Why Were Cameras Installed at the Montecito Hot Springs?

••• Peter asked whether the current plans for the De La Guerra Plaza revamp could be found online, and the planner in charge said to watch the recent presentation to the city council. But now the plaza is on the March 1 agenda for the Historic Landmarks Commission, and the plans are on the HLC website. Unfortunately, the bubbler fountain is still in contention.

••• Strange happenings at the Montecito hot springs: According to a letter from a concerned citizen, someone put cameras up labeled “Department of Public Works” at the springs, but the county had nothing to do with it, and the person who took responsibility apparently claimed that a lieutenant from the sheriff’s office told him to label them as Public Works property. The cameras have been removed, but the miasma of inappropriateness remains, especially when you factor in that people using the springs are often naked. Of course, the folks with the most to gain from discouraging use of the hot springs are the ones who live nearby. UPDATE: A Montecito Journal article doesn’t exactly clear things up: the county sheriff’s office says that the person who put up the cameras got permission from the U.S. Forest Service, but the U.S. Forest Service says that’s not the case.

••• A sign on the door of the Little Rainbow Foot Spa at State and Gutierrez says the business is closed for remodeling (“flood repairs” is the reason cited online); another sign gives the impression that other issues have arisen. The building has clearly seen better days, and that corner is a gateway moment to lower State Street…. One can only imagine the impression that the foot spa and adult store make on visitors emerging from the Highway 101 undercrossing.

••• “Will the new track and football field at Santa Barbara High School ever be opened for the general public to access and use during non-school hours (i.e. early mornings, evenings, weekends when not used by school teams, summer)?” asked D. “It would be great for those of us that live nearby to be able to use it when school is not in session.” SBHS athletic director Todd Heil said that for liability and other reasons, a staffer has to be around when the facility is open, which makes weekends and holidays difficult. Mornings are another story—particularly now that school starts at either 8:30 a.m. (thanks to a California state law) or 9:15 a.m. So the staff is looking into how they might make mornings work.

••• Remember how MarBorg Industries said that the reason for the massive increase in the charge for non-curbside service was to finance a rate reduction for everyone? The company gave a totally different explanation to the Montecito Association: “MarBorg explained that the county has been moving to an automated system where drivers do not leave their trucks, as the truck will do the bin emptying. To do that, they need trash bins placed at the curb. They won’t be sending workers in to remove bins from enclosures. If you still want that service, there’s a $90 surcharge.”

••• Union Bank is becoming U.S. Bank; the latter bought the former late last year.

••• From the county: “The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department has lifted the water contact closure for East Beach within one-quarter mile of the Sycamore Creek outfall. Recent ocean water quality testing conducted by the Department’s Environmental Health Services Division has confirmed the ocean water is now safe for recreational use in this area following recent sewage impacts.” That was before the most recent storms….

••• imagine that: the State Street Axe Club has wood it would like to give away.


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The “Hot Springs” issue is very concerning… with about 100 people heading up to the springs each weekend day. It is waiting for a fire to be started and major damage to the people living in the in the area. Something needs to be done to protect the neighborhood from having a catastrophic fire event.


Agreed. Unfortunately the bureaucrats are only reactionary so the fire will have to happen before the city/county does anything to prevent it


Because there’s for danger with flooding? Or the Hot Hot springs is gonna cause a conflagration?

Thanks for covering that (sarcasm)


I live nearby in Montecito. I go up there quite a lot. Never have I seen a fire up there. There are a lot of local people who not only enjoy the hot springs, but also keep an eye on the place, and keep it safe. They also pick up litter.

The hot springs is a healing place for people. It has been for centuries before the white man came on the scene. Let’s not take a healing place away because of fears. The people who are irresponsible and likely to start fires tend to hang around roads.

I’m glad there’s a lot of good people up there looking after things. There’s even a highly responsible man from the Montecito Trails Foundation who likes to soak and relax there.

But if you’re worried about fires , be more concerned to people who hang out closer to roads. It’s good to have responsible watchdogs in the woods. And most people who visit the hot springs are pretty nice and can keep an eye on any bad apples who go there. Hikers and backpackers are generally good people, and a helpful presence in the wilderness. Volunteers can also be recruited to keep an eye on things during fire season.

To have a fire anywhere in the backcountry I believes requires a permit. The Forest Service probably only gives out such a permit shortly after a rain when there is no chance of a forest fire. The only other time a fire is considered appropriate is to save a person from freezing. If someone breaks a leg, and is likely to get hypothermia, he can make a fire to stay warm, and also to signal people. Young people should be properly trained in how to make a fire safely, and how to put it out safely. Boy scouts have been teaching this for a long time.


Yeah, except for the Tea Fire where a crowd of privileged/wealthy transfer students burned down half of Montecito w/nary a slap on the wrist.


So funny, that adult bookstore has been there forever. A friend started a Moped City store in the 1970’s and it was next door to the “bookstore”.

Paulie W

There are so many newcomers to SB that whenever they say “there goes the neighborhood,” often that IS the neighborhood!


Jay was a great guy! And let’s not forget Esau’s restaurant when Tom Esau owned it Best food in town!

Anne C

He’s a longtime friend and he is a great guy! Lower state was also filled with thrift stores and yes I remember Esau’s.


The US Bank branch at State / Carrillo is apparently closing so I suppose the Union Bank location will be used now.


When Harry and Megan moved to Montecito the internet revealed Hot Springs Trail was near their home. Since, the masses have invaded the trail and filled the area with unwanted cars and buses. A group of hikers took a cigarette break, throwing their cigarettes into a ravine – the fire department arrived shortly after. They told the fireman they drove up from Los Angeles. Last Saturday night we witnessed a group climb the trail fence at 10:00 pm. A couple of them were smoking cigarettes. I’m all for hiking but not when it threatens nature and our safety. On a lighter note, a few weeks back, a couple were sitting in folding chairs in the middle of a nearby street. Cars had to drive around them to get by. It was such a curious sight I had to ask them what they were doing – the fellow replied they were having a bowl of spaghetti before hitting the trail. His female companion added, “I hope Harry is here today”.

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