Big Box Thoughts

By Montecito Journal   |   August 8, 2023

I just read Jeff Harding’s piece on the addition of Restoration Hardware in the Vol. 29 Issue 30 edition of the MJ. While I generally agree with a lot of what Jeff had to say, I feel like the piece requires some clarification. The reason these formulaic retailers he mentions are on Coast Village is because it is not part of Montecito and therefore not subject to the same opinions of the Montecito community (fortunately or unfortunately). That’s not to say there are no “formulaic retailers” in our community, but I think the MA is fully within its mandates to have this discussion. In the end, I think it is the responsibility of the Montecito community to “vote with their wallets” as to which retailers thrive in our community – just as Jeff suggests. But at the same time, the massive influx of new community members that have arrived in the last five to 10 years might not have the same values that those of us that have been here for 30+ years are trying to maintain. So, having some discussions about who should set up shop in our community is a worthwhile activity in my opinion.

Chase Muller

Montecito Resident Living Out of Car After Family Property Sold

My family’s 1.17-acre property at 673 Cold Spring Road recently sold for $3,736,000. Escrow closed on May 16, 2023.

My parents bought the property in 1974 for $120,000. My mother, Patricia Rosen, passed away two years ago on August 1, 2021. For years I helped her and drove her places. She was very healthy until she broke her hip in mid-2021. Before that happened, she could walk all over the place without a cane. She lived to be 93 and a half. She loved her home and was able to be there during her last days.

After she passed, a court-appointed trustee handled the sale of the property. My siblings wanted a trustee.

But, so far, beneficiaries have received no funds.

My sister and I are in great need. On July 21, my sister wrote to me in an email: “I’m still here. I have heart problems.” On July 25, she wrote in response to an inquiry if she’s received money from the trustee: “No money yet.” Having some money would put her at ease.

As for me, I’m almost out of money, living off a credit card. 

I paid for my mother’s caregivers during the last weeks of her life. Very expensive. No reimbursement for this.

After my mom passed, I cleared out the contents of her house and garage, cleaned the house thoroughly, sanded the redwood deck, etc. No reimbursement for this labor. Getting the property ready for sale involved a huge amount of work.

Now I’m living out of my car. For two months I slept in a tent on La Cumbre Peak. On July 28, a sheet of paper was put in front of my tent which stated camping is prohibited in “anywhere other than a developed campground, for a period longer than seven consecutive days or for more than 21 days during a calendar year.” I’m looking for another place to stay.

For the last couple of months I’ve been asking the trustee for some funds – hopefully my siblings and I will get a preliminary distribution soon.

People have been very kind. So have politicians. Das Williams stated at the July 11 Board of Supervisors meeting that he’d have someone contact the trustee on my behalf. His aide Kadie McShirley made a phone call to both the trustee and his attorney. Also, Santa Barbara City Councilman Oscar Gutierrez called the trustee. I told Assemblyman Gregg Hart about the situation at his sidewalk office hours, and he was very concerned. He said I looked well. Good to hear that!

Bryan Rosen

Life at Casa

Little did I know that after my last letter life could actually get worse. My ear tinnitus has been rendered far worse and is now into my right ear, which is in a pain I have never experienced before.

The morning of June 21st I was jolted out of bed by constant non-stop hammering that was worse than a power tool. I share a 23’ long mutual wall with new upcoming neighbors in our bedroom. After five years, the loveliest previous neighbors moved – after a very substantial investment – in disgust. 

I got up and dressed to go to the apartment. One worker said they were hired by Casa’s Lindsey Moreno, who authorized new baseboards on our mutual wall. Why would these new neighbors require new baseboards? I inherited my baseboards 14 and a half years ago. They were and still are in pristine condition. 

The intensity of the noise that morning has left me with so much pain in my ear I’m afraid I will suffer the effects until my death, which cannot come soon enough. I am awakened in the middle of the night by the sound of a car with the engine running, and for this nightmare I am paying $5,830 a month at six percent annual increases. I am far from the only one complaining about the noise, but no one has the courage to say or do anything. We are just collateral damage, said one neighbor. 

Someone suggested I move to a so-called villa (no European villa would look this cheesy, and this would be at a cost of 1.5 million dollars). No way will Casa benefit from my monies, which are earmarked for Doctors Without Borders and Habitat for Humanity here in Santa Barbara only. 

Once in all these years have I requested an annual cleanup. This year I asked housekeeping that mirrors – which reach up to the ceiling – be cleaned, and the fridge pulled back from the wall so that I could clean because the motor reaches so low I cannot run anything beneath it. And for that I was being billed $40, which was not going to happen on my watch. 

When I first moved here, I had a charge of $1,731 for a trip to Las Vegas that I never took. If an attorney was handling my bills, how much do you want to bet that bill would have been questioned? 

I still deal with corporate tenants since 1975, but never has any one of them put me through the misery of any of this. 

Renee Templeraud, 
Casa Dorinda Resident  


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