Recognize. Neutralize. Monetize.
That should be the mantra that Santa Barbara County officials keep in mind as they navigate the media mess and potential economic bonanza posed by the death of Michael Jackson.
His family’s decision — widely reported, but canceled just before press time — to hold a public viewing and memorial for the late entertainer, at Neverland Ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley, on July 3 shows that the Jackson legacy will live on in our region.
Whatever you think about Jackson, his music, his personality or his scandals, this is phenomenal public exposure for Santa Barbara County and the Central Coast. Value that exposure in the tens of millions of dollars and it represents the best tourism bonanza to his this region since the film “Sideways.”
There is opportunity in this personal tragedy. Santa Barbara County should not let it go to waste.