Montecito Association Needs New Direction

I think there are a couple of people, maybe more, who are new enough to our Montecito community to have little appreciation for our history and values. They seem youthful, vital and eager to use their mental and leadership talents through the Montecito Association, the Montecito Planning Commission and the Montecito Architectural Board of Review. They are exerting their personal creative energies and opinions without, apparently, any brakes or outside influence. It appears to me that a minority is continually prevailing. Something is dreadfully wrong if Ty Warner and Greg Rice are convinced that this minority, with the power of their positions, is biased against them. They weren't invited or expected to attend hearings on their projects? Incredible! Something must be done to correct this situation. Impeachment? Petitions? What? Will the Montecito Association’s Honorary Board of Directors and some of our retired representatives please convene and begin discussions about how we can reverse course. I do believe we want and need a way for majority opinions to be respected, heard, and accepted when valid. Positive criticisms are essential. But cerebral ripping of details of all proposals is not helpful. Subduing a few aggressive people who love their power could allow a return to civility. We now have the wrong kind of leadership. I hope a way can be found for the majority opinions to be heard and respected again.

Barbara C. Wallace

Montecito

(Publisher’s note: A group has gathered and plans are underway to form a Montecito Association watchdog committee; read Guillaume Doane’s report on page 12 and take heart! – TLB)

Montecito Carpetbaggers

I'm not shocked to read that Mr. Warner is going to sell the Miramar project and let someone else spend millions of dollars running around in circles.

I have read numerous articles or letters to the editor here in the Montecito Journal where "Ty Warner" is mentioned as the guy who should buy this, fix that; oh, and pay for it all out of his own pocket... just the other day in Montecito I heard a very wealthy guy drone on about how Ty Warner should bankroll some pet project of his, insinuating Ty Warner was a bad guy for taking a pass.

The conversation boiled down to a rich man fantasizing about spending Ty Warner's money instead of his own. That is sad.

I'm all for giving LA and OC "style" carpetbaggers the business end of a boot. I grew up watching guys write "LA go home" on the Biltmore seawall back when surfboards had one fin and any wetsuit color other than black was mocked, but Ty Warner isn't a carpetbagger and shouldn't be treated like one.

Granted, his aesthetic sensibilities differ from mine at times but in the end, objectivity should win out. Ty Warner does beautiful top-shelf work, and I think he has a good heart for the community. My counsel would be to let Ty Warner do what he has proposed at the Miramar.

PS: (the San Ysidro Ranch looks fabulous)

Steve Gowler

Montecito

(Publisher’s Note: Other media have incorrectly accused the Montecito Association of denying Ty’s Miramar plans. Ty Warner’s plans for the Miramar have never been brought before the Montecito Association or the Montecito Planning Commission. Ty Warner is apparently fed up with the process and doesn’t want to bother with going through it all again with the Miramar. We wish Ty would move forward with the Miramar, but we can certainly understand his frustration. – TLB)

Contemplating Measure K

Isn’t it time to stop the post-game rhetoric from David Strauss? (Mr. Strauss ran a letter opposing Measure K). The content, tone and misinformation he has spread are both annoying and very disturbing. It would benefit the community immensely if the Montecito Journal would simply stop printing the letters or, better yet, David Strauss would stop self-ingratiating his “major campaign” against our children’s future. When one’s letters are centered on inflating one’s own ego, it is time for you to be proactive and stop the presses…

There are so many inaccurate statements made in the past by Mr. Strauss. Here are three of my favorites from his last “article.” The first continues his theme that the bond would be exorbitant in cost to the community. The second is an assumption that the parents of Cold Spring are ignorant on development and don’t understand the scale and timing of the project. The third quoting UCSB Economic forecast statistics and facts on Carpinteria schools…

Please allow me a quick retort …

First, David, the cost to you each year would be hundreds (not thousands), or less than one’s annual dues at Knowlwood. The second assumption of the majority of the district being ignorant to development is similarly inaccurate. Many of us are builders, realtors, developers and architects; we understand (much better than most) that this is an investment to preserve the future educational experience for the community’s children. Lastly, please don’t quote macro statistics and facts on a school closure in Carpinteria. Like many of your previous inaccurate statements, it is quite misleading. Please focus on the last five years of relevant data for enrollment at our school, then ask Carpinteria about budget, not enrollment issues…

Additionally, it seems David is a relatively new member of the Cold Spring district. My conjecture is that he doesn’t understand what makes up the essence of our community. Our highest distinction and pride in the community is having the top-performing elementary school in the county (and likely a top school in the nation). Counter to his poor analysis of UCSB data, it is a major impetus for young families to locate and ensure quality educational experience for their children. As such, you have already benefited (likely by hundreds of thousands of dollars) from the school’s success through your real estate value. There is a clear and measurable increase in values between Cold Spring and the neighboring Santa Barbara School District. Please note that the majority of the community believes in preserving and improving our icon in order to leave it a better place for the next generation…

Perhaps David, you should focus on a “major campaign” that truly helps the community. We invite you to become more educated on the Cold Spring community and look forward to you being more accurate and fact-based in your 2008 campaign…

On an ending note, please keep in mind, the majority of your neighbors do not ally with your line of thinking…

Mike Hieshima

Montecito

The Clean Campaign

Now that the dust has settled from the November election, now would be an opportune time for David Strauss to temper his hostility. A recent issue of Montecito Journal included another one of his abrasive letters to the editor (www.montecitojournal.net/archive/12/22/435) that misrepresent both the motives of those who supported the Measure K bond and the goals it sought to achieve. Just as we respect those that voted no, a little respect for those that voted yes would be appropriate.

Those volunteers that supported Measure K took the high road and ran an exceptionally clean campaign, one that befits the voters of the community. No taxpayer money was spent to support the measure. And those that worked on it did so as volunteers.

Cold Spring School is a unique place with an 80-year tradition of enhancing lives, community, and, yes, property values. Years ago, someone else was asked to step up so that the community would reap the benefits today.

Last year, the Cold Spring School Foundation raised approximately $200,000, or $1,000 per pupil, from parent and corporate giving; 90% of the families participated. This year is off to another good start with close to $100,000 raised already. Over the course of the proposed 25-year bond, this equates to $5 million in private giving, and that assumes no growth whatsoever. The private side of the public-private equation is doing its part. These dollars make possible music, art, physical education, after-school programs, language, and technology. Earlier this year the foundation provided a special $50,000 grant allocation to provide classroom laptops for every fifth- and sixth-grader. These are dollars straight from your neighbors’ pockets, which make the difference in the community you live in.

Will voters be asked to approve capital improvement bonds for Cold Spring School in the future? The answer is yes. Neither the needs nor the cost to fulfill them will diminish. With a tremendous amount of deference to those citizens that reside in the Cold Spring District, we will seek as much public input as possible. We understand and appreciate the nature of the public-private partnership that exists and makes the school and community so special. Until then, let’s get back to enjoying it.

Bryan Goligoski

Treasurer – Measure K Committee

Montecito

Televised Classes

I am new to the area and I love it here. I find the people of this community to be delightful, intelligent and, above all, kind. (I am not blind to your more quirky qualities. But luckily, I am still enough in the "puppy love" phase to smile at them.)

I have a suggestion regarding the Cold Spring School bond issue. What if the next bond issue were contingent on the classes being televised?

The community would have an opportunity to support the school and an opportunity to share its excellence with others.

There is a college of the air. Why not elementary school of the air? (Maybe there are plenty of us who could use a refresher on those third-grade fractions.)

While I believe there are many factors that create a good education, we could at least ensure that anyone could have access to great teaching. (They must be doing something right to produce those handsome test scores.)

Any thoughts on this?

M. Furey

Montecito

(Publisher’s Note: I think the defeat of Measure K came as a surprise to many in the district. Proponents did little to combat the opposition. 2008 will likely be different and proponents will surely launch a campaign supporting the bond, which could lead to a different outcome. – TLB)

Defining Freedom

I read the letter titled “Another Look,” and your response two issues ago (www.montecitojournal.net/archive/12/25/524/) with interest because it illustrates a common distortion of the concept of a “right.” A right is a moral principle that defines man’s freedom of action in a social context. Having a right to something means you are free take the actions needed to acquire it, and that once you have done so, it cannot be taken from you. The Constitution and Bill of Rights (the documents that define the obligations and limits of government) state that government may not take it from you (without due process) and that the government has an obligation to protect you from someone who wishes to take it from you by force or fraud. As your response to the letter correctly points out, having a right to something does not mean that it is to be provided to you.

This latter idea is often applied to things like health care and, in the case of the referenced letter, housing. This idea evades reality. Health care and housing do not spontaneously grow in nature. How can every person who needs something be provided it, when there is no guarantee that enough of it could be made available, and none would exist at all unless other people produce it? Even so, misguided government programs do try to force the people that produce these things to produce more and provide it to the people that have not already acquired it on their own. But this is a violation of the rights of the producers and effectively enslaves doctors and developers. Any “right” supposedly held by one person that requires the violation of the rights of another, is not a right.

The writer states that even though you might think it is a lousy idea “it is the Law.” Passing a law that evades reality does not change reality.

Nick Zwick

Santa Barbara

(Publisher’s Note: Thanks Nick; not only do we completely agree, but we couldn’t have said it better! – TLB)

Correction

In the latest "The Way it Was" (Issue # 12/25, P. 22), we mistakenly identified Thomas M. Storke as grand marshal of the 1886 Mission Centennial parade. The actual grand marshal was Storke's father, Charles Albert Storke.