Letter to the Editor: ‘Laguna District’ a Better Name Than ‘Lagoon District’ for Business Area

A huge thank you to Gary Simpson for putting time and energy into conversation about the name of our district, namely Lagoon Distrct vs. Laguna District.  This has brought many people together from various backgrounds, all who love this area, to communicate about the future of the district.

We have since added a Spanish language translation function to the website.

You can read the OpEd below, and be sure to share with your friends.

I am the owner of Santa Barbara Home Improvement Center at 415 E. Gutierrez St. We have been providing products and services to Santa Barbara now for more than 50 years, having just eclipsed that milestone anniversary. Another couple of great milestones this year were our being recognized by ACE Hardware as its No. 1 purchasing store out of 4,340 stores nationwide, and also being recognized by the Pacific Coast Business Times as the small business of the tri counties for 2017.

The reason I am writing and have been having discussions since meeting with Robert Mislang and Jacob Tell, who seek to create a distinct business district between Anacapa and Milpas streets along the Haley and Gutierrez corridors, is that I am strongly opposed to the verbiage "Lagoon District" to describe our evolving sector of town. To me, it should rather be described as the Laguna District since this correlates to both the street and canal’s names.

Additionally, the word lagoon when pronounced ends in a downbeat finish as opposed to the upbeat lilt as with the word laguna. Worse yet, however, is that to me and many others in business in our area, lagoon connotes a vision of dark, stagnant, foul-smelling, mosquito-infested, fetid water all sadly reminiscent of the situations in Texas and Florida following hurricanes Harvey and Irma. There is nothing distinctive, elegant, vibrant or romantic about a lagoon. Instead, the word laguna, while respecting the two specific areas in the neighborhood, also pays respect and homage to the Spanish heritage of our vicinity in the same manner that the choice of the wording for the entrance into Santa Barbara from Sterns Wharf pays homage to our early Spanish visitors by its name "La Entrada."

I hope and respectfully ask that this ill-conceived, poor name choice that came about, as I understand it, more by mistake than by design be morphed in these early stages into "Laguna District" for the reasons I have described.

Additionally, we definitely don’t want people to associate this part of town as one with a proclivity toward flooding as occurred twice in 1995 with literally 10 blocks in our immediate area being under water. This has nearly occurred a half-dozen times since owing to the poorly designed (Caltrans used only a 25-year rain history for its design, saving millions in construction), elevated Highway 101 for the creation of the Garden Street Underpass. There is nothing elegant or fun about an area prone to flooding as a result, and we certainly don’t want to further perpetuate any reference to flooding through the use of the ill-chosen word lagoon.

There is nothing carved in stone with regards to the moniker "Lagoon District." It would be doing us all a great service to softly change it to Laguna District going forward. It would be the right thing for the neighborhood and its businesses.

Gary Simpson
Santa Barbara

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Meeting with PODER at Rose Cafe

Meeting with PODER at Rose Cafe

Oniracom CEO Jacob Tell met with Michael Montenegro of PODER to listen to their concerns about the perception that The Lagoon District is promoting gentrification of the neighborhood.

As Jacob points out, we are here to shine a light on businesses in the area that do not typically receive social media marketing support.  At the same time we want to listen to all concerns and give voice to business owners in the community.

Watch the KEYT News Video highlighting our meeting with PODER.

We look forward to addressing all concerns people have, and ensuring The Lagoon District supports ALL businesses in the area.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The branding of a portion of Santa Barbara's Eastside led to a meeting between marketers and community activists.
They discussed a The Lagoon District website at the Rose Cafe on Haley Street on Thursday afternoon.
Oniracom CEO Jacob Tell created the website and agreed to listen to critics of the plan.
"Our whole thing is to shine a light on stories that don't get social media," said Tell.
The website offers membership for free.
Community organizers with Poder have questioned why the website is only in English and why the area is being called The Lagoon District rather than Laguna or another name.
Michael Montenegro compared it to an improvement plan along Milpas St.
"Gentrification is a complex issue. It is important we have a conversation to challenge it and don't let it just be rubber stamped," said Montenegro. "
He is concerned raising rents could harm mom and pop businesses that serve the local working class community.
Poder hopes to organize a community meeting to further discuss the issue.

"Best of" Santa Barbara Readers Poll - Rock the Vote

"Best of" Santa Barbara Readers Poll - Rock the Vote

It's that time of year again and some of our fellow Lagoon District businesses would love to have your support this year for SB's "BEST OF".  To keep things easy, we've lined up a few suggestions for the poll. Thank you for all the love and rock the vote people! Here's the link: http://independent.secondstreetapp.com/l/2017-Best-Of-Santa-Barbara

Best BBQ or Burger: Wildwood Kitchen 

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Best Burrito: Lito's Mexican Restaurant

Best Juicery: AH Juice

Beer on Tap: Third Window Brewery

Favorite Place to Work: The Sandbox

Best Catering: Buena Onda or Duo 

Best Butcher: Carniceria La Bodeguita

Best Bakery: Deux Bakery

More Lagoon District businesses: (Potek Winery, Jaffur's Wine Cellar, Pure Order Brewery, Rose Cafe, SB Training) 



Old Spanish Days - Fiesta Santa Barbara Schedule

Old Spanish Days - Fiesta Santa Barbara Schedule

Celebrating 93 years, Old Spanish Days Fiesta kicks off tonight at the Historic Old Mission of Santa Barbara at 8pm. Below we've provided the link for the full upcoming schedule for the next 5 days! We're proud to have celebrations like this in our beautiful town and we hope all our neighbors get out, dance, taste and drink in all the culture packed into this Fiesta. OLE!

August 2nd Events

For the full 5 day list of events Click Here

Jaffurs Wine Cellars TV feature on "This is LA"

Jaffurs Wine Cellars TV feature on "This is LA"

""This is LA" is Circle 8 Production’s newest lifestyle television show that features the hottest new local businesses, restaurants, trends, products, and weekend getaways. 

The program will provide an inside look into the fast paced and ever changing landscape of Southern California, with an emphasis on what’s trending in the area’s lifestyle leader, Los Angeles. 

Episode 5 airs Sunday, June 25th, 2017 at 3:00 PM (or right after golf) on CBS 2 LA!'"(Excerpt used from 'This is LA' facebook page)




United Way's 26th Annual Day of Caring

United Way's 26th Annual Day of Caring

"United Way of Santa Barbara County is coordinating the 26th Annual Day of Caring - an opportunity to give back to the community through a morning of helping out the various nonprofits in our community." 

This Day of Caring is a prime opportunity for you, your friends, and/or locals businesses to get hands-on with volunteer work that makes our lovely Santa Barbara all the more beautiful. Get to know the neighborhoods and businesses, while leaving your community a little better than you found it! 

Click Here for More Info