Miramar Hotel About To Change Hands Again

Reports are that the Miramar has a buyer; a sale price was agreed to on January 11th or 12th with a local group and, we are told, a deal is “ninety-nine-point-nine-percent done.” Reliable sources tell us that an announcement could come as early as Friday, January 19, as to who the buyers are. Our information is that – contrary to earlier reports – the buyers are not the Santa Ynez Chumash Tribe, although that could certainly turn out to be inaccurate. Whoever the buyers are, however, we hope Montecito residents of all persuasions will support their efforts to renovate and re-open the resort post haste, as the sooner the Miramar becomes an operating beachfront hotel/resort again, the easier we will all sleep.

Looking For Firehouse Number Three

The Montecito Fire District (MFD) currently mans two firehouses: Firehouse # 1 on San Ysidro Road just above East Valley Road and Firehouse # 2 at Sycamore Canyon and Cold Spring Road. The District has been looking for another location on the east side of Montecito for a couple of years and is now ready to get serious about it.

“There is a state mandate,” says MFD Director Dana Newquist during a short telephone interview, “that requires the call reporting time to an emergency to be roughly within five minutes – from the call time to arriving on the scene – in a residential area.” Dana reports that the district has been examining responses and have been timing trucks going to different areas of the district. “Once you get beyond Romero Canyon from Fire Station One,” he says, “we’re getting pretty close to that five-minute threshold, so we should be looking at a station three.”

Dana and the other members of the MFD Board of Directors – John Venable and Roy Jensen (who recently celebrated thirty years on the board) – have been looking in the area from Sheffield Drive to Romero Canyon on East Valley Road and had identified a parcel just east of Ortega Ridge. “The problem with it,” Dana explains, “is that it is really steep and we’d have to do an awful lot of grading to make it work. Even if we got the land for free, it would make it a tough call.” He says though, they will continue to seek properties in that area and that the Fire District has been putting money aside for the past five years for that purpose.

Dana, who has lived in Montecito since 1984 has been on the MFD Board of Directors since 2002 and owns the vintage fire truck that regularly hauls Randy Siple’s “De Siples of Jazz” band that brings up the rear of Montecito’s Fourth of July parade every year. Dana also owned and operated Montecito Video in the upper village from 1985 to 1996.

The District is “looking for a couple of acres,” and Dana suggests there may even be tax benefits for someone selling a parcel to the fire district. If you have a parcel that you believe might work, or would like to join the effort, please call 969-7762, and ask for Chief Kevin Wallace.

In Memoriam: Bob Edmonston 1925 – 2006

Words used to describe Bob Edmonston were: clear thinking, tenacity, and a passion for truth. His leadership abilities were impressive when as a young engineer with the California Division of Water Resources, he recruited and organized a team to conduct studies for importing water to Southern California.

He authored Bulletin 78, which recommended the State Water Project be built to serve Kern County Southern California into Santa Barbara County. He negotiated the contract for state water to Santa Barbara in 1963. His career led him to planning design and operation of irrigation projects in California and Arizona. He also worked on projects in Mexico, Costa Rica, and Sudan.

It always seemed to me that he loved to do anything.

His zest for life included reading, especially history, travel, sports, and hunting. At Cal in the 1940s he was fullback in the days of leather helmets! He held the record for many years for the longest pass/run play. He and his wife, Ann, attended three Olympic games in Mexico, Munich, and Montreal with stopwatch in hand! Duck hunting was always scheduled for Maupville in November, and travel became a passion after his retirement in 1994. With trips to Europe, Kenya, Around-the-Horn, Morocco, and the Cal trips in Europe with professors to fascinate with lectures on history.

He bravely forgot cancer for six months when “chemo” failed; he knew his life was over. This private man tried to guard his illness from friends, especially his grandsons, so they could enjoy school and football. When he was too sick to attend his grandson’s winning team in Pasadena, he watched videos with a big smile. He loved his family above anything else. He has left a huge legacy for California water, for this and future generations. His was a wonderful life. – Ann Edmonston