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.

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 […]

Men Versus Women
By Bob Hazard   |   September 19, 2019

Ever since Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden for taking a bite out of the “Big Apple,” men and women have been arguing over who is smarter, stronger, and the most trustworthy. So, let’s examine some of those traits. Intelligence Men and women seem to be equal in general intelligence (IQ […]

Easing the Gridlock at Olive Mill and Coast Village Road
By Bob Hazard   |   August 15, 2019

On Monday, August 11, 2018, Montecito residents got their first look at the conceptual design for a proposed roundabout to be constructed at the intersection of Coast Village Road and Olive Mill Road.What makes this roundabout challenging and unique is the fact that the circle will have six legs and 10 lanes of traffic entering […]

What’s Up with the Highway 101 Widening?
By Bob Hazard   |   August 8, 2019

Last week, I had lunch with the two people who will either make your life more miserable or much happier over the next 10 years. They are the principal players in the widening of the US 101 as it slowly migrates northward toward Montecito. Scott Eades is the Caltrans point person designated as the Santa […]

Gridlock Grips Montecito
By Bob Hazard   |   August 1, 2019

It is August, and the living in Montecito is easy… or at least it should be. Gone are May Gray and June Gloom; in their place are sunny skies, a beautiful blue-green ocean and mild temperatures. For the first time in seven years, we have adequate water with no prospect of mandatory rationing. Happiness prevails. […]

Election Intrigue in Montecito
By Bob Hazard   |   July 25, 2019

The big local political news is that Laura Capps is telling friends and political associates that she has decided to challenge Das Williams in his bid for re-election as 1st District County Supervisor. The election will be held March 3, 2020, replacing the traditional June California primary election. Candidates must be certified by December 26, […]

Waiting for the Big One
By Bob Hazard   |   July 11, 2019

Montecito received a warning last week from two of California’s biggest earthquakes in the last 20 years, a 6.4 magnitude quake last Thursday on the 4th of July, followed by a 7.1 magnitude shake and quake 34 hours later at 8 pm Friday evening. Both quakes originated in the Mojave high-desert region near Ridgecrest, a […]

Seeking Perpetual Excellence
By Bob Hazard   |   June 20, 2019

As we wave the flags and cheer for our kids at our annual 4th of July parade celebrating America’s call for independence, we cannot ignore the reality that we are governed by a county that is totally devoid of local long-range strategic planning for Montecito, including coordination of disparate community efforts. Under the present system […]

How Did We Get It So Wrong?
By Bob Hazard   |   June 13, 2019

Throughout history men have made some bad choices by unwittingly clinging to the past, rather than recognizing and embracing an uncertain future. Here are a few memorable misjudgments: In 1903, the President of the Michigan Savings Bank warned Henry Ford’s lawyer, Horace Rackham, to protect his money. “The horse is here to stay but the […]

The Search For “Affordable” Healthcare
By Bob Hazard   |   June 6, 2019

For the majority of the 8,965 residents of Montecito, the cost of healthcare is affordable. Until it is not. Healthcare becomes less affordable, even for affluent residents, when they face the cost of chronic conditions like cancer, when they are forced to finance end-of-life care, when very expensive drugs are prescribed, or when unexpected medical […]

Local Control of Community Services
By Bob Hazard   |   May 23, 2019

Montecito Association (MA) members have identified three issues – water security, including lifetime independence from drought; effective recycling with re-use of wastewater; safety and security from future flood and debris flows – as critical issues facing Montecito that need to be explored and resolved as the community looks toward a better future. To resolve any […]

Water Security from the Santa Barbara Channel
By Bob Hazard   |   May 16, 2019

Last week’s editorial identified the five top concerns facing the residents of Montecito as (1) Safety and Security from future fire, flood, and earthquake; (2) Rebuilding Public and Private Infrastructure; (3) Protecting and Preserving the Semi-Rural Character of Montecito; (4) Traffic Gridlock in Montecito; and (5) Water Securityand Water Independence from future drought. Identifying challenges […]

Is Montecito The Last Perfect Place?
By Bob Hazard   |   May 9, 2019

A year and a half after fire, flood, and mud – and after seven years of extreme drought – the “disaster watch” seems to have receded in 2019. Gentle rains have nearly ended – leaving behind a profusion of May flowers and a greater sense of wellbeing for both community residents and visitors. Never has […]

A Closer Look at Federal Income Taxes
By Bob Hazard   |   May 2, 2019

On or before April 15, 141 million U.S. taxpayers voluntarily shipped to Washington an estimated $1.7 trillion in individual income tax dollars, or about half of all federal revenues, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Taxpayers grappled with a federal tax code that is 73,954 pages long, which Albert Einstein called, “the hardest thing […]

Will Montecito Go To Pot?
By Bob Hazard   |   April 18, 2019

Private use of marijuana for recreational purposes is now legal for adults living in Montecito. Recreational use of marijuana for those 21 years and older was approved overwhelmingly by state’s voters in November 2016. The legal sale of adult-use cannabis projects at recreational dispensaries licensed by the California Bureau of Cannabis Control took effect on […]

Taxing Times in Montecito
By Bob Hazard   |   April 11, 2019

Beware the Ides of April – the time when the Federal and State tax men cometh to collect their share of the money needed to pay for next year’s government follies. Here are some taxing takeaways for Montecito residents: The ZIP Code List Montecito is too often associated with Oprah Winfrey, large estates, and the […]

The Water Wells of Montecito
By Bob Hazard   |   March 28, 2019

After a wet November, a damp December, and a soggy January, February, and March, the good news is that Montecito water bills have never been lower. Seventeen storms have dropped 32 inches of water drenching our community. The heavy downpours in Montecito have temporarily eliminated our “extreme drought” designation but have raised a number of […]