Rebuilding Santa Barbara

UCSB Economic Forecast Project panel event will examine effects of the Thomas Fire and Montecito mudslides on Santa Barbara businesses

Aiming to explore all facets of the fiscal health of the Central Coast as it rebounds from a catastrophic winter, UC Santa Barbara’s Economic Forecast Project (EFP) is bringing together state and local experts to discuss how the Thomas Fire and Montecito mudslides have impacted the Santa Barbara economy.

The EFP special event, “What Happened, and What Now?” will take place Wednesday, March 28, from 3:30-5:30 p.m. at the Lobero Theatre. The presentation promises a comprehensive look at how local businesses have been affected by two devastating natural disasters, as well as insight on recovery efforts at city, state, and county levels. Free and open to the public, it requires no prior registration or RSVP.

“Our aim is to centralize a lot of things that have been discussed in terms of impact and recovery,” said EFP Executive Director Peter Rupert, also a professor of economics at UCSB. “We want the public to know what resources are at hand, what the city and county are doing in the aftermath, and what the Insurance Commissioner and other officials are facing.”

To open the event, Rupert will first present the results of a recent survey, sent to local businesses from Ventura to San Luis Obispo, that details damages resulting from the fire, mudslide and consequent evacuations and road closures.

Following Rupert’s talk, five guest speakers each will give 10-minute presentations pertaining to their respective areas of expertise. They are:

• Dave Jones, California Insurance Commissioner

• Nina Johnson, Senior Assistant to the City Administrator, City of Santa Barbara

• Kathy Janega-Dykes, President and CEO, Visit Santa Barbara

• Betsy Schaeffer, Assistant Auditor-Controller, County of Santa Barbara

• Joe Holland, County Clerk, Recorder and Assessor, County of Santa Barbara

The event will conclude with a panel discussion featuring all of the presenters and moderated by Ed Edick, co-owner and founder of Village Properties, and Janet Garufis, Chairman and CEO of Montecito Bank & Trust.

Sponsored by Union Bank and Montecito Bank & Trust, “What Happened, and What Now?” seeks to bring together many of the leaders who will shape the economic recovery of Santa Barbara County, and to empower and connect local business owners.

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