Today is what we can call my “debut” as a part of the “second generation” of your Goleta Grapevine. I have to say that I was thrilled when I was approached to partake in what, up to now, was mostly Margaret Connell’s column. Now that she has decided to run for Goleta’s City Council, she will be 100 percent committed to her campaign. So, here I am, excited for the opportunity to communicate with all of you, and ready to write about the stories relevant to our community’s interests, politics, sports, and social life in general.

To do this right – even though my contacts in the community keep me well informed – I will appreciate your leads in advance on anything interesting, important, or plain curious that you think is worth sharing with others. I encourage you to write to me and tell me what you have in mind. After all, this column is called Goleta Grapevine, right?

As for my background, I was born and raised in Mexico City, where I studied philosophy and Spanish literature, got married, and formed a family. Fifteen years ago, my family and I arrived in Santa Barbara, and a few years later, we moved to Goleta. I am the founder and owner of Transil-Pro, a translation and interpreting company based in Goleta, which has allowed me to collaborate with nonprofit organizations, county and city governments, and corporations alike. I also am a freelance writer for both English and Spanish language publications. I love everything I do, but writing is my passion.

TALKIN’ POLITICS: We have to talk politics on the Grapevine, especially in the very effervescent time just before the elections. The political race is about to start – motors are warming up, plans are being made, strategies are being created, and politicians stand at the starting line already knowing the path that they want to take: one that would whoosh them to the final line as winners on November 4.

Many of the Democratic campaigns headquarters are housed together in one office, at 430 Chapala Street, which seems a fiscally responsible solution to me, notwithstanding its practicality. Volunteers are not only welcomed but truly needed during campaign time. If you have a little time to invest in helping your candidates, just swing by.

A politician not housing her campaign headquarters there is Lois Capps, which is quite surprising. Was this decision based on the fact that she’s unopposed, which could mean no need for such collaboration, or could it be that she perceives this coming term as her last one, thus no need for her party’s support in the future?

NO GOOD LAND FIESTA: No Fiesta in the Good Land:again? After living in Goleta for the last 10 years, and craving some Fiesta action in my town, I was very disappointed to see that nothing is really going on.

2008's Spirit of Fiesta Jessica Marquez (left) and Junior Spirit Ashley Almada
Margaret Connell

Yes, I am aware that there was an event on June 4, at Rancho La Patera and Stow House, called “Fiesta Ranchera.” Although I applaud the effort and the initiative, I truly believe that this event missed the mark.

Please, someone tell me, is it so difficult to organize something related to Fiesta during Fiesta? At least a couple of events that would allow us, Goletians – or in Spanish, “Goletanos” – to avoid the big crowds in Santa Barbara, and at the same time, enjoy such this wonderful tradition. How about having the flamenco and Mexican dancers, and the singers at Girsh Park for our own “Noches de Ronda?”

It would not be a huge expense for our city to get a wood platform and a P.A. system rented. Maybe someone in the community might donate it, or if we collaborate with the Old Spanish Days organization, we might get it loaned to us. Who knows? The point is to bring family entertainment to our city that would allow us to partake in such a historical event in our laid back style.

GANGS IN GOLETA: Last week, I heard a very simple and interesting question: Is Goleta immune to gangs?

The question is timely and relevant because of the increased gang activity in Santa Barbara. Yes, we do hear of things here and there about graffiti, fights at Dos Pueblos and San Marcos, and some people complaining in the Isla Vista area about youth been harassed and pressured by older gang members, but nothing compared to the recent stabbings that we’ve all heard about.

One of the possible reasons for this suppression of violence may be that the Sheriff’s Department has done a good job in keeping its fingers on the pulse of the town, and acting before things get out of control. Here’s a formula that always work when problems are in sight: Attention + action = Prevention.

OUR NEIGHBOR MICHAEL JORDAN? It was heard on the Grapevine that Michael Jordan (he was back in town for the youth basketball camp that he does every year) has been looking for a home right here in Goleta. If he chooses to be our neighbor, it will be a proof of his good taste, and his appreciation for our still lovely town, and its people.

Have a good week, and enjoy life.


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