Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Bridge Barrier Question Remains

Received this from an avid reader -- does this change anyone's mind? Could tragedy have been avoided? -- Sara

The latest Cold Spring Bridge suicide--on April 4 of lifelong Santa Barbara resident Lynne Martyniuk has reverberated throughout the Santa Barbara community.  So many people throughout the community knew Lynne, who was also a nurse at Cottage Hospital, and had three young children.  Where is the bridge barrier? See below links for a glimpse of the grief and outrage this latest preventable tragedy has caused.



Anonymous no doubt said...

as one who has followed closely the so-called "debate" over the Cold Spring Bridge barrier this latest tragedy can only be described as reprehensible. CalTrans needs to move and move fast before another family---entire community--is faced with the deep grief and loss that Lynne's suicide has left us with.

4/22/2009 7:24 AM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

Considering that death is always stalking us and lurking just over our shoulders, I have always found suicide to be an odd and unnecessary option, except for the terminally ill who wish to control the end. However, it seems to me that if someone were committed to taking his or her own life, the presence of bridge barriers would simply turn one's attention away from the free flight of jumping and toward other options, such as the rope, pills, or the pistol. Would barriers really prevent suicides or simply prevent suicides from the Cold Spring Bridge? I wonder.

4/22/2009 8:10 PM  
Anonymous 50-50 said...

I think that people should have the right to end their own life, despite the fact that it leaves their survivors in a terrible spot.

my proposal is to fence off one side of the bridge- for would-be jumpers who need to be encouraged to stay alive; leave the other side open for esthetic purposes and for those who really want to jump

4/22/2009 9:20 PM  
Anonymous Blue State Blues said...

In case you have not heard, California is $40 billion in the hole. It won't be building anything.

4/22/2009 9:49 PM  
Anonymous Also no doubt said...

Also no doubt this issue will bring out the trolls who oppose the barrier as "too expensive; too ugly;" and my personal favorite; "they'll just go somewhere else..." Now there's the poster slogan for the "Oh well, it's not my problem" crowd.

No solution is perfect, but if the barrier causes even one potential jumper to delay the act, that person may change their mind and not take their own life after all. Why is that not reason enough to raise the barrier? Why is one less family in mourning not reaon enough?

Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem; the barrier would remove easy access to one permanent choice. Put the damn thing up.

4/23/2009 5:42 AM  
Blogger Don McDermott said...

This is pretty much a shovel ready project. Sign the petition and contact your Supervisor and SBCAG today and suggest stimulus funding. It will put at least a few people to work in certain engineering and construction fields. Maybe the economic multipliers chain will even keep someone that is caught up in all this bleak outlook from literally going over the edge.

Eckermann; Wonder no more>>>

Blue State Blues; The Red United States Ink is due to many factors such as Red States spending policies including frivolous wars. We won't get out of "the hole" if everyone contracts.

4/23/2009 7:46 AM  
Anonymous The Grim said...

There can be no definitive answer until the dead can be interviewed, Eckerman.

A couple people have survived Golden Gate Bridge jumps... at least 2 have gone back and jumped a second time. Others have become super committed barrier advocates. Don't know what conclusion to draw.

There is some good evidence that bridge jumping is impulsive, and not the result of a carefully planned sequence. if bridge jumping is impulsive... that is, decided pretty suddenly... I think the barrier will save lives.

Other people carefully plan their deaths, including legal disposition of their finances, disposal of their furniture and other possessions, and die wearing a diaper in a body bag with a note for emergency personnel who pick their remains up. It is harder to argue with such a plan...

4/23/2009 8:40 AM  
Anonymous Al Bonowitz said...

If someone disagrees with you, are they automatically a troll?

There is not a hard-and-fast correct view on this issue. Not being acquainted with anyone who has committed suicide nor anyone who has suffered the aftereffects, my inclination as a fan of that bridge, highway, and view is to leave it alone.

That DOES NOT mean I am unsympathetic to those who have a more intimate familiarity with suicide. But as long as there are hungry children and poorly-funded schools (among other societal problems), I think the money could be spent more wisely elsewhere.

Myself, I look forward to the day when Kurt Vonnegut Jr.'s Federal Ethical Suicide Parlors (see "Welcome to the Monkey House") are a reality.

Finally, Mr. or Ms. Also No Doubt, trolls don't sign their names.

4/23/2009 2:13 PM  
Anonymous Also No Doubt said...

On first read, I appreciated your effort Al, or at least I wanted to. Maybe that was due to my Troll remark. Then the second read...

You shouldn't need a close relationship with suicide or its devastating ripple effects to measure your response. Can't imagine placing more value on a view of the mountains only because I personally don't know who died. Look down Al; is the view still pretty?

And while I remain sympathetic to hungry children or poorly funded schools Al, even you should know we can find the means to feed hungry children and fund our schools, if the will to do so truly exists.

But to my knowledge, there's no funding available to raise the dead. So again I say, put the damn thing up. A single human life is more valuable than the freakin view.

4/23/2009 10:17 PM  
Anonymous Bridging the Knowlwdge Gap said...

Al, there are no "hungry children". There are multiple agencies right here in this town that feed anyone who asks for help.

Please learn more about the millions of dollars spent already in social programs in this town before you haul out the useless guilt card for your own selfish agenda.

$600,000 alone is handed out on the streets to vagrants demanding "money for food", which in fact all goes for drugs and alcohol and all the attendant social problems those activities inflict on the rest of the community.

Build the bridge barrier now. There is no better way to spend public money. This bridge is a disaster for all the public safety personnel who have to go bail out other people's drama. That is primarily who we are building this bridge for and they need it.

The railing is way too short and puts all rescue personnel at extreme risk, plus body recovery in the culvert below the bridge again puts all safety and recovery people at extreme risk.

This bridge barrier issue goes well beyond the suicide perpetrator. This site is a hazard for all concerned.

4/24/2009 9:20 AM  
Anonymous Open your eyes, Al said...

Schools are already well-funded. Unions have made them under-performing. That is the real issue. Don't let yourself get duped by union publicity demanding more and more money to provide less and less accountability.

There is plenty of state money to build the bridge. There is plenty of union power to keep school workers flush forever. There is however a total lack of public will to demand school employees be held accountable. That is the real problem.

Don't create false arguments about "starving children" and "under-funded schools" because you are wrong.

4/24/2009 9:26 AM  
Anonymous Al Bonowitz said...

Reasonable people can disagree, and that's what's going to happen here.

I don't advocate suicide, but I don't have a problem with it, either. It's a choice. It leaves some sad people behind, but so does abortion (which I also have no problem with while not advocating it).

If additional money is to be spent on suicide prevention, spend it to address the problems that lead to considering suicide, rather than just making one venue less of an attractive nuisance. More lives can be saved that way, and isn't that the goal of this discussion?

4/24/2009 1:52 PM  
Anonymous Don Jose de la Guerra y Noriega said...

Let em jump if they want to. Can't control everything in this world. Too many people on the planet anyway.

Barrier money should be spent elsewhere.

The problem is going to be where the lawyers are, you know the disgusting part of the profession that chases ambulances.

I need some easy options to say bye bye when it's my time to go anyway.

4/24/2009 5:37 PM  
Anonymous Open your eyes, Al said...

Al, you are not listening.

One of the biggest reasons for the bridge changes is for the rescue personnel who have to come in and clean up after, or for any rescue worker lucky enough to be able to intervene. The bridge is terribly unsafe for any sort of rescue operation because the railings are appallingly short.

You keep focusing on the suicide perpetrator and refuse to clean up this site for all the rescue workers who have a terrible time dealing with suicides on this bridge. Please broaden your perspective.

4/24/2009 6:40 PM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

Open Your Eyes Al, you must not be a fan of data and logic. California schools are not well-funded. California does not even rank in the top half of states in the expenditure per pupil statistic. Tell you what, check out the cost of sending a high school student to Andover, Exeter, Groton, Middlesex, Cate, Hotchkiss, Hackley, or Noble & Greenough, and in England, Eton, Rugby, Harrow, Hereford, and Downside. Deduct the room and board charges from those tuitions and you will see what a first class education really costs. Most children get a very good education for a fraction of that cost in California. Could it be better? Damn right it could be! But we seem to be collectively too stingy to give our children the education that they deserve. Teachers make very modest salaries and their unions do not seem strong enough to prevent lay-off notices going out every year. So I do not see where the unions even play a material role in all this. Al, you are the one "creating arguments." You are creating them out of thin air like some kind of husker magician at the carnival.

4/24/2009 8:34 PM  
Anonymous Teach for America = Best and Brightest said...

Ekermann needs to read the WSJ (Sat) editorial about teachers unions rejecting Teach For America -- the thousands of willing Ivy League grads who want to participate in this program and are turned down because of teacher union opposition.

You get to be last in education because of teacher union opposition to innovation, change and accountability.

You don't get there for any other reason because very talented people want to teach for the salaries offered, but the deadly lock of these jobs (that no one wants ? -ha!) is pure and simple union job protection.

4/25/2009 8:52 AM  
Anonymous Gridlock, thy name is Democratic said...

Teachers get pink slips each year when the budgets are not passed, because the teacher unions demanded them.

They don't get them because they are underpaid. They get them because the dysfunctional union controlled, greedy politicians who sold out long ago to the unions can't balance a budget.

Get your facts straight. It is legislative gridlock by those very union supported legislators which make public education in this state dysfunctional.

4/25/2009 9:53 AM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

Well, Teach for America, any Ivy League grad is free to enroll in a teaching credential program, obtain the necessary credential, and apply for a job as a teacher. Simply, graduating from Harvard, Yale, Princeton, or Brown does not necessarily qualify one to be a teacher. Knowledge in a subject does not always translate to the ability to teach that subject. The art of teaching is a skill all its own. I have had great teachers who were mere journey level practisioners in their respective fields of knowlege and I have had very mediocre teachers who were leaders in their fields, but just not able to impart that knowledge effectively. The belief that teachers unions protect jobs is an urban myth that is not supported by a shread of real scientifically presented evidence. Anymore, unions are mere shadows of their former selves. Reagan crushed them and they have not yet recovered.

4/25/2009 5:06 PM  
Anonymous Teach America to love education said...

Loving a subject is all a teacher needs. There is nothing to show in public education for the teaching credential requirement. Except a total dearth of those capable of teaching math and science, and a surfeit of students who end up hating all subjects.

Teaching credentials have been the death of the profession and have chilled any love for learning, even among the teachers who forgot to love what they teach. Don't blame them, but it is now time for radical educational reform.

Teach America is one heck of a good way to start. Except the teacher unions don't want fresh ideas and that last thing they want are inspired young teachers who will save our kids from one more generation of under-achievement.

4/25/2009 7:41 PM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

Teach, simply loving a subject does not provide the skill necessary to develop a pedagogic curriculum and effectively impart knowledge in a manner that will be retained and available to a student as a foundation on which to build the next level of learning. Teaching is a scientific process. Intelligent people have differing opinions as to which teaching techniques are most efficacious for which student cohorts, but just because I love literature and have read widely and deeply and have had some of my writing published does not qualify me to be an English teacher. Not that long ago, there were no standards for someone to be a teacher and the consequence was wide discrepency in the quality of schools. Credential programs at least established minimum standards and schools are better for them. The current problems with our schools have nothing to do with the quality of teachers or teachers unions. The problems are socio-economic and caused by such things as the disproportionate concentration of poor children and English learners in certain schools, lack of will of taxpayers to pay the cost for first rate education, elimination of vocational instruction on high schools, and other similar factors. Back in the 50s and 60s when California's schools were the envy of the World, we created the model that other industrialized countries followed. The difference now is that we have failed to maintain the model we created with sound tax and social policies while other countries have taken our model, dedicated the resources to implement it, and used it to eat our academic lunch.

4/26/2009 2:01 PM  
Anonymous I (heart) learning said...

Your pedantic defense of teaching credentials proves what has gone so very wrong with education. Nope, the poster was right.

All you have to do is love your subject and you will find creative ways to get your students to love it too. That is the huge missing factor in today's education.

We have too many burned out, dead end teachers who are merely resting on their "credentials" since no one asks them to be accountable for all the students they turned off.

It is all about learning; not education.

4/26/2009 4:51 PM  
Anonymous Classy Woman Power in Edu said...

Eckerman sounds like one of those burned out teacherse blaming everyting but the education industry itself. Blaming Prop 13, demographics and lack of taxpayers wanting to pay more to get less.

If anything, blame forcing so many over-talented women with degrees and love for their subjects into teaching as their only careen alternative back in the beloved 50's and 60's.

Too much female talent blissfully benefited public education, since women had no where else to go with their strong educations and work ethics. We got away with paying them little and they rewarded us with superb skills that are now going on to being attorneys, doctors, and Wall Street bankers.

They are missed in the class room because all they had were superb educations, a love for their topics, and the willingness to bend to each student because they loved learning.

Just the kind of people the teacher unions are turning away in Teach America. Talent, skill, love and munificence are out there in the Teach America volunteers. Only a union with its greedy sense of entitlement would turn these people away and continue to let public education suffer.

4/26/2009 4:58 PM  
Anonymous Still no doubt said...

This post has morhped to into political commentary on teachers, unions, the ills of each and why they are sick. Hopefully no one reading got frustrated over the change in direction and dopped over the side of the remember the bridge? The one without the barrier? The one where 48 people have been allowed to jump to their deaths because there is NO BARRIER?

The answer to this problem is a no-brainer. Build the barrier to prevent further deaths on a poorly designed structure. Then work on the underlying dynamics that bring these troubled souls to the bridge in the first place, helping give them reasons for not going elsewhere or finding another means to get the "job" done.

Don't talk the damn thing to death, cause it soon will be another's death we're talking about. This kind of attention all too often provides a focal point for someone in distress..and guess what? Nothing to stop them. The view is more important, the discussion over teachers and unions is more important. It's all more impportant than saving lives.

Put the damn barrier up FIRST, then we can talk about anything you want.

4/27/2009 6:27 AM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

Ok, I will get back to the subject. None of the anti-teacher crowd knows what they are talking about anyway. Build the barrier. If it saves just one life it is worth it. It will employ construction types and bring tax dollars home to SB County. It will be an ugly scar, but the bridge is also a scar. It is just one of the old scars, like a broken nose, or that eyebrow scar you got from getting head-butted in soccer game. Such scars have interesting stories and give one's face character. Like such old scars, the Cold Springs Bridge gives the gulch a little character. The barrier will in time be another old scar. We won't even notice it after a while.

4/27/2009 9:17 AM  
Blogger chris said...

Simple and easy solution, remove all available parking for a mile in each direction...even suicidal people are lazy- who would walk to jump off a bridge?

Don't spend my $$$ fixing a not broken bridge!!!

4/28/2009 8:03 AM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

Chris, like the anti-teacher people, you seem to be grasping your little glasp purse to your breast a little too closely, like some dowager miser. People could just drive onto the bridge, stop the car, get out, and jump. So your solution is not well thought out or just plane silly. What is it with all the tax misers? "Render unto Caesar..." and get over it.

4/28/2009 7:59 PM  
Anonymous chris said...

Eckermann- I feel that it is stupid to spend money to fix every problem that the human condition suffers from. You can't fix stupid. You can't fix ignorant and you most certainly cannot fix every minute problem for every single preson.

I am sorry people commit suicide- it is horrible on the family as well as the community. Just horrible.

It doesn't mean that we as a community should have to suffer because of a few. I like the bridge as it is. What about my feelings, what about my views? I don't want to jump off the bridge- should my feelings be considered?

4/29/2009 3:35 PM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

Chris, certainly your feelings should be considered. I was doubtful that constructing a barrier on the bridge would prevent suicide, but have to admit that if the barrier would actually do so, it is probably worth it. Deciding to allocate part of the public treasure to the common good does not mean that we have to "fix every minute problem." Social Security, Medicare, Police Services, Lifeguards at public beaches, drivers license tests, and suicide barriers all contribute to the public health and welfare and improve the quality of life all for a very small marginal cost to each individual. I pay a large amount of taxes (more than I made in total salary 20 years ago), and to be sure, I would prefer they not be expended on some of the publically funded programs to which they are dedicated. But, by and large, I feel that my taxes improve the health, welfare, and safety of the community and I do not begrudge the government a single penny. I know the parents of one of the people who committed suicide at the bridge. Would a barrier have prevented it? I don't know. I do know that I would without hesitation give a year's salary to have that bright and talented and beautiful boy back, so the miniscule amount of my taxes that it would take to build the barrier is a pittance compared to the worth of that boy's life. I saw the Dali Lama speak the other day and I am reminded that the his message was that compassion is the key to all ethics. Chris, your feelings are important, but might I suggest you try to consider the feelings of others as well?

4/29/2009 7:57 PM  
Anonymous Still no doubt said...


Despite your eloquent references to "ignorant" and "stupid," the real sadness of your comment is in the trivialization of suicide as a "minute" problem or that the community as a whole would "suffer" more from the loss of the view than the loss of a "few"lives. Hopeless. Very hopeless for those who are counting on you for emotional support in a crisis.I pray they have alternatives to count on.

4/29/2009 8:47 PM  
Anonymous Show search and rescue as little love too said...

You are solving the problems for the rescue crews who have to clean up this mess. You are building the barriers for them. They deserve not to have to put their lives on the line because others choose this bridge right now to end theirs.

You still don't get it do you, erkemann. You are building the bridge barriers for those who have to search and rescue and put their own lives at risk on this badly designed bridge .Show a little compassion to more than your own selfish interpretations of human tragedy, will you?

For ever suicide chosen to be acted out on this bridge, there are dozens of safety workers whose lives are irrevocably changed by this act too. The present barrier to too shallow. It puts rescue workers at risk. It has to be fixed. End of discussion.

4/29/2009 9:03 PM  
Anonymous chris said...

Search and Rescue people- if you don't like to hike or rescue people- get another job.

Safety workers who do not want actually work are not my problem either.

I stick with close parking area for a mile on each side for a year- see what happens.

Leave the bridge alone.

4/30/2009 9:17 AM  
Anonymous Don Jose de la Guerra y Noriega said...

Tear the Bridge down. Bring back the stagecoach and improve community socializing at the Stagecoach Tavern.

5/03/2009 3:04 PM  
Anonymous Don Jose de la Guerra y Noriega said...

My Dear Niece:

I did not write the remark about the bridge...

I have been cloned...perhaps this is an indication of what you've been up against.

Don't let the ogre spoil the 'au revoirs'...

5/17/2009 5:48 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Yes -- this has been what I've been up against...thanks for letting me know!

5/17/2009 4:28 PM  

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