Happy Holidays

We would like to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, and an otherwise joyous celebration of whatever else it is you and yours decide to observe. Oh, and have a wonderful New Year.

Around and ‘Round We Go

California's economic situation keeps getting worse. Home prices in major cities are expected to drop another 20% in 2009 (a pattern that is good news for home seekers). Because of those decreased home values, however, the state will rake in a lot less than expected. Sacramento politicians need to sober up and realize they can't afford to continue their drunken spending habits. Barring huge tax increases (which may happen), California needs to starve the government beast before it devours us.

With judicious spending cuts and loss of some of the 235,000 (!) state employees via attrition, California could find itself in balance within three years. Eight percent growth is mandated, but if that is trimmed to minus 1 or 2%, the budget could right itself quicker than most believe possible.

One casualty of the fiscal fiasco may be the diversion of Highway 101 funding to social services programs. If this happens, the Coast Village-Hot Springs Road roundabout is likely to be abandoned, at least for a short time, maybe a long time. The companion widening project between Milpas and Hot Springs was supposed to take four years (!), but as Sacramento dithers over spending and taxes, that time horizon is likely to be extended. Under almost any scenario except that of a massive federal cash infusion, we can kiss any reasonable finish date goodbye. In defense, we should put as much pressure on First District Supervisor Salud Carbajal and Santa Barbara City Council to get this project into high gear. The longer the roundabout lingers, the less likely it will ever get finished.

C'mon CalTrans, let’s get back to work. If nothing else, please hire some actors, put some orange clothes and hard hats on them and have them hang around the construction site so at least we can pretend work is getting done.

Special Edition

Note to readers and advertisers: Please note that Montecito Journal staff is taking a much-needed week off and so this issue will be on the stands for the next two weeks. When out, it will be replaced with copies of Issue One of our new glossy. Look for it!

A Writers’ Paper

Montecito Journal was launched nearly 14 years ago and many of the same writers you read today have been with us for a big chunk of that time. Many thanks then, to Lynda Millner, David Goldman, Judy Foreman, Jim Alexander, Steven Libowitz, Shelly Lowenkopf, Gary Bartick, Ward Connerly, Erin Graffy, Judy Willis, Eva van Prooyen, Hattie Beresford, Grace Rachow, Joanne Calitri, Randy Arnowitz, and Lynn Kirst. Thank you also to writers no longer with the paper, such as Paul Froemming, Barbara Sims-Bell, Maria Churchill, Mary Sheldon, John Wilcock, Judy Pearce, Guillaume Doane, Marion Gregston, Celeste Scheinberg, Chris & Lisa Cullen, Cork Millner, and, since we don’t have a chronological masthead, I’m sure we’ve missed some names. Rest assured, we thank them too. Thank you all – readers included – for helping make Montecito Journal the longest-lasting and most successful Montecito community newspaper of all time.