Montecito Rotary Club Welcomes New President

By Kelly Mahan Herrick   |   May 23, 2019
John Lucchetti is the new president of the Rotary Club of Montecito

John Lucchetti takes the helm as the new president of the Rotary Club of Montecito beginning July 1. 

Lucchetti, a Santa Barbara resident, works in the music industry as a marketing strategist, connector, and brand developer. His current venture, Green Room Strategy, focuses on marketing, artist management, and building strategic partnerships around the convergence of music, media, tech, events, causes, and influential people. Lucchetti also works closely with Oniracom, a premier creative agency in the music industry, most recently as vice president of Client Partnerships.

Lucchetti has worked with clients such as Johnny Irion, Warner Music Group, The Santa Barbara Bowl, AEG, Jack Johnson, SONOS, Shelterbox, Capitol Records, Bishop Lamont, Henry Rollins, Sony Music, UCSB, Marquee Brands, Martin Sexton, Rudresh Mahanthappa, and many more. He studied Jazz Guitar at The University of North Texas and the University of Utah. He interned at L.A. East Studios, studied Ethnomusicology in Ghana, and has enjoyed enriching his life by seeing as much great live music as possible. Lucchetti has been married to Nancy Lucchetti for 17 years and they have two sons. In his free time, Lucchetti enjoys traveling, surfing, snowboarding, and hiking. He speaks conversational Russian.

Formed in 1953, the Rotary Club of Montecito supports the efforts of Rotary International to achieve world understanding and peace through international humanitarian, educational and cultural exchange programs. The Rotary Club of Montecito currently meets at noon on Tuesdays at the Hyatt Centric Hotel, 1111 East Cabrillo Boulevard. Visit for more information. 

Montecito Planning Commission Meets 

On Wednesday, May 15, the Montecito Planning Commission received a report on resiliency from Montecito Water District general manager Nick Turner and Montecito Sanitary District general manager Diane Gabriel

Turner reported that the MWD’s infrastructure was severely impacted during both the Thomas Fire and subsequent debris flow. The Park Lane Reservoir, which holds 1.2 million gallons of water caught fire; fire suppressant contaminated the water so the reservoir was taken offline. The Jameson Lake watershed was burned, also resulting in contaminated runoff. Structures at the lake were destroyed, including a cabin and guest house, garage, and three auxiliary structures. The Alder Creek Flume was 62% destroyed; water from the creek is not currently being delivered by the District. 

During the debris flow, there were eight breaks in the District’s highline transmission main along major creek crossings; 700 feet of pipe was destroyed. There were two breaks along the Jameson Lake transmission pipeline, and 15 breaks in distribution pipelines, primarily located along bridges. Twenty-five fire hydrants were sheared off, and there were 290 damaged water service meters and backflow devices, leading to leaks. Fifty-two pressure regulating stations filled with mud and debris. “For the Montecito Water District, resiliency means providing an uninterrupted supply of safe, clean water despite adverse conditions resulting from events such as natural disasters, drought, and earthquakes,” Turner said. “We were resilient prior to the disaster, and we continue to improve upon that.” 

During the District’s recovery, the response team consisted of 28 MWD staff members and over 120 personnel from mutual aid agencies and contractors; together they were able to restore water service in Montecito in three weeks, to the tune of $9 million. The cost of the repairs was paid from reserves and cash advances, and Turner says he expects to recover 95% of the costs from FEMA and insurance. The District is nearing completion of major pipeline repairs, which is a complicated process requiring geotechnical studies, CEQA review, permitting, engineering design, and competitive bidding and construction. “It’s important to note that these repairs are not simple repairs,” he said. “There is a very distinct process that we have to follow in order to qualify for reimbursement, and that takes time.” The remaining repairs are expected to be completed by August.

The District is further bolstering its resiliency by installing generators at two locations that are not currently equipped with back-up power. Automatic transfer switches are also in the works, allowing the power to switch from Edison to a generator quickly during an emergency. Automatic transfer switches are currently installed at several pump stations, but others will be added. A new treatment process is in the works at the Bella Vista treatment plant, and the structures lost at Jameson Lake are being rebuilt to be fire resilient. The District is also in talks with the Clean Coalition to be part of the Montecito Community Microgrid project. 

Gabriel reported that the Montecito Sanitary District suffered no damage from the Thomas Fire, and the damage from the debris flow has been permanently repaired. “I should point out that making the MSD resilient began long before January 9, 2018. In fact, had we not worked for years beforehand to build the necessary relationships, replace aging infrastructure, maintain a competent, professional work force, and accumulating appropriate financial reserves, we might still be recovering from the debris flow event,” she said. 

The Sanitary District has 17 full time employees, 75 miles of sanitary sewer pipeline, 2,034 manholes and cleanouts, five sanitary sewer lift stations, and a wastewater treatment plant with a capacity of 1.5 million gallons a day. Gabriel outlined ten reasons that the District recovered so quickly from the disaster. Those reasons include incorporating preparedness into daily routines and processes; a highly competent certified staff led by operations manager Alex Alonzo; the fact that MSD was and continues to be financially prepared and had increased emergency reserves from $800k to $1.5M. “Thankfully those funds were there,” Gabriel said. $1.6 million was spent on necessary repairs, and the District has been fully reimbursed for those costs. Gabriel also credits an experienced MSD governing board of directors, who acted decisively and declared a state of emergency for the district so they could enter into emergency contracts to get the necessary work done quickly. Other reasons include longtime working relationships with other sanitary agencies who loaned trained professionals during the recovery; a capital improvement program that had been funded and executed, ensuring the infrastructure has been rehabbed; and a management staff knowledgeable in the FEMA reimbursement process. Montecito Sanitary District remained in control of the recovery work, following standards of practice of the wastewater industry, including installing backup generators, automatic transfer switches, on-site diesel storage, and auxiliary pump and piping. 

The Commission also heard from Jon Frye with County Flood Control, who reported on a property acquisition on Park Lane West. The owners of 803 Park Lane West wish to donate their .59-acre property, which was heavily damaged in the debris flow, to the Flood Control District. “This isn’t really anything that the flood control district sought. It’s the desires of the property owners to not want anyone to live here in the future because it’s in a high hazard area. Flood control was the logical recipient of the donation; it happens to butt up next to the San Ysidro debris basin,” he said. Plans for the parcel include utilizing the property to stage vehicles for cleanout of the nearby basin. Following the debris flow, the owners were issued a permit to demolish what remained of the home and foundation; it is now vacant. The Commission voted unanimously that the parcel acquisition was in conformance with the Comprehensive Plan. 

The Commission marked the appointment of its newest Commissioner: Ron Pulice. Mr. Pulice fills the seat vacated by Joe Cole, who stepped down from the Commission earlier this year. A resident of Montecito for 25 years, Pulice has a background in construction and infrastructure building. “I’m here to volunteer and help the County out,” he said. 

The next Montecito Planning Commission hearing is scheduled for June 19. 


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