No Contest: Voting 101

No Votes Needed: With Montecito residents often
crawling over each other for prestigious board positions, it seems
newsworthy that on November’s ballot there are no challenges to
report for any of Montecito’s special district board seats. No
election will be necessary at the Montecito Water District, whose
three openings were filled by the three lone applicants, newcomers
Sam Frye and Richard Shaikewitz,
and incumbent Robert Puddicombe. At the Montecito
Sanitary District it’s the same story. Judith
Ishkanian
, who was recently appointed to fill a mid-term
board vacancy, captures an unopposed full term of her own. At the
Montecito Fire District, incumbent John Venable is
easily reseated, with nary a challenger in sight.

Historically, Montecito special district ballot contests are
rare. The most recent election where voters made the difference was
at the Montecito Water District in 2002. The Sanitary District
hasn’t seen an election since 1995, and the last voter ballot
election for Montecito Fire District board members was nearly 30
years ago, in 1977!

So why are there no challengers to force an election? The
serious and hard duties that are required by these important
community services scare off a lot of retiring Montecitans.
Additionally, the requisite public announcement of openings,
sometimes only posted on district doors, goes largely unnoticed.
Also, many board vacancies occur mid-term, a fact that allows
district boards to curb election costs and defuse the unknown by
having personal knowledge of the fill-ins. Once appointed, the
proxies become incumbents, and a pretty sure bet to be seated in
any ensuing election.

That said, with 15-year veteran board member Robert
Begley
recently stepping from the Montecito Sanitary
District, there is a seat on that board available. General
Manager/District Engineer Diane Gabriel says she
welcomes applicants: “There is nothing we would like more than to
have a good selection of candidates.” The Sanitary District board
will hold an appointment hearing on Monday, October 9, at 1 p.m.
Anyone seeking application information may contact Gabriel at
969-4200. However, the seat is not a sure bet because Montage
already hears there is one well-known community leader, with
district experience, who’s got an eye on the sanitary seat!

Your Vote Counts Here: Election news also comes
from the Coral Casino. Nominations are open for four seats on the
club’s Membership Committee. Melinda Mars is
stepping down to tend to projects closer to home, and the
three-year terms of John Wilczak, Marie
Larkin
, and John McGowan all come to an
end. McGowan, the club’s embattled and construction-weary current
president, says he’s reluctantly anteing up for another term, but
anxious to spearhead more positive social club innovations. He
reports the club construction is moving swiftly and that the July
reopening of Team-Ty looks to be on target.

In other election news, Montecito mom Suzy
Cawthon
throws her hat in the ring for the Santa Barbara
School Board race. The Montecito Association extends its board
nomination date until Friday, October 20, at 5 p.m. And
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and First
Lady Maria Shriver
make a fundraising swing through
Montecito at Genevieve and Ivan
Reitman
’s dinner on October 30. The ticket price is a
Halloween hair-raising $10,000 per person, but well worth it, as
the Reitmans always serve such nice food!

Green Light for Spinach: Only Lucky’s showed
the strength to serve spinach throughout the E. coli
scare. “We never stopped serving it. We know our supplier and we
tracked our products all the way along. I’ve been eating loads of
it,” reported a very healthy-looking Lucky hostess. Tres Lune, Via
Vai, and Piatti are all still spinach-free, but Vons in Montecito
hoisted it back on the shelf.

art_fund.jpgArt Advancement:
Montecito residents Gene Sinser and Patty
DeDominic
have been elected honorary co-chairs of the Arts
Fund’s annual fundraiser on October 8. Sinser has been active on
the group’s board of directors, where he served as treasurer and
headed the Individual Artist Awards committee. Additionally, the
Sinsers have hosted a number of special events for the Arts Fund at
their very dramatic and artistic Montecito home. Sinser is former
head of Gene Sinser Gallery in Los Angeles and has been active with
the Roads Committee of the Montecito Association. His wife Patty
DeDominic is the founder, CEO, and chairman of the PDQ Careers
Group of Companies, one of Los Angeles’ largest privately held
staffing services.

image001.jpgTragic News: Westmont
College reports that recent grad Will Wiersma, 23,
was killed in a car accident on Monday on Interstate 110 near
Coachella. The car, in which Wiersma was riding, apparently swerved
to miss a coyote and went off the road. Westmont said Wiersma was
returning to Santa Barbara, where he was about to begin a new job
with a with Commission Junction, an internet marketing firm. He
graduated Magna Cum Laude from Westmont, where he majored in
political science and was president of his freshman class.

Montecito in Motion: Montecito Fire District’s
Geri Simmons posted a final Day fire report and
breathed a sigh of relief that her mother, who lives in the fire’s
path, suffered no damage. Geri posted a great global fire tracking
site for your future use: www.geomac.usgs.gov/viewer/viewer.htm.

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