A Little Good News Goes a Long Way
By the time we go to press the long-anticipated election will be over, but as I write this letter, I’m in the dark as to what that will mean. What I do know is this past year has been like no other I’ve known; and I suspect I’m not alone. 2020 has moved us from surreal crisis to surreal crisis with little to no reprieve and many of us are at the ragged edge. So I wanted to shift the focus onto a few happy developments.
First off, kudos to Congressman Salud Carbajal for helping to secure a 13.5 million dollar FEMA grant on behalf of the Santa Barbara County Flood Control District (big props to Tom Fayram for the heavy lifting) that will allow the County to purchase several properties along Randall Road in Montecito, and begin construction on a new debris basin near San Ysidro Creek. This debris basin will replace what remains of the seven homes that were destroyed on Randall Road during our 2018 debris flow. County Supervisor Das Williams also deserves kudos for working hard to make this a reality as does local resident Curtis Skene, who started the whole project with Renew SB. (Read more about this in Nick Schou’s column: On the Record, page 11.)
While it is true that this debris basin will have more than four times the capacity of the current basin upstream and will surely look beautifully park-like, it’s important to remember that this community still has a ways to go to ensure a safe outcome should it ever again be faced with a natural disaster of the magnitude we experienced in 2018. To put things in perspective, this debris basin will have a 20 thousand cubic meter capacity (approximately the size of 20 thousand washing machines). But more than a million cubic meters flowed down each of our canyons in 2018. So yes, it’s good news. But there is much more to be done in terms of our disaster preparedness (read: early warning systems) and we’ll be writing more about this going forward.
While news about the approved FEMA grant broke last week right after the Montecito Journal had gone to print, fortunately (and here’s the other piece of good news) we were able to break the news on our brand spanking new website www.montecitojournal.net, as well as on our twice weekly newsletter The Morning MoJo. If you have not already done so, please go to MontecitoJournal.net and sign up for the MoJo – click on the giant coffee cup in the top righthand corner. We promise to make you smile.
So what do you know, the once print-only Montecito Journal has entered into the modern age and has finally made its way online. I don’t know about you, but I find that very exciting! We have been working hard on designing and building this beautiful robust digital site for eight months (and by “we” I mean our Publisher and President and resident digital genius Tim Buckley and our exceedingly talented Art Director Trent Watanabe with more than a little assist from the fabulous and patient Farhan Khalid in Istanbul, Turkey. Truly a global effort to bring you our local news!) We hope that you feel as good about the final product as we do.
But before you go check it out, there are a few things we’d like you to know.
To date we have archived a full year of past Montecito Journal newspapers. Our plan is to upload a year’s worth of past Montecito Journal editions every six weeks. So if you’re searching for a past story and it’s not yet there, rest assured it’s coming.
Each week we will upload that week’s Journal on Wednesday at midnight, just before the next week’s paper can be found on the stands. The reason for the delay is that we want to make sure that local readers still pick up a hard copy of the paper as it’s important that we continue to strongly support our advertisers as they continue to support us! It is the physical paper that enables us to be able to create and support a robust digital presence which has great community benefits.
In addition to the Montecito Journal itself, our digital site will highlight various aspects of Montecito Journal Media Group content, including magazines, our soon to be released Giving List and lots of original digital content. Plus, going digital also gives us the ability to cover breaking news, which includes providing up-to-the-minute emergency information during any crisis that should arise. It also allows us to expand our reach to people near and far who love Montecito and consider our community a part of their lives. Or would like it to be.
We are proud of our new digital site, but it is a work in progress, and we welcome any feedback as it is our aim to make it the best and most user-friendly site on the Central Coast. So check us out at WWW.MONTECITOJOURNAL.NET and let us know what you think. Because what you think matters to us, very much.