Down Our Drain?

By Dana Newquist   |   February 13, 2020

Not many people pay much attention to the Montecito Sanitary District. Neither did I.

When solicited by the Water Security Team, I learned how change in the MSD direction was needed for several vital reasons. So, I became a candidate.

Woody Barrett and I were voted by you, our community, in as directors, thank you!

Our main inspiration in running was to be a “team” of directors and help Water District to recycle our waste water as part of building a sustainable water portfolio.

Droughts have happened, and will happen again. We need to prepare!

Instead, where are we after a year of solidly trying to serve our community on the MSD board?

1. A vote of 3-2 (Barrett & Newquist against) for a building at the cost of $6,000,000 of rate payer money. This money, your money, could be used for many more worthwhile purposes, especially recycled water. 

MSD staff then contended that no permits were needed for approval. The County disagreed. The “Essential Services Building” that isn’t for essential services will be going before the Montecito Planning Commission for the Coastal Development Permit.  Your opinion will count on this decision.

2. I am a member of the Public Outreach Committee with Tom Bollay. In a recent meeting, Diane Gabriel, the Sanitary District Manager, made a request for approval to hire a Public Relation Firm (Davis Public Affairs) to the tune of $100,000 annually. I submitted that the board would not approve. The request was changed to $50,000. On a vote of the Board held on 1-15-2020 of which I was absent, the $50,000 was approved with a nay vote from Director Barrett.

My question is how on earth would any Sanitary District, particularly one this small, justify this level of expense for publicity?

3. At the recent Montecito Journal hosted debate held at Hahn Hall, Supervisor Das Williams told the audience that he would be in favor of the consolidation of the Sanitary and Water Districts. For the public good, this may be a good idea.

The opinions stated above are from a concerned community member.

Montecito is very special; let’s keep it that way!


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