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Santa Barbara County Statement Re: Neverland Events

Posted: Thursday, July 2, 2009

By: William Boyer (Expired article)

Santa Barbara, CA -

From: Boyer, William []
Sent: Wednesday, July 01, 2009 10:50 PM
Subject: Santa Barbara County/ Michael Jackson Update / County Communications Director

Dear News Media Representatives and Communicators,

The following is to provide you with an update regarding several items of possible interest involving the County as they pertain to events & activities following the death of Michael Jackson for Wednesday, July 1 and Thursday morning, July 2, 2009.

1. County Officials continue to have no direct contact with the Jackson Family regarding their plans or wishes for any potential burial, funeral or memorial service in Santa Barbara County, including at the Neverland Ranch. To date, there has been no official or formal contact or request by the Jackson Family to the County to help accommodate, review or approval of any such activity.

2. County Officials continue to closely monitor the situation and have reviewed additional widespread reports in the news media that now “confirm” a public memorial may occur in the Los Angeles area. Since the County has had no direct contact with the Jackson Family, the County cannot confirm these statements’ accuracy as reported by the news media or the accuracy of them as being attributed to the Jackson Family.

3. The County today continued with its limited pre-planning efforts to ensure that certain logistics and resources could be made available should an event take place in Santa Barbara County related to a memorial or funeral service in honor of Mr. Jackson. Most of these efforts were placed on hold throughout the day (Wednesday) as the situation unfolded and it appeared from news reports and information from other Southern California law enforcement agencies that the focus for any such public activity appears to have no shifted to other areas that are outside Santa Barbara County. County officials will continue to closely monitor the situation in the Santa Ynez Valley throughout the weekend to determine if additional staffing or resources are needed in order to protect the public’s safety. County officials continue to seek direct or indirect information from the Jackson Family about their wishes for Mr. Jackson.

4. Due to increased vehicular and pedestrian traffic on Figueroa Mountain Road near Neverland Ranch, public safety officials today July 1 requested that the Santa Barbara County Public Works Department close portions of Figueroa Mountain Road and Happy Canyon Road. This temporary closure lasted for about less than two hours early Wednesday afternoon. These roads and other roads in the area could be subjected to additional temporary closures on very short notice throughout the weekend as determined necessary by state and local public safety officials in order to protect the public and to ensure that emergency vehicles can safely pass through those areas if necessary. In addition, Figueroa Mountain Road near the Neverland Ranch was posted Wednesday morning with temporary No Parking signs that will be enforced via citations starting Thursday, July 2.

5. Out-of-town visitors are reminded that ALL fireworks, including those identified as “safe and sane” are considered illegal in the County unincorporated areas and in most cities within the County boundaries. People possessing or using such fireworks in the County unincorporated areas are also subject to citation, fines and possible prosecution.

6. This afternoon, the news media reported about a possible three-day musical festival event that was tentatively scheduled to occur on property near the Neverland Ranch on July 3-5 as a tribute to Michael Jackson. Promotion of this activity as an actual event appears to have been premature. County officials have determined late Wednesday afternoon that no application or permit request for this possible event has yet to be filed with the County for approval. While County officials are willing to review any such request, it is important to note that, to date, no application has been filed for this event and no permit has been issued by County, both of which are legally required steps to occur prior to the event being held.

7. Member of the public are reminded that Neverland Ranch is in a rural, farm area of the Santa Ynez Valley. Farm animals and farm machinery are likely to be encountered on Figueroa Mountain Road. Motorists are cautioned to use extra care if / when driving through the area.

8. The nearest community to Neverland is Los Olivos, which has limited resources. The nearest gas station is even further away in either the City of Solvang or the township of Santa Ynez. Most of the area motels, hotels and B&Bs in the Santa Ynez Valley have reported that they are already full or booked through the Fourth of July Holiday weekend.

9. In addition, Highway 246, which runs through the downtown area of Solvang, will be closed on Saturday morning, July 4, in order for residents to enjoy a traditional Fourth of July Parade.

10. Additional updates and information will be released as appropriate by the County. The County website at will have road closure and other info posted as appropriate.

William H. Boyer
Communications Director
County Executive Office
Santa Barbara County
105 E. Anapamu Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
(805) 568-3428

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