More “Town Forums” On Tap

On the last three consecutive Mondays in June (16, 23,30), the Montecito Association will host three informational community forums addressing cityhood for Montecito. MA President Bill Palladini and chairman of the newly formed Governance Committee Gene Sinser sat down with us recently to discuss the format of the meetings and the expected results.

In response to requests from both opponents and advocates of the issue of cityhood, the MA decided to host these impartial and informational meetings in order to help educate the community, Palladini explained. “This is a very important issue for the future of Montecito. Where are we going? Do we want to remain part of Santa Barbara County? Do we want to become a city? Incorporate?” he asked hypothetically. The ensuing committee that was formed to help answer – or at lest address – these issues includes Peter van Duinwyk, Michael Cook and Ted Tedesco, with Bob Short as Vice Chairman and Sinser as Chairman. “The reason I selected these people is because they have a wide range of contacts and community resources,” Palladini said. For five weeks the committee has been researching and putting together the forums.

Each forum will feature different topics related to cityhood, and “experts” will be on hand to discuss each issue. Michael Cooney will act as moderator, so as to keep the meetings impartial, Palladini said. “Anyone can ask any questions,” Sinser added. The first meeting, to be held June 16, will discuss the Process of Incorporation, California Cities, and Special Districts. Bob Braitman, Executive Officer of the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) and David Mullinax, Manager of Regional Public Affairs for the League of California Cities, are scheduled to attend to give short presentations and field questions from the audience.

The second forum on June 23 will discuss Economics and Finance and feature Bob Geis, Santa Barbara County Auditor and Daniel Singer, Goleta City Manager. “We want people to understand how a community finances itself, without actually getting into the numbers; we are looking at the broader issues,” Palladini explained. The last forum will touch on Land Use Planning and Development Issues; Former Planning Commissioner Joan Wells and Director of Office of Long-Range Planning for Santa Barbara County John McGinnes will be on hand.

“Let’s just cut through the personal agendas and the opinions and try to get down to some objective facts about the realities of self-governance,” Palladini said. It’s about the bigger picture, he added. Sinser said it is important the community understands that in no way are these forums a way for the MA to form a position on the issue. “We are just the hosts; we happen to be the most logical organization to do that,” he said, “We felt that the timing was right, the subject appropriate, and the format acceptable.”

The Governance Options series of informational community forums will be held at El Montecito Presbyterian Church at 1455 East Valley Road from 6-9 pm. For more information email info@montecitoassociation.org.

In other MA news, at the board meeting next Tuesday June 10, MWD general Manager Tom Mosby will make a presentation on the new water ordinance and the proposed rate structure.

CVBA Town Hall 2

On May 28 the CVBA hosted a second town hall meeting to discuss the results and come up with solutions to the issues brought up at the first town hall meeting a few weeks back. Before breaking up into focus groups to develop solutions to the most prominent issues along Coast Village Road, representatives from several organizations were on hand to answer specific questions raised at the first meeting.

One is the issue of traffic along CVR. Gregg Hart, Public Information Officer from the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG), was asked about the great deal of concern expressed by some regarding the permanent closure of the SB 101 ramp at Cabrillo Blvd. The question: “Do you have a contingency plan for dealing with congestion and cut-through traffic on CVR?” Hart answered, “The biggest contingency plan is to widen the freeway!” He explained that many people get off the freeway at Garden Street to avoid the bottleneck at Milpas and take shortcuts through Montecito. By widening the freeway, people will find it is more time efficient to stay on it, he said.

Another issue raised by residents and business owners at the first meeting was the condition of sidewalks, crosswalks and ADA guidelines. Pat Kelley, Civil Engineer and Assistant Director of Public Works was asked: “What steps should CVBA take in fixing the infrastructure elements that appear to be able to be accomplished in the short-term, such as repairing sidewalks and adding or enhancing crosswalks and curb cuts?” He explained that the city has a number of existing response programs, and a letter stating the need for assistance can be submitted.

Mayor Marty Blum and Supervisor Salud Carbajal were at the meeting, and asked the same question: “How can we better coordinate services and larger land-use planning issues that affect both the City and the County such as major projects like the 76 station and the Miramar?” Blum praised the CVBA for hosting the Town Hall meeting, saying that talking is the best way to coordinate. “Coming up with a plan of what you want is really the way to go,” she added. Carbajal stepped up to the podium and joked, “I want to thank you for coming to the annexation meeting of Coast Village Road and Montecito; it’s the very first step in solving a lot of the problems!” Once the laughter from the audience was dispelled, Carbajal got serious and said that while communication is there between the City and County, there is always room for improvement.

The bulk of the meeting took place during the roundtable discussions in which the audience was broken up into small focus groups to discuss the biggest issues facing CVR:

Traffic/Parking

Too many cars, roundabout concerns, stop signs, traffic lights and the parking of employees and contractors in residential areas were just some of the concerns mentioned at Town Hall 1. Solutions included more meter maid control, an employee or resident sticker system, bringing back the electric shuttle and encouraging alternate means of transportation.

Pedestrian Access/ADA/Residential Impact

Not enough wheelchair cuts, dangerous crosswalks, narrow and buckling sidewalks and unattractive medians were brought up. Ideas for fixing the issues included adding decorative lampposts, better landscaping and fixing the sidewalks. A suggestion was mentioned to get flashing lights for the crosswalks.

Environment

Freeway noise was a big concern, as well as water issues. One suggestion was to get a sound wall installed by Coast Village Circle. Another issue that came up was the low guard rail along the freeway bridge on Olive Mill.

Size Bulk and Scale of Buildings

The issue of new building height was brought up at Town Hall 1, and solutions included varying the height of the buildings so as not to impact public views. More ideas to maintain the eclectic feel of CVR included adding more “paseos” linking buildings and courtyards, and keeping a diverse architectural style.

Danny Copus, President of the CVBA, suggests the town hall meetings were a success. “We will,” he vowed, “integrate these ideas and solutions into our vision plan for Coast Village Road.”

The “Double Energy” Twins

If you know twins Judi and Shari Zucker, you have no doubt noticed how spending time with them is like watching a ping pong match: when one pauses between words to breathe, the other jumps right in to finish where her twin left off. The two have put their undeniable energy to good use in their fourth book, The Double Energy Diet. The twins, who live “four minutes and thirty three seconds apart” in Montecito, have made it their mission to help people become health conscious.

The girls grew up in Beverly Hills, and say they set still-standing track records running one and two mile races at Beverly Hills High School. “We grew up in a health conscious family,” Shari said. However, they both admitted, their “mother was the world’s worst cook.” Thus their first book was born when the twins were just 17; a compilation of recipes the girls used to cook for themselves called How to Survive Snack Attacks… Naturally. That was followed by How to Eat Without Meat… Naturally while the twins were studying health and nutrition at UCSB. “We’ve been vegetarian since we were eleven years old,” Judi said. And since then, they have been following and advocating a plant-based, no-sugar diet, which they say gives them natural energy. The third book, Double Your Energy with Half the Effort was published when the twins were in their thirties.

The latest book, The Double Energy Diet, is three years in the making; the “double energy twins” decided to modernize and refresh the ideas laid out in their previous books. With a lot of research and recipe trial and errors, The Double Energy Diet boasts seventy vegetarian recipes, with instructions on how to make them vegan. Also included in the book are suggestions on nutrition through pregnancy, getting kids to eat healthy, exercise tips, energy boosting food ideas and much more. “Our passion is to turn people on to improving their health and vitality naturally,” Judi said.

To spread their message, the twins have appeared on hundreds of radio and television spots in addition to being featured in several publications. They have taught parent and child Natural Cooking classes at Montecito Union School, where their combined five children attended. “Parents should control what their kids eat,” Shari said, “There are so many alternatives to processed foods, sugar, and meat.” According to Judi The Double Energy Diet is not about losing weight; she told us they do not believe in scales. “Your jeans will tell you the truth, or in our case, your twin will!” she laughed. The twins also emphasized that the “diet” is intended as a total lifestyle change.

Shari and Judi and their husbands Daniel Kilstofte and local dentist Dr. Christopher Mjelde say the diet has kept them healthy and energetic. Much needed energy it seems: Shari’s 19-year-old sons Max and Miles are the family’s fifth generation of twins! Shari also has an 11-year-old daughter, Mattea, who attends MUS, and Judi’s kids Taryn and Tanner attend Santa Barbara Junior High School. “We’re the real deal; we’ve been living this lifestyle,” Judi said.

A book signing will be held at Borders on State Street on Wednesday June 18 at 7 pm. The Double Energy Diet is available locally at Tri-County Produce, Tecolote, Chaucer’s, Head to Toe Salon and Borders. For more information visit www.doubleenergytwins.com

Correction

In last week’s In Business column (MJ#14/22) we reported that the nine stylists working at Salon Du Mont are staff members of the salon. They are, in fact, independent contractors. Four of the stylists are previous salon owners, but are not previous owners of Salon Du Mont.