Resolving to be More
The second week of January has always been important to me because by this time I have broken all my New Year’s resolutions so I can get back to the serious business of enjoying pasta. Someone needs to support Montecito’s myriad of northern Italian restaurants, so I nominate myself.
Typically, the third week of January is the time of year I start locating the next milestone on the calendar when I’ll actually start that diet: right after Chinese New Year, or right after Valentine’s, or right after Presidents’ Day – you know the drill.
Of course, not all my (broken) resolutions concern diet and exercise. Like most people (according to Google), I historically also pledge to: spend more time with friends and family, meet new people, try something different, learn a new language, laugh more, give back more, improve my appearance, get organized, and work on any relationships in disrepair. Oh yeah, and “achieve more balance,” whatever that means.
But this year I’m trying something different. Which is to make no New Year’s resolutions for myself whatsoever. Rather, all my resolutions for 2020 are for the Montecito Journal. Fortunately, I have an incredible staff and an exceptional investor group to help me execute these and keep me honest.
Here are our resolutions where the Montecito Journal is already making headway:
LOSING WEIGHT, as I mentioned, is one of those perennially annoying resolutions. So at the Journal, we’ve decided to go the other way. We’re looking forward to gaining weight. We will be working toward adding more pages, adding more contributors, and adding more voices from our already strong community choir.
Our next resolution is to ACHIEVE MORE BALANCE. Balance between hanging on to the old and embracing some new. As we give the Montecito Journal a little face lift, we strive to hang on to what it is about our paper we love. We will try to strike that delicate balance between discussing serious matters, but not taking ourselves too seriously. And we are working to achieve balance between continuing to embrace our beloved physical newspaper and adding a digital site to the mix for things that don’t work so well in print – like up-to-the-minute emergency information, archiving past issues, podcasts, and other creative exploration.
Speaking of our neighboring communities, we pledge to SPEND MORE TIME WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY and MEET NEW PEOPLE. Through our growing content and MJ-sponsored events, we will strive to bring together more of us more often. And not just our immediate Montecito family, but our extended local family – Summerland, Carpinteria, and Santa Barbara.
And, we’re thinking a lot about GIVING BACK. I’m always quick to tell people that there are more nonprofits per capita in Santa Barbara County than anywhere else in the country. I’m proud of that. But at theMontecito Journal we’re thinking about how we can give back more. Part of that will be more deeply covering the impressive work that’s being done by so many of these local nonprofits. As we observe the two-year anniversary of our town’s calamitous debris flow, and all the remarkable work our locals have done to make sure we are never that unprepared again, let’s take a moment to once again recognize some of our greatest local grassroots efforts: The Partnership for Resilient Communities (TPRC), the Bucket Brigade, 805 Strong, Partners in Community Renewal, The Montecito Community Foundation, Montecito Trails Foundation, the Recovery Store, to name a few. I am thankful and proud to live in a place where public service is a top priority for so many.
For me the most daunting of all resolutions is: GET MORE EXERCISE. So here’s a new twist: at the Montecito Journal we want to exercise our right as Montecito residents to be heard by our elected officials, and to have a stronger voice in our county’s governance. Which leads me to our upcoming County Supervisor candidate’s debate on January 27th at the Music Academy between our 1st District incumbent County Supervisor Das Williams and challenger School Board member Laura Capps.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what I think we – and our local leaders – need to focus on this year. I’m thinking about our ongoing insurance issues, and how best to decommission the oil rigs off our coast and what we can do with them that will push the environmental needle in the right direction – and who’ll pay for it all? And, of course, I’m always thinking about how we can become a more resilient and energy independent community. Not to mention our growing traffic issues, which relates, of course, to the 101 widening and the multiple proposed traffic circles.
And then there’s cannabis – hard to ignore that issue if you ever drive on the 101 between Carp and Santa Barbara and even harder to find creative answers to the kids’ constant question: “What’s that smell?” “A skunk” only works so many times. As with other disrupter industries, how can we impress upon our electeds the need to work out, in advance, appropriate government regs so the cannabis industry must ask for permission, rather than forgiveness? I’m thinking about ground water supply, and how it will be affected by the growers because marijuana is so thirsty. Should our water supply and cannabis issues be, no pun intended, rolled into one? If the growers are going to place additional demands on our water supply, then should they bear more of the burden for finding a long-term water solution? In any case, we need groundwater regulation, and an intelligent assessment of the benefits (or not) of desal. And can we please talk about our need for more safe walking ways? Thank you, Bucket Brigade for your work on North Jameson!
Finally, at the fore of my mind for 2020, is WORKING ON A HIGHLY CORODED RELATIONSHIP. And by that, I mean the toxic relationship we all seem to have with PG&E. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal“Wired To Fail (12/28/19)” recounts in gruesome detail how PG&E equipment has been responsible for 1,732 equipment fires – yes, you read that correctly – between 2015 and 2018 alone. Apparently, a lot of this equipment was improperly installed from the get-go. We need strong leadership to put PG&E’s feet to the actual and figurative fire! And while we’re at it, let’s finally talk seriously about undergrounding more of our critical infrastructure!
So What’s on Your Mind for 2020?
What are your local priorities? Please write to us about the issues you care about. And please send us questions that you want asked at the January 27th Debate at Hahn Hall between Das Williams and Laura Capps. It is so important that we have a good relationship with our 1st district County Supervisor, and that that official understands what we care about. In 2020 let’s exercise our right as residents to be understood and to be heard.
A lot to mull, but let’s not forget the importance of LAUGHING MORE and HAVING FUN. That’s one of my favorite New Year’s resolutions. To that end, I’d like to introduce our all new LAUGHING MATTERS Column. Please send us your favorite jokes, with or without attribution (only a little discretion necessary). I will lead off with one of my favorite jokes located right after the end of this column. I hope it makes you smile.
They say hindsight is always 20/20 – and here we are in 2020. Perhaps this is the year hindsight and foresight finally meet!
Wishing everyone a happy and prosperous New Year.