Author spotlight: Bob Hazard

Robert C. Hazard, Jr. is the retired former chairman of Creative Hotel Associates and Choice Hotels International. During Bob’s tenure at Choice, the system grew to one of the world’s largest franchise lodging chains in the world. Before joining Choice, Bob served as chief executive officer of Best Western International for seven years. A cum laude graduate of Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of International Affairs, he served in the U.S. Air Force, and later IBM and American Express. Father of five grown children and grandfather of nine, Bob and his wife Victoria currently reside in Montecito, California.

The Wrong Solution to the Wrong Problem at the Wrong Time
By Bob Hazard   |   January 31, 2023

In November, Montecito residents watched in dismay as carpenters and electricians dismantled two-thirds of the popular outdoor dining parklets at Lucky’s Steakhouse and one half of the parklets serving Tre Lune Ristorante to restore four new parking spaces on Coast Village Road (CVR).  Nearby, the city parklet guillotine fell on Jeannine’s Restaurant & Bakery, which […]

Republicans, We Have a Problem
By Bob Hazard   |   November 8, 2022

Here at the Montecito Journal, we have long believed in offering a variety of views, letting each side have its space to speak. In light of the upcoming election, two of our longtime contributors have written in on what they think you should consider when heading to the ballot box this November 8. With Rinaldo […]

Is There an Ocean Miracle in California’s Future?
By Bob Hazard   |   October 18, 2022

Coming off another summer of soaring dry heat, California water agencies can no longer rely on snowpack in the High Sierras, delivered through an aging and over-extended State Water System, nor can they rely on an over-drafted Colorado River. So, what’s left beside the pitiful plea of “Pray for more rain”? The Pacific Ocean Reservoir […]

Water Warnings for 2023
By Bob Hazard   |   October 11, 2022

What is the current outlook for California water in 2023? Researchers tell us that our state is experiencing “the driest 22-year period in the last 1,200 years.” They warn: “Likely El Niño conditions are predicted to continue into 2023; prepare now for another dry year.” Locally, the Montecito Water District’s (MWD) position remains strong, principally […]

California Scheming: Fast Food Folly Unfrocked
By Bob Hazard   |   October 4, 2022

California, which already ranks dead last in Chief Executive’s “Best and Worst States for Business,” just took another giant leap backward. On Labor Day, September 9, 2022, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law, a new,deceptively named “Fast Food Recovery Act.” This legislation has nothing to do with fast-food recovery. Instead, once again, the government […]

The Coast Village Road War Just Got Hotter
By Bob Hazard   |   September 13, 2022

Hours after last week’s Montecito Journal went to press, the war between the restaurants and the retailers over the future of Coast Village Road (CVR) got hotter.  Santa Barbara Mayor Randy Rowse expressed his written opinion regarding his long-term commitment to the continuation of parklets on CVR. At the same time, CVR retailer Kevin Frank, […]

A Solution to the Coast Village Road Parking Wars: Who Wins? Who Loses? Restaurants, Retailers, or the Community?
By Bob Hazard   |   September 6, 2022

Coast Village Road (CVR), though ceded to the City of Santa Barbara in 1960, remains an iconic pillar of the Montecito lifestyle. The CVR streetscape offers sophisticated dining, boutique shopping, historic hotels, real estate brokers, drugstores, medical offices, professional services, hair salons, banks, business offices – and yes, even a modern, high-priced combination gas station, car […]

Is There a Solution to America’s Abortion Quandary?
By Bob Hazard   |   July 19, 2022

Large numbers of women are still processing the recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn almost 50 years of legal precedent and strike down Roe vs. Wade. Even though most knew the decision was coming, that didn’t ease the shock, grief, and outrage felt by those who believe that the demise of Roe […]

Is There an Opportunity for a Compromise on Abortion?
By Bob Hazard   |   May 31, 2022

An illegally leaked draft opinion written by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito suggests that a court majority could invalidate Roe v. Wade. Impassioned women (and men) have hit the streets with protest signs that read: My Body, My Choice; Keep Abortion Safe and Legal, Abortion on Demand Without Apology; Banning Abortions is Racist; Protect Women, […]

How to Stop the Killing in Ukraine?
By Bob Hazard   |   May 10, 2022

The Russian military strategy for its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine has been to unleash a campaign of genocide, defined as “the deliberate killing of a large number of people from a particular nation (or ethnic group) with the aim of destroying that nation (or group).” A deliberate attempt to maximize civilian casualties using targeted cruise […]

Should the Montecito Water and Sanitary Districts Consolidate?
By Bob Hazard   |   April 19, 2022

Last week, the Independent published an editorial titled, “Merger in Works for Montecito Water? Push to Combine Water and Sewer Districts is Solution Without a Problem, Critics Say.” The implication in the Independent editorial is that there is no good reason for the Montecito Water and Sanitary districts to challenge the status quo, to study […]

Shaping the Future of Water for California’s Central Coast
By Bob Hazard   |   October 12, 2021

Bringing an end to California’s cycle of dependence on imported water and surface reservoirs will require that we increase reliable local supplies of potable water that are independent of rainfall, and that we decrease our demand for water through continued conservation. In order to drought-proof California’s Central Coast over the long term, we need to […]

What Can California Learn From Israel About Water Management?
By Bob Hazard   |   October 5, 2021

Israel is located in one of the driest regions of the world and has traditionally suffered from a scarcity of freshwater resources. Despite that challenge, it is now considered “the best nation in the world for water efficiency” according to Global Water Intelligence, an international water industry publisher. In fewer than 20 years, this parched […]

The Role of Desalination in an Increasingly Water-Scarce World
By Bob Hazard   |   September 28, 2021

The removal of salt from seawater (desalination) is bitterly opposed by the California environmental community and its supporters in academia, government, and the press.  Los Angeles Times editorial columnist Steve Lopez, a four-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, grudgingly acknowledges that “Desalination may have a role to play in addressing California’s long-running water shortage; after all we […]

Will Montecito Run Out of Water?
By Bob Hazard   |   September 21, 2021

As of mid-September, 50 out of the 58 California counties are reporting either “extreme” or “exceptional” drought status. Montecito falls into the “extreme drought” category. While Montecito’s water supply appears secure for the next three years, all bets are off if continued drought becomes the new norm, or if Montecito Water District (MWD) customers are […]

Assuring a Wet Future for California
By Bob Hazard   |   September 14, 2021

Lack of potable water is a more serious problem than COVID-19. Without water the average person dies within three days. A horse can go five days without water; a camel 10 days; plants can survive two to three weeks. Without water, all life perishes. Water makes up more than 70% of the Earth’s surface; the […]

An Unknown Roadmap: Breaking Down Montecito’s Recycling Plan Options
By Bob Hazard   |   April 29, 2021

Last Thursday, the Montecito Water District and Montecito Sanitary District held a joint strategic planning meeting to discuss options for a joint effort to recycle most of the 500,000 gallons a day of treated Montecito wastewater, now being dumped into 35 feet of ocean water, 1,500 feet off Butterfly Beach in Montecito, a practice whose […]

Can Water and Sanitary Work Together to Shape the Future of Montecito?
By Bob Hazard   |   April 8, 2021

A recent series of letters in the Montecito Journal has questioned the wisdom of the Montecito Water Board and the Montecito Sanitary Board’s studying the issue of consolidation. Jeff Kerns, a respected former Sanitary Director, has raised an important issue. He suggests that the first step is to define the problem you want to solve; only […]

The Art of Compromise
By Bob Hazard   |   December 3, 2020

The election is over, and Joe Biden won. Now is the time for all 150 million voters to get behind our new president and reach out the hand of friendship and hope. Gwyn Lurie, CEO and Executive Editor of the Montecito Journal Media Group, has called for a bipartisan post-election response, asking us to do […]

Looters Attack More Than a Courthouse
By Bob Hazard   |   August 6, 2020

Many in Montecito are conflicted. The senseless killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis has jarred 100 percent of us into re-examining the fight for equal rights and justice under the law. Unfortunately, while our country attempts to come together in its search for racial justice, a highly visible minority of violent rioters and anarchists has […]

Why Did it Take 32 Years for Montecito to Cut a Desal Deal with the City of Santa Barbara? (Part II)
By Bob Hazard   |   July 9, 2020

The story of desalination in Santa Barbara dates back 32 years. Its plot, with all its twists and turns, rivals the movie, Chinatown, a tale of manipulation of water in Los Angeles in the 1930s. Faced with the threat of drought in the late 1980s, the City of Santa Barbara, the Montecito Water District and […]

Is the Water Supply Agreement (WSA) with the City a Good Deal for Montecito and for the City? (Part I)
By Bob Hazard   |   July 2, 2020

Last Thursday, the Board of Directors of the Montecito Water District (MWD) voted unanimously to approve the Water Supply Agreement (WSA) with the City of Santa Barbara. Next up is approval by the Santa Barbara City Council. The WSA is expected to go before the City Council June 30. If agreement is reached, city water […]

Divided America – The Importance of National Unity
By Bob Hazard   |   June 25, 2020

The glue binding America is coming undone. Every aspect of life is becoming strained by growing divisiveness. Which media do we trust? Who is worthy of federal aid? How can we ever put this country back together as “one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”? Trust in our political leadership has […]

Ball of Confusion
By Bob Hazard   |   June 18, 2020

I’m confused. Prior to May 25, law enforcement officers, along with firefighters, doctors and nurses, were celebrated as America’s heroes for showing up as first responders when other workers were told to shelter-in-place. What has happened to unleash a flood of angry protestors with signs that read “Eat the rich. Hang Bankers”; “F*** Capitalism”; and […]

Coronavirus Panic Comes to Montecito
By Bob Hazard   |   March 12, 2020

By far, the hottest topic in Montecito this week is the fear of the coronavirus and its rapid spread around the world. Anxiety is high because we are all being warned by the media that the coronavirus has not yet peaked. Social Distancing Wherever cases are reported, the cry escalates for “social distancing,” which means […]

Drug Bust in Montecito?
By Bob Hazard   |   February 20, 2020

Rumors were rampant last Wednesday as federal agents from the Los Angeles Field Division of the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) swarmed the Upper Village to serve an inspection search warrant on the iconic San Ysidro Pharmacy and its popular owner Steve Hoyt. The audit began at roughly 9 am and ended by mid-afternoon. Customers were […]

Montecito – The Future Starts Now!
By Bob Hazard   |   February 13, 2020

It has been more than 25 years since the formal adoption of the Montecito Community Plan, crafted by concerned citizens, who were charged with protecting and preserving the special, small town, semi-rural residential character of our community. Back in 1995, semi-rural meant the lack of sidewalks and traffic lights, narrow winding roads, subtle road signage, […]

Dueling Dens
By Bob Hazard   |   January 23, 2020

Only in California is it possible for two accomplished Democrats, with near perfect party pedigrees, to run for one job to represent the voters of District 1 as a Supervisor for Santa Barbara County. Political pundits promise that this year’s race for the District 1 seat between the incumbent Das Williams and the challenger Laura […]

Leadership by Laura
By Bob Hazard   |   January 16, 2020

The hottest ticket in Montecito for the month of January is a seat at the Music Academy of the West’s Hahn Hall on Monday evening, January 27, 6 to 8 pm, for a FREE, 1st come, 1st served, debate between the Democratic incumbent, 1st District County Supervisor Das Williams, and the Democrat challenger Laura Capps, […]

Alternative Solutions in a Single-Party State
By Bob Hazard   |   January 9, 2020

California has been reliably blue for most of the last 20 years and is likely to remain so for the foreseeable future. At the state level, Democrats control the Governorship (Gavin Newsom), the Lieutenant Governor (Eleni Kounalakis), the Attorney General (Xavier Becerra), and the Secretary of State (Alex Padilla). They have attained a super majority […]

The Future of the “New” Montecito Journal
By Bob Hazard   |   December 26, 2019

The most frequent community question I am asked is, “What is the future of the Montecito Journal under its new ownership?” As an investor in the “new” Montecito Journal Media Group, along with 30 other locals and families, my answer requires an analysis of the value of a local newspaper as well as a deeper […]

Red Zone Blues
By Bob Hazard   |   December 22, 2019

A question one often hears in Montecito this summer involves home real estate values within the dreaded “red zone.” Those currently in the red zone, whose homes were untouched by the 1/9 debris flow, ask how can they have their homes removed from the punitive evacuation red zone. To better understand the “red zone” and […]

All I Want for Christmas… Is to Keep Our Community Safer
By Bob Hazard   |   December 12, 2019

Last week, several hundred Montecito residents turned out at Montecito Union School to hear Kevin Taylor, Montecito Fire Protection District (MFPD) chief, plus a parade of six county officials, provide an update on Winter Storm Readiness in Montecito.  Montecito Fire Chief Taylor served as “Unified Commander” during the December 2017 Thomas Fire, as well as […]

A Blueprint for Public Service… The Partnership for Resilient Communities
By Bob Hazard   |   November 14, 2019

Two weeks ago at the Montecito Association’s 34th Annual Beautification Day, the Partnership for Resilient Communities (TPRC) was selected as the 2019 recipient of the “Citizen of the Year” honors. The ceremony included last year’s winner Abe Powell of Bucket Brigade fame and 1st District County Supervisor Das Williams, along with MA officials. Who Are […]

Lights Out in Montecito
By Bob Hazard   |   November 7, 2019

Last week, two million fellow residents of the Golden State were intentionally blacked out by their public utilities without a whimper of protest from our publicly elected officials in Sacramento, Washington, D.C., or Santa Barbara County. Fortunately, Montecito, Carpinteria, and Montecito stayed alit, while residents of Goleta woke up last weekend to smoky air, face […]

Power to the People
By Bob Hazard   |   October 24, 2019

The hottest topic last week was “When will we lose our power in Montecito?” And, if so, “How often and for how long?” In the past, some 60% of power blackouts have been caused by bad weather such as violent storms. However, 30% of power outages can be attributed to aging electrical grids that are […]

The Public Pension Problem
By Bob Hazard   |   October 17, 2019

Collectively, every California household is on the hook to pay for the public pension promises and retiree healthcare commitments made by elected leaders to not only the 2.6 million public employees who currently are employed in California, but also the 2.4 million retired public workers, who are now living longer and enjoying lifetime employment benefits […]

Homelessness in Montecito
By Bob Hazard   |   October 3, 2019

According to the Wall Street Journal, California has 12% of the nation’s population, but accounts for half of the homeless population. San Francisco is only a few degrees cooler than Orlando in January, but the homeless rate in the City by the Bay is 30 times higher than Orlando. In the last year, homelessness in […]

An Opportunity for Montecito
By Bob Hazard   |   October 1, 2019

Montecito has emerged temporarily from a seven-year drought which ended in 2017. Our opportunity for permanent water security and independence from drought is to tap the biggest reservoir in the world, the Pacific Ocean, larger than all the world’s land masses combined. The Pacific Ocean covers 30% of the Earth’s surface, or 60 million square […]

What’s Up in the Sewer System?
By Bob Hazard   |   September 26, 2019

The question before the Montecito Sanitary District (MSD) Board and its Montecito community of ratepayers is whether or not it is a good idea to spend nearly $6 million in ratepayer funds to build an office building for three employees and a receptionist. On the surface, spending $6 million on an office building for four […]