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Honoring Barry Siegel


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

For more than a decade, Montecito resident Barry Siegel has been a community advocate on behalf of sensible traffic-transportation solutions, and this weekend he will be recognized for his drive. The Coalition for Sustainable Transportation (COAST), which Barry co-founded, will honor Siegel on Saturday, March 24, and there are so many community accolades coming in that they’re causing traffic jam.

We want to honor Barry for his many contributions to our community,” explained fellow COAST board member Alex Pujo, who is organizing the event. He told Montage that Siegel moved to Montecito from Los Angeles in 1993, amid widespread opposition to a Caltrans 101 widening project. Then-Supervisor Naomi Schwartz took almost immediate notice of Siegel, who had been involved as a community advocate in the building of the Marina freeway project in Los Angeles. She solicited his help to find some palatable Santa Barbara solutions.

She appointed Siegel to a task force that suggested a series of more community-compatible operational improvements for the 101. Santa Barbara’s regional transportation authority, Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG), adopted those projects. Some, like the bike paths on North Jameson Lane and Ortega Hill, have recently become reality.

Since the 1990s, Barry has been a mainstay in our community on studying, reporting, and speaking out about transportation and circulation issues,” said First District Supervisor Salud Carbajal. “Barry has displayed great intelligence, perspective, and expertise and he has provided a very credible public service for this community. There are few aficionados of transportation that are as committed or passionate for the sake of the community, and it is certainly appropriate that we recognize Barry for his selfless service.”

Joan Wells, a former planning commissioner who worked closely with Siegel on a number of Montecito land use projects, concurs. “Barry is very professional and conscientious about traffic and circulation,” she said. “He is a hard worker and he takes it seriously. His skill has been a real asset to our community.”

In addition to serving on the 101 Task Force, Pujo said Siegel, an engineer by profession, has attended every major forum and transportation project discussion in the past 10 years. Additionally, Barry is well known for writing the “Siegel Report,” his widely consumed personal take of SBCAG meetings.

Siegel has served on the City of Santa Barbara Circulation Committee, served as a tutor at Santa Barbara High School, and was instrumental in helping implement his neighborhood’s new roadway traffic-calming islands in the center of Hermosillo Drive. Siegel has been a member of the Montecito Association Board of Directors for years, formerly serving as land use chair, and currently serving as second vice-president.

Montecito Planning Commissioner Jack Overall, a former MA cohort, has worked closely with Siegel a number of community project study teams, including Zoning Ordinance Reformatting Project and 101 in Motion. “Barry is a pleasure to work with,” Overall said. “His extensive experience is a tremendous asset, especially when combined with his unfailing efforts to do thorough analysis, and then communicate the results. His greatest accomplishment is building a core of informed and interested people willing to participate in public dialogue about our county’s transportation future.”

Jim Kemp, executive director of SBCAG, has also been impressed with Siegel’s public policy advocacy skills. “Barry cares deeply about issues that affect our community’s quality of life and about the decisions local governments make that impact our quality of life. He does his homework and reads all the reports that SBCAG produces—even the most ponderous and technical ones,” Kemp said. He continued, “He isn’t afraid to stand up and challenge conventional thinking in the public policy arena that can sometimes inhibit the best solutions from being advanced. I’ve always appreciated how Barry can disagree without being disagreeable. His persistence and willingness to perform the heavy lifting of government watch-dogging has earned him a lot of respect among other activists, agency staff, and elected officials.”

Siegel, who grew up in Brooklyn and graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in Aeronautical Engineering, says has been involved in politics and civil rights since the 1960s. After he moved to Los Angeles, Barry says, ” Caltrans wanted to build the Marina Freeway through where we lived and I got into public service because I saw a need and because I wanted to protect my community.”

And what advice would Barry offer to the fledgling Montecito public servant? “Pay attention to what SBCAG, the Board of Supervisors, and the Santa Barbara City Council are doing. Their actions affect Montecito.”

Barry will be joined by his wife, Martha, at Saturday’s COAST celebration. It will be held at the Mesa art studio and gallery of Oak Group artist Larry Iwerks and will begin at 4 p.m. The event is open to the public. For reservations or information call 964-0472.

FLATTENED BY THE COOKIE MONSTER: “I always knew it would be just a matter of time before she exceeded me professionally,” admitted humbled public affairs-PR-pro John Tynan. It seems his daughter, Grace (pictured), at the ripe old age of 16, snagged the placement of which PR pros dream: A quote in the venerable New York Times! mm%203-21%20girl.jpg Montage hears she raced right home like a happy puppy to exuberantly ask her thrilled dad if he’d ever been quoted in the New York Times. Pop’s bubble was burst-he hasn’t!

This has really helped me understand business,” Ms. Tynan told the Times in the story published on March 1. The understatement was, however, not referring to her dad’s well-known Santa Barbara PR and development business, but to the Girl Scouts’ C.E.O.-in-Training program.

This skill-training program teaches young women leadership and business skills, and Grace has been a participant for three years. The Montecito Miss says she applies her entrepreneurial skills to Girl Scout cookie sales and has made presentations to local businesses, created incentives, and provided bonuses for high-sales achievers! (Shameless Montage Tip: The annual GS cookie sale ends March 25, so order up and munch up! See www.gstc.org.)

After her NYT debut, Grace became a media darling and was whisked off to L.A. last week at 6:30 a.m. do a live television interview, aired nationally Fox News. “She did great,” her proud dad (and media trainer?) beamed. “They fired off questions live, and she just shot back.”

He said he is impressed with the Girl Scouts’ C.E.O. business development program. Tynan explained, “The Girl Scouts are trying hard to give girls real practical skills in business and finance.” With this top-notch head-start training, could John have beaten Grace into the New York Times, or at least gotten interviewed on Fox? We’ll never know, because this program is reserved for girls only. Sorry, John, that’s just the way the cookie crumbles!

KNOWS NO LIMITS: Montecito was well represented at Planned Parenthood‘s Annual Dinner held last Thursday at the Double Tree. Patty Bliss and Joan Wells were on hand, along with Bill and Carol Palladini, Lorraine Wilson, and Nina Terzian. Dinner chair Leslie Hovey (looking, as always, calm and collected) was seated next to husband Harry, who was sharing news about his recent selection to the board of the Montecito Sanitary District. Volunteer of the year Mary Jane McCord was introduced by Planned Parenthood president and former MA Board member Julia Springer. Derek Westen announced PP’s $11 million building fund had gone over the top (who says there’s a soft economy?).

Master of Ceremonies Bob Bason (on winter hiatus from Paris) introduced headliner Stedman Graham (pictured with PP prez Julia Springer). The author and motivational speaker told us how he keeps his self-esteem, even though he is often identified as merely Oprah’s beau. “Take your power back,” he challenged us, and with that Montecito grabbed as much of the South Coast as we could in one hour.

It seems Mr. Graham, a Montecito resident, is not quite familiar with Montecito’s meager boundaries, so he offered several salutes to how glad he was to be “here in Montecito.” The Double Tree, you may recall, sits smack in Santa Barbara City’s domain. Mayor Marty Blum didn’t flinch (at least not much). “Tomorrow I will send him a map,” she politely offered. Montage, on the other hand, dreams of a bigger beat, so she wildly applauded Steadman’s idea of blurred boundaries, and departed the dinner vowing to exceed limits!

STP DOESN’T MEANSTOP THE PARTY” (Political or Otherwise): The David Horowitz Freedom Center will honor former Montecito Village Fourth Parade Grand Marshal and auto racing superstar Andy Granatelli at its first annual Santa Barbara retreat, scheduled from March 30-April 1 at the Four Seasons Biltmore Hotel.

We want to pay tribute to Andy,” says Freedom Center President David Horowitz, “because he’s a patriot as well as a sports legend.” The tribute dinner begins at 6 p.m. on Friday, March 30. Granatelli will be introduced by his Third District Supervisor Brooks Firestone.

It is wonderful to be honored by such a great organization,” Granatelli said. “It is doubly wonderful to be honored in my own hometown at an event where some of the most serious issues facing our country will be discussed.”

Thirty-five speakers are expected at the conference. Former CIA Director James Woolsey, radio talk show host Dennis Prager, political pundit Dick Morris, and former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton will give keynote addresses. Other event participants will include historian Victor Davis Hanson, military experts Lt. Col. Gordon Cucullu and Gen. Tom McInerney, radio personalities Tammy Bruce and Melanie Morgan, and Hollywood producer (“24”) Joel Surnow. For information contact mwoodward@horowitzfreedomcenter.org.

MONTECITO MEANDERINGS: Among those practicing their handshakes and photo smiles for Sunday’s Rudy Giuliani meet-and-greet at the Montecito home of Lee and Lori Mikles will be co-chairs Andy and Dolly Granatelli, Ralph and Melissa Iannelli, David Lack, Parker and Carolina Montgomery, Tom and Mary Belle Snow along with co-hosts Carolyn Amory, Peter and Dallas Clark (their barely used Channel Drive pad is on the market for a cool $24 mil), Jamie and Marcia Constance, Brooks and Kate Firestone, Dennis and Joanie Franz, Robyn Freedman, Bob and Vicki Hazard, Tab Hunter and Allan Glaser, Perry and Suzanne Perkins, and dozens and dozens of others. It’s amazing how this village can scrape together $2,300 on just a mere moments notice. Montage predicts with this kind of turn out, other Montecito Presidential fund raisers will be close at hand….

Speaking of hand, how about those pesky hand-me-downs? Think treasure! The Music Academy’s May Madness is currently accepting donations of “unwanted treasures.” They, of course, insist the items be clean and in good repair. (But I hardly need to remind you, Montage readers, what is trash and what isn’t.) However, if you have watches, rugs, toys, silver, crystal, art, or china you’re weary of, you can call for pick up at 969-4726. The Music Academy’s big sale, you’ll recall, is May 5 starting at 9 a.m. and buyers line up early!

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