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Crystal Ball Gazing for 2008


South Coast residents look to the future as the new year dawns. What do they foresee?



South Coast residents are looking to the future as the new year dawns. We asked a few what they foresee?

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In 2008, I see Santa Barbara moms making a personal commitment to carve out time for themselves to focus on personal fitness goals, making new friends and giving back to our amazing community. Moms In Motion helps women simplify their lives by combinging fun, fitness and philanthropy into one organization. Locally, women may chose from a variety of seasonal teams:

• Winter: Absolutely Flab-U-less Core Conditioning Team and Cycling Team
• Spring: Running and Surfing Teams

Summer: Triathlon, Trail Running and HikingTeams
Fall: Road Running, Hiking and Surfing Teams

In 2008, hundreds of local moms will improve their overall health and happiness by joining Moms In Motion and, as we all know, if mom is happy, the entire family is happy! Happy New Year!

Jamie Allison
Founder, Moms In Motion Inc.

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With an approved Master Plan for Westmont College, I foresee a lot of hard work during 2008 — and a lot of prayer — as we prepare to break ground on four essential buildings that will transform our campus and provide facilities worthy of our world-class faculty and students, making Westmont an even greater community resource. We’ll also continue to see many from the college volunteering locally.

Gayle Beebe Ph.D.
Westmont College president

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I’m looking forward to completing the update to Goleta’s General Plan and to its Housing Element being signed off by HCD (state department of Housing and Community Development). I think those two things are very important for the city in the next year.{mosimage}

I’m also looking forward to the storm water capacity upgrade to the San Jose Creek project that we have going through Old Town. I’m really hopeful that we can get it accomplished this next year. That’s going to be a big one.

And, I’m also looking forward to a revision to the revenue neutrality agreement with Santa Barbara County. I’m optimistic and hopeful that we will be successful in negotiating a better deal for the Goleta residents who are currently stuck with that particular issue.

One of the things we need to be concerned about is the economy. I think that we’ve done a good job in our two-year budget adoption but we have to be very careful in watching what the economy delivers to us the next 18 months. No one’s really sure where everything’s going and we have been very conservative in our revenue projections so I’m hopeful we will be OK in that regard, but we’re going to have to continue to monitor the issue on the revenue side of the budget and make sure we can make things meet.

Michael Bennett
Goleta mayor

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In 2008, Doreen Farr will be elected 3rd District county supervisor, county voters will invest in the future of their transportation infrastructure by renewing Measure D, and the UCSB basketball teams will qualify for the NCAA tournament. On a personal note, I will finally make time to go to the gym.

Salud Carbajal
1st District county supervisor

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As a 47-year reader of the Santa Barbara News-Press, I’d like to see civility return to its editorial pages, to have ideas replace personalities and that the constant bashing of the Santa Barbara City Council stop. The council members are just like the rest of us, good folks. Good ideas don’t need shouting.

Larry Crandell
Mr. Santa Barbara

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In my crystal ball I see a tough 2008 with a silver lining — remember, the temperature is sunny and almost 70 degrees right now.

Tightening lending standards, along with many mortgages set to adjust to higher rates in 2008, will keep median housing prices flat to slightly down in South Santa Barbara County. Home price declines will be more severe in northern Santa Barbara County, as in other areas of California, where overbuilding occurred and a high percentage of first-time homebuyers needed creative financing to get into a house. The actual dollar decline on median home prices in southern Santa Barbara County will be minimal due to the desirability of Santa Barbara, the minimal amounts of new homes that can be built here, and the strong demand for higher priced properties in Hope Ranch and Montecito. Commercial real estate in Carpinteria, Santa Barbara and Goleta will remain strong with extremely low vacancy rates and flat to increasing rental rates.

Lastly, expect local employers to be conservative and keep a tight focus on cost cutting where possible as rising material, fuel and benefit costs, as well as the tight local labor market, have put pressure on profit margins.

Jeff DeVine
Regional president, Rabobank N.A.

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1. Santa Barbara, once known as the birthplace of culinary masterpieces such as the Egg McMuffin and Ranch Dressing, becomes known as the birthplace of the $5 Ashy Martini, which takes the cocktail world by storm.
2. Wendy McCaw finally loses control of the Santa Barbara News-Press ... to my father, in a game of Texas Hold-Em at the Chumash Casino.
3. We all toast her with Ashy Martinis. The first round is on Craig Smith.

Leslie Dinaberg
Noozhawk columnist

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2008 is the year the dust settles. Now we understand some of the major issues we had in the housing market — especially in the financial arena, and we can get down to business! Buyers will soon realize they actually can manage to get into home ownership and they will take advantage of the great real estate market prices available now.

Reneé Grubb
Co-owner, Village Properties Realtors

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My prognostication would be that we will continue to have to do more with less. I think the state is headed to a not good place. Revenues are down in the state of California. I’m also thinking local property tax revenues will be down in our community, so that has a direct impact on our schools. We are not a municipal agency that can go out and raise taxes when we have shortfalls.

Nancy Harter
Santa Barbara School Districts board member

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Major high-drama politics — nationally and locally, with the 3rd District county supervisor and state Senate races. Fiscal challenges loom as the mortgage crisis affects people’s discretionary income. Fortunately, the UCSB women’s basketball team will reclaim its Big West championship title and make it to the ‘Big Dance!’"

Helene Schneider
Santa Barbara City Councilwoman

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The well-publicized situation in the mortgage industry will keep real estate under pressure at least well into 2008. It also seems likely that the related pressure in the broader financial markets will dampen global growth when compared to earlier estimates.

Policy statements by would-be political nominees will dominate the news in early 2008 while the Summer Olympics in China may culminate the prolonged spending spree that has preceded it. Overall equity markets will be "ragged" until the economic and earnings picture is clearer.

Mary Ellen Tiffany
Vice president, Montecito Bank & Trust



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