Montecito Association’s Annual Meeting
The Montecito Association (MA) Board of Directors held its annual meeting this week, appointing new board members and saying goodbye to several retiring board members, as well as reviewing the Association’s activities in 2021.
Association president Megan Orloff and executive director Sharon Byrne reported on Association activities for the past year, which included extensive pandemic and vaccine updates to the community.
The Association participated heavily on two major initiatives: defeating/amending SB 9 and 10, and spearheading homeless outreach. The MA hired Hannah-Beth Jackson as a consultant and advocate, and fought for amendments to SB 9 and 10, including the high fire exclusion and owner-occupancy requirements (for more on SB 9, see last week’s Montecito Journal). Members of the MA worked with agencies throughout California on a statewide strategy regarding SB 9 and 10, and Byrne helped to organize a Santa Barbara South County townhall for 300+ people with Santa Barbara City Councilmembers, League of California Cities, Senator Monique Limón, and Assembly member Steve Bennett on SB 9 and 10 and other bills that would help with housing issues and homelessness. The MA advised SB County and City on emergency ordinance provisions for SB 9, and helped organize signature-gathering for the petition to put an initiative on the November 2022 ballot to reserve local land use decisions for local communities.
The MA’s Hands Across Montecito project was in full force in 2021, which included 14 Montecito volunteers who handled multi-camp cleanouts, raised $123,000 for outreach and placement for local individuals experiencing homelessness, and brought the homelessness count in Montecito down from 31 to four.
As always, the Association hosted several community events, pivoting as necessary due to the pandemic. A Village Fourth Parade, small Beautification Day, and first-ever Montecito Holiday Parade were among the highlights.
Byrne reported that many MA members and Montecito residents stepped up to volunteer for various activities, or donated money for various causes. “It goes to show what a very special, hands-on community we have,” she said.
New Directors & Retirements
Four seats were up for full three-year terms: returning directors Aimee Miller and Robert Kemp, and new directors Leslie Lundgren and Stan Roden were appointed to fill those seats. Lundgren, a fifth-generation Montecito resident, has a keen interest in history as well as preservation of Montecito’s semi-rural ambiance. Roden is a trial lawyer who has spent most of his life in Santa Barbara and Montecito.
Two seats were also up for grabs for one-year terms, as Jeffrey Schlossberg and Marshall Miller left the board before the end of their terms in 2021; Miller is now on the Montecito Planning Commission and Schlossberg stepped down due to time constraints. Appointed to fill those vacancies are Inken Gerlach, a Montecito resident with a background in engineering, and Cheryl Trosky, a longtime Montecito resident with a background in nursing who most recently served on the Citizens Independent Redistricting Commission.
Retiring directors include Cindy Feinberg, who once served as president of the Association, and Kathi King, longtime treasurer and Village Fourth co-chair.
The 2022 slate of officers was also announced at the annual meeting: Megan Orloff as president, Doug Black as vice president, Houghton Hyatt as second vice president, John Murphy as treasurer, and Penny Bianchi as secretary.
Santa Barbara County Sheriff Lieutenant Butch Arnoldi reported on crime in Montecito in the last month. In early December there was a boat vessel found abandoned on Butterfly Beach, but the owner was able to remove it within three days thanks to friends and community donations. Later in the month there was a residential burglary on San Ysidro; a forgery on Miramar Avenue; extensive residential burglary on Rockbridge; unlawful entry gained on El Bosque; forgery of six checks on Mesa Road; residential burglary on Jelinda in which two heavy sculptures were stolen; and issues with electric bikes driving too fast on roads and trails.
School reps Anthony Ranii and Dr. Amy Alzina reported that both Montecito Union School and Cold Spring School have had positive COVID-19 cases in the last two weeks, both among students and staff. “We’ve had more cases in the last two weeks than the last two years,” Ranii said, saying there have been a total of 27 positive cases on campus. He reported that students are reporting mild symptoms while adults seem to have a flu-like sickness. Dr. Alzina said that there have been nine COVID-19 cases on the Cold Spring campus.
She also reported that 30 students have been enrolled for next year’s kindergarten, which means the kindergarten classes are already at capacity and the school will likely need to get creative with finding more classroom space. Dr. Alzina said the students marked the fourth anniversary of the 1/9 Debris Flow by the ringing of bells. The students who were in kindergarten during the 1/9 event are now in fourth grade, and spoke about their six-year-old classmate Pasta Sutthithepa, who was killed in the debris flow.
Montecito Fire Chief Kevin Taylor thanked the MA for their participation in last weekend’s Raise Our Light event in remembrance of the 1/9 Debris Flow on January 9, 2018. “It’s super important that we continue to honor and remember the community members we lost,” he said. Chief Taylor also reported that the MFPD’s annual report is now available; visit www.montecitofire.com for more information.
Montecito Water’s General Manager Nick Turner said that December’s significant rainfall brought 10 inches of rain to Montecito, eight inches at Lake Cachuma, and 13 inches at Jameson Lake. Despite rainfall being 3x the average in December, the water supply conditions have not changed much due to significant drought. The good news is that customer water use continues to trend down, and desal water deliveries started this year, providing 35% of Montecito’s water supply.
The next Montecito Association meeting is Tuesday, February 8. Visit www.montecitoassociation.org for more information.