Rumors and Actual News

By Sharon Byrne   |   January 25, 2022

A few persistent rumors have spread through the Montecito community, thus proving the old adage that a lie can get halfway round the world before the truth can even get its boots on. Here are a couple that we’ve thoroughly debunked:

– Rick Caruso is buying the Upper Village and plans to turn it into Brentwood North via rampant development. False.This one got quite a bit of play before it was squashed. Norm Borgatello and Richard Gunner own most of it, and they’re not selling.

– Harry and Meghan are looking at property and possibly moving to Birnam Wood. Apparently, this one was started by a hopeful realtor listing a property in Birnam, who wanted to gin up interest in it, but had no idea that worldwide press would jump on anything that mentions these two. If you put out a story that they got allergies, the Sun, Globe, and other tabloidesque outlets will run it on the spot. You know, the point of them moving here was to have a nice community to fit in, enjoy, and be part of. We’re pretty good around here at respecting people’s privacy. Realtors who want to overhype a listing – be warned.

Things worth talking about that are actually true:

–  We have a new mayor in Santa Barbara, Randy Rowse.Here’s hoping he brings a breath of fresh air to city government, responsiveness, and a willingness to embrace Santa Barbara’s future. We also hope he feels he has a partner in Montecito, as we have a very successful homeless-outreach project that is community-based and backed. We’d love to see a stronger partner in the City of Santa Barbara, since there is no passport check at our respective boundaries, and citizens, sheltered and unsheltered, move back and forth freely.

– We will have a new Assembly Representative. Possibly by June. We were served well by Monique Limón, now our California Senator. Steve Bennett of Ventura was elected in 2020, but as a result of redistricting by an independent citizens’ redistricting commission, will no longer have Santa Barbara County in his district. He will be running for Assembly District 38, encompassing more of Ventura County. There is a new district boundary for the 37th Assembly District that will be in effect for the June 2022 Primary.

Three candidates have already put their names in:

Santa Barbara County Second District Supervisor Gregg Hart

City of Santa Barbara Planning Commissioner Gabe Escobedo

Santa Barbara City College Trustee Jonathan Abboud, who also ran in the 2020 Primary.

Odd-on-favorite to win: Gregg Hart.

If he garners more than 50% of the vote in the June 2022 primary, he’ll win the seat at that point.

For Montecito, state representation has become incredibly important. Our legislators have helped with disaster recovery, deploying California resources here. We’ve worked with them on insurance issues, resources to combat homelessness, California roads like Highway 101 and 192, and housing legislation. Having a solid representative in the 37th Assembly district will be important to Montecito.

I’m not a fan of gossip, but I am a huge proponent in paying attention to the things that really affect Montecito. Stay tuned to this page for those items.  


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