David Selberg Moves to Hospice

David Selberg Moves to Hospice


From a Caring Role at Pacific Pride to the Über Care-Giving Organization

Tuesday, January 20, 2015



David Selberg has dedicated decades serving the community, from his early beginnings as a Vons grocer and Chart House server to stints as a City College sailing instructor and Transition House volunteer. Selberg, a Santa Barbara native, eventually came to lead Pacific Pride Foundation, where he saw theLGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) center through budget cuts and huge political moments like Prop. 8 and Santa Barbara’s first Pride Festival. On January 20, Selberg will begin his new role as CEO of Hospice of Santa Barbara.

You have had decades of experience working in nonprofits. How do you anticipate Hospice to be the same or different than what came before?

Some of this role as CEO of Hospice of Santa Barbara is very similar to the role I played at Pacific Pride Foundation. Letting the community know about the program is a critical piece, raising funds toward those programs is a commonality, and making sure that patients and clients are being served to our best ability is as well.

How did your time at PPF prepare you for your new position as CEO at Hospice?

During the time I worked at PPF when it was called AIDSCounseling and Assistance Program, way back in the 1990s, I was a frontline AIDS worker. Most of what the organization did wasHIV programs, because of the decimation of mostly gay men dying quickly of AIDS, and there was very little treatment. During those early years, we worked very closely with Hospice. If you were diagnosed with AIDS you had anywhere from 12-18 months before you died, and a lot of what we did with Hospice was help folks die. There’s a fair amount of crossover of community collaborations from the PPF years — I worked closely with police, sheriff, school districts, senior facilities, Cottage Hospital, and a lot of those relationships are very much a crossover from where I’m going with Hospice of Santa Barbara.

What will your role be as CEO of Hospice of Santa Barbara?

I’ll be overseeing all the programs of Hospice of Santa Barbara. The Hospice of S.B. is a social model hospice. It’s a non-medical hospice; it’s got social workers, counselors, therapists, children’s programs, and I’ll be overseeing all that piece for it. I’ll be working hard on fundraising. There’s no insurance billing; it’s all 100 percent donor dependent, and a lot of the fundraising helps pay the people that provide the services. It’s an amazing model. It serves the entire family, not just the individual, with social workers, with social support and counseling support, and there’s no time frame on it, which is a big deal. At medical hospices, there’s a clock that’s ticking as far as reimbursement rates and health insurance mandates. Our Hospice of S.B. is second oldest in the county of this model. It’s a model that can be shared beyond our own community, across the country, it’s that innovative of a program. It’s been around 40 years.

Why did you decide to take on the position of CEO?

I was thinking about other areas that I might challenge myself, stretch myself. I’ve been at Pacific Pride as executive director for almost a decade, and I worked in the field in the ‘90s. I’ve reached a place in my life where I was willing to sort of learn different things, take on new challenges, and I’ve known Hospice for so many years. I’ve watched their trajectory for the last 20 years, how they’ve expanded and grown. I wasn’t out looking for a new career; it just was something that organically presented itself.

Who will be replacing you at PPF?

Pacific Pride has an outstanding board and really great staff. The board organized a search committee; they’ve secured a search agent and are going to look well beyond our county for the right candidates. Cynthia Camacho, whom I hired many years ago and runs our HIV programs and our Santa Maria office, is the interim executive director at Pacific Pride. It might take the search committee three to four months to find the right candidate.

How has the LGBT political climate changed since you first joined PPF?

I think it has shifted somewhat just in the last decade. A lot of what we’ve been focused on has been equal LGBT rights — everything from the equal right to get married; to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell; to things like the Fair Education Act. A lot of the last 10 years has been about those basic civil rights issues for the LGBTcommunity. My successors’ focus will be whether we have all those laws on the books and making sure those systems are held accountable. The continued relevancy of a center like Pacific Pride is about educating, and being a safe place. I heard just days ago about a horrible suicide of this young person who identified as transgender, and left a very poignant note … a safe place, a community center could have made a difference. Just because it’s 2015, and Modern Family is on and Katy Perry kisses a girl and all that, it doesn’t mean that tragedy still doesn’t happen. Also,HIV/AIDS still has no cure and continues to affect gay men, the poor, and marginalized.

How has the climate changed in Santa Barbara?

When I came to PP, there hadn’t been a Pride festival. There was no LGBT social scene. One of the first things that folks came to me about was having a LGBT pride festival, so Pacific Pride first started doing more social programming to bring the community together. Prop. 8 made a huge difference. We were sort of a ground zero for that campaign across the Central Coast, and so much of the straight community came to Pacific Pride in North and South County — friends, grandparents, attorneys that believed in fair and equal — and it really broadened our base of support. Prop. 8 affected everybody; we worked hard together with that huge moment.

Death has seen a political movement lately with the Death with Dignity movement. What might be Hospice of SB’s role in that debate?

Hospice of SB is very apolitical. I believe that it’s all about care and services. Dignity and respect for those facing life threatening illnesses and those who love them is very embedded in Hospice’s mission.

What do you consider your biggest achievement career-wise, looking back?

When I graduated from UCSB, a lot of my friends knew what they wanted to do, and I wasn’t sure. My life has somewhat unfolded into work that is in service to others. For me working at Pacific Pride, going to work at Hospice of S.B., and having worked at Transition House, which is a family homeless shelter, I really feel it’s a life well lived, a life where I’ve spent my work doing my work and service to others. For me, it offers great personal meaning.

You have had a very personal relationship with Hospice of S.B., when your partner was dying of AIDS. Can you speak about that experience?

That journey I went through with Gabriel was very transformational for me. The support that Hospice provided, the counseling, the social service support, it was all so critical, because I was able to work and be present for him both, during a very long, drawn out process of his dying. I am so grateful for the therapists and social workers who helped take care of him; I didn’t have to do it all alone. He was a brilliant guy, with a PhD, Ivy League school, a brilliant, brilliant guy, and I can so vividly remember, during the last months of his life, the Hospice workers helped him do an art installation, working with him as he documented his life through visual art. Hospice helped him not just on the deep emotional aspect of facing his mortality but helped him recount his life of 34 years.

Why are the services Hospice of S.B. offers important?

I think when death comes close to home, oftentimes it can make one feel like one is alone with it. I think that the gift of the Hospice of S.B. model helps you feel you’re not alone with that journey. It takes time. It took me a long time. I’m the youngest of six brothers, and one day my mom dropped dead very suddenly. She was my only parent, no father in the picture. I felt so alone with the death of my mom, who I was so close to. The value of the program that Hospice of S.B. provides, to have others who can support you through the many layers in going through the death of someone close to you … it’s golden, it’s amazing. Walking into Hospice offices, you see these groups that are gathering to meet, from children to professional adults. Hospice of S.B. serves the impoverished parts of our community, they serve the Latino community, they serve LGBT same-sex couples … they are really broad in their service range, and all services are free.

What lessons did you learn at Pacific Pride Foundation?

When I started as the director of Pacific Pride, there were two things I didn’t do very well. One was I wasn’t too great at reading a spreadsheet or a budget, and the other was that I wasn’t particularly good at giving speeches or being a public figure. This past decade at PPF has been such a learning experience for me, because those are two areas that were fairly intimidating to me. I learned to jump into what you’re most unsure of in yourself and just try to do it. I have learned how to follow and read a budget with the $2.5 million budget that Pacific Pride has had, and I’ve learned how to manage being the public face of the LGBT/HIVmovement across the Central Coast. It’s been quite a lesson.

Any final words?

I’m just super excited and honored to be going to work at Hospice, to work with the amazing staff, the board, and all the stakeholders and supporters of the growing organization. I am so honored to have spent almost 19 years serving LGBT HIV/AIDS communities. It’s been a true honor.


Hospice of Santa Barbara calls local artists for public art opportunity

Hospice of Santa Barbara calls local artists for public art opportunity



hsb photoArtists rending of Hospice of Santa Barbara, courtesy hospiceofsantabarbara.org.

Hospice of Santa Barbara (HSB) invites regional artists, either individuals or group, to submit their hanging works for consideration for the Leigh Block Gallery at Hospice of Santa Barbara. Art that explores grief and loss as well as the deeper aspects of life’s journey is desired. Deadline for submission is January 30 at 4:30 p.m.

Selected exhibitions are to be an expression of HSB’s vision and commitment to heal the fear of death and the loneliness of grief. The exhibitions will run quarterly:  February through April 2015; May through July 2015; August through October 2015, and November through January 2016.

Artists interested in submitting must send a cover letter and a disk containing images or proposed work and a current resume. Groups may also be considered. Detailed instructions for artist submission can be found on Hospice of Santa Barbara’s website.

—Leslie Dinaberg


Parsons House La Porte Art Show

Parsons House La Porte Art Show



 January 31st from 1 pm – 3 pm

Join Parsons House Assisted Living Community as resident seniors, family members, Parsons House staff and community artists display artwork based off what they have achieved in their lifetime On Saturday, January 31st from 1 pm – 3 pm. Parsons House Assisted Living is located at:  8727 Fairmont Parkway, La Porte, TX 77571. This event is free and open to the public.

The types of work showcased will include paintings, drawings, ceramics, crocheting, knitting, stain work and woodwork. Guests will also enjoy beverages and art-themed snacks while viewing the artwork.

For more information, please call Mary Tebeau at (281) 478-0000 or visit www.parsonshouselaporte.com





Rona Barrett Foundation’s Golden Inn & Village gets critical water allocation

Rona Barrett Foundation’s Golden Inn & Village gets critical water allocation


ronabThe Santa Ynez River Water Conservation District approved an agreement Monday to provide water services to the Golden Inn & Village, an affordable senior housing complex set to break ground in March. The facility, shown above, is spearheaded by Rona Barrett and is scheduled to open summer 2016.


January 20, 2015 10:47 am  •  Harold Pierce [email protected]


After more than an hour of debate, the Santa Ynez River Water Conservation District approved an agreement Monday to provide water to the Golden Inn & Village, an affordable senior housing complex breaking ground in March.

The future of the $32 million project spearheaded by the Rona Barrett Foundation, which includes $23 million in federal tax credits, hinged upon the water board’s decision.

“If you can feel my heart, it’s beating rapidly,” Barrett said after the decision was made. “I’m very grateful that the water board approved this project. It’s so needed.”

Golden Inn & Village will be purchasing about 20 acre-feet of water annually for roughly 90 living units.

Developers needed to secure a “can and will serve” letter from the board before moving forward with the project. The letter guarantees that the water agency will supply water to the facility, said Chris Dahlstrom, the water board’s general manager.

Because of the state’s strict 180-day deadline for tax credits, if the developers did not receive the board’s approval, the Rona Barrett Foundation and the Housing Authority of Santa Barbara County, which is partnering on the project, would risk forfeiting the $23 million tax credit they secured Sept. 24.

“What’s challenging is you start a 180 calendar day ticking clock to where you have to have everything ready to go … so for all intents and purposes we’re ready to start grading the site,” said John Polanskey, director of housing development for the Housing Authority of Santa Barbara County. “It’s a very unforgiving deadline.”

Once an applicant misses the 180-day deadline, it is difficult to reapply, Polanskey said.

But the decision did not come as a rubber stamp.

Board members debated the agreement, questioning whether the water agency should be approving the project at a time when they are not only facing a historic drought but also contending with the fallout from the state Department of Public Health creating more stringent requirements for chromium levels allowed in drinking water.

The stricter requirements eliminated use of half the water agency’s ground water supply, and as a result the board declared a shortage emergency in June, the same month the board restricted issuing “can and will serve” letters based on water supply.

“Will you be here to handle the farmers when they come in here with their hanging ropes?” Trustee Harlan Burchardi, who represents Los Olivos, asked Polanskey. “Because we’ll have to tell the farmers to quit farming, quit irrigating. That’s pretty scary.”

Project developers reconsidered their plans last year because of the drought, and eliminated grassy areas, included low-flow toilets and water-saving technology, Polanskey said. The modifications dropped the planned usage from 31 acre-feet of water annually to about 19.

Burchardi said his concerns dealt more with fairness and protecting the water board than anything else.

“We’re going to get our butts sued,” Burchardi said, adding that it puts the board in a predicament, questioning what the agency would do if other developers request similar services. “You’re opening up a flood gate,” he said.

Some board members, however, saw the agreement as a development fee that could help keep the agency afloat.

“I don’t want to start developing something that might come back and haunt us,” Trustee Harry Poor said. “But the problem is the chromium six has created a shortage we can’t get out of, so this new development fee will allow us to get that water. Developers will come here and put more burden on us, so they pay their share.”

The developers are agreeing to pay and provide water for a year in advance of tenants moving into the property, scheduled sometime in the summer of 2016, said Chip Wullbrandt, an attorney representing the Housing Authority of Santa Barbara County.

“This project won’t be a greater burden on needs and demands than you currently have,” Wullbrandt said.

Trustee Brad Joos questioned whether the board should be committing water to the project when the Rona Barrett Foundation is still working to fill an $800,000 fundraising gap. But Polanskey was quick to dismiss the concern that the project will go unfunded. Supporters have so far raised $200,000, according to the foundation website.

“I have no intention of ever quitting until I see this campus built out,” Barrett said.



County to host free energy-efficiency workshop

County to host free energy-efficiency workshop


Valley homeowners Thursday can learn how to keep their energy bills down during a free county seminar at Antonio’s Pizza & Pasta in Buellton.

An emPower Energy Coach will present examples of energy inefficiency that drive up energy bills throughout Santa Barbara County, including improperly operating furnaces, leaky ducts, drafty windows and poorly installed insulation.

Afterwards, attendees can schedule an energy coach to visit their home to inspect it for flaws that could run up utility bills.

Attendees can also learn about the energy audit process and how to take advantage of utility incentives of up to $6,500. Local contractors involved with the emPower Program will also be available to answer questions.

The event is free and takes place at Antonio’s Pizza & Pasta, 280 E. Hwy 246 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. To RSVP, visit www.emPowerSBC.org/events or call 805-568-3566


Pin It on Pinterest