(If you have something you think Montecito should know about, or wish to respond to something you read in the Journal, we want to hear from you. Please send all such correspondence to: Montecito Journal, Letters to the Editor, 1122 Coast Village Circle, Montecito, CA. 93108. You can also FAX such mail to: (805) 969-6654, or E-mail to tim@montecitojournal.net)

Time To Ignore Coffee Bean & Starbucks

Just wanted to let you know that I was shocked that Montecito Journal (among others) had been pulled from the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf on Coast Village. I remember the uproar Starbucks caused by doing the same thing a year ago. What a shame! I e-mailed the company’s customer service folks to criticize their action. The replied mentioned, “Unfortunately, at this time we have made a decision not to offer any newspapers inside our stores. We feel that this step will help maintain a clutter free environment. Please do know that we welcome our customers to bring in their own reading materials if they would like to.”

This is what happens when we allow our communities to be molded by the central planning imposed on us by idiotic corporate policies.

I hope you will use your editorial commentary to encourage a “Tea Leaf” party to regain our freedom from this corporate cultural revolution.

Felix Bourdon

(Publisher’s Note: It is sad that the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf considers our local newspapers “clutter.” Both Starbucks and Coffee Bean no longer carry any local papers. My parents owned and operated Café Au Lait in La Cumbre Plaza for over a decade. During that time, they always carried both the Montecito Journal and the Independent and had little trouble keeping the racks “clutter free.” It took someone to occasionally straighten them out, or to discard messy papers, but it was such a convenience to their patrons it was worth what little time that took. Obviously, these corporate coffee makers don’t really care about the communities they inhabit. They don’t advertise in local media; they don’t donate anything to fundraisers or non-profits, ever; they don’t contribute in any way, other than take money for service, the faster the better. Offering free local reading material gets in the way of that myopic pursuit. The only thing we can do in response is to ignore their existence and support instead our local coffee houses such as Jeannine’s, Montecito Coffee Shop, and Pierre Lafond. Otherwise, we’ll go the way of many smaller communities, replete with chain bookstores, chain fast-food outlets, and chain coffee joints. One question: If we were to have a Montecito “Tea Leaf” party, what would we “disguise” ourselves as? – TLB)

Brown Act Doesn’t Apply

Response to Michael Jaffe’s article “The Brown Act What?” (montecitojournal.net/archive/13/25/1155/):

As a 33-year Montecito resident and homeowner I am a staunch supporter of the Montecito Association. I find Michael Jaffe’s article very troubling from the standpoint that Mr. Jaffe keeps preaching ‘democracy,’ but doesn’t seem to practice what he preaches. He takes a holier than thou attitude when he discusses the shortfalls of Montecito Association and promotes his concept of the democratic process

Apparently, Mr. Jaffe doesn’t understand the true meaning of the Brown Act. The Brown Act does not have jurisdiction over private organizations.

1. The Montecito Association is a private organization, formed to protect the semi-rural character of Montecito. It does follow an open-to-the-public protocol as follows:

2. Publicly announce meetings that are open to the public, and its agendas are on the Internet and sent out when requested;

3. Board packets are available to the public in advance of meetings and they include all minutes, letters and financials;

4. The member list is available to the public;

5. Non-members are welcome to serve on committees;

6. The general public is invited to apply for board membership;

7. Meetings are open for “Public Comment”;

8. The directors devote their time and energies, gratis, in an effort to maintain the quality of life in Montecito.

Voices of Montecito Website criteria for membership:

1. “Members are individuals who believe the current system is in need of change.” My comment: Is this Mr. Jaffe’s interpretation of democracy when only one point of view is on the table?

2. “Membership is free and member information will be secure.” My comment: Mr. Jaffe claims to have over 200 VOM members. Is this a clandestine organization where a list of members is not available to the public? Is this his idea of the democratic process?

The Voices of Montecito have chosen to be very public with their criticisms, misinformed and misleading comments and lectures of the MA and MPC. I believe the VOM should adopt this protocol if they believe in the democratic principles they keep professing.

1. Announce in advance as to time, date, location, and open to the public on all VOM meetings with three or more members present.

2. The agenda for all board meetings, available in advance and minutes available for each meeting held.

3. Publish a full list of board members and all contact information.

4. Make public a list of all members.

5.Make public a complete report of all sources of funding, the amounts raised and from whom, and the budgeted uses of the funds.

6.Make a regular report to the public of all contacts and meetings with Public Officials as well as the subjects discussed.

Please note, all of the above are done by the Montecito Association on a regular basis. This is an integral part of their responsibility to their members and the community.

I personally know most of the past and current Montecito Association Directors. I feel comfortable that they have one goal in mind and that is to maintain the semi-rural integrity of our beloved Montecito.

Harry Hovey

Montecito

The Westmont Connection

I regularly pick up your publication during my visits to Coast Village Road during my lunch break. I always enjoy an article here and there and reading the letters section to get a pulse on the current attitude in Montecito. You probably get your share of complaints so I wanted to make sure I complimented you and your staff regarding the most recent edition (June 14-21). The new column done by Scott Craig regarding the happenings at Westmont is a great idea. This will greatly benefit the community in knowing what offerings are available at Westmont for the public and give Westmont a forum to connect directly with the community.

Best regards,

Matt Cook

Santa Barbara

(Publisher’s Note: We are glad to hear it. Scott Craig has been an excellent addition to the paper. Westmont puts on great concerts, lectures, and activities often free and open to the public. – TLB)

What Happened to “Small is Beautiful”?

I asked a friend, “With families getting smaller, global warming, maintenance headaches, and property taxes, why would anyone want to build a gigantic mega-house?”

The friend’s answer: “Because they can.”

That answer was once perhaps understandably adequate, at least for those with mega-bucks they didn’t know what to do with and who weren’t prone to philanthropy; it is a free country. Now, however we are hopefully more conscious of our collective impact on the planet and that what we do and how we spend our money has an impact far beyond our own small private worlds. Now the property owner building with that “Because-I-Can” mindset is only demonstrating his/her ignorance or uncaring in favor of status, vanity, and one-upmanship – or the desire for a record-breaking asking price on resale, damn the planet. Perhaps we will become wise enough as a society to consider an impossibly large house in a beautiful small town as we might a Hummer in the city – ridiculously out of place and wasteful, and signaling a pitiable obliviousness.

The two new monster houses, side by side, inching towards completion on our road are not only large enough to resemble a university, they are visible from the road and tall enough to be seen over treetops without regard for that mysterious allure of the long winding driveway behind a hedge that famously helps preserve the feel of our town. At least one of these houses (probably both) are built on spec. On spec! Now that’s just blatant greed in a time when any thinking person, Democrat or Republican, rich or struggling, is becoming increasingly conscious of the larger picture. And I thought the planning process was arduous and supposed to protect the ambiance of the village! House buyers will hopefully have the environmental awareness to realize that opulence for opulence’s sake is no longer a tenable choice, and the market will educate future builders.

Charlene Broudy

Montecito

A Correction

In the June 14th Edition we incorrectly reported that Caruso Affiliates presented its rendered site plan for the Miramar Hotel to the Association. Rick Caruso met separately with the Montecito Association, along with Voices of Montecito, Montecito Fire Department, county staff, and Salud Carbajal, but has yet to officially present his proposed site plan to the Association.