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Ingrid Luna

Paul Wellman

Ingrid Luna


Realities and Wisdom


Ingrid Luna

Jobs: Artist at the Painted Cabernet, scenic artist for Ensemble Theatre Company and UCSB Theater, mother, wife

Years in S.B.: 34, born and raised

Survival Credentials: “My mom and I were homeless when I was little. She was an artist who sold homemade dresses and quilts at the Sunday beach show. We lived in her tiny VW Bug, and I was actually really happy despite our circumstances.”

Previous Jobs: Bar and restaurant manager, coffee barista, art teacher, personal assistant for a mystic

Survival Reality: “My husband, Terry, is also a native. We both make our living as artists. Sometimes, when painting sales are low or nonexistent, we have had to choose between feeding ourselves or my small daughter, paying the gas bill or the electric bill, being short on rent or putting gas in the car. It’s really hard … I have watched my beloved hometown change from an eclectic beach community to a very affluent seaside tourist spot.”

By Paul Wellman

Helene Schneider

Helene Schneider

Job: Mayor of Santa Barbara

Years in Town: 24, moved here from New York City in 1992 right after college

Why S.B.? Her partner at the time was enrolled in a graduate program at UCSB and “like so many others, I came here through the university and very quickly decided I had to figure out how to stay.”

Previous Job: Human resources director for Planned Parenthood, “a job that put the whole Surviving Santa Barbara thing very much on the front burner for me professionally as I worked to help relocate new employees and help them settle.”

Survival Reality: “I think a lot of people sacrifice personal space in order to be here. I live in a tiny 700-square-foot home but it is a tiny 700-square-foot home in Santa Barbara. I feel very fortunate to have it.”

By Paul Wellman

David and Lisa Chavez

David and Lisa Chavez (and Karma the Pug)

Jobs: General contractor, journeyman carpenter, parents, soon-to-be grandparents

Years in S.B.: 58 for him and 54 for her, both born and raised with family trees that go back multiple generations in Santa Barbara

Survival Reality: “A lot of the people I went to high school with have had to move away because of cost of living,” says David. “It’s beautiful, and I will never get sick of Santa Barbara itself, but the crowds and the way the town caters to tourists has become too much,” says Lisa.

Advice: “You have to become part of the community, a real resident. Once you get over that hump, everything becomes easier from more affordable housing to work opportunities,” says David. “Save your pennies,” says Lisa.

By Paul Wellman

Monique Limon

Monique Limón

Jobs: Assistant director of the McNair Scholars Program at UCSB, member of the Santa Barbara Unified School District Board of Education

Years in S.B.: 35, born and raised (minus time spent away at universities)

Survival Reality: “Growing up on the Eastside, I was always amazed at the mix and diversity of students … But, we all struggled for the same things — going to a university, finding a good job, living a happy life, and maybe even buying a house — except some of us still can’t find that affordable home.”

Why S.B.? “The community! Our commitment to improve, engage, and give back is one of a kind. One day we may be talking about the Gator Boy mural or drug-sniffing dogs in our schools, and the next day we’re dealing with the achievement gap and Measure P. We care.”

By Paul Wellman

Dave Rosen

Dave Rosen

Jobs: Plumber, carpenter, jeweler, Santa Barbara City College instructor, dad, husband

Years in Town: 27, moved here from the San Fernando Valley to chase a girl

Survival Credentials: A self-described “renegade builder,” he once fashioned a living space in downtown S.B. for only $150 a month!

Advice: “Hookups and luck. Get yourself in indentured servitude to your landlord, and with your work, always have a few irons in the fire.”

By Paul Wellman

Ray Kennedy

Ray Kennedy

Jobs: Commercial lobsterman, father, husband

Years in Town: 40, moved here from Granada Hills and, before that, Ireland

Why S.B.? “The beauty of the waves brought me here, but the proximity to both the sea and the mountains has kept me here. And it is a great place to raise a family.”

Previous Jobs: Sales and marketing in the camera business, surfboard glassing, contributing photographer at Surfer magazine

Advice: “It’s expensive, so work a little harder and be a little more efficient. It hasn’t been easy, but I’ve also never considered leaving.”

By Paul Wellman

Tyler Tomblin

Tyler Tomblin

Jobs: Co-owner Stagecoach Wine Tours, father, husband

Years in S.B.: 23, moved here from Laguna Beach for UCSB

Previous Jobs: Isla Vista Surf Company, surf industry sales rep, art director at Slavia, owner of the Art Den, freelance graphic designer, mentor, art director for UCSB Associated Students

Survival Credentials: “There was a year or two where I was living off food stamps and eating day-old egg and tuna sandwiches from Starbucks that my roommate would bring home.”

Advice: “This town breeds reinventing yourself over and over again because it is so hard to make ends meet. Don’t be afraid to take risks and start something new.”

By Paul Wellman

Wallace Piatt

Wallace Piatt

Jobs: Artist, clothing designer, part-time papaya farmer

Years in S.B.: 32, moved here for UCSB from Santa Maria/Santa Ynez

Previous Jobs: Domino’s Pizza, waiter, owner of True Grit clothing store, owner of Particle men’s clothing store

Why S.B.? “At the age of 12, my mom brought me ‘over the hill’ from Santa Ynez to get braces. If Dr. Rathbone tightened them really hard we’d go to Harry’s Café for raviolis — easy to suck down. I’d walk around the rooms there and stare at the vintage photos. I loved it: the cowboys, the style, the whole S.B. deal. If the braces weren’t tight, we’d go to Petrini’s for old-school pizza. I promised myself, ‘I’m living here when I grow up.’”

Advice: “I had a killer business in four locales around town for 18 years but lost it all. Now I’m enjoying some recognition in the art world and recently became a resident artist at the S.B.[Art] Foundry. It’s really all about finding a niche and having your own style and not giving a shit what people think of you! Be alone if you have to. One gains idiosyncrasies being alone and in turn becomes an interesting person.”

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