A Q&A with the MA’s New Prez; Nancy Salvucci’s SBDigs.com; and More
Just back from vacationing in Argentina, where, no doubt, he jived to the tango, Bill Palladini, the Montecito Association’s brand new president, has found his dance card full. Swinging between myriad Association meetings, Montage cut in, just briefly, to do a short get-to-know-you Q-&-A spin with the newest community leader of the oldest homeowners association in California.
Montage: So, tell us a bit about yourself—your family and background?
Palladini: I was born in Italy and raised in the Chicago area. I am 63-years-old and currently retired. I owned and operated my own business for 23 years. I have a Bachelors of Science in Economics from Bradley University. I am married to my wife, Carol, and we have three sons and three grandchildren, who live in Orange County, the Bay Area, and Montana. I enjoy gardening and golf.
When did you move to Montecito?
What is your favorite thing about Montecito?
I like the semi-rural character and the casual style.
How did you get involved in the Montecito Association?
I am very interested in our community and preserving what we have here.
What life experience have you had that has prepared you for taking this somewhat awesome task? (The Montecito Association, with more than 1,000 homeowner members, has the mission of protecting and preserving Montecito’s semi-rural character, which has been credited for helping to create Montecito’s $6 billion assessed real estate values.)
I have had 30 years of business experience, including running my own business for 23 years. In that capacity, I managed people, dealt with customers and vendors, and did training, problem-solving, and negotiating. There has been no single experience that has prepared me, but the sum of 30 years of business experience will no doubt serve me — particularly in teamwork, goal setting, and management experience.
Why have you accepted this role?
I would like to try to help the Montecito Association and the community at a critical time in both their histories.
There have been some negative comments about the Association in the past year. How do you respond, and will you do anything different to stem the criticism?
Some criticism was valid, some not. We at the Association are all volunteers doing the best we can for the benefit of the community. Listening to others is an important part of that goal. I think we need to stay focused on our mission and at the same time reach out to our members and the community at large.
What jobs and responsibilities have you undertaken during your first year at the Association?
I served as co-chair of the traffic committee where I interacted with different county departments on road and traffic issues. I participated on the Westmont study group and I was appointed to work with the Montecito Planning Commission and county staff on review and study of neighborhood compatibility issues. I also served on the county study group that reviewed baseline traffic on some of Montecito’s major roads.
How would you define your leadership style?
I think “open-dialogue” defines it best. I like to ask questions and listen to answers. I like to lead by action and encourage participation.
What do you hope to accomplish this year at MA?
I would like to encourage full board participation, increased membership and community outreach, dialogue, education, and facilitation.
Do you have a single word that defines your goals?
Do you have any plans to review or study cityhood for Montecito?
Not at this time.
What does your wife have to say about your new role?
She is very supportive. She has many years of experience with volunteers in the non-profit world and she does not hesitate to offer advice, which I appreciate very much.
Is the anything you would like to add about yourself, or MA’s direction under your leadership?
I look forward to helping the Association be the positive force in the community that it has traditionally been. I would like to hear ideas from the community to that end, preferably by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or at the Association’s office, 969-2026.
Thank you. Do you have time for a tango?
Thank you, but not now.
TREND TALENT GOES ONLINE: Ten years ago, Nancy Salvucci took her considerable good taste on the road — literally. She loaded up Santa Barbara Airbuses with dozens of Montecito trend seekers and trekked around Santa Barbara County seeking lifestyle masters to mimic.
Nancy’s dead-on trendspotting abilities made her a formidable guru of the scene-and-seen. She created such a following that her Garden Lane Tours sold out on announcement, causing Montecito’s doyenne to polish their elbow jabs for even a backseat on a Salvucci’s bus tour. These wildly popular excursions became akin to summer-camp trips — friends made, experiences shared, lessons learned, and, on occasion, sing-alongs sung.
But, as all fashion leaders know, the exit is as important as the entrance. Nancy, not wanting to burn out or become old hat, laid peak-performing Garden Lane to rest two years ago. The void in local lifestyle learning was immediately and woefully mourned.
Since then Nancy dedicated her energy to writing about lifestyle, art, and architecture for Santa Barbara Magazine and the Destinations Magazine. However, Garden Lane fans continued to call, and Nancy found her time consumed by sharing her resources with from her extraordinary Garden Lane file. Being resourceful herself, Nancy pondered how she could provide yet another innovative trend-seeker service, and recently she launched the answer: SBDigs.com!
Blending the web and her monster Rolodex, SBDigs.com is Nancy’s new online only, subscription-only magazine that provides answers for lifestyle challenges — it’s Garden Lane online! Nancy provides an insider guide to home and garden tours (the architect Jeff Shelton’s whimsical Ablitt Tower is coming up next), and she gives referrals to personally researched design professionals, caterers, private chefs, gourmet foods, and floral designers, each blessed with Nancy’s seal of approval. She’s researched the latest home furnishings and accessories, and even has travel suggestions and daily email reminders about important social events and happenings.
This thoroughly modern, online-only lifestyle website offers directional discovery without the nuisance of elbow jabs or diesel bus fumes! SBDigs.com subscriptions are about the same price as a magazine subscription, but adds the daily update feature (a la Edhat-style) and links. It allows subscribers to know the best of the best, the latest of the latest, and the hottest of the hot from the fingertip ease of a PC browse.
“I saw a need and decided to fill it,” said Nancy, ever the innovator. “I could see online restaurant guides like Zagat, but nothing for home and garden.” She said the site is geared to Santa Barbara residents or anyone who wants to imitate the region’s lifestyle, which Montage candidly believes, is most of the World Wide Web!
WEEKLY CARUSO SIGHTING: Miramar owner Rick Caruso (pictured at his first meet-and-greet) hit another hospitality home run Monday night during a presentation for the Miramar’s closest neighbors, those homeowners residing on South Jameson, Fernald Point, Virginia, and Miramar roads. The event was held at the Montecito Country Club, where, ironically, former Miramar owner Ty Warner was sighted just days earlier, unhappily grounded in S.B., we hear, by a frozen-shut Chicago airport.
At Monday’s Caruso-do, 45 people attended the Q&A, and became yet another dazzled group of Montecitans seeking membership in the Rick Caruso fan club. As the Caruso team narrows the spin cycles, these nearby neighbors are a most important orbit for future of Caruso’s rocket-style development success. Living close to the Miramar, Monday night’s audience is the most impacted group and could be the most critical. But Caruso received only melodic good vibes on Monday night, after presenting Miramar concepts that included moving roads, demolishing rotting cottages, and planting water-thirsty, but lush lawns.
According to those in attendance, Caruso revealed he has taken on a hotel partner, who has experience in the hospitality industry. [UPDATE: On Wednesday afternoon, a press release announced that a new vice president of hotels and resorts for Caruso Affiliated. He is William A. Reich, whose previous hospitality experience includes time at the prestigious Peninsula and Prince hotels in Hong Kong. Montage believes that was what Caruso was referring to at the Monday meeting.] He also said community consensus appears to be nonchalant about icon blue roofs. (Historically they were cedar, but painted blue in the 1960s to attract 101-driver attention). Caruso disclosed he will try to add four units to the Miramar for hotel employees (which will help the community’s affordable housing component!) and he asked for community support when he submits an upcoming variance request to the county for the project. He said that he hopes to have plans okayed by the first of the year and building completed in 18 to 24 months thereafter, which got strong approval and nothing but enthusiastic cheers from the very worn and developer-weary Miramar ‘hood!
SKIN SKINNY: When the Four Seasons Biltmore Spaspeaks, everyone listens and this week was no exception. A select group of Montecito’s belles (such as, from left, spa director Jaana Raad, Daphne Ireland, Pam Geremia, and Dianne Gateley) were invited to hear the secrets of the spa’s skin guru Susan Ciminelli, who was on hand to autograph her book, The Ciminelli Solution, and share some insider tips.
Given that she’s offered epidermis enlightenment to faces like those of Jerry Hall, Andie MacDowell, Iman, Dustin Hoffman, Cindy Crawford, Al Pacino, and Sigourney Weaver, the Montecito crowd leaned forward to take in her every morsel of advice. In a nutshell (and she loves nuts), she believes in skin care from the inside out: nutritionally, physically, and spiritually. Ciminelli opened the Susan Ciminelli Day Spa in New York’s Bergdorf Goodman and is currently training the Biltmore facial staff with her methodology and products. She has a private office in Montecito as well, and can be booked for a private consultation through Four Seasons Biltmore or at susanciminelli.com. Ciminelli is pictured here at right with Christen Brown and Melinda Mars.
Montage’s favorite pick up was the Pureed Pumpkin and Prune Peel (½ cup of pitted prunes, ½ cup pumpkin puree and NOT pumpkin pie filling, which would be a sugar-fed, spiced-up disaster!). Combine the correct ingredients in a food processor and pulse into a paste. Apply to face and let soak for 30 minutes rinse with cool water and you’ll be perky as a pumpkin and won’t look at all like a prune!
ON TAP: The Board of Directors of the Montecito Water District will soon be back to it’s full compliment of five directors. Dr. W. Douglas Morgan has been tapped from a half a dozen applicants to fill the board vacancy created by the death of Robert Puddicombe last December.
“We were very pleased to have a high number of very qualified candidates,” explained Robert Roebuck, MWD’s general manager, who explained the decision was a hard one. In the end Dr. Morgan go the nod and will be sworn at the Board’s March 20 meeting.
Morgan since received his doctorate in economics from UC Berkeley and has been a professor of economics at UCSB since 1967. Roebuck said that in the 1980s, Morgan reviewed some aspects of Goleta’s water moratorium and is well versed in water issues. Morgan and his family have lived on the western side of Montecito for 30 years. He has been an adult leader for Boy Scout Troop 33 since 1978 and instrumental in bringing about the popular Youth Center in Manning Park.