A Q&A with the MA’s New Prez; Nancy Salvucci’s SBDigs.com;
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
Montage: So, tell us a bit about yourself—your family
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
I like the semi-rural character and the casual style.
How did you get involved in the Montecito
I am very interested in our community and preserving what we
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
What do you hope to accomplish this year at
I would like to encourage full board participation, increased
membership and community outreach, dialogue, education, and
Do you have a single word that defines your
Do you have any plans to review or study cityhood for
Not at this time.
What does your wife have to say about your new
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
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:
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
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
“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,
Cindy Crawford, Al Pacino, and
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
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.