That the City Seal has an image of clipper ships, mountains, sunshine, a coastline, sky and a lighthouse? This represents the brand and promise of the city of Santa Barbara. So beautiful and magnetic is our city that the rich and famous have long chosen to make it their home. Many of us, who live here, have also made sacrifices because of the compelling tug to our hearts and souls. The Hormels (ham in a can), Kodak-Eastman, the Mortens (salt), Ghirardelli (chocolate, “yes please”) just to name a few, settled and didn’t destroy the beauty. Growing up, I often heard Ozzie Da Ros say, “We’re living in the middle of the universe,” he so loved our city. Today, Bostonians are trying to recreate Boston in Santa Barbara. Chicagoans bemoan, “In Chicago, we have x,y, z and we should have that here.” And San Franciscans dream of bringing SF here. Although there’s tremendous negotiation upon sale, the value of many businesses is amplified tremendously by the intangible assets they refer to as “brand.” In fact, Anderson, the accountants, with their serious blue shades promise, tried to be something they weren’t, and their company fell apart. Halston went from dressing millionaires to the masses as they branched out to JCPenney. Although well-intentioned and altruistic, this diluted, then destroyed, his brand. Jordache went from red-carpet designer to real estate investing and lost their soul. Will we change the City Seal to a Miami or West Palm Beach skyscape, or stand fast to the promise and brand of our city?
—Bonnie Donovan and Natasha Todorovic