Election 2008 and the Montecito Nexus

The who’s who of Montecito is divided about whom they are supporting in the 2008 election. Oprah Winfrey has publicly declared her support for Barack Obama and has had him as a guest on her show.

“It's the kind of the thing that if I were ever gonna run myself, he says all the things that I would want to say for this country,” Winfrey told the Chicago Sun-Times.

“I think that Barack Obama is certainly one of my favorite people in terms of his commitment and concern for the rest of the nation,” she added.

(Maybe Oprah can influence Obama to kick his often-talked-about cigarette habit.)

Meanwhile, Montecito comedian Dennis Miller emceed the first New York City fundraiser for Republican candidate Rudy Giuliani and was a supporter for the former mayor’s Montecito fundraiser last month, though he didn’t attend.

New Miramar Hotel owner Rick Caruso recently hosted a fundraiser at his Brentwood home for upstart Republican candidate Mitt Romney, a benefit that had been expected to bring in $2 million.

“Mr. Caruso has been supportive of Mitt Romney’s campaign to date. And he will continue to be supportive in the months ahead,” said Matt Middlebrook, vice president of government relations for Caruso Affiliated.

Middlebrook neglected to state how much money the evening raised.

Speaking of Romney, Anne Towbes says the former Massachusetts governor was her eighth grade prom date in Michigan, and that “he is a lovely guy who shows up for all the school reunions.”

More on Miller

In addition to lending his star power for a notable politician, Dennis Miller was also the emcee at the Alpha Resource Center (ARC) of Santa Barbara’s fundraiser held at the Cabrillo Arts Center on March 12.

Mr. Miller, a ranter by nature and profession, showed his softer side when it was revealed at the fundraiser that in addition to talking the talk of support for ARC, he also walks the walk. The former host of HBO’s “The Dennis Miller Show” has invited Alpha Resource Center clients to work out with him at his home gym.

The Alpha Resource Center of Santa Barbara is a non-profit that provides services and support for people with developmental disabilities.

A New Library Supervisor

Jody Thomas, who has been with the Santa Barbara Public Library System for three years, has been promoted to library supervisor of the Montecito branch.

“This library is very kid-friendly, we love children and have an area for kids where they can talk and discover books,” says Jody.

As a mother who home-schooled her children for 17 years, Jody can appreciate the importance of literature for people, both young and old.

“We have twenty thousand items in our system, including books, CDs and tapes,” she says. “Recently, we added DVDs that can be checked out for fifty cents.”

If any Montecito residents have gently used DVDs to donate, Jody and her staff would love to have them.

Jody will soon be going out to local schools to promote the Reading Program, which gives children prizes for meeting their reading goals. On that list of goals could surely be reading the much-anticipated next installment of the “Harry Potter,” which comes out this July.

“We already have two hundred reservations for it at all our branches,” says Jody.

In addition to helping kids read, Jody says the library system has free online tutoring by teachers, grad students and other experts to help kids up to college intro level with their homework. These services are available every day at www.sbplibrary.org from 1 pm to 10 pm.

What would Jody like to share with the residents of Montecito?

“First, I would like people to know we are open Monday through Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm,” she says. “I would also like people to know that even though this is a small branch, we can bring any item in the Santa Barbara Public Library System here. Finally, I would like to remind people they could return any Santa Barbara Public Library item in the drop-off outside our branch. You would be surprised how many Montecito people drive out to Goleta to drop off a book that could have been returned here.”

Montecito Library (969-5063) is located at 1469 East Valley Road.

Where’s the Beef?

Meat eaters rejoice! Chef James Sly of Lucky’s Restaurant has introduced a 48-ounce Porterhouse steak. That’s 3 pounds, if you’re counting at home.

“I was looking for a terrific steak that was thicker,” Sly explains. “These one-and-a-half-inch thick steaks are special in that they come from short stocky steers. It serves two to three people normally, although I have had a single customer order one.”

When I first saw the steak on a menu, I thought it was a typo. But Chef Sly says the 48-ounce Porterhouse can be found at most high-end steakhouses. After a bit of investigation, I found that Shula’s, a steakhouse in Florida, has a 48-Ounce Club. In order to join this club, a diner must finish a 48-ounce Porterhouse. The club currently boasts more than 26,000 members, including one man named Taft Parker who has finished 175 of these steaks.

Although the 48-ounce Porterhouse is not listed on the regular menu at Lucky’s, it is available every evening for $98.

Lucky’s (565-7540) is located at 1270 Coast Village Road.