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Does Caruso's hotel check out?

July 19, 2008

Re "Reservations about a hotel," July 14

Your article misses a major defect in Rick Caruso's proposal to build a resort on the beach in Montecito: his refusal to remove an unsightly sea-wall structure on top of the public beach.

Your story fails to mention that even if Caruso succeeds in trampling Santa Barbara's dysfunctional political culture, he still must comply with the California Coastal Act.

How likely do you think it is that the California Coastal Commission will stick its proverbial head in the sand (or what's left of it) and allow Caruso to build resort rooms on top of it?

Although Caruso's desire to rebuild the historic Miramar Hotel is notable, it doesn't justify ignoring the reality of global warming, rising seas and sandless beaches in California.

If Caruso were sincerely interested in moving his project along quickly, he should take note of Pacifica Hotels, which just won approval to rebuild the Seacoast Inn on Imperial Beach in San Diego County. Pacifica is moving the hotel back off the sandy beach and removing a sea wall in the process.

Mark Massara

Director, Sierra Club

Coastal Programs

San Francisco

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Apparently, the residents of Montecito like to live with the mess that is now the Miramar Hotel. After all, these people have run off two previous hotel owners.

I visited the site in May. Judging from the condition of the homes behind the hotel property, residents should look to renovations of their own abodes and allow Caruso to proceed with his plans.

Judy E. Folkerts

Covina

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I'm starting to wonder just how many super cities Caruso has actually visited. Doesn't he realize that all great cities maintain a certain degree of "funkiness"?

He's done the Grove; he should stop making over historic Los Angeles and let those of us who have grown up there relish our memories.

The Grove is not so grand to lots of us. Can't we find a wealthy visionary who will see L.A. as a not-always-glam community?

More condensed housing, especially for seniors, would be welcomed. Stop all the glitz already.

Sandi Lopez

Visalia, Calif.

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