What Montecito Needs Now

By Montecito Journal   |   April 12, 2018

Going forward, Montecito home and business owners need to have continuing, affordable, comprehensive, insurance coverage. As a community, we need to speak with one voice in demanding that public officials ensure that such insurance remains in place. 

Here are three of the issues that will have to be addressed by lawmakers, insurance regulators, and insurance companies:

1) Whether insurers will be allowed to not renew homeowners and business policies for any reason other than non-payment of premiums. 

2) How deductibles, limits, and coverage on renewed policies will be handled so as to avoid the issuance of policies that provide useless coverage or that price insureds out of the market. 

3) Whether lawmakers will need to create a private-public partnership (e.g., the California Earthquake Authority) to address these issues, and if so, what that partnership will look like and how it will affect insureds and lenders. 

Hopefully, organizations like Montecito Now will be able to play a role in assuring that consumers will have an important voice in this process. If we don’t demand a seat at the table, we won’t get one.

Ray Bourhis
Montecito/San Francisco

Lemon Tree Too

Great article mentioning many “retreat” places for evacuees (Guest Editorial, MJ #24/14), but you did miss the Lemon Tree and we feel like it’s home for us, having stayed there four times. Good location, three excellent meals in the dining room, and a very friendly staff. 

And, they have the Montecito Journal sitting at the entrance. We saw lots of Montecitans there.

Jean Von Wittenburg

(Editor’s note: Right you are, Ms Von Wittenburg. I do believe many Casa Dorinda residents camped out at the Lemon Tree, along with many other evacuees, and in fact did enjoy not only the friendly accommodations there but also the excellent food at the Lemon Tree’s restaurant, Crocodile. – J.B.)

Illegal Drop Zone

Thank you for the good works the Montecito Journal has accomplished for our community during these last heartbreaking months. We too have been trying to make a positive difference by casting away almost 100 tons of mud and debris that landed on our property. It extends from Sycamore Canyon down to East Valley Road.

In the last 10 days, each morning we have noticed fresh debris and mud hauled in and dumped on the lengthy flood plain opposite us, located between the Parra Grande bridge and Sycamore Canyon, alongside East Valley Road. After the flood, it was almost empty; now, it’s a dump.

Who is doing this, and who will remove it? Could the sheriff or the Montecito Association put up cameras and close off the area? Intruders could also enter from Hot Spring. Both roads should be closed at night.

Name Withheld

Failing Montecito

As a full-time student at UCSB who supports herself by serving the residents of Montecito, I believe that Salud Carbajal has failed to protect the interests of our District. 

The mudslides that resulted from the Thomas Fire have dramatically impacted Montecito in a negative way. I have worked on Coast Village Road for three years and I talk to residents daily. Lately, the conversations are with neighbors who have lost their homes, and in some cases all their property and belongings; some grieve the loss of close friends and/or family members. 

Not only are the people suffering within the community, but the community itself continues to suffer. Businesses on Coast Village Road have taken a hit – restaurants are seeing less foot traffic, and some retail stores are closing their doors for good.

So, what does this have to do with Salud Carbajal? In 2017, he voted against the Resilient Federal Forests Act. This Act would have allowed for land assessment and proper land management, such as necessary controlled burns in the Thomas Fire area. His vote is the result of a decision that can only be explained by his history of siding with extreme environmentalists. This is a perfect example of how dangerous it is when politicians are influenced by outside interests – putting political agendas over common-sense public safety measures. Salamanders should not take precedence over human life. 

The Thomas Fire area was extremely dry due to the California drought and clogged with fire fuel resulting from decades of policy-driven neglect. It was the duty of Carbajal to ensure the safety of our community. He put politics before the interests of our district, and now an entire community suffers as the result.

Paige McNeil
Santa Barbara

(Editor’s note: Although we can’t agree that Salud Carbajal’s vote is the cause of the Thomas Fire debacle, we can agree that non-sensible policies that prohibited residents from clearing out debris-and-plant-clogged creeks and flow zones before or even after a rainy season left many – especially people living near or on creek beds – at high risk of danger and death. – J.B.)

“Saving” the Steelhead

Most of us are much appreciative of Bob Hazard‘s editorials and counsel. He tackles tough issues and exposes the heavy hand of government at many levels. I was particularly interested in his comments on “endangering non-existent steelhead trout.” 

As a board member of Riven Rock Mutual Water Company, we encountered the Fish and Game Department on this specific issue. About four years ago, a representative of Fish and Game met with us at a private residence in Riven Rock. What surprised us, and without our prior knowledge, a member of the Santa Barbara district attorney’s office was invited by Fish and Game. The result of that meeting was that our 50 years’ access to Cold Spring Creek was shut down, and Fish and Game was discussing possible penalties for accessing the water. From that date, we entered our famous drought period, and we were forced to use an extensive amount of water from the Montecito Water District, which could have been available to others.

Be careful about those non-existent steelhead trout. They can take you down.

Frank McGinity

Something for Nothing

A man named Tom Nicholson posted on his Facebook account the sports car that he had just bought, and how a man approached and told him that the money used to buy this car could’ve fed thousands of less-fortunate people.

His response to this man made him famous on the Internet.

This is his story, as stated on Facebook:

A guy looked at my Corvette the other day and said, “I wonder how many people could have been fed for the money that sports car cost.”

I replied, “I am not sure. It fed a lot of families in Bowling Green, Kentucky, who built it; it fed the people who make the tires; it fed the people who made the components that went into it; it fed the people in the copper mines who mined the copper for the wires; it fed people in Decatur, Illinois, at Caterpillar who make the trucks that haul the copper ore; it fed the trucking people who hauled it from the plant to the dealer, and fed the people working at the dealership and their families.

“But, I have to admit, I guess I really don’t know how many people it fed.

“That is the difference between capitalism and welfare mentality.

“When you buy something, you put money in people’s pockets and give them dignity for their skills. When you give someone something for nothing, you rob them of their dignity and self-worth.

“Capitalism is freely giving your money in exchange for something of value. Socialism is taking your money against your will and shoving something down your throat that you never asked for.

“I’ve decided I can’t be politically correct anymore (I never was, actually).”

Forwarded by John McIntyre

Death by Neglect

Over the last year, I have been extremely disturbed by the fact that Santa Barbara County and the City of Santa Barbara have neglected to protect its citizens from very dangerous tree problems. The county and some private property owners control some of the trees. I have called both City and County public works and have had minimum response to my pleas.

I have been a tree expert for more than 40 years and I know of what I speak, especially when it comes to trees and limbs that fall unexpectedly on homes and people. It is my due diligence in the past that has saved many homes and people over the last years. But, there is at this moment too many trees that are, in my expert opinion, ready to go… some of them are now even being held up by phone wires.

Please survey your own property, and if and when you discover a tree that is dangerously leaning, or whose branches hover dangerously over yards and homes: do something about it before it is too late!

Gene Tyburn
Santa Barbara

(Editor’s note: We’re with you on this, Gene. We are in favor or removing pretty much all eucalyptus trees, though the ironwood pines, redwoods, and other equally hardy trees should remain unmolested. – J.B.)

Disaster Relief Housing

After our mandatory evacuations and natural disasters, this is not the way I had expected to live here at age 74, after 48 years in our wonderfully beautiful Montecito. I have completed 148 architectural building designs during this era, mostly homes, estates, and refurbishment of existing buildings, such as the Montecito Inn in the 1980s. I made my practice and life-long fine art paintings with a low-key attitude to shy away from self-importance. This made the work better and magnified the efforts of those for whom the designs and work were made, and made for thorough listening to their needs.

I supplied full sets of design and working drawings, the incorporated engineering, and permit processing for each project to the owners and their general contractors for each project, handing them completed permitted plans from which to build legally.

During the last couple of years, I have been filing approximately 135+ sets of the plans to the Architectural Archives at 415 Camino del Remedio in Santa Barbara County.

For any folks who have suffered a loss from the disasters and who want to rebuild, these permitted plans may still be available there. The archives are open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30 to 6:30 pm (805-967-3639).

So, I too have lost my rented studio/work place. My needs are a room or one- or two-car garage in which to store my paintings prior to exhibits, and/or a place to work. If any are available, please call (805) 969-5148, or write me at P.O. Box 5354, Montecito CA 93150 (my needs are small).

Thanks in advance.

Tom Kress


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