Montecito Association

At this month’s Montecito Association Board meeting, Undersheriff Jim Peterson took heat from board members and audience members regarding the wedding of Kim Kardashian, which took place last month in Montecito.

Peterson, along with Lieutenant Dave Brookshire, explained that the Sheriff’s Department was working with the event planner’s private security team as well as CHP and Santa Barbara Police Department. Deputies were placed both inside and outside the event, including Sheriff Bill Brown, who attended the wedding in a tuxedo. “This was a good thing for us, because we had a contact inside the event handling any type of incident that could occur,” Peterson said.

Montecito Association board member Bob Short accused the Sheriff’s Department of hiding the details of the event from the county and community. “It seems to me it was egregious the way you treated the rest of the county,” Short said. “We didn’t hide any information,” Peterson responded. A neighbor who lives next to the estate said she was upset with paparazzi in front of her home and the way sheriff’s deputies treated her when she was trying to access her own home. She also said the fact that Sheriff Brown attended the wedding in a tuxedo was “bizarre and inappropriate.”

Former MA president Diane Pannkuk, who was in the audience at the board meeting, equated the Kardashian wedding to the large event Oprah Winfrey held four years ago in support of then presidential candidate Barack Obama. “I was assured at that time this type of miscommunication would not happen again,” she said, adding that neighbors were not notified about the event. “I’m concerned that Montecito will be the go-to place for big splashy weddings. We need to protect this community,” she said. “I want to see a plan in place so I know my peace and security is protected.”

“At this event as in any other event, you are going to have people who feel that their peace is being disturbed,” Peterson said. “Frankly, we don’t change procedures depending on the size of the event.” Over 20 calls came into dispatch regarding loud music at the 400-person wedding; it was turned off at midnight.

After a heated discussion, Peterson said the good thing that comes out of this is the inherent need to communicate with all agencies in the future. He will be part of a group meeting with the Board of Supervisors at a later date to discuss the event and its consequences.

Dick Thielscher Citizen of the Year

Beautification Chair Mindy Denson announced the 2011 Citizen of the Year: Dick Thielscher. Dick has a lengthy list of community involvements, including serving on the MA board for several years and serving on the General Plan Advisory Committee for six years. He also served on the Montecito Planning Commission for four years, and currently sits on the MA Land Use Committee and the Homeowners Defense Fund. Dick, who graduated from Stanford in 1957 and moved to Montecito in 1964, has raised three kids with his wife, Judy. “I've made a couple of great decisions in my life, including marrying my wife, and moving to Montecito,” he tells us. “It truly is a very special place!”

Beautification is scheduled for Saturday, November 5, and as in years past will feature breakfast catered by Montecito Country Club, music by Glendessary Jam, hot dogs and five-alarm chili served up by Montecito Fire Protection District firefighters, and homeowner awards. The festivities commence in the Upper Village Green at 9 am. Community Corner

Dana Newquist discussed with the board his quest for funds for a new tree at San Ysidro Road and North Jameson Road. Newquist has been working with First District Supervisor Salud Carbajal and Caltrans to have the dead pine tree, which is decorated each year for the holidays, removed. Newquist asked for continuation of maintenance on the corner by the Beautification Committee and also for donations to help purchase a replacement tree.

“Kids squeal every year when we are decorating that tree, it is a tradition,” Denson said. The plan is to plant the tree in memory of former Montecito Fire Chief Don Hathaway, who passed away in July. There is also talk about erecting a rock wall or some type of sign welcoming people to Montecito. Community Reports

Fire Chief Kevin Wallace reported several lightning strikes in the back country which have started at least five fires in the past few days. He also reported that design work is continuing on Fire Station 3, which will be built on East Mountain Drive; plans will be presented to the MA Land Use Committee on October 4.

Chief Wallace is retiring May 31 of next year; he said the Fire Board is actively looking for his successor.

Lieutenant Brookshire had the crime reports for Montecito: in addition to “smash-and-grabs” continuing at local trail heads, there was trespassing at Montecito Water District. Executive Director Victoria Greene reported that there has been vandalism on the signs in the Hedgerow District; Brookshire said he would look into having more patrols in the area.

Montecito Union School superintendent Tammy Murphy reported that MUS ranked number one in the county in standardized testing. Cold Spring School ranked number three. Road Closures

In an effort to lessen liability, the county is proposing that two creek crossings in Montecito be closed temporarily during wet weather. The Road Commissioner is requesting that the creek crossings at East Mountain Drive and Bella Vista Drive be gated; the gates would be closed and locked during rain to reduce falls by hikers, pedestrians, and bikers. “We are against this,” says Chief Wallace, who has concerns over delays of fire equipment during emergencies.

The temporary closures would continue until new bridge crossings are built, which is not expected for another five years. The proposal comes in the face of recent lawsuits by people who have slipped and been injured on mossy rocks on the creek crossings; the Board of Supervisors will hear the proposal in October.

The Association board voted to send a letter to the BOS asking for denial of the temporary road closures. They suggested better signage and education as alternative ways to reduce liability. History Archive

As reported here last week, MA president Dick Nordlund reported to the board the need for a new history archive. He is in talks with Supervisor Carbajal to possibly acquire a ranger house in Manning Park to be used for both a history archive and also a Sheriff’s substation. Diane Pannkuk, who lives in the area, opposed the idea, saying that loss of an on-site ranger would increase crime and vandalism at Montecito Union School, Manning Park, and at residences on School House Road. She suggested Westmont College would be a better place to house historic memorabilia, and ascertained that the MA Board should instead help fight to keep a ranger on site, something the county is hoping to do away with amid budget concerns. “We are looking at all types of different sites,” president Nordlund said. Hot Springs Latest

Hot Springs Canyon campaign coordinator Leslie Turnbull reported there is still $1.75 million left to raise to bolster the efforts of the Land Trust of Santa Barbara, which is raising $8,650,000 to acquire the 462-acre Hot Springs Canyon property. The deadline to meet the fundraising goal is December 15. Turnbull said she has been working with local foundations and individuals, but that the recent stock market fluctuations have hurt efforts. “Everybody is supportive but unable to be committed in their efforts,” she said. However, she and Land Trust executive director Michael Feeney remain hopeful the community will pull together to buy the historic property, which will be given over to the U.S. Forest Service. The next Montecito Association Board Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, October 11 at 4 pm.

San Ysidro Pathway Update

Earlier this month work began on the federally funded pathway along the west side of San Ysidro Road from North Jameson Lane to Montecito Union School. Over the weekend D-Kal Engineering contractors extricated the largest tree to be removed as part of the project, a camphor tree between La Vereda Road and San Leandro Park Road. “It was a large tree but had significant decay,” said a D-Kal spokesperson on the job site.

On Monday, crews were busy digging up the remnants of the tree and using an on-site wood chipper. Flagmen directed traffic along the road, and the bike lanes on both sides of the street were closed.

The spokesperson told us this is the only “major” tree to be removed; once the work gets past La Vereda Road there is already a neighbor-maintained pathway with no other obstacles, he said.

The meandering path includes construction of a decomposed granite pathway, drainage improvements, curb cuts, and landscaping, and is funded by a Safe Routes to School grant. The cost of the 3,150-ft path is expected to be $321,910.

Construction hours are 7 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday.

Westmont Warriors

On Sunday, October 2nd from 2 pm to 4 pm, Jo and Willard Thompson will host a tea to introduce the new Westmont Warriors Women's basketball team and the Adopt-A-Warrior program. The Thompsons, who have been staunch supporters of the Westmont Women’s basketball team, helped launch the Adopt-A-Warrior program last year.

Patterned after the popular “Compeer” program at Music Academy of the West, the program pairs a women’s basketball player with a community member or family interested in supporting and getting to know the student athletes. Supporters “adopt” a girl and form a mentorship through email, meals, activities and other outings. “It’s a way for the girls to connect to the community and for Montecito residents to connect to Westmont,” says head coach Kirsten Moore said.

The Adopt-A-Warrior program asks that adopters pay $1000 to sponsor a player for the entire school year, but any donation will help. There are opportunities for shared “adoptions,” and there is flexibility, Mrs. Thompson says.

Adopt-A-Warrior participants are granted annual membership into the Warrior’s Court, the alumni and support network for the Women’s Basketball Team, and are given a season pass to home games with reserved seating. They are also granted membership to the Westmont College President’s Associates. Money donated goes directly into the team’s scholarship fund.

“We are going to have an amazing team and season this year,” Mrs. Thompson tells us. “We have great new captains, two new recruits and a 6’2” girl from Turkey!” she says. “Everyone is excited about how the team is shaping up.”

To get involved or for more information contact Kirsten Moore, 985-6968 or email To attend the Tea at the Thompson’s home, call Jo at 565-7676.

All Saints by-the-Sea Welcomes a New Year

by Flora Kontilis

On Thursday September 8, the faculty of All Saints by-the-Sea Parish School welcomed parents and students for an open house. The meet-and-greet styled event aimed to familiarize new and returning students for the upcoming year’s teachers and classrooms. Fellow teacher Padric Davis says, “The day is really to help with the transition for our new students. The children are young, so it’s tough breaking away from mom and dad when they first come. This gives them the opportunity to see that coming to school is fun, safe, and inviting.” All Saints by-the-Sea Parish School has up to 85 students from ages 2 to 5.

The upcoming school year began Monday, September 12. Students complete the four-year pre-k system upon advancing each classroom; each year that the students move up a level, their curriculum builds on the already taught lessons. Davis says this process encourages repetition and familiarity for the students.

“Some of our teachers have been here for as many as twenty years,” Davis told us. “Some teachers have taught their students’ parents or siblings. So we like to keep things close.” Classroom settings mirror the friendly vibe: there is a 6-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio, which Davis says encourages interactive learning in small groups.

Parents are encouraged to stay actively involved in making up the Enrichment Committee; each month these parents organize a theme to follow. “It starts in December, and then each month the committee highlights a special cultural theme. For instance, in March we bring in Irish dancers for St. Patrick’s Day. The Enrichment Committee is just another way we try to instill new things in the students’ learning,” Davis says.

And throughout the school’s 50-year operation, faith has held high importance in the curriculum. Faculty and students attend Episcopal mass once a week.

For more information visit 83 Eucalyptus Lane, call 969- 4771, or email