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Palladini for President?


Moves for Montecito Association and Much More

As reported by Montage on Monday, incumbent Montecito Association President Robert Collector will not seek another term at the helm of the powerful Montecito homeowners’ organization.

Bill%20Palladini.jpgInstead, Montage hears that Bill Palladini, (pictured) entering his second year on the board, will be elected to take over the reins of the 1,000-member Montecito group at the February 13 monthly meeting. However, it may be one of those “he-left–the-room-and-was-elected-president” moves, as Palladini is currently traveling in South America. While he will miss his first meeting in the hot seat, Montage understands he has agreed to accept leadership and has asked first VP-nominee Diane Pannkuk to keep his seat warm until his return.

And what a warm seat it is! In the past year, the 60-year-old Association has received abundant, highly publicized criticism about its actions and its purpose. Collector said while some citizen comments were personal and painful, he weathered the censure and was ready to accept a second year as president — but that a recent family matter cinched his departure.

Bob Collector’s wife, Laura Collector, represents a group of neighbors who oppose Westmont’s expansion and Bob believes the six-year-old issue is likely headed toward a courtroom. Bob said a “Collector” lawsuit against the county could cause community misunderstanding, and potentially bring unwarranted harm to the Association.

“I determined I would stand down to alleviate any perceived confusion between my wife’s lawsuit and my leadership role. It must be made clear that there is no connection — a misunderstanding would be unfair to the Association, the organization must remain above reproach,” Collector explained.

He said he would remain on the Association’s board and, as the immediate past president, he will serve on the organization’s influential executive committee. Collector said as a board member he looks forward to continuing his public service work on Montecito land use issues and on finding safe routes to schools. He is also looking forward to resuming full attention to his career as a filmmaker and his role as a family man.

The full slate of nominated officers for the Associations 2007 year will include Palladini, president; Pannkuk, first vice president; Barry Siegel, second vice president; Richard Shaikewitz, secretary; and Gene Sinser, treasurer. Sinser will be appointed to the board at the February meeting to replace David Myrick, bringing Montage’s New Years crystal ball predictions to almost 100 percent accuracy!

TAKE A HIKE! Supervisor Janet Wolf tipped Montage off a secret: If you want her attention, take a hike. To prove her point, she sponsored a brisk one-mile downtown walk in support of the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women. janet%201.jpg The new Second District supe gathered a group of non-partisan supporters on the steps of the County Adminitration building with she had one goal in mind: to stop heart disease, which is the number one killer of women.

In honor of the event, most of the crowd wore red, including Assemblymember Pedro Nava, who said he continued to work on legislation to insure better health care for women. Supervisor Wolf, who revealed she has had a heart attack herself, reminded us that government can help, but good health is up to each individual. With that advice she sprinted off, leaving Montage panting in her dust, but showing us she’s a supe on the move!

AND THE AWARD GOES TO: SBIFF! As the Santa Barbara International Film Festival packs up for another year, Montecito is reminiscing over another memorable event — great movies and an amazing host of parties (complete this year with black-coated bouncers). Top star billing is going to SBIFF executive director Roger Durling (entertaining with an ever changing rainbow mane) for his uncanny ability to forecast a year in advance who and what will be hot, and with the foresight to book them into Santa Barbara for SBIFF.

Montecito homeowner Michael DeGruy (pictured) is also getting rave reviews for his interview with Nobel Peace Prize nominee Al Gore and filmmaker Davis Guggenheim. degruy.jpg DeGruy, a natural history filmmaker, said he had only a few seconds with the interviewees before his on-stage session, but he said he did lots of prep work before the moment. “I never met these two, so I felt sort of naked because I had no past anecdotes to rely on. I wanted a personal conversation.”

Given DeGruy’s ebullient personality and free-spirited interview ad lib style, he managed to turn the huge Arlington Theatre into an intimate yet huge living room. He created a very personal, often amusing, up close chat, which is why most of the ticket holders choose these talk-only events. “I had a blast and Gore and Guggenhiem told me they lots of fun,” DeGruy enthused. And that pretty well sums up SBIFF 2007. Lots of fun!

Here’s Montage’s slideshow from the SBIFF ‘007.

WESTMONT APPEAL DENIED: Most awakening comment at the five-hour Board of Supervisors Westmont hearing on Tuesday came from Gerd Jordano. “My husband and I have collectively lived in Montecito for 138 years — which, of course, means my husband is 100 years old.”

In the crowd, the neighborhood protection group’s newest team members, pit bull attorney Barry Cappello and movie producer Ivan Reitman. After opponents and proponents tried to talk each other into conversion, the outcome was as expected: the neighbors’ appeal was denied and the Westmont project approved.

What’s the next step? Cappello turns on his meter and the above mentioned “Collector” lawsuit moves closer to a reality, leading us to the next item.

CORAL CASINO APPEAL DEAD: Greg Rice informs us that Coral Casino protector Cynthia Ziegler did not appeal the Warner redo project to the state supreme court. So, after nearly seven years, the issue is closed and a new Coral Casino is now set to go forward without future furor. Rice says only he is “pleased” — which, Montage believes, is putting it mildly!

DUNCAN DEPARTS: Ty Warner Hotel and Resorts has announced the resignation of Duncan Graham, who has managed to keep the San Ysidro Ranch up and running (and receiving awards) during its two-year refurbishment. His last day will be February 25. Graham is third Ranch manager since Ty Warner purchased the property, but Graham feels his mission is complete. He supplied Montage with the following statement:

“When I was interviewed for this position over three years ago by Ty, he made me several promises about how he would make the Ranch a more magical and romantic experience without actually changing it. He has more than lived up to those promises he made. This month we will celebrate the completion of his $150 million restoration and yesterday we reopened The Plow and Angel (The Stonehouse has been open since December), and were completely full within 30 minutes of (re)opening our doors. Never has The Ranch looked better.”

The Ranch was recently awarded the Andrew Harper “Top Three in North America.” And how did Graham accomplish this during the construction phase at the ranch? “With a smile and a little pixie dust!”

MIRAMAR MEET AND GREET: The Montecito Association is hosting a community reception for Rick Caruso, new owner of the Miramar. It will be held on February 16 from 4 until 5 p.m. at Montecito Community Hall, and is open to the public.

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