Marco Menchaca

If there were a popularity contest among gas station professionals in Montecito, Marco Menchaca would be the winner, hands down. He knows most people in Montecito; rather most people know him. Over the years, he has been a service attendant at all four gas stations in Montecito: the Shell at Coast Village (now gone), the Upper Village station (back in business), the Olive Mill 76 and the Coast Village Chevron. He works currently at the Olive Mill 76 and Coast Village Chevron.

Marco (or Markie as a co-worker has called him) was born and raised in Santa Barbara with three brothers and five sisters. His mother lives in Santa Barbara and his father currently resides in Mexico City. He went to Lincoln Elementary, Santa Barbara Junior High and Santa Barbara High School.

Marco's first job was delivering newspapers on the Eastside. No surprise that he actually had two routes at the same time. Ever since he began working, he has often maintained more than one job. At one point, he held three jobs, at the County Education Office, Coast Village Shell and he worked as senior Army instructor at Camp San Luis Obispo.

Marco was in the Army National Guard for six years. However, he was never deployed on any missions. One day, he says he would like to teach in Japan. He loves the culture and admits to watching old Japanese movies with bad voiceovers.

When Marco is not working he spends time as a member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles No. 442, a national organization with a Santa Barbara chapter for which he served as president for three years. The organization, whose mission “People Helping People,” raises money through a now-closed thrift store, casino nights and dances and donates it to seven local charities and one national charity.

During our interview many cars drove past the station honking and waving at Marco. He knew their names and he had something nice to say about each person. The following is what he had to say about himself and Montecito.

Q. One thing people would be surprised to know about you?

A. UCSB Bachelor's degree in philosophy, emphasis in ethics and public policy

Best sound around Montecito?

The first little kid who runs up and yells "trick or treat" at Ghost Village Road

Worst sound around Montecito?

The train horn – once would be fine but five times in the middle of the night?

Quality you most like in Montecito people?

Sense of community. Everyone knows your name.

Quality you least like in Montecito people?

People who are in other people's business.

Favorite customer and why?

Jonathan Winters. We are both a couple of old guys with lots of jokes, both good and not so good.

If you were to die and be reincarnated here in Montecito, who or what would you come back as?

[MJ publisher emeritus] Jim Buckley, so I could write about my own politics and I'd call it “A Look From The Left – Not Too Far.”