Local People: The Man Who Created The Valley Club
By James Buckley   |   July 22, 2021

During the years 1928 and 1929, Dr. Alister MacKenzie headed up the design and construction of the Cypress Point Club, as well as The Valley Club of Montecito, five years before his final masterpiece: Augusta National, upon which he collaborated with golf-world legend Bobby Jones. Anyone who has been in the men’s locker room at […]

Escape to the North: A Look at What San Luis Obispo Has to Offer
By James Buckley   |   July 15, 2021

After having been locked up for more than a year, there is a real need among many Montecito residents to just get away — anywhere. The nice thing about choosing San Luis Obispo is that one needn’t go very far to feel very far away; it is a mere two hours by car, yet it […]

Drought & Flood
By James Buckley   |   February 18, 2021

I’ve lived in Montecito – in the same house – for over 35 years and find it necessary to point out to folks just moving here that while we live in a beautiful place, ensconced as we are between the 4,000-ft Figueroa Mountains and the deep blue Pacific Ocean, it isn’t perfect. Add a near-ideal […]

In Other News
By James Buckley   |   December 17, 2020

I’ve often extolled Mollie Ahlstrand’s food. She’s the owner/chef of Mollie’s on State, formerly Mollie’s Ristorante on Coast Village Road. In recent months, she has had her challenges. Upon closing her Coast Village Road eatery (after a 25-year run), for example, she and her son, Ali Ahlstrand, opened Mollie’s on State. Then, of course, the […]

One Fast-Paced Piece
By James Buckley   |   December 9, 2020

Just a short note to let readers know that two of longtime Montecito resident Susan Read Cronin’s bronze sculptures were recently accepted and will be on display during the National Sculpture Society’s California Sculpture Exhibition at the National Sculpture Society Gallery (6 East 39th Street, NYC). The exhibition runs from August 19 through October 18, […]

The French Have it Right
By James Buckley   |   November 19, 2020

My wife was born in France, came to the U.S. in the early 1960s with her family, and remained strictly a French citizen with a green card until the mid-1980s, when U.S. law requiring that U.S. citizens have only one loyalty was altered to allow for dual citizenship. She is now a proud nationalized U.S. […]

Advocacy Journalism in Full Flower
By James Buckley   |   November 12, 2020

The year 1968 was an eventful one: On April 3 of that year, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., was gunned down at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee;  two months later (June 8), Bobby Kennedy was shot and killed at the Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles, just hours after having won the California Democratic […]

The Popular Vote
By James Buckley   |   November 5, 2020

It’s no secret that Democrats nationwide (and particularly those congregating along both coasts) rail against the Constitution’s Electoral College, which mandates that each state be awarded an equivalent number of votes in a presidential election as the number of senators and representatives it has.  For example, California has 55 electoral college votes in this election […]

The Great Barrington Declaration
By James Buckley   |   October 29, 2020

If any sentient being has been in doubt as to which side virtually all the major media and social media companies are on, non-coverage of both the Hunter Biden laptop e-mails and the Great Barrington Declaration should be proof positive of which side they’ve taken. When presidential candidate Joe Biden tells the debate moderator (in […]

Andy Caldwell
By James Buckley   |   October 1, 2020

Andy Caldwell’s mother was an immigrant from Austria and his father was a Bataan Death March survivor. Andy was born on an Air Force base in Jacksonville, Arkansas. After his father got out of the Air Force, they moved to Kingsburg, California, just south of Fresno. His dad passed away when Andy was nine years […]

A Look Back and Forth
By James Buckley   |   July 2, 2020

Way back in the Dark Ages (say, the year 1970 or so), the “political season” began the day after Labor Day, in early September. That allowed for a nearly 10-week stretch of politicizing and polarizing to lead up to the first Tuesday in November, which was, putatively, Election Day. Over the years, that paradigm shifted […]

Caldwell’s Cause
By James Buckley   |   February 6, 2020

Andy Caldwell wants to be our Representative for the 24th U.S. Congressional District, which encompasses all of Santa Barbara County along with a big chunk of the Central Coast from Oxnard to well north of San Luis Obispo. Mr. Caldwell is running against incumbent Salud Carbajal, who’s hoping to garner a third term as the […]

The Paris Negotiations
By James Buckley   |   November 26, 2019

The Montecito Journal officially changed hands while I was in Paris soaking up the constant rain and persistent chill of a typical late November in the French capital. My son, Tim, did all the heavy lifting and sent me everything I needed to know and had to sign via Internet. And, since writing and editing […]

Time To Move On
By James Buckley   |   November 21, 2019

It was summer 1995, and our predecessor, Montecito Life, had stopped publishing the year before. I waited six months to see if publisher Jesse Roth would be able to resuscitate his ten-year-old paper and when it became clear he was not going to, I began to put together the first 16-page issue of “The Gold […]

IN PASSING: Clark Malcolm Greene (1946 – 2019)
By James Buckley   |   October 17, 2019

Clark graduated from Jefferson High School in Monroe, MI in 1964, and five decades later, with Jack Mabe, co-founded the Raymond L. Kessler Scholarship fund, honoring its Principal. As a true “Renaissance Man,” Clark’s career encompassed being a Maker of Steel, Writer and an Educator. In the Steel Industry, while employed at Georgetown Steel Corporation […]

Remembering Lorraine
By James Buckley   |   October 17, 2019

We lost one of our favorite people at the end of September, as Canadian-born Lorraine Duffy Wilson passed away at the age of 87. She was a regular at Santa Barbara and Montecito fundraisers for decades, and as the News-Press society editor made lifelong friends of those she covered and those who covered them with […]

Fun With The Force
By James Buckley   |   October 17, 2019

Richard Mineards covered this in last week’s issue, and Maile Kai, coincidentally, sang “America, The Beautiful” that night, but I don’t believe we ran any photos of the size of the audience out to support the law-and-order community at Pat and Ursula Nesbitt‘s Summerland estate. There were over 900 folks sitting at tables and under […]

Kristin and Maile Kai
By James Buckley   |   October 17, 2019

It’s a twofold mystery: 1) How the heck my grandniece, 13-year-old Maile Kai Merrick, had the courage, fortitude, and most of all, talent and poise, to come out cold (the two had never met) and appear onstage at the Granada in front of a full house to sing a duet with veteran Broadway star Kristin […]

The Governor Speaks
By James Buckley   |   October 17, 2019

At the beginning of our telephone conversation, when I said to the former governor of Ohio and 2016 presidential candidate John Kasich that my most impressive memory of him was in the mid-1990s, when he teamed up with then Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich as the face of the Republican Contract With […]

The Grass is Greener
By James Buckley   |   October 3, 2019

“Kick up your heels (flats only) and dance to the sounds of Frank Sinatra with Crooner John Paul Goodie on our new lawn,” the invitation read. Lana Marmé and Michael Phillips‘s house was spared in the January 2018 mud-and-debris slide, but their front yard and lawn were destroyed. So, instead of re-planting, they installed an […]

Putting Out The Fires
By James Buckley   |   October 3, 2019

Last week, Kelly Mahan Herrick‘s feature “Village Beat” piece laid out in detail how Southern California Edison plans to cut off power to certain areas depending upon wind strength and the level of danger Santa Ana and/or Sundowner winds pose to those in fire zones. As a follow-up, I conducted a short interview with Santa […]

Mr. Prime Minister
By James Buckley   |   September 26, 2019

When Priscilla, our photographer, asked Dr. Gulhan Guitenkin, the cardiologist traveling with former Prime Minister of Turkey (from 2016 to 2018) Binali Yildirim, how we should address Mr. Yildirim, we were advised that the proper way would be “Your Excellency, Mr. Prime Minister.” So we did, though it seemed especially formal in such an informal […]

The Animal Zone
By James Buckley   |   September 19, 2019

This show has become a local favorite in the two years it’s been on and is going national with a one-hour special that will be aired at 8 am on Saturday September 21 on Cox Cable Channel 4 and 1004. The Animal Zone special will feature highlights from the first two seasons including stories of […]

Neighborly Discussions
By James Buckley   |   September 19, 2019

The first of Erin Graffy‘s almost always informative and often amusing talks, this time covering (and uncovering) the history of four different Santa Barbara neighborhoods has already taken place, but there are three more and they’re all worth attending. The neighborhoods are Samarkand, Hope Ranch, Montecito, and Hidden Valley, and Erin says her four-part series […]

Maile Kai and Kristin On Stage
By James Buckley   |   September 19, 2019

If you missed Maile Kai Merrick‘s performance with Kenny Loggins and Sofia Schuster at the Marjorie Luke in August during a special “Footloose” Summer Stock concert, you’ll have another chance to hear the young singer, as Maile is scheduled to join Kristin Chenoweth on stage at the Granada on October 2. Here’s how that happened: […]

The Montecito Motor Classic
By James Buckley   |   September 19, 2019

The annual Montecito Motor Classic, going into its eighth year, has officially outgrown its Coast Village birthplace and has moved to the larger venue of the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club, 3375 Foothill Road, Carpinteria (805-684-6683). Without the move, it’s safe to say, there would have been no car show this year. Damage to […]

The Joys of Owning Montecito Real Estate
By James Buckley   |   September 12, 2019

There isn’t or wasn’t enough room in the above sub-title to add Santa Barbara, Summerland, Hope Ranch, the Mesa, or virtually anywhere along this golden little coast of ours. But, all those areas are included in the virtuous and valuable Circle of Friendship known locally as “real estate.” Sitting around in the living room of […]

Sea Glass Treasures
By James Buckley   |   September 12, 2019

Just a short note about this weekend’s Fifth Annual Santa Barbara Sea Glass & Ocean Arts Festival, featuring ocean-inspired art made by artisans from across the U.S.A. and that’s set to take place at the Earl Warren Showgrounds on September 14 and 15. In addition to some fifty-or-so artists’ creations on display (and for sale), […]

Beverlye’s Bounty
By James Buckley   |   September 12, 2019

Telling us she is “shocked beyond belief,” and that it was the “most exciting honor I have ever received,” MJ columnist (“Aging in High Heels”) Beverlye Fead forwarded to us the following message she received recently: “On behalf of the Alliance for Aging Research, we applaud your inspiring career as an author, speaker, and activist. […]

Rock the Wish
By James Buckley   |   September 5, 2019

Actor Dennis Quaid (whose most recent gig is as spokesman in the clever Esurance ads that have been all over TV of late) is also a musician and he and his band The Sharks are set to perform at the Topa Mountain Winery in Ojai this weekend (Saturday, September 7). “Girls With Guitars” opens the […]

Run the Franklin Trail
By James Buckley   |   September 5, 2019

This year’s 4th Annual Island View Trail Race, hosted by Santa Barbara County Trails Council, is set to showcase the Franklin Trail on September 15. The Franklin Trail – nearly wiped out by the Thomas Fire two years ago – is the longest trail in Santa Barbara’s front country. “It’s remarkable how well it has […]

Once More for Mollie
By James Buckley   |   August 22, 2019

She’s been the toast of the town, friend of Oprah and Ellen, been to the White House with President Obama. Her list of notable customers ranges from Katy Perry, the aforementioned Ms Winfrey and Ms DeGeneres, Kirk and Anne Douglas, and, well let’s put it this way: they didn’t come for the publicity; they came […]

Missing Julian
By James Buckley   |   August 8, 2019

Regular readers know how fondly we cared for the late Julian Nott, balloonist, pilot, inventor, and physicist extraordinaire. So, we thought we’d share this memory from his widow, Anne Luther: “In following the anniversary celebrations of the moon landing recently it was hard not to remember how much of a hero Neil Armstrong was to […]

Montecito Motor Classic Moves
By James Buckley   |   August 8, 2019

They are still calling it the Montecito Motor Classic, but it won’t be taking place on Coast Village Road. Actually, the popular eight-year-old car show couldn’t have taken place on Coast Village this year because the county is about to begin a three-month resurfacing project on Coast Village Circle, hit hard by last year’s debris […]

Hudson’s Journey
By James Buckley   |   July 25, 2019

During this year’s Village Fourth, I ran into Jamie and Andrew Nash and their beautiful son, Hudson Joseph William Nash. Hudson was born “with significant damage to both his kidneys due to a blockage to his urethra while he was developing in utero,” Jamie tells me as we enjoy the after-parade festivities in Manning Park. […]

A Man’s World
By James Buckley   |   July 25, 2019

Author Steve Oney will be dropping by Tecolote Book Shop in the upper village to celebrate the publication of his new anthology, A Man’s World: A Galley of Fighters, Creators, Actors, and Desperadoes. The reading and discussion will begin at 4 pm on Saturday, July 27. The book, we are told, features twenty profiles of men […]

Howard’s Writing Award
By James Buckley   |   July 25, 2019

The Profant Foundation announced that writer Howard Jay Smith would be a recipient of what has been dubbed the “James Buckley Excellence in Writing Award”: it comes with a $2,000 cash grant. Mr. Smith has recently published a piece in the Beethoven Journal about the Beethoven and Mozart collections at the Lobkowicz Palace Museum in […]

Let the Robot(s) do It
By James Buckley   |   July 25, 2019

A special demonstration took place recently on the steps of the building at 1187 Coast Village Road. On hand to demonstrate the abilities of a 36″x18″x10″ Vantage tactical robot developed and produced by Transcend Tactical Vantage Robot – was Juan Camarena, a SWAT Lieutenant and Commander of the Isla Vista Foot Patrol Station. The robot […]

Nameless No Longer
By James Buckley   |   July 11, 2019

Art Specialist Jennifer Buur advises us that a photo of some of the young artists involved in the Farmers and Merchants art show from Our Lady of Mount Carmel School ran in issue # 25/23 but they were not identified. So, in an effort to correct this unfortunate error, here is another photo, along with […]

Delightful Debbie
By James Buckley   |   July 11, 2019

Debbie (Bruce) Saucedo sold her company, Debbie’s Delights, some time ago, but she has never left our sunny enclave. She and her husband, Mike Bruce, are big supporters of local non-profits and charities, including especially Fiesta Finale, which takes place on the Sunday at the tail end of Fiesta. Debbie and Mike offered a catered […]