Valentine’s for Overall, Tom’s, and the Miramar

The Village’s Colliding Icebergs Have Metled Due to Cupid’s
Warming Arrows

It’s Valentine’s Day
and those collision-causing, community-issue icebergs that floated
so hazardously around Montecito this past winter have all but
disappeared — melted away, we suspect, by a wave of well-placed
heart warming arrows from adorable Cupid’s sling.

As
reported Monday on Montage
, Supervisor Salud
Carbajal
shot an early Valentine to Montecito Association
Vice President Jack Overall, tapping him to fill
the empty seat on the Montecito Planning
Commission
. overall.jpg Overall (pictured) has lived in
Montecito for 19 years, served on the board of the MA for nearly a
decade, and has had an application on file for an MPC seat since
it’s inception in 2002.

During his community service time on the Association’s board,
Overall was elected twice as vice-president, once as treasurer, was
seated on the organization’s powerful executive committee too many
times to count, and turned down the presidency repeatedly. In
January, Overall was elected again to MA’s board for a fourth (non
consecutive) three-year term, a position he will relinquishes when
seated on the MPC on February 21.

Demonstrating a variety of leadership skills, Overall was
appointed as the association’s delegate to both the 101
Stakeholders Advisory Committee and to the county’s complex

Zoning Ordinance Reformatting Project
(ZORP) — a study group
that successfully engineered the retention of Montecito’s historic
Article IV zoning ordnance. Additionally, during the past year,
Overall has served as MA’s point person on the Westmont Expansion
Study Team, and he has worked closely with Carbajal on a review of
Montecito’s
Board of Architectural Review
(MBAR) applications and MBAR’s
submittal requirements.

Overall, a UC Berkeley grad, studied business economics and has
built and sold three successful businesses — one in publishing, a
second in printing, and a third in real estate management.
(Ironically, long before their MA relationship, Overall sold one of
his businesses to
incoming MA Prez Bill Palladini
, who Overall later nominated
for the MA board). Overall says, however, it is not business
experience, but his familiarity with the intricacies of Montecito
land use planning that will be key for his new role on the Montecito
Planning Commission
.

“My experience working with the community, working with Planning
and Development, and working with the community plan are my
strongest assets for this position,” he explained. The community,
Montage hears, endorsed Overall’s skills and sent a ground swell of
explicit Valentines to Carbajal, favoring Overall’s
appointment.

KISS AND TELL: Among the more interesting
Overall approvals came from Mary Belle Snow, a
leader of Voices
of Montecito
(VOM), the newly formed planning process
“watchdog” group that has openly growled about the appearance of
cronyism between MA and the MPC. The property-rights-partial
organization supported a MPC candidate of their own, J.W
Colin
, but, in the end, Snow said the group did not oppose
the more seasoned Overall.

“There were a number of good candidates, and we had some
meetings with Jack and think he is a good choice. We have no
objections,” Snow said, perhaps softened by a Carbajal Valentine of
her own. This past week the Supervisor asked the First District’s
Chief Diplomatic Cupid, Michael Cooney, to
initiate a review of Montecito’s complex land use planning process,
an agenda item dear to the hearts of VOM. heart%20cooney.jpg Carbajal, however, was quick to point
out that Cooney’s review was not the “Blue Ribbon Panel” sought by
VOM at a recent Board of Supervisors meeting, but, instead, just an
very informal look-see.

“This is just a first step to see what the issues are. This
review stems from dialogue with many groups — I have heard from the
Montecito Association, the Voices of Montecito, and the Homeowners Defense Fund. I
have listened to my constituents and I have directed Michael Cooney
to touch base within the broader community dynamic and assess what
the issues are, if there are any issues,” Carbajal explained. “This
review might lead to other things, but I don’t want to get too far
ahead — I don’t want to prejudge. Right now I have only asked
Michael to embark on an informal investigation, to get some
differing impressions about the process and to make an assessment
of where we are now.”

Carbajal said Cooney’s review will take several weeks and Cooney
said he expects his report to be long on insider knowledge, but
short on recommendations. “I will pass whatever information I get
on to Salud and he can decide what to do,” Cooney said, with just
the correct sprinkling of objectivity.

YOU’RE PURR-FECT! “I think we have just exactly
who we want for this property,” beamed Steve
Traxler
(pictured at the Miramar), a longtime neighborhood
protectionist, who has been known for fighting for the residential
quality of the Miramar beach neighborhood. traxler%20miramar.jpg After last Friday’s meeting with

Rick Caruso
, the Miramar Hotel’s new owner, Traxler was feeling
very positive.

“He’s not ‘the developer’ — he’s the guy next door and we are
his neighbors. Hello Neighbor!” Traxler exclaimed. Traxler met with
Caruso along with two other nearby Miramar neighbors Mike
DeGruy
and Mike Ladado. Traxler said
Caruso discussed some possible revisions to the currently approved
Schrager plan, but the three locals saw no blinding red flags.
Traxler said the next step will be to quickly set up a more
extended Miramar neighborhood meeting with Caruso, and Traxler is
enthusiastic to make the introduction.

“We all left saying, ‘This is a professional guy who knows what
he is doing.’ He’s a real pro with a passion for the property,”
Traxler said. “With Caruso it is not about flipping properties, he
is in this for the long haul — not 10 years, but 40 or 50 years.”
heart%20caruso.jpg Traxler went on to say he believes
Caruso sees this property as “unique in all of California and that
is the way he is treating it. It’s about the property for him —
Caruso’s eyes light up when he talks about the Miramar — it’s all
about passion, and he’s excited,” Traxler continued, ending with
what Montage could only recognize as a Valentine wish: “God bless
him. He cares what we care about: the neighborhood and this temple
property.”

NO VALENTINE FOR MONTAGE? If you want to give
Caruso a belated Valentine bon mot of your own, he will be
attending a public meet-and-greet reception this Friday at
Montecito Hall, 1469 East Valley Road at 4 p.m.
Montage
understands the Montecito Association is hosting a 3 p.m. exclusive
and “private” pre-reception for local decision makers. heart%20no%20love.jpg

Montage, as you know, is notoriously un-private so we didn’t get
the coveted secret nod, as media was nixed. Undaunted, we promise
to have our nose to the glass, where we understand we might have
the company of some MPC commissioners, fearing the too private and
off-the-record meeting with a future development-presenter. It
could smell a tad un-seemly.

HIS HEART’S IN THE RIGHT PLACE: Richard
Gunner
, the new owner of the commercial corner on East
Valley Road (Tom’s Pharmacy) is starting to talk to locals about
some future ideas for the site. Montage will reveal the plot soon,
but here’s a hint: Look for pedestrian walkways combined with old
world Montecito historical charm. Gunner has a home in Montecito
and even went to college with MPC Comish Claire
Gottsdanker
. Montage hears Gunner understands our love of
semi-rural so we will keep you posted for Montage, of course, will
be the first to reveal all.

DO THEY EXPECT THIS TO BE A HOT ONE? The
Montecito Water
District
will hold public hearing on proposed revisions to
water rates and charges on February 20 at 2 p.m. at the Montecito
Fire District, at 595 San Ysidro Road. Bring your own fire hose and
drink water.

FOPR YOUR CALENDAR: Today, Wednesday, February
14, Casa del Herrero welcomes designer Bunny Williams’ lecture and
lunch, 10 am, $125, 565-5653 for last minute openings.…

Tomorrow, Thursday, February 15, Westmont Downtown, four college
professors will discuss Thomas Friedman’s book, The World is
Flat
, at the University Club, 1332 Santa Barbara Street, 5:30
p.m., limited seating, on a first-come basis…. Tuesday, February
20, Board of Supervisors Hearing on Westmont’s appeal of the MPC
decision…

Sunday, February 25, 5 p.m. Sarah House Black Tie Oscar Party.
Click here for more info…

Friday, March 30, Andy Granatelli will be honored by The David
Horowitz Freedom Center and look for Tom DeLay to be in attendance,
click here for
info for more information.

Login

Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.