr 07, 2020 12:33 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Failed Its Citizens

A headline from today's LA Times: "All L.A. County residents can now get coronavirus tests". They've expanded testing to all residents who have symptoms and apply to be tested. "Thanks to expanded testing capacity through city and county partnerships, there are no longer limits to who can be tested at the sites across the county." At yesterday's briefing in SLO county, Dr. Penny Borenstein noted that all symptomatic individuals "should be able to present to their healthcare provider or an urgent care setting and actually get tested. If they are unable, we still at public health very much want to hear from people if they are running into challenges getting tested, if they have symptoms." She then repeated their phone number twice. Does anyone know the status of testing in SB County?

Hokey-Pokey Apr 07, 2020 09:59 AM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Failed Its Citizens

Why aren't we testing more, why don't we have more tests, and why are providers allowed to send tests out to other labs and not required to report the results to the public health department #during a pandemic??

SBCPH can't get the job done

Soon they have said they will stop reporting numbers of pending cases. Why? So we can't see how few are tested? So we can't see the backlog?

This dept needs a serious overhaul.

SantaBarbaraObserver Apr 07, 2020 09:07 AM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Failed Its Citizens

There is and will be a serious amount of hate and furor towards our elected officials in the coming months and years. Many of these feelings are well founded. Some are not. One thing to remember is that we have people in charge of bureaucracies that have never managed anything other than a bureaucracy. Bureaucrats by their very nature are not good at managing change or adapting to a changing market or world. To think that these academic focused bureaucrats would be able to or willing to take charge in a crisis is misguided. These people are not leaders, they are not heros, they are bureaucrats. They follow, they do not lead. Bureaucrats do not take responsibility, they are not held accountable and they are not capable of rising to the need under such conditions. ---||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| -- In other words: You are expecting something from these people that they are incapable of providing. As long as you remember that, you'll be less disappointed in the inaction and incompetence of our civic employees. Remember that great people ( what Steve Jobs called A players) do not work in bureaucracies because great people only want to work with other great people.

a-1586320343 Apr 07, 2020 09:32 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Failed Its Citizens

Every department in every government is run by managers, perhaps you say "bureaucrats" who plan, budget, direct and hire the firefighters, police, and every other worker in every government. The Fire Chief, Police Chief, Sanitation Dept. Director, all are managers who lead and direct. Without them there is no services. And there is mostly very good leadership here in our government. The mud flow was predicted by aFlood Control Director but he could not get the Board of Supervisors at the time to put in a large drainage basin, mostly because the local citizens complained about have the basin put in. In Carpinteria the people supported the improvements and the basins were put in. It is not all so simple, black and white. If you showed up in public meetings and participated you would find out that most public officials and their staff are hard working and very competent. There are duds in every profession, like the oil company folks that happened to leave their messes all over the county for the taxpayers to clean up.

SantaBarbaraObserver Apr 07, 2020 10:16 AM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Failed Its Citizens

You are citing the actions of highly trained professionals, not bureaucrats. Fire fighters are not bureaucrats. Police officers are not bureaucrats. EMT's and ambulance drivers are not bureaucrats. Engineers and scientists are not bureaucrats. They are highly skilled people who are educated and well trained for their specific duties. We have these people in place, (many sitting idol 95% of their time) for this very reason. ----- |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| ----- Remember, the people who died in the debris flow died due the gross negligence of the political leaders and their inept, incompetent lackeys. If they had trained professionals at the helm, strong capable leaders and not elected politicians or appointed political hacks, something as stupid as using a bisecting road to delineate the inevitable gravitational flow of water, would have NEVER happened. Dont conflate the actions of professionals who train for these disasters with that of the idiot nincompoops who sit on their butts all day pushing paper and acting important. Bureaucrats by their very nature exist to protect their fiefdom. They are, as is the case in every insular community - a race to the lowest common denominator. Smart, competent and capable people DO NOT WANT to work with incompetent morons and our government is full of the later.

a-1586276749 Apr 07, 2020 09:25 AM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Failed Its Citizens

Do not agree with you whatsoever. Truly great leadership is possible in government and the "bureaucracies" you put down. When a giant firestorm threatened the Central Coast, it took guts and great leadership to marshal and army of firefighters. The flood in Montecito was predicted for years by a heroic Flood Control Director but ignored by a handful of politicians. If you want to blame someone, blame us, the public for voting for politicians who are bought and paid for by special interests and worse. The folks that keep the lights running, the schools operating, the sewers running when you flush, the water coming to your sink, the streets safe, and fires mitigated attacked are our true heroes, run by bureaucrats all.

uponthehill Apr 07, 2020 08:50 AM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Failed Its Citizens

My question is this-----
Keyt keeps showing the plans Ventura and San Luis are making for the peak when hospitals are overrun.
I have heard nothing about what Santa Barbara's plans are.
The other counties are finding shelters for the homeless, but I have heard nothing about what is being done here.
If the county isn't doing anything, then why is the City not stepping up?

Kruppe Apr 07, 2020 11:24 AM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Failed Its Citizens

SLO has competent medical doctors, i.e. practicing physicians who are also pulling a double shift advising and planning for the worst. How else do you think some Calpoly facilities have been (are being) converted to overflow COVID hospital wards? Pray tell me, what have SB PHD done?? During the Thomas fire, the UCSB recreation center was a designated emergency shelter. Where are the plans to use UCSB facilities for emergency COVID care?

mast8 Apr 07, 2020 08:37 AM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Failed Its Citizens

We've been relatively fortunate so far compared to many other parts of the country and world. Glad you found something to do while isolating indoors, though

Jerry Roberts Apr 07, 2020 08:21 AM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Failed Its Citizens

Here is a link to Dr. Fitzgibbons' first presentation, first posted on Newsmakers on March 14.https://www.newsmakerswithjr.com/post/must-watch-cottage-infectious-disease-specialist-breaks-down-the-covid-19-virus-and-pandemic

sbdude Apr 07, 2020 12:24 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Failed Its Citizens

The angry people here who delight in blaming bureaucrats or whoever don't often sit through hour long, information-packed presentations like this one, especially if the data and information doesn't support their preconceived (and often politically motivated) biases. It's much more fun to just shoot from the hip, accuracy be damned.

SBREADER Apr 07, 2020 08:13 AM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Failed Its Citizens

Whomever this guy is who I have never heard of before, I believe all our Local Agencies have been doing their best and this kind of Commentary at this point is uninformed and ridiculous. Go back where you came from or go volunteer some time to something productive. This was a waste of everyones' time!

Shasta Guy Apr 07, 2020 07:51 AM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Failed Its Citizens

This disease moved much faster than the fastest speed than any bureaucracy is capable of. In hindsight, every decision is clearly seen as too late, too weak, not far reaching enough. Even those with access to the most relevant information could not react fast enough. When presented with the right preventive measures, even we/you/me/neighbors/etc could not change our social behaviors fast enough. We still have a lot of fight ahead of us to keep this from overwhelming the medical resources in our community. Looking back to blame ( which I am certainly guilty of) has no benefit. Shop for your vulnerable neighbors, maintain proper social distancing, spend money at local businesses if able.

a-1586277044 Apr 07, 2020 09:30 AM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Failed Its Citizens

The virus was predictable. It had been in China and South Korea for months, and by the time it really hit the U.S. their efforts had stemmed the tide and "curve". Look at the statistics, they are way below the U.S. , and China has three times the population. The World Health Organization in February warned the United States to prepare the health care systems and mitigate the disease with testing. The U.S. government ignored the warnings, leaving it to governors in the States to take brave steps to close everything down, as there was nothing else they could do -- no testing, no federal support or guidance and no money.

a-1586271030 Apr 07, 2020 07:50 AM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Failed Its Citizens

So, let's just say that YOU have accurate numbers...spot on solid numbers. What are you going to do then? Socially distance yourself? Stay at home? What are you going to do differently now that you have exact numbers? For me, if up-to-date numbers were available, I'd be doing the same thing as I'm doing now, except I probably would have bought another 1.75 liter bottle of Evan Williams when it was on sale at CVS.

goletaspring Apr 07, 2020 07:03 AM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Failed Its Citizens

The numbers of confirmed cases being released by the country cannot be trusted, with most people still unable to get tested, only the most serious cases that could get tested are included in the totals. I know multiple people sick right now with coronavirus symptoms that asked for testing and was told they do not qualify. The county should also be including presumtive cases until we can get better testing, the real numbers are likely hundreds or thousand of times higher than what's being reported.

a-1586277288 Apr 07, 2020 09:34 AM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Failed Its Citizens

Of course we have more than what the statistics show. That's true throughout the US, the world even. Not enough testing kits available. It's not the county's fault in this aspect.

a-1586244376 Apr 07, 2020 12:26 AM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Failed Its Citizens

A few points: I have no admiration for new Supervisor Gregg Hart, winning his election with no opposition: it makes no sense why he is always at these health briefings and not the County CEO Miyasato who is definitely capable. As for the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases, until there is proper universal testing, there's no way of knowing how many cases there are. But as for the cruise ships, those visits have been part of the SB City Waterfront Department; that department makes all the arrangements for their visits and gets the revenue from them. It was mysterious why it took the Waterfront Department so long to do anything about the visits they had scheduled for the spring and fall. Finally the Princess line itself, the Grand Princess scheduled for a 3/24 (not April) visit, cancelled and then all visits were cancelled. It was said that the visits could not be cancelled until the County issued a public healthy emergency declaration, but that didn't make any sense. (Note that the Waterfront along with the airport and a few others are enterprise funds, not within the city's general fund.) It was not the County that "prioritized cruise ship profits over the community well-being" but the City that dawdled. This may seem minor but such inaccuracies cast doubt on the whole op-ed.

a-1586274943 Apr 07, 2020 08:55 AM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Failed Its Citizens

You are correct, it is the City, not the County, that contracts with the cruise ship lines. (This is a step they took years ago, without citizens’ input. But that is a different debate.) We started sending emails to the mayor and city council about canceling cruise ship visits on March 5. Cruise ships had already been the sites of several norovirus outbreaks over the years and the Grand Princess was prevented by Governor Newsom from docking in San Francisco on March 4 because multiple people had flu symptoms and a man who had been on a February 21 cruise on the ship had died March 4. The emails I received in response urged us to watch the March 10 city council meeting. I urge Mr. Ingles to watch the tape of that meeting, as well as the board of supervisors meeting on the same date. Several doctors spoke at both meetings, five days after the first death from the virus in California. Lastly, Gregg Hart is running the current meetings on the pandemic because he happens to be the chair of the board.

a-1586239544 Apr 06, 2020 11:05 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Failed Its Citizens

It appears Mr. Ingles does not read or watch national news. We haven’t watched TV for over 40 years, but read The NY Times daily. It was clear to us in mid February when the Princess cruise ship was held off of Japan that we were in for a pandemic. Being retired, we started cutting back on activities then. We started acting like everyone around us had the virus. We did a huge grocery run March 8 and have barely left the house since. It’s called educating yourself and taking responsibility for yourself.

antzdigger7 Apr 06, 2020 10:07 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Failed Its Citizens

Long-time EdHat reader here, first-time commenter. I almost never read the comments on this site for the very reason that I was reminded of tonight. EdHat lost me as a subscriber for many years because I lost my desire for reading fifth grade-level arguments in comment wars, but given the circumstances of our global, national, state, county, and city crisis, I wanted to give EdHat another chance in my news cycle.

And tonight, after reading this op-ed and this chain of comments, which lacks greatly in any form of empathy or compassion, I took the time of remembering my login credentials only to share one short contribution to this conversation. I ask that you review it with an open mind, no matter how challenging this may be, and regardless of your stance on any of the aforementioned issues. Either way, I don't plan to come back to this article ever again, so it really is for you, not for me.

My one request, on behalf of all of us: Stop judging. Start helping. We have no more time to waste.

Thank you for your understanding.

a-1586276426 Apr 07, 2020 09:20 AM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Failed Its Citizens

@Antzdigger, I appreciate your willingness to comment. However, it's a bit tired to blame edhat for comments when really this is just how people are. Check any website that offers commenting and you'll find the same behavior. This is human nature at its best and worst. It shouldn't stop you from supporting a local business that does a lot of good. They're one of the few websites that actually moderates and removes inappropriate comments. If you still don't like the comments, don't read them. Simple as that. No need to chastise.

Shasta Guy Apr 06, 2020 07:37 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Failed Its Citizens

The failure begins In mid January with the World Health Organization which acted as a mouthpiece for the Chinese Communist Party when it tweeted: “Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan, #China,”. That outright misrepresentation of the severity of the virus caused nearly every national, state, county, and city government to flinch and pause for several weeks/months instead of massively preparing for the pandemic. Sure, blame the county, but they were lulled into their flat footed response by the lying authorities in China that allowed the unsuspecting globe to be infected with this virus.

ChemicalSuperFreak Apr 06, 2020 08:20 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Failed Its Citizens

Agreed. Additionally, outsourcing some critical equipment and medicines required in a pandemic, to the very country of origin, revealed an Achilles Heel in our ability to respond quickly and efficiently. Forget the blame, as that changes nothing. Learning from this is the most important thing in my opinion, and changes should be implemented ASAP. It would be a shame to go through this again, having learned nothing, because it will happen again.

a-1586227548 Apr 06, 2020 07:45 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Failed Its Citizens

Always blame others for your own fault? Absolutely untrue. It was so obvious Chain has changed that assessment soon and so did WHO. Why did they lock down the cities, communities? You got 2-3 months to prepare.

Thomas John Apr 06, 2020 06:27 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Failed Its Citizens

With a complete lack of any Federal leadership, I think it might be a little overboard leveling this much angst at was is a small backwater country program.

a-1586220081 Apr 06, 2020 05:41 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Failed Its Citizens

I totally agree. PHD people here are a incompetent and treating the public like idiots. They should be replaced. Their secrecy from the beginning bothered me a lot. That's an epic stupidity. It's called a pandemic. Location info is essential to control and public anxiety. As basic as this, they failed to give out that data for many days. It was under public outcry they did eventually. I have no confidence with PHD and the current leadership. Time for you to wash hands and leave!

a-1586216230 Apr 06, 2020 04:37 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Failed Its Citizens

Watching the County “briefing” right now but so far its been five minutes of Gregg Hart babbling and offering advice And how to obtain virtual coloring books. Why cant it just be the Public Health Doctors offering facts, as in SLO and Ventua

RHS Apr 07, 2020 10:28 AM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Failed Its Citizens

Why criticize Hart for his "babbling" when it takes only five minutes or so while our President blathers on for 90 minutes or more every day with no scientific training. Yet he continues to recommend odd stuff like taking unproven medical regimens which he himself will not do! (To say nothing of undercutting the public health care specialists who recommended people cover their faces outdoors.) So much of these comments seem totally determined by the political agenda of the posting party and should always be taken in that fashion.

goletaspring Apr 07, 2020 07:04 AM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Failed Its Citizens

Agreed 100%. Hart is not a medical expert, why is he putting himself out there as the spokesperson for the county instead of letting the experts take the lead.

a-1586216221 Apr 06, 2020 04:37 PM
Op-Ed: Santa Barbara County Failed Its Citizens

I agree 100%. We were late and conservative with our orders, and lax on enforcement. We didn't even bother telling the Spanish-speaking neighbors and businesses. Ventura was way stronger on their game than we were. SLO was earlier on their warnings than either of us. The city was busy worrying about how canceling that cruise ship would hurt tourism, and failed to even grasp the real tsunami headed their way. Clearly no one in city government reads world news. The county is at best 2-3 weeks behind. They are reporting infections that occurred 7-20 days ago. They're not reporting demographic data, and lumped in Carpinteria, Montecito and Summerland now as some kind of "South County" zone. No one has answered why North County is infected at double the rate of South County, unless the real reason is more testing up north.
We deserve better.


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