Giving Thanks to Our Wonderful Community

By Sharon Byrne   |   November 30, 2021

We just want to take this opportunity to tell you how grateful we are for you, our beloved community, for all the ways you’ve inspired us with your generosity, come through in spades for your community, been through the worst of times and stood so strong, and made this just one of the finest places in the world to live.

Thank you for being the best pandemic-survivors and vaccine-getters ever. Montecito has the highest, or one of the highest, vaccination rates in the entire county. You were willing to drive to Lompoc, Santa Maria, and even Los Angeles to get those shots. You sent our emails on where and how to get vaccines to others to help them get vaccinated. We’ve met so many people that got our forwarded emails and got the vaccine. You helped a lot of people through a very difficult time and help make everyone much safer. 

Thank you for supporting Hands Across Montecito. We pioneered something, and you believed in us all the way, went into the bushes with us, climbed cliffs to do outreach, and funded this project. We never dreamed, when we started this project, that Montecitans would be the best outreach team ever

Wow. Just wow. 

You’ve blown us away with how hands-on you got, and how much good you created. Here’s what you helped: 

— Housed three people permanently.

— Supported three in hotels, who now have housing vouchers.

— Reunified 17 people with their families. Two more are going to Arizona to their family this week.

— Helped us steer people into treatment they very much needed.

— Hired seven people to clear abandoned camps on Beautification Day, minting rock-star heroes who fixed an environmental hazard for this community.

— You tell us right away when there is someone new here, living unsheltered, and we respond on the spot.

Our state friends (Caltrans, Sen. Monique Limón’s office) loved this project, and want to replicate it. 

We pioneered something really good here.

Thank you for Beautification Day, for helping us turn it into an environmentally supportive and sustainable event that loves on local businesses, by turning out in a sea of yellow vests that brightened the landscape, to put your hands on our community, with love. 

Thank you for supporting our work on Senate Bills 9 and 10. They threatened a total paving over of our neighborhood, and you stood up for your community. You communicated with your legislators, and they heard you. They did not support these bills.

There are interesting developments: a 2022 ballot initiative to overturn them, and some of you were at the town hall, with signature-gathering is starting.

You’re getting peppered now by Senate Bill 9 promotional mailers and ads. The city of Santa Barbara took our advice, from our statewide coalition that continues to work on legislation, in creating their emergency ordinance to ward off Senate Bill 9 to the best extent they could. The county (despite our prodding) is not working on getting ready for that bill, we’re sorry to report.

We’re now looking at how to stop forces of speculation and displacement, and we totally get the latter issue, as we’re meeting displaced persons newly made homeless, through Hands Across Montecito. One could look at this as a financial refugee crisis. 

Thank you for supporting our businesses and looking out for our local workers. You embraced our letter to tourists and new residents in these very pages and let us know that we said what everyone was thinking.

Thank you for caring about our wildlife, like Carlos (and maybe Carla?) the bear(s), meeting with California Fish and Wildlife to talk about solutions and upping your game in protecting your livestock. 

Thank you for caring about walking paths and safe routes to schools. 

Thank you for seeing that intense road construction, potential evacuations, and too much congestion in the community are a cause for concern and prodding us to act on it. We sure took you up on it.

Thank you for caring about water, drought, climate change, fire danger, and all the hazards we have faced and continue to navigate as a community.

Thank you for your good ideas and your enthusiasm for this community.

Thank you for saying yes — to a July 4th parade for everyone, and jumping on for the first Montecito Holiday Magic Night Parade on December 4! 

For all of these things, and many more, as we embrace this season of gratitude, we thank you for inspiring us to strive to do our best for you. This is the most generous, supportive community that knows we have something really special here, and is willing to do whatever is needed. Have the happiest of Thanksgivings, stay safe, and know that your Montecito Association works tirelessly with you and for you, as you inspire and support us, to preserve and protect all we hold dear together.


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