Author spotlight: Gwyn Lurie

CEO and Executive Editor of the Montecito Journal Media Group.

A Seat at the Table
By Gwyn Lurie   |   February 7, 2023

Anita Hill never wanted to testify before the Senate Judiciary committee. In fact, despite a stellar academic record, you probably would not know the name Anita Hill if not for veteran NPR Legal Affairs Correspondent Nina Totenberg. The same way you wouldn’t know the Watergate Hotel, if not for Woodward and Bernstein. How it came […]

To Evacuate or Not to Evacuate?
By Gwyn Lurie   |   January 24, 2023

I’m sure I’m not alone in being relieved that our community did not have to be evacuated during the storm this past weekend. Still, I was on pins and needles wondering whether that scary alarm would suddenly come blaring from my phone, informing me it was time to pile my family, my dogs, and a […]

Janu-Scary
By Gwyn Lurie   |   January 17, 2023

In my end-of-year letter, I wrote about my habitual January dread. Or as I sometimes like to call it, Janu-scary. And then January 9th reared its ugly head. Again. The coincidence of Mother Nature’s repeat performance was, to say the least, eerie. Let’s just say this is one time I didn’t enjoy being prescient. As […]

The MOORE the Merrier: Confessions of a January-phobic
By Gwyn Lurie   |   January 3, 2023

Locally, we’re coming up on five years since California’s epic Thomas Fire led to Montecito’s deadly January 9, 2018 debris flow. Which this year got me to thinking about anniversaries, my love of Decembers, and my fear of Januarys, how quickly time flies, and Moore’s Law. They say March comes in like a lion and […]

Citizen’s Suggestion Brings a Safer Montecito
By Gwyn Lurie   |   December 13, 2022

This week, Montecito became a little safer. On page 14 you can read about the ALERTCalifornia camera just installed on TV Hill that will provide 24/7 “eyes” on the Santa Barbara Front Country and eventually alert firefighters to new fire starts using artificial intelligence technology.  But before you read about this exciting and potentially lifesaving […]

Giving Back
By Gwyn Lurie   |   November 29, 2022

“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”  – John Wesley Of all the places I’ve lived or spent any significant […]

And the Winner Is… Democracy
By Gwyn Lurie   |   November 15, 2022

There were many big winners in Tuesday’s election, most importantly: democracy and grace. It made my heart sing to watch defeated candidates, red and blue, gracefully acknowledge that things had not gone their way, this time. Who knew that we still had the human capacityfor humility? Beyond that biggest of wins… a few local highlights: […]

It Takes a Crisis to Solve a Crisis
By Gwyn Lurie   |   November 8, 2022

At my core I’m an optimist. Not to be confused with a Pollyanna. I try to stay open to ideas and sources of inspiration and innovation that could lead us to a better place – no easy feat.  Which is why I enjoyed (or more accurately, had the enriching experience of) reading Ian Bremmer’s book, […]

Rock ‘N Roll Heaven
By Gwyn Lurie   |   October 27, 2022

There were many COVID casualties, beyond the loss of precious life. Like ceremony. So many of us were forced to say goodbye to loved ones without the spiritual and emotional closure that comes with gathering closely with community to celebrate the lives that were lost. One such loss that hit hard here was the passing […]

November 8th Election: Our Endorsements
By Gwyn Lurie   |   October 11, 2022

This year the Montecito Journal co-hosted a handful of Zoom candidate forums, all involving local school board races for which Montecito residents will have a vote (the one exception is the SBUSD area #1 seat, for which a smaller portion of our readers will have the chance to weigh in). This is not to say […]

Touching Hearts With Fire
By Gwyn Lurie   |   October 4, 2022

As an advisor to four U.S. Presidents, Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton, David Gergen had a front row seat to the highest levels of power and leadership in this country. As an editor for U.S. News and World Report, and a commentator on PBS and CNN, Mr. Gergen became a steady and rational voice on […]

College Daze
By Gwyn Lurie   |   September 13, 2022

From the day our children are born, we begin the process of teaching them everything they need to know so that one day they can leave home. And then, they do. Little ingrates! Like so many parents, I took my firstborn daughter to college last week. I flew across the country and dropped her off […]

A Lifeboat to Roe
By Gwyn Lurie   |   July 5, 2022

Humor is often born of pain. So last month, when Justice Alito’s draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization was leaked, sounding the death knell for the constitutional right to abortion established in Roe v. Wade, it was no surprise when Stephen Colbert joked of the irony that this decision was written by […]

Our Endorsements
By Gwyn Lurie   |   May 17, 2022

As a world and as a county, we face monumental challenges: climate, poverty, education, income inequality, systemic racism and sexism, houselessness, mental health, inflation, access to healthcare, etc… It’s a too-long list of issues that are intersectional and deep. And the only way for our leaders to even begin to unpack such a multiverse of […]

Looking Back Lafondly
By Gwyn Lurie   |   May 3, 2022

Pierre Lafond passed away this past Sunday at the age of 92, after 60 years in Santa Barbara enterprise overlapping a 25-year career in architecture. Pierre Lafond and his wife, Wendy Foster, developed a number of shops in Montecito and in greater Santa Barbara. And they were vintners and early adopters of Central Coast viticulture, […]

A Tale of Three Vlads
By Gwyn Lurie   |   April 12, 2022

This is the story of three Vlads. Vladimir Putin, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and Volodymyr Palahniuk, whom you knew by his stage name: Jack Palance. I did not know until recently that Jack Palance died here in Montecito at the home of his daughter Holly. Nor did I know until fairly recently how much Holly Palance has […]

The Future We Fear is Here
By Gwyn Lurie   |   March 19, 2022

Remember the 2018 devastating debris flow that changed Montecito forever? Those of us who lived here at the time do. Like it happened yesterday, with all the pain and loss and destruction it brought. But for those who made Montecito their home post-debris flow (or PDF as I like to call it), the knowledge of […]

Everything That Happens Everywhere Also Happens in Santa Barbara
By Gwyn Lurie   |   March 8, 2022

When I arrived at the Montecito Journal in 2019, my partner, Tim Buckley, said to me: “This might surprise you, but everything that happens everywhere else, also happens in here.”   Tim’s apocryphal and prescient message, however, made it no less shocking for me when I learned that on Wednesday, February 16, smack in the […]

Tragedy Reveals Different Needs for Different Breeds
By Gwyn Lurie   |   February 14, 2022

We love our pets. They’re family members. And the dozen or so years most of us get with our canine loved ones fly by too quickly. But when one dies prematurely and unexpectedly, it’s a whole other level of painful and tragic.  No one understands this more than a local Montecito family, who brought their […]

Congressman Carbajal Talks Policy, Democracy, and Coming of Age in the People’s House
By Gwyn Lurie   |   February 8, 2022

The last time I sat face-to-face with Congressman Salud Carbajal was in September of 2020, when we were all optimistic that the pandemic’s end was in sight. That was three years into his stint in Congress. And as honored as he was to be representing this district in the People’s House, he nonetheless seemed burdened […]

By Hilda or High Water
By Gwyn Lurie   |   January 25, 2022

Santa Barbara Schools Superintendent Super Intends to Get the Job Done Some jobs are just plain hard. Hard because no matter what choices you make, some people are bound to be disappointed. I sometimes felt that way when I served on the Montecito Union School District Board, because everyone wants what’s best for their children, […]

The Case for Optimism In ‘22 — and Beyond
By Gwyn Lurie   |   January 4, 2022

As we face the new year, it is lost on no one that those of us fortunate to have made it this far are heading into our third year living with COVID. At the same time, we are careening toward another all-important midterm election inside a nation seemingly as politically divided as ever. In addition, […]

The Man in the Miramar
By Gwyn Lurie   |   December 13, 2021

In the movie version of this story, we open on a shot of Invictus, a sleek 215-foot yacht with sophisticated, timeless maritime beauty – all six decks of it – replete with a swimming pool, a gym, a theater, nine bedrooms, and an elevator. Of course.  We pull out further to reveal Rick Caruso, the […]

‘Woke’ From My Tryptophan Slumber
By Gwyn Lurie   |   December 7, 2021

It may have slipped by you with everything else that’s been going on lately — the new variant and two national murder cases — that this year was our country’s 400th Thanksgiving! And all was going well at my family’s annual Turkey Day celebration at my sister’s home in Los Angeles. Until my sister made […]

Giving Tuesday is Here and We’ve Got Your Giving List
By Gwyn Lurie   |   November 30, 2021

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of year. I love how the holiday allows us to reflect and give gratitude before we launch into the rest of the end-of-year holidays. Oh, and I love the food. This year I find Thanksgiving especially poignant. For those not felled by COVID, we’re coming up on the […]

A True People Person
By Gwyn Lurie   |   November 16, 2021

How would you feel if you lived with Multiple Sclerosis for more than half a century and, in an unrelated incident, suffered an organ failure that necessitated a new kidney donated by your son? If you were Bruce Corwin, you’d feel overwhelmingly grateful. Corwin was grateful to have survived everything life threw at him, grateful […]

Is the Local Democratic Party Pushing an Undemocratic Process?
By Gwyn Lurie   |   November 1, 2021

“Let the Chips Fall Where They May Say” More and more I hear people say: “I hate politics.” But is it really politics we hate, or is what we hate the subversion of democracy by small groups of people who work hard to amass and hold on to power so they can determine who we […]

They Say He Can’t Win. “We” Think “They” Are Wrong.
By Gwyn Lurie   |   October 10, 2021

It’s become a useful axiom in national politics to ask voters: Are you better off than you were four years ago? Applied to the City of Santa Barbara, I don’t know anyone who would answer that question in the affirmative.  I don’t even believe the Santa Barbara County Democratic Party (known to insiders as the […]

Timing is Indeed Everything
By Gwyn Lurie   |   September 21, 2021

Scheduling is never easy where busy people are concerned. It’s less easy when you throw stubborn or otherwise motivated people into the mix. We’ve covered this with the county’s scheduling of an important meeting on Yom Kippur regarding a permit for a cannabis dispensary on Santa Claus Lane. A meeting which has since been rescheduled […]

Jews Care About Santa Claus Too
By Gwyn Lurie   |   September 7, 2021

Today’s Community Voices by Janna Zimmer is one I encourage readers, including those who plan for and are elected to serve Santa Barbara County, to read (it’s on page 23). As Zimmer points out, the County of Santa Barbara has scheduled an important hearing to discuss the naturally controversial proposed cannabis dispensary on Santa Claus […]

Santa Barbara’s New Schools Superintendent Makes Her Way From Fire to the Frying Pan(demic)
By Gwyn Lurie   |   August 31, 2021

When I arrived at the Montecito Journal, I received some push back for writing about affairs outside of Montecito. But I felt strongly then, and still do, that many aspects of life in greater Santa Barbara are integral to the lives of Montecitans. That goes for healthcare, social impact work, the development of downtown, the […]

Candid Condescension
By Gwyn Lurie   |   August 19, 2021

Amidst the national news that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo resigned for his misogynistic and retro (at best) workplace behavior, I wouldn’t want you to miss our own local cringeworthy episode. Not much shocks me these days. But yesterday, while watching local journalist Josh Molina interview influential Santa Barbara real estate developer Ed St. George […]

A Tale of Two Schools
By Gwyn Lurie   |   July 29, 2021

This week, the MJ’s Nick Masuda writes about an investigation by law enforcement regarding reports of sexual abuse and misconduct by a former Cate School employee, months after campus officials told alumni they had launched their own internal investigation into potential abuse that could date back decades. Several sexual assault survivors, current and former Cate […]

America Needs a Couples Counselor
By Gwyn Lurie   |   July 1, 2021

I was talking with a friend about the institution of marriage — why some marriages last and others don’t. We agreed that for a marriage to last, both partners must, first and foremost, be committed to the institution itself; because on any given day they may not agree on the same ideas or course of […]

Democracy is Imperfect and So Are We
By Gwyn Lurie   |   June 3, 2021

I rarely comment on the content in this newspaper, but in last week’s edition our staff ran an opinion piece before we could screen it for our normal standards of respectful political discourse; the piece I’m referring to included the use of gratuitous language that some find misogynistic, bigoted, and should have had no place within […]

Hats Off to the Gritty Graduating Class of 2021!
By Gwyn Lurie   |   June 2, 2021

They say the most important quality a student can have is “grit.” You want grit? I’ll show you grit — the class of 2021 began its freshman year with the onset of the Thomas Fire, which turned into the subsequent Montecito debris flow causing hundreds of students and their families to evacuate their homes — […]

Mayo of the West? Sansum President Explains Why Santa Barbara is on the Cutting Edge of Medicine
By Gwyn Lurie   |   May 27, 2021

When my husband and I moved our family from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara in search of a more congenial habitat, we were determined to hold on to one key big city perk — excellent medical care. So, we kept our L.A. doctors despite the time we knew it meant we’d spend in the car.  […]

A Beneficial Debris Basin but No Silver Bullet
By Gwyn Lurie   |   April 29, 2021

I’m sure anyone who lived here in 2018 feels a wave of relief as they drive by the soon-to-be active construction site at East Valley Road and Randall Road – where a (once) tranquil neighborhood is about to be transformed into a debris basin. It’s also bittersweet because many of us knew Randall Road residents […]

A Hero’s Journey?
By Gwyn Lurie   |   April 22, 2021

In November, Santa Barbara residents will vote to elect their next mayor. Over the past weeks MJ writer Nick Schou has profiled in these pages the four candidates who have thrown their hats into the mayoral ring to lead Santa Barbara into its next chapter: Incumbent Mayor Cathy Murillo; James Joyce III, founder of Coffee […]

The Constant of Change
By Gwyn Lurie   |   April 22, 2021

Why do people who can live anywhere so often choose to live here? With its recent influx of newcomers, some fear Montecito is changing. I suppose it’s true that every new resident – even every new visitor – puts a mark on a place, bringing with them their unique story, their aspirations, their values. It […]