Rounding up our top-performing posts is not (just) an exercise in back-patting. It’s a chance to reflect on the stories and issues that matter to our readers. While 2021’s throughline was all about the climate, this year was not so easy to pin down. Maybe it’s because 2022 marked the midterm elections, or maybe it’s because we started to see pre-pandemic levels of reopening. All we know is that Indy denizens care about everything from housing woes to abortion rights to local history.
1. Story: “Yvon Chouinard Gives Ventura-Based Patagonia Away” | 2,250 likes | September 14 | Image credit: Campbell Brewer
In a country (and county!) with an ever-expanding wealth divide, there’s a certain novelty to billionaires engaging in any sort of goodwill toward humanity. That’s what happened when Yvon Chouinard decided to give away the ownership of Patagonia to a trust and nonprofit organization focused on fighting climate change.
2. Story: “Landlords Beware” | 2,154 likes | March 22
Rachel Sim of the S.B. Tenants Union submitted an op-ed excoriating illegal price-gouging by Santa Barbara landlords. It seems that everyone with less than a six-figure income is bearing the brunt of outrageous rents in the local housing market. So this particular topic opened the floodgates for complicated discussions in the comments section. Sim’s Voice even inspired a rebuttal that made it to our site.
3. Story: “Rally for Roe Gathers a Cheering Crowd in Santa Barbara” | 2,148 likes | May 3 | Image credit: Ingrid Bostrom
The day after Politico leaked the Supreme Court opinion that would end up overturning Roe v. Wade, hundreds of Santa Barbarans showed up to De la Guerra Plaza on short notice to support abortion rights. Photographer Ingrid Bostrom captured the energy of the moment.
4. Story: “Say So Long to Santa Barbara’s Offshore Platforms” | 2,107 likes | January 24 | Image credit: Paul Wellman (file)
A look at how eight oil platforms off the Santa Barbara coast are set to be decommissioned in the next 10 years. This story was part of our cover package “Is Big Oil Dead in Santa Barbara?”
5. Story: “Vigil at Santa Barbara Courthouse Protests Loss of Roe v. Wade” | 1,860 likes | June 24 | Image credit: Ingrid Bostrom
In the wake of Roe’s overturning, Santa Barbarans showed out to protest for abortion protections.
6. No story | 1,660 likes | August 14 | Image credit: @Michelle.Castellino
This “handsome” bear captured the hearts of the Santa Barbara community when reader Michelle Castellino submitted this shot from the Foothills.
7. Story: “A Cultural History of Santa Barbara’s Eastside and Milpas” | 1,542 likes | April 15 | Image credit: Carl Perry
8. Story: “Santa Barbara Junior High Student Allegedly Called Racial Slurs, Assaulted by Other Students” | 1,531 likes | February 23
According to a follow-up story, the junior high continues to reckon with racism. Still, the outpouring of grief and outrage in response to this story shows that many want to fight for a better community.
9. Story: “Santa Ynez Official Identified Among January 6 Mob” | 1,427 likes | November 10 | Image credit: Courtesy
Tyler Hayden went long on a Santa Ynez Valley official’s involvement in the pro-Trump mob’s attack on the U.S. Capitol.
10. Story: “Film Festival Diary: Lin-Manuel Miranda Looks Back on Encanto” | 1,358 likes | March 8 | Image credit: Rebecca Sapp and Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images for SBIFF
The Hamilton creator’s emphasis on an all-Latin creative team for Encanto won him a hero’s welcome at SBIFF — and on our feed.
Edit: Right after this story went live, another post reached 1,712 likes at the time of posting! So here’s an honorable mention (so we don’t have to rewrite the whole list before going on break):
Story: “Santa Barbara’s Century Man” | 1,712 likes | December 22 | Image credit: Ingrid Bostrom
Newfound centenarian Roke Fukumura captured our readers’ hearts with his passion for life, love of Santa Barbara, and hilarious one-liners. When asked his secret for long life, he replied: Less meat and more vegetables. Keep your body moving. And above all, he said, “Stay single.”
For better or worse, Reels became all the rage on the Instagram algorithm. Attempts were made to make strides on the video front … and this is the fruit of that labor.
1. Story: “Vigil at Santa Barbara Courthouse Protests Loss of Roe v. Wade” | 2,491 likes | June 24 | Video credit: Ryan P. Cruz
A significant chunk of the American population had a core right stripped away. Vice President of the Action Fund Luz Reyes-Martín and President and CEO Jenna Tosh helped put the situation into perspective.
2. Story: “Ten Brown Pelicans Released Back to the Wild in Montecito and Goleta” | 1,530 likes | June 16 | Video credit: S.B. Wildlife Care Network
Amid concerns over a pelican health crisis, the community got to breathe a small sigh of relief.
3. No story. | 992 likes | September 24 | Video credit: Caitlin Kelley
We caught Vandenberg’s last launch of a heavy rocket, which marked the end of an era.
4. Story: “World’s Biggest Bounce Castle Comes to Santa Barbara” | 811 likes | March 25 | Video credit: Jun Starkey
The biggest inflatable castle came to Santa Barbara. Naturally, we topped off our footage with Fall Guys’ bizarrely catchy soundtrack.
5. Story: “Superior Court Employees in Santa Barbara March for a Living Wage” | 680 likes | October 18 | Video credit: Jean Yamamura
The financial un-livability of Santa Barbara bubbled up at the courthouse when Superior Court employees protested for a living wage.